Heartburn (1986)

R | 108 mins | Drama | 25 July 1986

Director:

Mike Nichols

Writer:

Nora Ephron

Cinematographer:

Nestor Almendros

Editor:

Sam O'Steen

Production Designer:

Tony Walton

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

       The “Rambling Reporter” column in the 5 Apr 1983 issue of HR mentioned that director Mike Nichols had acquired rights to Nora Ephron’s novel, which was a thinly-disguised account of her marriage to and divorce from well known investigative reporter Carl Bernstein. Nichols was said to be seeking Dustin Hoffman, who had played Bernstein in All the President’s Men (1976, see entry), for the role of “Mark” in the proposed film adaptation. Ephron’s novel was on the New York Times best-seller list for twenty-seven weeks, according the 18 Jul 1986 HR, and after Nichols bought film rights, Pocket Books paid Ephron $341,000 for paperback reprint rights, as stated in the 25 May 1983 HR.
       Carl Bernstein objected to his portrayal in Ephron’s novel, claiming the book was “not an accurate portrayal of the breakup of our marriage,” according to an article in the 3 Sep 1984 New York, and attempted to have production halted on the film version. The 6 Jul 1985 issue of Screen International announced that as part of their divorce settlement Bernstein was given the right to read and approve the screenplay for the film and any re-writes and to view a first cut of the film and submit any complaints he might have.
       An item in the 17 Apr 1984 HR announced that Kevin Kline would play the role eventually played by Jack Nicholson. However, Mandy Patinkin was announced as the leading actor in the film on 20 Jun 1985, a day after production had begun on 19 Jul 1985, according to production ... More Less

