Oscar (1991)

PG | 110 mins | Comedy | 26 April 1991

Director:

John Landis

Producer:

Leslie Belzberg

Cinematographer:

Mac Ahlberg

Editor:

Dale Beldin

Production Designer:

Bill Kenney

Production Company:

Touchstone Pictures
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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, director John Landis and production designer Bill Kenney worked closely on designing the Victorian mansion of gangster “Angelo ‘Snaps’ Provolone.” The 13,000-square-foot, two-story set was constructed in seven weeks on Stages 3 and 4 at Warner Hollywood Studios in West Hollywood, CA, and was equipped with plumbing and electricity, like a real home. The mansion featured numerous original and replica artifacts from the “Bonanza House,” an 1881 San Francisco, CA, mansion that was abandoned after the 1906 earthquake. Following production, many of the items were shipped to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Victorian-style wallpaper for the set was manufactured in Milwaukee, WI, while most of the hardware and light fixtures were authentic to the period. Flower arrangements were made with the hardiest varieties available, and because the story takes place over a period of four hours, each arrangement had to match its predecessors.
Screenwriters Jim Mulholland and Michael Barrie wrote the screenplay while the set was under construction, and were required to give Landis daily updates on their progress. Principal photography began in Sep 1990.
       Exterior filming began in early Nov 1990 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, CA. Plans to complete production within three weeks were thwarted by the 6 Nov 1990 fire that destroyed four acres of the studio lot. Among the casualties were the “New York Street” set, the wardrobe trailer and its contents, the properties truck, the camera truck, which contained both photographic and sound equipment, and twenty-one rented antique automobiles. A production meeting was held the following afternoon, and all departments agreed to be “up ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, director John Landis and production designer Bill Kenney worked closely on designing the Victorian mansion of gangster “Angelo ‘Snaps’ Provolone.” The 13,000-square-foot, two-story set was constructed in seven weeks on Stages 3 and 4 at Warner Hollywood Studios in West Hollywood, CA, and was equipped with plumbing and electricity, like a real home. The mansion featured numerous original and replica artifacts from the “Bonanza House,” an 1881 San Francisco, CA, mansion that was abandoned after the 1906 earthquake. Following production, many of the items were shipped to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Victorian-style wallpaper for the set was manufactured in Milwaukee, WI, while most of the hardware and light fixtures were authentic to the period. Flower arrangements were made with the hardiest varieties available, and because the story takes place over a period of four hours, each arrangement had to match its predecessors.
Screenwriters Jim Mulholland and Michael Barrie wrote the screenplay while the set was under construction, and were required to give Landis daily updates on their progress. Principal photography began in Sep 1990.
       Exterior filming began in early Nov 1990 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, CA. Plans to complete production within three weeks were thwarted by the 6 Nov 1990 fire that destroyed four acres of the studio lot. Among the casualties were the “New York Street” set, the wardrobe trailer and its contents, the properties truck, the camera truck, which contained both photographic and sound equipment, and twenty-one rented antique automobiles. A production meeting was held the following afternoon, and all departments agreed to be “up and running” within ten days. Using publicity stills to recreate costumes and props, the crew began a series of twenty-four-hour shifts to recreate the lost items. John Landis noted that he was inundated with offers of assistance from technicians throughout the film industry, and work was completed on schedule.
       Unable to find a suitable location in Southern California to reconstruct the exterior set, Bill Kenney chose the Universal Studios lot in Orlando, FL. Production resumed 16 Nov 1990 in West Hollywood, and moved to Orlando three weeks later for the final six days of photography, ending 17 Dec 1990. Oscar was the last picture shot on Universal’s original “New York Street,” and the first shot at their Orlando studio. Both the 15 Nov 1990 HR and DV reported that filming also took place at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando.
       Oscar opened 26 Apr 1991 to lukewarm reviews. Although critics took issue with various aspects of the screenplay, written in three weeks, according to the 26 Apr 1991 LAT, the supporting cast were generally praised for their performances.
       End credits include the following statement: “The filmmakers wish to thank: Carolco, Rachel Landis, Max Landis, Paul Meena, Transamerica Insurance Group.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Sep 1990.
---
Daily Variety
8 Nov 1990.
---
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1990.
---
Daily Variety
30 Nov 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 1990
p. 3, 22.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1991
