APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 1: The April Fools (1969)

I think my new obsession is watching movies where Jack Lemmon is flummoxed by modern love. Here, he’s Howard Brubaker, a man married to Phyllis (Sally Kellerman), who cares more about money, real estate and status than love. The person he falls for is Catherine (Catherine Deneuve) whose uncaring and philandering mate is Howard’s boss, Ted Gunther (Peter Lawford). When they meet Grace and Andre Greenlaw (Myrna Loy and Charles Boyer), they start to believe that maybe they could be happily married, just like the Greenlaws, if they can only run away and start again.

Deneuve’s part was originally intended for Shirley MacLaine, which would have reunited the stars of The Apartment. Knowing that makes me realize that that casting would have truly improved this, as with as stunning as Deneuve is, it makes it seem as if the affair is simply over attraction and not the idea that the two could be life partners, not just attracted to each other — no insult to MacLaine, who is also quite fetching. I hope you understand my point.

Maybe after The Apartment I just see Lemmon and MacLaine as the perfect couple.

Director Stuart Rosenberg also made Cool Hand Luke and The Amityville Horror, while writer Hal Dresener wrote SssssssThe Eiger Sanction and Zorro: The Gay Blade. Dionne Warwick sang the title song, while one of her biggest hits, “I Say a Little Prayer,” is sung at a party in the film by Susan Barrett. The b-side of that single? “Theme from Valley of the Dolls.”

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