A New Kind of Love is a silly but endearing film starring two of my favorite on-screen/off-screen couples, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, where Newman takes on the role of a womanizing, playboy journalist while Woodward dons on the trousers of a tomboy fashion designer. Both are sent to Paris by their employers for work-related reasons and wind up meeting each other under falsified pretenses and what follows is a sequence of farcical events involving mistaken identities, misguided emotions and outrageous lies that ultimately end with the couple falling in love. (naturellement! )
I had previously written another blog post featuring the couple in The Long Hot Summer (1958), which was Newman and Woodward's first on-screen collaboration. A New Kind of Love (1963) was the fifth out of a total of ten films in which they co-starred and it was the second one set in Paris, with the other being Paris Blues (1961) two years earlier. And while Paris Blues (where Newman plays a jazz musician and Woodward, an American tourist) takes on a more serious tone, A New Kind of Love is plain, straight-forward fun.
The film has been mercilessly bashed by critics who have decried it as ridiculous (in not a good way) and some have even labeled it as Newman's worst role to date. I, on the other hand, think that while the romantic comedy lacks substance and encroaches upon cringe-worthy at times, it is far being being as horrible as some have said. There are many of redeeming elements that shouldn't be disregarded simply because the film was cast off as cinematic rubbish by critics - the beautiful costumes being of these highlights! After all, legendary costume designer Edith Head was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in this film so that should count for something!
And it was also nice to see Joanna Woodward in a comedic role, especially after her sobering (and Academy Award winning) performance in The Three Faces of Eve (1957). Who knew that Woodward could be so good at comedy?
If anything, this film is the perfect little indulgence one can turn to on an idle weekend afternoon, especially when you've seen practically every other romantic comedy set in Paris (:::ahem - Audrey Hepburn fanatics!:::)
The film starts off in New York City with Woodward as Sam(antha), a hard-working, no-frills designer for a mid-level fashion company. She doesn't hate her job but she's not entirely in love with it either. At night, she stealthily scours the window displays of the high-end shops for "inspiration."
And here, ladies & gents, is your irresistible leading man, lounging about in his Los Angeles flat, boozin' smokin' and womanizin' (you can't see it in this screencap but he's speaking to a blonde chick who he just picked up).
Realizing that his company was starting to fall behind in the current fashion trends, Sam's boss Mr. Bergner (George Tobias) insists that they make a trip to Paris for "design inspiration." Upon arrival, they are greeted by a beautiful socialite Felicienne Courbeau (Eva Gabor) who serves as their guide during the trip.
Sam at work: in a simple white shirt and black skirt. (Carolina Herrera would approve.)
Sam passing time on the plane by playing cards: pencil in hair, tweed blazer, and fashion-forward blue-tinted shades
Left: beautiful button detail on Leena's (Thema Ritter) brown tweed jacket Right: iconic Burberry trench, flat cap
Black is always the new black. On the very left is a very chic Eva Gabor in a black dress with a plunging neckline, multi-stranded pearls, and long white gloves.
But while Sam diligently attends fashion shows, Steve - also having been sent to Paris on assignment - is having himself a good time... (yes, that is a woman strung over his shoulder!)
But since everyone knows that you are not allowed to go to Paris and NOT be emotionally moved to the point of suddenly feeling the vital need to undergo a total character transformation, we are then treated to the obligatory montage of Sam enduring a rigorous beautification process.
Those rollers were meant to smooth out cellulite and decrease water retention. Poor Joanne Woodward!
After the body is properly primed, one must experiment with ridiculous, exaggerated hairstyles in outrageous colours and shapes.
Do these hairstyles remind you of the strange characters in the Dr. Seuss books or is it just me?
Time to try on hats! (some were more like "head-pieces").
That is a really large pearl (earring)...
Half-fez, half fish-net? Actually, from a distance, Woodwood kind of looked like Audrey Hepburn in this shot.
Voilà! The result! Blond-wig, false eyelashes, blue eye-shadow and bold red lips. Frankly, I thought Woodward looked must better au naturel than she did in the heavy make-up....
