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Peter Nero: 'Sunday in New York'


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In the early 1960s, when virtually all feature films were shot in color, New York played a leading role. Fake city sets on studio lots were no longer suitable stand-ins for Gotham. Also unacceptable was shooting a few outdoor scenes in New York and staging the rest. If you were going to feature New York City as a backdrop, you simply had to film on location. [Above, Rod Taylor and Jane Fonda in Sunday in New York]

Many of these early New York color films were adult comedies, starting with Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961. Few actresses were better at these silly feel-good flicks than Jane Fonda. She was cast in three as a confused, good-hearted gal who meant well but invariably was in over her head. The three New York plots featured Fonda being kept by an older man (Any Wednesday, 1966), a bohemian newlywed (Barefoot in the Park, 1967) and the object of two men and a baffled brother (Sunday in New York, 1963). [Above, Jane Fonda and Dean Jones in Any Wednesday]

This delightfully silly genre lasted roughly between Kennedy's election in 1960 and the Summer of Love in '67, when the youthculture began to dominate music and film. It's a shame more films like these weren't made during this seven-year period—if only for the scenes of a glistening New York, with glass skyscrapers and clean streets, and the bouncy scores (The World of Henry Orient in 1964 was another). Any Wednesday was composed and orchestrated by George Duning, Barefoot in the Park was by Neal Hefti and Sunday in New York, the first of the Fonda trio, was by Peter Nero (with fabulous lyrics by British songwriter Carroll Coates).

Nero's score is beautifully brassy, zesty and more than able to stand on its own today as a jazzy instrumental piece. Best of all, the music takes you back to an era when a new, modern city was emerging and dominating in virtually all industries. [Above, Peter Nero in 1963]

JazzWax tracks: Peter Nero's soundtrack for Sunday in New York can be found here.

JazzWax clip: Here's Nero's title track for Sunday in New York...

Here's the trailer for Barefoot in the Park...

Here's the trailer for Sunday in New York...

You can see clips from Any Wednesday at TCM's site here...

And here's a YouTuber who put together a fabulous montage of New York films...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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