High Spirits (1988)

PG-13 | 96-99 mins | Romantic comedy, Fantasy | 18 November 1988

Writer:

Neil Jordan

Cinematographer:

Alex Thomson

Production Designer:

Anton Furst

Production Company:

Vision p.d.g.
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HISTORY

The 19 May 1986 DV reported that the film, with the working title Ghost Tours, was an upcoming Palace Productions picture, with financing and distribution by Columbia Pictures. The following year, the 19 Jan 1987 DV noted that the picture, with the new title High Spirits, would begin principal photography in spring 1987 in Ireland. According to an article in the 20 May 1988 HR, after hearing of an Irishman who advertised ghost tours aimed at American tourists, writer-director Neil Jordan wanted to make a film “that dealt with all the preconceptions Americans have about the Irish, and vice versa.” The 6 May 1987 Var reported filming would start in Sep 1987 with a $17 million budget, and actor Sean Connery as the star. However, a 20 Oct 1987 HR announcement stated principal photography was moved to 9 Nov 1987, and Connery’s name was not listed as a cast member.
       A 23 Dec 1987 DV news item noted locations included Limerick, Ireland, and the Lee Shepperton Studios in Shepperton, Surrey, England. Earlier reports cited the picture’s budget as $17 million, but a 14 Nov 1987 Screen International article stated the budget was $10 million, and a 17 Sep 1987 LAT brief noted the production cost $14 million. The 20 May 1988 HR article listed the budget as $15 million, while a 25 Oct 1988 DV article noted a budget of $16 million.
       The 17 Sep 1987 LAT reported that former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives ... More Less

