Main Attraction, The (1963): Daniel Petrie’s Drama, Starring Singer Pat Boone in Serious Role, Mai Zetterling, Nancy Kwan

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Daniel Petrie directed The Main Attraction, a British drama written by John Patrick, starring Pat Boone, Nancy Kwan and Mai Zetterling.

Grade: C (* 1/2* out of *****)

he Main Attraction
The Main Attraction 1962 poster.jpg

 Theatrical Poster

The music soundtrack was written by Pat Boone and Jeff Corey and performed by Boone.

Premise: An unscrupulous drifter causes problems for a small European circus.

Boone plays Eddie, a singing drifter wishing to travel around the world. He works in an Italian café, but is fired when he gets into brawl with a drunken customer.

After meeting Gina (Mai Zetterling) a ventriloquist in a visiting circus, he helps her out with her act and they become lovers.

All is well until Eddie falls in love with another circus performer, Tessa (Nancy Kwan), an affair complicated by intense jealousy of both Gina and Tessa’s ex-husband, Ricco.

In the end, Eddie runs off after a fight, fearing he has killed Ricco. However, he runs into Tessa on a train, and they return to the circus.

Ray Stark encouraged Boone to try straight dramatic role, especially that Hollywood was making fewer musicals. He said: “I want to develop as an entertainer and also an actor. I realize I can’t always be an ex-teenager… I want to take on anything that a guy my age would be called up on to do in the movies with one exception: it must be family entertainment, with good moral. I wouldn’t make a picture that I wouldn’t permit my children to see.”

Stark and writer-producer John Patrick wanted Boone’s character to sleep with Nancy Kwan, but Boone was reluctant. However, since he did not have script approval, he shot scenes implying that his character slept with Kwan’s (singing and kissing Kwan in front of the fire place).

Pat Boone as Eddie
Nancy Kwan as Tessa
Mai Zetterling as Gina
Yvonne Mitchell as Elenora Moreno
Kieron Moore as Ricco Moreno
John Le Mesurier as Bozo


Directed by Daniel Petrie
Written, produced by John Patrick
Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by Geoffrey Foot
Music by Andrew Adorian

Production company: Seven Arts Productions

Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

Release date: January 1963

Running time: 85 minutes
Budget over $1 million


TCM showed the movie on October 8, 2021