Various outfits post-makeover
Some women were just made to look better with minimal makeup and to me, Woodward was one of them. Here the makeup just made her look so much older...
Her mustard yellow coat with a gigantic black fur muzzler
It just so happens that one day, Steve and Sam were idling about at the same café. And it just so happens that a French con-man plops down at Steve's table and convinces him that "the lady sitting over there" is a notorious high class prostitute - this lady being an unsuspecting Sam - and journalist Steve, seeing the potential for a really good story there, jumps at the opportunity to be introduced to her.
A very much made-over Sam, sitting alone, unaware of what she's being set up for.
It doesn't take Sam long to realize, however, that she and Steve have been played but instead of telling him the truth, she decides to assume the fake persona of the high-priced call girl as a means of revenge for a little bout they had earlier (Sam and Steve met randomly en route to Paris and didn't exactly hit it off but neither of them expected to see each other again).
But as the couple started to spend the next few days together - with Sam weaving shocking and scandalous fabrications about her dalliances with some of Europe's most esteemed figures and Steve hanging on her every word - the originally mean-spirited scheme quickly falls apart as Sam realizes that she was falling in love with Steve (and vice versa).
And then, well...you know what inevitably happens. So let's shift our focus back to the beautiful costumes!
Beautiful red velvet dress with multi-stranded necklace. Eva Gabor's white satin gown on the right is also lovely.
A wider shot of everyone's dresses.
Here is Woodward in a pink satin sleeveless evening gown. Unfortunately this was the best image I could grab of this dress. Though not the focus of this scene, Thelma Ritter's beautiful muted metallic gold satin gown shouldn't be overlooked either.
Sam's "everyday wardrobe" has been updated as well. She looks much more put-together here in a fitted tan jacket with a fur collar (and a matching hat).
Miscellaneous outfits of other stock characters. French women in cafes.
One thing I noticed was the abundance of neutral colours - lots of tans, beiges, blacks and grays. Also, almost everyone wore a hat and some sort of fur piece.
Tan 3/4-sleeved jacket with oversized buttons, long black leather gloves, and black wide-brimmed hat.
Simple but elegant black double-breasted 3/4-sleeved jacket and skirt ensemble. Love the black fur hat.
Left: bold red dress-suit, black gloves, leopard print shawl.
Another shot of the back of the shawl (or stole). Love the way that it is wrapped.
And it would be remiss of me to not post the outfits seen at the fashion shows that Sam attends!
the essential little black dress
what a gorgeous forest green gown
a fun feather covered skirt
remember when floor-length robes & capes were in fashion?
The cape opens to reveal a matching sleeveless gown. Ignore the right-hand side of the image.
this was one of my favorites - a timeless sateen strapless gown overlaid with a sweeping black & white chiffon wrap asymmetrically clasped together at the bust with a gold brooch
Eva Gabor's character always looked perfect. Also, I think pins and brooches need to make a comeback.
Far right: monochromatic layers of taupe
Although relegated to a supporting role, Thelma Ritter's character shows you style doesn't need to diminish with age.
And just because you're 60+ doesn't mean you're no longer to look sexy. What a neckline! However, the large pearl choker necklace was also a great way to balance out the décolletage.
Here are some more miscellaneous snapshots of some of the other outfits worn in the film.
A crowd of ladies storming the store on the day of a big sale. (Some things never change, eh?) The woman in the front/center with the red coat, ivory hat & gloves, and checked wool dress is just darling!
A shimmery but muted gold cocktail dress on one of Steve's one-night-stands:
Below are some images of Newman's characters' Paris apartment.
The small, but functional layout with the mezzanine bedroom/sleeping alcove and the "open" wash area is uncannily reminiscent of my own (former) studio in Montparnasse. Except instead of a cool, bachelor-pad blue, mine had a red, rather cheeky bordello colour scheme...
Sam's boss's office back in Manhattan. This is my first time seeing a desk entirely covered with leather! (and in signature mid-century green, of course).
So there you have it. A fun raunchy film for your Sunday afternoon! Hope you enjoyed the images!