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HISTORY

       The 11 May 1974 LAHExam noted that the film, which was originally titled Fatal Exit, then Profession: Reporter, was now titled The Passenger.
       A 9 Aug 1973 DV news brief claimed that actress Susan George flew from Los Angeles, CA, to Barcelona, Spain, to play the role of “the girl” only to find actress Maria Schneider, who was director Michelangelo Antonioni’s original choice, had replaced her. The piece also stated that Faye Dunaway was initially cast in the part of “Rachel.”
       In a 29 Aug 1973 HR news item, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s (MGM) vice president of production, Daniel Melnick, announced that MGM had signed an agreement with producer Carlo Ponti, whereupon MGM would receive worldwide distribution rights in exchange for fully financing the film.
       According to a 25 Oct 2005 LAT article, The Passenger was the third in a three-picture deal between director Michelangelo Antonioni, Carlo Ponti and MGM. The first was Blow-Up (1966, see entry), followed by Zabriskie Point (1970, see entry).
       An unsourced article by Philip Strick found in AMPAS Library files stated that Antonioni and Ponti had spent two years working on a film called Technically Sweet, which would have required multiple expeditions up the Amazon river. However, Ponti deemed the location too dangerous and gave Antonioni the script for Fatal Exit. With only six weeks to prepare, Antonioni and actor Jack Nicholson flew to Germany. There, they changed the title to The Reporter. However, when Antonioni learned of the ... More Less

       The 11 May 1974 LAHExam noted that the film, which was originally titled Fatal Exit, then Profession: Reporter, was now titled The Passenger.
       A 9 Aug 1973 DV news brief claimed that actress Susan George flew from Los Angeles, CA, to Barcelona, Spain, to play the role of “the girl” only to find actress Maria Schneider, who was director Michelangelo Antonioni’s original choice, had replaced her. The piece also stated that Faye Dunaway was initially cast in the part of “Rachel.”
       In a 29 Aug 1973 HR news item, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s (MGM) vice president of production, Daniel Melnick, announced that MGM had signed an agreement with producer Carlo Ponti, whereupon MGM would receive worldwide distribution rights in exchange for fully financing the film.
       According to a 25 Oct 2005 LAT article, The Passenger was the third in a three-picture deal between director Michelangelo Antonioni, Carlo Ponti and MGM. The first was Blow-Up (1966, see entry), followed by Zabriskie Point (1970, see entry).
       An unsourced article by Philip Strick found in AMPAS Library files stated that Antonioni and Ponti had spent two years working on a film called Technically Sweet, which would have required multiple expeditions up the Amazon river. However, Ponti deemed the location too dangerous and gave Antonioni the script for Fatal Exit. With only six weeks to prepare, Antonioni and actor Jack Nicholson flew to Germany. There, they changed the title to The Reporter. However, when Antonioni learned of the American television series, The Reporter (CBS, 25 Sep--18 Dec 1964), the title was changed to Profession: Reporter. This was the title used for the European release as reported in the 28 Oct 2005 NYT.
       A 29 May 1973 HR news item reported that principal photography began 19 Jun 1973 in London, England. Other locations included Algeria, Munich, Germany, and the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Malaga, Madrid, Almeria and Seville as reported in the 29 Apr 1974 HR.

      End credits include the statement: "A coproduction by Comp. Cinematografica Champion, Rome; Les Films Concordia, Paris; C.I.P.I. Cinematografica, Madrid."
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Apr 1975
p. 4774.
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 May 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 1973
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 1973
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1975
p. 18.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
11 May 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Apr 1975
Section IV, p. 1, 18.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 2005.
---
New York Times
10 Apr 1975
p. 46.
New York Times
28 Oct 2005.
---
Variety
19 Mar 1975
p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
a Carlo Ponti production
a film by Michelangelo Antonioni
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
Asst prod mgr, England
Asst prod mgr, England
Asst prod mgr, Spain
Asst prod mgr, Germany
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir, England
Asst dir, Spain
Asst dir, Germany
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Stillman
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus adv
MAKEUP
Make-up
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Continuity
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Fatal Exit
Profession: Reporter
Release Date:
1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 April 1975
Production Date:
began 19 June 1973 in Algeria, Germany and Spain
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 April 1975
Copyright Number:
LP44546
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
124
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Italy, France, Spain, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24079
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

British journalist David Locke, spends all day in a futile attempt to find a rebel base in the desert region of Chad, Africa. His jeep breaks down, forcing him to hike miles to get back to his primitive hotel. Once there, he goes to the room of David Robertson, a man he met a few days before. Locke discovers Robertson dead from an apparent heart attack. Instead of calling authorities, Locke searches the room and finds Robertson’s airline ticket, passport and an airport locker key. While listening to a conversation he accidentally tape recorded with Robertson while they discussed the shallowness of being a reporter, Locke switches Robertson’s passport photograph with his. Locke then moves Robertson’s body into his own room before telling the desk clerk that “Mr. Locke” has died. After convincing the authorities that the dead man is Locke, the real Locke takes Robertson’s possessions and flies to London, England. Days later, he waits until his wife, Rachel, leaves the house before before sneaking in to obtain some papers, and discovers a note written by Rachel’s lover requesting a meeting. As he leaves the house, Locke notices a young woman reading on a nearby bench. He flies to Munich, Germany, where he uses Robertson’s airport locker key and finds papers that reveal Robertson was supplying arms to the revolutionaries in Chad. Locke leaves the airport, unaware that two men are following him. He drives into the city and sees a white horse-drawn carriage decorated in flowers. On a whim, he follows it to a church where a wedding is in progress. After the ceremony, ... +


