Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989)

R | 103 mins | Comedy | 7 June 1989

Full page view
HISTORY

Filmmaker Paul Bartel was initially unable to secure financing for the project due to its controversial subject matter and overt sexuality, according to a 9 Jun 1989 DV article. After a two-year search, Bartel considered toning down the narrative to attract mainstream studios, but Cinecom Entertainment Group optioned the script without change. On 18 May 1988, Var announced that pre-production was underway, and principal photography began nearly three months later on 10 Aug 1988, as stated on a 16 Aug 1988 HR production chart. Filming took place entirely on location in the vicinity of Los Angeles, CA, mainly in Beverly Hills and Brentwood, CA, and concluded on 22 Sep 1988.
       Producer James C. Katz told the 15 May 19989 DV that star Jacqueline Bisset was supposed to dive into a swimming pool completely nude, but she refused. Instead, she wore a leotard.
       The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) declared that a trailer for the film, in which producer-director Paul Bartel told the audience that censors had deleted several sexual scenes, could not be shown, unless Bartel wanted to lose his R rating, according to the 11 Jun 1989 LAHExam. MPAA spokeswoman Bethlyn Hand told the newspaper that the trailer “wasn't suitable,” and complained that Bartel had actually screened it a couple of times without the MPAA seeing it first.
       Contemporary sources listed conflicting accounts of the picture’s budget. Although Bartel told the LAHExam that the film was made for $5.5 million, Cinecom reported a $3.5 million budget in a 12 Jun 1989 HR article. The $2 million discrepancy was averaged ... More Less

