UNMADE ADAPTATION OF BEST-SELLER - FINLEY'S PERSONAL COPY IS PART OF BONHAMS AUCTION
Last month, it was announced that the late William Finley's complete costume from Phantom Of The Paradise was going up for auction in October (as in, right now, at Bonhams), along with other treasures from Finley's personal collections. Some of those treaures have now been posted at Bonhams, and one in particular stands out as a surprise. Under the heading, "William Finley Collection of Four Brian De Palma Scripts", grouped with scripts for Dressed To Kill, Deja Vu, and The Demolished Man, there is a screenplay described as: "1971. Studio bound and bradded Sensuous Woman 135-page screenplay dated "December 15, 1972" on the interior title page." In the footnotes is the following description:
The Sensuous Woman is an unfilmed, loose adaptation by De Palma and comedienne Louise Lasser of Terry Garrity's (under the pseudonym "J") groundbreaking guide to female sexuality from a woman's perspective.
I had not heard of this screenplay before - as we know, De Palma had made Get To Know Your Rabbit in 1971 (released in 1972/1973), after which he made Sisters. I was able to find a brief about this potential film in A. H. Weiler's New York Times movie column dated January 7, 1973:
A movie of “The Sensuous Woman” by “J” that won't be rated “X”? Independent producer William L. Snyder thinks he can bring it off.
Snyder has owned the screen rights to the best‐selling sex primer for two years and, although he admits it's been a toughie to translate into film terms, he says he's got it. The screenplay is the work of three writers: Louise Lasser, Brian De Palma and Jeannie Sakol. Since Miss Lasser, the former wife of Woody Allen, is well known as an actress in such Allen films as “Bananas” and “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex,” she will naturally star in “The Sensuous Woman.” And since De Palma has achieved some fame as the director of “Greetings” and “Hi, Mom!,” he will direct.
How are they escaping that damning “X”? Snyder explained that “the script is not the kind of instructional thing the book was but a wry comedy about a married woman with two kids who decides to break away to a freer, more sensuous life style.” She will start breaking away in March in Toronto.
According to the March 20, 1972 issue of Publishers Weekly, Sakol had already completed her rewrite of De Palma and Lasser's screenplay, and a paperback edition of Sakol's 1968 book The Seducer: & How To Be Carnally Knowledgeable was about to be published.