Murphy's Law (1986)

R | 97 mins | Drama | 18 April 1986

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HISTORY

       A 9 Oct 1985 DV news item announced that principal photography would begin 14 Oct in Los Angeles, CA. Production notes in AMPAS library files state actual filming began 11 Nov 1985.
       Articles in the 14 Jun 1985 HR, the 19 Jun 1985 Var, the 20 Jun 1985 DV, and 26 Jun 1985 Var reported that Cannon Films filed a $55 million lawsuit in L. A. Superior Court on 13 Jun 1985 to block a financing deal for Murphy’s Law between talent agent Paul Kohner and his son, producer Pancho Kohner, and his company, Capricorn Productions, with Hemdale-Leisure Corporation. Charles Bronson, his wife, Jill Ireland, writer Gail Morgan Hickman, and Vestron Video were also named in the suit. Although Bronson and Ireland were not sued for damages, Cannon sought to prevent their participation in the film unless it was a Cannon project. The Cannon complaint alleged that the company had received both written and oral contracts with the defendants to produce the film and drum up presales at the Cannes Film Festival. Cannon maintained that although Hemdale-Leisure had a booth next to them at the festival, the company did not protest Cannon’s active promotion of the film.
       Paul Kohner maintained that negotiations with Cannon had broken down prior to the festival, and the company knew the Kohners had begun courting interest from other parties. Nevertheless, Cannon chairman Menahem Golan moved forward and began selling the film at the festival without authorization. To bolster its argument, Cannon submitted a letter to the court from Paul Kohner dated 10 May 1984 to Canon counsel ... More Less

       A 9 Oct 1985 DV news item announced that principal photography would begin 14 Oct in Los Angeles, CA. Production notes in AMPAS library files state actual filming began 11 Nov 1985.
       Articles in the 14 Jun 1985 HR, the 19 Jun 1985 Var, the 20 Jun 1985 DV, and 26 Jun 1985 Var reported that Cannon Films filed a $55 million lawsuit in L. A. Superior Court on 13 Jun 1985 to block a financing deal for Murphy’s Law between talent agent Paul Kohner and his son, producer Pancho Kohner, and his company, Capricorn Productions, with Hemdale-Leisure Corporation. Charles Bronson, his wife, Jill Ireland, writer Gail Morgan Hickman, and Vestron Video were also named in the suit. Although Bronson and Ireland were not sued for damages, Cannon sought to prevent their participation in the film unless it was a Cannon project. The Cannon complaint alleged that the company had received both written and oral contracts with the defendants to produce the film and drum up presales at the Cannes Film Festival. Cannon maintained that although Hemdale-Leisure had a booth next to them at the festival, the company did not protest Cannon’s active promotion of the film.
       Paul Kohner maintained that negotiations with Cannon had broken down prior to the festival, and the company knew the Kohners had begun courting interest from other parties. Nevertheless, Cannon chairman Menahem Golan moved forward and began selling the film at the festival without authorization. To bolster its argument, Cannon submitted a letter to the court from Paul Kohner dated 10 May 1984 to Canon counsel Sam Perlmutter, referring to preliminary agreements between the two entities. The lawsuit sought punitive damages for breach of contract, unauthorized use and disclosure of trade secrets and fraud. Cannon and Bronson had a three-picture deal, and the film was considered the second film under this agreement.
       According to articles in the 10 Oct 1985 DV and the 11 Oct 1985 HR, Hemdale filed a $55 or $65 million countersuit against both Kohners, Capricorn Productions and Cannon Films. Despite a firm production deal, Hemdale could not secure a completion bond as long as Cannon’s lawsuit was pending due to questions of ownership that it raised. Pancho Kohner breached his contract and entered into a production deal with Cannon when it became clear that Hemdale would not be able to move forward. Although screen credits indicate that Cannon was awarded production and distribution rights to the film, Hemdale’s compensation, if any, could not be determined.

