Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990)

PG-13 | 98 mins | Comedy-drama | 12 October 1990

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HISTORY

The film opens with the following title card: “About fifteen years ago….”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, most of Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael was shot in Clyde, OH, a small town not far from screenwriter-executive producer Karen Leigh Hopkins’s home town of Sandusky, OH. Clyde had been the inspiration for Sherwood Anderson’s 1919 short story collection, Winesburg, Ohio (1929), considered to be the quintessential American “home town” literary classic. However, the 10 Oct 1990 LAT mentioned that many scenes were also filmed “in a small town in California,” which several modern sources suggest was Santa Paula, northwest of Los Angeles, CA. Principal photography began Jun 1989, the 25 Aug 1989 DV noted, and the 11 Oct 1989 Var reported that the film was in post-production. However, the 5 Jan 1990 Chicago Tribune stated that actress Winona Ryder had been called back for “reshoots.”
       The 6 May 1989 Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, FL, reported that Winona Ryder, who at age seventeen had already been “attached” to the project for two years, accumulated “cratefuls of Dinky’s things” from flea markets and used book and clothing shops. Most items, such as old National Geographics, handbags, and circus posters, were not in the script or used in the film, but rather served the actress’s “method” of establishing the character of Dinky in her own mind.
       A lesbian sex scene between “Evelyn Whittacher” (Dinah Manoff) and “Libby Ohlemacher” (Sachi Parker) was excised from the film, according to the 5 Oct 1990 Ottawa Citizen. The implication of a relationship remained, however, by showing ... More Less

The film opens with the following title card: “About fifteen years ago….”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, most of Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael was shot in Clyde, OH, a small town not far from screenwriter-executive producer Karen Leigh Hopkins’s home town of Sandusky, OH. Clyde had been the inspiration for Sherwood Anderson’s 1919 short story collection, Winesburg, Ohio (1929), considered to be the quintessential American “home town” literary classic. However, the 10 Oct 1990 LAT mentioned that many scenes were also filmed “in a small town in California,” which several modern sources suggest was Santa Paula, northwest of Los Angeles, CA. Principal photography began Jun 1989, the 25 Aug 1989 DV noted, and the 11 Oct 1989 Var reported that the film was in post-production. However, the 5 Jan 1990 Chicago Tribune stated that actress Winona Ryder had been called back for “reshoots.”
       The 6 May 1989 Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, FL, reported that Winona Ryder, who at age seventeen had already been “attached” to the project for two years, accumulated “cratefuls of Dinky’s things” from flea markets and used book and clothing shops. Most items, such as old National Geographics, handbags, and circus posters, were not in the script or used in the film, but rather served the actress’s “method” of establishing the character of Dinky in her own mind.
       A lesbian sex scene between “Evelyn Whittacher” (Dinah Manoff) and “Libby Ohlemacher” (Sachi Parker) was excised from the film, according to the 5 Oct 1990 Ottawa Citizen. The implication of a relationship remained, however, by showing the actresses wearing bathrobes as they discussed their happiness with each other and Evelyn’s former relationship with “Roxy Carmichael.” Director Jim Abrahams stated that viewers at test screenings “were kind of shocked” by the bedroom scene, even though he believed it was done tastefully.
       Despite being the title character, Roxy Carmichael is seen in only a couple of scenes, and her face is never shown, which accounts for why Ava Fabian, the actress and Playboy magazine model who portrays her, is billed seventeenth in the credits. “It was one of the easiest parts I’ve ever had,” Fabian told the 14 Oct 1990 LAT. “There was no dialogue.”
