Biloxi Blues (1988)

PG-13 | 107 mins | Comedy, Drama | 25 March 1988

Director:

Mike Nichols

Writer:

Neil Simon

Producer:

Ray Stark

Cinematographer:

Bill Butler

Editor:

Sam O'Steen

Production Designer:

Paul Sylbert

Production Company:

Rastar
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HISTORY

After opening credits, a voice-over narration by actor Matthew Broderick in the role of “Eugene Morris Jerome” is heard: “I don’t think much about the ‘big war’ anymore, the one they call the Second One, because the small wars that came after it seem a lot bigger now than the big war was. Most people today look back at the big one with sort of fond memories. It was, in a sense, an okay war. We knew why we were fighting it, and we felt pretty proud of ourselves for being in it. We liked the songs. We liked the uniforms. We liked the girls. We liked that everyone liked us. So looking back it really was one of your better wars, except if you were just a kid--the year out of high school--heading south on a troop train, knowing that in two months you’d be in some mud hole fighting for you life.” Voice-over narration continues throughout the film.
       The picture is based on playwright Neil Simon’s play, Biloxi Blues. According to articles in the 10 Dec 1984 LAT and 15 Dec 1984 LAT, the play premiered on 8 Dec 1984 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, and ran until 2 Feb 1985. Biloxi Blues, opened on 28 Mar 1985 at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York, NY, and closed on 28 Jun 1986. The play received the 1985 Tony Award for Best Play. The play is the second entry of Simon’s “Eugene Trilogy,” set between Brighton Beach Memoirs, first performed ... More Less