      End credits state: “GMC trucks and Oldsmobile cars supplied through the Vista Group.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1985
p. 14.
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1985.
---
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 1986
p. 3, 7.
Los Angeles Times
18 Apr 1986
p. 8.
New York Times
18 Apr 1986
p. 17.
Variety
19 Jun 1985.
---
Variety
26 Jun 1985
p. 4, 108.
Variety
23 Apr 1986
p. 17, 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Cannon Group, Inc. Presents
a Golan-Globus Production
a J. Lee Thompson Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Best boy elec
Elec
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutting
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Scenic artist
Const coord
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
2d asst ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and performed by
Mus comp and performed by
Asst mus ed
Mus supv
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cable man
Supv sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst dial ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff man
Spec eff man
Title des
Title des
Main titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup and hair supv
Makeup artist
Asst hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Extras casting
Asst prod exec
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst to the prod
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Post prod supv
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Accounting asst
Aerial coord
In-house transportation coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
First aid/Craft services
Chef/Driver
Cook's helper
Police coord
Security guard
Signage
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Assoc stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Murphy's Law," written and performed by Paul McCallum, Kathleen Wilhoite and John Bisharat
"It's Got To Get Better," written by Jim Cushinery & Val McCallum, courtesy of The Wigs.
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 April 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 April 1986
Production Date:
began 11 November 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Cannon Films, Inc., & Cannon International, B.V.
Copyright Date:
16 June 1986
Copyright Number:
PA293333
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28130
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When police officer Jack Murphy sees teenager Arabella McGee steal his car, he chases after it. After crashing into a pizza parlor, Arabella takes off on foot. Murphy chases her into an alley, where she assaults Murphy with vulgar language, kicks him in the groin, and disappears. The next day, at a crime scene, he and his partner, Art Penney, investigate the death of a girl associated with drug kingpin Frank Vincenzo. Nearby in the dirt, Murphy discovers a gold locket inscribed with the name “Anthony Alberto Vincenzo.” At a restaurant, Murphy announces to Frank Vincenzo that he is going to arrest Frank’s brother, Anthony “Tony,” for murder, and Frank should persuade Tony to turn himself in. Instead, Frank comments that Murphy might be subject to “Murphy’s Law,” which posits that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Frank Vincenzo suggests that Murphy could be run over by a truck, his gas heater could blow up, or his tire could fall off on the freeway. Murphy replies that the only law to which he gives any credence is: “Don’t f__k with Jack Murphy.” Elsewhere, a former convict named Joan Freeman arrives by bus and meets Mr. Cameron, a private detective. Cameron demands more money for the information Joan requested because one individual, Ben Wilcove, lives in a remote area and was hard to find. When Joan refuses to pay, Cameron tries to blackmail her. She finally agrees to his fee, but after snatching the envelope from his hand, she shoots him in the throat. Later, Joan calls Murphy, announces that she is going to kill him, and hangs up. The next morning, Joan takes ... +