       Reviews were generally lukewarm. The 12 Oct 1990 LAT called it “truly confused,” and the 12 Oct 1990 HR claimed the movie “never feels at home with itself.” Upon release, Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael “failed to catch on, with only $2.1 million on its debut in 635 theaters,” according to the 22 Oct 1990 Var. The total box-office receipts for the first forty-one days in release amounted to $4 million, the 18 Nov 1990 LAT reported.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank: Governor Richard F. Celeste, the State of Ohio; the Ohio Film Bureau, and R. J. Cavallaro, Assistant Manager; the City of Clyde, Ohio; the City of Sandusky, Ohio; the City of Santa Paula, California; James Melkonian.” Also, “ Cabaret poster courtesy of ABC Video Enterprises, Inc.” Actor Stephen Tobolowsky’s name is spelled correctly in opening credits, but misspelled “Stephen Tobolowski” in end credits. The actress Valerie Landsburg is credited twice, once correctly, and once as "Valerie Landsberg." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Chicago Tribune
5 Jan 1990
p. 18
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1989
p. 16
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 1990
p. 10, 58
Los Angeles Times
10 Oct 1990
Calendar, p. 310
Los Angeles Times
12 Oct 1990
Calendar, p. 6
Los Angeles Times
14 Oct 1990
Calendar, p. 34
Los Angeles Times
18 Nov 1990
Calendar, p. 32
New York Times
12 Oct 1990
p. 12
Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
6 May 1989
p. 10
The Ottawa Citizen
5 Oct 1990.
Section C, p. 9
The Reader
19 Oct 1990.
---
Variety
11 Oct 1989
p.18
Variety
15 Oct 1990
p. 310
Variety
15 Oct 1990
p. 72
Variety
22 Oct 1990
pp. 3 & 21
Village Voice
23 Oct 1990.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Fishing family:
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PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An ITC Entertainment Group Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl cam op
Addl photog
Still photog
Steadicam op
Video playback
Video asst
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Elec
Chief rigging elec
1st company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Lighting & grip equip by
Arriflex cam provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir - Ohio
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Post-prod supv
Asst ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec - Ohio
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Swing
Swing
Buyer
Prop master
Asst props
2d asst props
Const coord
Set des - Ohio
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Apprentice carpenter
Carpenter - Ohio
Scenic artist
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus consultant
Mus consultant
Scoring mixer
Mus contractor/coord
Mus clearance by
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cableperson
Supv sd ed, Danetracks
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Dial ed
A.D.R. ed
A.D.R. mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Hair stylist
Asst make-up artist
Asst make-up artist
Asst hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod exec
Exec in charge of prod
Asst to Jim Abrahams
Scr supv
Casting asst
Extras casting
Asst to prod
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod secy - Ohio
Prod controller
Prod estimator
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Loc mgr
Loc asst
Asst loc mgr
Loc mgr - Ohio
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Pub coord
Unit pub
Studio teacher
Animal training, Animals of Distinction
Animal training
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Craft services
Post prod coord
Post prod coord
A.D.R. voice casting
Post prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt person
Stunt person
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Processing and col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Don’t Look At Me,” written and performed by Melissa Etheridge, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
“In Roxy’s Eyes (I Will Never Be The Same),” written and performed by Melissa Etheridge, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
“Dancing Under A Latin Moon,” by Michael Jay, Alan Roy Scott, and Robbie Seidman, performed by Candi, courtesy of I. R. S. Records/MCA Records
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SONGS
“Don’t Look At Me,” written and performed by Melissa Etheridge, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
“In Roxy’s Eyes (I Will Never Be The Same),” written and performed by Melissa Etheridge, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
“Dancing Under A Latin Moon,” by Michael Jay, Alan Roy Scott, and Robbie Seidman, performed by Candi, courtesy of I. R. S. Records/MCA Records
“Misty,” words by Johnny Burke, music by Erroll Garner, performed by Johnny Mathis, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
“Sperate, o figil!” from the opera ”Nabucco,” written by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by The Chorus of The Vienna State Opera, Vienna Opera Orchestra, conducted by Lamberto Gardelli, aria performed by Carlo Cava and Bruno Prevedi, courtesy of London Records, a division of Polygram Classics Inc.
“Born To Be Wild,” written by Mars Bonfire, and “My Way,” written by Jacques Revaux and Claude Francois, lyrics by Gilles Thibault and Paul Anka, performed by Miriam Tanalia (Lillian Rein), G. Williker (Steve Lowry), and The Gee Willikers (Alan Kuehne, bass, Doug MacDonald, guitar, Wally Minko, keyboards, and Fred Petry, drums).
