Clara's Heart (1988)

PG-13 | 108 mins | Melodrama | 7 October 1988

Director:

Robert Mulligan

Writer:

Mark Medoff

Producer:

Martin Elfand

Cinematographer:

Freddie Francis

Editor:

Sidney Levin

Production Designer:

Jeffrey Howard

Production Companies:

Warner Bros. Pictures , MTM Enterprises, Inc.
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HISTORY

On 11 Nov 1985, People magazine announced that Warner Bros. Pictures had purchased film rights to Joseph Olshan’s novel, Clara’s Heart, as a vehicle for Whoopi Goldberg. Although a 15 Apr 1987 Chicago Tribune article indicated that filmmakers held open casting calls for the role of adolescent “David Hart,” production notes in AMPAS library files state that screenwriter Mark Medoff discovered Neil Patrick Harris at a drama camp in New Mexico and recommended him to producer Martin Elfand. The film marked Harris’s theatrical feature film debut.
       A 28 Oct 1987 DV production chart indicated that principal photography began 12 Oct 1987 in Baltimore, MD. Locations included the Baltimore Pub Congress Hotel, the Belvedere Hotel, and St. Anne’s Church, while the “Hart” family home was filmed at Locust Grove estate on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The 30 Oct 1988 issue of Newsday also named the Bailey’s Neck suburb of Eaton, MD, and the Inn at Perry Cabin, a restored plantation house in St. Michaels as locations. Scenes of "Bill" and "Leona Hart's" vacation were shot in Jamaica.
       According to the 31 Aug 1987 NYT, MTM Enterprises, Inc. contributed $5 million to the cost of production.
       A 4 Oct 1988 article in the Toronto Star indicated that the film was scheduled to be screened at a Jamaican relief benefit on 6 Oct 1988, at the Sheraton Centre Cinema in Toronto, Canada.
       Although several reviews criticized Medoff’s screenplay, Goldberg received praise for her performance, while Neil Patrick Harris earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
       End credits state: "Special ... More Less

