Her Alibi (1989)

PG | 94 mins | Comedy, Romance | 3 February 1989

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writer:

Charlie Peters

Producer:

Keith Barish

Cinematographer:

Freddie Francis

Editor:

Anne Goursaud

Production Designer:

Henry Bumstead

Production Company:

Her Alibi Productions
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HISTORY

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 27 Jun 1988 in Baltimore, MD. Initially, the production was scheduled for a nine week shoot in Maryland, however, it was soon decided that Baltimore and the surrounding countryside could double for New York City and the suburbs of Connecticut. A 28 Oct 1988 HR news item reported filming was complete after three months of shooting.
       Locations included: the Baltimore Musuem of Art; Baltimore’s maximum security prison; the 5th Regiment Armory; and the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse. The Jacobs Mansion, which was built in 1880 and designed by famed architects Stanford White and John Russell Pope, was used both as a Romanian Embassy and a hall in which the "Phil Blackwell" character delivers a speech on lust to a women’s literary club.
       The production was plagued by record-breaking heat. The tempature reached or exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit for over fifty straight days.
       Local artists’ works were used as set dressing, according to a 31 Jul 1988 news item in The Sun. Artist Craig Hankin initially auditioned to be a background actor. During his interview, he told director Bruce Beresford about his paintings and Beresford asked him to supply samples of his and other local artists’ work. Although Hankin did not get the acting job, two of his landscapes were used. Paintings by artists Helen Glazer, Kimberly Paar and Bill Tamburino were also used.

      The following statement appears in end credits: “Thanks to the Baltimore & Maryland Film ... More Less

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 27 Jun 1988 in Baltimore, MD. Initially, the production was scheduled for a nine week shoot in Maryland, however, it was soon decided that Baltimore and the surrounding countryside could double for New York City and the suburbs of Connecticut. A 28 Oct 1988 HR news item reported filming was complete after three months of shooting.
       Locations included: the Baltimore Musuem of Art; Baltimore’s maximum security prison; the 5th Regiment Armory; and the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse. The Jacobs Mansion, which was built in 1880 and designed by famed architects Stanford White and John Russell Pope, was used both as a Romanian Embassy and a hall in which the "Phil Blackwell" character delivers a speech on lust to a women’s literary club.
       The production was plagued by record-breaking heat. The tempature reached or exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit for over fifty straight days.
       Local artists’ works were used as set dressing, according to a 31 Jul 1988 news item in The Sun. Artist Craig Hankin initially auditioned to be a background actor. During his interview, he told director Bruce Beresford about his paintings and Beresford asked him to supply samples of his and other local artists’ work. Although Hankin did not get the acting job, two of his landscapes were used. Paintings by artists Helen Glazer, Kimberly Paar and Bill Tamburino were also used.

      The following statement appears in end credits: “Thanks to the Baltimore & Maryland Film Commissions.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 1989
p. 4, 89.
Los Angeles Times
3 Feb 1989
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
3 Feb 1989
p. 13.
The Sun (Baltimore)
31 Jul 1988.
---
Variety
8 Feb 1989
p. 20.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Featuring
as
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Warner Bros. presents
A Keith Barish Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadi cam op
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Still photog
Still photog
Panaflex® Cam by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
1st ass ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadperson
Scenic artist
Prop master
Props
Props supplied by
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Foley ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Title des
MAKEUP
Mr. Selleck's makeup & hair
Makeup & hair supv
Makeup & hair
Makeup & hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting asst
Extras casting
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Baltimore liaisons
Baltimore liaisons
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Elfand
Asst to Mr. Beresford
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Research
Caterer
Craft sevice
Animal trainer
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Falling In Love," written and performed by Randy Newman, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Tutti Frutti," written by Richard Penniman, Dorothy La Bostrie & Joe Lubin, performed by Little Richards, courtesy of Dominion Entertainment Inc.
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 February 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 February 1989
Production Date:
27 June--late October 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 April 1989
Copyright Number:
PA415590
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
94
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29588
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

