Patty Hearst (1988)

R | 108 mins | Biography, Drama | 23 September 1988

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HISTORY

       An Aug 1988 GQ article reported that producer Marvin Worth was fascinated by heiress Patty Hearst’s story and approached her lawyer to buy the film rights. According to a 2 May 1988 DV article, Worth took the project to Twentieth Century Fox to develop, but in time, his relationship with the studio soured, and he made a deal with a “mini-major” studio, Atlantic Entertainment Group. Directors Bob Rafelson and Hal Ashby were considered for hire, but once Paul Schrader read the script, a deal was struck.
       As stated in a 8 Aug 1988 New York article, actress Natasha Richardson employed two main methods to research her role. Richardson referred to existing tape recordings that Patty Hearst had made with her abductors, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). She also drew from the experiences of a friend, who had been involved in a kidnapping similar to Hearst’s, and whose survival was based on befriending her captors. Later, Richardson met with Hearst, who provided twelve pages of script notes that offered suggestions about SLA rhetoric and habits. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Schrader had his cast spend several days in an apartment to recreate the living conditions Hearst endured while being held captive.
       A 11 Nov 1987 Var production chart announced that principal photography began 26 Oct 1987. The film was referred to by its working title, Patty.
       Production notes state that Schrader designed the picture’s visual style to appear as three acts. In the first part, the director used surreal photography to bring the nightmarish quality of the abduction to life. The second act shifted ... More Less

