Heaven Help Us (1985)

R | 103 mins | Comedy-drama | 8 February 1985

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HISTORY

       Using the working title, Catholic Boys, the 20 Mar 1984 HR announced the picture was filming at Silvercup Studios in Long Island, NY. Filming began on 27 Feb 1984 according to the 27 Mar 1984 HR. An advertisement that appeared in the 1 Jun 1984 HR reported that principal photography was completed.
       According to the Mar 1985 Esquire, the picture came about when producer Dan Wigutow approached New York University (NYU) Film School seeking a talented writer, and was given the name of Charles Purpura, who had dropped out of the dramatic-writing program after suffering financial difficulties. Wigutow saw the potential in Purpura’s screenplay, Catholic Boys. After four years of rewriting, Wigutow submitted the script to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Universal Pictures, and Twentieth Century-Fox. The latter showed interest, but Fox would not agree to Wigutow’s choice for director, Michael Dinner, prompting Wigutow to turn down the deal. Wigutow met Maurice Singer, head of production at HBO’s Silver Screen, while traveling to Cannes, and later sent him the script. Silver Screen agreed to produce the picture. Wigutow tracked down Purpura in India, where he had moved after going bankrupt, and asked him to return for a final script revision. Filmmakers were reportedly unhappy when the film’s distributor, Tri-Star Pictures, took over and changed the title to Heaven Help Us.
       The Apr 1985 Box reported $2.2 million in opening figures from 1,003 theaters. The 22 Mar 1985 HR announced $6 million in domestic grosses to date, and that the picture would be released internationally ... More Less

       Using the working title, Catholic Boys, the 20 Mar 1984 HR announced the picture was filming at Silvercup Studios in Long Island, NY. Filming began on 27 Feb 1984 according to the 27 Mar 1984 HR. An advertisement that appeared in the 1 Jun 1984 HR reported that principal photography was completed.
       According to the Mar 1985 Esquire, the picture came about when producer Dan Wigutow approached New York University (NYU) Film School seeking a talented writer, and was given the name of Charles Purpura, who had dropped out of the dramatic-writing program after suffering financial difficulties. Wigutow saw the potential in Purpura’s screenplay, Catholic Boys. After four years of rewriting, Wigutow submitted the script to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Universal Pictures, and Twentieth Century-Fox. The latter showed interest, but Fox would not agree to Wigutow’s choice for director, Michael Dinner, prompting Wigutow to turn down the deal. Wigutow met Maurice Singer, head of production at HBO’s Silver Screen, while traveling to Cannes, and later sent him the script. Silver Screen agreed to produce the picture. Wigutow tracked down Purpura in India, where he had moved after going bankrupt, and asked him to return for a final script revision. Filmmakers were reportedly unhappy when the film’s distributor, Tri-Star Pictures, took over and changed the title to Heaven Help Us.
       The Apr 1985 Box reported $2.2 million in opening figures from 1,003 theaters. The 22 Mar 1985 HR announced $6 million in domestic grosses to date, and that the picture would be released internationally under its original title, Cathoilic Boys.
      The film concludes with voice-over narration describing the future of the five friends: "Caesar," "Williams," "Corbet," "Michael Dunn," and "Rooney." End credits include the following acknowledgements: “With special thanks to The New York City Mayor’s Office; The New York Police Department Movie Unit; The New York Department of Transportation; The Bureau of Bridge Operations; New Jersey Transit Corporation; Arnold Alberts--Allied Bus Ads, Inc.; Trailways Corporation; Juan Ruiz Anchia," and the dedication: "Otto Paoloni, His contribution to this industry will always be remembered.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Apr 1985.
---
Esquire
Mar 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 1985
p. 3, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1985
p. 1, 19.
New York Times
8 Feb 1985
p. 8.
Variety
6 Feb 1985
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
HBO Pictures in association with
Silver Screen Partners presents
A Mark Carliner-Dan Wigutow production
Presented by HBO Pictures in association with Silver Screen Partners
A Tri-Star release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Panaglide op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const grip
Chief carpenter
Set dresser
Set dresser
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Dial supv
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Post prod facility
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Asst unit prod mgr
Loc mgr
Prod auditor
Scr supv
Film liaison
Unit pub
Prod office coord
Prod asst
Transportation capt
Extra casting by
Extra casting by
Asst to Mr. Dinner
Asst to Mr. Wigutow
Asst to Mr. Carliner
Asst to Mr. Utt
Religious consultant
Freight forwarding by
Tutors provided by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Filmed in
SOURCES
MUSIC
“Marche Militaire, Op 51, Nos. 1,2 and 3,” composed by Franz Schubert, as performed by Hamburg Radio Symphony Orchestra, Robert Ashley, conductor, a CMS Series release
“Clarinet Polka,” as performed by Joey Schmidt, Lawrence Welk and Myron Floren, courtesy of Ranwood Records, Inc., published by Champagne Music Corp.
“Hallelujah Chorus,” performed by The Roches, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Projects, composed by George Friedrich Handel, arranged by Maggie Roche, Terre Roche, and Suzzy Roche, published by DeShufflin, Inc.
SONGS
“Come See About Me,” as performed by The Supremes, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” as performed by The Four Tops, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“Ooh Baby Baby,” as performed by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
+
SONGS
“Come See About Me,” as performed by The Supremes, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” as performed by The Four Tops, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“Ooh Baby Baby,” as performed by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“My Girl,” as performed by The Temptations, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“Shotgun,” as performed by Jr. Walker and the All Stars, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“Dancing In The Streets,” as performed by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“Ain’t That Peculiar,” as performed by Marvin Gaye, used by permission of Motown Record Corporation and Jobete Music, Co., Inc.
“Dominique,” as performed by The Singing Nun, courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc., written by Noel Regney and Soeur Sourire, published by Colgems-Emi Music Inc.
“Blue Velvet,” as performed by Bobby Vinton, courtesy of CBS Records, written by Lee Morris and Bernie Wayne, published by Vogue Music
“Largo Al Factotum,” from “The Barber of Seville,” composed by Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, as performed by Sesto Bruscantini and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vittorio Gui, courtesy of EMI Records
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, “as performed by Otis Redding, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products, words and music by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler, published by Irving Music, Inc.
“Hawaiian Wedding Song,” as performed by Elvis Presley in the motion picture “Blue Hawaii,” courtesy of RCA Records, written by Al Hoffman, Dick Manning, and Charles E. King, published by MCA Music, a division of MCA Inc.
“Blue Suede Shoes,” as performed by Elvis Presley, courtesy of RCA Records, written by Carl Lee Perkins, published by Rightsong Music
“Wooly Bully,” as performed by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc., words and music by Domingo Samudio, published by Beckie Publishing Co., Inc.
“Tutti Frutti,” as performed by Little Richard, courtesy of Specialty Records, written by Richard Penniman, Joe Lubin, and Dorothy La Bostrie, published by Venice Music, Inc.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Catholic Boys
Release Date:
8 February 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 8 February 1985
Production Date:
began 27 February 1984 in New York
Copyright Claimant:
Silver Screen Partners
Copyright Date:
5 March 1985
Copyright Number:
PA243692
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Prints in Metrocolor®
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27557
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Brooklyn, New York, in 1965, Michael Dunn enrolls as a new student at St. Basil’s Catholic boys’ school. Michael befriends a classmate named Caesar, and witnesses the abuse doled out by one of his teachers, Brother Constance. Michael’s grandmother, who raises him and his sister, Boo, expects Michael to become a priest someday. On the way to school, a classmate named Rooney bullies him. When Michael does not react, a local girl named Danni comes to his defense. Meanwhile, Brother Timothy, a new teacher, reports the abusive actions of Brother Constance to headmaster, Brother Thadeus. However, Thadeus takes no action, and warns that Timothy should support his faculty members. Later, Rooney invites Michael into his group of friends, and takes him to their after school hangout, the soda fountain where Danni works for her shop owner father. While there, Rooney asks Danni to a school dance, but she rejects him. When priests raid the soda fountain hoping to catch the boys smoking and carousing, the ruckus destroys the shop. Michael helps Danni clean up the mess, and she recognizes that he is not like the other rowdy boys. Danni confides in him that she dropped out of school to help her father. Sometime later, a school dance is held with the local Catholic girls’ school, but Michael is uninterested, and leaves to visit Danni. When no one answers his knock, he enters the opened door of her home behind the shop, and sees her invalid father. Danni, embarrassed and protective of her father’s condition, yells at Michael to leave, but chases after Michael and ... +


