Two People
Fonda and Wagner

After the shut-in laboratory feel of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, Wise did a
Fonda and Wagner

Lindsey Wagner and Peter Fonda

picture about two people travelling and falling in love in TWO PEOPLE, starring Lindsey Wagner and Peter Fonda.

In the film, Fonda plays a Vietnam War deserter. Not one to shy away from making a statement (as long as it was not too obvious and done through the characters and story) Wise was "looking for...a way of indicting the Vietnam War from the American standpoint." At the time, Wise was "very much against the Vietnam War," and he "thought this story was another way of exposing what the conflict was doing to our young people, our young men in particular."*

The film had a very modest budget and was shot entirely on location. The shooting schedule also followed the journey of the characters: from Marrakech to Casablanca to Paris and then New York.

Synopsis At a cafe in the Arab quarter of Marrakech, a U.S. Embassy official named Fitzgerald gives a young American, Even Bonner, a one-way plane Posterticket to New York. Also in the cafe at that moment are three other Americans: New York model Deirdre McCluskey, her photographer-lover Ron Kesselman, and their high-strung, chain-smoking fashion editor Barbara Newman. Although they have just successfully completed a magazine assignment, tension exists among the threesome because Ron has decided to visit the Sahara rather than return with Deirdre to New York and their out-of-wedlock son Marcus. The next morning, while Deirdre and Barbara are riding the train to Casablanca, Deirdre confesses that all love between herself and Ron has died; with that truth finally spoken, Deirdre suddenly experiences a nervous craving for kif, the potent local version of marijuana. Noticing Evan on the train (and recognizing him from the cafe), Deirdre assumes he will have some kif and enters his compartment. But when she sees him staring out the window and weeping, she retreats back to her own car. Later, however, Evan approaches Deirdre and initiates a conversation; and when the train breaks down, they use the delay to explore a nearby Arab village. Finding themselves attracted to each other, Deirdre offers herself, but is put off by Evan's feeble disclaimer: touching her might make him want to stay—and that is something he cannot do. Once aboard a Casablanca-to-Paris plane, Evan tells Deirdre that he fled from combat in Vietnam, was taken to Moscow by a peace group, and subsequently lived in Sweden and Morocco; exhausted by his years of aimless wandering and convinced that desertions such as his have not affected the progress of the war, he has arranged to surrender voluntarily and face court martial and prison. Aghast the Evan intends to turn himself in, Deirdre at first refuses to spend the night in Paris with him; later, however, she relents, and following a walk through the glittering streets and a quiet dinner, the couple returns to a hotel for the night. In the morning, Deirdre tries to persuade Evan not to give himself up, arguing that as a $100,00-a-year model, she earns enough for them to live comfortably and safely in Europe with Marcus. But Evan cannot be swayed from his decision. Returning to New York together, the lovers go to Deirdre's lavish townhouse and receive a warm welcome from both her mother and son. Finally, while spending a day in the park with Marcus, Deirdre makes one last plea to Evan that they return to Europe as a family—but Evan again asserts that he hasn't the right to make promises about the future. And later that afternoon, Evan goes to a Federal building, firmly resolved to settle all the old scores and begin life anew.

From Film Facts,1973

Wise Facts
  • Wise was so insistent on getting newcomer Lindsey Wagner for the role instead of a star that he moved the project from Columbia to Universal. Later in the decade, Wagner would become a big TV star with the BIONIC WOMAN.
  • The Filmakers Group was another independent production company Wise started with producer/director Mark Robson. In 1949, the pair went into Aspen Pictures together.
  • Credits: 100 min. Universal/The Filmakers Group; Distributed by: Universal/The Filmakers Group;  Directed by: Robert Wise;  Produced by: Robert Wise;  Screenplay by: Richard DeRoy;  Edited by: William Reynolds;  Director of Photography: Henri Decae;  Music by: David Shire;  Production Design by: Harold Michelson;  Sound by: Antoine Petitjean;  Costumes by: Molly Harp;  Make-up by: Monique Archambault;  Hair by: Alex Archambault; 
    Peter Fonda Cast  Peter Fonda (Evan Bonner), Lindsay Wagner (Deirdre McCluskey), Estelle Parsons (Barbara Newman), Alan Fudge (Mr. Fitzgerald), Philippe March (Gilles), Frances Sternhagen (Mrs. McCluskey), Brian Lima (Marcus McCluskey), Geoffrey Horne (Ron).

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    1.Robert Wise On His Films, p. 202

    © American Film Institute