Opened June 17, 1970
Barbra Streisand’s third film, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, was described in Paramount's production notes as a “delightful combination of comedy, drama, fantasy and music. The film deals with a psychiatrist who becomes professionally and emotionally involved with a remarkable girl patient, who possesses extrasensory powers and relives, under hypnosis, an earlier incarnation.”
On A Clear Day was based on the Broadway show that ran October 1965—June 1966 starring Barbara Harris and John Cullum, which was originally titled I Picked A Daisy.
Alan Jay Lerner (who wrote the book and the lyrics for the play; Burton Lane wrote the music) continuously tinkered with the show, even after it closed, eliminating characters and adding or subtracting songs. (Incidentally, Alan Jay Lerner received amphetamine shots from Dr. Max Jacobson—“Dr. Feelgood”—while he wrote Clear Day, which may explain its weirdness — how many other musicals that you know of concern themselves with reincarnation and ESP? )
Director Vincente Minnelli recalled, “It was mystical and Lerner has been interested in that since he was a child. He was trying to say something, I dug into the story and that was what came out. Lerner had read all these books and followed the fantasy as he saw it completely. I didn’t subscribe to it, not at all.”
Developing “Clear Day”
Paramount Pictures reportedly paid $750,000 for the film rights to the Alan Jay Lerner-Burton Lane musical in 1966.
Producer Howard W. Koch made some changes transferring On A Clear Day from the Broadway play to a film.
Alan Jay Lerner revised his original story.
Director Vincente Minnelli requested that the regression sequences be changed from a Restoration to a Regency setting. He told writer Henry Sheehan, “I felt that was what was wrong with the play. It was white wigs and writing with feathers which gets to be very boring. I wanted to make it Regency, because the world was more inviting. That’s particularly why we changed it. Then I wanted to come in on a climax where she didn’t know what was happening and it was explained later on. Whereas it couldn’t matter less in the play.”
Several songs from the Broadway show were not used in the film version. Several new ones were added (and then cut! ... keep reading to find out all about them).
Designer Arnold Scaasi created the modern fashions that Streisand's character Daisy would wear in the film. [More here]
The venerable Cecil Beaton was hired to create Streisand’s Regency gowns for the flashback scenes. Beaton wrote in his diaries: “But although the clothes were mostly made here in London, the time spent in going to Tangier to get cheap tissues, and supervising each individual ball dress, was quite considerable.” [More here]
Neal Hefti (Batman title theme, The Odd Couple movie, Barefoot in the Park) was hired as music director for the film. The Nov. 4, 1968 edition of The Hollywood Reporter announced: “Neal Hefti has been signed by Howard W. Koch to to arrange and conduct Paramount's On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.”
By December 1969 (when this item appeared in newspapers), Hefti had been replaced by Nelson Riddle.
Producer Howard Koch remembered that “[Barbra] and Nelson were like a team from the time we switched.”
Several male stars were considered for the role of Dr. Chabot, Melinda/Daisy’s love interest in On A Clear Day. The late Richard Harris (Arthur in the film version of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot) was one of them. “Lerner and Streisand stitched me up,” he explained. “They wanted it their way. Lerner never liked my singing, and he took out the best songs from the original Broadway show. Streisand wanted to be Queen Bee. I told her to bark up someone else’s tree.”
Harris, then, was passed over and in August 1968 it was announced Yves Montand, 47 years old, who starred with Marilyn Monroe in Let’s Make Love, would appear opposite Streisand in the film.
Producer Howard Koch talked to the L.A. Times in early December 1968. “The picture is in rehearsal just now and slightly ahead of schedule. My friend Miss Streisand must leave for a week soon after we start shooting Jan. 6. She's committed to go to London and Paris for the openings of Funny Girl. It was difficult to plan, especially at the beginning of the picture. In that week, we plan to shoot all the scenes she's not in.”
Streisand seemed in good spirits during rehearsals. “He can do anything in his quiet way,” she said about Koch. “The tape recorder I use to learn lines broke and within an hour he delivered a new one. I called him up to ask how he did it. It was after 5. Who's still open? I couldn't figure out how he did it.”
It was reported in early January 1969 that Streisand and Montand recorded their numbers for the movie at Paramount Studios in Hollywood in one day, in afternoon and evening sessions.
In this audio interview, below, Streisand is questioned at the recording session for “Wait Till We're 65”—the orchestra keeps interupting the interviewer. Streisand mentions a line from a scene in the movie, which was eventually cut. She's referring to this one.
In January 1969, right before filming began, Paramount threw a “Reincarnation Ball” party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Celebrity guests were encouraged to dress as the person they would have liked to have been—in a past life! Streisand came as Colette, the French writer, dressed in a white lace dress and curly wig.
Filming “Clear Day”
Clear Day, scheduled for an 87-day shoot, began filming on the Paramount lot in January 1969. On the soundstage sets, they filmed Chabot's office, Daisy's roof and apartment, and some interior scenes at the University.
Next, the company moved to England in April 1969 for location work at Brighton.
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, a baroque palace created by King George IV, was the setting for On A Clear Day's flashback scenes. “At one time we thought we would build it on the set in Hollywood,” production designer John DeCuir told the L.A. Times. “But then it got up into millions of dollars. It wasn't just duplicating the Pavilion, it was all the fixtures and fittings. I think this is kind of a wild place, when you think of it for what George IV guilt it for—he called it his bath house.”
Barbra explained her feelings about the Pavilion to the newspaper. “It's a combination of the grotesque and the beautiful. And it's grotesquely beautiful.”
“…on Tuesday Miss Streisand was watched by hundreds of people as she took part in shots on the [Brighton] lawns, which had been greatly changed to preserve the Regency atmosphere. A screen with trees painted on it hid the traffic, and a cobbled road was put down to give the illusion that the entrance to the Pavilion faces Pavilion Parade…. Miss Streisand is staying at the Hotel Metropole. If she gets any free time she intends to go shopping for antiques in the Lanes”
(Brighton Herald, 11 April 1969, p. 4)
“Barbra Streisand swept out of Brighton yesterday and most of her 240,000 dollar entourage went with her. After eight days and that amount of money, Paramount had filmed just 10-15 minutes of screen time of their lavish musical ‘On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.’... The rest of the film will be completed in Hollywood…. One scene the unit didn’t have time to shoot at the Pavilion should have been in the pantry. But this was a small problem. Instead, they have taken photographs and will construct a replica in Hollywood”
(Brighton Herald, 11 April 1969, p. 2.).
Streisand was excused from the production to attend the April 14, 1969 Academy Awards ceremony for which she was nominated as Best Actress for Funny Girl. After winning the award and returning to the Clear Day set, the company threw a welcome back and congratulations party for Ms. Streisand.
In May 1969, the Clear Day company departed England for locations in New York City.
Minnelli had hoped to film the modern day college campus scenes in New York at Columbia University. In May 1969, columnist Eleanor Lambert reported, “Vincente Minnelli has his heart set on a certain hillside on the Columbia University campus, overlooking the Hudson River and the Jersey Palisades. It has a view just right for Barbra's big final song.” But student protests over the Vietnam War kept the Clear Day company from filming at Columbia University.
Instead, the University scenes were filmed at Exposition Park Rose Garden in Los Angeles (the opening scene of the film, a student protest scene, and the closing scene, below.)
In New York, the movie filmed ....