       The “Rambling Reporter” column in the 5 Apr 1983 issue of HR mentioned that director Mike Nichols had acquired rights to Nora Ephron’s novel, which was a thinly-disguised account of her marriage to and divorce from well known investigative reporter Carl Bernstein. Nichols was said to be seeking Dustin Hoffman, who had played Bernstein in All the President’s Men (1976, see entry), for the role of “Mark” in the proposed film adaptation. Ephron’s novel was on the New York Times best-seller list for twenty-seven weeks, according the 18 Jul 1986 HR, and after Nichols bought film rights, Pocket Books paid Ephron $341,000 for paperback reprint rights, as stated in the 25 May 1983 HR.
       Carl Bernstein objected to his portrayal in Ephron’s novel, claiming the book was “not an accurate portrayal of the breakup of our marriage,” according to an article in the 3 Sep 1984 New York, and attempted to have production halted on the film version. The 6 Jul 1985 issue of Screen International announced that as part of their divorce settlement Bernstein was given the right to read and approve the screenplay for the film and any re-writes and to view a first cut of the film and submit any complaints he might have.
       An item in the 17 Apr 1984 HR announced that Kevin Kline would play the role eventually played by Jack Nicholson. However, Mandy Patinkin was announced as the leading actor in the film on 20 Jun 1985, a day after production had begun on 19 Jul 1985, according to production notes in AMPAS library files, with Patinkin in the role of Mark. On 29 Jul 1985 it was mentioned in HR and DV that Jack Nicholson had taken over the role as a result of “creative differences” between Nichols and Patinkin. Army Archerd’s “Just For Variety” column stated that Nicholson had received the call from Mike Nichols on 24 Jul 1985 and was to receive $400,000 for the role, which he accepted after production on The Two Jakes (1990, see entry) was indefinitely postponed in May 1985. An item in the 9 Aug 1985 HR cited Noyes Paul Lucien as his source for the information that Patinkin was paid close to $500,000 to settle his contract. Patinkin reportedly worked one day on the film. The 7 Aug 1985 LAHExam stated that Stockard Channing replaced Diana Scarwid on the film. Production wrapped 10 Oct 1985 after twelve weeks of shooting in New York City and Washington, D.C. New York locations included the Church of the Holy Trinity; Tavern on the Green; and Bellevue Hospital—substituting for a Washington, D. C. maternity ward. Washington, D. C. locations included Neames Market in the Georgetown district; the Palm Restaurant; and National Airport. An estate in McLean, VA, also served as a location. Interiors were shot at the Camera Mart stages in Manhattan.
       According to the 11 Aug 1986 issue of People magazine, the role of "Annie" was played by Meryl Streep’s real-life daughter, then two-year-old Willa Gummer, although the child was billed as Natalie Stern, and Streep “insisted that a stand-in be used for any publicity shots.”
       Karen Akers’s role as "Thelma Rice" was cut to a cameo of only a few seconds to minimize scenes in which the Nicholson character would be seen cheating on his wife. Among the scenes cut was a “funny fantasy scene” in which a pregnant Streep, dressed to resemble Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939, see entry), catches Akers, wearing a black negligee, in bed with Nicholson. Akers transformed into the wicked witch. Streep threw water on Akers, causing her to melt into the floor, and Nicholson crawled to the foot of the bed and said, “Honey, I can explain everything,” according to an undated ^Washington Post clipping in AMPAS library files.
       The 30 Jul 1986 HR reported that Heartburn opened on 843 screens and garnered a $5.8 million box-office gross on its opening weekend for a $6,995 per-screen average.
       Heartburn marked director Milos Forman’s screen debut as an actor.
             A title in the end credits reads: THE PRODUCERS GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND WISH TO THANK THE FOLLOWING FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE: The Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, N.Y.C.; The New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development; Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, Washington, D.C.; New York Production Facilities, The Camera Mart Inc., New York; Eastern Airlines; International Film Promotions; Courtlemagne Communications; Yamaha Musical Instruments
