The Man in the Moon (1991)

PG-13 | 99 mins | Drama, Romance | 4 October 1991

Director:

Robert Mulligan

Writer:

Jenny Wingfield

Producer:

Mark Rydell

Cinematographer:

Freddie Francis

Editor:

Trudy Ship

Production Designer:

Gene Callahan

Production Company:

Pathe Entertainment
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HISTORY

A 3 Oct 1991 LAT review noted that screenwriter Jenny Wingfield based the story on events from her childhood, which was spent in Louisiana. The Man in the Moon marked her first produced screenplay.
       Various contemporary sources commented on the casting of relatively unknown adolescent actors for the roles of “Dani Trant,” “Maureen Trant,” and “Court Foster.” Production notes indicate that 5,000 young people, from ten states, auditioned for the parts. Actress Reese Witherspoon, thinking the casting call was for extras, landed the lead as Dani. Her motion picture debut garnered high praise, with 16 Sep 1991 reviews in HR and DV calling her performance “tumultuously flawless” and “outstanding.”
       According to a HR production chart, principal photography began 11 Jun 1990 in Natchitoches, LA, a town located approximately 250 miles northwest of New Orleans. Filming also occurred in the Southern towns of Natchez, LA, and Robeline, LA. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that filmmakers selected a two-story country farmhouse on the outskirts of town to serve as the Trant residence. Meanwhile, Black Lake and Kisatchie Falls, located within the Natchitoches Parish region, provided the setting for Dani and Court’s adventures at the swimming hole.
       A 27 Jul 1990 HR article noted that filming on the Pathé Entertainment production was due to end by 5 Aug. The article suggested that Pathé would release the picture in early 1991. However, in the fall of 1990, Pathé Entertainment merged with MGM/UA Communications. When The Man in the Moon opened on 4 Oct 1991, it was under the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer banner.
       End credits include the following dedication: ... More Less

