Beyond Therapy (1987)

R | 93 mins | Comedy | 27 February 1987

Director:

Robert Altman

Producer:

Steven Haft

Cinematographer:

Pierre Mignot

Editor:

Jennifer Augé

Production Designer:

Stephen Altman

Production Company:

Sandcastle 5
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HISTORY

       Promotional information in AMPAS library files indicates director Robert Altman was interested in doing a film version of playwright Christopher Durang’s acclaimed stage comedy spoofing psychotherapy and therapists because he had never done a French farce before. The stage version of Beyond Therapy opened off-Broadway at the Phoenix Theatre in New York City on 1 Jan 1981 before moving to Broadway on 26 May 1982. Durang and Altman collaborated on the script for the movie.
       The 31 Jul 1985 HR announced that Carol Burnett and Alan Arkin were set to star as the two psychiatrists. However, neither remained with the project. Actors Glenda Jackson and Tom Conti assumed the roles by the time principal photography began in Paris, France on 23 Jun 1986, according to the 18 Jul 1986 DV production charts. The 12 Aug 1986 DV stated that photography had been completed. An article in the 15 May 1986 DV indicated the budget was $3.5 million.
       A 6 Feb 1987 HR brief reported that Beyond Therapy was screened that night at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for an audience of 400 psychologists and psychiatrists. The film opened nationally on 27 Feb 1987 on 58 screens nationwide to poor reviews. Box office charts in the 11 Mar 1987 DV show the film took in only $471,856 during its first ten days of release.
      End credits give “special thanks” to: “Restaurant ‘Les Bounchons,’ Novotel – Paris Les Halles; Manuel Canovas; Boa; Japa; Scapa; Librairie Internationale Offlib.” ... More Less

       Promotional information in AMPAS library files indicates director Robert Altman was interested in doing a film version of playwright Christopher Durang’s acclaimed stage comedy spoofing psychotherapy and therapists because he had never done a French farce before. The stage version of Beyond Therapy opened off-Broadway at the Phoenix Theatre in New York City on 1 Jan 1981 before moving to Broadway on 26 May 1982. Durang and Altman collaborated on the script for the movie.
       The 31 Jul 1985 HR announced that Carol Burnett and Alan Arkin were set to star as the two psychiatrists. However, neither remained with the project. Actors Glenda Jackson and Tom Conti assumed the roles by the time principal photography began in Paris, France on 23 Jun 1986, according to the 18 Jul 1986 DV production charts. The 12 Aug 1986 DV stated that photography had been completed. An article in the 15 May 1986 DV indicated the budget was $3.5 million.
       A 6 Feb 1987 HR brief reported that Beyond Therapy was screened that night at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for an audience of 400 psychologists and psychiatrists. The film opened nationally on 27 Feb 1987 on 58 screens nationwide to poor reviews. Box office charts in the 11 Mar 1987 DV show the film took in only $471,856 during its first ten days of release.
      End credits give “special thanks” to: “Restaurant ‘Les Bounchons,’ Novotel – Paris Les Halles; Manuel Canovas; Boa; Japa; Scapa; Librairie Internationale Offlib.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 May 1986.
---
Daily Variety
18 Jul 1986.
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1986.
---
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 1987
p. 3, 27.
Los Angeles Times
27 Feb 1987
p. 14.
New York Times
27 Feb 1987
p. 8.
Variety
28 Jan 1987
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
New World Pictures Presents
A Roger Berlind Production
A Sandcastle 5 Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst dir trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst
2d asst
Still photog
Key grip
Lighting equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Foley asst
Sd asst
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec studio
Computer over-dubbing
Computer over-dubbing
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles
PRODUCTION MISC
New World prod exec
Sandcastle 5 prod exec
Prod controller
Prod coord
Casting asst
Prod asst
Labratory
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Beyond Therapy by Christopher Durang (New York, 26 May 1982).
SONGS
"Someone To Watch Over Me," special performance by Yves Montand, words and music by George and Ira Gershwin, also performed by Linda Ronstadt, courtesy of Elektra/Asylum Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products, and performed by Lena Horne, courtesy of RCA Records.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 February 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 27 February 1987
Production Date:
23 June 1986--early August 1986 in Paris, France.
Copyright Claimant:
New World Pictures
Copyright Date:
25 March 1987
Copyright Number:
PA326931
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, Bruce, a man in his late thirties, places a personal advertisement in New York magazine. A woman named Prudence, also in her late thirties, responds to the ad and the two agree to meet at Bouchons French restaurant.
They get along well, each laughing that they have never responded to a personal ad before, and talking about their mutual love of French culture. Bruce casually informs Prudence he is bisexual and has a male lover named Bob. Hearing this, Prudence gets up to leave, saying she hates gay people. Bruce convinces her to stay and continue their conversation. In the meantime, a woman named Zizi, who has been dining in the balcony area with a group of friends, spots Bruce with Prudence and sneaks out of the restaurant. She goes to her psychiatrist, Dr. Stuart Framingham, upset that her son, Bruce’s male lover, Bob, is going to be hurt. Zizi informs Bob about seeing Bruce at the restaurant. Bob responds that he is going to his therapy group. Back at the restaurant, when Bruce puts eye drops in his eyes, some of the drops run down his cheek, making it appear as if he is crying. Prudence gets upset, saying the only reason a man should cry is if his parent die, and that a man should be strong. Meanwhile, a waiter named Andrew telephones psychiatrist, Dr. Charlotte Wallace, to say he is watching Bruce crying. Charlotte tells him to do pushups and get through it. Attempting to get the waiter’s attention, Prudence takes off her shoe and puts her foot on the table. ... +


