Black Rain (1989)

R | 125 mins | Drama | 22 September 1989

Director:

Ridley Scott

Cinematographer:

Jan de Bont

Editor:

Tom Rolf

Production Designer:

Norris Spencer
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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library, actor Michael Douglas read the screenplay for Black Rain and took it to producers Stanley R. Jaffee and Sherry Lansing, inviting them to produce it. Both Jaffee and Lansing worked with Douglas on the 1987 film, Fatal Attraction (see entry).
       As reported in an 18 Jul 1988 DV news item, a Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike postponed production. The news item speculated that principal photography would begin on 15 Oct 1988, but production notes state filming began 31 Oct 1988 in Osaka, Japan.
       Production designer Norris Spencer spent five and half a months scouting locations in Japan and coordinating a production team in the preparatory work. Japanese locations included: Osaka’s Prefectural Building, Kyobashi and Dotonbori Districts, Kirin Plaza building, Ebisubashi bridge, Hankyu Arcade and the Central Fish Market.
       Even with all the time spent negotiating filming permits and work schedules, the production fell foul of Japanese film rules. An article in the 26 Jul 1989 LAT claimed that while filming in an Osaka steel mill, shooting was fifteen minutes behind schedule. At exactly five p.m., an official from the mill ordered filmmakers to stop, even putting his hand over the camera lens, stating that it was the end of the working day. The use of firearms was greatly curtailed by governmental restrictions. Arguments erupted with police over how the crew were allowed to film in the Dotonburi night club district.
       The estimated daily costs for shooting in Japan was estimated at $145,000. Although it was far cheaper to film in Hong Kong or ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library, actor Michael Douglas read the screenplay for Black Rain and took it to producers Stanley R. Jaffee and Sherry Lansing, inviting them to produce it. Both Jaffee and Lansing worked with Douglas on the 1987 film, Fatal Attraction (see entry).
       As reported in an 18 Jul 1988 DV news item, a Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike postponed production. The news item speculated that principal photography would begin on 15 Oct 1988, but production notes state filming began 31 Oct 1988 in Osaka, Japan.
       Production designer Norris Spencer spent five and half a months scouting locations in Japan and coordinating a production team in the preparatory work. Japanese locations included: Osaka’s Prefectural Building, Kyobashi and Dotonbori Districts, Kirin Plaza building, Ebisubashi bridge, Hankyu Arcade and the Central Fish Market.
       Even with all the time spent negotiating filming permits and work schedules, the production fell foul of Japanese film rules. An article in the 26 Jul 1989 LAT claimed that while filming in an Osaka steel mill, shooting was fifteen minutes behind schedule. At exactly five p.m., an official from the mill ordered filmmakers to stop, even putting his hand over the camera lens, stating that it was the end of the working day. The use of firearms was greatly curtailed by governmental restrictions. Arguments erupted with police over how the crew were allowed to film in the Dotonburi night club district.
       The estimated daily costs for shooting in Japan was estimated at $145,000. Although it was far cheaper to film in Hong Kong or New York, Jaffee insisted it was essential to film in Japan. However, the production returned to the U.S. three weeks sooner than scheduled. Sherry Lansing claimed it was not due to the difficulties they were having with governmental officials, but that it was more efficient to film interior scenes in Los Angeles, CA.
       The early departure brought on new difficulties. Deals with Japanese actors had to be renegotiated and some of the actors were unable to get visas in time to complete their roles in the U.S. Some of the Japanese bit players, who had already been filmed, were replaced with lookalikes while others were cut out of the film. Also, various props and vehicles had to be duplicated or sent to Los Angeles. Two Japanese propane fueled cars were shipped over, but they did not meet U.S. safety standards, and Paramount was forced to crush them when shooting ended.
       Matching locations also proved a headache. The scene at the Osaka steel mill that was not completed was reshot over several days at the California Steel Industries in Fontana, CA. A construction site on Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles was turned into an Osaka street. Los Angeles International Airport became the Osaka Airport. The monastery where the members of the Yakuza meet was a Chandon vineyard in Napa, CA and added $350,000 to the budget.
       Black Rain was a financial success, grossing $9.6 million its opening weekend playing on 1,610 screens. Critical reviews were mixed, with some reviewers praising the film’s depiction of Japan as a modern, industrial society, while others claimed the picture was xenophobic. According to a 12 Oct 1989 HR article, the harshest criticism of racism came from the American press, while the Japanese media praised how the Japanese actors were used.
       The following acknowledgements appear in end credits: “Northwest Airlines; Trifari; Filmed at Silvercup Studios; New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; New York City Police Department, Motion Pictures and Television Unit.”

