Finders Keepers (1984)

R | 96 mins | Comedy, Adventure | 18 May 1984

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HISTORY

The Summary for this unviewed film was based on synopses from the Jan 1984 Monthly Film Bulletin, the 15 Dec 1984 Screen International, and 18 May 1984 reviews from the LAT and NYT.
       End credits state: “The Producers wish to thank the governments of Alberta and British Columbia and the towns and people of these provinces, and Canadian Pacific, VIA, and Canadian National Railways for their co-operation.”
       According to a 14 Jul 1975 HR brief, Joe Wizan was initially set to produce the adaptation of Charles Dennis’ 1974 novel The Next-to-Last Train Ride, as part of a four-picture contract with United Artists Corp. Milos Forman was announced as director, and Dennis would write the screenplay. The production was scheduled to begin filming late fall 1975.
       Wizan and Forman, however, did not remain with the project and, as explained in a 19 Sep 1983 HR article, the adaptation was in limbo until 1979 when husband and wife producers, Terence and Sandra Marsh, obtained the screen rights and were offered the chance to develop the property at Warner Bros. Terence Marsh was a successful production designer, who had received Academy Awards in Art Direction for Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Oliver! (1968, see entries), while his wife Sandra was an experienced talent agent who had made her producing debut with the independent feature, The Blood of Hussain (1977), as mentioned in production notes in AMPAS library files. The Next-to-Last Train Ride represented the first “major feature” producing venture for the duo and their new company, ... More Less

The Summary for this unviewed film was based on synopses from the Jan 1984 Monthly Film Bulletin, the 15 Dec 1984 Screen International, and 18 May 1984 reviews from the LAT and NYT.
       End credits state: “The Producers wish to thank the governments of Alberta and British Columbia and the towns and people of these provinces, and Canadian Pacific, VIA, and Canadian National Railways for their co-operation.”
       According to a 14 Jul 1975 HR brief, Joe Wizan was initially set to produce the adaptation of Charles Dennis’ 1974 novel The Next-to-Last Train Ride, as part of a four-picture contract with United Artists Corp. Milos Forman was announced as director, and Dennis would write the screenplay. The production was scheduled to begin filming late fall 1975.
       Wizan and Forman, however, did not remain with the project and, as explained in a 19 Sep 1983 HR article, the adaptation was in limbo until 1979 when husband and wife producers, Terence and Sandra Marsh, obtained the screen rights and were offered the chance to develop the property at Warner Bros. Terence Marsh was a successful production designer, who had received Academy Awards in Art Direction for Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Oliver! (1968, see entries), while his wife Sandra was an experienced talent agent who had made her producing debut with the independent feature, The Blood of Hussain (1977), as mentioned in production notes in AMPAS library files. The Next-to-Last Train Ride represented the first “major feature” producing venture for the duo and their new company, Soundcross Film Ltd. In addition to acting as producer and production designer, Terence Marsh received a writing credit for collaborating on the adaptation with Ronny Graham.
       A 9 Feb 1985 Screen International article noted that Terence Marsh intended to make his directorial debut on the film, but realized that the project had a better chance of moving forward with an experienced director and approached his friend Richard Lester, with whom he had worked on Juggernaut (1974) and Royal Flash (1975, see entries). Furthermore, Lester had the support of Warner Bros., after directing Superman II (1981) and Superman III (1983, see entries) for the studio. Although Lester had rejected the first draft of The Next-to-Last Train Ride in the mid-1970s, he was now interested in the project, for the chance to engage in a “partnership” with the Marshes as executive producer, in addition to directing.
       However, Warner Bros. insisted on Dudley Moore for the lead, which conflicted with the Marshes and Lester’s concept that the story was “an ensemble piece” and not a “star vehicle.” The project went into turnaround, and in Apr 1983, CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) Theatrical Films took over financing the $7 million picture.
       Under the new title Finders Keepers, principal photography began 14 Aug 1983 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, as reported in a 28 Sep 1983 Var article. Lester stated in the 9 Feb 1985 Screen International that the original nine-week shooting schedule was completed in six. The director already had a good relationship with officials in Alberta after shooting Superman III there and knew the province’s sweeping landscape could represent a train journey across the American West. According to production notes, other Alberta locations included the towns of Lethbridge, Vulcan, Strathmore, Red Deer, and High River. A 30 Oct 1983 LAT article mentioned that cast and crew visited Fort McLeod, and the 28 Sep 1983 Var noted that the schedule also included two days in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
       As reported in the 19 Sep 1983 HR, Warner Bros. was contracted to handle domestic distribution, while CBS Theatrical Films was responsible for international sales.
       The film opened 18 May 1984 to mixed reviews and, according to the 23 May 1984 Var, earned “a mere $865,207” during its first weekend in 753 theaters. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1983
p. 1, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1984
p. 4, 8.
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1983
Section U, p. 25.
Los Angeles Times
18 May 1984
p. 1, 15.
Monthly Film Bulletin
Jan 1984
pp. 276-277.
New York Times
18 May 1984
Section C, p. 10.
Screen International
15 Dec 1984
p. 31.
Screen International
9 Feb 1985.
---
Variety
28 Sep 1983.
---
Variety
23 May 1984
p. 27.
Variety
23 May 1984
p. 3, 39.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit mgr
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Stills photog
Elec gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Assembly ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const mgr
Prod buyer
Prop master
MUSIC
Orig mus by
Mus mixed & re-rec at
Mus mixed & re-rec at The Music Centre by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd re-rec at Twickenham Film Studios by
Sd re-rec at Twickenham Film Studios by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Titles des by
Titles photog by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Asst to the prods
Casting, U.S.A.
Casting, U.S.A.
Casting, Canada
Casting, Canada
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Production services by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Next-to-Last Train Ride by Charles Dennis (New York, 1974).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Next to Last Train Ride
Release Date:
18 May 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 May 1984
Production Date:
14 August--late September 1983
Copyright Claimant:
CBS, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 July 1984
Copyright Number:
PA221955
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Equipment
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1973 Northern California, Georgiana Latimer schemes with her lover, Josef Sirola, to steal five million dollars in cash from her father’s safe. As Georgiana pretends to be a widow in mourning, she and Josef hide the loot in a coffin and plan to transport it by train to New York. Elsewhere, young Michael Rangeloff is on the run from the irate women’s roller derby team he manages, and Police Chief Norris, who caught Michael taking a bath with his wife, Estelle Norris. Michael escapes by disguising himself in a U.S. Army uniform at the Oakland, California, train station, where two military officials assume he is accompanying the coffin. Based on a conversation with the eccentric elderly conductor, Stapleton, Michael declares the coffin contains the corpse of Vietnam War soldier, Lane Biddlecoff. Meanwhile, Georgiana and Sirola have noticed Michael and follow him. On board, Michael becomes friendly with scatterbrained, unemployed actress, Standish Logan, and soon discovers the coffin contains millions. During a stop in Reno, Nevada, Michael telephones his friend, Century Milestone, an experienced conman, who later boards the train dressed as a “minister.” Meanwhile, the conductor makes an unplanned stop in High River, Nebraska, to deliver the “deceased hero” to his hometown. However, Lane Biddlecoff is actually a Vietnam deserter and is lying low at his mother’s house. When the local mayor, Frizzoli, who is Biddlecoff’s uncle, becomes aware of the unusual situation, he warns his nephew to remain hidden. Michael and Century get off the train with the coffin, along with Standish, who plays the role of Biddlecoff’s widow. After a quick funeral arranged ... +