Filmmaker Paul Bartel was initially unable to secure financing for the project due to its controversial subject matter and overt sexuality, according to a 9 Jun 1989 DV article. After a two-year search, Bartel considered toning down the narrative to attract mainstream studios, but Cinecom Entertainment Group optioned the script without change. On 18 May 1988, Var announced that pre-production was underway, and principal photography began nearly three months later on 10 Aug 1988, as stated on a 16 Aug 1988 HR production chart. Filming took place entirely on location in the vicinity of Los Angeles, CA, mainly in Beverly Hills and Brentwood, CA, and concluded on 22 Sep 1988.
       Producer James C. Katz told the 15 May 19989 DV that star Jacqueline Bisset was supposed to dive into a swimming pool completely nude, but she refused. Instead, she wore a leotard.
       The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) declared that a trailer for the film, in which producer-director Paul Bartel told the audience that censors had deleted several sexual scenes, could not be shown, unless Bartel wanted to lose his R rating, according to the 11 Jun 1989 LAHExam. MPAA spokeswoman Bethlyn Hand told the newspaper that the trailer “wasn't suitable,” and complained that Bartel had actually screened it a couple of times without the MPAA seeing it first.
       Contemporary sources listed conflicting accounts of the picture’s budget. Although Bartel told the LAHExam that the film was made for $5.5 million, Cinecom reported a $3.5 million budget in a 12 Jun 1989 HR article. The $2 million discrepancy was averaged out in the 9 Jun 1989 DV, which cited a cost of $4.5 million.
       The picture begins with the dedication: “For L. B., who might have smiled.” End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers wish to thank the following companies and individuals for their contributions in the making of this film: Men’s robes by A. Sulka; Adidas; Ed Begley, Jr.’s wardrobe by Perry Ellis; contemporary jewelry by Faux Body Ornaments, Melrose; Perry Ellis; eyewear by L.A. Eyeworks; Fila Sportswear; Firenze Leather; Gibson Nez, Native American Jewelry; Hanae Mori, Haute Couture; jewelry, courtesy of Harry Winston, Inc.; Baldwin Piano and Organ Company; Crate and Barrel home accessories & lifestyle products; kitchen knives by Joseph DiGangi; floral arrangements by Rita Flora; the Ghurka Collection; International Contract Furnishings (ICF); Land’s End; Levolor Blinds; Niedermaier; Cycles Peugeot USA, Inc.; Randolph & Hein; Stueben Glass; Towle Silversmiths products; Louis Vuitton luggage and accessories; Waterford Wedgewood USA; Pablo Campos; G. Ray Hawkins Gallery; Mark Lipscomb, artist—Fahey Klein Gallery; Jessica Rice; Bob Schulenberg; Shapes Gallery; Charles Sheilds; Frank’s paintings by Chris Stevens; Chris Jenkins.” Other acknowledgements state: “Audio clip from Days of Our Lives courtesy of Columbia Pictures television.” Also, “LIFE title and format used with permission of Time Incorporated; Harper’s Bazaar copyright © 1988, the Hearst Corporation, courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar; Orkin Exterminating Company, Inc.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jul 1989.
---
Daily Variety
15 May 1989.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jun 1989
p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1989
p. 4, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1989.
---
LAHExam
11 Jun 1989
Section E, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jun 1989
Calendar, p. 5.
New York Times
9 Jun 1989
p. 13.
Variety
18 May 1988.
---
Variety
10 May 1989
p. 27.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Cinecom Entertainment Group presents
A North Street Films production
A Film by Paul Bartel
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Unit still photog
2d grip
3rd grip
Addl photog, 2d unit
Addl photog, 2d unit
Cam asst, 2d unit
Cam asst, 2d unit
Lenses and cam by
Grip and elec
Cranes and dollys by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Post prod supv
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Asst prop master
Const foreman
Painter
Lead woman
Scenic artist
Swing gang
Swing gang
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Set costumer
Set costumer
Asst costumer
Seamstress
Men's tailoring
Men's tailoring
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Supv mus ed
Mus coord
Score rec and mixed by
Score rec and mixed by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec at Compact Video
Re-rec at Compact Video
Rec, Re-rec at Compact Video
ADR mixer
Foley artist
Spec vocal eff
Custom looping
Custom looping
Custom looping
Custom looping
Custom looping
Custom looping
Custom looping
Custom looping
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec off coord
Spec eff coord
Spec off coord
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Key hair stylist
Ms. Bisset's hair/Make-up
Key make-up
Hairstylist
Asst makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Prod coord
On-set coord
Dog maker
Dog maker
Unit pub
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Asst prod accountant
Casting asst
Extras casting, Sally Perle & Associates
Extras casting, Sally Perle & Associates
Extras casting
Loc consultant
Loc scout
Asst to the prod
Asst to the dir
Asst coord
Asst to the prod des
Asst to the cost des
Prod asst
Prod asst
Studio teacher
Studio teacher
Animal handler
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Honey wagon driver
Caterer
Craft services
Asst
Prod financing provided by
Prod counsel
Prod insurance, Albert G. Ruben and Co.
Prod insurance
Completion bond
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
ANIMATION
Anim seq
Anim seq
Anim seq
Anim seq
Anim seq
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
CFI lab contact
SOURCES
SONGS
"Happy Birthday To You," by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
"Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum" and "Golliwogg's Cake Walk," from The Children's Corner Suite, by Claude Debussy, performed by Theodore Paraskivesco, courtesy of Caliope Records
"These Foolish Things," music by Jack Strachey and Harry Link, lyrics by Holt Marvell, performed by Michael Feinstein
+
SONGS
"Happy Birthday To You," by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
"Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum" and "Golliwogg's Cake Walk," from The Children's Corner Suite, by Claude Debussy, performed by Theodore Paraskivesco, courtesy of Caliope Records
"These Foolish Things," music by Jack Strachey and Harry Link, lyrics by Holt Marvell, performed by Michael Feinstein
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," by Carole King, Gerry Goffin and Jerry Wexler, performed by Arnetia Walker
"Let's Misbehave," by Cole Porter, performed by Arnetia Walker.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 June 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 7 June 1989
New York opening: 9 June 1989
Production Date:
10 August--22 September 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Cinecon Entertainment Group, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 March 1992
Copyright Number:
PA564324
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Duration(in mins):
103
Length(in feet):
9,297
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29475
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Beverly Hills, California, former television actress Clare Lipkin pretends to mourn the death of her rich husband, Sidney. She hopes the tragedy will illicit a public outcry of sympathy and revitalize her career. Clare shares her sprawling estate with a precocious teenage daughter, Zandra, and a “thinologist” named Dr. Mo Van de Kamp, who moderates Clare’s caloric intake. Clare rejoices in her newfound independence, but her divorcée neighbor, Lisabeth “Lis” Hepburn-Savarian, is not happy to be out of wedlock. Lis’s husband, Dr. Howard Savarian, recently left her for another woman, and Lis is now the sole caretaker of their sickly adolescent son, Willie. However, Lis is cheered by a visit from her playwright brother, Peter Hepburn, and his lusty new bride, To-bel. The couple married after a weeklong, whirlwind romance, and Lis is jittery about the disparity in their social standing. When Lis hires a pesticide company to exterminate insects at the Savarian estate, Clare welcomes the divorcée and her extended family as weekend houseguests, even though she will be hosting her husband’s wake during their visit. Meanwhile, Clare’s handsome house servant, Juan, is pursued by a gangster named “June-bug” for a $5,000 gambling debt. Juan fears for his life and seeks advice from his close friend, Frank, who happens to be Lis’s valet. Wielding an envelope, Frank tells Juan that the package contains $5,000 and challenges his friend to a contest in which they will seduce each other’s bosses. However, it is a race to the finish, and Juan must bed Lis before Frank gets to Clare. Frank promises to give Juan the $5,000 if he ... +