When police officer Jack Murphy sees teenager Arabella McGee steal his car, he chases after it. After crashing into a pizza parlor, Arabella takes off on foot. Murphy chases her into an alley, where she assaults Murphy with vulgar language, kicks him in the groin, and disappears. The next day, at a crime scene, he and his partner, Art Penney, investigate the death of a girl associated with drug kingpin Frank Vincenzo. Nearby in the dirt, Murphy discovers a gold locket inscribed with the name “Anthony Alberto Vincenzo.” At a restaurant, Murphy announces to Frank Vincenzo that he is going to arrest Frank’s brother, Anthony “Tony,” for murder, and Frank should persuade Tony to turn himself in. Instead, Frank comments that Murphy might be subject to “Murphy’s Law,” which posits that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Frank Vincenzo suggests that Murphy could be run over by a truck, his gas heater could blow up, or his tire could fall off on the freeway. Murphy replies that the only law to which he gives any credence is: “Don’t f__k with Jack Murphy.” Elsewhere, a former convict named Joan Freeman arrives by bus and meets Mr. Cameron, a private detective. Cameron demands more money for the information Joan requested because one individual, Ben Wilcove, lives in a remote area and was hard to find. When Joan refuses to pay, Cameron tries to blackmail her. She finally agrees to his fee, but after snatching the envelope from his hand, she shoots him in the throat. Later, Joan calls Murphy, announces that she is going to kill him, and hangs up. The next morning, Joan takes photographs of Murphy walking to his car. Soon, Murphy and his partner Art Penney follow a lead to the airport to arrest Tony Vincenzo before he leaves for Las Vegas, Nevada. During a subsequent police pursuit, Murphy kills Tony. Later, at Tony’s funeral, Frank promises his mother that he will avenge Tony’s death. At Madame Tong’s strip club, Murphy watches his former wife, Jan, do a striptease. After her performance, he questions why she wants to earn money in such a seedy establishment. She claims to be legitimately pursuing her career as a dancer, but he argues she is wasting her time. Murphy follows Jan as she drives home with Carl, the club owner. He sips liquor from his flask as he watches them go inside Jan’s apartment building. As Murphy drives away, he is followed. The next day, as Murphy buys a bottle of liquor, he sees Arabella and chases her into a public restroom. As he arrests her, obscenities flow from her mouth. That night, Murphy returns to Madame Tong’s, tells Jan she looks like a whore on stage, and leaves. When he gets in his car, Joan emerges from the back seat and knocks him unconscious, She follows Jan and her boyfriend in Murphy’s car, murders them in front of Jan’s apartment building, and leaves Murphy parked in front of his house. Jan’s neighbor gives police a description of Murphy’s car and license plate, and Murphy is arrested. During interrogation, officers claim he killed Jan and her lover in a jealous rage, but Murphy insists he was framed. Meanwhile, a ballistics report identifies the murder weapon as Murphy’s gun. He is taken to a holding cell, and handcuffed to Arabella. They trade insults until she punches him, and a deputy breaks up their fight. Murphy grabs the deputy’s gun, knocks him unconscious, and uses Arabella as a human shield to escape. On the roof, Murphy steals a police helicopter, but soon discovers the fuel tank is almost empty. He lands the helicopter on the roof of a barn, which collapses. As Murphy and Arabella emerge from the wreckage, three men surround them, and Arabella requests they call the police. When Murphy comments that the men run a "dope farm" and have no intention of calling police, they knock him unconscious, but he comes to, steals a machine gun, and saves Arabella from being raped. They steal a truck, and take shelter at a cabin in the woods, where, as his adrenalin wears off, Murphy loses consciousness from his wounds. However, Arabella finds keys to unlock her handcuffs. When cabin owner Ben Wilcove appears and asks who she is, Arabella explains that his friend, Murphy, is hurt and needs help. Ben, a former army medic, stitches Murphy’s wound, and diagnoses a concussion. In the morning, Murphy and Arabella fight and she disappears. Later, Murphy borrows Ben’s old service revolver and leaves in the stolen truck. Soon, Ben senses he is not alone. Joan takes a rifle from Ben’s gun rack, and without a word, kills him. As Murphy drives toward the city, he sees Arabella and orders her into the truck. At a rest stop, Arabella shows Murphy a front-page story in the newspaper, accusing him of Ben’s murder. Murphy blames Frank Vincenzo for the string of deaths and demands that Arabella leave, but she refuses because she has been named as an accomplice in Ben’s death, and police are also looking for her. In the city, as Joan dines at an expensive restaurant, another diner, Judge Kellerman, approaches and asks if they have ever met. She sidesteps the question and invites him to join her for dessert. Later, at a hotel, Joan gives the judge a bath, and kills him by drowning and electrocution. Meanwhile, Murphy and Arabella sneak into Frank Vincenzo’s private penthouse, and Murphy accuses Frank of the murders of Jan, Carl, and Ben, but he denies any involvement. When Murphy plays “Russian roulette” with Frank, the gangster is reduced to tears, and Arabella senses that he is telling the truth. Murphy persuades Art Penney to search police records for old cases on which he and Ben worked. Of the three recently released suspects Penney uncovers, Joan Freeman is the most logical choice, and she is living in downtown Los Angeles at the Sunset Hotel. As Murphy and Arabella head to the hotel, Joan strangles her probation officer. Murphy searches Joan’s apartment and discovers her photo album with several pictures of him, Madame Tong’s, and Ben Wilcove. Arabella opens a closet and out falls the probation officer’s body. Murphy is more interested in investigating a Malibu address he finds than the dead body. However, two of Frank Vincenzo’s men arrive, and Murphy and Arabella leave by the fire escape. In front of the hotel, Murphy shoots the gas tank of his pursuers’ car. He and Arabella drive to Malibu to warn Albert Skinner, who was the prosecutor at Joan’s trial. As they search the many rooms of Skinner’s mansion, Joan takes Arabella hostage. In the study, Murphy finds Skinner suffocated with a plastic bag wrapped around his head. Upstairs, Joan has written a message in red lipstick on a mirror saying she is waiting for Murphy at the place where it all started. Murphy phones the station but instead of reaching Art Penney, he talks to his foe, Ed Reineke, and explains that Joan Freeman committed the murders. He asks for backup at the Bradbury building, where Joan killed her security guard boyfriend long ago and is now holding Arabella hostage. Reineke deliberately withholds the message, and tells Frank Vincenzo and his men to meet him at the Bradbury. Under instructions from Frank Vincenzo to capture Murphy, Reineke orders Murphy to drop his gun, but Joan kills him with a crossbow. She insists Murphy come forward, but when he reaches for his weapon on the floor, she shoots an arrow at him, but misses. When Murphy tries again, Joan’s arrow pushes the gun farther away. As Murphy hides, Frank Vincenzo and his men come looking for him. Inside, they find Reineke’s body In the dark, Vincenzo mistakes one of his own men for Murphy and accidentally kills him. Murphy ambushes a second thug, and steals his weapon. Frank Vincenzo sprays bullets into a body lying on its stomach. He turns it over and is surprised to also discover it is one of his men. Murphy appears around a corner and shoots Vincenzo dead. Above, Murphy watches as Joan places Arabella on the elevator and it descends. Murphy races down the stairs and rescues Arabella but as they crawl away Joan shoots Arabella in the back with an arrow, and retorts that the game is now between her and Murphy. She swipes at him with an axe, but he pushes her down the stairs. She ends up hanging off a balcony, gripping the axe. She pleads with him to save her, but Murphy just watches as Joan loses her grip and falls to her death. In an ambulance, Murphy and Arabella rest side by side on gurneys. Arabella is alive and spews vulgar language. Murphy threatens to wash every inch of her body with a bar of soap as soon as he is able. When she refuses to stop, he says forget the bar of soap, he will need a case of soap.
+

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

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