Family Business (1989)

R | 114 mins | Comedy | 15 December 1989

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Vincent Patrick

Producer:

Lawrence Gordon

Cinematographer:

Andrzej Bartkowiak

Production Designer:

Philip Rosenberg

Production Company:

Tri-Star Pictures
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HISTORY

According to the 26 Apr 1988 HR, several offers had been made for film rights to Anna Murdoch’s 1985 novel, Family Business. However, the 25 Nov 1988 NYT reported that producer Lawrence Gordon had acquired rights to the novel five years earlier, and had been developing the script for four years. A writer’s strike was listed as causing delays in production.
       The 23 Jun 1988 HR announced that actors Matthew Broderick and Sean Connery were awaiting script re-writes before signing on to star in the picture.
       The 17 Oct 1988 issue of People magazine reported a 7 Nov 1988 start date. Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that filming occurred in New York City, with one week on locations in at Jersey City, NJ courthouse, a Spring Valley, NY shopping mall, and a Jericho, NY office complex. The 9 Jan 1989 Time announced principal photography had been completed the previous week.
       Re-shoots were completed in New York after filmmakers could not find a satisfactory ending, according to the 13 Oct 1989 LAHExam. The 18 Oct 1989 DV announced that the result was a new “upbeat” ending.
       The 1 Dec 1989 DV reported an upcoming premiere on 13 Dec 1989, to benefit the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Guild in Los Angeles, CA.
       The Feb 1990 Box listed $4.8 million in box-office sales after the film's first two weeks in theaters.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: "Special Thanks to: Nassau County Police Department; Imclone Systems, Inc.; Channel Club Condominium; The New York ... More Less

According to the 26 Apr 1988 HR, several offers had been made for film rights to Anna Murdoch’s 1985 novel, Family Business. However, the 25 Nov 1988 NYT reported that producer Lawrence Gordon had acquired rights to the novel five years earlier, and had been developing the script for four years. A writer’s strike was listed as causing delays in production.
       The 23 Jun 1988 HR announced that actors Matthew Broderick and Sean Connery were awaiting script re-writes before signing on to star in the picture.
       The 17 Oct 1988 issue of People magazine reported a 7 Nov 1988 start date. Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that filming occurred in New York City, with one week on locations in at Jersey City, NJ courthouse, a Spring Valley, NY shopping mall, and a Jericho, NY office complex. The 9 Jan 1989 Time announced principal photography had been completed the previous week.
       Re-shoots were completed in New York after filmmakers could not find a satisfactory ending, according to the 13 Oct 1989 LAHExam. The 18 Oct 1989 DV announced that the result was a new “upbeat” ending.
       The 1 Dec 1989 DV reported an upcoming premiere on 13 Dec 1989, to benefit the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Guild in Los Angeles, CA.
       The Feb 1990 Box listed $4.8 million in box-office sales after the film's first two weeks in theaters.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: "Special Thanks to: Nassau County Police Department; Imclone Systems, Inc.; Channel Club Condominium; The New York City Mayor's Office for Film, Theatre & Broadcasting." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Feb 1990.
---
Daily Variety
18 Oct 1989.
---
Daily Variety
1 Dec 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1989
p. 4, 116.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
13 Oct 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1989
p. 1.
New York Times
25 Nov 1988.
---
New York Times
15 Dec 1989
p. 28.
People
17 Oct 1988.
---
Time
9 Jan 1989
p. 72.
Variety
13 Dec 1989
p. 30.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Tri-Star Pictures in association with
Regency International Pictures presents
A Gordan Company production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
Scr
Based upon his novel
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Key rigging elec
Key grip
Dolly grip
Key rigging grip
Video tech
Still photog
Cam trainee
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Master scenic artist
Standby scenic
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Women's cost supv
Men's cost supv
MUSIC
Mus comp and arr by
Mus orch & cond by
Mus eng
SOUND
Supv sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Synclavier eng
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Makeup & hair for Mr. Connery
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod coord
Post prod supv
Loc mgr
Continuity
Prod accountant
Loc asst
Loc asst
Unit pub
Extras casting
Extras casting
Transportation capt
Office asst
Asst to Mr. Hoffman
Asst to Mr. Gordon
Asst to Mr. Gordon
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt cop #1
Stunt cop #2
Mr. Hoffman's stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Family Business by Vincent Patrick (New York, 1985).
SONGS
"Danny Boy," written by Frederick E. Weatherly
"The Tenement Symphony," written by Hal Borne and Sid Kuller
"Almost Like Being In Love," written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
+
SONGS
"Danny Boy," written by Frederick E. Weatherly
"The Tenement Symphony," written by Hal Borne and Sid Kuller
"Almost Like Being In Love," written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
"Red Roses For A Blue Lady," written by Roy C. Bennett and Sid Tepper.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 December 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 13 December 1989
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 December 1989
Production Date:
7 November 1988--early January 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 January 1990
Copyright Number:
PA450051
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29657
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, Vito McMullen and his wife, Elaine, go to Passover dinner at his in-law’s home, where his twenty-two-year-old son, Adam, is questioned about dropping out of college three months short of graduating with a Master’s degree in biology. During dinner, Adam receives a telephone call from his grandfather, Jessie, and Vito wonders why his estranged father is calling his son. When Adam confesses that Jessie needs bail money after getting into a bar fight with an off-duty police officer, Vito warns Adam that Jessie is a criminal and will only disappoint him. At Jessie’s bail hearing, the old man makes excuses for his actions. After paying his bail, Adam becomes reacquainted with his Scottish grandfather, and asks his opinion about participating in a scam offered by a former college professor, that promises to make him a million dollars. Adam and Jessie invite Vito to join them at Doheny’s bar, and Vito insults his father for his unapologetically criminal lifestyle. When Adam admits he is the one with the scam this time, he asks for his father’s help, but Vito slaps him in the face. Later, Jessie chastises Vito for humiliating Adam, and gives him one last chance to be the third man in their scheme. Vito wants nothing to do with his father, who forced him to lead a life of crime while growing up, and who he blames for his having spent over two years in prison. Sometime later, however, Vito apologizes to Adam, and agrees to listens to his scheme. Adam’s former biology professor, Jimmy Chiu, has asked him to steal logbooks and “plasmids” ... +