In Beverly Hills, California, former television actress Clare Lipkin pretends to mourn the death of her rich husband, Sidney. She hopes the tragedy will illicit a public outcry of sympathy and revitalize her career. Clare shares her sprawling estate with a precocious teenage daughter, Zandra, and a “thinologist” named Dr. Mo Van de Kamp, who moderates Clare’s caloric intake. Clare rejoices in her newfound independence, but her divorcée neighbor, Lisabeth “Lis” Hepburn-Savarian, is not happy to be out of wedlock. Lis’s husband, Dr. Howard Savarian, recently left her for another woman, and Lis is now the sole caretaker of their sickly adolescent son, Willie. However, Lis is cheered by a visit from her playwright brother, Peter Hepburn, and his lusty new bride, To-bel. The couple married after a weeklong, whirlwind romance, and Lis is jittery about the disparity in their social standing. When Lis hires a pesticide company to exterminate insects at the Savarian estate, Clare welcomes the divorcée and her extended family as weekend houseguests, even though she will be hosting her husband’s wake during their visit. Meanwhile, Clare’s handsome house servant, Juan, is pursued by a gangster named “June-bug” for a $5,000 gambling debt. Juan fears for his life and seeks advice from his close friend, Frank, who happens to be Lis’s valet. Wielding an envelope, Frank tells Juan that the package contains $5,000 and challenges his friend to a contest in which they will seduce each other’s bosses. However, it is a race to the finish, and Juan must bed Lis before Frank gets to Clare. Frank promises to give Juan the $5,000 if he can prove his conquest is well-timed, but if Frank is victorious, he must be rewarded by a night of sex with Juan. Although Juan is protective of his heterosexuality, he agrees to the bet. The next day, Juan and Frank pursue their respective employers, and Lis’s ex-husband, Howard, is brought to the house by police after being detained for public intoxication. Lis is not pleased about their reunion, and Peter Hepburn detests his former brother-in-law, but Howard is permitted to stay at the house for Sidney Lipkin’s wake because they were close friends. Howard is confronted by Peter’s new wife, To-bel, who reveals that she was the mistress who lured Howard away from his marriage. However, since Howard was also unfaithful to To-bel, she married Peter to jumpstart her quest for revenge. Fearing To-bel’s rage, Howard seeks refuge with his former wife, but Lis is not interested in reconciliation, so he enlists the services of his house servant, Frank, for support. On the day of Sidney Lipkin’s memorial, Frank convinces Lis to take pity on her ex-husband, and she invites Howard to her bedroom at midnight for conciliatory sex. Before the couple meet, however, To-bel tells Lis about her affair with Howard. Unsurprised, Lis remembers how Juan showed interest in her earlier that day and sets a trap for her deceitful husband. Lis beckons Juan to her room just before midnight and they make love as Howard arrives and realizes he has been cuckolded. Meanwhile, chaos ensues at the Sidney Lipkin memorial. Lis and Howard’s son, Willie, watches a pornographic videotape in a spare bedroom and discovers his new “Aunt To-bel” is actually an erotic film actress. The video changes hands and is mistakenly screened in front of the memorial guests, who are expecting to watch an episode of Clare’s popular television series. However, To-bel disconnects the electricity before she appears onscreen. When Willie confiscates the videotape and returns it to To-bel, she rewards him with his first sexual experience. To-bel leaves the boy to find Howard, who is still reeling from Lis’s prank. As To-bel and Howard rekindle their affair, To-bel’s husband, Peter Hepburn, vows his love to Clare and they spend the night together. Although Frank the valet is not successful at bedding Clare, he seduces her young daughter, Zandra. After an evening of strange couplings, the group reconvenes at a breakfast banquet, where awkward truths are revealed. Meanwhile, in the servants’ quarters, Juan refrains from telling Frank about his night with Lis because he has fallen in love with her, and does not wish to tarnish her elite social standing. Frank suspects his friend is hiding the truth, but plots to win the contest himself. He tells Juan to visit his room later that afternoon. When Clare abruptly ends her calamitous late-morning party, Frank invites her to his room, claiming that he will soon be leaving his post with the Savarians. With Clare in his chambers, he encourages her to share a toast and she agrees, unaware that he has spiked her drink with sleeping pills. As Clare slips into unconsciousness, Frank lifts her into his bed and simulates lovemaking. Juan arrives at his friend’s room as planned and watches from afar, realizing he has lost the $5,000 bet unless he admits to his liaison with Lis. Although Juan does not wish to remain in debt to the gangster June-bug, and dreads homosexual intercourse with Frank, he keeps Lis’s private affairs in confidence. At the end of the weekend, the pest extermination at Lis’s estate is complete and the house is untented. However, Howard Savarian does not return home. He puts a $100 bill beside his sleeping son, Willie, and leaves town with To-bel. Meanwhile, Clare decides to move away from the Lipkin mansion to pursue her dream of becoming a more sophisticated actress. She bids farewell to the bereft Peter, who has just lost his lover and his new bride. Clare’s daughter, Zandra, goes off with the “thinologist,” Dr. Moe, to fight world hunger in Africa. Elsewhere, Juan convinces Lis of his adoration, and they decide to run away together, but Juan makes good on his promise to Frank before they leave and he spends the night with his friend. As Juan packs Lis’s car, June-bug arrives to collect his $5,000 debt. Juan is empty-handed, but Frank rolls up on his motorcycle and tosses him the cash envelope wagered in their bet. Driving their separate ways, the two are liberated from domestic servitude in Beverly Hills. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.