In 1973 Northern California, Georgiana Latimer schemes with her lover, Josef Sirola, to steal five million dollars in cash from her father’s safe. As Georgiana pretends to be a widow in mourning, she and Josef hide the loot in a coffin and plan to transport it by train to New York. Elsewhere, young Michael Rangeloff is on the run from the irate women’s roller derby team he manages, and Police Chief Norris, who caught Michael taking a bath with his wife, Estelle Norris. Michael escapes by disguising himself in a U.S. Army uniform at the Oakland, California, train station, where two military officials assume he is accompanying the coffin. Based on a conversation with the eccentric elderly conductor, Stapleton, Michael declares the coffin contains the corpse of Vietnam War soldier, Lane Biddlecoff. Meanwhile, Georgiana and Sirola have noticed Michael and follow him. On board, Michael becomes friendly with scatterbrained, unemployed actress, Standish Logan, and soon discovers the coffin contains millions. During a stop in Reno, Nevada, Michael telephones his friend, Century Milestone, an experienced conman, who later boards the train dressed as a “minister.” Meanwhile, the conductor makes an unplanned stop in High River, Nebraska, to deliver the “deceased hero” to his hometown. However, Lane Biddlecoff is actually a Vietnam deserter and is lying low at his mother’s house. When the local mayor, Frizzoli, who is Biddlecoff’s uncle, becomes aware of the unusual situation, he warns his nephew to remain hidden. Michael and Century get off the train with the coffin, along with Standish, who plays the role of Biddlecoff’s widow. After a quick funeral arranged by Frizzoli, Michael and Century unearth the money from the grave. In the meantime, Sirola, who was forced off the train earlier, learns about the hero’s burial on television and travels to High River to retrieve the money. Georgiana also arrives in town, but is arrested by FBI agent Ormond. When Michael and Century finish gathering the money, they discover Sirola has kidnapped Standish and taken her to an empty farmhouse. However, the home is a prefabricated dwelling, which is towed the next day. Michael and Century locate the moving house, take over from the driver, and confront Sirola. After Standish is rescued, she, Michael, and Century make a getaway with the five million dollars, while Sirola is arrested. +

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

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