Two of a Kind (1983)

PG | 87 mins | Comedy, Fantasy | 16 December 1983

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HISTORY

The 8 Apr 1983 DV reported the 9 May 1983 start of principal photography on Second Chance, the film’s working title. A news item in the 21 Mar 1983 HR estimated actor John Travolta’s salary at $3 million. A studio press release, dated 15 Jul 1983, announced Two of a Kind as the official title. Photography was underway in Los Angeles, CA, following two weeks of location shooting in New York City during Jun 1983. According to the 25 Jul 1983 DV, numerous offers had been made to reunite Travolta and actress-singer Olivia Newton-John onscreen, following their hit film, Grease (1978, see entry). Travolta chose writer-director John Herzfeld’s screenplay as their reunion picture, telling Newton-John that he would stop searching for other vehicles for the pair if she refused it. Filming began in New York City, but inclement weather forced the production to continue in Los Angeles at Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. Nearby Rancho Park substituted for Central Park, the “heaven” sequences were filmed on Stage 27 at MGM Studios, and the “New York” set, designed for Annie (1982, see entry) at The Burbank Studio, provided some exteriors. The $14 million production completed principal photography 21 Jul 1983.
       The 5 Dec 1983 LAHExam reported that composer Bill Conti left the project after his score was rejected by Herzfeld. Although Conti was reportedly unaware of why he was replaced by composer Patrick Williams, Herzfeld attributed the change to “a difference of approach.” Four days later, the 9 Dec 1983 DV revealed that Herzfeld, ... More Less