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DETAILS
Release Date:
12 October 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 12 October 1990
New York opening: week of 12 October 1990
Production Date:
began June 1989
reshoots in late 1989 or January 1990
Copyright Claimant:
ITC Entertainment Group, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
29 October 1990
Copyright Number:
PA495681
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
98
Length(in feet):
8,627
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
38117
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Clyde, Ohio, teenager Roxy Carmichael packs her bags and tells her boyfriend, Denton Webb, she is leaving town. He can keep their newborn baby and give it to someone. Fifteen years later, Clyde prepares for Roxy’s return home to open the Roxy Carmichael Center for Cosmetology and Drama. The Lutheran church sign reads: “Roxy the Prodigal Daughter Returns.” A store has a “Roxy Carmichael Sale.” In the Legion Hall, Mayor Bill Klepler tells townspeople, “I hereby proclaim this Roxy Carmichael week.” Dinky Bossetti, a fifteen-year-old rebel with ratty hair and dark clothes, slips into the hall of her high school and sits down. Gerald Howells, her classmate, tells Dinky to “do something” with her hair. Another boy mentions that Dinky will not be around for long. Dinky rides her bicycle to an old boat along the river where she tends several dogs, a pig, and a goat. The next day, Denton Webb, now a landscaper, awakens with his wife, Barbara, and goes to the new Roxy Carmichael Center, where workers and painters apply finishing touches. Dinky asks Denton if he knew Roxy personally, and he answers that they dated in school. He shows Dinky an old photograph. Transplanting pots of dandelions in front of the center, Denton tells Dinky they were Roxy’s favorite flowers because they grew wild and free. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, California, Roxy Carmichael dives into a swimming pool. Dinky’s adoptive parents, Les and Rochelle Bossetti, are visited by Ronald Reems, a representative from Lancer School, an academy for children with disciplinary problems. Rochelle mentions to Reems that they decided to have a biological child of their own in order to start a “normal ... +


In Clyde, Ohio, teenager Roxy Carmichael packs her bags and tells her boyfriend, Denton Webb, she is leaving town. He can keep their newborn baby and give it to someone. Fifteen years later, Clyde prepares for Roxy’s return home to open the Roxy Carmichael Center for Cosmetology and Drama. The Lutheran church sign reads: “Roxy the Prodigal Daughter Returns.” A store has a “Roxy Carmichael Sale.” In the Legion Hall, Mayor Bill Klepler tells townspeople, “I hereby proclaim this Roxy Carmichael week.” Dinky Bossetti, a fifteen-year-old rebel with ratty hair and dark clothes, slips into the hall of her high school and sits down. Gerald Howells, her classmate, tells Dinky to “do something” with her hair. Another boy mentions that Dinky will not be around for long. Dinky rides her bicycle to an old boat along the river where she tends several dogs, a pig, and a goat. The next day, Denton Webb, now a landscaper, awakens with his wife, Barbara, and goes to the new Roxy Carmichael Center, where workers and painters apply finishing touches. Dinky asks Denton if he knew Roxy personally, and he answers that they dated in school. He shows Dinky an old photograph. Transplanting pots of dandelions in front of the center, Denton tells Dinky they were Roxy’s favorite flowers because they grew wild and free. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, California, Roxy Carmichael dives into a swimming pool. Dinky’s adoptive parents, Les and Rochelle Bossetti, are visited by Ronald Reems, a representative from Lancer School, an academy for children with disciplinary problems. Rochelle mentions to Reems that they decided to have a biological child of their own in order to start a “normal family.” At Lillian Logerfield’s fashion shop, Evelyn Whittacher buys a revealing dress to compete with whatever Roxy will be wearing. When Denton Webb’s wife, Barbara, walks in, Evelyn asks if she is worried about Roxy’s return, since Roxy was Denton’s “true love” many years ago. Dinky rides her bicycle to Roxy Carmichael’s childhood home, which