'A New Kind of Love': THR's 1963 Review
On Oct. 30, 1963, Paramount held the premiere of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's A New Kind of Love in New York. The film went on to be nominated for two Oscars — costume design and music — at the 36th Academy Awards. The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below:
A New Kind of Love is actually the good old reliable kind of love, but served up in a chic, uninhibited farce that makes the eternal theme as sprightly as spring. Paramount has a box-office winner in Melville Shavelson's production, perhaps the studio's top attraction of the year.
The romance between Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, the stars, occasionally becomes risque in its implications, but this excursion into innuendo is relieved of any possible offense by a special circumstance. Newman and Miss Woodward are, in private life, man and wife. This is the same fact that, a generation and more ago, made Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne the darlings of American theater. They specialized for a time in continental bedroom comedy of a high polish, scandalous but delightful, and the matinee ladies thrived on it, secure in the secret knowledge that the principals were — after all — really married. It provides a kind of secondary pleasure, that a moderately routine marriage — ubiquitous as the tract house — may contain unexpected treats of a moderately wicked nature. Without extending the comparison of Newman-Woodward, Lunt-Fontanne, this is the kind of casting that gives any production added dimension and audience appeal.
Shavelson's screenplay has Newman as a newspaper correspondent, experienced in the world of sports — all kinds. Miss Woodward is a fashion expert who moves in the world of Dior and Lanvin-Castillo and dresses from the boys' department of Best's. The chief setting is Paris, and the theme is the explosive awakening of Miss Woodward to the joys of romance, and the education of Newman to the meaning of love after a lifetime of making love.
This simple story is dressed with travelogue, fashion shows, line comedy, even some film fantasy. Shavelson has cast the picture throughout with bright ideas, people good in the parts, and working to make the whole harmonious. How important this basic function is!
Newman and Miss Woodward play charmingly together. Newman claims to be, but never quite is, the completely amoral rounder. There is the spark in him that indicates a willingness to be saved, and Miss Woodward brings the heel to heel in time. Miss Woodward has the toughness and tenderness for her role. Thelma Ritter, one of the few hardboiled comediennes with a commensurate warmth, is fine. Eva Gabor is amusing as a smart Parisienne. Maurice Chevalier demonstrates his indestructible charm in a guest appearance. George Tobias and Marvin Kaplan are standouts in good comedy roles. Others prominent and helpful include Robert Clary, Jan Moriarty, Valerie Varda and Robert Simon.
Daniel Fapp's Technicolor photography has an intimacy that gives flesh to the sensuous aspects of the story, and lights the comedy with appropriate clarity. Edith Head's costumes more than hold their own against the bizarre Parisian styles, amusing and spectacular as they are. Art direction by Hal Pereira and Arthur Lonergan, with set decoration by Same Comer and James Payne, adroitly captures the mood from Manhattan's Seventh Ave. to Paris' Champs Elysees.
Frank Bracht's editing enhances the point and pace. John Carter's sound is good. Leith Stevens did the score, one of his best, helping to blend farce and romance, highlighting each and giving correct transition. — James Powers, originally published on Aug. 28, 1963.