After opening credits, a voice-over narration by actor Matthew Broderick in the role of “Eugene Morris Jerome” is heard: “I don’t think much about the ‘big war’ anymore, the one they call the Second One, because the small wars that came after it seem a lot bigger now than the big war was. Most people today look back at the big one with sort of fond memories. It was, in a sense, an okay war. We knew why we were fighting it, and we felt pretty proud of ourselves for being in it. We liked the songs. We liked the uniforms. We liked the girls. We liked that everyone liked us. So looking back it really was one of your better wars, except if you were just a kid--the year out of high school--heading south on a troop train, knowing that in two months you’d be in some mud hole fighting for you life.” Voice-over narration continues throughout the film.
       The picture is based on playwright Neil Simon’s play, Biloxi Blues. According to articles in the 10 Dec 1984 LAT and 15 Dec 1984 LAT, the play premiered on 8 Dec 1984 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, and ran until 2 Feb 1985. Biloxi Blues, opened on 28 Mar 1985 at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York, NY, and closed on 28 Jun 1986. The play received the 1985 Tony Award for Best Play. The play is the second entry of Simon’s “Eugene Trilogy,” set between Brighton Beach Memoirs, first performed on 2 Feb 1983, and Broadway Bound, first performed on 6 Oct 1986.
       The film is a sequel to Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986, see entry).
       Before the play’s premiere, the 29 Oct 1984 HR and 31 Oct 1984 Var noted that Rastar Productions and Universal Pictures would adapt both Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues into films.
       Although a 25 Feb 1987 Var item reported that principal photography was scheduled to start on 15 Apr 1987, the 24 Apr 1987 DV production chart listed a start date of 20 Apr 1987. Production notes in AMPAS library files note that filming actually began on 18 Apr 1987 in Arkansas. Locations included: Barling, AK; Charleston, AK; Fort Chaffee, AK; Fort Smith, AK; and Van Buren, AK.
       Actors Matthew Broderick and Matt Mulhern, and actress Penelope Ann Miller reprised their roles from the New York stage production for the film. Production notes state that filming wrapped on 24 Jun 1987. The picture’s budget was reported as being $17 million by a 16 Dec 1987 Var article.
       The 12 Feb 1987 HR reported the film was anticipated to be released during the 1987 Christmas season. However, a 1 Oct 1987 Exhibitor Relations Co., Inc. press release listed a release date of 5 Feb 1988.
       According to the 25 Mar 1988 HR, the film premiered on 18 Mar 1988 in Fort Smith, AK. The picture was formally released on 25 Mar 1988, as noted in the 26 Mar 1988 LAT. According to the 29 Mar 1988 LAT, Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues placed first at the box-office during its opening weekend, taking in $7.1 million on 1,239 screens.
       End credits state: “Special Thanks to: Department of Defense; Department of the Army; Fort Chaffee, Arkansas; Fort Smith, Chamber of Commerce; The Citizens of Fort Smith and Van Buren, Arkansas; The Arkansas Motion Picture Development Office; Hank Larsen, Jr.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1987
p. 12.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1987
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1988
p. 3, 35.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1984
Section G, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1984
Section F, p. 1, 4.
Los Angeles Times
25 Mar 1988
Calendar, p. 1, 28.
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1988
Section E, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
29 Mar 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
25 Mar 1988
Section C, p. 1, 23.
Variety
31 Oct 1984
p. 3.
Variety
25 Feb 1987
p. 446.
Variety
16 Dec 1987
p. 30.
Variety
23 Mar 1988
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Rastar Production
A Mike Nichols Film
From Rastar
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Steadicam asst
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Rigging grip
Aerial photog
Aerial 1st asst
Lighting and grip equip supplied by
Video
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst to prod des
Storyboard
FILM EDITORS
Assoc film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Post prod facilities provided by
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Const coord
Chief carpenter
Head const grip
Const grip
Scenic chargeman
Prop master
Props
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
Ward asst
MUSIC
Asst mus ed
Rec eng
Musician's contractor
Source mus supv by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
ADR supv
ADR asst
Re-rec mixer
Sd transfers by
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title des
Opt layout
Process compositing by
MAKEUP
Hair & makeup des
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Orig broadway production prod by
Scr supv
Gunsmith
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Auditing dept asst
Payroll auditor
Loc liaison (Arkansas)
Asst liaison (Arkansas)
Asst loc mgr
Asst to Mike Nichols
Prod secy
Helicopter pilot
Tech adv
Tech adv
Asst to Juliet Taylor
Extras casting, The Agency
Extras casting
Unit pub
Army government relations
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Payroll
Trains provided by
Trains provided by, Fantasia Trains/Ree
Steam locomotive provided by
Casting/Extras
Prod asst
Projectionist
Transportation
Cini/vehicles
Cini/vehicles
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Biloxi Blues by Neil Simon (New York, 28 Mar 1985).
AUTHOR
SONGS
“How High The Moon,” written by Nancy Hamilton and William Lewis, performed by Pat Suzuki, courtesy of RCA Records
“Bourbon Street Parade,” written and performed by Paul Barbarin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Fellow On A Furlough,” written by Bobby Worth, performed by Mark Warnow and His Orchestra, courtesy of Radio Yesteryear
+
SONGS
“How High The Moon,” written by Nancy Hamilton and William Lewis, performed by Pat Suzuki, courtesy of RCA Records
“Bourbon Street Parade,” written and performed by Paul Barbarin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Fellow On A Furlough,” written by Bobby Worth, performed by Mark Warnow and His Orchestra, courtesy of Radio Yesteryear
“Blue Moon,” written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, performed Jo Stafford and Her V-Disc Playboys, courtesy of Radio Yesteryear
“Marie,” written by Irving Berlin, performed by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, courtesy of RCA Records
“Solitude,” written by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills and Eddie DeLange, performed by The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, courtesy of Circle Records
“Brass Boogie,” written by Phil Moore, performed by Bob Crosby and His Orchestra, courtesy of MCA Records
“Goodbye Dear, I’ll Be Back In A Year,” written by Mack Kay, performed by Dick Robertson and His Orchestra, courtesy of Radio Yesteryear.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues
Release Date:
25 March 1988
Premiere Information:
Premiere in Fort Smith, AK: 18 March 1988
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 March 1988
Production Date:
18 April--24 June 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 August 1988
Copyright Number:
PA376433
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
107
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28995
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1945 during World War II, aspiring writer Eugene Morris Jerome, a young Jewish man from Brooklyn, New York, is drafted into the United States Army and sent to Biloxi, Mississippi, for ten weeks of basic training. Upon arrival, Eugene and members of his platoon, including Joseph Wykowski, Arnold Epstein, Roy Selridge, Donald Carney, and James J. Hennesey, are introduced to their sergeant Merwin J. Toomey. During the first days of training, Toomey orders the men to perform grueling tasks, and punishes others by performing hundreds of pushups. Finding Toomey’s demeanor and tactics strange and eccentric, Eugene writes his thoughts about his sergeant in his journal. One evening, Eugene, Carney, Wykowski, Epstein, Selridge and Hennesey bet who has the most creative way they could spend their last week alive if they knew they would be killed in action. Carney would sing at Radio City Music Hall and get a recording contact. Selridge declares he would make love to the world’s seven richest women and receive one million dollars from each of them. Hennesey would spend time with his family. Wykowski would sleep with the Queen of England. Epstein confesses he would make Toomey do two hundred pushups in front of the platoon. Finally, Eugene says he would do three things: lose his virginity, win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and fall in love with the “perfect girl.” After the men decide Epstein’s fantasy wins the bet, Wykowski complains that since Epstein is Jewish, he always wants money. Frustrated, Epstein threatens to fight Wykowski, but Toomey stops them. After Toomey leaves, Eugene regrets not standing up ... +


