AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Where the Boys Are
Alternate Title: The Unholy Spring
Director: Henry Levin (Dir)
Release Date:   Dec 1960
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: week of 23 Dec 1960
Production Date:   23 Jun--mid-Aug 1960
Duration (in mins):   99
Duration (in feet):   8,921
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast: The Girls: Dolores Hart (Merritt Andrews)  
    Yvette Mimieux (Melanie)  
    Barbara Nichols (Lola)  
    Paula Prentiss (Tuggle Carpenter)  
  And Introducing Connie Francis (Angie)  
  The Boys: Rory Harrity (Franklin)  
    John Brennan (Dill)  
    Ted Berger (Stout man)  
    George Hamilton (Ryder Smith)  
    Frank Gorshin (Basil Demotomes)  
    Jim Hutton (TV Thompson)  
    Chill Wills (Police captain)  
    Paul Frees (Narrator )  
    Vito Scotti (Maitre d')  
    Maggie Pierce (Dody)  
    Christy Scott (Jill)  
    Amy Douglass (Dr. Raunch)  
    Mary Patton (Dean Caldwell)  
    Chris Seitz (Smiley)  
    Carol Byron (Sybil)  
    Percy Helton (Manager)  
    Robert Foulk (Bouncer)  
    Jack Kruschen (Max)  
    Owen McGiveney (Wesley, butler)  
    Dean Stewart (Young man)  
    Dennis Durney (Young man)  
    Ted Perritt (Young man)  
    Jon Lormer (Motel manager)  
    John Cliff (Police officer)  
    Larry Thor (Doctor)  
    Patricia Marlowe (Nurse)  
    Marla Ryan (Redhead)  
    John Durren    
    Robert Lumsden    
    Mike Rougas    
    Ken Wales    
    Garry Murray    
    Jerry Madison    

Summary: One blustery winter day at a Midwestern university, as undergraduate Merritt Andrews and her colleague Melanie attend a lecture on the dangers of random dating, Merritt asks the teacher to seriously discuss whether a girl should have sex before marriage. Appalled by Merritt's candor, the teacher sends her to Dean Caldwell, who warns Merritt that although her IQ is high, her faltering grades and misconduct in class might be grounds for expulsion. Although she needs to study, Merritt decides to join Melanie and friends Tuggle Carpenter and Angie on their spring break in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where thousands of college boys and girls go to vacation. As they drive south, the girls pick up hitchhiker TV Thompson, an outlandish dresser to whom tall Tuggle takes an immediate liking, because her only requirement for a date is that he be taller than her. When the girls arrive at the Fairview apartments to find a group of Ivy League boys, or "Yalies," rooming there as well, Melanie quickly entices neighbor Dill into a date. The next day on the beach, Dill spends time alone with Melanie, while TV and Tuggle listen to radio police reports about all the college kids's ridiculous pranks, then go for a drink using a fake ID. Later that evening, after TV laments that he has a hard time interesting women, the sympathetic Tuggle discloses that she likes him but refuses his advances when he suggests they have sex. Meanwhile, Melanie returns home from her date, having asked Dill to keep their lovemaking a secret. The next morning, Melanie grows excited about her prospects with Dill and reminds the girls that a college couple met and got married during their spring break. Merritt corrects her, explaining that though they met over spring break, the couple married only in October just before the girl was due to give birth to their child. Later on the beach, the girls discuss their futures. Tuggle wants to quit school and become a "walking talking baby factory" with TV, while Angie just wants a date. Merritt shows no interest in men until suave Brown University senior Ryder Smith invites her out for a cocktail. On their date, Merritt becomes defensive about her Midwestern background, but Ryder suggests that "sophistication" is how you think about things, not where you come from. Intrigued by his intelligence, Merritt joins the wealthy Ryder on his grandfather's yacht where she explains her classifications for boys: Sweepers try to sweep you off your feet. Strokers use soft caresses to seduce you. Subtles quote erotic literature to entice you. Ryder assumes Merritt speaks from experience, but Merritt fails to tell him that her vast experience dating has been without sex. The next day, an experimental jazz band performs "dialectic jazz" at a bar and offers free beer to anyone who wants to listen. After the band leader, Basil Demotomes, is rejected by both Tuggle and Merritt, he turns to Angie, who is overjoyed to finally have a date. After spending another day together, Ryder tries to convince Merritt that sex is only a matter of everyday "personal relations," but Merritt refuses his advances. That night, a drunken Melanie announces to the girls that she is in love with a new man, Franklin, who is Dill's roommate. The next day, when Melanie recalls that Merritt had supported sex before marriage during the school lecture, Merritt tells her it was not advice for young, drunk kids. Later, Ryder professes that though he has told many women that he "loves" them, he actually likes Merritt. Later that night while the jazz group plays, Angie succeeds in attracting Basil's attention by singing her own catchy lyrics to his composition. Meanwhile, the love struck Melanie finds out that Franklin does not consider their relationship to be special and suggests an impulsive marriage would be silly. The next evening, with only days left in their vacation, Merritt, Tuggle and Angie discuss their chances of getting a marriage proposal without giving up their chastity while they prepare for a triple date together. Despite Merritt's attempts to include her, Melanie insists on staying home to wait for Franklin's call. Ryder takes the group to the Tropical Isle, where a drunken TV cannot resist stage entertainer Lola, who performs underwater acrobatic tricks in a large tank. When TV jumps in the tank with Lola, Tuggle, knowing TV cannot swim, jumps in after him. Soon Merritt, Angie, Ryder and Basil have fallen in the tank attempting to save one another. After the police dismiss the restaurant’s charges against them, the group have a beach party, where TV is once again seduced by Lola's dancing. When jealous Tuggle hears TV use the same line on Lola as he did on her, she interrupts, but TV yells at her to leave them alone. Meanwhile, when Dill arrives to meet Melanie at an arranged motel room and announces he is replacing Franklin, she realizes the boys are using her and tries unsuccessfully to fight him off. Soon after, traumatized by the rape, she calls Tuggle at the motel. Back at the party, Merritt is almost ready to give up her virginity in the heat of passion with Ryder, when Tuggle asks them to help Melanie. As they drive towards the motel from which Melanie has phoned, they see her wandering on the traffic-filled road where she is hit by a car. After Ryder pulls her from traffic, they take Melanie to a hospital, where Merritt chastises Ryder for being like all boys who think girls exist merely to please boys. Alone with Merritt, Melanie laments her mistake and caustically says the boys were not even "Yalies," prompting Merritt to cry in shame. TV arrives at the hospital soon after to reassure Tuggle that he only wants to be by her side. The next day TV, Basil, Angie and Tuggle leave for home, while Merritt remains to care for Melanie until she can return to her parents. Merritt doubts her own resolve about chastity, but Ryder assures her that she is too strong to succumb. Merritt responds that no girl is strong in the face of what she thinks is love. When they both cautiously offer that they might be in love, Ryder asks her to come to his Brown graduation and continue their relationship.  

