Jazz vs. Ivy: All The Fine Young Cannibals, 1960

Jazz and Ivy duel for the affections of Natalie Wood in “All the Fine Young Cannibals,” a largely forgotten melodrama released a half a century ago. The film has not been released on DVD, but there are used VHS copies floating about, and if you search the web you might find a digital version.

“All the Fine Young Cannibals” (from which the pop group took its name) is based on a novel by Rosamond Marshall and stars Natalie Wood and her then-husband Robert Wagner as two impoverished lovers in rural Texas.

As Chad Bixby, Wagner plays the trumpet and dreams of making a living as a jazz musician. Wood’s character, Sarah Davis, changes her name to Salomé because no one with such a name could be destined for life in a small town.

Wagner hones his chops playing at a juke joint in Deep Elem. One night he takes Wood there, leaves her alone for a minute, and in pops George Hamilton who, as we showed in our post on “Where The Boys Are,” specialized in playing rich Ivy Leaguers.

As a Yalie home for the summer, Hamilton struts through the juke joint with his fancy Eastern jacket, plain-front trousers and white buttondown. Sitting down next to Wood, he smiles and delivers his pick-up line: “Hi, I’m a Yale man” (see image above).

He goes on to assume Salomé is one of the girls who can be rented by the hour (and with a name like Salomé, you can understand why), which at least explains what he’s doing there in the first place.

In a later scene, pictured below, Hamilton gets fitted by his tailor in his room, which features crossed swords over his bed and a Yale throw pillow. He complains about how dull his home town is, and his mother remarks that he was a nice boy before he went away to college.

Hamilton ends up marrying Wood, and there’s a fun scene where he introduces her to his fellow fraternity hearties. His sister enters the picture and ends up marrying Wagner, setting up a quartet of misery as the cannibals, starved for either love or money, feast on each other’s hearts. — CC

3 Comments on "Jazz vs. Ivy: All The Fine Young Cannibals, 1960"

  1. George Hamilton’s other movie of note back then, 1961, was WHERE THE BOYS ARE. Jim Hutton and Dolores Hart were the lead couple. Dolores Hart later became a nun after making two films with Elvis. Rumored to be the only leading lady Elvis never crawled into the sack with, Dolores is still a nun today in Connecticut. I used to frequent Hamilton’s cigar bar at New York, New York in Vegas, now closed.

  2. The tailor is from J Press?
    In other words,the Ivy firms like Press or Langrock make bespoke suits for students still in late 50s?

  3. I asked Richard and he said this:

    “Custom tailors made bespoke garments for students or anybody else until shortly after the family business was sold in 1986 to Onward Kashiyama. In the final days the number of student CUSTOMers could barely fit in a journeyman tailor’s thimble at the cutting room table on the then third floor workroom at the now demised 262 York Street headquarters.”

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