When a recently dumped young Jane Fonda comes to New York to visit her pilot brother on a Sunday, all kinds of virtue-shaking shenanigans ensue.
When Eileen (Fonda) has been dumped by her longtime boyfriend because she won’t sleep with him, she retreats to her older brother’s bachelor pad in the middle of New York to get some perspective. Sunday in New York is a 1963 comedy, based on a play by Norman Krasna, directed by Peter Tewksbury and starring Jane Fonda, Rod Taylor and Cliff Robertson. The soundtrack score, which has a pretty good deal of relevance within the story, was composed and performed by Peter Nero.
The story unfolds into a crazy day of mixed messages, missed meetings, and a bit of mistaken identity, all coming back to Eileen’s quest to figure out if her virginity is a virtue or a vice. While her brother (Cliff Robertson, also known around these parts as the Big Kahuna) is trying to find time in his pilot’s schedule for a tryst with his girlfriend Mona (Jo Morrow,) even though he assured his sister that he “never sleeps with girls,” Eileen is let lose on the city of Manhattan, where she unexpectedly meets Mike Mitchell (Rod Taylor) and the two spend the afternoon together.
Eileen views Mike as a potential opportunity to succumb to social pressure and lose her v-card, only to discover that Mike has morals when it comes to “a beginner.” Naturally, the pair find themselves genuinely falling for each other, despite the fact that Eileen’s ex comes storming into town with a marriage proposal. Yikes!
Truth be told, the plot is a little all over the place, the comedy is pretty silly, and the moral dilemma is downright outdated, but the cast seems to still pull it off with the same easy-listening ease of Peter Nero’s music. The first time I watched this film, I wasn’t that impressed. In fact, I kind of didn’t like it at all. But something drew me back. Perhaps it was the charm of Fonda, or the tremendously awesome 60s-style apartment of her brother – a pilot back when being a pilot was like being a celebrity – or maybe it was the city of New York itself. Whatever it was, the film grew on me, and now it’s one of my favorites.
It’s a perfect classic film for a summer Friday night – easy, fun, and a full of beautiful people whose biggest problems seem to all revolve around whether they will or won’t get lucky.