Love Lands Safely in Sunday in New York

Love Lands Safely in Sunday in New York
There is a group of classic film enthusiasts who secretly confess that one of their favorite romantic comedies is Sunday in New York. The reason? Although it was never a blockbuster hit, the film is charming, funny, and packed with talented performances. It also addresses issues that are relatable today.

The film was released in February of 1964 at a time when the country had one foot in the squeaky-clean morality of the 1950s and the other in the free-love revolution of the coming age. A confusing time to be sure, especially for women.

Eileen Tyler, played by a youthful Jane Fonda, is a good girl in every sense of the word. When the man with whom she is in love, played by Robert Culp, pressures her to take their relationship to a more physical level, she balks. She was raised to protect her virtue until marriage, and when she refuses, he suggests they take a break and see other people.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to Eileen and she needs some answers.

Eileen is neither a prude nor is she overly naive. Instead, she is conflicted. There seems to be a different set of rules for men than there are for women when it comes to such matters. She knows she wants to fall in love and get married, but how will she ever get married if men keep breaking up with her while she’s protecting her virtue?

So, what is a girl to do? Should she, or shouldn’t she?

Cliff Robertson plays Adam, Eileen’s trusted older brother and airline pilot. Unfortunately, he too has bought into the double-standard. When she comes to his bachelor pad in the city for advice, he tells her to stay virtuous, because men only marry “decent” girls. All the while, he is secretly trying to arrange an afternoon tryst with voluptuous Mona.

And then there is Mike, played by Rod Taylor. When he and Eileen are pushed together on a crowded bus, he assumes she is “the friendly type.” After spending some time together, he realizes his mistake and apologizes. As Mike starts to fall in love with Eileen, he realizes he is in for more than he bargains for when the two get caught in the rain and end up alone in Adam’s apartment.

As with any good film, but especially rom-coms, when characters are at their most vulnerable, they have a chance to reveal their truth. Adam starts to understand that being a playboy isn’t in his best interest and Mike offers a heartfelt and touching speech about love and how morality – in its most basic form – never really changes. He comforts Eileen by telling her that throughout time, young love never changes, and lovers will always be “pure in heart.”

While the key driver to the story is the double-standard Eileen is faced with, the underlying appeal the film offers is the sincerity and good-intentions the characters offer each other throughout. It’s a story about love, and each of the characters find themselves with a different outlook on life, love, and relationships by the end of the day.

The critics at the time thought the cast was good enough to make the film enjoyable, but saw the story as being a little flimsy and silly. Yes, there is some silliness thrown into the plot but it doesn’t overreach. Decades later, the story plays more solidly. The characters are both sweet and salty adding to the flavor of the piece. It’s an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon...no matter where you live.




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Content copyright © 2019 by Lucinda Moriarty. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lucinda Moriarty. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lucinda Moriarty for details.