New York police Lieutenant Frank Polito enters an apartment house to find a Romanian college student stabbed to death with a pair of scissors. Meanwhile, over breakfast, mystery writer Phil Blackwood’s agent, Sam, warns that Phil’s publishers are about to drop him unless he produces a new book. When Phil bemoans his writer’s block, Sam claims it is because Phil is still pining for his ex-wife. Seeking inspiration, Phil visits the courthouse where he watches Nina, a young Romanian woman, plead innocent to the murder. She claims to speak little English, so the judge grants a stay until she can secure a translator. Phil rushes home and begins writing a new novel, using Nina as a model for his protagonist’s love interest. Nina is visited in jail by Troppa and Lucy Comanescu, two KGB agents posing as Romanian diplomats. Troppa offers to help Nina avoid prison if she tells him what he wants to know, but she refuses. Troppa vows to make Nina pay for her “attitude.” The next day, Phil dressed as a priest and visits Nina in jail. After admitting she speaks English, Nina confesses to having impure thoughts and despairing. Believing she is innocent of the murder, Phil reveals his true identity and offers her an alibi. Although Frank Polito does not believe that Phil was in bed with Nina at the time of the murder, he is forced to release her. Phil arrives at the prison with flowers, but Nina refuses to go with him until she sees KGB agent Lucy standing across the street. They drive to his house in ... +


