38 user 15 critic

Sex and the Single Girl (1964)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 25 December 1964 (USA)
A womanizing reporter for a sleazy tabloid magazine impersonates his hen-pecked neighbor in order to get an expose on renowned psychologist Helen Gurley Brown.


Richard Quine


Helen Gurley Brown (book), Joseph Heller (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Bob Weston
Natalie Wood ... Helen Brown
Henry Fonda ... Frank
Lauren Bacall ... Sylvia
Mel Ferrer ... Rudy
Fran Jeffries ... Gretchen
Leslie Parrish ... Susan
Edward Everett Horton ... The Chief
Larry Storch ... Motorcycle Cop
Stubby Kaye ... Helen's Cabbie
Howard St. John ... Randall
Otto Kruger ... Dr. Anderson
Max Showalter ... Holmes
William Lanteau William Lanteau ... Sylvester
Helen Kleeb ... Hilda


Using Helen Gurley Brown's book as a jump off point, we follow the adventures of a supermarket tabloid editor as he tries to parlay an interview with the author of the book into headlines and sales. Of course, a romantic entanglement ensues. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She plays the girl who became the leader of the sex revolution...He plays... See more »


Comedy | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

25 December 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sex and the Single Girl See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Diane McBain was originally announced for role of a female magazine editor that apparently was written out of the final script. See more »


When Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis fall into the ocean, it is quite clearly am inside water tank with the water dyed blue, not ocean water. See more »


Dr. Anderson: There is no more Institute. Offenbach ran away with the money, Chickering ran away to Europe, and, me, I'm going into politics - where the real money is.
See more »


Referenced in Quatermass and the Pit (1967) See more »


Sex And The Single Girl
by Neal Hefti and Richard Quine
Title song sung by Fran Jeffries
See more »

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User Reviews

Fun Movie with Touchy Subject Matter
23 July 2018 | by Eric266See all my reviews

There is something infectious about this comedy. The cast is about as perfect as you can get, but the subject matter was a bit awkward when compared to today's mores.

Before Carrie Bradshaw there was Helen Gurley Brown (Natalie Wood) a real life psychologist and businesswoman (she was editor of Cosmo for 32 years). Ms. Brown has just written a very controversial book about sex and the single girl (hence the title). It creates a firestorm amongst her male colleagues and her conservative patients. Tony Curtis is Bob Weston, a writer for a sleazy National Enquire-esque magazine called Stop. Bob wants to get an interview with Ms. Brown, but pretends to be a patient in need of marital counseling as a ruse. He uses his next door neighbors', Frank (Henry Fonda) and Syvia (Lauren Becall), volatile marriage as material. Of course a romance blossoms and then the normal confusion and hijinks ensue.

My issue with the film is the way Ms. Brown is portrayed. She is a befuddled, confused and weak female. She's also a terrible therapist. Despite writing a book on how a single girl can be successful, she immediately allows herself to become involved with a married patient. If I was the real Helen Brown, I would be appalled. Ms. Wood is gorgeous and I'm captivated by her screen presence, but she plays Ms. Brown as a woman who needs a man...the exact opposite of the book she wrote and my recollections of Ms. Brown in real life (mostly from reading her biography).

I understand this was set in the 1964 when views of male/female relationship skewed more towards male dominance, but it was still hard for me to accept that Ms. Brown could accomplish so much while being so desperate for a man...and a married one at that. Her therapy techniques violate every code of ethics you can imagine. Sure, it was a funny movie and I enjoyed it, but it left me feeling awkward at how simple women were portrayed.

The supporting cast is top notch and the movie's best selling point. Fonda and Bacall as the bickering neighbors are a treat. Mel Ferrer as Brown's fellow psychologist and potential love interest is hilariously smarmy and cocky. Fran Jeffries and Leslie Parish are attractive and funny love interests/secretary for Bob. Larry Storch appears in a cameo as a motorcycle cop during the finale's odd highway chase scene. Count Basie and his orchestra are here just to provide some gravitas, but don't really play any key roles.

There is a running gag about Tony Curtis wearing a woman's robe and everyone referring to him as Mr. Lemon. Curtis and Jack Lemon had starred in "Some Like It Hot" a few years before where they dressed like women. The gag was funny the first two times, but it got overplayed.

I have to say something about the chase scene. It seems that every romantic comedy in the 1960s had a chase scene. This one had a funny idea of the first three cars tossing a quarter to the toll taker. The last car leaves a dollar and takes the 75 cents. It was silly, poorly filmed, but made me laugh. Then there is another similar thing involving pretzels which I simply did not understand. I'm sure there was a point, but I missed it.

With this much talent, it was going to succeed and it does. I just wish Ms. Brown had been played a bit more wisely and not as such an easy mark for Tony Curtis' Bob Weston.

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