A 3 Oct 1991 LAT review noted that screenwriter Jenny Wingfield based the story on events from her childhood, which was spent in Louisiana. The Man in the Moon marked her first produced screenplay.
       Various contemporary sources commented on the casting of relatively unknown adolescent actors for the roles of “Dani Trant,” “Maureen Trant,” and “Court Foster.” Production notes indicate that 5,000 young people, from ten states, auditioned for the parts. Actress Reese Witherspoon, thinking the casting call was for extras, landed the lead as Dani. Her motion picture debut garnered high praise, with 16 Sep 1991 reviews in HR and DV calling her performance “tumultuously flawless” and “outstanding.”
       According to a HR production chart, principal photography began 11 Jun 1990 in Natchitoches, LA, a town located approximately 250 miles northwest of New Orleans. Filming also occurred in the Southern towns of Natchez, LA, and Robeline, LA. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that filmmakers selected a two-story country farmhouse on the outskirts of town to serve as the Trant residence. Meanwhile, Black Lake and Kisatchie Falls, located within the Natchitoches Parish region, provided the setting for Dani and Court’s adventures at the swimming hole.
       A 27 Jul 1990 HR article noted that filming on the Pathé Entertainment production was due to end by 5 Aug. The article suggested that Pathé would release the picture in early 1991. However, in the fall of 1990, Pathé Entertainment merged with MGM/UA Communications. When The Man in the Moon opened on 4 Oct 1991, it was under the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer banner.
       End credits include the following dedication: “In memory: Gene Callahan.” End credits also include the following acknowledgements: “The producers wish to thank: Bob Welch; Tom Whitehead; Jerry Pierce; Northwestern State University of Louisiana; The Ladies of ‘Just Friends’; Luther Lee; The City of Natchitoches, Louisiana; Tom Fair and The U.S. Forest Service; Jack and Ann Brittain.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Jan 1990.
---
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1991
p. 3, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1991
p. 6, 54.
Los Angeles Times
3 Oct 1991
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
4 Oct 1991
Section C, p. 13.
Variety
23 Sep 1991
p. 76.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
A Mark Rydell Production
A Robert Mulligan Film
A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Communications Co. Presentation
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
2d unit dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Chief lighting tech
Key grip
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Best boy elec
Dolly grip
Best boy grip
Grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative matching
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const coord
Set dec
Lead person
Asst prop master
Const foreman
Standby carpenter
Greensman
Standby painter
Set painter
Prop prod asst
COSTUMES
Costumer
Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus ed
Orch conductor
Mus rec mixer
Mus rec mixer
Mus coord
Mus contractor
Scoring coord
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Foley ed
Foley artist
1st asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley rec
Re-rec mixer
Post prod facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Main and end titles des and prod by
Opticals by, The Effects House Corp.
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Key hairstylist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Transportation coord
Prod admin
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Transportation capt
Asst to Mr. Rydell
Asst to Mr. Gilmore
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Pub
Prod secretary
Casting assoc
Loc extra casting
Loc extra casting
First aid
First aid
Craft service
Craft service
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Projectionist
Security supv
Film runner
Loc catering
Caterer
Catering asst
Catering asst
Catering asst
Prod equip provided by
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"Loving You," written by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, performed by Elvis Presley, published by Gladys Music (ASCAP), Jerry Leiber Music (ASCAP) and Mike Stoller Music (ASCAP), Gladys Music administrated by Chappell & Co., courtesy of RCA Records
"That's Alright," written by Arthur Crudup, performed by Elvis Presley, published by Unichappell Music, Inc. (BMI) and Crudup Music (BMI), courtesy of RCA Records
"Only You," written by Buck Ram & Ande Rand, performed by The Platters, published by Hollis Music, Inc. (BMI) and Screen Gems - EMI Music Inc. (BMI), courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 October 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 October 1991
Production Date:
11 June--early August 1990
Copyright Claimant:
MGM-Pathe Communications Company
Copyright Date:
15 November 1991
Copyright Number:
PA545097
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Originated on Eastman Color Film from Kodak
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
99
Length(in feet):
8,950
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30935
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a summer night in 1957 Louisiana, fourteen-year-old Danielle “Dani” Trant lies in bed listening to Elvis Presley records. Her older sister, Maureen, steps quietly onto the sleeping porch, dons her nightgown, and brushes her hair. Before falling asleep, the sisters confide in each other: Dani wishes people would stop treating her like a baby, while Maureen, soon to attend Duke University, confesses to feeling scared about leaving home. In the morning, the girls’ pregnant mother, Abigail, urges them to get ready for church. Dani is envious that her father, Matthew, gets to go fishing instead of attending religious services. After church, teenager Billy Sanders greets the family and confirms his date with Maureen that evening. When the Trant women arrive home, Dani shirks her responsibilities and goes skinny-dipping at the nearby swimming hole. There, she is startled when a teenage boy jumps into the water. They argue about who has the right to be on the property, until Dani agrees to leave. She runs home, where her father reprimands her for not helping out around the house. The exasperated girl goes to her room and plays her favorite Elvis record, passionately embracing her pillow. Later, Billy Sanders stops by to take Maureen to a dance. Matthew Trant lectures the boy about curfew, but as the teenagers drive away, Abigail tells her husband to quit worrying. Just then, a truck pulls up to the farmhouse, and Abigail welcomes her dear old friend, Marie Foster, back to the neighboring property. Abigail presents Dani and Dani’s toddler sister, Missy, as Marie introduces her three sons, one of whom is seventeen-year-old Court Foster, the teenage boy Dani encountered at the swimming ... +


