-Runtime: 88 minutes

-Released on January 31, 1973

-Production Company: Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

-Distributor: United Artists

-Rated R

-Budget: $2 million [1]

-Gross: $18 million [1]

-Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1

 

"Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex*" Screening Companion

-It is “based” on the book of the same title, a best-selling, non-fiction guide by Dr. David Reuben. The book was incredibly popular, selling over 100 million copies worldwide. [3]

-It’s said it was the intellectual Kama Sutra for repressed American housewives. It’s the sort of thing Oprah would champion, if it wasn’t for the book’s regressive (even by 1970s standards) commentary on the “unorthodoxy” of homosexuality. [3]


-Like the over-dubbing of What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, this movie’s concept was not Woody Allen’s idea. United Artists bought the rights to the super-bestseller (for presumably a fairly large amount of money) and handed it off to their star player. [3]

 

-Woody Allen saw Dr. David Reuben promoting his book on which this film is based onThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. When asked by Johnny Carson "Is sex dirty?", Reuben replied, "It is if you're doing it right" which is a line from Allen's Take the Money and Run. Allen was offended by Dr. Reuben using his joke and by his book so he made this film as a form of revenge against him. Dr. Reuben did not like the film. [1]

-For Woody Allen, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex was a major advance in terms of production values on his films. For the first time he was working with a big budget ($2 million) and a first-rate cinematographer - David M. Walsh - who initially didn't want the job after viewing the drab colors and murky lighting of Allen's previous efforts. [3]

 

-Set Designer Dale Hennesy, who had previously worked on science fiction films like Fantastic Voyage (1966) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), was also a major contributor, providing the mind-boggling sets for the final sketch which shows what is happening inside a man's body while he prepares for a night of sex. [3]

 

-Considering the farcical nature of the material one would think the filming of Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex would be a fun and carefree experience. However, according to co-star Gene Wilder in the book Woody Allen by John Baxter (Carroll & Graf), "It was like walking on a Bergman set: people talking in whispers, serious looks on Woody's face. He communicates through silence." [1]


-Allen tinkered with Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex right up to its final release, switching the order of the segments. [3]

Trivia

 

-The only ever official filmed adaptation of another person's previously written work by Woody Allen though a number of Allen's films have been inspired and influence by various films and novels. However, though little is taken from Dr. David Reuben's source book 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)', the picture hardly counts as an adaptation. [1]

 

-Woody Allen originally began work on the screenplay with Marshall Brickman. [1]

 

-Actor Elliott Gould and producer Jack Brodsky were the first people to option David Reuben's book, but opted to sell it to United Artists once they determined that the text was too hard to film. The TCMDb suggests that the reason was due to when "Gould and Brodsky dissolved their partnership." [1]

 

-Laurence Olivier was the second choice to play Dr. Doug Ross. The part was played byGene Wilder. [1]

 

-This movie was incredibly popular, making enough money to be the second biggest comedy of 1972 (after What’s Up, Doc? with Barbara Streisand). It’s also, even more surprisingly, still the highest grossing short-film/sketch compilation movie of all time. [2]

-A segment, an Old Testament spoof about a famous masturbating man in Biblical times, a parody of Chapter 38 of Genesis from the Bible, was scripted but not filmed. [1]

-There was another chapter that was filmed but cut. The title was “What Makes Men Homosexual?” and featured Allen and Louise Lasser as spiders (the female ultimately eating the male after intercourse). It was cut, but images from it still appear on the movie’s DVD cover. [2]

 

-Woody Allen's favorite segment in this movie is "Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching an Orgasm?".[1]

 

-The chapter titles in this movie are in the typeface “Windsor Light Condensed” — the same one that Woody Allen used for all his credits in all his movies from now on. [2]

 

-Regis Philbin is in this movie. He plays himself. [2]

 

-Elsewhere in 1972, Allen’s past and future co-star Diane Keaton was making somewhat of a name for herself in The Godfather. [2]

 

-The film’s tagline was: “If you want to know how this man made a movie out of this book... "Everything you always wanted to know about sex* - *But Were Afraid to Ask" you'll have to see the movie!”

 

-Ranked at the No. #89 spot, Woody Allen was selected as one of the top "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History" by Empire Magazine in their 1995 poll. [1]

Critical Reception

 

-Everything you wanted to know about sex open to stinging notices and packed theaters.

 

-Soaring word-of-mouth would make it become one of the top 10 moneymakers of the year, despite critics’ dislike of the film.

-It was universally panned by critics for tasteless material and too few laughs.

-An August 1972 review by Time said that many of the film's ideas "sound good on paper" but that the "skits wind down rather than take off from the ideas"; the film includes "some broad, funny send-ups of other movies (Fantastic Voyage, La notte), and its fair share of memorably wacky lines" but that "overall it is just Woody marking time and being merely a little funnier" [4]

-At a Chicago screening and a film critic even walked out yelling “Yuck!” [3]

 

-Even Woody’s supporters at the New York Times thought it was clever but not that funny. [3]

 

-Every Woody Allen Movie website wrote, “Contrasting greatly with Play it Again, Sam (which opened just a few months prior), this movie is pure silliness. I haven’t read the book it’s based on, but it doesn’t seem like Allen is taking any opportunities to satirize the material, or comment on the culture that would make it such a big hit. Ultimately, the book provides nothing more than an excuse for a bunch of sex jokes — some of which are very funny, but none of which are very educational.” [2]

 

-Dr. David Reuben, the author of the source book 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)', did not like the film, and in an interview with the L.A. Herald-Examiner, said: "I didn't enjoy the movie because it impressed me as a sexual tragedy. Every episode in the picture was a chronicle of sexual failure, which was the converse of everything in the book." [1]

 

-The writer of the book Dr. David Ruben was offended, but eventually endorsed its humor, good taste and claimed it to be one of the best Woody Allen movie ever made love. [3]

 

-Dr. June Reinisch, formerly of The Kinsey Institute, said, "I think we learned more from Woody Allen's film than we did from the book." [3]

 

-In 2004, Christopher Null, founder of filmcritic.com, called it a "minor classic and Woody Allen's most absurd film ever" [4]

 

-None of this mattered at the box office however, where audiences found Woody’s sex manual utterly irresistible. [3]

 

-89% Rotten Tomatoes rating

 

[1] - imdb.com
[2] - www.everywoodyallenmovie.com

[3] – The Unruly Life of Woody Allen by Marion Meade

[4] - Wikipedia