Not Without My Daughter (1991)

PG-13 | 116 mins | Drama | 11 January 1991

Director:

Brian Gilbert

Cinematographer:

Peter Hannan

Editor:

Terry Rawlings

Production Designer:

Anthony Pratt

Production Company:

Pathe Entertainment
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HISTORY


       Although a 14 Nov 1989 HR news brief stated that director Brian Gilbert had written the film’s “original script,” onscreen credits list Pat Riddle as the author of the screenplay. Contemporary reviews, including those by HR, DV, Var, LAT, and NYT, cite “David W. Rintels” as the screenwriter. David W. Rintels, a writer known primarily for his work on 1960s series television, occasionally used the pseudonym, Pat Riddle.
       On 19 Dec 1989, a HR news item announced that Not Without My Daughter would begin production in Israel in mid-Feb 1990. Interiors would be shot at GG Israel Studios, a full-service production facility under the direction of producer Itzik Kol. A 2 Mar 1990 DV production chart confirmed that principal photography began in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 18 Feb 1990. The picture completed filming three months later, in May, according to a 12 Nov 1990 news brief in the Orange County Register.
       A 10 Jan 1991 DV article indicated that Not Without My Daughter screened for an “industry audience” at the Cary Grant Theatre on the Lorimar Studios lot in Culver City, CA, on 8 Jan 1991. Theatrical release followed three days later. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, who viewed the film’s portrayal of Islamic culture as discriminatory. On 14 and 18 Jan 1991, the LAT reported on separate controversial responses to the picture’s release: One local theater received a bomb threat, while actress Sally Field hired a security detail after also receiving threats. Response to the movie may have ... More Less


       Although a 14 Nov 1989 HR news brief stated that director Brian Gilbert had written the film’s “original script,” onscreen credits list Pat Riddle as the author of the screenplay. Contemporary reviews, including those by HR, DV, Var, LAT, and NYT, cite “David W. Rintels” as the screenwriter. David W. Rintels, a writer known primarily for his work on 1960s series television, occasionally used the pseudonym, Pat Riddle.
       On 19 Dec 1989, a HR news item announced that Not Without My Daughter would begin production in Israel in mid-Feb 1990. Interiors would be shot at GG Israel Studios, a full-service production facility under the direction of producer Itzik Kol. A 2 Mar 1990 DV production chart confirmed that principal photography began in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 18 Feb 1990. The picture completed filming three months later, in May, according to a 12 Nov 1990 news brief in the Orange County Register.
       A 10 Jan 1991 DV article indicated that Not Without My Daughter screened for an “industry audience” at the Cary Grant Theatre on the Lorimar Studios lot in Culver City, CA, on 8 Jan 1991. Theatrical release followed three days later. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, who viewed the film’s portrayal of Islamic culture as discriminatory. On 14 and 18 Jan 1991, the LAT reported on separate controversial responses to the picture’s release: One local theater received a bomb threat, while actress Sally Field hired a security detail after also receiving threats. Response to the movie may have had less to do with the 1980s political climate it depicted than with the fact that, in Jan 1991, the U.S. military had become more actively engaged in the Persian Gulf War. Various contemporary reviews noted the film’s peripheral relevance to current world events.
      End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers wish to thank: Jerry Orlin, M.D.; Ety Kanner; Alex Ho; Donald & Wallace Brooks; Northside Hospital.” Credit is also given to: “Prerecorded video tape supplied by CNN, © Cable New Network, Inc. 1989, all rights reserved.”

