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What's New, Pussycat? is a 1965 comedy film directed by Clive Donner and starring Peter Sellers, Peter O'Toole, Romy Schneider, Capucine, Paula Prentiss and Ursula Andress. It was Woody Allen's film debut, as well as his first produced script.
Notorious womanizer Michael James (O'Toole) wants to be faithful to his fiancée, Carole Werner (Schneider), but every woman he meets seems to fall in love with him, including a neurotic American (Prentiss) and a parachutist (Andress) who accidentally lands in his car. His psychoanalyst, Dr Fassbender (Sellers), cannot help, either, since he's stalking one of his patients (Capucine) who in turn longs for Michael. 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 one another's presence.
What's New, Pussycat? contains examples of:
- Brawn Hilda: Such a woman is married to Viennese psychiatrist Peter Sellers. She tracks him down to a hotel in full Wagnerian dress to stop his philandering, and appears to be a Freudian nightmare to Woody Allen.
- Car Cushion: very soon after Peter O'Toole vows to give up womanizing for his impending marriage, skydiver Ursula Andress lands next to him in his open roadster.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: The film opens with Peter Sellers, in a velvet suit and shoulder-length hair, arguing with his wife who accuses him of seeing another woman. She demands "Is she prettier than me?" He shouts "Is she prettier than you?! ...I'm prettier than you!"
- Elevator Going Down: Capucine and Peter O'Toole's characters agree the proper setting is essential, then promptly make use of an elevator. In the throes of ecstasy he assures her it's perfectly safe, so long as the combined weight of the two people does not exceed 1400 pounds.
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: At the rendezvous hotel where the suites are named for famous lovers, the concierge gets a call and tells her husband "The gentleman in 'Marquis de Sade' asks for twelve loaves of bread and a Boy Scout uniform!"
- Idiosyncratic Wipes
- Black Comedy Rape: Dr. Fassbender's pursuit of his patient is portrayed as hilarious, even though he repeatedly tries to tear her clothes off, and presumably, to rape her.
- Sauna of Death: Woody Allen tries to do in friend/romantic rival Peter O'Toole by cranking up the heat in the steam room they're in. O'Toole thrives on the steam, and Allen nearly passes out (doesn't help that he's fully dressed, sportcoat, glasses and all).
- Shout-Out: Many. Van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec are shown at a sidewalk cafe, and O'Toole makes a James Bond comment about Andress.