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How Sweet It Is!

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How Sweet It Is!
Directed byJerry Paris
Produced byJerry Belson
Garry Marshall
Written byJerry Belson
Garry Marshall
Based onThe Girl in the Turquoise Bikini
by Muriel Resnik
StarringJames Garner
Debbie Reynolds
Maurice Ronet
Penny Marshall
Music byPat Williams
CinematographyLucien Ballard
Edited byBud Molin
Cherokee Productions
Distributed byNational General Pictures
Release date
August 1968[1]
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.7 million (rentals)[2]

How Sweet It Is! is a 1968 comedy film starring James Garner and Debbie Reynolds, with a supporting cast including Terry-Thomas and Paul Lynde.

Garner plays a photographer who accompanies his wife and teenage son on an assignment in Paris, with both husband and wife struggling to stay faithful under extreme temptation. The film was written by producers Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson (adapting Muriel Resnik's novel The Girl in the Turqoise Bikini) and directed by Jerry Paris. Jimmy Webb wrote the title song, and Patrick Williams scored the sound track.


Grif Henderson, a professional photographer from suburban New York, is hired to accompany a group of American students touring France, and decides to take his wife Jenny and teenage son David along. Jenny books passage for them on an ocean liner, and a stay at a Riviera hotel, from Gilbert, a dishonest, shyster travel agent. On the ship, they are dismayed to be assigned bunk beds in separate, crowded rooms with many teenagers, and endure an emergency drill; there is little privacy.

On arrival in Paris, Jenny leaves her husband with the school tour group and travels alone to the bogus address shown as their Riviera hotel, hundreds of miles away. She is puzzled to find it is instead a private mansion owned by a wealthy lawyer, Phillipe Maspere, who is equally puzzled at her arrival. She is unable to contact the phony travel agent. Nevertheless, Phillipe, who is attracted to her, offers Jenny an extended stay there at a reasonable price with just him and his manservant/ butler. Phillipe turns out to be a notorious womanizer who tries to seduce Jenny at a wild poolside party, without success.

Grif, meanwhile, becomes friendly with an attractive chaperone with the American student group in Paris. When he indirectly learns of his wife Jenny's situation (through a picture in a newspaper), he panics and impulsively drives cross-country alone at night, on a stolen school bus and picks her up. However, they are stopped by Italian patrolmen and Jenny is placed in a jail cell with prostitutes, who are then all bailed out by their pimp and taken to a very fine hotel. Jenny is shocked to see her son partying at the same hotel. The family is eventually reunited and they return home.


Production and release

How Sweet It Is! was the first production for National General Pictures. The title is taken from a television catchphrase popularized in the 1950s by comedian Jackie Gleason.[3]

Garner wrote in his memoirs that he "loved Debbie Reynolds. Loved Paul Lynde. Loved Terry Thomas. Hated the movie."[4]

Upon its release in August 1968,[1] the film received a mixed response with critics and audiences.[3] According to Howard Thompson of The New York Times, "This tired, aimlessly frisky comedy ... is about as sweet as a dill pickle."[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Thompson, Howard (August 22, 1968). "Screen: 'How Sweet It Is!' Begins Run; Debbie Reynolds Stars With James Garner". The New York Times. p. 47. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  2. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969, pg 15.
  3. ^ a b Marshall, Garry; Marshall, Lori (1997). "Writing for Film and Theater and Not Making a Fortune". Wake Me When It's Funny: How to Break Into Show Business and Stay There. Newmarket Press. pp. 91–92. ISBN 1-55704-288-8. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  4. ^ Garner, James; Winokur, Jon (2011). The Garner Files: A Memoir. Simon & Schuster. p. 257.
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