On 11 Nov 1985, People magazine announced that Warner Bros. Pictures had purchased film rights to Joseph Olshan’s novel, Clara’s Heart, as a vehicle for Whoopi Goldberg. Although a 15 Apr 1987 Chicago Tribune article indicated that filmmakers held open casting calls for the role of adolescent “David Hart,” production notes in AMPAS library files state that screenwriter Mark Medoff discovered Neil Patrick Harris at a drama camp in New Mexico and recommended him to producer Martin Elfand. The film marked Harris’s theatrical feature film debut.
       A 28 Oct 1987 DV production chart indicated that principal photography began 12 Oct 1987 in Baltimore, MD. Locations included the Baltimore Pub Congress Hotel, the Belvedere Hotel, and St. Anne’s Church, while the “Hart” family home was filmed at Locust Grove estate on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The 30 Oct 1988 issue of Newsday also named the Bailey’s Neck suburb of Eaton, MD, and the Inn at Perry Cabin, a restored plantation house in St. Michaels as locations. Scenes of "Bill" and "Leona Hart's" vacation were shot in Jamaica.
       According to the 31 Aug 1987 NYT, MTM Enterprises, Inc. contributed $5 million to the cost of production.
       A 4 Oct 1988 article in the Toronto Star indicated that the film was scheduled to be screened at a Jamaican relief benefit on 6 Oct 1988, at the Sheraton Centre Cinema in Toronto, Canada.
       Although several reviews criticized Medoff’s screenplay, Goldberg received praise for her performance, while Neil Patrick Harris earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
       End credits state: "Special Thanks to: The Baltimore Film Commission, The Maryland Film Commission, College of Notre Dame of Maryland," and, "Whoopi Goldberg's performance is dedicated to Elizabeth Walker."
       Re-recording mixer Steve Pederson's name is misspelled "Steve Pedersen" in end credits. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Chicago Tribune
15 Apr 1987
p. 20.
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1987.
---
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1987
p. 9, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 1988
p. 5, 22.
Los Angeles Times
7 Oct 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
31 Aug 1987
Section D, p. 4.
New York Times
7 Oct 1988
p. 16.
Newsday
30 Oct 1988
p. 8.
People
11 Nov 1985.
---
Toronto Star
4 Oct 1988
Section H, p. 1.
Variety
5 Oct 1988
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Warner Bros. presents
An MTM Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Elec best boy
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
Elec
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Prop master
Const coord
Standby painter
Leadperson
Contemporary artwork
Contemporary furnishings
Dec asst
Set dresser
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
SOUND
Supv sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Prod sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup and hair supv
Whoopi's hair style des by
Makeup and hair
Makeup and hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod office coord
Prod office coord
Prod office secy
Prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Elfand
Asst to Mr. Mulligan
Asst to Ms. Goldberg
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Transportation coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Dial coach
Marine coord
Tech adv
Unit pub
Casting asst
New York casting
Extras casting
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Casting intern
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Cook's helper
Craft service
STAND INS
Stand-in
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based upon the novel Clara's Heart by Joseph Olshan (New York, 1985).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Jamming," written by Bob Marley, performed by Bob Marley and the Wailers, courtesy of Island Records
"Extended Beat," written by Eric B. and Rakim, performed by Eric B. and Rakim, courtesy of Island Records
"The Determination Theme," written by Elon Wizzart, Michael Daly, Stephen Samuels and Michelle Cole, performed by The Determination Band
+
SONGS
"Jamming," written by Bob Marley, performed by Bob Marley and the Wailers, courtesy of Island Records
"Extended Beat," written by Eric B. and Rakim, performed by Eric B. and Rakim, courtesy of Island Records
"The Determination Theme," written by Elon Wizzart, Michael Daly, Stephen Samuels and Michelle Cole, performed by The Determination Band
"Shot A Lick Up," written by Elon Wizzart, Michael Daly, Stephen Samuels and Michelle Cole, performed by The Determination Band
"Premature," written by Toots Hibbert
"God Has Smiled On Me," written by Isaiah Jones, Jr.
"See What The Lord Has Done," written by Luther Barnes.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 October 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 October 1988
Production Date:
began 12 October 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 December 1988
Copyright Number:
PA395728
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29265
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hoping to distract themselves from the tragic death of their infant daughter, Leona and Bill Hart take a vacation to Jamaica, leaving their pre-adolescent son, David, alone in their lakefront estate outside Baltimore, Maryland. While wallowing in grief, Leona accepts the frank advice of the hotel maid, Clara Mayfield, and impulsively invites her to work as their housekeeper. Although David initially responds to her with hostility, he and Clara develop a close bond after learning that his parents have decided to separate. A short time later, Bill begins dating an interior designer, while Leona develops a relationship with Dr. Peter Epstein, author of a popular self-help book. David despises that they have placed their happiness above his own, and begins spending more time with Clara in her new Baltimore apartment. One weekend, the boy learns that Clara is hiding a dark secret about her son, Ralphie, and discovers a stack of letters stashed under her bed. Although she asks that David respect her privacy, Clara catches him reading the notes, damaging the trust that has developed between them. When Leona decides to move to California with Dr. Epstein, David refuses to live in his father’s ostentatious condominium and asks to stay with Clara. Eventually, Clara admits that she disowned Ralphie for sexually assaulting a young woman in Jamaica. In retaliation, Ralphie raped Clara and threw himself over a cliff. While David assumes the confession has restored their friendship, Clara decides to end her employment with the Harts. Hurt, David lashes out at Clara, who leaves without saying goodbye. After moving to California with Leona, David returns to Baltimore to see his father and visit Clara at her new job. ... +


Hoping to distract themselves from the tragic death of their infant daughter, Leona and Bill Hart take a vacation to Jamaica, leaving their pre-adolescent son, David, alone in their lakefront estate outside Baltimore, Maryland. While wallowing in grief, Leona accepts the frank advice of the hotel maid, Clara Mayfield, and impulsively invites her to work as their housekeeper. Although David initially responds to her with hostility, he and Clara develop a close bond after learning that his parents have decided to separate. A short time later, Bill begins dating an interior designer, while Leona develops a relationship with Dr. Peter Epstein, author of a popular self-help book. David despises that they have placed their happiness above his own, and begins spending more time with Clara in her new Baltimore apartment. One weekend, the boy learns that Clara is hiding a dark secret about her son, Ralphie, and discovers a stack of letters stashed under her bed. Although she asks that David respect her privacy, Clara catches him reading the notes, damaging the trust that has developed between them. When Leona decides to move to California with Dr. Epstein, David refuses to live in his father’s ostentatious condominium and asks to stay with Clara. Eventually, Clara admits that she disowned Ralphie for sexually assaulting a young woman in Jamaica. In retaliation, Ralphie raped Clara and threw himself over a cliff. While David assumes the confession has restored their friendship, Clara decides to end her employment with the Harts. Hurt, David lashes out at Clara, who leaves without saying goodbye. After moving to California with Leona, David returns to Baltimore to see his father and visit Clara at her new job. Now more mature, he apologizes for his behavior and thanks her for helping him through his parents’ divorce. Clara says she will always keep David in her heart, and solemnly watches as he walks away. +

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

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