Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette - 1963's "Most Exciting New Star"


Remembering the likeable Suzanne Pleshette who passed last week after a long illness, I discovered that an old 1962 favorite film of mine, 40 Pounds of Trouble, was supposed to have been Suzanne's breakout role. 

The picture (released December 31, 1962) marks an important stride on Pleshette's road to fame," reads an old pressbook, "and one result of her role is that the Theatre Owners of America, the nation's most influential organization of movie theatre owners, have named her '1963's Most Exciting New Star.'"

"I made 40 POUNDS OF TROUBLE, with Tony Curtis," Pleshette said, "but I had a shallow role. The part of the girl didn't further the plot."


R * E * V * I * E * W *S
  • "Suzanne Pleshette SCORES as the grown-up girl after Tony's heart." —Beverly Linet, MODERN SCREEN (3/63)
  • "Mr. Curtis, Suzanne Pleshette as the singer and Claire Wilcox as the baby-talking child are as BANAL as spot-commercial hawkers of headache tablets or crunchy breakfast foods." —Bosley Crowther, NEW YORK TIMES (1/24/63)
  • "Pleshette, whose manner is reminiscent of Joan Bennett's, handles her romantic assignment with FINESSE." —VARIETY MOVIE GUIDE
Suzanne would find a better film showcase a few months later with the release of Hitchcock's THE BIRDS.

Personally, I recall enjoying when  40 Pounds of Trouble made it onto the Sunday Matinee Movie on UHF tv in the 1970s. It was my first glimpse of what the Disneyland park (and attraction interiors) really looked like. As a kid, I'd sit through the talky scenes involving mobsters and poker playing to get the big Disneyland chase scene featuring the Snow White ride and Tom Sawyer's Island.

This Damon Runyon short story had been previously filmed twice by Paramount: in 1934 as LITTLE MISS MARKER and in 1949 as SORROWFUL JONES.

The film marked a number of "firsts":
• It offered the first use of Disneyland as one of the principal settings.
• It marked the film debut of director Norman Jewison, whose previous work was entirely in television.
• It was the first picture to be completed under the Curtis Enterprises production banner.

see trailer here:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057069/trailers-screenplay-E11147-310
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