What's New Pussycat? is a 1965 American comedy film directed by Clive Donner, and stars Peter Sellers, Peter O'Toole, Romy Schneider, Capucine, Paula Prentiss andUrsula Andress. It is Woody Allen's film debut in his first produced script. The Academy Award-nominated title song by Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) was sung by Tom Jones. The movie poster was painted by Frank Frazetta, and the animated title sequence was directed by Richard Williams.
Notorious womanizer Michael James (Peter O'Toole) wants to be faithful to his fiancée Carole Werner (Romy Schneider), but every woman he meets seems to fall in love with him, including neurotic exotic dancer Liz Bien (Paula Prentiss) and parachutist Rita (Ursula Andress) who accidentally lands in his car (1936-37 Singer 9 Le Mans). Hispsychoanalyst, Dr. Fritz Fassbender (Peter Sellers), cannot help, since he's stalkingpatient Renée Lefebvre (Capucine) who in turn longs for Michael. Carole, meanwhile, decides to make Michael jealous by flirting with his nervous wreck of a friend, Victor Shakapopulis (Woody Allen).
A catastrophe appears on the horizon when all the characters check into a quaint hideaway hotel in the French countryside for the weekend, unaware of each other's presence. Michael tries to fend off Renee's advances by steering Fassbender her way, but Fassbender's wife Anna is determined to keep him to herself. By the time Michael finally is able to meet Carole's parents and agree to settle down, he and Fassbender both catch the eye of yet another young woman, creating the distinct possibility of the whole thing happening all over again.
The full story of the making of the film is told in Paul Sutton's book, Six English Filmmakers (978-0957246256). Clive Donner talks at length about the film. Originally, Warren Beatty was to star. The title was derived from Beatty's way of answering the telephone, but, as director Donner explains, Beatty refused to be in a film that featured the actress Capucine. As a former girlfriend of the producer, Charles Feldman, Capucine was guaranteed a part.
Groucho Marx was to have played Dr. Fassbender in the Beatty version.
The film was shot in and around Paris between October 1964 and January 1965 and released in New York on 22 June 1965. It opened in Paris in January 1966 as Quoi de neuf, Pussycat?. The total box office take was $18,820,000.
What's New Pussycat? was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on June 7, 2005 as a Region 1 widescreen DVD, on May 22, 2007 as part of 'The Peter Sellers Collection' (film number two in a 4-disc set) and to Blu-ray DVD by Kino Lorber on August 26, 2014 as a Region 1 widescreen Blu-ray DVD.