Tin Men (1987)

R | 112 mins | Comedy | 6 March 1987

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writer:

Barry Levinson

Producer:

Mark Johnson

Cinematographer:

Peter Sova

Editor:

Stewart Linder

Production Designer:

Peter Jamison

Production Company:

Touchstone Pictures
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HISTORY

Tin Men was the second of writer-director Barry Levinson’s four semi-autobiographical “Baltimore Movies,” set in his hometown of Baltimore, MD. The first was Diner (1982), the third was Avalon (1990), and the fourth was Liberty Heights (1999, see entries).
       Although Tin Men is not a sequel to Diner, it does take place in the same world. The 15 Mar 1987 NTY noted that two minor characters from Diner, actor Michael Tucker’s “Bagel” and actress Florence Moody’s diner waitress, also appear in Tin Men. Additionally, several scenes in Tin Men are set in the Hilltop Diner on Reisterstown Road, used in Diner, as reported by the Mar 1987 Newsweek on Campus.
       Principal photography began on 21 Jul 1986 in Baltimore, according to the 19 Aug 1986 HR production chart. The 3 Jul 1986 HR stated that Tin Men was scheduled to shoot for fifty to sixty days.
       In early Sep 1986, some uncut negative dailies were stolen from a truck taking the film to a processing lab in New York City, forcing lead actors Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito to reshoot three days’ worth of work, according to the the 10 Sep 1986 DV.
       The picture opened in limited release on nine screens on 6 Mar 1987 and expanded to 684 screens the following weekend, earning $4 million in its first weekend of wide release, as announced in the 17 Mar 1987 DV box-office report.
       Levinson was in talks with Walt Disney Co. in 1998 ... More Less