has been turned into a visitor’s center. Inside is a gift shop, and the rooms are refurnished to look as they did when Roxy left. Dinky sneaks into Roxy’s old bedroom while tour guide Gloria Sikes shows visitors through the house. Dinky jams the door, looks at several of Roxy’s belongings, steals a piece of candy, and lies down on the bed. Gloria Sikes knocks and orders Dinky to open the door. Soon, a policeman and Dinky’s father pound on the door. Later, at home, Les Bossetti worries whether the incident will affect his carpet business. When Dinky makes a sarcastic comment, Les starts to laugh, but Rochelle cuts him off. When Les asks his daughter why she locked herself in Roxy’s room, Dinky answers that she wanted to be “closer to her.” In English class the next day, Dinky recites a graphic poem she wrote about her own birth, and addresses it to Gerald Howells. The teacher, Miss Day Ashburn, is disturbed by Dinky’s suggestive demeanor and sends her to the office of the school’s new guidance counselor, Elizabeth “Beth” Zaks. Dinky wonders why anyone would move to Clyde. When Beth offers M&Ms from a dish, Dinky grabs a handful and remarks that they were Roxy’s favorite candy. Then, declaring sarcastically that the meeting was helpful, Dinky leaves. Later, as Denton Webb sits in his truck across the street from Roxy’s house, Dinky rides up on her bicycle and asks how Roxy, as a young girl, obtained the cotton candy machine that she saw in the house. Denton tells her that Roxy stole it from the Cleveland, Ohio, zoo after she was thrown out for riding animals. When Dinky asks why Roxy left, Denton confesses that she had his baby, but the little girl was premature. He left the baby at the hospital, and an ambulance took her to a “preemie” center in Cleveland. Dinky punches him and rides away. Barbara Webb drives by Roxy’s house, and her son sees his daddy’s truck, but Barbara tells the boy it is someone else’s. Getting her hair done at a salon, Rochelle Bossetti tells her beautician, Charmaine, that she loves Dinky, but adopting her was like adopting a baby from Mars. They are getting ready to send her to a school for “gifted children.” On a pier, Dinky and Elizabeth eat ice cream. Dinky complains about her family, but admits that when they adopted her at age six, she was not an easy girl to love. She never wanted the “girlie” things Rochelle gave her, and insisted on books instead of dolls and boots rather than slippers. She and her adoptive mother eventually stopped talking, but it does not matter now, because Dinky’s real mother is coming for her on Friday. When Dinky goes home, Gerald watches through her bedroom window as she combs her hair. Denton and Barbara Webb fight at the dinner table. Barbara reminds him that Roxy never tried to contact him after she left town, and probably never liked him anyway. At a club, Roxy’s old schoolmates gossip and recall unflattering things about her. Evelyn Whittacher claims that she was Roxy’s best friend. The local radio station plays the song “In Roxy’s Eyes,” by Melissa Etheridge. When Dinky and Gerald run into each other in a shop, she is friendly, but he acts coldly toward her in front of his friend, Beannie Billings. Later, ashamed of himself, Gerald goes to Dinky’s dilapidated boat and fixes her shoddy carpentry. The next day, Dinky gets on the school bus and trips in the aisle, but Howells fails to help her because another girl is sitting with him. Dinky orders the driver to let her off, but as she runs away, Gerald pursues and tackles her. He wants to talk with her because she is the smartest kid in school and has a sense of humor. As he tries to kiss her, Dinky hurries away. Later, she eats alone in the school lunchroom as students occasionally throw food at her. Nearby, Ronald Reems from Lancer sits with Principal Scotty Sandholtzer and English teacher Miss Day Ashburn, asking them about Dinky’s “socially inappropriate” behavior. Beth Zaks stops by the table, and when they ask about Dinky, she reminds them that Dinky is the school’s smartest student. When Beth demands to know who sent Reems to spy on Dinky, Principal Sandholtzer cuts her off. Beth leaves, sits across from Dinky, and holds her hand under the table as a gesture of support. Barbara Webb packs her suitcases and two children in the car and tells Denton she is leaving. She demands to know what Roxy Carmichael did “that was so great.” Denton confesses that he thought his feelings for Roxy were gone, but her imminent arrival stoked them to life. After Barbara leaves, Denton gathers Roxy’s old letters and several articles of clothing and prepares to burn them, but cannot go through with it. