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A New Kind of Love

For most cinephiles, there are a handful of movies that are so bizarre and anachronistic and freakishly sexist (or racist or just politically incorrect) that one simply must sit down and take them in whenever they pop up on late-night television. The Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward comedy A New Kind of Love (1963) is very much that kind of a film. Newman plays a jaded, misogynistic journalist on assignment in Paris, and Woodward is an unkempt, makeup-eschewing department store fashion buyer who's sworn off men. There's the requisite hate-at-first-sight meeting, followed by Woodward getting a crash course in the ways of Parisian women from an old-school courtesan type named Felicienne (Eva Gabor) while, elsewhere in town, Newman searches frantically for a Big Story to impress his bosses. Following an over-the-top French makeover into a blonde bombshell, Woodward strolls through Paris and again meets up with Newman — who mistakes her for a high-priced prostitute. Thus the sex-comedy hijinks ensue, with Newman writing what he thinks are the randy confessions of an expensive hooker named Mimi, as Woodward feeds him wild stories she gets from Felicienne. In standard '60s naughty fashion, Newman starts to fall for "Mimi," all the while feeling nothing but contempt for her sexuality so, of course, when he discovers he's been played by an almost-virgin … oh, but that would give it away. A New Kind of Love is light and frothy and kind of terrible, but also terribly entertaining, with Newman and Woodward obviously enjoying playing off of each other onscreen. Yes, the film indulges in a lot of old madonna/whore stereotypes and, yes, it's hokey and dumb — so watch it for the chemistry between Hollywood's most likable married couple and the fabulous haute couture costumes, and don't be so darned fussy. Paramount's bare-bones DVD release is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) from a so-so source-print and merely passable Dolby Surround audio (in English only, with English subtitles). It doesn't look much better here than it does on broadcast television — although we finally do get to see it widescreen rather than pan-and-scan, so that's something. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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