Tin Men was the second of writer-director Barry Levinson’s four semi-autobiographical “Baltimore Movies,” set in his hometown of Baltimore, MD. The first was Diner (1982), the third was Avalon (1990), and the fourth was Liberty Heights (1999, see entries).
       Although Tin Men is not a sequel to Diner, it does take place in the same world. The 15 Mar 1987 NTY noted that two minor characters from Diner, actor Michael Tucker’s “Bagel” and actress Florence Moody’s diner waitress, also appear in Tin Men. Additionally, several scenes in Tin Men are set in the Hilltop Diner on Reisterstown Road, used in Diner, as reported by the Mar 1987 Newsweek on Campus.
       Principal photography began on 21 Jul 1986 in Baltimore, according to the 19 Aug 1986 HR production chart. The 3 Jul 1986 HR stated that Tin Men was scheduled to shoot for fifty to sixty days.
       In early Sep 1986, some uncut negative dailies were stolen from a truck taking the film to a processing lab in New York City, forcing lead actors Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito to reshoot three days’ worth of work, according to the the 10 Sep 1986 DV.
       The picture opened in limited release on nine screens on 6 Mar 1987 and expanded to 684 screens the following weekend, earning $4 million in its first weekend of wide release, as announced in the 17 Mar 1987 DV box-office report.
       Levinson was in talks with Walt Disney Co. in 1998 to create a musical stage version of Tin Men, the 12 Feb 1998 HR reported. However, nothing came of those plans.
       End credits state: “The filmmakers wish to thank: Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer; The Maryland Film Commission; and, especially, the People of the City of Baltimore for their generosity and assistance in the making of this motion picture. Additional thanks to Lee Donner, CSX Transportation; and Baltimore’s Fish Market and The McCourt Company.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
May 1987.
---
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1986.
---
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 1987
p. 3, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1998.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Mar 1987
p. 1.
New York Times
6 Mar 1987
p. 3.
New York Times
15 Mar 1987
p. 1, 32.
Newsweek on Campus
Mar 1987.
---
Variety
11 Mar 1987
pp. 123-124.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
and
as "Sam"
Co-starring:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures presents
In association with Silver Screen Partners II
A Film by Barry Levinson
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Elec consultant
Gaffer
Grip consultant
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Costumers
Costumers
MUSIC
Orig score by
Orig score by
Mus coord
Mus coord
SOUND
Prod sd
Prod sd
Prod sd
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post prod dial
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main title seq des by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod accountant
Asst to the prod
Asst to Mr. Levinson
Scr supv
Prod office coord
Asst to Mr. Jamison
Loc mgr
Transportation coord
Extras casting
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Researcher
Processing by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Processing by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Sweet Lorraine,” words by Mitchell Parish and music by Clifford Burwell, performed by Nat King Cole, courtesy of Capitol Records
“Social Security,” “Good Thing,” Hard As It Is,” “Tell Me What,” lyrics by Roland Gift, music by David Steele, performed by Fine Young Cannibals, courtesy of I.R.S. Records and London Records
“Try A Little Tenderness,” words and music by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell, and Reginald Connelly, performed by Otis Redding, courtesy of Atlantic Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
“Sweet Lorraine,” words by Mitchell Parish and music by Clifford Burwell, performed by Nat King Cole, courtesy of Capitol Records
“Social Security,” “Good Thing,” Hard As It Is,” “Tell Me What,” lyrics by Roland Gift, music by David Steele, performed by Fine Young Cannibals, courtesy of I.R.S. Records and London Records
“Try A Little Tenderness,” words and music by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell, and Reginald Connelly, performed by Otis Redding, courtesy of Atlantic Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“All The Things You Are,” words by Oscar Hammerstein, II, music by Jerome Kern, performed by Jo Stafford, courtesy of Corinthian Records
“You Belong To Me,” written by Pee Wee King, Redd Steward and Chilton Price, performed by Jo Stafford, courtesy of Capital Records
“The Girl From Ipanema,” English lyrics by Norman Gimbel, Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes, music by Antonio Carlos Jobim
performed by Freddie Stevens
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” words by Hal David, music by Burt Bacharach, performed by Gene Pitney, courtesy of CBS Records
“In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning, written by David Mann and Bob Hilliard, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“It’s Not For Me To Say,” words by Al Stillman, music by Robert Allen, performed by Johnny Mathis, courtesy of Columbia Records
“La Bamba,” written and performed by Richie Valens, courtesy of Rhino Records
“His Latest Flame,” written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, performed by Elvis Presley, courtesy of RCA Records
“How Insensitive,” English lyrics by Norman Gimbel, Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes, music by Antonio Carlos Jobim
courtesy of Polygram Special Projects
“Wishin’ And Hopin’,” written by Hal David, music by Burt Bacharach, performed by Dusty Springfield, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects
“Life’s Too Short,” written by Phil Huth and Lee Bonner, performed by The LaFayettes, courtesy of RCA Records
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 March 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 March 1987
Production Date:
21 July--late September 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Bandai Company, Ltd., & Touchstone Pictures
Copyright Date:
9 March 1987
Copyright Number:
PA316001
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres.
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28483
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1963 Baltimore, Maryland, Bill “B.B.” Babowsky is a door-to-door aluminum siding salesman for the Gibraltar Aluminum Company. Ernest Tilley works for rival company, Mason Dixon Aluminum Siding, although the two have never met. Both “tin men,” as workers in the aluminum siding trade deem themselves, frequently resort to illegal scams to convince homeowners to purchase aluminum siding. B.B rewards his success by purchasing a new baby blue Cadillac Coup de Ville. As he backs it out of the dealership, Tilley crashes his own yellow Cadillac into the back of B.B.’s new car, and drives off, causing $600 worth of damage. B.B. vows revenge. That night, he spots Tilley’s Cadillac parked outside a bar and smashes the headlights. As B.B. drives away, Tilley promises retaliation. The next day, Tilley goes to the Gibraltar Aluminum Company’s parking lot and smashes the windows of B.B.’s car with a crowbar. That evening, the two spot each other in a crowded bar and go outside to fight. However, when police drive by, they decide not to fight. B.B. plans to seduce Tilley’s wife, Nora, and flirts with her at a grocery store. Starved for romance, Nora is excited by his attention and agrees to go out on a date with him, telling Tilley that she is going out with a friend. Later, Nora tells a co-worker that she wants to know if her marriage to is as good as it gets, and wants to compare him to another man. B.B. takes Nora to his apartment where they dance together, kiss, and finally make love. Afterward, B.B. telephones Tilley at a bar and brags that he just slept with his wife. Furious, Tilley ... +


