Buddy Buddy (1981)

R | 98 mins | Comedy | 11 December 1981

Director:

Billy Wilder

Producer:

Jay Weston

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling, Jr.

Editor:

Argyle Nelson

Production Designer:

Daniel A. Lomino

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film is based on the French and Italian film L’Emmerdeur which, according to the 20 Apr 1980 LAHEXam, was released in the United States as A Pain in the A, and the working title of Buddy Buddy was A Pain in the A. The film’s correct title is Buddy Buddy, although it has alternately been referred to as Buddy, Buddy.
       The following written statements are included in the end credits: “Our thanks to the City, and Officials of Riverside, California, for their unstinting cooperation,” “’Erotic Art of China,’ courtesy of Artabras, Inc.” and “Television equipment courtesy of Muntz Electronics.”
       An item in 8 Sep 1980 DV reported that the start of production on Buddy Buddy was postponed until Walter Matthau finished filming First Monday in October (1981, see entry), which had been postponed by the Screen Actors Guild strike.
       According to production notes from AMPAS library files, filming began on 4 Feb 1981 at the MGM Studios lot in Culver City, CA. The film was also shot in Riverside, CA where the production team built the façade of a hotel across the street from the courthouse. Interior scenes were also shot in Riverside’s Mission Inn, a national historical monument. Other Southern California locations included the cities of Santa Monica, Hollywood, Agoura and Los Angeles. Buddy Buddy finished filming on location in Hawaii in early May 1981.
       The 10 Apr 1981 LAHExam noted that Walter Matthau injured his neck in an accident during filming at MGM Studios, and ... More Less

The film is based on the French and Italian film L’Emmerdeur which, according to the 20 Apr 1980 LAHEXam, was released in the United States as A Pain in the A, and the working title of Buddy Buddy was A Pain in the A. The film’s correct title is Buddy Buddy, although it has alternately been referred to as Buddy, Buddy.
       The following written statements are included in the end credits: “Our thanks to the City, and Officials of Riverside, California, for their unstinting cooperation,” “’Erotic Art of China,’ courtesy of Artabras, Inc.” and “Television equipment courtesy of Muntz Electronics.”
       An item in 8 Sep 1980 DV reported that the start of production on Buddy Buddy was postponed until Walter Matthau finished filming First Monday in October (1981, see entry), which had been postponed by the Screen Actors Guild strike.
       According to production notes from AMPAS library files, filming began on 4 Feb 1981 at the MGM Studios lot in Culver City, CA. The film was also shot in Riverside, CA where the production team built the façade of a hotel across the street from the courthouse. Interior scenes were also shot in Riverside’s Mission Inn, a national historical monument. Other Southern California locations included the cities of Santa Monica, Hollywood, Agoura and Los Angeles. Buddy Buddy finished filming on location in Hawaii in early May 1981.
       The 10 Apr 1981 LAHExam noted that Walter Matthau injured his neck in an accident during filming at MGM Studios, and was taken to the hospital. Matthau’s neck was bruised, but he was cleared to return to work the following week. According to production notes, the final few days of filming in Hawaii were delayed by overcast weather. A Hawaiian cast member suggested that producer Jay Weston hire a “kahana,” a Hawaiian medicine man. Reportedly, the day after the kahana performed his ceremony, the weather changed and production was finished within two days.
