Lassiter (1984)

R | 100 mins | Drama | 17 February 1984

Director:

Roger Young

Writer:

David Taylor

Producer:

Albert S. Ruddy

Cinematographer:

Gil Taylor

Production Designer:

Peter Mullins

Production Company:

Pan Pacific Productions
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HISTORY

According to a 21 Aug 1983 LAT article, the project was launched when actor Tom Selleck optioned the script by writer David Taylor and presented the idea to Golden Harvest, while he was collaborating with the production company on High Road to China (1983, see entry). Lassiter marked the feature film directorial debut for Roger Young, who had directed several television projects, including the two-part pilot of Selleck’s hit series, Magnum, P.I. (CBS, 11 Dec 1980--12 Sep 1988). Prior to Young’s involvement, a 6 Jan 1983 DV brief mentioned that Ronald Neame was slated to direct.
       As reported in a 27 Aug 1983 Screen International article, the story was originally set in New York City, but filmmakers felt that London, England made more sense in terms of reflecting the impending war in 1939. The budget was noted as “under $10 million.”
       A 2 Apr 1983 Screen International brief stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 16 May 1983 at Twickenham Films Studios in London and on locations around the city. The Park Lane Hotel, the historic Waldorf Hotel, Leadenhall Market, the Thames River, and the London Docklands were among the locations cited in various articles. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that filmmakers shot the train sequence in the lavish “Minerva” car of the restored Orient Express. A 28 Jun 1983 HR article and a 26 Jul 1983 DV column indicated that filming was completed mid-summer 1983.
       Beyond the technical aspects of “breaking and entering,” Selleck was primarily concerned with understanding ... More Less

According to a 21 Aug 1983 LAT article, the project was launched when actor Tom Selleck optioned the script by writer David Taylor and presented the idea to Golden Harvest, while he was collaborating with the production company on High Road to China (1983, see entry). Lassiter marked the feature film directorial debut for Roger Young, who had directed several television projects, including the two-part pilot of Selleck’s hit series, Magnum, P.I. (CBS, 11 Dec 1980--12 Sep 1988). Prior to Young’s involvement, a 6 Jan 1983 DV brief mentioned that Ronald Neame was slated to direct.
       As reported in a 27 Aug 1983 Screen International article, the story was originally set in New York City, but filmmakers felt that London, England made more sense in terms of reflecting the impending war in 1939. The budget was noted as “under $10 million.”
       A 2 Apr 1983 Screen International brief stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 16 May 1983 at Twickenham Films Studios in London and on locations around the city. The Park Lane Hotel, the historic Waldorf Hotel, Leadenhall Market, the Thames River, and the London Docklands were among the locations cited in various articles. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that filmmakers shot the train sequence in the lavish “Minerva” car of the restored Orient Express. A 28 Jun 1983 HR article and a 26 Jul 1983 DV column indicated that filming was completed mid-summer 1983.
       Beyond the technical aspects of “breaking and entering,” Selleck was primarily concerned with understanding “Nick Lassiter’s” mindset and “code of honor” and consulted with a few retired criminals. The chorus girl routine for actress Jane Seymour was choreographed by Eleanor Fazan, who coincidently had instructed Seymour when she was a thirteen-year-old ballet dancer.
       The Apr 1984 Box review reported that the picture grossed $5 million on opening weekend.
       End credits include the following statements: “Night Club & Casino Filmed at The Park Lane Hotel – London”; and “Filmed on Location in England and at Twickenham Film Studios, Twickenham Middlesex England.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Apr 1984.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jan 1983.
---
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 1984
p. 3, 12.
Los Angeles Times
21 Aug 1983
Calendar, p. 27.
Los Angeles Times
18 Feb 1984
Section H, p. 8.
New York Times
17 Feb 1984
p. 10.
Screen International
2 Apr 1983.
---
Screen International
27 Aug 1983
p. 37.
Variety
22 Feb 1984
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Golden Harvest Presents
An Albert S. Ruddy Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Clapper/Loader
Key grip
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Cams by
Grip equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Film ed - U.K.
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const mgr
Prop buyer
Prop master
Head floor propman
Head dressing propman
Arms & ammunition
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward master
Wigs by
Miss Hutton's hats by
MUSIC
Mus rec mixer
Mus adv
SOUND
Boom op
Dubbing mixer
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Head makeup artist
Makeup Tom Selleck
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Unit mgr
Prod coord
Asst to the prod
Prod controller
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Unit pub
Transport
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Lassiter" theme performed by Taco, courtesy of Peer Southern Productions and RCA Records and Cassettes
"Let's Call The Whole Thing Off," performed by Peter Skellern.
PERFORMERS
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 February 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 17 February 1984
Production Date:
16 May--mid summer 1983
Copyright Claimant:
A.C.&D. (Plant Hirers) Ltd., PKC Finance, Ltd., N&P Leasing, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
16 April 1984
Copyright Number:
PA210471
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Hong Kong, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27223
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1939 London, England, suave American, Nick Lassiter, is an expert cat burglar who enjoys an elegant lifestyle and a romance with a British chorus girl named Sara. Nick looks forward to pulling off a robbery large enough to allow him to retire from a life of crime. However, his plans are derailed when Inspector Becker of Scotland Yard and agent Peter Breeze from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) frame him for an undisclosed offense. Becker and Breeze offer Nick a choice to serve a long prison sentence or recover uncut diamonds the Nazis stole from Czechoslovakia during their recent invasion of the country. As explained by agent Breeze, the Germans plan to use the gems to finance a spy network and are currently transporting $10 million worth to England. The diamonds will be secured in the German embassy in London for two days before being delivered to Argentina with help of a beautiful courier, Countess Kari von Fursten, who is also a Nazi-party loyalist. While waiting on the shipment, the countess resides in the embassy as a “diplomat” and is accompanied by her bodyguard, Gestapo officer Max Hofer. Agent Breeze reminds Nick that if he is caught inside the German embassy, the British and American governments will be unable to intervene. Nick reluctantly proceeds with the scheme and recruits his girl friend, Sara, and a car thief named “Smoke,” to assist in reconnaissance of the heavily guarded embassy. Through his London connections, Nick is introduced to Kari von Fursten and allows himself to be seduced by the sexually adventurous countess in order to gain access ... +


