How Sweet It Is!

Last updated
How Sweet It Is!
How Sweet It Is! FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Jerry Belson
Garry Marshall
Based onThe Girl in the Turquoise Bikini
by Muriel Resnik
Produced byJerry Belson
Garry Marshall
Starring James Garner
Debbie Reynolds
Maurice Ronet
Penny Marshall
Cinematography Lucien Ballard
Edited by Bud Molin
Music by Pat Williams
Cherokee Productions
Distributed by National General Pictures
Release date
  • August 1968 (1968-08) [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.


Teenager David Henderson wants to tag along with his girlfriend Gloria and a group of American students touring France. His mother Jenny hates the idea until she manages to get her professional photographer husband Graf to document the group's travels for his company.

Jenny books passage for them all 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, traveling alone to the bogus address shown as their Riviera hotel, hundreds of miles away. When she arrives at the luxurious mansion, she acts like she owns the place. She is puzzled to find it is instead a private home owned by a wealthy lawyer, Phillipe Maspere, who is equally puzzled at her arrival.

Jenny is unable to contact the phony travel agent. Nevertheless, Phillipe, who is attracted to her, offers her 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, unsuccessfully.

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 (by seeing a picture in a newspaper), he panics and impulsively drives cross-country alone at night, on a stolen school bus to get her.

When Grif arrives, seeing Jenny in the pool with the Frenchman, he punches him. Storming off in the bus she follows on the back of the butler's tricycle. She catches up with Grif but, as they head back to the tour group's hotel, they are stopped by Italian patrolmen, since the bus was reported stolen.

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 at the brothel. 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

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Lynde</span> American comedian and actor (1926–1982)

Paul Edward Lynde was an American comedian, actor and game show panelist. A character actor with a distinctively campy and snarky persona that often poked fun at his closeted homosexuality, Lynde was well known for his roles as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, the befuddled father Harry MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie and as a regular "center square" panelist on the game show The Hollywood Squares from 1968 to 1981. He also voiced animated characters for five Hanna-Barbera productions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Debbie Reynolds</span> American actress, singer and dancer (1932–2016)

Mary Frances "Debbie" Reynolds was an American actress, singer, and businesswoman. Her career spanned almost 70 years. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words. Her breakout role was her first leading role, as Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain (1952). Her other successes include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy, The Catered Affair, and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her performance of the song "Tammy" reached number one on the Billboard music charts. In 1959, she released her first pop music album, titled Debbie.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jackie Gleason</span> American actor, comedian and musician (1916–1987)

John Herbert Gleason was an American actor, comedian, writer, composer, and conductor known affectionately as "The Great One." Developing a style and characters from growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy, exemplified by his city-bus-driver character Ralph Kramden in the television series The Honeymooners. He also developed The Jackie Gleason Show, which maintained high ratings from the mid-1950s through 1970. After originating in New York City, filming moved to Miami Beach, Florida, in 1964 after Gleason took up permanent residence there.

<i>Pretty Woman</i> 1990 romantic comedy film by Garry Marshall

Pretty Woman is a 1990 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall, from a screenplay by J. F. Lawton. The film stars Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, and features Héctor Elizondo, Ralph Bellamy, Laura San Giacomo, and Jason Alexander in supporting roles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Penny Marshall</span> American actress, director and producer (1943–2018)

Carole Penny Marshall was an American actress, director and producer. She is known for her role as Laverne DeFazio on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley (1976–1983), receiving three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for her portrayal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Garry Marshall</span> American filmmaker (1934–2016)

Garry Kent Marshall was an American filmmaker and actor. He started his career in the 1960s writing for The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show before he developed Neil Simon's 1965 play The Odd Couple for television in 1970. He gained fame for creating Happy Days (1974–1984), Laverne and Shirley (1976–1983), and Mork and Mindy (1978–1982). He is also known for directing The Flamingo Kid (1984), Overboard (1987), Beaches (1988), Pretty Woman (1990), Runaway Bride (1999), and the family films The Princess Diaries (2001) and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). He also directed the romantic comedy ensemble films Valentine's Day (2010), New Year's Eve (2011), and Mother's Day (2016).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pam Dawber</span> American actress (born 1951)

Pamela Dawber is an American actress best known for her lead television sitcom roles as Mindy McConnell in Mork & Mindy (1978–1982) and Samantha Russell in My Sister Sam (1986–1988).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Erin Moran</span> American actress (1960–2017)

Erin Marie Moran-Fleischmann was an American actress, best known for playing Joanie Cunningham on the television sitcom Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi.