              After the opening credits, the film begins with a title card that reads: “Based on a true story.” At the end of the film’s final scene, titles state: “Betty and Mahtob were re-united with their family in America on February 9th 1986. Many women and children are held against their will in foreign countries. Betty is now a successful writer and lecturer dedicated to helping those who find themselves in similar circumstances.” End credits conclude with the following statement: “This film is a dramatization of certain events in the life of Betty Mahmoody and is based on her story. However, certain characters and events have been fictionalized for the purpose of dramatic clarity.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1990.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1991
p. 2, 30.
Daily Variety
10 Jan 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 1991
p. 8, 34.
Los Angeles Times
11 Jan 1991
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jan 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Jan 1991.
---
New York Times
11 Jan 1991
p. 8.
Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA)
12 Nov 1990
Section F, p. 4.
Variety
7 Jan 1991
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Pathe Entertainment presents
an Ufland production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit mgr
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
Prod mgr, Atlanta crew
1st asst dir, Atlanta crew
2d asst dir, Atlanta crew
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Clapper loader
2d cam op
2d focus puller
2d clapper loader
Still photog
Gaffer
Elec
Elec
Pre-rigging gaffer
Pre-rigging elec
Key grip
Cam grip
Best boy grip
Grip
1st asst cam, Atlanta crew
2d asst cam, Atlanta crew
Still photog, Atlanta crew
Gaffer, Atlanta crew
Best boy elec, Atlanta crew
Elec, Atlanta crew
Elec, Atlanta crew
Elec, Atlanta crew
Elec, Atlanta crew
Key grip, Atlanta crew
Best boy grip, Atlanta crew
Dolly grip, Atlanta crew
Grip, Atlanta crew
Grip, Atlanta crew
Cam equipment by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
Asst to prod des, Atlanta crew
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
1st asst loc ed
2d asst ed
2d asst loc ed
Post prod coord
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Const coord
Scenic artist
Painter
Painter
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Prop buyer
Set dec, Atlanta crew
Drapery, Atlanta crew
Prop master, Atlanta crew
Asst prop, Atlanta crew
Set prod asst, Atlanta crew
Set prod asst, Atlanta crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward coord
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Seamstress
Seamstress
Seamstress
Lead ward, Atlanta crew
Ward asst, Atlanta crew
SOUND
Boom op
Sd ed
Asst dubbing ed
Foley ed
Supv re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Rec mixer
Sd mixer, Atlanta crew
Boom op, Atlanta crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Makeup asst
Hairstylist
Makeup artist, Atlanta crew
Hairstylist, Atlanta crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Prod services
Prod services
Loc casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Asst prod accountant
Transportation capt
Crowd marshall
Crowd marshall asst
Crowd marshall asst
Prod secretary
Prod secretary
Camp mgr
Camp mgr asst
Camp asst
Camp asst
Camp asst
Camp asst
Camp asst
Water girl
Camp nurse
Loc mgr, Atlanta crew
Scr supv, Atlanta crew
Prod coord, Atlanta crew
Asst prod coord, Atlanta crew
Prod accountant, Atlanta crew
Asst prod accountant, Atlanta crew
Casting, Atlanta crew
Extra casting, Atlanta crew
Transportation coord, Atlanta crew
Transportation capt, Atlanta crew
Office prod asst, Atlanta crew
Craft service, Atlanta crew
STAND INS
Action vehicles coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Location laboratory
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody with William Hoffer (New York, 1987).
SONGS
"Happy Birthday To You," written by Mildred Hill & Patty Hill, published by Warner/Chappell Music
"Vissi D'Arte" from "Tosca," music by Giacomo Puccini, performed by Zinka Milanov and the Rome Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf, courtesy of RCA Victor Red Seal a division of BMC Classics.
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 January 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 11 January 1991
New York opening: week of 11 January 1991
Production Date:
18 February--May 1990
Copyright Claimant:
MGM-Pathe Communications Company
Copyright Date:
14 February 1991
Copyright Number:
PA511647
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
116
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Languages:
Farsi, English
PCA No:
30754
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1984, Betty Mahmoody, her Iranian husband, “Moody,” and their four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, enjoy the beauty and serenity of their lakeside home in Alpena, Michigan. Moody, a doctor, shows love toward his wife and child, but he endures racial prejudice at the hospital where he works. One night, he reads a Persian fairy tale to his daughter, and the girl confides that other schoolchildren tease her about her Iranian heritage. A few days later, Betty hears Moody speaking Farsi on the telephone. He hangs up and explains that his family wants him to come to Iran. Betty objects to visiting the politically conflicted country, but Moody swears on the Koran, a sacred Islamic text, that nothing bad will happen during a brief two-week visit. The Mahmoodys fly to Tehran, the capital city of Iran, where they are greeted at the airport by Moody’s extended family. The Iranian women, covered from head to toe in the traditional “chador,” insist that Betty wear a similar outfit. In the days that follow, Betty struggles to understand the country’s religious fanaticism and its attitudes toward women. Halfway through their stay, she tells her husband that his family makes her uncomfortable, but Moody attributes his relative’s behavior to cultural differences. He confesses to his wife that he lost his job at the hospital in Michigan a few days before they left for Iran. Betty is optimistic, saying they will make the best of things when they return to America. As she packs the family’s suitcases, one of Moody’s relatives remarks that, because they did not process their passports in advance, they will not be able to leave Iran. Betty becomes distraught when her husband ... +