The 8 Apr 1983 DV reported the 9 May 1983 start of principal photography on Second Chance, the film’s working title. A news item in the 21 Mar 1983 HR estimated actor John Travolta’s salary at $3 million. A studio press release, dated 15 Jul 1983, announced Two of a Kind as the official title. Photography was underway in Los Angeles, CA, following two weeks of location shooting in New York City during Jun 1983. According to the 25 Jul 1983 DV, numerous offers had been made to reunite Travolta and actress-singer Olivia Newton-John onscreen, following their hit film, Grease (1978, see entry). Travolta chose writer-director John Herzfeld’s screenplay as their reunion picture, telling Newton-John that he would stop searching for other vehicles for the pair if she refused it. Filming began in New York City, but inclement weather forced the production to continue in Los Angeles at Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. Nearby Rancho Park substituted for Central Park, the “heaven” sequences were filmed on Stage 27 at MGM Studios, and the “New York” set, designed for Annie (1982, see entry) at The Burbank Studio, provided some exteriors. The $14 million production completed principal photography 21 Jul 1983.
       The 5 Dec 1983 LAHExam reported that composer Bill Conti left the project after his score was rejected by Herzfeld. Although Conti was reportedly unaware of why he was replaced by composer Patrick Williams, Herzfeld attributed the change to “a difference of approach.” Four days later, the 9 Dec 1983 DV revealed that Herzfeld, along with producers Joe Wizan and Roger M. Rothstein, decided on the change in Nov 1983, due to the growing popularity of the Olivia Newton-John recording, “Twist Of Fate,” written for the film. Once the song became the closing theme, Williams was assigned to build a score around the melody. The advertising slogan, “It took a twist of fate to make them two of a kind,” reflected the song’s elevated status. Lionel Newman, a senior vice-president of Fox’s music department, stated that Conti’s dismissal was “amicable,” and the “kind of thing that happens all the time.” According to the 16 Dec 1983 LAT, the last-minute revision to the soundtrack also prevented Fox from offering preview screenings to the news media, and final prints were unavailable until a few days prior to the 16 Dec 1983 release.
       Two of a Kind opened to negative reviews. Although the Mar 1984 Box described it as “an ugly, unpleasant ‘comedy,’” and the 23 Dec 1983 LA Weekly surmised that it was “edited with a spatula and a rock,” the picture earned profits of nearly $20 million in its first month of release.
       The 3 Jun 1987 Var reported that a federal court dismissed a copyright infringement suit against Travolta and Newton-John. The plaintiff, songwriter Laura Taylor Siskind, alleged that the song, “Take A Chance,” performed by the actors on the soundtrack, was based on her song, “Take Another Chance On Love,” which she submitted on audio tape to Entertainment Company-New YorkYork, along with two other songs, in 1981. The judge found no significant similarities between the two songs, nor evidence that “Take A Chance” co-author Steve Lukather had access to Siskind’s tape, even though he recorded another of her songs with singer Sarah Dash. In addition to Travolta, Newton-John, and Lukather, other defendants included co-author David Foster, Twentieth Century-Fox, Broadcast Music Incorporated, MCA Records, and each of the authors’ publishing entities. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Mar 1984
p. R-36.
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1983.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1983.
---
Daily Variety
9 Dec 1983.
---
Daily Variety
19 Dec 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 1983
p. 3, 45.
LA Weekly
23 Dec 1983.
---
LAHExam
5 Dec 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Dec 1983
pp. 1-2.
New York Times
16 Dec 1983
p. 12.
Variety
21 Dec 1983
p. 14.
Variety
3 Jun 1987.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Joe Wizan-Roger M. Rothstein Production
A John Herzfeld Film
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Associates
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Cam op
Asst cam
Still photog
Dir of photog (NY)
Cam op (NY)
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Addl film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Set des
Const coord
Prop master
Asst prop
Leadman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Men`s ward
Women's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Mus adpt
Mus ed
SOUND
Dolby Stereo consultant
Prod sd mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Loop ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des by
Titles and opt by
Visual eff supv
Spec opt eff by
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Spec opt eff, Xenon Corporation
Introvision Systems, Inc.
Introvision Systems, Inc.
Introvision Systems, Inc.
Introvision Systems, Inc.
Introvision Systems, Inc.
Introvision Systems, Inc.
Introvision Systems, Inc.
Introvision Systems, Inc.
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Transportation coord
Scr supv
Loc mgr (NY)
Loc mgr (LA)
Unit pub
Prod coord
New York casting by
Loc auditor
Animals supplied by
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Twist Of Fate," performed by Olivia Newton John, music and lyrics by Steve Kipner and Peter Beckett, produced by David Foster
"Living In Desperate Times," performed by Olivia Newton-John, music by Tom Snow, lyrics by Barry Alfonso, produced by David Foster
"Shakin' You," performed by Olivia Newton-John, music by David Foster and Tom Keane, lyrics by David Foster, Tom Keane and Paul Gordon, produced by David Foster
+
SONGS
"Twist Of Fate," performed by Olivia Newton John, music and lyrics by Steve Kipner and Peter Beckett, produced by David Foster
"Living In Desperate Times," performed by Olivia Newton-John, music by Tom Snow, lyrics by Barry Alfonso, produced by David Foster
"Shakin' You," performed by Olivia Newton-John, music by David Foster and Tom Keane, lyrics by David Foster, Tom Keane and Paul Gordon, produced by David Foster
"Take A Chance," performed by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, music and lyrics by Olivia Newton-John, Steve Lukather and David Foster, produced by David Foster
"The Perfect One," performed by Boz Scaggs, courtesy of Columbia Records, music and lyrics by Boz Scaggs and David Foster, produced by David Foster, David Paich and Jeff Porcaro
"Prima Donna," performed by Chicago, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, music and lyrics by Peter Cetera and Mark Goldenberg, produced by David Foster
"Catch 22 (Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back)," performed by Steve Kipner, courtesy of Arista Records, music and lyrics by Steve Kipner and John L. Parker, produced by Steve Kipner and Humberto Gatica
"It's Gonna Be Special," performed by Patti Austin, courtesy of Quest Records, music and lyrics by Clif Magness and Glen Ballard, produced by Quincy Jones
"Night Music," performed by David Foster, music by David Foster, produced by David Foster
"Ask The Lonely," performed by Journey, courtesy of Columbia Records, music and lyrics by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, produced by Mike Stone and Kevin Elson
"Rain," by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, performed by Oliver Reed.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Second Chance
Release Date:
16 December 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 December 1983
Production Date:
9 May--21 July 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
22 December 1983
Copyright Number:
PA204546
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed with Introvision®
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
87
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27120
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In heaven, God returns from a twenty-five year vacation with a newfound love of Shakespeare, while disdaining the rampant evil on earth. He decides to destroy humanity with a flood and start over, despite the insistence of angels Earl, Charlie, Gonzales and Ruth that there is still goodness in the world. When God asks for an example of a typical human, they randomly choose Zack, an amateur inventor living in New York City, who needs $13,464 by six o’clock that evening, or loan sharks Stuart and Oscar will remove his ears. Zack arms himself with a pistol, enters a bank, and demands $15,000 from a teller named Debbie. She flirts with him as she hands over a bag of money. However, when Zack returns home, he finds the bag filled with blank paper. Debbie enters her apartment and tells her roommates, Terri and Ron, that she was fired for flirting with a bank robber. Their landlord, Mr. Chotiner, demands rent and she pays him for the next two months, using the $15,000 she embezzled from the bank. That evening, the loan sharks chase Zack through the streets. He climbs atop a moving delivery van, but when the vehicle makes an abrupt stop, he becomes airborne and lands on Debbie as she passes by. In heaven, God declares that Zack’s behavior proves His point. The angels ask God to spare humanity if Zack sacrifices everything for another person. God makes a counter offer: Both Zack and Debbie must sacrifice everything for each other, or the flood will begin in one week. The angels accept God’s terms, certain ... +