The 19 May 1986 DV reported that the film, with the working title Ghost Tours, was an upcoming Palace Productions picture, with financing and distribution by Columbia Pictures. The following year, the 19 Jan 1987 DV noted that the picture, with the new title High Spirits, would begin principal photography in spring 1987 in Ireland. According to an article in the 20 May 1988 HR, after hearing of an Irishman who advertised ghost tours aimed at American tourists, writer-director Neil Jordan wanted to make a film “that dealt with all the preconceptions Americans have about the Irish, and vice versa.” The 6 May 1987 Var reported filming would start in Sep 1987 with a $17 million budget, and actor Sean Connery as the star. However, a 20 Oct 1987 HR announcement stated principal photography was moved to 9 Nov 1987, and Connery’s name was not listed as a cast member.
       A 23 Dec 1987 DV news item noted locations included Limerick, Ireland, and the Lee Shepperton Studios in Shepperton, Surrey, England. Earlier reports cited the picture’s budget as $17 million, but a 14 Nov 1987 Screen International article stated the budget was $10 million, and a 17 Sep 1987 LAT brief noted the production cost $14 million. The 20 May 1988 HR article listed the budget as $15 million, while a 25 Oct 1988 DV article noted a budget of $16 million.
       The 17 Sep 1987 LAT reported that former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Thomas P. “Tip” O'Neill was to “make his film debut” in the picture, but O'Neill is not credited onscreen. Actress Beryl Reid was listed as being attached to the production in the 14 Nov 1987 Screen International and the 4 Dec 1987 DV production chart. However, Reid is not credited onscreen. Writer Michael McDowell was listed as a screenwriter on the film along with writer-director Neil Jordan in the 20 Nov 1987 DV production chart and 22 Nov 1987 LAT. McDowell is mentioned in the “Special thanks” in ends credits, however he is not credited onscreen as a writer.
       While the 14 Nov 1987 Screen International reported the film’s release for summer 1988, the 20 May 1988 HR noted the film’s opening would be pushed back to Oct 1987. Three months later, an opening date of 23 Nov 1988 was reported in the 24 Aug 1988 Var. However, a brief in the 2 Nov 1988 Var noted the release date was moved up five days to 18 Nov 1988. Two years after the film opened to mixed reviews, the 14 Oct 1990 NYT interviewed director-writer Neil Jordan, who revealed that the film’s producers did not allow him to be involved with the final edit of the film, “making a bland comedy out of what was meant to be a biting satire.”
       Although there is a 1988 copyright notice on the film for Vision pdg, the copyright was not formally registered until 13 Aug 1996.
       The 18 Nov 1988 NYT review listed the film’s running time as ninety-six minutes. However, the review in the 18 Nov 1988 HR noted the film’s running time was ninety-eight minutes, and the 23 Nov 1988 Var review listed ninety-seven minutes. The print viewed for this record was approximately ninety-nine minutes.
       End credits state: “Filmed on location at Dromore Castle, Co. Limerick, Ireland, and at Lee International Studios, Shepperton.” End credits also state: “Special Thanks To: Frans Afman, Henk Altink, Jos Guichard and our friends at Credit Lyonnais Bank, Nederland, N.V.; John & Benny Lee, David Mindel & Denis Carrigan of Lee International; Peter Guber and Jon Peters, Michael McDowell, Stephen Kampmann, Will Aldis, Kenneth Mars.” End credits acknowledge: “The Producers Would Also Like To Thank: Ryan Air, Pan American, Statesman Travel, Travelmart, Renown Freight, Bally Shoes, Joanne Sellar, Bennetton, John Kelleher and Staff at the St. James Court Hotel, Kenny Boyle, The Construction Crew, Tracy Drew, Pupils & Staff at the Tasis School, Peter Robey, Paul Olliver and Everyone at Shepperton Studios.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 May 1986
p. 1, 15.
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1987
p. 22, 26.
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1987
p. 16.
Daily Variety
4 Dec 1987
p. 29.
Daily Variety
23 Dec 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1988
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1988
pp. 20-21, 68.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1988
p. 5, 52.
Los Angeles Times
17 Sep 1987
Calendar, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
22 Nov 1987
Calendar, p. 32.
Los Angeles Times
18 Nov 1988
Calendar, p. 12.
New York Times
18 Nov 1988
Section C, p. 10.
New York Times
14 Oct 1990
Section A, p. 18.
Screen International
14 Nov 1987.
---
Variety
6 May 1987
p. 164, 336.
Variety
24 Aug 1988
p. 6.
Variety
2 Nov 1988
p. 4.
Variety
23 Nov 1988
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Vision P.D.G. presents
A Palace Production of
A Neil Jordan Film
A Vision International Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Dir, 2d and spec eff unit
1st asst dir, 2d and spec eff unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam focus, 1st unit cam
Clapper loader, 1st unit cam
Cam grip, 1st unit cam
2d grip, 1st unit cam
Steadicam op, 1st unit cam
Steadicam op, 1st unit cam
Cam trainee, 1st unit cam
Video playback op, 1st unit cam
Video playback op, 1st unit cam
Stills photog
Gaffer elec
Rigging gaffer
Chargehand elec (Best boy)
Elec
Elec
Generator driver
2d unit photog, 2d and spec eff unit
Cam op, 2d and spec eff unit
Focus puller, 2d and spec eff unit
Clapper loader, 2d and spec eff unit
Cam grip, 2d and spec eff unit
Cam trainee, 2d and spec eff unit
Video op, 2d and spec eff unit
Gaffer elec, 2d and spec eff unit