p. 6, 34.
Los Angeles Times
26 Apr 1991
p. 1.
New York Times
26 Apr 1991
p. 10.
Variety
29 Apr 1991
pp. 91-92.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures Presents
In association with Silver Screen Partners IV
A Ponti/Vecchio Production
and a Landis/Belzberg Production
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photog
Still photog
Still photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Loader
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Research
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set dec
Lead person
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const gen foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Set artist
Set artist
Standby painter
Greensman
COSTUMES
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
ADR group
MUSIC
Mus ed
Orch contractor
Mus scoring mixer
Mus rec & mixed at
SOUND
Boom op
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
ADR supv
ADR group
ADR group
ADR group
ADR group
ADR group
ADR group
ADR group
ADR group
Foley by
Foley artist
Foley artist
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title des
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hair des
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod supv
Prod coord
Unit pub
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Scr supv
Asst to Leslie Belzberg
Asst to John Landis
Craft service
Asst prod coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Mr. Stallone's driver
Casting asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod coord Orlando
Prod secy Orlando
Pigeon wrangler
Pigeon wrangler
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
ANIMATION
Animated main title
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Prod and distributed on
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Oscar written by Claude Magnier (production date undetermined).
SONGS
“Largo Al Factotum,” from Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), written by Gioacchino Rossini, performed by Earle Patriarco, conducted by Elmer Bernstein
“Rockin’ In Rhythm,” written by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills & Harry Carney, performed by Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, courtesy of RCA/Bluebird Records
“Sweet Georgia Brown,” written by Ben Bernie, Kenneth Casey & Maceo Pinkard, performed by Bing Crosby, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
+
SONGS
“Largo Al Factotum,” from Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), written by Gioacchino Rossini, performed by Earle Patriarco, conducted by Elmer Bernstein
“Rockin’ In Rhythm,” written by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills & Harry Carney, performed by Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, courtesy of RCA/Bluebird Records
“Sweet Georgia Brown,” written by Ben Bernie, Kenneth Casey & Maceo Pinkard, performed by Bing Crosby, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“Tea For Two,” written by Vincent Youmans & Irving Caesar, performed by Fred Waring & his Pennsylvanians, courtesy of RCA Records
“Plain Dirt,” written by C. Stanton, performed by McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, courtesy of RCA/Bluebird Records
“Finucci Boogie,” performed by Ralph Grierson.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 April 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 April 1991
Production Date:
September--17 December 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Pictures, an accepted alternative of the Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
8 May 1991
Copyright Number:
PA516221
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30978
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1931 New York City, racketeer Angelo “Snaps” Provolone promises his dying father, Edoardo, that he will pursue an honest career and remove the shame he has brought on the family. One month later, informant “Five Spot” Charlie reports Snaps’s inactivity to gangster Mr. Vendetti, who suspects a possible merger with the O’Bannion gang. Five Spot Charlie accepts the suspicion as fact, and shares it with Police Lieutenant Toomey, who has assigned Officers Keough and Quinn to maintain surveillance on the Provolone mansion, unaware that Snaps has abandoned racketeering to join a banking firm. That morning, Snaps is awakened by accountant Anthony Rossano, who requests a $1,000-per-week raise, which will enable him to marry the racketeer’s daughter. Anthony infuriates Snaps by revealing he embezzled nearly $50,000, which he promises to bestow on his bride after the wedding. Intent on maintaining a respectable façade, Snaps refrains from killing Anthony and agrees to an $800 raise. Snaps then informs his daughter, Lisa, that she is forbidden from marrying, and she responds with a temper tantrum. Meanwhile bankers Overton, Millhous, Kirkwood, and Van Leland argue the merits of allowing a gangster to join their firm. While Kirkwood reviles Snaps, Overton reminds him that the crime boss will supply the bank with much needed capital. At the Provolone mansion, Lisa tells Nora, the maid, about her need to escape her controlling father. Nora advises Lisa to say she is pregnant, which will force Snaps to allow the marriage. Lisa follows Nora’s advice, identifying Oscar, the family’s former chauffeur, as the father, and is given permission to marry. Moments later, Anthony Rossano’s ... +


