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Wednesday April 17th 2024

The April Fools| 1969

Sweet romantic comedy at the height of the Swingin’ Sixties, which seems to have disappeared into undeserved oblivion – despite a great Burt Bacharach-Hal David theme.

It’s set – and mostly filmed – in New York. The home of the Gunthers (Peter Lawford and Catherine Deneuve), where Howard Brubaker (Jack Lemmon) finds himself adrift in the most excruciating arty party ever, is 870 United Nations Plaza, though the entrance is around the corner on East 49th street.

The April Fools film location: Twin Gables, Bedford Street, Greenwich Village, New York
The April Fools location: the swingin' disco:Twin Peaks, Bedford Street, Greenwich Village, New York

Unwittingly hooking up with his boss’s wife (Deneuve), Brubaker heads off for a night of fun in the Big Apple. The wildly swinging disco, where the couple meet up with Grace Greenlaw (Myrna Loy) is the historic house known as Twin Peaks, 102 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village. The house was built in 1926 for Clifford Reed Daily, a builder who had dreams of bringing a little individuality to the burgeoning Bohemian enclave.

The April Fools film location: Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
The April Fools location: the Greenlaws' home: Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

When her chauffeur gets plastered, the obliging Howard drives Mrs Greenlaw back to the palatial home she shares with Andre (Charles Boyer). Surprisingly, this turns out to be the interior of the Greystone Mansion (its beautiful carved woodwork hidden under a layer of flat grey paint), Greystone Park & Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills.

This mansion isn’t open to the public, but its extensive formal gardens are (and admission is free). The mansion has been seen in numerous films including Spider-Man, Ghostbusters, The Big Lebowski, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Witches of Eastwick and Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.

As Howard is obliged to fence with the eccentric Andre, we even get a glimpse of the mansion’s bowling alley – featured in the climax of There Will Be Blood.

After they part in the morning, Howard sits in front of Central Park’s Naumberg Bandshell (also seen in Milos Forman's film of Hair and in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite), where he’s disturbed by a symbolic – if unlikely – frog. He returns here later, with Catherine Gunther, to listen to the aged lone violinist.

The April Fools film location: Broadway, New York
The April Fools location: the office from which Howard resigns: Marine Midland Building, Broadway, New York

The office block, with Isamu Noguchi's distinctive Red Cube sculpture, where Howard takes up his new position as ‘Investment Supervisor’ (and almost immediately resigns, is the Marine Midland Building, 140 Broadway, between Liberty and Cedar Streets.

As Dionne Warwick warbles the title song, the pair wander around Central Park Zoo, sitting beneath the wings of its carved stone eagle.

The April Fools film location: Delmonico's, New York
The April Fools location: the bar: Delmonico's, New York

The bar in which Howard blurts out to his heavy drinking pal Potter Shrader (Jack Weston) that he’s off to Paris with the boss’s wife, is Delmonico’s, 56 Beaver Street, in the Financial District.

It’s at the wonderful streamlined TWA Terminal of John F Kennedy International Airport that Howard finally arrives. It was pretty new at the time (built in 1962), and can be seen again in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can.