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, Roxy Carmichael puts on a ring from a drawer and looks at old snapshots. Libby Ohlemacher, wearing a robe, asks Evelyn Whittacher, also dressed in a robe, if she is satisfied with their lovemaking, and Evelyn tells her it was “fine.” When Libby asks, “But I’m not Roxy, am I?” Evelyn answers, “No, you’re not Roxy.” Dinky tells Gerald she is glad that everybody in town hates her, because they also hated Roxy. Besides, she is leaving town tomorrow because Roxy is her mother and is coming to get her. At the carpet shop, Les Bossetti tells his wife he has second thoughts about sending Dinky to Lancer, but Rochelle distracts him by luring him into sex. Dinky walks in and sees them, hurries away on her bike, and hits a trashcan at the curb. Passing by in his truck, Denton picks her up and takes her to a coffee shop. Dinky asks why Roxy Carmichael is famous, and he explains that she was the subject of rock star Jack Slater’s first hit song, “In Roxy’s Eyes,” which was inspired by their romantic breakup. Dinky incredulously asks, “That’s all?” Denton tells her nobody knew about Roxy’s baby girl because she hid her pregnancy well. Dinky asks if Roxy loved the baby and if Denton thinks about her, then storms out when he displays no paternal interest. In Beverly Hills, Roxy Carmichael packs the old suitcase she carried fifteen years earlier. In the town of Clyde, Dinky packs two suitcases and sneaks out the window. Principal Scotty Sandholtzer and Beth Zaks awaken in Beth’s apartment. He is certain that nobody on the faculty knows about their affair. Sandholtzer leaves the apartment moments before Dinky arrives. The teenager tells Beth she needs a ride to Cleveland to shop for a dress for the Roxy Carmichael Ball, and Beth agrees to take her. When Ronald Reems goes to the Bossetti home to get Dinky, Rochelle has no idea where she is. Having second thoughts about sending Dinky away, Les defends his daughter, but Rochelle telephones the police. Denton hurries to buy a suit for the ball, but while the salesgirl kneels to pin up the trouser cuffs, her boyfriend sees what he thinks is a sexual act, crashes through the door, and hits Denton. Dinky takes Beth to see her animals and asks her to feed them after she is gone. Dinky knows that Beth is a writer, and shows off her personal copy of Beth’s novel, but Beth claims it was such “a disaster” that she lost the desire to write and left New York. She came to Clyde to hide out for a while. Dinky tells her she enjoyed the book, and they hug and say goodbye. Gerald tells Denton that Dinky believes Roxy is her mother. Although Dinky and Roxy are similar, Denton claims they are not mother and daughter. He suggests that Howells buy Dinky something special because she is going to need all the encouragement she can get. That evening an airplane lands in Cleveland. Townspeople head for the Roxy Ball. A band plays popular songs, and Libby Ohlemacher becomes jealous when Evelyn dances with a man. Dinky arrives wearing a pink-coral gown, but carrying suitcases. A limousine arrives from the airport, but the only person inside is a uniformed chauffeur. He delivers a small package to Mayor Klepler containing a dedication plaque for the new center and a letter of apology for not being able to attend. Denton moans that he will never see Roxy again. Dinky tries to get into the limousine, but Denton stops her and explains that she is not Roxy’s daughter, because the baby died soon after birth. He personally buried her. Spilling one of her suitcases, Dinky breaks into tears and runs. Gerald chases her, but Dinky sends him away. Later, Rochelle Webb tears up the Lancer School brochure, and Denton burns Roxy’s clothes and letters. Dinky, still wearing her gown, goes to Gerald's house and watches him sleep until he awakens. They picnic on the lawn and kiss.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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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.