Cam car driver
Multi crane driver
Hot head
Lighting by
Cam and lenses from
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Art dir
Art dir (Ireland)
Asst art dir (Ireland)
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
Art dept trainee
Plunkett ancestors des
FILM EDITORS
Ed consultant
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Draughtsman
Scenic artiste
Prod buyer
Set sculptor/Modeller
Set sculptor/Modeller
Prop master
Chargehand storeman
Chargehand dressing prop
Dressing prop
Dressing prop
Chargehand standby prop
Standby prop
Const mgr
Asst const mgr
Asst const mgr
H.O.D. plasterer
Supv rigger
Supv stagehand
Standby const crew
Standby const crew
Standby const crew
Standby const crew
Standby const crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Daryl Hannah's contemporary cost des
Beverly D`Angelo's Los Angeles cost des
MUSIC
Mus/Mus cond/Orch
Mus rec
Los Angeles mus coord
Mixed down at
Publisher
Mus rec with the
Mus rec with the
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd maintenance
Supv dubbing ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Footsteps ed
Footsteps ed
Asst dubbing ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Visual eff photog, 2d and spec eff unit
Spec eff prod, 2d and spec eff unit
SFX's prod coord, 2d and spec eff unit
Physical SFX's supv, 2d and spec eff unit
Sr SFX's tech, 2d and spec eff unit
Sr SFX's tech, 2d and spec eff unit
Sr SFX's tech, 2d and spec eff unit
SFX's tech, 2d and spec eff unit
SFX's trainee, 2d and spec eff unit
SFX's trainee, 2d and spec eff unit
SFX's model supv, 2d and spec eff unit
SFX's model tech, 2d and spec eff unit
Animatronic model des
Animatronic model des
Animatronic model des
Animatronic model des
Animatronic model des
SFX's hair
Mould maker
Puppeteer
Puppeteer
Opt team
Opt team
Opt team
Opt team
Opt team
Flying wire specialist
Flying wire tech
Titles des
Title opticals
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Chief makeup supv
Chief makeup artiste
Makeup artiste
Makeup artiste for Miss Hannah
Chief hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Miss Hannah's spec makeup & transformation
Prosthetic workshop crew
Prosthetic workshop crew
Prosthetic workshop crew
Prosthetic makeup artiste
Prosthetic makeup artiste
Prosthetic makeup artiste
PRODUCTION MISC
United Kingdom casting
United States casting
United States casting
Prod supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod runner
Scr supv
Cont trainee
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr (Ireland)
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Accounts secy
Spec eff accountant
Unit pub
Shepperton stores
Horsemaster
Unit nurse
Prod's UK asst
Prod's UK asst
Dir's asst
Prod's US asst
Casting asst
Tutor/Chaperone
Tutor/Chaperone
Armour des and made by
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Action vehicles
Transportation
Loc travel by
Attorney to the prod
Attorney to the prod
Attorney to the prod
Film insurance
Completion guarantee supplied by
STAND INS
Stunt coord/Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
ANIMATION
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
“Chantilly Lace,” words and music by J. P. Richardson, performed by The Big Bopper, Fort Knox Music Inc./Trio Music Co. Inc., administered by Hudson Bay Music Inc./Glad Music Company, courtesy of Polygram Records
“Galway Bay,” written by Arthur Colahan, published by Box & Cox Publishers Ltd.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Ghost Tours
Release Date:
18 November 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 November 1988
Production Date:
began 9 November 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Vision PDG
Copyright Date:
13 August 1996
Copyright Number:
PA0000804475
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Originated on Eastman Colour Film from Kodak
Duration(in mins):
96-99
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
Ireland, United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29466
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Ireland, Peter Plunkett manages the hotel at Castle Plunkett, a dilapidated castle that has been in his family for generations. After being told by the castle’s current owner, an American named Jim Brogan, that if the money owed on Castle Plunkett’s mortgage is not paid in three weeks it will be foreclosed and relocated to Malibu, California, Peter attempts to hang himself out of despair. Peter’s mother, Lavinia Plunkett, stops him and tells him to think about how his father would feel about losing the castle. Peter reminds her that his father is dead, but Lavinia insists he and other ghosts inhabit the property. Peter decides that to make Castle Plunkett profitable, he needs to advertise it as a haunted tourist attraction. With the help of his staff, the castle is decorated with grisly props, and the staff rehearses how to scare tourists. At the end of the week, Peter greets his first group of guests, tourists from the United States, including Jack Crawford and his wife Sharon. During dinner, Jack Crawford points to a painting of a woman in white. Peter tells him she is his great-great-great-great-great-great-grand cousin, Mary Plunkett, and that Mary’s husband, Martin Brogan, murdered her in the castle two hundred years ago on their wedding night. After retiring for the night, the staff pretends to be ghosts to scare the American tourists. However, the performances and props are not convincing and the group complains to Peter. He explains that he created the haunted castle attraction to save Castle Plunkett from being foreclosed upon by Jim Brogan. Jack Crawford announces that Jim Brogan ... +