In 1984, Betty Mahmoody, her Iranian husband, “Moody,” and their four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, enjoy the beauty and serenity of their lakeside home in Alpena, Michigan. Moody, a doctor, shows love toward his wife and child, but he endures racial prejudice at the hospital where he works. One night, he reads a Persian fairy tale to his daughter, and the girl confides that other schoolchildren tease her about her Iranian heritage. A few days later, Betty hears Moody speaking Farsi on the telephone. He hangs up and explains that his family wants him to come to Iran. Betty objects to visiting the politically conflicted country, but Moody swears on the Koran, a sacred Islamic text, that nothing bad will happen during a brief two-week visit. The Mahmoodys fly to Tehran, the capital city of Iran, where they are greeted at the airport by Moody’s extended family. The Iranian women, covered from head to toe in the traditional “chador,” insist that Betty wear a similar outfit. In the days that follow, Betty struggles to understand the country’s religious fanaticism and its attitudes toward women. Halfway through their stay, she tells her husband that his family makes her uncomfortable, but Moody attributes his relative’s behavior to cultural differences. He confesses to his wife that he lost his job at the hospital in Michigan a few days before they left for Iran. Betty is optimistic, saying they will make the best of things when they return to America. As she packs the family’s suitcases, one of Moody’s relatives remarks that, because they did not process their passports in advance, they will not be able to leave Iran. Betty becomes distraught when her husband reveals his intention to remain in his home country. She accuses him of lying, and insists she cannot live in Iran. Moody strikes her, reminding her that in Iran, a wife must obey her husband. That night, Betty appeals to the Mahmoody family, but they yell at her in Farsi. Betty flees the room with her daughter. However, Moody follows and takes their passports and money, essentially imprisoning his wife and daughter. One day, while the relatives are outside, Betty receives a phone call from her mother advising her to seek help at the Swiss Embassy. Moody catches her talking on the phone and reprimands her for disobeying. Undaunted, Betty and Mahtob leave the house and go to the Swiss Embassy. There, the Swiss agent tells Betty that, because she is married to an Iranian man, she and her daughter are considered Iranian citizens, and as women, they have no rights. When Betty returns to the Mahmoody residence, her husband strikes her and threatens to kill her if she ever leaves the house again. Sometime later, Mahtob celebrates her fifth birthday, and Betty tells Moody she wants to make the best of the situation. She proposes they go live with Nasserine and Mammal, Moody’s brother and sister-in-law. A few days later, Moody’s uncle visits for dinner. The religious man suggests that Betty attend a class to learn the Koran. There, Betty meets Ellen, another American, who invites Betty and her husband to dinner. Alone with Ellen in the kitchen, Betty asks her new friend to deliver a letter to the U.S. Ellen reluctantly agrees. A few days later, Moody allows Betty to go the market without supervision. While searching for a telephone, she befriends a shopkeeper named Hamid. The sympathetic man lets her know she is always welcome to use his telephone. Sometime later, Betty returns to the shop, and Hamid introduces her to Miss Nassimi, a woman who can coordinate passage out of Iran. Meanwhile, Mahtob has difficulty adjusting to her new school. Moody urges Betty to attend school with Mahtob, but reminds her that the other devout Iranian women will monitor her every move. One day, an explosion near the school sends the children screaming from their classrooms. Betty locates her daughter, taking cover in a classroom. A few days later, the women at the school express sympathy to Betty and offer help. Relying on their discretion, Betty takes Mahtob out of school and meets Miss Nassimi’s brother, Houssein, at Hamid’s shop. They discuss routes out of Iran. However, when Betty returns to the school, Moody is waiting for her. He beats Betty and threatens to kill her. She flees and calls the Swiss Embassy. The Swiss agent accompanies the angry woman back to the school, where Betty tries to gain custody of Mahtob. However, Moody foils her plan. He takes Mahtob to the Mahmoody family residence and locks Betty inside his brother’s apartment. In the days that follow, violence erupts in the neighborhood near the apartment, and Moody returns to claim his wife. Six months later, Mahtob celebrates another birthday. Betty blesses the birthday cake in flawless Farsi, impressing her relatives. Having regained Moody’s trust, she is allowed to take Mahtob to school without supervision. Betty uses her limited freedom to meet with Houssein and plan an escape. Warfare in the Persian Gulf forces Betty to wait until the end of January to travel through the mountains into Turkey. Meanwhile, Betty learns her father is dying, and Moody encourages her return to the U.S. He will not let Betty take their daughter, however, and Betty realizes that if she goes, she may never see Mahtob again. Moody arranges for Betty to leave Iran a few days before her planned escape. When her husband is called to the hospital, Betty leaves the Mahmoody residence with Mahtob. She meets Houssein and receives detailed instructions about the route to Turkey. Betty and her daughter are driven through several dangerous checkpoints until they reach the Iranian mountains. There, she and her daughter are forced to continue by foot and horseback. When Betty arrives in a small Turkish town, the first thing she sees is an American flag. She embraces her daughter and cries tears of joy. +

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

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