The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

87 mins | Documentary, Biography | 26 October 1984

Full page view
HISTORY

After a teaser and the main title, the film opens with a title superimposed over footage of the Castro District in San Francisco, CA, reading: “San Francisco 1970’s.”
       The version of the film viewed for this record contains the following title appearing after end credits: “Dan White committed suicide in his home on October 21, 1985.”
       Although the film is marked in end credits as “A Production of Robert Epstein & Richard Schmiechen,” Robert Epstein does not receive credit as a producer in opening credits.
       The 30 Aug 1984 DV carried an item noting that The Times of Harvey Milk had been picked up for theatrical Distribution by Tele-Culture Inc., with plans to open the film on 2 Nov 1984 at the Lumiere 1 Theater in San Francisco, CA.
       A 10 Apr 1985 DV article by Richard Gold outlined the efforts of the filmmakers to raise the $300,000.00 needed to make the film. They applied to 150 foundations, but received funds from about a dozen. In the article, the filmmakers also praised their distributor, TC Films International. However, the 18 Apr 1985 HR “rambling reporter” column stated that despite its Oscar nod, the film “hasn’t been able to squeeze out more than a week’s run in its first engagement in Los Angeles.” This item observed that the film was performing “considerably better” in Atlanta, GA, and was still running in Chicago, IL, New York City, Seattle, WA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and San Francisco, CA, but that business in San Francisco, ironically, was “decidedly on the light side.” Another article by Richard Gold in the 17 May 1985 DV announced ... More Less

