Sunday, January 23, 2011

Anthony Newley & Sandy Dennis in Sweet November 1968

In the realm of romantic tear jerkers few can hold a candle to this forgotten gem. Sandy Dennis plays the tragic Sara, a quirky, bohemian girl who helps men get over the problems that limit their abilities to function in some aspect of life by inviting them to live with her for a month. The only stipulation is that when the month is up they have to leave. Charlie Blake (Anthony Newley) is chosen as Mr. November because he's forsaken personal intimacy for business acumen. He, like others before him, finds himself falling in love with Sara. The difference is, this time, she's falling in love too. Will she decide to break her rule and let Mr. November stay on? I'm tearing up just thinking about it...
This film started life as a play, but Universal Studios convinced Herman Raucher to adapt it to a screen play before it ever reached the stage. It's a bittersweet story that you'll need a box of Kleenex to get through. The fine performances by the principals flesh out the characters and the warm screen play and simple direction by Robert Ellis Miller really says something about the opportunity for personal change inherent in relationships. The trailer is below, uploaded to YouTube by Charlizetheronitalia

The film was remade in 2001 with Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron and while much fresher in the public consciousness, it too is somewhat obscure, probably because of poor critical response. The trailer for it below was uploaded to YouTube by chr0n0phasia.

Both versions are available on DVD (thanks to a 2009 print on demand release of the 1968 version). The '68 version is also occasionally aired on TV. I haven't seen the 2001 version yet and haven't seen it in television listings.

Obscurity factor: 6 (largely forgotten, occasionally aired on TV, recently available on DVD)


  1. I'm probably a very shallow person, but this whole school of life-lessons from the dying is just too much for me to stomach. Therefore, stupidly, I avoid Sweet November (both), Autumn in New York, A Place for Lovers, and the whole genre. One I wouldn't mind seeing - maybe - is A Warm December, but it is terminally obscure. Of course, if you think of Harold and Maude as being "one of those," that's one I like!

  2. I assume that includes Love Story? I can understand that. This kind of story requires a lot of you and can be emotionally draining. Thanks for the mention of A Warm December. I'll have to find that one. It sounds good.