Cast & Crew
Jack Mitchell, a middle-aged auto parts salesman from Utica, New York, is in Chicago on business when he spots an old fraternity brother, Larry Moore, walking down the street. Lonely, Jack asks Larry if he knows any girls and Larry gives him the phone number of T. R. Baskin. T. R., a respectable young woman from the Midwest, is puzzled by Jack's call, but nevertheless accepts his invitation to join him at his hotel room. Jack, a shy and decent man, is tongue-tied around the beautiful, young T. R., and an awkward silence ensues. When T. R., who possesses a dry, sarcastic humor, flippantly answers Jack's innocuous questions, he accuses her of making fun of him, prompting her to strip off her clothes and promising not to "give him a hard time." Disappearing into the bathroom, Jack emerges dressed in his robe and underwear and climbs into bed with T. R. She then recalls arriving in Chicago from Findley, a small town in Ohio: After sending a telegram to her parents, informing them that she has come to Chicago to seek her "fame and fortune," T. R. begins to look for an apartment to rent, and is reduced to renting a run-down one-room studio in a marginal area of the city. T. R.'s search for a "challenging career" results in her being hired as one of the army of typists in a vast, impersonal company. At the office, T. R. is befriended by Dayle Wigoda, who works in the accounting department handling all the files of clients with last names beginning with the letter "B." Pestered by Dayle to go out on a blind date with her boyfriend's wealthy, eligible friend Arthur, T. R. finally consents. After listening all evening to the obnoxious, over-privileged Arthur ridiculing people of color, welfare cheats and women's rights, T. R. becomes fed up and calls him a "schmuck." One day T. R. returns to her desolate apartment after work, turns on the television and glumly prepares a TV dinner, kept company only by the background chattering coming from the television set and the wail of sirens from the street. Back in the present, after Jack discovers that he is impotent, T. R. draws him out by musing that both she and Jack are outsiders in the big city. Jack then confides that he dreams of being able to retire in thirteen years to inland Florida, where he will be free to spend his time as he pleases, rather than follow the dictates of an employer. T. R. then remembers the night she met Larry: After leaving a crowded, noisy bar, she walks down the sidewalk and sees Larry seated at the window of a café, reading a book. Intrigued, she joins him, and after telling her that he edits and publishes children's books for the school system, he invites her to his apartment. After discussing the disappointments they have experienced in their lives--Larry, his divorce from his wife and his estrangement from his children; T. R., her feeling of never fitting in--they have sex. The next morning, T. R., thinking that she has finally established an intimate relationship with someone, is crushed when she reaches into her coat pocket and finds a twenty dollar bill that Larry put there. Feeling betrayed, she runs out, but finds she has nowhere to go but her deserted office. After walking the empty hallways, she returns home and on the verge of tears, calls her parents, who rather than comforting her, offer recriminations about her life in the city. Back in the present, T. R. and Jack, having spent the afternoon confiding their dreams and fears, get dressed and warmly acknowledge that they are glad they met each other. After hugging Jack goodbye, T. R. walks out of the hotel and back onto the streets of Chicago.
William B. Fosser
Terry Morse Jr.
Onscreen credits contain the following written acknowledgment: "Paramount Pictures gratefully acknowledges the help extended to us by the citizens and officials of the City of Chicago. Our special thanks to the Yellow Cab Company of Chicago." Peter Hyams' onscreen credit reads "written and produced by." T. R. Baskin marked the motion picture debut of Hyams, a former CBS news anchorman. As noted in Filmfacts and publicity material contained in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, the picture was filmed entirely on location in Chicago, IL. Filming was done at the Sherman House Hotel, the First National Bank Building, O'Connell's Coffee Shop on Rush St., and at the Carson Pirie Scott department store.
At one point in the film, when "Jack Mitchell" asks what T. R. stands for, she replies, "Thelma Ritter." Thelma Ritter is the name of a famous character actress, but within the context of the film, it was unclear whether T. R. was joking about the meaning of her initials. Director Herbert Ross was married to Nora Kaye, the film's assistant to the producer. Kaye was a former ballerina who was instrumental in convincing Ross to make the 1977 film The Turning Point, for which she served as executive producer.
Released in United States 1971
Released in United States 1971