On a summer night in 1957 Louisiana, fourteen-year-old Danielle “Dani” Trant lies in bed listening to Elvis Presley records. Her older sister, Maureen, steps quietly onto the sleeping porch, dons her nightgown, and brushes her hair. Before falling asleep, the sisters confide in each other: Dani wishes people would stop treating her like a baby, while Maureen, soon to attend Duke University, confesses to feeling scared about leaving home. In the morning, the girls’ pregnant mother, Abigail, urges them to get ready for church. Dani is envious that her father, Matthew, gets to go fishing instead of attending religious services. After church, teenager Billy Sanders greets the family and confirms his date with Maureen that evening. When the Trant women arrive home, Dani shirks her responsibilities and goes skinny-dipping at the nearby swimming hole. There, she is startled when a teenage boy jumps into the water. They argue about who has the right to be on the property, until Dani agrees to leave. She runs home, where her father reprimands her for not helping out around the house. The exasperated girl goes to her room and plays her favorite Elvis record, passionately embracing her pillow. Later, Billy Sanders stops by to take Maureen to a dance. Matthew Trant lectures the boy about curfew, but as the teenagers drive away, Abigail tells her husband to quit worrying. Just then, a truck pulls up to the farmhouse, and Abigail welcomes her dear old friend, Marie Foster, back to the neighboring property. Abigail presents Dani and Dani’s toddler sister, Missy, as Marie introduces her three sons, one of whom is seventeen-year-old Court Foster, the teenage boy Dani encountered at the swimming hole. Dani and Court eye each other warily. Over a picnic lunch, Abigail expresses sympathy toward Marie, whose husband died a short while ago in a work-related accident. Dani notes that the ice cream maker is not working, and Matthew Trant sends Court and Dani into town to buy rock salt. The teenagers squabble about having to go together. However, Court’s reckless driving thrills the tomboy, and by the time they arrive in town, their friendship is assured. Meanwhile, at the dance, Maureen fends off the inappropriate advances of Billy Sanders’s father. She asks her date if they can leave, and Billy, thinking she wants to make out, drives to a secluded location. However, Maureen has no interest in sexual activities with Billy, and the frustrated boy drives her home. The next day, a love-struck Dani returns to the swimming hole, pleased to find Court already there. Dani’s affection for the boy deepens, and she asks Maureen to teach her about kissing. On a hot day, Dani invites Court to go swimming, but the hard-working young man says he cannot go until nighttime. Dani waits until her family falls asleep before sneaking out of the house to meet Court at the swimming hole. There, the two almost kiss, but Court insists that Dani is too young. Dani runs home, crying. The onset of a storm awakens Abigail Trant, who goes outside to look for her daughter. The pregnant woman trips, injuring her head. Matthew rushes his wife to the hospital, but the doctors refuse to let him stay. The distraught man returns home and whips Dani with his belt. The next day, Court visits the Trant family with a care package from Marie, but Dani treats him coldly. After Dani and her father visit Abigail in the hospital, they reconcile. Later, Dani runs over to the Foster property and asks Court to go for a swim. The boy agrees and follows her to the pond. Although the two agree to be “just friends,” they share their first kiss. At her father’s urging, Dani invites her “crush” to dinner at the Trant residence. There, Court is instantly smitten with the college-bound Maureen. Dani grows sullen as Court and Maureen flirt with each other at the dinner table. A few days later, Dani professes her love for Court, but the young man does not return her sentiment. Later, he drives to the Trant residence, where Maureen is home alone. When he tries to kiss her, Maureen admonishes him. Court insists that he is not Dani’s boyfriend, and Maureen yields to his advances. Just then, the phone rings and Maureen learns that her mother is in labor. The next day, Dani finds Court working at the Foster property. She tells him about her new baby sister, and apologizes for her emotional declaration. Court is standoffish and ignores her. As the days pass, Maureen and Court fall in love. On the day of Abigail’s arrival home from the hospital, Maureen and Trant lie naked in a meadow together. The young woman realizes she should be at home and rushes back to the Trant residence. Noticing her sister’s disheveled appearance, Dani deduces where she has been. The young girl runs off, furious. Later, Court drives his tractor through a field, daydreaming about the beautiful Maureen. While reaching for his hat, he falls from the tractor and into the path of the oncoming harrow. Marie Foster, on her way to the field with Court’s lunch, finds her son’s body. Just then, a breathless Dani emerges from the trees. Mrs. Foster tells her to stay away, and Dani rushes home to inform her father about the accident. Hours later, Matthew Trant returns with the news that Court is dead. He embraces Dani, trying to console her. Meanwhile, Maureen retreats into the house alone, sobbing. On the day of Court’s funeral, Dani watches from afar as the casket is lowered into the ground. That night, Maureen begs her sister’s forgiveness, but Dani rejects the request. In the morning, Dani goes fishing with her father, who encourages her to make amends with Maureen. Later, Dani finds her heartbroken sister at Court’s graveside. She pulls Maureen into her arms, comforting her. That night on the sleeping porch, the sisters look at the moon and vow to always support each other. +

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

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