In New York City, Vito McMullen and his wife, Elaine, go to Passover dinner at his in-law’s home, where his twenty-two-year-old son, Adam, is questioned about dropping out of college three months short of graduating with a Master’s degree in biology. During dinner, Adam receives a telephone call from his grandfather, Jessie, and Vito wonders why his estranged father is calling his son. When Adam confesses that Jessie needs bail money after getting into a bar fight with an off-duty police officer, Vito warns Adam that Jessie is a criminal and will only disappoint him. At Jessie’s bail hearing, the old man makes excuses for his actions. After paying his bail, Adam becomes reacquainted with his Scottish grandfather, and asks his opinion about participating in a scam offered by a former college professor, that promises to make him a million dollars. Adam and Jessie invite Vito to join them at Doheny’s bar, and Vito insults his father for his unapologetically criminal lifestyle. When Adam admits he is the one with the scam this time, he asks for his father’s help, but Vito slaps him in the face. Later, Jessie chastises Vito for humiliating Adam, and gives him one last chance to be the third man in their scheme. Vito wants nothing to do with his father, who forced him to lead a life of crime while growing up, and who he blames for his having spent over two years in prison. Sometime later, however, Vito apologizes to Adam, and agrees to listens to his scheme. Adam’s former biology professor, Jimmy Chiu, has asked him to steal logbooks and “plasmids” from the research laboratory from which he was fired. Chiu hopes to start his own high-yield agricultural venture with the gene-splicing technique. He has offered to pay Adam $1 million for pulling off the heist. Vito agrees to assist, but as they plan the heist, the trio argues nonstop. When Vito reports back to Jessie that the laboratory guard carries a gun, he refuses to let Adam bring a weapon to the robbery. Wearing masks, the men tie up the docile guard. After leaving with the plasmids, Adam forgets the logbooks. When he returns alone to retrieve them, he sets off a silent alarm. As Jessie and Vito wait in their vehicle, police arrive and arrest Adam. Sometime later, a lawyer tells Jessie and Vito that the laboratory has agreed not to press charges if Adam returns the stolen items, but if he refuses, he could spend fifteen years in prison. When Jessie visits Adam in jail, the young man insists he will only receive a yearlong prison sentence, which he deems worth it for earning $1 million, and refuses to name his father and grandfather as accomplices. After searching for Jessie at his girl friend Margie’s home, Vito appeals to her to return the stolen property. Margie learns that Adam would be freed for its return, and reveals the plasmid vials that Jessie hid in her closet. However, Adam’s lawyer declares they are filled with tap water, and Vito believes Jessie duped him. When Jessie is accused of the deception, he realizes that Jimmy Chiu double-crossed them, and waits in Jimmy’s automobile to threaten him. Jimmy admits he was not actually fired from the laboratory, and that he staged the robbery because the gene-splicing technique they promised investors has not yet been developed. He hoped the “robbery” would give the biologists more time to make their scientific discovery. In time, Vito turns himself in and sends police to arrest Jessie. At their hearing, Adam takes full responsibility for the crime and defends his grandfather in court. The judge sentences Vito to three year’s probation, Adam is given five year’s probation, but Jessie, with his criminal past, is sentenced to a twenty-five-year prison sentence. Six months later, Adam pays regular visits to his grandfather, and refuses to speak to his father. Vito begs for his son’s forgiveness, but Adam accuses his father of never having any confidence in him. When Jessie falls ill and is sent to the prison infirmary, Adam worries, and apologizes for getting him in trouble. However, Jessie proclaims, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Soon after, Adam informs his father that Jessie is dying. Vito races to the prison, but arrives too late. Adam asks Vito what they should do with Jessie’s ashes, and points out that working on the heist was the only time the three men spent together. Vito holds a wake on the rooftop of Doheny’s bar, and embraces Adam as they scatter Jessie’s ashes to the wind. +

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

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