James Bond film producer Harry Saltzman entered into a three-picture deal with Don Kirshner. Kirshner had been the initial producer of the musical output from the Monkees. However, according to director Val Guest, Kirshner and Saltzman grew to loathe each other during the increasingly troubled production.
Saltzman hired novelist David Benedictus to write the first draft, but after 30 pages neither Saltzman nor Guest felt it was working. Guest conceded that it was “very well written, but a little bit too ‘high-faluting'”. Saltzman advised Guest to write a new script. However, unbeknownst to Guest, Saltzman never informed Benedictus. Only during production did Benedictus learn that a new script had been commissioned.
Guest says casting Olivia Newton John was Saltzman’s idea.
I was very taken with Livy, [Olivia] I thought she had everything going for her in this fresh bubbly way; she was worried about filming, but she got into it pretty soon. [Don] Kirshner wanted Livy to have a love scene in it and Harry came to tell me about this and I spoke to Livy and she went berserk! She didn’t want a love scene, it wasn’t that sort of a picture and “No I can’t.” In fact she burst into tears about it… She was very unhappy about it and finally, we never did the love scene. But all through it was quite obvious that Livy was going places because she was bubbling, bouncy, was quite a looker, it was obvious that she [was as] cute as a button, was going places.
Guest had been working on the film for six months beyond the time specified for in his contract and still hadn’t been paid, nor had anyone else who worked on the film. Saltzman didn’t have the money nor did his company “Sweet Music” which was in Switzerland. Guest waited until after the film’s premiere at the London Pavilion to obtain an injunction. The film could not be shown until Guest and the other people who worked on the film were paid. According to Guest in 1994, he still had not been paid and the injunction was still in effect.
As a result, the film, which took about two years to make, was shown (in the London Pavilion, then a cinema) for only one week, then was shelved. Aside from isolated showings in the British forces cinemas during 1971 and early 1972 on British military bases, and one showing in Los Angeles in 2000 (see below), Toomorrow was not seen in public for over four decades.
In a March 1971 edition of the British music magazine, NME, Newton-John commented “Our film died a death and it was all a bit of a shambles. But it was a good experience”.
According to onlyolivia.com:
Nowadays Don Kirshner, distances himself from the project, claiming on Headliners and Legends (2000) that he left the project before it was finished as he could see it was going in the wrong direction. Rumor has it that he won’t allow the movie to be shown again during his lifetime. However, it was shown in 2000 at a special LA Film Festival and the one remaining movie copy is in private hands.— Only Olivia
Don Kirshner died in January 2011, and in March 2012 the movie was released on DVD in the UK by Pickwick having licensed the film from the estate of writer and director Val Guest. Unfortunately, the DVD release was of low quality: It was sourced from an inferior video element and the audio is of marginal quality, and they failed to make it dual-mono: The sound only comes out of one stereo speaker.
color, mono, super widescreen, 95 minutes. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!