In heaven, God returns from a twenty-five year vacation with a newfound love of Shakespeare, while disdaining the rampant evil on earth. He decides to destroy humanity with a flood and start over, despite the insistence of angels Earl, Charlie, Gonzales and Ruth that there is still goodness in the world. When God asks for an example of a typical human, they randomly choose Zack, an amateur inventor living in New York City, who needs $13,464 by six o’clock that evening, or loan sharks Stuart and Oscar will remove his ears. Zack arms himself with a pistol, enters a bank, and demands $15,000 from a teller named Debbie. She flirts with him as she hands over a bag of money. However, when Zack returns home, he finds the bag filled with blank paper. Debbie enters her apartment and tells her roommates, Terri and Ron, that she was fired for flirting with a bank robber. Their landlord, Mr. Chotiner, demands rent and she pays him for the next two months, using the $15,000 she embezzled from the bank. That evening, the loan sharks chase Zack through the streets. He climbs atop a moving delivery van, but when the vehicle makes an abrupt stop, he becomes airborne and lands on Debbie as she passes by. In heaven, God declares that Zack’s behavior proves His point. The angels ask God to spare humanity if Zack sacrifices everything for another person. God makes a counter offer: Both Zack and Debbie must sacrifice everything for each other, or the flood will begin in one week. The angels accept God’s terms, certain that the human race is doomed. They descend to earth, where the angel Charlie assumes the identity of a homeless person, Gonzales drives a garbage truck, Ruth drives a taxi, and Earl drives a bus. The Devil, who calls himself Mr. Beazley, arrives on the scene, certain that Zack and Debbie will soon join him in hell. The angels reverse the chain of events and enable Zack’s escape from the loan sharks. The next day, Zack learns of Debbie’s thievery from a newspaper story, and locates her address in the telephone book. He follows her to an acting workshop, where Warren, the instructor, asks her to relive the moment of the robbery. Debbie is unable to give a convincing performance until she recognizes Zack at the back of the room. Her screams of terror elicit a round of applause from the class as Zack runs from the building. She returns home to find Zack waiting in the apartment, but when he demands the stolen money, she can only produce $8,600, as she spent the rest on new clothes and furniture. Zack explains that he owes the money to the loan sharks who financed his latest invention, edible sunglasses. She ridicules the invention, but takes him to dinner at the Plaza Hotel. Over dinner, Debbie tells how she left her native Australia to become a Broadway actress, and of her desire to be cast in the play, Carnaby Street. Zack admits to his only other crime, the burglary of a special effects company to obtain materials for his invention. Beazley brings loan sharks Stuart and Oscar to the dining room and directs them toward Zack. When Stuart threatens Debbie, Zack diverts the loan sharks by running toward the exit. Charlie appears and freezes the action. Beazley admonishes the angel for his interference, but Charlie informs him that God intends to bring all of humanity into heaven in the event of a flood, so there will be no souls entering hell. However, if Zack and Debbie “fall hopelessly in love,” both Beazley and the angels win. Beazley ignores the warning, and competes with Charlie in reversing, advancing and freezing the action. God halts the bickering with a brief rainstorm and allows chaos to proceed. Stuart tears at Zack’s clothes, releasing the money into the restaurant and causing a riot among the diners. Zack follows Debbie home and a romance develops. After spending the next day together, Debbie discovers that she lost the role in Carnaby Street to another actress. Stuart and Oscar break through the door and demand payment, but Zack insists that all his money was lost at the hotel. Oscar believes him and holds Stuart at gunpoint, allowing Zack and Debbie to escape. Beazley summons police and they are arrested for bank robbery. Detective Staggs questions Zack and Debbie individually, hoping one will betray the other. Beazley sends a note to the detective, blaming Zack for the special effects burglary. Staggs coerces a confession from Zack by attributing the note to Debbie. Staggs plays the tape-recorded statement for Debbie, but she refuses to incriminate Zack. Despite Debbie’s sacrifice, God refuses to cancel the flood until all His demands are met, and warns the angels that only twenty-four hours remain. The next day, Charlie facilitates Debbie’s freedom by destroying the incriminating tape. Although Zack holds no ill feeling toward Debbie, she is unable to forgive him. Beazley considers himself victorious, until Charlie and Ruth convince him of the impending flood, followed by the ascent of all mankind into heaven. That evening, Zack finds Debbie waiting tables in a diner and tries to declare his love, but she refuses to listen. A masked gunman enters and takes Debbie hostage, demanding $11.48 and a helicopter ride to his mother’s home in Newark, New Jersey. When Zack learns that police have no intention of meeting the gunman’s demands, he comes to Debbie’s defense and receives a fatal gunshot wound. Police snipers kill the gunman but are unable to find his body. Debbie declares her love for Zack and he returns to life. Charlie encounters Beazley on the sidewalk and notices the discarded gunman’s mask in a nearby trashcan. Although Beazley remains silent, he and Charlie salute each other as allies. Zack and Debbie emerge from the building to a cheering crowd, and Charlie hands them a volume of Shakespeare plays before vanishing. Both Zack and Debbie agree that it has been a “crazy week." +

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

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