What's New Pussycat? (1965. Directed by Clive Donner)


We chose to watch something light and comic. Choosing what to watch together isn’t always easy, but this time there was mutual consent. This movie interested me because it is Woody Allen’s first script (and he appears in the film). Importantly: Allen is a kind of demi-god in movies for me; I can watch Play it Again Sam and Manhattan or Annie Hall (plus about 15 other Allen movies) everyday and always revert back to them when in need of comfort. The title sequence is groovy and cool, reminds me already of Bond-movies, a little. At first I am not too alarmed by this. The premise of the movie is that a man can’t seem to shake off all these beautiful women and doesn’t really want to either, but he has to get married. This storyline isn’t as developed as in Allen’s own movies later, but there is already an analyst in this one. He is not played by Allen but he has all the mannerisms down (and is wearing thick black framed glasses). Fun dialogue, endlessly horny men, and what saves this: endlessly sex-crazy women too. The fact that most of these women are famous singers (Francois Hardy) and models (Ursula Andress, Capucine) of the time, extends from the internal story to the mechanism of movie making, I think. The makers of this film want to titillate the hetero male audience while at the same time laughing a little at a culture driven by eroticism and/or sex. Possibly because I know this film is from 1965, I can laugh at the old-fashioned gender roles and sexism this movie is full of.
Devices such as slap-stick comedy and the early Bond-style characterization of men and women would not usually make me applaud. Maybe it is because I’m completely on holiday still, but these things don’t annoy me much at all – I laughed out loud. The etymology of the word pussycat fascinates me more after seeing this piece.


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