The Competition (1980)

PG | 129 mins | Romance | 3 December 1980

Director:

Joel Oliansky

Cinematographer:

Richard Kline

Editor:

David Blewitt

Production Designer:

Dale Hennesy

Production Company:

Rastar Films
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HISTORY

The summary for this unviewed film was based on the following movie reviews from the Dec 1980 Film Journal, 3 Dec 1980 NYT, 15 Dec 1980 Time, Jan 1981 Box, and 22 Feb 1981 Albuquerque Journal. Cast and crew credits were available courtesy of AMPAS library files, although they may be incomplete, and not entirely reflect what appears onscreen.
       According to a 16 Dec 1980 ^DV article, writer-director Joel Oliansky had a relationship with producer William Sackheim at Rastar Film Productions, writing for television series and made-for-television movies when he was approached to direct his first feature film. Rastar president Ray Stark commissioned Oliansky to create an original screenplay, combining a love story with “good music.”
       As reported in the 23 Jan 1981 HR, music consultant, Jean Evensen Shaw, worked with actors, Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving, to give them a foundation in concert piano technique. She began drilling the performers almost three months before the start of principal photography. While Irving had studied piano as a child, Dreyfuss was a novice with no previous exposure to piano or classical music history. Evensen Shaw said that early on, Dreyfuss’ struggled with coordination, and possessed smaller hands than those typical of concert performers. Dreyfuss’ practice sessions continued throughout the three months of filming when Evensen Shaw would corral the actor between takes for extra rehearsals.
       A 11 Mar 1980 HR news item announced that principal photography began in San Francisco, CA, on 20 Feb 1980. The 16 Dec 1980 DV stated that the film’s budget was $10.1 million.
       The ... More Less

The summary for this unviewed film was based on the following movie reviews from the Dec 1980 Film Journal, 3 Dec 1980 NYT, 15 Dec 1980 Time, Jan 1981 Box, and 22 Feb 1981 Albuquerque Journal. Cast and crew credits were available courtesy of AMPAS library files, although they may be incomplete, and not entirely reflect what appears onscreen.
       According to a 16 Dec 1980 ^DV article, writer-director Joel Oliansky had a relationship with producer William Sackheim at Rastar Film Productions, writing for television series and made-for-television movies when he was approached to direct his first feature film. Rastar president Ray Stark commissioned Oliansky to create an original screenplay, combining a love story with “good music.”
       As reported in the 23 Jan 1981 HR, music consultant, Jean Evensen Shaw, worked with actors, Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving, to give them a foundation in concert piano technique. She began drilling the performers almost three months before the start of principal photography. While Irving had studied piano as a child, Dreyfuss was a novice with no previous exposure to piano or classical music history. Evensen Shaw said that early on, Dreyfuss’ struggled with coordination, and possessed smaller hands than those typical of concert performers. Dreyfuss’ practice sessions continued throughout the three months of filming when Evensen Shaw would corral the actor between takes for extra rehearsals.
       A 11 Mar 1980 HR news item announced that principal photography began in San Francisco, CA, on 20 Feb 1980. The 16 Dec 1980 DV stated that the film’s budget was $10.1 million.
       The 23 Jan 1981 HR reported that the actors were able to achieve verisimilitude in their musical performances with the aid of a Fender-Rhodes silent keyboard. Evensen Shaw coached the thespians in the correct hand movements, and prerecorded music was piped in through a sound system. When the actors synched their silent playing with the actual music the illusion was complete. Lalo Shiffrin was responsible for choosing the pianists that prerecorded the musical passages used.
       Although the film was originally scheduled for a 1981 release, Oliansky received permission to release the picture earlier so that it would qualify for Academy Award nominations, according to the 16 Dec 1980 DV.
       The film was nominated for two Academy Awards in the following categories: Film Editing, and Music (Original Song) – “People Alone.”
       The 10 Dec 1980 LAT and the 16 Dec 1980 DV stated that the movie marked Oliansky’s feature film directorial debut.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Albuquerque Journal
22 Feb 1981
Section D, p. 10.
Box Office
Jan 1981.
---
Daily Variety
16 Dec 1980.
---
Film Journal
Dec 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 1980
p. 4, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 1981
p. 14, 64.
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1980
p. 1, 6.
New York Times
3 Dec 1980
p. 27.
Time
15 Dec 1980
p. 68.
Variety
3 Dec 1980
p. 24, 26.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Philip Sterling
French Sailors:
Consulate Aides:
[and]
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures presents
A Rastar-William Sackheim Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop man
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's costumer
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Orig mus
Piano instructor/Mus consultant
Conducting coach
Asst piano instructor
SOUND
Prod mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff
Burbank Editorial Service, Inc.
Sd eff
Burbank Editorial Service, Inc.
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to the prod
Prod's secy
Dir's secy
Transportation
Transportation
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
MUSIC
Ginastera, "Sonata For Piano," Eduardo Delgado, pianist
Brahms,"Piano Concerto No. 1," Ralph Grierson, pianist
"Chopin Piano Concerto In E Minor," Lincoln Mayorga, pianist
+
MUSIC
Ginastera, "Sonata For Piano," Eduardo Delgado, pianist
Brahms,"Piano Concerto No. 1," Ralph Grierson, pianist
"Chopin Piano Concerto In E Minor," Lincoln Mayorga, pianist
Prokofiev, "Piano Concerto No. 3," Daniel Pollack, pianist
Beethoven, "Piano Concerto No. 5," Chester B. Swiatowski, pianist.
+
SONGS
"People Alone," music by Lalo Schifrin, lyrics by Wilbur Jennings, sung by Randy Crawford.
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 December 1980
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 3 December 1980
Los Angeles opening: 10 December 1980
Production Date:
began 20 February 1980 in San Francisco, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Rastar Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 December 1980
Copyright Number:
PA88030
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
129
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Heidi Schoonover, a twenty-one-year-old piano prodigy, falls in love with Paul Dietrich, a competing thirty-year-old pianist, during an international competition that will launch one musician’s concert career. A cash prize and a chance to play with major orchestras await the winner. If Paul fails to place first, his dream of a concert career will be over and he will be consigned to the life of a public school music teacher. Much less pressure exists for Heidi as the two pianists advance to the final along with Michael Humphries, a wealthy, black American expatriate based in Italy, Jerry DiSalvo, an arrogant rival who is more Liberace than Liszt, Mark Landau, an average contender, and a Russian named Tatiana Baronov, whose confidence falters when her coach orchestrates her own kidnapping to gain asylum in the West. Paul ignores Heidi’s flirtations, but then succumbs. The end result is a role reversal in which Paul must resolve his feelings for Heidi, and confront the reality that she is the bigger ... +


Heidi Schoonover, a twenty-one-year-old piano prodigy, falls in love with Paul Dietrich, a competing thirty-year-old pianist, during an international competition that will launch one musician’s concert career. A cash prize and a chance to play with major orchestras await the winner. If Paul fails to place first, his dream of a concert career will be over and he will be consigned to the life of a public school music teacher. Much less pressure exists for Heidi as the two pianists advance to the final along with Michael Humphries, a wealthy, black American expatriate based in Italy, Jerry DiSalvo, an arrogant rival who is more Liberace than Liszt, Mark Landau, an average contender, and a Russian named Tatiana Baronov, whose confidence falters when her coach orchestrates her own kidnapping to gain asylum in the West. Paul ignores Heidi’s flirtations, but then succumbs. The end result is a role reversal in which Paul must resolve his feelings for Heidi, and confront the reality that she is the bigger talent. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.