In Brooklyn, New York, in 1965, Michael Dunn enrolls as a new student at St. Basil’s Catholic boys’ school. Michael befriends a classmate named Caesar, and witnesses the abuse doled out by one of his teachers, Brother Constance. Michael’s grandmother, who raises him and his sister, Boo, expects Michael to become a priest someday. On the way to school, a classmate named Rooney bullies him. When Michael does not react, a local girl named Danni comes to his defense. Meanwhile, Brother Timothy, a new teacher, reports the abusive actions of Brother Constance to headmaster, Brother Thadeus. However, Thadeus takes no action, and warns that Timothy should support his faculty members. Later, Rooney invites Michael into his group of friends, and takes him to their after school hangout, the soda fountain where Danni works for her shop owner father. While there, Rooney asks Danni to a school dance, but she rejects him. When priests raid the soda fountain hoping to catch the boys smoking and carousing, the ruckus destroys the shop. Michael helps Danni clean up the mess, and she recognizes that he is not like the other rowdy boys. Danni confides in him that she dropped out of school to help her father. Sometime later, a school dance is held with the local Catholic girls’ school, but Michael is uninterested, and leaves to visit Danni. When no one answers his knock, he enters the opened door of her home behind the shop, and sees her invalid father. Danni, embarrassed and protective of her father’s condition, yells at Michael to leave, but chases after Michael and apologizes, explaining that her father has suffered from severe depression since his lover committed suicide. Michael invites Danni to his home for dinner, where his grandmother announces that Michael is going to be a priest. Later, Danni takes Michael to Coney Island during the off-season, where they dance on the boardwalk, and share their first kiss. In time, Danni’s truancy is reported to the authorities, and she is taken into child custody, after she and Michael say a tearful goodbye. Meanwhile, Brother Constance continues his abusive punishment of the boys after they perform several pranks. When the boys remove the head from a statue on campus, Brother Constance whips them one at a time, but Michael fights back, and is chased into an assembly where his beating continues in front of the school’s faculty and students. Michael punches Brother Constance in the face, to the applause of his peers. Brother Constance demands the boys be expelled, but Brother Timothy argues that they acted in self-defense. As headmaster Thadeus contemplates their punishment, Michael accepts all the blame. To the boys’ surprise, Thadeus holds Brother Constance responsible. However, he assigns the boys a two-week suspension. Afterward, Thadeus has Brother Constance transferred to another school, and offers the vacant position to Brother Timothy. Elsewhere, the boys worry how the suspension will affect their academic futures, but celebrate their break from school. +

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

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