In 1945 during World War II, aspiring writer Eugene Morris Jerome, a young Jewish man from Brooklyn, New York, is drafted into the United States Army and sent to Biloxi, Mississippi, for ten weeks of basic training. Upon arrival, Eugene and members of his platoon, including Joseph Wykowski, Arnold Epstein, Roy Selridge, Donald Carney, and James J. Hennesey, are introduced to their sergeant Merwin J. Toomey. During the first days of training, Toomey orders the men to perform grueling tasks, and punishes others by performing hundreds of pushups. Finding Toomey’s demeanor and tactics strange and eccentric, Eugene writes his thoughts about his sergeant in his journal. One evening, Eugene, Carney, Wykowski, Epstein, Selridge and Hennesey bet who has the most creative way they could spend their last week alive if they knew they would be killed in action. Carney would sing at Radio City Music Hall and get a recording contact. Selridge declares he would make love to the world’s seven richest women and receive one million dollars from each of them. Hennesey would spend time with his family. Wykowski would sleep with the Queen of England. Epstein confesses he would make Toomey do two hundred pushups in front of the platoon. Finally, Eugene says he would do three things: lose his virginity, win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and fall in love with the “perfect girl.” After the men decide Epstein’s fantasy wins the bet, Wykowski complains that since Epstein is Jewish, he always wants money. Frustrated, Epstein threatens to fight Wykowski, but Toomey stops them. After Toomey leaves, Eugene regrets not standing up for Epstein. However, he decides it is safer to remain neutral. During the third week, the men are given two-day passes to leave base. Selridge tells Eugene he is going to see a prostitute named Rowena in town. Just then, Wykowski says his money was stolen from his footlocker, and accuses Epstein. After Toomey is informed of the theft, he asks for the guilty party to return the money. When no one responds, Epstein opens his wallet and places his own money on top of Wykowski’s footlocker. Afterward, Toomey announces that he stole the money as a lesson to Wykowski. Epstein tells Toomey there are better ways for the platoon to follow orders without being humiliated and intimidated. Toomey believes his methods will save the men’s lives on the battlefield. As punishment, Toomey takes away Epstein’s two-day pass. Arriving in Biloxi, Selridge leads Eugene, Carney and Wykowski to Rowena’s apartment. As Wykowski is with Rowena in her bedroom, Selridge and Carney tease Eugene about being a virgin. When Wykowski leaves and Selridge goes to see Rowena, Carney and Eugene decide to leave. However, Eugene goes back for his cap. When Selridge leaves, Rowena sees Eugene and brings him to her bed. Rowena patiently instructs him and Eugene loses his virginity. Afterward, Eugene arrives at the town’s United Service Organizations (USO) dance. Daisy Hannigan, a Catholic school student, approaches Eugene and asks him to dance. Eugene tells Daisy he wants to be a writer, and writes in his journal everyday. When Daisy asks if he will write about her, Eugene agrees to do so. After their dance, Daisy tells him she goes to school in Gulfport, Mississippi. Smitten with her, Eugene promises to visit her often. Returning to the barracks, Wykowski steals Eugene’s journal and begins to read aloud Eugene’s thoughts about his friends. Epstein takes the journal, and reads that Eugene believes him to be a homosexual. As training continues, Eugene hitchhikes to Gulfport on the weekends to spend time with Daisy, falling in love with her. Later, Toomey announces that a man from his platoon was seen fraternizing with another man, Private Lindstrom, but escaped before being identified. When no one comes forward to admit the affair, Toomey cancels all passes and privileges. After Toomey leaves, Wykowski accuses Epstein, remembering Eugene’s journal entry. The next day, Military Police arrest Hennesey for the incident with Lindstrom, surprising Eugene and the others. During the sixth week of training, Eugene and Epstein are alone in the barracks as it rains. Toomey arrives drunk and holding a pistol. Toomey orders Eugene to leave, but he refuses, fearing Toomey will kill Epstein. Instead, Toomey orders Epstein to leaves while he speaks with Eugene in his office. After Epstein leaves, Toomey confesses that tomorrow morning he will be leaving for the Veterans Hospital, but wants to turn a recruit like Eugene into a disciplined soldier before he leaves. As Toomey orders Eugene to take his weapon and arrest him, Eugene promises to forget the entire incident. However, Toomey threatens to shoot him. Though afraid, Eugene disarms Toomey. Epstein arrives with the platoon to save Eugene. Ordering the men outside, Toomey informs them that while intoxicated, he threatened Eugene, but Eugene successfully disarmed him. Epstein suggests that instead of arresting Toomey, they should order him to do pushups in the rain, in front of all the men. All the men agree, and Toomey does his pushups in the rain. The following day, Toomey leaves the base and the barracks are assigned a new sergeant. Although their new trainer is fair, Eugene and the others miss Toomey and his eccentric ways. At the end of ten weeks, Eugene says goodbye to Daisy, and leaves Biloxi to be sent into battle. However, the war ends before he and the others are shipped out. Over the years, Eugene learns what happened to his friends: Selridge stayed in the army; Wykowski became a high school football coach; Carney teaches first grade and sings in his church choir; and Epstein became the District Attorney of Brooklyn. After the war, Eugene saw Daisy in New York, and learned she was married to a doctor from New Orleans, Louisiana. Eugene, married with two daughters, became a playwright, and his newest play is titled Biloxi Blues. Recalling his time in Biloxi, Eugene decides it was the happiest time of his life, because he was young. +

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

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