In 1963 Baltimore, Maryland, Bill “B.B.” Babowsky is a door-to-door aluminum siding salesman for the Gibraltar Aluminum Company. Ernest Tilley works for rival company, Mason Dixon Aluminum Siding, although the two have never met. Both “tin men,” as workers in the aluminum siding trade deem themselves, frequently resort to illegal scams to convince homeowners to purchase aluminum siding. B.B rewards his success by purchasing a new baby blue Cadillac Coup de Ville. As he backs it out of the dealership, Tilley crashes his own yellow Cadillac into the back of B.B.’s new car, and drives off, causing $600 worth of damage. B.B. vows revenge. That night, he spots Tilley’s Cadillac parked outside a bar and smashes the headlights. As B.B. drives away, Tilley promises retaliation. The next day, Tilley goes to the Gibraltar Aluminum Company’s parking lot and smashes the windows of B.B.’s car with a crowbar. That evening, the two spot each other in a crowded bar and go outside to fight. However, when police drive by, they decide not to fight. B.B. plans to seduce Tilley’s wife, Nora, and flirts with her at a grocery store. Starved for romance, Nora is excited by his attention and agrees to go out on a date with him, telling Tilley that she is going out with a friend. Later, Nora tells a co-worker that she wants to know if her marriage to is as good as it gets, and wants to compare him to another man. B.B. takes Nora to his apartment where they dance together, kiss, and finally make love. Afterward, B.B. telephones Tilley at a bar and brags that he just slept with his wife. Furious, Tilley rushes home, and throws all Nora’s belongings out the window. Nora arrives to find her clothes on the lawn, and returns to B.B.’s apartment, asking to stay with him for a few days. Eventually, Nora gets on B.B.’s nerves. He goes to the Social Security office where Nora works, intending to break up with her, but is moved when she confesses that she truly cares for him. At Pimlico Race Track, B.B. and Tilley come face to face and insult each other. However, Tilley is distressed that B.B. seems to genuinely be in love with Nora. Soon after, Nora asks Tilley for a divorce. When Tilley comments about the irony of Nora falling in love with the same man who sought revenge against him, Nora is stunned at the discovery. Feeling used, she smashes her car into B.B.’s Cadillac and breaks up with him. Despite B.B.’s high sales commissions, much of that is due to his partner, Moe, who is considered the best “tin man” in the business. After Moe has a heart attack and announces he is leaving the business to take a less stressful job, B.B. worries about his own future. Meanwhile, Tilley is also experiencing a slump and is now the least productive employee at the company, after being a top salesman in years past. His boss, Wing, loans him $2,500 to cover his expenses, and he receives a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claiming he owes $4,000 in back taxes. Tilley fails to respond, and the IRS seizes his house and padlocks the door. The Maryland Home Improvement Commission begins investigating some of the illegal scams the “tin men” have been employing. When they hold hearings and call Tilley in to testify, he denies any wrongdoing. Elsewhere, B.B. catches a co-worker named Stanley stealing company files and realizes he is a mole for the commission. Ready to get out of the business now that his partner, Moe, has moved on, B.B. gives Stanley some old files detailing their scams, and tells him to do whatever he wants with them. B.B. repeatedly telephones Nora at work, but she hangs up on him. Finally, he waits outside her office and tries to apologize. He admits it was a lousy thing to sleep with her for revenge, but says they never would have met otherwise. He professes his love for her and proposes marriage. Nora accepts. B.B. later meets Tilley in a pool hall and asks him to grant Nora a divorce. Tilley offers they play a game of pool for her: If B.B. wins, then Tilley will divorce her, but if Tilley wins, B.B. will have to end his relationship with Nora. When Tilley wins the game, B.B. refuses to give up Nora. Meanwhile, Tilley’s boss, Wing, gives the Home Improvement Commission officials information on scams that Tilley and his partner, Sam, have pulled, in order to keep them from closing down his company. Wing warns Tilley that the commission will be coming after him, and apologizes for giving him up. He forgives Tilley’s debt and gives him an additional $1,200 to get through the next few months. In time, Tilley and B.B. are both called before the Home Improvement Commission. While waiting to testify, they make peace with each other, and Tilley wishes B.B. a happy life with Nora. After the hearing, the commission revokes both men’s licenses to sell aluminum siding. When Tilley leaves, he discovers that the IRS has seized his Cadillac. As B.B. gives him a ride home, they discuss going into business together. +

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

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