<i>Bachelor Party</i> (1984 film) 1984 US sex comedy film by Neal Israel

Bachelor Party is a 1984 American sex comedy film directed by Neal Israel, written by Israel and Pat Proft, and starring Tom Hanks, Adrian Zmed, William Tepper, and Tawny Kitaen. The film revolves around a bachelor party that a group of men throw for their friend Rick Gassko (Hanks) on the eve of his wedding and whether he can remain faithful to his fiancée Debbie (Kitaen).

<i>Irene</i> (musical)

Irene is a musical with a book by James Montgomery, lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, and music by Harry Tierney. Based on Montgomery's play Irene O'Dare, it is set in New York City's Upper West Side and focuses on immigrant shop assistant Irene O'Dare, who is introduced to Long Island's high society when she is hired by one of its leading grande dames to help redecorate her home.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marcel Dalio</span> French actor (1889–1983)

Marcel Dalio was a French movie actor. He had major roles in two films directed by Jean Renoir, La Grande Illusion (1937) and The Rules of the Game (1939).

<i>Charlottes Web</i> (1973 film) 1973 American animated musical drama film

Charlotte's Web is a 1973 American animated musical drama film based on the 1952 children's book of the same name by E. B. White. The film was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Like the book, this film centers on a pig named Wilbur who befriends an intelligent spider named Charlotte who saves him from being slaughtered.

<i>These Old Broads</i> 2001 American TV series or program

These Old Broads is a 2001 American comedy television film directed by Matthew Diamond, written by Carrie Fisher and Elaine Pope, and starring Fisher's mother Debbie Reynolds, as well as Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins, and Elizabeth Taylor in her final film role. In a 2001 BBC Omnibus documentary about Taylor, MacLaine says that Julie Andrews and Lauren Bacall were originally planned to be in the film. The role of Miriam Hodges was originally offered to June Allyson, who ended up in a cameo instead.

<i>Mother</i> (1996 film) 1996 American film

Mother is a 1996 American comedy-drama film directed by Albert Brooks, co-written by Brooks with Monica Johnson, and starring Brooks and Debbie Reynolds as son and mother.

Larry Hankin is an American character actor, performer, director, comedian, and producer. He is known for his major film roles as Charley Butts in Escape from Alcatraz (1979), Ace in Running Scared (1986), and Carl Alphonse in Billy Madison (1995). He had smaller roles as Doobie in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Sergeant Larry Balzak in Home Alone, Mr. Heckles in Friends, and Joe in Breaking Bad and El Camino.

<i>Tammy and the Bachelor</i> 1957 romantic comedy film directed by Joseph Pevney

Tammy and the Bachelor is a 1957 romantic comedy film directed by Joseph Pevney and starring Debbie Reynolds as Tambrey "Tammy" Tyree, Walter Brennan as Grandpa Dinwitty and Leslie Nielsen as Peter Brent. It is the first of the four Tammy films. It was adapted from the 1948 novel Tammy Out of Time by Cid Ricketts Sumner.

<i>The Forbidden Path</i> 1918 film

The Forbidden Path is a 1918 American silent drama film directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starring Theda Bara. The film is now considered lost.

<i>Two Weeks with Love</i> 1950 film by Roy Rowland

Two Weeks with Love is a 1950 romantic musical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by Roy Rowland and based on story by John Larkin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Dorothy Kingsley.

How Sweet It Is may refer to:

Todd Emmanuel Fisher is an American director, cinematographer, producer and actor of television films and documentaries. Fisher is the son of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds and brother of actress Carrie Fisher.


  1. 1 2 3 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. 1 2 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.