Where the Boys Are is a song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield and first recorded by Connie Francis.
Original version by Connie Francis
When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed Connie Francis for a major starring rôle in the motion picture Where the Boys Are (based on the novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout), Francis solicited the services of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who had written hit songs for her previously (e. g. “Stupid Cupid”), to write original material for her to perform on the film’s soundtrack including a Where the Boys Are title song.
Sedaka and Greenfield wrote two potential title songs for the film, but producer Joe Pasternak dismissed the song preferred by Francis and the songwriting team. The dismissed version in question was never recorded, not even for demonstration purposes, as Francis (vocal) and Sedaka (piano) had presented both songs as a live performance for Pasternak.
Motion Picture Version
The version chosen by Joe Pasternak was recorded for the first time on July 12, 1960 in Hollywood and was only used when combined to medleys with the overture and closing credits scores written by George E. Stoll.
Original Version 1960
Francis recorded the record version of Where the Boys Are on 18 October 1960 in a New York City recording session with Stan Applebaum arranging and conducting. The same session also came up with Francis’ hits Many Tears Ago and Breakin’ in a Brand New Broken Heart as well as the songs On the Outside Looking In, Happy New Year Baby, and Mein Herz weiß genau, was es will, which all would remain unreleased until the 1980s.
Where the Boys Are
DVD cover by Reynold Brown
Directed by Henry Levin
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Screenplay by George Wells
Based on Where the Boys Are (1960 novel)
by Glendon Swarthout
Starring Connie Francis
Music by Score:
George E. Stoll
Neil Sedaka (music)
Howard Greenfield (lyrics)
Cinematography Robert J. Bronner
Edited by Fredric Steinkamp
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
December 28, 1960
Country United States
Budget $2 million
Box office $3.5 million (US rentals)
Where the Boys Are (1960) is an Metrocolor and CinemaScope American coming-of-age comedy film, written by George Wells based on the novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout, about four Midwestern college co-eds who spend spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The title song “Where the Boys Are” was sung by Connie Francis, who also co-starred in a supporting role. The film was aimed at the teen market, featuring sun, sand and romance. Released in the wintertime, it inspired thousands of additional American college students to head to Fort Lauderdale for their annual spring break.
Where the Boys Are was one of the first teen films to explore adolescent sexuality and the changing sexual morals and attitudes among American college youth. It won Laurel awards for Best Comedy of the Year and Best Comedy Actress (Paula Prentiss).
The main focus of Where the Boys Are is the “coming of age” of four girl students at a midwestern university during spring vacation. As the film opens, Merritt Andrews (Dolores Hart), the smart and assertive leader of the quartet, expresses the opinion in class that premarital sex might be something young women should experience. Her speech eventually inspires the insecure Melanie Tolman (Yvette Mimieux) to lose her virginity soon after the young women arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tuggle Carpenter (Paula Prentiss), on the other hand, seeks to be a “baby-making machine,” lacking only the man to join her in marriage. Angie (Connie Francis) rounds out the group as an athletic girl who is clueless when it comes to romance.
The girls find their beliefs challenged throughout the film. Merritt, a freshman, meets the suave rich-boy Ivy Leaguer Ryder Smith (George Hamilton), a senior at Brown, and realizes she’s not ready for sex. Melanie discovers that Franklin (Rory Harrity), a boy from Yale who she thought loved her was only using her for sex. Tuggle quickly fixes her attention on the goofy “TV” Thompson (Jim Hutton), a junior at Michigan State, but becomes disillusioned when he becomes enamored of the older woman Lola Fandango (Barbara Nichols), who works as a “mermaid” swimmer/dancer in a local bar. Angie stumbles into love with the eccentric jazz musician Basil (Frank Gorshin).
Merritt, Tuggle, and Angie’s post-adolescent relationship angst quickly evaporates when they discover Melanie is in distress after going to meet Franklin at a motel and instead finding there another of the “Yalies”, Dill, who rapes her. Franklin had moved on to another girl, but told Dill that Melanie was “easy” and set up the ambush. Melanie ends up walking into the nearby road looking distraught, her dress torn. Just as her friends arrive, she is hit by a car and ends up in the hospital.
Ultimately, it seems the group has learned the potentially serious consequences of their actions and resolve to act in a more responsible, mature manner. The film ends on a melancholy note, with Melanie recovering in the hospital while Merritt looks after her, and with Merritt’s promises to Ryder to continue a long-distance relationship. He then offers to drive them back to their college.