       The 14 May 1981 HR announced that sixteen films were scheduled to be released during December 1981, making it the highest number of Christmas releases in several years. On 8 Dec 1981, Buddy Buddy held two simultaneous charity premieres at the Avco Cinema Center Theater in Westwood, CA and at Edward’s Newport Cinema in Newport Beach, CA. The 10 Dec 1981 LAT noted that the benefit premieres raised $250 thousand for the American Diabetes Association. Buddy Buddy opened on 11 Dec 1981.
       The 3 Nov 1999 DV reported that, during preparations for an Academy retrospective of twenty-seven films honoring director Billy Wilder, Buddy Buddy producer Jay Weston stated that few people had seen the film because it was released with twenty-three other films during the Christmas season, and MGM pulled it from major distribution by New Year’s Eve.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Sep 1980.
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1999.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1981
p. 9.
LAHExam
20 Apr 1980.
---
LAHExam
10 Apr 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1981
p. 1.
New York Times
11 Dec 1981
p. 12.
Variety
9 Dec 1981
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
An Alain Bernheim/Jay Weston Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
Key grip
Process coord
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Loc auditor
Scr supv
Prod secy
Asst to the prod
Secy to Mr. Wilder
Tech advisor
Loc, Hawaii crew
Prod coord, Hawaii crew
Casting, Hawaii crew
Television equip courtesy of
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the French and Italian film L'Emmerdeur written by Francis Veber (Les Films Ariane, Mondex Films and Oceania Produzioni Internazionali Cinematografiche, 1973) and the play Le contrat by Francis Veber (production date undetermined).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Cecilia," written by Dave Dreyer and Herman Ruby, sung by Michael Dees, arranged by Pete Rugolo.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
A Pain in the A
Release Date:
11 December 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 11 December 1981
Production Date:
4 February- early May 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Company
Copyright Date:
21 December 1981
Copyright Number:
PA123119
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Middle-aged hitman Trabucco, disguised as a mailman, plants an explosive package in the mailbox of Schuster, one of three witnesses against a mobster. Schuster’s mail explodes as Trabucco strolls off. Later, police captain Hubris arrives at the home of the second witness, Barney Pritzig. As officers search for possible intruders, Pritzig brings in his milk from the front porch. Disguised as a milkman, Trabucco drives away while Pritzig drinks the poisoned milk and dies. Hubris tightens security around the remaining witness, Rudy “Disco” Gambola, who is scheduled to testify at California’s Riverside County Courthouse at 2:00 p.m. As Trabucco drives to Riverside, he stops for gas where he meets a nervous man named Victor Clooney. In town, Trabucco checks into a hotel, and, as he goes to his room overlooking the courthouse steps, he makes note of the laundry chute’s location. Meanwhile, Clooney checks into the room next to Trabucco’s. Clooney unpacks champagne, asks Eddie, the bell boy, to bring glasses, then calls his estranged wife, Celia, but she refuses to see him and insists their marriage is over. Distraught, Clooney writes a suicide note. He rips a cord from the curtains and tries to hang himself in the bathroom, but his weight breaks the pipe. He falls into the tub and water floods the room. Eddie arrives with glasses, shuts off the water, and dials the police. However, Trabucco arrives to investigate the commotion, convinces Eddie that Clooney needs sympathy, and pays him not to call the police. After Eddie leaves, Clooney tells Trabucco that Celia, a researcher for CBS television, was investigating ... +