More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Jul 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 1989
p. 1, 21.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jul 1989
Section VI, p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
22 Sep 1989
p. 1.
New York Times
22 Sep 1989
p. 12.
Variety
20 Sep 1989
p. 28.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures presents
a Jaffe/Lansing production
in association with Michael Douglas
a Ridley Scott film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
2d unit dir, 2d unit crew
1st asst dir, 2d unit crew
2d asst dir, 2d unit crew
1st asst dir, Japanese crew
2d asst dir, Japanese crew
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Line prod, Japanese crew
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
1st asst photog
1st asst photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
2d asst photog
2d asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
Still photog
Still photog
Addl photog
Video coord
Video asst
Video asst
Chief lighting tech
Chief lighting tech
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
1st company grip
1st company grip
2d company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Ariel photog
Aerial photog tech
Aerial photog tech
Aerial photog tech
Chief lighting tech, Japanese crew
1st company grip, Japanese crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Illustrator
Art dept tech adv
Art dir, Japanese crew
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Addl ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set des
Set dec
Set dec
Set dec
Prop master
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Leadperson
Leadperson
Prop person
Prop person
Const coord
Const coord
Gen const foreperson
Const foreman
Head const grip
Scenic artist
Painter
Painter
Set dec, Japanese crew
Prop master, Japanese crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst costume des
Ward supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Ward coord, Japanese crew
MUSIC
Mus supv
Supv mus ed
Mus score mixer
Mus orch and cond by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Prod sd mixer
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Utility sd
Looping coord
Dolby consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Main title des by
Titles and opt eff by
DANCE
Prosthetics
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Prosthetics
Prosthetics
Prosthetics
Prosthetics
Prosthetics
Prosthetics
Tattoo artist
Makeup & hair, Japanese crew
Makeup & hair, Japanese crew
Makeup & hair, Japanese crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod assoc
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. Spencer
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Unit pub
Dial coach
Dial coach
Dial coach
Craft service
First aid
First aid
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportion co-capt
Transportation co-capt
Helicopter pilot
Prod office coord
Prod office coord
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Prod auditor
Accountant
Asst prod accountant
Addl casting
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting
Extras casting
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Mr. Jaffe
Asst to Mr. Jaffe
Asst to Ms. Lansing
Asst to Ms. Lansing
Asst to Mr. Scott
Asst to Mr. Douglas
Japanese translation adv, Japanese crew
Loc mgr, Japanese crew
Loc mgr, Japanese crew
Loc mgr, Japanese crew
Loc mgr, Japanese crew
Accountant, Japanese crew
Asst to Mr. Jaffe, Japanese crew
Asst to Mr. Mizuno, Japanese crew
Asst to Mr. Douglas, Japanese crew
Transportation mgr, Japanese crew
Casting by, Japanese crew
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"I'll Be Holding On," by Hans Zimmer & Will Jennings, performed by Gregg Allman, produced by David Paich, Gregg Allman performs courtesy of Epic Records
"Living On The Edge Of Night," by Jay Rifkin & Eric Rackin, performed by Iggy Pop, produced by Don Was, Iggy Pop performs courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
"Back To Life (Jam On The Groove Mix), by Beresford Romeo, Simon Law & Paul Hooper, performed by Soul II Soul, featuring Caron Wheeler, produced by Jazzie B. and Nellee Hooper for Silent Productions, courtesy of 10 Records, Ltd.
+
SONGS
"I'll Be Holding On," by Hans Zimmer & Will Jennings, performed by Gregg Allman, produced by David Paich, Gregg Allman performs courtesy of Epic Records
"Living On The Edge Of Night," by Jay Rifkin & Eric Rackin, performed by Iggy Pop, produced by Don Was, Iggy Pop performs courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
"Back To Life (Jam On The Groove Mix), by Beresford Romeo, Simon Law & Paul Hooper, performed by Soul II Soul, featuring Caron Wheeler, produced by Jazzie B. and Nellee Hooper for Silent Productions, courtesy of 10 Records, Ltd.
"Beyond The Sea," by Charles Trent & Jack Lawrence, performed by Bobby Darin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Kasa Odori," recorded by Mary Evans, from the album "Traditional Folk Dances Of Japan," courtesy of TRF Production Music Libraries
"Laser Man," written and performed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto, courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
"Ogi No Mato (The Folding Fan As A Target)," performed by Ensemble Nipponia, from the album "Japanese Traditional Vocal & Instrumental Music," produced by David Lewiston, courtesy of Nonesuch Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Singing In The Shower," by Ron Mael & Russell Mael, performed by Les Rita Mitsouko and Sparks, produced by Tony Visconti and Les Rita Mitsouko, courtesy of Virgin France, S. A.
"That's Amore," by Jack Brooks & Harry Warren
Track from "Japan Its Sounds And People," courtesy Toshiba/EMI Records, by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"The Way You Do The Things You Do," by Robert Rogers & William Robinson, performed by UB40, produced by UB40, courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
"What'd I Say," by Ray Charles.
+
PERFORMERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 September 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 September 1989
Production Date:
began 31 October 1988 in Osaka, Japan
Copyright Claimant:
Pegasus Film Partners
Copyright Date:
27 November 1989
Copyright Number:
PA436661
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
125
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29660
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