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Jul 1985.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1986
p. 3, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1986.
---
LAHExam
7 Aug 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Jul 1986
p. 1, 22.
New York
3 Sep 1984.
---
New York Times
25 Jul 1986
p. 16.
People
11 Aug 1986.
---
Screen International
6 Jul 1985.
---
Variety
16 Jul 1986
p. 14.
Washington Post
ca. 1986.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Featured Cast
Featured Cast
Featured Cast
Featured Cast
Featured Cast
Featured Cast
Featured Cast
Dinner party guests:
[and]
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Mike Nichols Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod Mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Video tech
Gaffer
Best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Chief set dresser
Master scenic artist
Prop master
Const coord
Chief const grip
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
MUSIC
Asst mus ed
Mus prod & rec by
Mus prod & rec by
Mus prod & rec by
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Miss Streep's hair & makeup by
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod office coord
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Casting assoc
Asst to Mr. Nichols
Asst to Mr. Nichols
Prod asst
Prod asst
Addl casting
Unit pub
Transportation capt
Prod secy
Asst prod auditor
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Heartburn by Nora Ephron (New York, 1983).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"(When We Are Dancing) I Get Ideas," by Dorcas Cochran & Julio Sanders
"Lover," by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
"The Nearness of You," by Ned Washington & Hoagy Carmichael
+
SONGS
"(When We Are Dancing) I Get Ideas," by Dorcas Cochran & Julio Sanders
"Lover," by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
"The Nearness of You," by Ned Washington & Hoagy Carmichael
"Isn't It Romantic," by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
"Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel)," by Jaromir Vejvoda, W. A. Timm & Lew Brown
"Yes Sir, That's My Baby," by Gus Kahn & Walter Donaldson
"You Baby (Nobody But You)," by P. F. Sloan & Steve Barri
"Is You Is, Or Is You Ain't (Mah Baby)," by Billy Austin & Louis Jordan
"Baby, It's Cold Outside," by Frank Loesser
"Soliloquy," by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
"Are The Good Times Really Over," by Merle Haggard, performed by Merle Haggard
"The Donahue Theme," by Frank Vincent.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 July 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 July 1986
Production Date:
19 July--10 October 1985 in New York City and Washington, D. C.
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
7 August 1986
Copyright Number:
PA297740
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints by Technicolor®
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28068
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As she enters a church for a friend's wedding, Rachel Samstat casually meets Mark Forman and takes an interest in him. They strike up a conversation at the reception, and Rachel agrees to leave the party with Mark to have a drink. Slightly tipsy, they discuss their first marriages, and on the way home they kiss on a crowded New York street. At 4:00 a.m. in her apartment, Mark is in bed and Rachel comes in with a large bowl of spaghetti she has made. When Mark raves about Rachels' cooking, she thinks he is making fun of her, but he tells her that when they are married he wants her to make her spaghetti carbonara at least once a week. She tells him she will never marry again and doesn't believe in marriage, and Mark responds: "Neither do I." Sometime later, as guests wait for Mark and Rachel's wedding ceremony to begin, Rachel sits in her room fretting over her fears about marriage. Her sister and Richard, her boss, separately make efforts to calm Rachel's nerves. Mark's longtime friends, Arthur and Julie, tell Rachel that they've known Mark for twenty years and that she is the first woman they have seen him treat decently in that time. Her father has a talk with Rachel, saying: "Your mother would have loved him." Rachel responds: "But mother was crazy." Rachel's therapist, Vera, also attempts to console Rachel. Finally, Mark manages to assure her of his love and commitment and the ceremony gets underway. Sometime later, Mark and Rachel show Arthur and Julie their new Washington, D.C. townhouse, ... +