In 1931 New York City, racketeer Angelo “Snaps” Provolone promises his dying father, Edoardo, that he will pursue an honest career and remove the shame he has brought on the family. One month later, informant “Five Spot” Charlie reports Snaps’s inactivity to gangster Mr. Vendetti, who suspects a possible merger with the O’Bannion gang. Five Spot Charlie accepts the suspicion as fact, and shares it with Police Lieutenant Toomey, who has assigned Officers Keough and Quinn to maintain surveillance on the Provolone mansion, unaware that Snaps has abandoned racketeering to join a banking firm. That morning, Snaps is awakened by accountant Anthony Rossano, who requests a $1,000-per-week raise, which will enable him to marry the racketeer’s daughter. Anthony infuriates Snaps by revealing he embezzled nearly $50,000, which he promises to bestow on his bride after the wedding. Intent on maintaining a respectable façade, Snaps refrains from killing Anthony and agrees to an $800 raise. Snaps then informs his daughter, Lisa, that she is forbidden from marrying, and she responds with a temper tantrum. Meanwhile bankers Overton, Millhous, Kirkwood, and Van Leland argue the merits of allowing a gangster to join their firm. While Kirkwood reviles Snaps, Overton reminds him that the crime boss will supply the bank with much needed capital. At the Provolone mansion, Lisa tells Nora, the maid, about her need to escape her controlling father. Nora advises Lisa to say she is pregnant, which will force Snaps to allow the marriage. Lisa follows Nora’s advice, identifying Oscar, the family’s former chauffeur, as the father, and is given permission to marry. Moments later, Anthony Rossano’s intended bride, Theresa, appears. She apologizes to Snaps for claiming to be his daughter, explaining that she lied to Anthony so he wouldn’t suspect her of being a “golddigger.” Seeing an opportunity to recover the embezzled money, Snaps grants Anthony permission to marry Theresa, providing he returns the $50,000. Anthony agrees, noting that the money has been converted to precious stones. Later, Aldo, the valet, informs Snaps that Oscar, the chauffeur, joined the army after realizing he would never be allowed to marry Lisa. Desperate to find a husband for his seemingly pregnant daughter, Snaps apprises Anthony of the supposed pregnancy and coerces him into signing a statement identifying himself as the father of Lisa’s child. When they are alone, Theresa tells Anthony that she lied about her parentage. Anthony realizes he has been cheated out of the jewels, and his preoccupation with reclaiming them angers Theresa. Lt. Toomey watches from across the street as Theresa storms out of the mansion, and believes a criminal operation is underway. Assuming Anthony’s romance with Theresa is over, Snaps orders the accountant to marry Lisa, threatening his life if he refuses. Anthony frees himself from the obligation by convincing Lisa that her father’s elocution teacher, Dr. Thornton Poole, is secretly in love with her. Although Dr. Poole is middle-aged and lives with his mother, Lisa believes the cultured linguist would be a suitable mate, and throws another temper tantrum when her father balks at the idea. Nora interrupts Snaps’s elocution lesson to give her resignation so she can marry Bruce Underwood, the scion of a wealthy family. While she collects her pay, Nora places her leather valise next to an identical bag containing the jewels, and takes the wrong bag. Snaps offers Dr. Poole his own linguistics school, and a trip to Baden-Baden, Germany, for his ailing mother, in exchange for marrying Lisa. To prove his sincerity, Snaps opens the leather valise, but discovers Nora’s lingerie inside. Unaware that Nora has returned to exchange valises, Snaps telephones the Underwoods about the situation, and they deploy their chauffeur. In the garden, Lisa and Dr. Poole develop a mutual attraction, and agree to the marriage as a means to escape their controlling parents. Meanwhile, Anthony offers to buy the jewels with $50,000 of embezzled cash, and Snaps agrees to the deal, expecting to give the accountant a bag of underwear. Snaps places his bodyguard, Connie, in charge of the money, moments before the Underwoods’ chauffeur arrives with Nora’s valise. While Connie is enthralled by Lisa and Dr. Poole’s courtship outside the window, Aldo exchanges the money for lingerie. Snaps invites Dr. Poole into his study to bestow $50,000 on him, and is embarrassed once again. Theresa enters the mansion in search of Anthony, who returns the jewels moments later, saying they are worthless now that he has lost Theresa. Snaps accepts the jewels and reunites the couple. Roxanne, the family’s new maid, appears at the door, and Snaps recognizes her as his first love. She surprises Snaps with the news that he fathered her illegitimate daughter, Theresa, who is now engaged to Anthony. As Snaps sheepishly explains the situation to his wife, Sofia, the four bankers arrive. Mistaking them for the O’Bannion gang, Five Spot Charlie signals Vendetti to ready an ambush, and Toomey rallies his men for a raid. Inside, Anthony examines the bankers’ contract, and informs Snaps that the firm intends to take Snaps’s money while preventing him from participating in business decisions. Police raid the meeting and assume the bankers are part of a money-laundering scheme. Seconds after Nora again exchanges bags, Lt. Toomey recognizes the leather valise that has been entering and leaving the house throughout the morning. Surrounded by newspaper photographers, Toomey empties the bag, which contains Nora’s lingerie. As the disgraced Toomey leaves, his car is struck by Vendetti, and photographers capture the arrest on film. Realizing that bankers are more ruthless than gangsters, Snaps resumes his criminal enterprise, and appoints Anthony chief financial officer. The mob boss arranges a double wedding for his daughters, which is interrupted by the appearance of Oscar. The intruder is hastily removed and the wedding procedes. +

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

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