New York police Lieutenant Frank Polito enters an apartment house to find a Romanian college student stabbed to death with a pair of scissors. Meanwhile, over breakfast, mystery writer Phil Blackwood’s agent, Sam, warns that Phil’s publishers are about to drop him unless he produces a new book. When Phil bemoans his writer’s block, Sam claims it is because Phil is still pining for his ex-wife. Seeking inspiration, Phil visits the courthouse where he watches Nina, a young Romanian woman, plead innocent to the murder. She claims to speak little English, so the judge grants a stay until she can secure a translator. Phil rushes home and begins writing a new novel, using Nina as a model for his protagonist’s love interest. Nina is visited in jail by Troppa and Lucy Comanescu, two KGB agents posing as Romanian diplomats. Troppa offers to help Nina avoid prison if she tells him what he wants to know, but she refuses. Troppa vows to make Nina pay for her “attitude.” The next day, Phil dressed as a priest and visits Nina in jail. After admitting she speaks English, Nina confesses to having impure thoughts and despairing. Believing she is innocent of the murder, Phil reveals his true identity and offers her an alibi. Although Frank Polito does not believe that Phil was in bed with Nina at the time of the murder, he is forced to release her. Phil arrives at the prison with flowers, but Nina refuses to go with him until she sees KGB agent Lucy standing across the street. They drive to his house in Connecticut where Phil writes a chapter in which his character, “Peter Swift,” sweeps Nina off her feet, but in real life she is distant and wary. After dinner, Phil is staring at Nina when she grabs a butcher knife and impales a beetle on the wall, inches from Phil’s head. After Nina goes to bed, Frank arrives to warn Phil he may be Nina’s next victim. He reasons that if Phil dies, his false alibi will stand. Although Phil insists Nina is innocent, he is in the process of barricading his bedroom door with a dresser when Nina knocks. She kisses him on the cheek and thanks him for saving her. When she returns to her room, she spies Troppa and Lucy in a car across the street. During breakfast, Nina announces she is reading one of Phil’s novels and finds it “predictable.” Annoyed, Phil offers to take her to town. As Phil backs his Jeep out of the garage, and the garage door gets stuck half open. When he attempts to fix it, Nina hits the gearshift, causing the car to leap forward, pinning Phil between the garage door and the windshield. After hitting him with the wipers, Nina puts the car into reverse. She apologizes, but blames Phil for panicking and making her nervous. While they are out, Lucy and another KGB agent, Avram, search Phil’s house and find an envelope marked “Grimbaldi.” That night, Phil is taking out the garbage when he sees Nina in her bedroom putting on clown makeup. Climbing a wall to get a better look, he slips and falls into the swimming pool. The next day, Sam reads Phil’s writing and declares it is his best work in years. When he asks if the characters are going to have an affair, Phil tells him he hopes so. Later, Nina is in town talking on a pay telephone when Avram grabs her. She kicks the man in the testicles and rushes into a store, followed by Lucy and Troppa. Avram arrives and the three move in to grab her. However, Nina leaps onto a trampoline, kicks the men in their faces and escapes by jumping into another aisle. Over the next few days, Phil and Nina grow closer. He tells Nina his wife left him because he wrote about life instead of living it. She replies that he is living it now by helping her. One day, Nina is practicing archery when Frank Polito calls. As the policeman asks Phil if the sex with Nina is worth the risk of getting murdered, an arrow flies though the open window and sticks in his leg. Nina rushes in and pulls on the arrow causing Polito to think Phil is screaming in ecstasy. Unable to remove the arrow, Nina puts Phil in the Jeep and drives through the garage door. As she speeds down the road, she almost hits the KGB agents, who are forced off the road. As Nina drives through an intersection, she explains that the neighbor’s dog jumped up on her, causing the arrow to go astray. The next day, Phil tells Sam he has fallen in love with Nina and cannot finish his book without her. That night, he asks Nina point blank if she is a murderer, but she refuses to answer. She goes into her room and Phil sees her grab a pair of scissors. He rushes to his room and pushes his dresser in front of the door, forgetting he left an adjacent door open. Nina walks in, hands him a rose, and they make love. Later, as Phil stands in his kitchen watching Nina in the pool and mentally writing how his character has never felt happier or safer, the house blows up. Frank Polito arrives as paramedics treat Phil for minor burns and insinuates that Nina tried to kill him. Phil and Nina go to stay with his brother and sister-in-law, Gary and Sally Blackwood. During a barbeque, Phil’s nephew, Tony, climbs onto the barn’s roof and gets stuck. Phil stands on a barrel to reach a rope so he can climb up to the roof, but the barrel breaks, sending him rolling into the picnic table. Nina rides up on a horse, grabs the rope, pulls herself up, and rescues the child. Later, Phil receives information from a friend that Nina’s family is hiding in the U.S. When Phil hangs up the telephone, he sees another phone line is lit. He presses the button to hear Nina speaking in Romanian. The only word he recognizes is for funeral. The next night, Phil throws a dinner party for the Blackwoods, Sam, and his wife, and Gary’s boss. Nina claims that it is a Romanian custom for the youngest woman to absent herself while the others eat. Outside, her sister Laura pulls up in a car and they drive away. Phil gives the family cat a bowl of stew before serving his guests. The meal is a success until Phil goes to the kitchen and discovers that the cat is dead. Believing Nina has poisoned them, the whole party rushes to hospital to get their stomachs pumped. Deciding to say goodbye to Phil, Nina returns to find an empty house and Phil’s word processor open to his novel. When the dinner guests return, Gary’s neighbor approaches and confesses that his wife found the Blackwood’s cat dead in their basement. Not wanting to spoil their dinner party, she left it in their hall. Nina appears, accuses Phil of using her to write his novel, all the while believing she killed the Romanian student. When Sam claims he is keeping an open mind, Nina leaves with Laura. The next day, Phil learns from a friend that Nina’s family is a famous circus act trying to defect to the U.S. They will be attending the annual gathering of circus entertainers that commemorates the death of “the king of clowns,” Joseph Grimbaldi. Dressed as clowns, Phil and Sam enter the huge circus tent surrounded by performers doing their acts. Despite his makeup, Nina recognizes Phil and they embrace. As she introduces Phil to her family, the three KGB agents, also dressed as clowns, appear. When Phil, Nina and her family run out of the tent, Sam shoots jelly into Avram’s eyes with a toy gun. Stumbling into a pair of jugglers, Avram is knocked unconscious by their wooden Native-American clubs. Nina’s family uses a trampoline to jump over a wire fence, but Nina refuses to leave Phil. Lucy and Phil fight until Phil lands a lucky punch, knocking Lucy senseless. As Troppa confronts Nina’s family with a gun, Frank Polito and a dozen police cars arrive to arrest the agent on murder charges. Polito informs Nina that the State Department has approved asylum for her family. Back at Phil’s, Nina explains that the dead Romanian student was killed by Troppa because he was hiding her family. Phil takes Nina to bed. As he caresses her, she reaches under a pillow, pulls out a knife and impales a beetle. +

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

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