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Tall Story (1960)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Sport | 6 April 1960 (USA)
A young insecure college sportsman is in trouble. He wants to marry his very straightforward girlfriend, also a student, but has no money. When he is offered a bribe to fix a game, he is torn even more about the matter.

Director:

Joshua Logan

Writers:

Julius J. Epstein (screenplay), Howard Lindsay (stage play) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anthony Perkins ... Ray Blent
Jane Fonda ... June Ryder
Ray Walston ... Prof. Leo Sullivan
Marc Connelly ... Prof. Charles Osman
Anne Jackson ... Myra Sullivan
Murray Hamilton ... Coach Sandy Hardy
Bob Wright Bob Wright ... President Harmon Nagel
Bart Burns ... District Attorney Davis
Karl Lukas Karl Lukas ... 1st Detective
Elizabeth Patterson ... Connie
Tom Laughlin ... Fred Jensen
Barbara Darrow ... Frieda Jensen
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Storyline

June Ryder is a new student at Custer College, which is most renowned for its boys basketball team, although it also has a high academic standing that can rival that of any of the more famous colleges on the west coast. June's reason for being there: to become a "Mrs.", most specifically Mrs. Ray Blent, he a science major and the star player on the basketball team. Ray is not naturally gifted as a basketball player, but uses science to be able to figure out how to play the perfect game. Ray's interest in basketball is just a byproduct of his primary interest in the sciences and learning in general. June doesn't care who knows what she's doing except Ray. All of June's activities at the college are in this singular goal, which first entails Ray even noticing her and knowing who she is. She discovers that the way to do it is not through the traditional means of the beauty parlor or the kitchen, but rather the classroom. Three people who do know what June is up to are new Ethics ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He makes the great ones! Sayonara! Bus Stop! Picnic! South Pacific! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian | Yiddish

Release Date:

6 April 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Way the Ball Bounces See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$12,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mansfield Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warren Beatty was considered for the role of Ray Blent, but Warner Bros. wanted a "name" to co-star with Fonda and wasn't willing to risk the project on the shoulders of two unknowns. See more »

Goofs

When the basketball player emerges from the locker room shower, he is carrying his towel in front of him. In the next shot, the close-up, the towel is draped over his right shoulder. See more »

Quotes

June Ryder: I remember reading about elephants once. Did you know that elephants mate only once every seven years?
Ray Blent: [nervously] Sure... but there are some that... manage once every six years.
June Ryder: [ponders for a moment] Nymphomaniacs.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Jane Fonda in Five Acts (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
[Sung at the party after the basketball game against the Russians]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very Enjoyable Comedy Starring Fonda and Perkins
19 June 2014 | by atlasmbSee all my reviews

Shot in B&W and released in 1960, "Tall Story" was directed by Joshua Logan and starred Jane Fonda (in her screen debut) and Antony Perkins. The story is set at a the small campus of Custer College, a liberal arts school where the basketball team rules. Jane Fonda plays June Ryder, a student who transfers to Custer just to meet the star of the basketball team, Ray Blent (Perkins). Purpose: matrimony. The film is a comedy and while "Tall Story" laughs at the premise, it does so with a wink, knowing that the primary reason many coeds went to college was to find a husband.

The story is infused with an innocent air. Later in the film, we find that the big dilemma of the film is Ray flunking an exam, prohibiting him from playing in the big game. In 1960, there were Beach Blanket films and fluffy Rock Hudson/Doris Day films. In a few years, America's male students would still play basketball, but college attendance would mean an educational deferment from the military draft. In the early 60s, things would change quickly.

"Tall Story" is beautifully filmed. And the background music is excellent. The story is, of course, somewhat silly. But the cast makes it well worth watching.

Jane Fonda is fresh-faced, enthusiastic, and undeniably sexy. It would be five more years before what I consider her big break, "Cat Ballou", but the screen loves her from the first seconds she appears on film, when her character brashly advises two professors that they must compete for her enrollment in their classes. Fonda is about age 22 and working with the director (Logan) who convinced her to enter acting. She is wonderful in this role.

Tony Perkins is about age 27 during the filming, but he easily portrays the star collegiate athlete who the fans hoist on their shoulders. Is he convincing as an athlete? Probably not. But June is not interested in him for his athletic abilities; she thinks he's a dreamboat. 1960 is also the year that Hitchcock's "Psycho" would hit the big screen, transforming Tony Perkins' career.

In this film, professors are oddball academics, but lovable. The two professors are played by Ray Walston and Marc Connelly. As usual, Walston is delightful. Connelly stays right with him in this film, as does Anne Jackson who plays Walston's wife. Three years after this film, Walston would make an impact in the TV comedy "My Favorite Martian". Much later in his career, he would again play a teacher, the iconic Mr. Hand in "Fast Time at Ridgemont High".

"Tall Story" is dated, but deliciously so. The big game is going to be against the "Sputniks", the touring Soviet national team. Can Custer's men of the hardcourt withstand the Soviet machine? Of course, because Ray has a secret weapon--his "scientific" theory for shooting a basketball. The discerning viewer will note that his theory is nonsense and actually rooted in mysticism, evidenced by the way June, like a disturbance in the force, disrupts his abilities by standing too close to him.

The longest scene in the film is a flirting scene between Ray and June. Ray is no smooth Casanova. Perkins plays him as a gulping, romantic incompetent. But June manages to turn his head and redirect some of his ambitions.

In one scene they visit a trailer court for married couples. It is a picture of marital bliss (and young passions). June's friends live in a trailer dubbed "Lovesville, USA"--cozy (cramped) quarters decorated with hearts. The couple is played by Tom Laughlin (who would become Billy Jack in 1971) and Barbara Darrow, an actress I am unfamiliar with, but who I think dominates the screen when she is in it.

This film is adapted from the stage, something Joshua Logan had done successfully many times. Here he directs an extremely enjoyable cast, resulting in a comedy that is entertaining and fun to watch as a period piece.


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