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Henry Levin (Dir)
  Al Jennings (Asst dir)
Producer: Joe Pasternak (Prod)
Writer: George Wells (Scr)
Photography: Robert Bronner (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: George W. Davis (Art dir)
  Preston Ames (Art dir)
Film Editor: Fredric Steinkamp (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Henry Grace (Set dec)
  Hugh Hunt (Set dec)
Costumes: Kitty Mager (Women's cost)
Music: George Stoll (Mus)
  Pete Rugolo (Orig dialectic jazz by)
Sound: Franklin Milton (Rec supv)
  Fred Faust (Sd)
Special Effects: Lee LeBlanc (Spec eff)
Dance: Robert Sidney (Choreographer)
Make Up: Mary Keats (Hair styles)
  William Tuttle (Makeup)
Production Misc: Irving Aaronson (Asst to the prod)
Color Personnel: Charles K. Hagedon (Col consultant)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Where the Boys Are" and "Turn on the Sunshine," words by Howard Greenfield, music by Neil Sedaka, courtesy Nevins-Kirshner; "Have You Met Miss Fandango," words by Stella Unger, music by Victor Young.
Composer: Howard Greenfield
  Neil Sedaka
  Stella Unger
  Victor Young
Source Text: Based on the novel Where the Boys Are by Glendon Swarthout (New York, 1960).
Authors: Glendon Swarthout

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. & Euterpe, Inc. 24/11/1960 dd/mm/yyyy LP19146

PCA NO: 19704
Physical Properties: Sd: Westrex Recording System
  col: Metrocolor
  Widescreen/ratio: CinemaScope
  Lenses/Prints: Photographic lenses by Panavision

Genre: Melodrama
Sub-Genre: College
  with songs
Subjects (Major): Chastity
  College students
Subjects (Minor): Drunkenness
  Fort Lauderdale (FL)
  Jazz music

Note: The working title for this film was The Unholy Spring . Voice-over narration preceding the opening credits introduces Fort Lauderdale, FL and explains that over 20,000 college students flock to the tropical vacation destination during the two weeks of spring break, turning the area into a "sizeable chunk of bedlam." The closing cast credits differ in order from the opening credits which read: "Dolores Hart, George Hamilton, Yvette Mimieux, Jim Hutton, Barbara Nichols, Paula Prentiss and Chill Wills."
       According to a 30 Dec 1959 HR news item, Chuck Walters was signed to direct the film, but was later replaced by Henry Levin. A 26 May 1960 HR news item stated that actor Burt Reynolds was originally considered for a role in the film. A 21 Oct 1960 DV article noted that producer Joe Pasternak cast mostly unknown younger actors in the film, in an attempt to change the control large stars had over the movie industry. According to a 28 Aug 1960 LAEx news item, Sean Flynn, son of Errol Flynn, was to make his debut in Where the Boys Are ; however, his appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Paula Prentiss and popular singer Connie Francis made their feature film debuts in Where the Boys Are . A 2 Sep 1959 HR news item adds Patricia Blair to the cast, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Portions of the film were shot on location in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where the film had a premiere on 21 Feb 1961, after it had opened in other cities.

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   5 Dec 1960.   
Christian Science Monitor   25 Jan 1961.   
Daily Variety   21 Oct 1960.   
Daily Variety   30 Nov 60   p. 3.
Film Daily   30 Nov 60   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Sep 1959   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Dec 1959   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Feb 1960.   
Hollywood Reporter   26 May 1960   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Jun 1960   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Jun 1960   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Aug 1960   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Nov 60   p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner   28 Aug 1960.   
Los Angeles Examiner   23 Dec 1960.   
Motion Picture Daily   30 Nov 1960.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   3 Dec 60   p. 940.
New York Times   20 Jan 61   p. 22.
New Yorker   28 Jan 1961.   
Newsweek   23 Jan 1961.   
Saturday Review   21 Jan 1961.   
Time   20 Jan 1961.   
Variety   30 Nov 60   p. 6.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.