Middle-aged hitman Trabucco, disguised as a mailman, plants an explosive package in the mailbox of Schuster, one of three witnesses against a mobster. Schuster’s mail explodes as Trabucco strolls off. Later, police captain Hubris arrives at the home of the second witness, Barney Pritzig. As officers search for possible intruders, Pritzig brings in his milk from the front porch. Disguised as a milkman, Trabucco drives away while Pritzig drinks the poisoned milk and dies. Hubris tightens security around the remaining witness, Rudy “Disco” Gambola, who is scheduled to testify at California’s Riverside County Courthouse at 2:00 p.m. As Trabucco drives to Riverside, he stops for gas where he meets a nervous man named Victor Clooney. In town, Trabucco checks into a hotel, and, as he goes to his room overlooking the courthouse steps, he makes note of the laundry chute’s location. Meanwhile, Clooney checks into the room next to Trabucco’s. Clooney unpacks champagne, asks Eddie, the bell boy, to bring glasses, then calls his estranged wife, Celia, but she refuses to see him and insists their marriage is over. Distraught, Clooney writes a suicide note. He rips a cord from the curtains and tries to hang himself in the bathroom, but his weight breaks the pipe. He falls into the tub and water floods the room. Eddie arrives with glasses, shuts off the water, and dials the police. However, Trabucco arrives to investigate the commotion, convinces Eddie that Clooney needs sympathy, and pays him not to call the police. After Eddie leaves, Clooney tells Trabucco that Celia, a researcher for CBS television, was investigating Dr. Zuckerbrot at the nearby Institute for Sexual Fulfillment when she fell in love with the doctor and left Clooney. Trabucco does not care if Clooney commits suicide, but asks him to do it elsewhere because he is working in the next room. When Clooney threatens to attempt suicide again unless Trabucco calls Celia, the hitman gags Clooney, ties him up, and returns to his room to assemble his rifle. The maid arrives to mop up the water in Clooney’s bathroom, oblivious to his situation. After she leaves, Clooney maneuvers to an electric wall heater, turns it on and burns the ropes from his arms. Trabucco rushes in and finds Clooney outside on a window ledge. Trabucco is worried about the police, but Clooney will only come inside for Celia, so Trabucco agrees to call her. Meanwhile, a young police officer notices Clooney but advises his colleagues not to leave their posts because Hubris warned them not to be tricked by diversions. Meanwhile, Trabucco calls the Institute, but reaches Zuckerbrot instead of Celia. Although Zuckerbrot thinks Clooney should jump off the ledge and hangs up, Trabucco pretends he is talking to Celia and implies that she wants Clooney to visit her. Trabucco offers to drive Clooney to the Institute. While Clooney changes into dry clothes, Trabucco goes back to his room, disassembles the rifle and hides it. He pockets a handgun and grabs Clooney’s suicide note as they leave. Trabucco claims he is taking a “shortcut” while driving, but he stops in a deserted spot and suggests the nervous Clooney throw up before he sees Celia. When Clooney agrees, Trabucco slips the suicide note into Clooney’s pocket and aims to shoot the unsuspecting man, but police sirens interrupt him. Two motorcycle officers, escorting a decrepit car, pull up. A pregnant woman is about to give birth and they need a car that is capable of getting to a hospital. Clooney helps the couple into Trabucoo’s car and they drive to the nearest clinic, which happens to be the Institute for Sexual Fulfillment. Trabucco races back toward the hotel. The clinic’s receptionist will not let Clooney see Celia, but he sneaks inside to find Celia, who demands to know if Clooney will give her a difficult time in getting a divorce. He insists there will be no divorce; a widow does not need one. He hands her the suicide note and leaves. Celia convinces Zuckerbrot to help her save Clooney, whose suicide note blames them and might lead to an investigation of the clinic. Meanwhile, Trabucco puts on a priest’s collar before reaching a police roadblock and Hubris lets him through. Back in his hotel room, Trabucco reassembles his rifle and sets it on a tripod. Meanwhile, Clooney returns to the hotel and buys several cans of lighter fluid. Trabucco hears Clooney return to his room and investigates. Thanking Trabucco for being his friend, Clooney plans to climb to the roof, set himself on fire and jump. As Clooney goes out onto the fire escape, Trabucco tries to stop him, but he is knocked out when the window sash drops on his head. Outside, Celia drops off Zuckerbrot and parks the car. Across the street, Hubris notices Clooney on the ledge and heads into the hotel. At the front desk, Eddie tells Zuckerbrot and Hubris that Clooney is suicidal, and Zuckerbrot insists on treating him alone. Meanwhile, Clooney drags Trabucco onto his bed, then goes to Trabucco’s room for a wet cloth since the water in his own room is still shut off. Zuckerbrot rushes in and mistakes Trabucco for Clooney. As Zuckerbrot gives Trabucco a shot of thorazine, Clooney returns and Celia rushes in with a straight jacket. Clooney is mad that Celia planned to incarcerate him for insanity, vows that he is finished with her, and orders them to leave. Trabucco, dazed, sits up and realizes he needs to come to before he can kill Gambola. Across town, Hubris picks up the witness and orders him to change clothes with a police officer so they can sneak him into the courthouse. In the hotel room, Trabucco sniffs lighter fluid to wake up, but he remains dizzy. Clooney realizes Trabucco is a hitman and tries to talk him out of the murder, but Trabucco insists that Gambola is no good. Furthermore, Trabucco will be killed if he does not complete his assignment. He claims this is his last hit and he plans to retire to a tropical island. Clooney feels guilty for interfering with Trabucco’s work and offers to do the job himself. As police lead the decoy up the courthouse steps, Clooney shoots, hitting an officer and missing the fake Gambola, so Trabucco thinks the job is botched. Police shoot at the hotel room as Clooney and Trabucco run down the hall, dive into the laundry chute and escape. Trabucco slips on a priest’s collar as they drive out of the building; however, Hubris stops them and asks Trabucco to give last rites to his dying “officer.” Before Trabucco gets out of the car, he orders Clooney to leave and save himself. Trabucco sees the dying “officer” is actually Gambola, and is pleased that the hit is complete. Later, Trabucco lounges on a tropical island when Clooney arrives in a small boat. Trabucco orders him to go away, but Clooney is on the run after blowing up Zuckerbrot’s clinic. As Clooney makes himself at home, Trabucco wonders how to kill him. +

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

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