Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
|Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice|
original film poster
|Directed by||Paul Mazursky|
|Produced by||Larry Tucker|
|Written by||Paul Mazursky |
|Starring||Natalie Wood |
|Music by||Quincy Jones|
|Editing by||Stuart H. Pappe|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||101 minutes|
The screenplay was written by Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker (who also produced the film). The original music score was composed by Quincy Jones. The original soundtrack album was released on Bell Records and featured Jackie DeShannon performing a cover of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and Sarah Vaughan performing "I know that my Redeemer liveth" from Part III of Handel's Messiah. The cinematography for the film was by Charles Lang.
It received four Academy Award nominations, including ones for Gould and Cannon.
The film was marketed with the tag line "Consider the possibilities."
After a weekend of emotional honesty at an Esalen-style retreat, Los Angeles sophisticates Bob and Carol Sanders (played by Robert Culp and Natalie Wood) return to their life determined to embrace free love and complete openness. Bob and Carol happily reveal their ensuing love affairs to everyone, sparking both the curiosity and repulsion of their more conservative close friends Ted and Alice Henderson (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon).
When the two couples travel together to Las Vegas, Ted admits to an affair of his own. An outraged Alice demands that this new ethos be taken to its obvious conclusion: a mate-sharing foursome. But when they are actually ready to begin the deed, something within all four of them prevents it; the film never explains what that something is or may be. In the last scene of the movie, they are in the elevator coming down from their “trip”. They are shell shocked. All of them have woken up (in the evening) to their collective morning after. The music swells “...what the world needs now is love sweet love..."
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice became the signature film for Paul Mazursky and was a critical and commercial success. It was the fifth highest grossing film of 1969. After this film's release, it led to other movies dealing with wife swapping, infidelity, and other types of experimentation with interpersonal relationships inside American society. Mazursky himself would do a few more stories set in California, including Alex in Wonderland and Down and Out in Beverly Hills.
Writing in The New Yorker the film critic Pauline Kael praised both the film and director Mazursky, calling it "a slick, whorey movie, and the liveliest American comedy so far this year. Mazursky, directing his first picture, has developed a style from satiric improvisational revue theatre—he and Tucker [co-writer] were part of the Second City troupe—and from TV situation comedy, and, with skill and wit, has made this mixture work—though it looks conventional, it isn't ".
Natalie Wood decided to gamble her $750,000 salary on a percentage of the gross, earning $5 million over the course of three years. She had deeply regretted declining a similar offer with the box office smash West Side Story.
 TV version
A sitcom based on the film appeared on ABC during the 1973–74 season, starring Anita Gillette, Robert Urich, David Spielberg, and Anne Archer. A 10-year-old Jodie Foster also appeared as Ted and Alice's daughter (this differed from the film version, wherein Ted and Alice had a son).
Because of the overt sexual nature of the film (when it was released it was rated R), much of the humor could not be translated into a network TV project. Thus the characters needed to be substantially "toned down", losing much of the film's edge. The series did poorly and was canceled after only one season.
- "Box Office Information for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice". The Numbers. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1969/0BCTA.php. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
- Deeper Into Movies, pp. 10, 13, Pauline Kael, ISBN 0-7145-0941-8.
- Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide