Printed in 1965 What’s New Pussycat is probably no longer available in book form although the DVD remains available to purchase. I found this copy in a charity shop and remembering my Father reading it and having seen the film (years ago) I decided a bit of light reading wouldn’t go astray. It has since sat on my bookshelf for a few years before I finally got around to reading it.
What’s New Pussycat written by Marvin H. Albert based on the screenplay by Woody Allen is a farce. This made it interesting for me as I think it is probably the first farce I have read that isn’t in play format and possibly the first book that followed a film rather than a film that followed a book.
It is a sex romp set in Paris where the main character Michael has the unfortunate problem that every girl who sees him falls for him. He is desperately trying to stay faithful to his fiance Carol and to assist him he attends group therapy with Dr Fassbender who himself has an addictive personality and is stalking one of the female patients in the group. Naturally she has her sights set on Michael, along with several other women.
This was a fun read, very funny in parts and for a sex romp very clean and virtually sex free. I had thought we had started to be a bit more liberal in the sixties.
The story behind the film is almost as interesting as the book. Warren Beatty wanted to do a film about male sex addiction and wanted Charles Feldman to produce it. They argued over numerous things one being the actress to play the main female role – Beatty wanted his girlfriend but Feldman wanted someone else. They also struggled to agree on a screen writer but Feldman, after seeing Woody Allen perform offered him $30,000 to write the play. Allen agreed with the added proviso that he could write in a part for himself to play. As Allen’s part became larger, Beatty got grumpier and finally left the project altogether, not thinking it go forward without him. As we know he was wrong and it became a success with the music being nominated for an academy award (1965) and the screen writing nominated for WGA award (1966). Critic Andrew Sarris wrote, ” I have now seen What’s New Pussycat? four times, and each time I find new nuances in the direction, the writing, the playing, and, above all, the music. This is one movie that is not what it seems at first glance. It has been attacked for tastelessness, and yet I have never seen a more tasteful sex comedy.”
Would I recommend this book: If you can find a copy I’d give it a go. It gave me a laugh and hopefully would do the same for you.