As she enters a church for a friend's wedding, Rachel Samstat casually meets Mark Forman and takes an interest in him. They strike up a conversation at the reception, and Rachel agrees to leave the party with Mark to have a drink. Slightly tipsy, they discuss their first marriages, and on the way home they kiss on a crowded New York street. At 4:00 a.m. in her apartment, Mark is in bed and Rachel comes in with a large bowl of spaghetti she has made. When Mark raves about Rachels' cooking, she thinks he is making fun of her, but he tells her that when they are married he wants her to make her spaghetti carbonara at least once a week. She tells him she will never marry again and doesn't believe in marriage, and Mark responds: "Neither do I." Sometime later, as guests wait for Mark and Rachel's wedding ceremony to begin, Rachel sits in her room fretting over her fears about marriage. Her sister and Richard, her boss, separately make efforts to calm Rachel's nerves. Mark's longtime friends, Arthur and Julie, tell Rachel that they've known Mark for twenty years and that she is the first woman they have seen him treat decently in that time. Her father has a talk with Rachel, saying: "Your mother would have loved him." Rachel responds: "But mother was crazy." Rachel's therapist, Vera, also attempts to console Rachel. Finally, Mark manages to assure her of his love and commitment and the ceremony gets underway. Sometime later, Mark and Rachel show Arthur and Julie their new Washington, D.C. townhouse, which is a major re-hab project. Rachel and Mark move in during renovation, and suffer inconveniences when their Hungarian-born contractor, Laszlo, fails to adequately perform the repairs. In their frustration, cracks begin to show in their relationship. However, Rachel informs Mark that she is pregnant. At her group therapy session, Rachel tells the others about her pregnancy, and shows off a ring that Mark gave her after she told him they were having a baby. At a barbeque for friends in their unfinished townhouse, a guest named Betty reveals that Senator Toffler and Vicky Huddleston are having an affair; but the party is cut short when Rachel tells Mark it is time to go to the hospital. The doctor tells Rachel that the baby is under some distress, and they will have to perform an emergency cesarean section. Despite the complications, the baby is born healthy. Later, Rachel talks about how she enjoys her life with her former editor. He suggests she write about her experiences. She dismisses the idea, but he tells her she better start writing soon because after her next baby is born she will not have time. However, as her second pregnancy progresses, she does start recording her thoughts. At a picnic with Arthur and Julie, the strains in Rachel and Mark's relationship begin to become known to their friends when Rachel criticizes Mark for ripping into the chicken before lunch time, and he complains that she talks to him as if she is his mother. At another dinner with couples Arthur and Julie and Betty and Dmitri in a local Washington, D.C. eatery, Thelma Rice happens to walk by their table and says hello in a guarded manner. After she leaves, Betty reveals that Thelma Rice is having an affair, but she does not know who the man is. At a beauty salon, Rachel listens as her hairdresser and an associate discuss the hairdresser's boyfriend, who has dumped her, and how she had missed the clues along the way, like long jogs and errands. Becoming suspicious of similar aspects of Mark's recent behavior, Rachel leaves the salon with her hair unfinished and goes home to look through Mark's office at home. In a locked desk drawer she finds several American Express credit card receipts documenting Mark's trysts. When Mark arrives home, Rachel confronts him, but he tells her he cannot deal with the discussion at the moment. Rachel packs some clothes and takes her child to her father's apartment in New York. She also asks Richard if she can return to work. He agrees. At night watching television, Rachel dreams that the host of a television program is offering the audience a summary of her own life story. When her widower father returns from a tryst of his own in Atlantic City, he offers some sympathy for Rachel's plight and suggests that she give her kids to Mark to raise as retaliation for his unfaithfulness. When Rachel objects, he says it was just a suggestion. Though he is sympathetic, he is also self-absorbed, and tells her about his own projects before leaving to see his new girlfriend. When Rachel gets on the subway to go to her group therapy session, a young man offers her his seat and winks at her. Uncomfortable, Rachel looks down at her wedding ring and turns the stone around her finger so it will not be conspicuous. The young man follows her when she gets off the train, and later at the therapy session he holds up the group at gunpoint. The thief tells Rachel he is sorry about taking her ring, but she tells him not to worry about it. When Rachel returns home from the police station, Mark waits for her. He tells Rachel that he wants her to come back. She agrees, and they return to Washington. However, as time passes, Rachel again dreams of the TV host who says that everything she sees seems to reflect her own dilemma. As she settles into married life again, she cannot help snooping in Mark's bills and laundry. At the market Rachel runs into Betty, who tells Rachel she now knows Thelma Rice is having an affair with their mutual friend, Arthur, because she saw them having drinks at a hotel bar. Rachel assures Betty that Thelma is not having an affair with Arthur, and goes on to say that Thelma has a sexually transmitted infection and that she is only consulting Arthur for legal advice. Betty suggests that they get together and plan a party for Thelma to show their support and cheer her up. Rachel receives her stolen ring in the mail with a note from the detective that the thief has confessed. Mark confronts Rachel, telling her that Thelma stopped by and was angry Rachel had told Betty that Thelma had herpes. Clearly unimpressed by Thelma's anger, Rachel lashes out and tells Jack if Thelma ever comes by again she will tell everyone Thelma has "the clap." Again, Mark avoids a deeper discussion and goes upstairs. When he is summoned back down, he is annoyed, but Rachel tells him it is time to go to the hospital for the birth of their second child. As she is in the delivery room, Rachel asks Jack to recount the medical details of the birth of their first child. He remembers the incident with great emotion, and Rachel tells him: "That was a great day." The doctor tells Rachel that her new baby is fine. Sometime later, Rachel goes to the jeweler to have her ring repaired. The jeweler asks her how she liked the necklace Mark had bought? When Rachel does not know what the jeweler is talking about, he suggests he must have been thinking of another customer, but Rachel realizes that Mark bought the necklace for his girlfriend, and she offers to sell the jeweler her ring. Rachel makes a pie to take to Betty's house for another dinner party. Betty goes on about the problems Thelma is having with her health and the breakup of her marriage, and says that she will be having a party for Thelma next week. She then goes on to talk about another mutual friend who has left her husband to take up with the husband's female secretary, and asks how you could live with someone and not know what was going on with your partner. Rachel says she understands how you could love and trust someone so much that you could ignore the signs, then picks up her pie and shoves it in Mark's face, and tells Betty that she will not be able come to her party for Thelma. Rachel sets out again with her kids to return to New York and start a new life. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Domestic


Subject

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

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