British journalist David Locke, spends all day in a futile attempt to find a rebel base in the desert region of Chad, Africa. His jeep breaks down, forcing him to hike miles to get back to his primitive hotel. Once there, he goes to the room of David Robertson, a man he met a few days before. Locke discovers Robertson dead from an apparent heart attack. Instead of calling authorities, Locke searches the room and finds Robertson’s airline ticket, passport and an airport locker key. While listening to a conversation he accidentally tape recorded with Robertson while they discussed the shallowness of being a reporter, Locke switches Robertson’s passport photograph with his. Locke then moves Robertson’s body into his own room before telling the desk clerk that “Mr. Locke” has died. After convincing the authorities that the dead man is Locke, the real Locke takes Robertson’s possessions and flies to London, England. Days later, he waits until his wife, Rachel, leaves the house before before sneaking in to obtain some papers, and discovers a note written by Rachel’s lover requesting a meeting. As he leaves the house, Locke notices a young woman reading on a nearby bench. He flies to Munich, Germany, where he uses Robertson’s airport locker key and finds papers that reveal Robertson was supplying arms to the revolutionaries in Chad. Locke leaves the airport, unaware that two men are following him. He drives into the city and sees a white horse-drawn carriage decorated in flowers. On a whim, he follows it to a church where a wedding is in progress. After the ceremony, Locke sits in the empty church as the two men from the airport, Achebe, a Chadian rebel, and another man with a German accent, arrive and ask why he did not make contact with them in the airport. Playing along, Locke says he felt he was being followed. Thinking Locke is Robertson, Achebe thanks him for supporting the rebellion and warns him that enemy agents may attempt to interfere with him. Achebe gives Locke a large envelope, and explains that the second installment will be paid in Barcelona, Spain. After the men depart, Locke opens the envelope and discovers a large bundle of cash. Meanwhile, Rachel visits Martin Knight, Locke’s producer, concerning a documentary Martin wishes to make about her “dead” husband. After viewing the footage of Locke’s last interview with the president of Chad, Rachel explains she was at that interview and felt that Locke too readily accepted the president’s lies. Martin asks if Rachel and Locke were in love, and she replies that they loved each other but were unable to make each other happy. Before she goes, Rachel asks Martin to help find a man named Robertson, who was with Locke when he died. Back in Germany, Locke peruses Robertson’s appointment calendar, which reveals the address and date for the Barcelona meeting. In London, Rachel telephones Martin from her lover’s flat, only to be told by his secretary that Martin has tracked Robertson’s location and has flown to Spain to talk to him. Days later, Locke sits on a park bench, but no one shows up for the scheduled meeting. Instead, Locke spends the day talking about the tragedy of life with an old Spaniard in a botanical garden. The next day, he spots Martin and ducks into a museum. There he is surprised to see “reading girl.” He tells her he is trying to disappear, and she invites him to spend the day “disappearing” with her. Locke declines, and when he turns in his rental car, he is given a note from Martin requesting a meeting with Robertson. Seeing that Martin is staying at the same hotel he is, Locke buys a car, finds the girl from the museum, gives her his car keys and pays her to collect his things. At the hotel, Martin sees the girl enter Robertson’s room, and asks her to lead him to Mr. Robertson. She tells him to follow her in a taxi, then loses him in traffic. After bringing Locke his things, the girl decides to accompany him out of the city. Locke confesses he is running away from his past life and has somehow become a gunrunner, and the girl says she is traveling Europe studying architecture. That night, they find a hotel and make love. Back in London, Rachel goes to the Chad embassy to retrieve Locke’s belongings and learns that Robertson was an arms dealer, but there is no evidence he harmed Locke. Returning home, Rachel opens Locke’s passport and sees Robertson’s picture. Determined to get answers, she flies to Spain to ask for police help. As she leaves the police station, two men follow her. Meanwhile, Locke and the girl drive to the Plaza de Iglesia to keep Robertson’s next meeting, only to find it empty. Locke tells his companion that he is giving up searching for the story. She tells him she is leaving and gets in a car with another man. Locke follows and stops the other car. The girl returns to him without saying another word. Over dinner, he tells the girl he saw her in London, but she denies it. Before he can respond, however, a waiter informs him that a policeman is asking for him. Outside, the girl translates that the police have been told to bring Locke’s car back to their station, but have no orders pertaining to his person. The girl volunteers to go with police and returns with news that Rachel is looking for Robertson. Deciding to lay low, Locke and the girl go to a hotel, only to find Rachel in a phone booth. Rachel sees them as they drive away and soon, Locke is chased by police, but eludes them by driving into some bushes, breaking the car’s oil pan. Locke and the girl make it to the port city of Algeciras, where she convinces him to keep Robertson’s last appointment. He agrees, but only if she takes a ship to Tangiers and waits for him there. He makes it to the meeting place, but finds the building closed. As he returns to his car, he spies two policemen waiting for him. He abandons the car and hitchhikes to a nearby hotel, and discovers the girl has already registered them in as husband and wife. He tells the girl about a man who was blind from birth and was surgically given sight when he was forty. At first the man was elated, but after seeing how ugly and dirty the world was he committed suicide. He kisses the girl, then sends her away. As he naps, she goes outside and passes the two men who followed Rachel. One man enters the hotel, while the other talks to the girl, then drives off. Soon, police cars arrive with Rachel. The girl rushes to Locke’s room, but the door is locked. When the innkeeper opens the door, they find Locke dead. Police ask Rachel if the dead man is Robertson, but she replies, “I never knew him.” +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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