The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984)

R | 120 mins | Drama | 22 June 1984

Director:

Stuart Rosenberg

Writer:

Vincent Patrick

Producer:

Gene Kirkwood

Cinematographer:

John Bailey

Editor:

Robert Brown

Production Designer:

Paul Sylbert

Production Company:

United Artists Corp.
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HISTORY

A 13 Apr 1979 DV article announced that producers Howard W. Koch, Jr. and Gene Kirkwood won a “heavy bidding” war for screen rights to Vincent Patrick’s soon-be-published first novel, The Pope of Greenwich Village. Koch and Kirkwood planned to begin production in Feb 1980 and release the film later that year through United Artists (UA). Production notes in AMPAS library files state that Kirkwood acquired the novel for five figures and mortgaged his home to raise the funds. The project marked the screenplay debut of novelist Vincent Patrick, who picked up the book How To Write a Screenplay to help him with the “format and mechanics” of scriptwriting.
       However, development continued over the next four years. A 12 Jun 1981 HR brief reported that UA, which had recently announced plans to merge with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), pulled out of the project over possible worries about a writers’ strike and a threatening directors’ strike. At the time, James Caan and Al Pacino had been selected as the two leads, and according to articles in the 10 Aug 1981 LAT and the 18 Jun 1983 LAHExam, the studio was concerned about Pacino’s $3.5 million salary and the $15 million budget. Filmways&sortType=sortByExactMatch'>Filmways and producer Lew Grade also considered acquiring the project during summer 1981, but both parties were uneasy about the financing. Negotiations with Grade ended when Caan demanded the same salary as Pacino. However, Kirkwood mentioned in the 10 Aug 1981 LAT that despite the string of failed deals, Pacino was committed to playing the role of “Paulie” ... More Less

A 13 Apr 1979 DV article announced that producers Howard W. Koch, Jr. and Gene Kirkwood won a “heavy bidding” war for screen rights to Vincent Patrick’s soon-be-published first novel, The Pope of Greenwich Village. Koch and Kirkwood planned to begin production in Feb 1980 and release the film later that year through United Artists (UA). Production notes in AMPAS library files state that Kirkwood acquired the novel for five figures and mortgaged his home to raise the funds. The project marked the screenplay debut of novelist Vincent Patrick, who picked up the book How To Write a Screenplay to help him with the “format and mechanics” of scriptwriting.
       However, development continued over the next four years. A 12 Jun 1981 HR brief reported that UA, which had recently announced plans to merge with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), pulled out of the project over possible worries about a writers’ strike and a threatening directors’ strike. At the time, James Caan and Al Pacino had been selected as the two leads, and according to articles in the 10 Aug 1981 LAT and the 18 Jun 1983 LAHExam, the studio was concerned about Pacino’s $3.5 million salary and the $15 million budget. Filmways&sortType=sortByExactMatch'>Filmways and producer Lew Grade also considered acquiring the project during summer 1981, but both parties were uneasy about the financing. Negotiations with Grade ended when Caan demanded the same salary as Pacino. However, Kirkwood mentioned in the 10 Aug 1981 LAT that despite the string of failed deals, Pacino was committed to playing the role of “Paulie” and Ulu Grosbard was interested in directing. The next year, the title changed to The Village and Ted Kotcheff signed on to direct, as explained in a 22 Jul 1983 DV article. When the project was picked up by Orion Pictures and Home Box Office (HBO) in fall 1982, Francis Ford Coppola made a deal to direct, with Al Pacino and Mickey Rourke starring. By summer 1983, The Pope of Greenwich Village returned to UA and would be distributed by MGM/UA Entertainment Co., under the original title. Ron Maxwell was set to direct the production, slated to begin filming Sep 1983. Mickey Rourke remained in the cast, but Al Pacino was replaced by Eric Roberts.
       On 25 Aug 1983, Ron Maxwell was dismissed as director a few days before the start of filming, and Michael Cimino was named as a possible replacement in the 29 Aug 1983 HR. Allegedly, Maxwell’s firing was related to his “dissatisfaction” with the casting of actor Eric Roberts. HR also mentioned that Charles Durning was part of the cast, but he does not appear in the completed film. A 30 Aug 1983 DV item announced that Stuart Rosenberg had been hired as the film’s new director. According to a 4 Oct 1983 HR production chart, principal photography began 19 Sep 1983 on location in New York City.
       The Sep 1984 Box reported that the picture earned a “weak” $1.5 million during its opening weekend across the country, while box-office results in seventy-one New York City theatres was strong, with a take of $468,000 during the first week.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Filmed in cooperation with The New York City Film Commission; The New Jersey Film Commission; Monmouth Park Jockey Club, Inc.; Tampa Bay Downs, Inc.”; and statement: “Mickey Rourke’s performance is dedicated to the memory of James Hayden 1953-1983.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Sep 1984
Section R, p. 111.
Daily Variety
13 Apr 1979.
---
Daily Variety
22 Jul 1983.
---
Daily Variety
30 Aug 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1984
p. 4.
LAHExam
18 Jun 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Aug 1981
Section G, pp. 1-2.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jun 1984
Section G, p. 1, 10.
New York Times
22 Jun 1984
p.12.
Variety
20 Jun 1984
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
United Artists Presents
a Koch/Kirkwood Production
a Stuart Rosenberg Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Key grip, New York
Chief lighting tech, New York
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit pub
Unit pub
Loc mgr
Tech adv
Asst to Mr. Rosenberg
Asst to Mr. Rosenberg
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Asst to Mr. Sylbert
Scr supv
Prod office coord
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Filmed in
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Pope of Greenwich Village by Vincent Patrick (New York, 1979).
SONGS
"Summer Wind," performed by Frank Sinatra
"Luna Luna Luna Lu," performed by Lou Monte, courtesy of Reprise Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Just To Walk That Little Girl Home," performed by Mink De Ville, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Summer Wind," performed by Frank Sinatra
"Luna Luna Luna Lu," performed by Lou Monte, courtesy of Reprise Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Just To Walk That Little Girl Home," performed by Mink De Ville, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
"Heartaches," performed by Ted Weems, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
+
PERFORMERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Village
Release Date:
22 June 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 June 1984
Production Date:
began 19 September 1983
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27319
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City’s Little Italy, waiter Paulie loses his job at Sal’s Bar and Restaurant after being caught embezzling, and Paulie’s older, more responsible cousin, maître-d Charlie Moran, is also fired because he vouched for Paulie. Although Charlie is angry with the reckless Paulie, he maintains a sense of duty to his Italian family and tolerates the young hustler. Meanwhile, unemployment leaves Charlie further away from his dream of owning a restaurant, not to mention he owes alimony to his ex-wife, has a pile of debts and needs money to support his pregnant girlfriend Diane. Paulie also needs a “get-rich-quick” scheme to pay back loan sharks who financed his stake in a racehorse. After learning that a large amount of cash is being stored over the weekend at the offices of a trucking company, Paulie plans to steal the money with an accomplice named Barney, a middle-aged ex-con and small-time safecracker. Charlie agrees to join the two, and shows Diane a restaurant he wants to buy outside the city, in anticipation of the “surefire” heist. On the night of the robbery, crooked detective, Walter “Bunky” Ritter, prepares to pick up police bribery money from the trucking office safe and deliver it to officers participating in the mafia payoff. As a precaution, Bunky wears a hidden recording device in case he ever needs shielding against bribery accusations. The detective interrupts the burglary, but as he draws his gun to confront the thieves, he accidently falls into an elevator shaft and dies. While Barney continues to break into the safe, Charlie confiscates Bunky’s wallet and the recording device. ... +