In 1939 London, England, suave American, Nick Lassiter, is an expert cat burglar who enjoys an elegant lifestyle and a romance with a British chorus girl named Sara. Nick looks forward to pulling off a robbery large enough to allow him to retire from a life of crime. However, his plans are derailed when Inspector Becker of Scotland Yard and agent Peter Breeze from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) frame him for an undisclosed offense. Becker and Breeze offer Nick a choice to serve a long prison sentence or recover uncut diamonds the Nazis stole from Czechoslovakia during their recent invasion of the country. As explained by agent Breeze, the Germans plan to use the gems to finance a spy network and are currently transporting $10 million worth to England. The diamonds will be secured in the German embassy in London for two days before being delivered to Argentina with help of a beautiful courier, Countess Kari von Fursten, who is also a Nazi-party loyalist. While waiting on the shipment, the countess resides in the embassy as a “diplomat” and is accompanied by her bodyguard, Gestapo officer Max Hofer. Agent Breeze reminds Nick that if he is caught inside the German embassy, the British and American governments will be unable to intervene. Nick reluctantly proceeds with the scheme and recruits his girl friend, Sara, and a car thief named “Smoke,” to assist in reconnaissance of the heavily guarded embassy. Through his London connections, Nick is introduced to Kari von Fursten and allows himself to be seduced by the sexually adventurous countess in order to gain access to the embassy. In the middle of the night, Nick sneaks away from her bed and finds the embassy safe contains only the countess’s personal jewelry. The following evening, Max Hofer, who has been instructed by the countess to do background research on Nick, learns that the American is a renowned burglar and attempts to assassinate him. Nick evades the threat as agent Breeze guns down the Gestapo thug. Disguised as a taxi cab driver, Smoke tricks German embassy guards into believing that the deceased Hofer is drunk in the back seat and drives through the gates. From his hiding place in the car, Nick slips into the embassy and discovers the Czech diamonds concealed in a bust of Adolf Hitler. Agent Breeze, who has become Nick’s ally, allows the cat burglar to escape with the gems, while sadistic Inspector Becker remains determined to find Nick and send him to prison regardless of the operation’s success. Pretending to double-cross her boyfriend, Sara informs Becker where Nick plans to sell the diamonds. The next day, Becker apprehends Nick after the cat burglar receives a briefcase full of cash from the buyer. In a surprise attack, the Nazis trap the police car carrying Nick in an alleyway and take the American away, along with the cash. The Scotland Yard inspector is pleased, knowing the Germans will assassinate Nick. Unbeknownst to Becker, however, Smoke and his friends were impersonating Nazis. Carrying the briefcase, Nick rendezvous with Sara, while agent Breeze watches the happy couple make their getaway. +

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.