In Ireland, Peter Plunkett manages the hotel at Castle Plunkett, a dilapidated castle that has been in his family for generations. After being told by the castle’s current owner, an American named Jim Brogan, that if the money owed on Castle Plunkett’s mortgage is not paid in three weeks it will be foreclosed and relocated to Malibu, California, Peter attempts to hang himself out of despair. Peter’s mother, Lavinia Plunkett, stops him and tells him to think about how his father would feel about losing the castle. Peter reminds her that his father is dead, but Lavinia insists he and other ghosts inhabit the property. Peter decides that to make Castle Plunkett profitable, he needs to advertise it as a haunted tourist attraction. With the help of his staff, the castle is decorated with grisly props, and the staff rehearses how to scare tourists. At the end of the week, Peter greets his first group of guests, tourists from the United States, including Jack Crawford and his wife Sharon. During dinner, Jack Crawford points to a painting of a woman in white. Peter tells him she is his great-great-great-great-great-great-grand cousin, Mary Plunkett, and that Mary’s husband, Martin Brogan, murdered her in the castle two hundred years ago on their wedding night. After retiring for the night, the staff pretends to be ghosts to scare the American tourists. However, the performances and props are not convincing and the group complains to Peter. He explains that he created the haunted castle attraction to save Castle Plunkett from being foreclosed upon by Jim Brogan. Jack Crawford announces that Jim Brogan is his wife’s father. Sharon confesses that they were sent on the trip not as a second honeymoon, but to see the state of the castle before it is moved to California. Depressed, Jack and Peter drink heavily together. Afterward, Jack wanders throughout the castle. Arriving at an older bedchamber, Jack sees the ghosts of Mary Plunkett and Martin Brogan emerge from the wall. As Martin stabs Mary to death with a dagger, Jack Crawford thinks they are a part of Peter’s fake ghost production. After Mary and Martin disappear, they reappear and enact the scene again. However, when Martin lunges forward, Jack steps between them and Mary’s ghost is freed. Thanking Jack, she vanishes. Confused, Jack returns to his room and falls asleep. Elsewhere, Plunkett Senior’s ghost informs Lavinia that the actual ghosts of the castle are upset about the possible move to California, and will be haunting Castle Plunkett and the tourists. In the morning, Jack finds Mary and realizes she is truly a ghost. After thanking Jack again, Mary tells him she has been reliving her wedding night for two hundred years. Jack tells her that he and his wife are leaving. Upset, Mary vanishes. Suddenly, the castle ghosts create a supernatural storm and prevent the Crawfords and all the American tourists from leaving. Jack is caught in a powerful wind and blown outside. As he regains his bearings, a talking horse greets him. The horse leads Jack to Mary. She explains that her father arranged her marriage to Martin Brogan, but on their wedding night, she refused to consummate the marriage because she did not love him. Believing she loved another, Martin killed her out of jealousy. After returning to the castle, Jack hears Sharon yelling for help. She tells him a man named Martin Brogan appeared and started flirting with her. Jack says Martin is a real ghost, but Sharon does not believe him. Later, Jack is approached by Lavinia and given a book titled, The Book of High Spirits. From the book, Jack learns that ghosts and humans cannot make love with each other. However, on Halloween, spirits return to their former fleshy forms. Later, Jack finds Mary and tells her he is falling in love with her. Mary tells him to meet her in the wedding bedchamber, midnight tomorrow, Halloween. Meanwhile, Martin flirts with Sharon, and she feels attracted to him. The next day, Jack reads a passage in The Book of High Spirits: “He who tups with the spirit finds only the grave, but the virtuous heart true love will save.” Jack interprets the statement to be that if he makes love with Mary in her human form, he must truly love her, or he will die. At midnight, Jack finds Mary freed of her spirit form, and they make love. However, afterward Mary ages two hundred years. As Jack runs away from Mary’s decaying body, Martin’s infatuation with Sharon causes him to chase her throughout the castle. Seeing Jack being followed by Mary, Sharon decides she is more attracted to Martin’s ghost and tells Jack she is leaving him. Mary asks for Jack’s love to save her from death, and kisses him. When Jack pulls away, Mary’s youth has been restored. Sharon Crawford finds Martin upstairs. She runs to hug him, but goes through Martin and falls out a window. When Sharon hits the ground, she dies and her ghost joins Martin in the afterlife, but Mary’s spirit enters Sharon’s body, and she is mortal again. In the morning, the ghosts are appeased that Castle Plunkett is no longer in danger and stop haunting the Americans. As Peter Plunkett wishes the tourists farewell, they tell him they will let their friends know about the truly haunted castle. Jack decides to remain with Mary in Ireland. As they dance, the ghosts of Martin and Sharon join them. +

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

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