In New York City’s Little Italy, waiter Paulie loses his job at Sal’s Bar and Restaurant after being caught embezzling, and Paulie’s older, more responsible cousin, maître-d Charlie Moran, is also fired because he vouched for Paulie. Although Charlie is angry with the reckless Paulie, he maintains a sense of duty to his Italian family and tolerates the young hustler. Meanwhile, unemployment leaves Charlie further away from his dream of owning a restaurant, not to mention he owes alimony to his ex-wife, has a pile of debts and needs money to support his pregnant girlfriend Diane. Paulie also needs a “get-rich-quick” scheme to pay back loan sharks who financed his stake in a racehorse. After learning that a large amount of cash is being stored over the weekend at the offices of a trucking company, Paulie plans to steal the money with an accomplice named Barney, a middle-aged ex-con and small-time safecracker. Charlie agrees to join the two, and shows Diane a restaurant he wants to buy outside the city, in anticipation of the “surefire” heist. On the night of the robbery, crooked detective, Walter “Bunky” Ritter, prepares to pick up police bribery money from the trucking office safe and deliver it to officers participating in the mafia payoff. As a precaution, Bunky wears a hidden recording device in case he ever needs shielding against bribery accusations. The detective interrupts the burglary, but as he draws his gun to confront the thieves, he accidently falls into an elevator shaft and dies. While Barney continues to break into the safe, Charlie confiscates Bunky’s wallet and the recording device. After the trio escapes with $150,000, Paulie reluctantly confesses to his accomplices that the trucking company is owned by feared mafia boss, “Bed Bug” Eddie Grant. Once again, Charlie is furious with his dimwitted cousin, but remains loyal when his girlfriend Diane yells at him for his continuing association with his “idiot” cousin. Later, Diane leaves Charlie a note announcing she has left and taken $45,000 of the robbery money to raise their child. While Bed Bug Eddie searches for the identity of the thieves, two police officers on the mafia payroll are anxious to locate Bunky’s incriminating audiotapes after finding evidence that the detective was wired. When Bed Bug Eddie discovers Paulie’s involvement, he sends thugs to confront the thief at the racetrack. Fearing for his life, Paulie provides the name of his accomplice, Barney. However, the foolhardy hustler does not escape punishment entirely as Bed Bug Eddie’s thugs cut off his thumb. The mafia notifies police about Barney, but the safecracker eludes capture. Anticipating that Paulie might be caught and betray him, Barney made arrangements to protect his wife Nora and provide for his mentally handicapped son before leaving town. After Paulie receives treatment for his hand injury, he is forced to work as a coffee boy at Bed Bug Eddie’s club and one day is pressured to reveal that Charlie also participated in the robbery. Paulie joins his cousin at the racetrack, where Charlie wins $20,000 betting across the board on Paulie’s racehorse. While Charlie appears more optimistic, a nervous Paulie is anxious for them to take a midnight plane to Miami, Florida. He finally tells Charlie that Bed Bug Eddie knows about his involvement in the robbery. After yelling at his cousin for betraying him, Charlie confronts Bed Bug Eddie and calls himself “the Pope of Greenwich Village” because he possesses Bunky’s audiotapes. Before Bed Bug Eddie can retaliate, Paulie poisons the mob boss’s coffee with lye. The two cousins quickly walk away from the club, arguing about their future prospects. +

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

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