New York City police detective Nick Conklin is deposed by Internal Affairs, who accuse him of stealing money collected during drug arrests. Nick claims innocence, and afterward, meets his partner, Charlie Vincent, for lunch. At the restaurant, he notices a Mafia boss dining with a group of Japanese gangsters. Sato, a tough-looking Japanese man, enters the restaurant with two henchmen, and slits the Italian’s throat. Nick and Charlie capture Sato and learn that he is a member of the Japanese crime syndicate known as “Yakuza.” The U.S. State Department extradites Sato to Japan with Nick and Charlie as his guards. At the Osaka airport, Nick hands Sato over to the police. Moments later, actual police arrive. Nick and Charlie are berated for their mistake by Superintendent Ohashi of the Osaka Police, who confiscates their guns. Masahiro, a Japanese detective, is assigned to assist the Americans. He drives them to a nightclub, where they find one of the phony policemen from the airport, dead. Nick asks Joyce, an American hostess, what happened, and she informs him of a gang war between Sato and another crime boss named Sugai. Nick asks Masahiro to produce Sato’s police file, translated into English, by morning. The next day, Nick and Charlie learn of the death of another phony airport policeman. They go to a bath house to investigate, infuriating Ohashi. Nick notices a pile of U.S. $100 bills and declares they are counterfeit. He returns to the nightclub and asks Joyce to help him meet Sugai, but she refuses. Late that night, Nick and Charlie walk to their hotel and are suddenly ... +


New York City police detective Nick Conklin is deposed by Internal Affairs, who accuse him of stealing money collected during drug arrests. Nick claims innocence, and afterward, meets his partner, Charlie Vincent, for lunch. At the restaurant, he notices a Mafia boss dining with a group of Japanese gangsters. Sato, a tough-looking Japanese man, enters the restaurant with two henchmen, and slits the Italian’s throat. Nick and Charlie capture Sato and learn that he is a member of the Japanese crime syndicate known as “Yakuza.” The U.S. State Department extradites Sato to Japan with Nick and Charlie as his guards. At the Osaka airport, Nick hands Sato over to the police. Moments later, actual police arrive. Nick and Charlie are berated for their mistake by Superintendent Ohashi of the Osaka Police, who confiscates their guns. Masahiro, a Japanese detective, is assigned to assist the Americans. He drives them to a nightclub, where they find one of the phony policemen from the airport, dead. Nick asks Joyce, an American hostess, what happened, and she informs him of a gang war between Sato and another crime boss named Sugai. Nick asks Masahiro to produce Sato’s police file, translated into English, by morning. The next day, Nick and Charlie learn of the death of another phony airport policeman. They go to a bath house to investigate, infuriating Ohashi. Nick notices a pile of U.S. $100 bills and declares they are counterfeit. He returns to the nightclub and asks Joyce to help him meet Sugai, but she refuses. Late that night, Nick and Charlie walk to their hotel and are suddenly confronted by a motorcycle gang. Sato decapitates Charlie before riding off. After Charlie’s death, Joyce and Masahiro offer condolences. A determined Nick returns to Sato’s hideout, where he notices a few black sequins and remembers that the woman who found the body at the night club was wearing a black sequined dress. Assisted by Masahiro, he trails the woman from the nightclub to her apartment. During the stakeout, Masahiro asks Nick about the Internal Affairs investigation, and Nick admits he skimmed money from a drug dealer. Masahiro is displeased. The next day, the mysterious woman goes to a bank, where she retrieves a $100 bill from a safe-deposit box. She leaves the bank and gets into a taxicab. Nick is about to follow her, when one of the motorcycle gangsters emerges from the cab and transfers to another one. Nick and Masahiro follow the man to a steel mill, where Sato, Sugai, and other Yakuza leaders are meeting. The policemen listen to Sugai discuss his plan to counterfeit money. Sato, having stole the printing plates, attempts to negotiate for a position of greater power, but Sugai refuses to make a deal. A gunfight ensues, and Sato escapes on his motorcycle. Nick runs after him, only to be tackled by police arriving at the scene. Ohashi admonishes Nick for carrying a gun and orders him to return to the U.S. Sitting in the plane on the tarmac, Nick waits for police to leave the aircraft, before slipping into the food elevator, lowering himself into the cargo hold, and escaping. Nick seeks out Joyce, who gives him some money and the location of the driving range where Sugai practices golf. Nick confronts Sugai and hands him a counterfeit bill. Sugai’s men escort Nick to Sugai’s home. There, Sugai explains that inundating America with counterfeit bills is his revenge for the U.S. dropping the atomic bomb during World War II. Nick agrees to obtain the counterfeit plates from Sato, if Sugai promises to help him kill Sato. The next day, near a remote farmhouse, Nick waits for Sato to arrive. Suddenly he hears a thud, and turns to find Masahiro standing over an unconscious man. Masahiro explains that Sato intends to double cross Sugai. Nick remains hidden while the two criminals meet. The meeting ends in a gunfight, and Sato flees into the woods, where he jumps on a motorcycle and rides away. Nick leaps on a motorcycle and gives chase. After capturing the criminal, Nick and Masahiro receive citations of valor. Later, Masahiro takes Nick to the airport and wonders what happened to the counterfeit printing plates. The new friends offer each other parting gifts before saying goodbye. As Nick boards the plane, Masahiro opens the gift box. Inside, underneath a new shirt, are the stolen plates. +

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

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