In New York City, Bruce, a man in his late thirties, places a personal advertisement in New York magazine. A woman named Prudence, also in her late thirties, responds to the ad and the two agree to meet at Bouchons French restaurant.
They get along well, each laughing that they have never responded to a personal ad before, and talking about their mutual love of French culture. Bruce casually informs Prudence he is bisexual and has a male lover named Bob. Hearing this, Prudence gets up to leave, saying she hates gay people. Bruce convinces her to stay and continue their conversation. In the meantime, a woman named Zizi, who has been dining in the balcony area with a group of friends, spots Bruce with Prudence and sneaks out of the restaurant. She goes to her psychiatrist, Dr. Stuart Framingham, upset that her son, Bruce’s male lover, Bob, is going to be hurt. Zizi informs Bob about seeing Bruce at the restaurant. Bob responds that he is going to his therapy group. Back at the restaurant, when Bruce puts eye drops in his eyes, some of the drops run down his cheek, making it appear as if he is crying. Prudence gets upset, saying the only reason a man should cry is if his parent die, and that a man should be strong. Meanwhile, a waiter named Andrew telephones psychiatrist, Dr. Charlotte Wallace, to say he is watching Bruce crying. Charlotte tells him to do pushups and get through it. Attempting to get the waiter’s attention, Prudence takes off her shoe and puts her foot on the table. Bruce begins kissing her foot and discussing plans for their life together. He imagines they will vacation in Paris and live in Connecticut while Bob lives in the apartment over their garage. The mention of Bob enrages Prudence, who says Bruce should be committed. She calls Bruce a “first class idiot.” He says that she is a “castrating, frigid bitch.” They throw water in each other’s faces and go their separate ways. In the meantime, Bob’s therapy group does a power walk through Central Park. He tells the group about his frustrations with Bruce and they go to the restaurant looking for him, but he has already left. A few days later, Bruce goes to Charlotte’s office for his weekly psychotherapy session. He says meeting Prudence was “mystical.” Charlotte is surprised to hear that Bruce’s blind date was with a woman. Meanwhile Prudence sees her psychiatrist, Stuart, calling her meeting with Bruce “mystic.” However, Stuart becomes jealous and makes derogatory comments about Bruce. Stuart has seduced Prudence twice before, but suffers from premature ejaculation. Consequently neither encounter was sexually fulfilling to Prudence. A few days later, Zizi confronts Bruce about his date with Prudence and upsetting her son, Bob. Bruce tells her that he will not be seeing Prudence again, but will continue to see women. Several weeks later, Bruce places another personal ad in New York magazine and again goes to Bouchons to meet his blind date. There, he finds Prudence also waiting for a date. The two quickly realize they have responded to each other’s ads once again. Bruce comments how attractive she is, which flatters her immensely, but when he puts eye drops in his eyes, Prudence walks off, saying he is too tall to be crying. Bruce again convinces her to stay and chat. She says she in unprepared to deal with bisexuality. Bruce tells her his wife of six years, Sally, was not prepared for it either and divorced him. As an impressionable young child, Prudence saw the movie Every Girl Should Be Married in which a man and woman fall in love within two minutes of meeting each other. The film starred Cary Grant and Betsy Drake, who married in real life after making the movie. Prudence thinks love should always be like that. She asks Bruce why he put the ad in the magazine again. He replies, “So you’d answer it.” A few days later, Prudence tells her therapist she slept with Bruce and that he is a far better lover that he was. She speculates that since Bruce has been with men, he has a better understanding of how to sexually satisfy a lover. Stuart calls her a “fag hag” who is afraid to be with a "real" man. Later, Prudence goes to dinner at Bruce’s loft apartment, which he shares with Bob. Although he was supposed to be away, Bob is there and initially nasty to Prudence. Bruce argues that some members of Bob’s therapy group sent him a note saying it was alright for him to see women, so he assumed Bob was okay with the idea. Later, as Bruce prepares dinner, Bob is friendlier to Prudence, confessing he is unprepared for the idea of Bruce dating a woman. Bob and Prudence are both skeptical about the concept of bisexuality. Bob mentions his mother and Prudence assumes she is a transvestite. Upset, Bob telephones his mother who accuses Prudence of ruining her son’s life. Bob threatens to check into a motel and commit suicide, but his mother rushes over to comfort him. Bruce and Prudence take Bob to his see his therapist, who happens to be Dr. Charlotte Wallace. Prudence is stunned to realize that her therapist has the office next door. Coming out of his office, Stuart makes derogatory remarks about Bruce. Stuart tries to get Prudence into bed, but she tells him Bruce may ask her to marry him. Bruce breaks up this impromptu session and takes Prudence to the French restaurant where he does ask her to marry him. Meanwhile, Charlotte suggests Bob can get another roommate and that her son, Andrew, is looking for a place to live. Bob asks if Andrew is also gay. Charlotte is offended by the suggestion and makes derogatory remarks about homosexuals. Bob pulls out a pistol and shoots at her. However, it is toy gun he bought hoping to intimidate Bruce and Prudence, so Charlotte is unharmed. Meanwhile, Stuart follows Bruce and Prudence to the French restaurant and pretends to be a waiter in order to spy on them. When Prudence catches him, she fires him as her therapist. When Bob and Charlotte arrive at the French restaurant, Bob pulls out his toy gun and shoots off many shots, scaring the patrons. Once things calm down, Bruce, Prudence, Bob, Charlotte and Stuart all sit down together for a meal. Bruce announces that he intends to marry Prudence, that he needs the stability of a woman. Bob gives them his blessing. Charlotte and Stuart become smitten with each other and begin flirting. Charlotte introduces Bob to her son, Andrew, who is a waiter at the restaurant. Bob and Andrew go off to have a chat. As they leave, Bruce asks Prudence where they should go on their honeymoon. She suggests Paris. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Psychological


Subject

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

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