Tuesday, May 20, 2014

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969)

British Quad Poster

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, directed by Mel Stuart (who mostly directed TV documentaries, but also directed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), is probably best described as a romantic comedy- travelogue.  It follows a group of American tourists as they are led on a whirlwind guided bus tour of nine European countries in 18 days, led by a British tour guide (played by Ian McShane).  The romance is primarily provided by the at-first-dislike-but-then-love relationship between McShane's character and a young, engaged American woman (played by Suzanne Pleshette).  The remainder of the tourists are played by a group of recognizable faces, such as Norman Fell, Marty Ingels, and Michael Constantine.  The film never dips to the level of being boring, but it is not particularly engaging, either.  There is some genuine humor, though sporadic.  McShane is alright in his role as the tour guide, but Pleshette is really the highlight of the movie.  If you are a retro film fan, then you haven't missed much if you haven't seen this movie.  If you are simply a Catherine fan, then you haven't missed anything if you haven't seen this movie.

I'm not going to spend much time or analysis on this film, nor am I going to give it a thorough coverage in regard to promotional material.  Below, you will simply find some items to give you a general sense of how the film was promoted in English-speaking countries. 

As for Catherine, here is all you need to know.  She has a very brief appearance (along with brief cameos by Joan Collins, Senta Berger, Vittorio De Sica, Virna Lisi, Anita Ekberg, John Cassavetes, Elsa Martinelli, Ben Gazzara, and Robert Vaughn), for less than 60 seconds at about the 76-minute mark.  Marty Ingels plays a hot-blooded, single American guy who went on the trip hoping to score with the European ladies, or at least that's what he told all of his buddies back home.  Of course, he has no chance of scoring with any of the ladies, so he is constantly taking pictures of pretty women to show to his buddies as having been his conquests.  While in Rome, Catherine is an anonymous lady that he has paid to take a picture with him.  Other than briefly mumbling a couple of words to him that are not audible, Catherine does not even have any lines.  Here is a still photo of her brief appearance with Ingels:

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium was shot around Europe between July and October of 1968.
  • The July 17, 1968 Variety reported:  "'IF ITS TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE BELGIUM' (Wolper Pictures Ltd.) Prods.-David L. Wolper, Stan Margulies Dir.-Mel Stuart Suzanne Pleshette, Ian McShane, Marty Ingels, Mildred Natwick, Michael Constantine, (Started July 1 in Europe).
  • The September 18, 1968 Variety reported:  "'If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium,' shooting in Europe. Suzanne Pleshette and Ian McShane topline."
  • The October 23, 1968 Variety reported:   "Stuart recently wound 'If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium'."
It was released in the U.S. on April 24, 1969 and in much of Europe (as well as other parts of the world) over the course of 1969 and 1970.

Here are the U.S. one sheet, half sheet, and insert posters (along with the lobby cards, none of which feature Catherine):

The soundtrack album:

A UK pressbook:

A U.K. magazine advertisement:

An Australian daybill poster:

Still photos:

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