After a teaser and the main title, the film opens with a title superimposed over footage of the Castro District in San Francisco, CA, reading: “San Francisco 1970’s.”
       The version of the film viewed for this record contains the following title appearing after end credits: “Dan White committed suicide in his home on October 21, 1985.”
       Although the film is marked in end credits as “A Production of Robert Epstein & Richard Schmiechen,” Robert Epstein does not receive credit as a producer in opening credits.
       The 30 Aug 1984 DV carried an item noting that The Times of Harvey Milk had been picked up for theatrical Distribution by Tele-Culture Inc., with plans to open the film on 2 Nov 1984 at the Lumiere 1 Theater in San Francisco, CA.
       A 10 Apr 1985 DV article by Richard Gold outlined the efforts of the filmmakers to raise the $300,000.00 needed to make the film. They applied to 150 foundations, but received funds from about a dozen. In the article, the filmmakers also praised their distributor, TC Films International. However, the 18 Apr 1985 HR “rambling reporter” column stated that despite its Oscar nod, the film “hasn’t been able to squeeze out more than a week’s run in its first engagement in Los Angeles.” This item observed that the film was performing “considerably better” in Atlanta, GA, and was still running in Chicago, IL, New York City, Seattle, WA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and San Francisco, CA, but that business in San Francisco, ironically, was “decidedly on the light side.” Another article by Richard Gold in the 17 May 1985 DV announced that the filmmakers were suing TC Film International for breach of contract, accusing the distributor of failing to provide “a contractually called-for ‘marketing proposal’ and has also ‘failed to promote and advertise the commercial distribution of the film adequately.’” The suit sought to wrest control of the film and the 20 prints already in circulation from TC Films International, Teleculture Inc., and the companies’ mutual president, Jordan Boch. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined as of the writing of this note, but the 4 Jun 1985 DV reported that Cinecom International had picked up distribution, with plans to market the film in cities where it had not yet played, but to concentrate on non-theatrical and home video distribution.
       The Times of Harvey Milk received the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award for the year 1984.
       End credits offer “Special Thanks To Richard L. Andrews, MD; Haney Armstrong; Stephen Baker; Diane Benjamin; Martin Bunzl, Kevin Burke, Casselberry-DuPree, Bruno Cohen, Marc Cohen, Tom Dahlgren, Jon Else, Judy Epstein & David Gage; Jonathan L. Epstein Richard Feldman, Film Arts Foundation, Frameline, Rik Isensee, Toby Johnson, David Kusin, John Lucas, Emily Mann, Paul Melbostad, Deborah Morgan, Guy Morrison, Douglas Murphey, Tom O'Horgan, Gayle Peabody, Janet Perlberg, Pam Porter Xoeo, D.R. Reif Associates, Jim Rivaldo, Rock Ross, San Antonio Gay Alliance, Don Sango, San Francisco Lesbian & Gay History Project, San Francisco Gay 7 Lesbian Periodical Archives, Michael Seltzer, Randy Shults, Robert Shoup, Tom Steel, Jeff Watts, Mike Weiss, Helene Whitson, Richard Williams, PhD, Lawrence A. Wilson, YWCA Apartments, Inc. . . . and to the many other people whose efforts helped make this film possible.”
       Also: “Major Funding For This Program Has Been Provided By The Independent Documentary Fund which is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Public Television Stations; With Additional Funding by Chicago Resource Center; The New York State Council on the Arts; The Film Fund; Funding Exchange National Community Funds; Columbia Foundation; Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship: Rocky Mountain Film Center, National Endowment for the Arts, American Film Institute; Elizabeth Luster; Pioneer Fund; David P. Becker; Tracy Gary; Kate Houston; James C. Hormel; Kennan P. Gault; Playboy Foundation; KQED TV, San Francisco; Association of Lesbian and Gay Asians; John Wylie Hall; Eleanor Patterson; United Church Board for Homeland Ministries; David Kaplan; One Pass Film & Video, Inc.; Paul Albert; Gloria & Iggy Copleman; Golden Gate Business Association; Jean Hardisty; Harvey Milk United Fund; Henry Hecht; Emery S. Hetrick, MD; Janet Kranzberg; Lobo Book Shop--Dallas; A. Damien Martin; Taylor Phelps & Gary Sanders; Frank M. Robinson; Harrison F. Smith, MD; Edward L. Bond; Thomas E. Horn; Lillian & Mike Sokoloff; Marvin Y. Schofer & James D. Rosenthal; James Schmiechen; Judy Van Handle; Herb Spiers: In Memory of Ray Gray; James Wiley Taul, Jr.; Allan B. Cruse; Jeff Mallory; Cindy Ewing; Chuck Bowdlear; Thomas Ainsworth; Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Democratic Cliub; Richard L. Andrews, MD; Jerry E. Berg; Dallas Gay Alliance; Glenn Davis; Herb Donaldson; Murray Edelman; Ken Everts, MD; Howard Gilman; Greater Gotham Business Council; Harvey Milk Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club; David R. Kesler, MD; Kate Monaco Klein & Louise A. Minnick; Joan Kovacs; Fred & Cookie; Barbara Mercer; Daniel R. Ostrow; Naomi Reichbach & Margot Hagaman; Patricia Sargent & Karen Ryer; S. Shelters Inc.--Dallas . . . and the 751 other contributors whom the filmmakers gratefully acknowledge.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Sep 1984
p. 3, 6.
Daily Variety
10 Apr 1985
p. 14.
Daily Variety
17 May 1985
p. 1, 34.
Daily Variety
4 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Nov 1984
Calendar, p. 8.
New York Times
27 Oct 1984
p. 15.
Variety
26 Sep 1984
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Black Sand Productions Presents
A Film by Robert Epstein and Richard Schmiechen
A Production of Robert Epstein & Richard Schmiechen
and The Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod for Non Fiction Television
WRITERS
Narration wrt
Narration wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Additional cam
Additional cam
Additional cam
Additional cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
MUSIC
Original mus comp and perf by
Mus rec, OTR Studios
Mus rec
SOUND
Sd ed
Additional sd
Additional sd
Additional sd
Sd mixer, Sound One
Sd mixer
Post prod sd
Post prod sd
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opticals
Opticals
PRODUCTION MISC
Photo research
Print media archivist
Asst photo researcher
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Video services
Video serices
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival footage and sd
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Archival still photography
Prod secretary for Non Fiction Television
Coord prod for Non Fiction Television
ANIMATION
Title des and anim art dir
COLOR PERSONNEL
Motion picture processing
SOURCES
MUSIC
Additional Music
"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," performed by Sylvester, written by Sylvester & Tip Wirrick, Tim McKenna (Borzoi Music Artists), Fantasy Records, © 1978 Rights Reserved
"California Here I Come," performed by the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band, recorded by Dan Gleich
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 October 1984
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 October 1984
Los Angeles opening: 2 November 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Black Sand Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 October 1985
Copyright Number:
PA281323
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
gauge
35mm, blown up from 16mm and video
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
3,129
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The life of San Francisco political activist and member of the San Francisco, CA, Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk (22 May 1930-27 Nov 1978), the first openly homosexual candidate to be elected to public office in California, is explored through archival photographs, newspaper clippings, archival television news footage, and newly filmed interviews with some of Milk’s associates. The film also follows the trajectory of fellow Supervisor Dan White, who became Milk’s antagonist during his time in office. Harvey Milk served less than a year, but he was a leading opponent of California State Senator John Briggs’ so-called “Briggs Amendment,” a proposition on the state ballot that barred gay teachers from public school classrooms. When Dan White abruptly quit the Board of Supervisors, but changed his mind and wanted back on, Milk joined San Francisco Mayor George Moscone in turning down his request. White assassinated Moscone and Milk in their City Hall offices on 27 Nov 1978. The film also covers Dan White’s controversial trial, which introduced the term “Twinkie defense”—he claimed that “junk food” had clouded his mind—and resulted in a voluntary manslaughter conviction and a light prison ... +


The life of San Francisco political activist and member of the San Francisco, CA, Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk (22 May 1930-27 Nov 1978), the first openly homosexual candidate to be elected to public office in California, is explored through archival photographs, newspaper clippings, archival television news footage, and newly filmed interviews with some of Milk’s associates. The film also follows the trajectory of fellow Supervisor Dan White, who became Milk’s antagonist during his time in office. Harvey Milk served less than a year, but he was a leading opponent of California State Senator John Briggs’ so-called “Briggs Amendment,” a proposition on the state ballot that barred gay teachers from public school classrooms. When Dan White abruptly quit the Board of Supervisors, but changed his mind and wanted back on, Milk joined San Francisco Mayor George Moscone in turning down his request. White assassinated Moscone and Milk in their City Hall offices on 27 Nov 1978. The film also covers Dan White’s controversial trial, which introduced the term “Twinkie defense”—he claimed that “junk food” had clouded his mind—and resulted in a voluntary manslaughter conviction and a light prison sentence. +

GENRE
Sub-genre:
Historical, Political


Subject

Subject (Minor):
Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.