       An Aug 1988 GQ article reported that producer Marvin Worth was fascinated by heiress Patty Hearst’s story and approached her lawyer to buy the film rights. According to a 2 May 1988 DV article, Worth took the project to Twentieth Century Fox to develop, but in time, his relationship with the studio soured, and he made a deal with a “mini-major” studio, Atlantic Entertainment Group. Directors Bob Rafelson and Hal Ashby were considered for hire, but once Paul Schrader read the script, a deal was struck.
       As stated in a 8 Aug 1988 New York article, actress Natasha Richardson employed two main methods to research her role. Richardson referred to existing tape recordings that Patty Hearst had made with her abductors, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). She also drew from the experiences of a friend, who had been involved in a kidnapping similar to Hearst’s, and whose survival was based on befriending her captors. Later, Richardson met with Hearst, who provided twelve pages of script notes that offered suggestions about SLA rhetoric and habits. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Schrader had his cast spend several days in an apartment to recreate the living conditions Hearst endured while being held captive.
       A 11 Nov 1987 Var production chart announced that principal photography began 26 Oct 1987. The film was referred to by its working title, Patty.
       Production notes state that Schrader designed the picture’s visual style to appear as three acts. In the first part, the director used surreal photography to bring the nightmarish quality of the abduction to life. The second act shifted to realism as Hearst adopted her terrorist persona, while the third act relied on muted, stark colors to depict jail and courthouse scenes.
       Location shooting was divided between Northern and Southern CA. The apartment of Patty’s fiancé, “Steven Weed,” where the kidnapping occurred, was filmed in Santa Monica, CA. A sports equipment store in San Pedro, CA, stood in for Mel’s Sporting Goods Store during a street-shooting scene. A motel in Anaheim, CA, across the street from Disneyland, was used during a scene in which “Patty,” “Yolanda,” and “Teko” watched a newscast of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents torching their hideout. Interiors of the Daly City, CA, apartment where Hearst was held captive were shot at Culver Studios in Culver City, CA, but Schrader used the exterior in the real location. In Berkeley, CA, filmmakers shot on the University of California campus near Sather Gate. The bank robbery at Hibernia Bank was staged at a branch of Bank of America located at 38th and Balboa, in San Francisco, CA.
       The 23 Sep 1988 NYT review commented that when the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival, European critics were “offended” by the “almost comic portrait of the bumbling methods of the S.L.A.,” and Schrader's apparent “scorn for revolution in general.”
       End credits state: “The Flip Wilson Show courtesy of Clerow/Bob Hervy Productions,” “SLA shootout footage, courtesy of Sherman Grinberg Film Libraries, Inc., NBC News Video Archives, Worldvision Enterprises, Inc.,” “People In Need footage, courtesy of KRON-TV, San Francisco.” The following acknowledgment appears in end credits: “Special thanks to Eddie Powell.”
      End credits state: “Patty Hearst was granted a Presidential commutation of her sentence on February 1st, 1979 and now lives on the East Coast. She is married to Bernard Shaw, her former bodyguard. Efforts to overturn her conviction have been futile,” “Bill Harris (Teko) and Emily Harris (Yolanda) were found guilty of kidnapping, robbery, and auto theft, and served 8 years in prison. They are now separated. Bill works for a legal firm in Northern California. Emily lives in Los Angeles County,” “Wendy Yoshimura was convicted on unrelated weapons charges and served a short term in prison. She works in a restaurant in Northern California,” “None of the later SLA members were convicted of any crimes,” “Randolph and Catherine Hearst are divorced. He is now remarried. She lives in Southern California,” “Steven Weed published a book, My Search for Patty Hearst. To this date, she has not spoken with him,” “F. Lee Bailey also wrote a book about the case, but to date it has not been published,” “District Attorney Jim Browning is now a judge,” “The proprietor of Mel’s Sporting Goods sued Patricia Hearst and the Harrises claiming the shooting at his store rendered him incapable of performing his duties as a spouse.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 May 1988
---
GQ
Aug 1988
p. 91, 98
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1988
p. 3, 14.
Los Angeles Times
19 Sep 1988
Calendar, p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
23 Sep 1988
Calendar, p. 4.
New York
8 Aug 1988
p. 31-33
New York Times
10 Sep 1988
p. 29, 30.
New York Times
23 Sep 1988
p. 8.
Variety
11 Nov 1987
---
Variety
18 May 1988
p. 17.
Variety
21 Sep 1988
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Atlantic Entertainment Group/Zenith Presentation
A Marvin Worth Production
A film by Paul Schrader
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Line prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d cam op
2d cam op
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
Steadicam op
Steadicam asst
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Video playback
Dir of photog, San Francisco unit
Cam op, San Francisco unit
Cam asst, San Francisco unit
Cam asst, San Francisco unit
Cam asst, San Francisco unit
Gaffer, San Francisco unit
Elec, San Francisco unit
Elec, San Francisco unit
Elec, San Francisco unit
Key grip, San Francisco unit
Grip, San Francisco unit
Grip, San Francisco unit
Grip, San Francisco unit
Still photog, San Francisco unit
Cam equip provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Set swing
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Modelmaker/Swing
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Const coord
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dec, San Francisco unit
Const coord, San Francisco unit
Set painter, San Francisco unit
Prop master, San Francisco unit
Prop asst, San Francisco unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Asst cost supv
Ward asst
Seamstress
Cost des, San Francisco unit
Ward supv, San Francisco unit
Ward supv, San Francisco unit
MUSIC
Orig mus comp
Orig mus prod
Orig mus exec prod
Engineering and synthesizer programming
Asst eng
Addl synthesizers
Orig mus rec at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst ADR ed
Apprentice sd ed
Eff rec
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer, San Francisco unit
Boom op, San Francisco unit
Cable, San Francisco unit
Post prod facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Eff tech
Pyrotechnican
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup stylist
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Hairstylist, San Francisco unit
Makeup stylist, San Francisco unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod auditor
Prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Image coord
Asst to Mr. Worth
Asst to Mr. Brubaker
Asst to Mr. Schrader
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Tech adv
Asst to tech advisors
Casting asst
Extra casting
Teacher/Social worker
Craft service
Craft service
Set medic
L. A. P. D. coord
Scr supv, San Francisco unit
Prod secy, San Francisco unit
Prod asst, San Francisco unit
Prod asst, San Francisco unit
Prod asst, San Francisco unit
Prod asst, San Francisco unit
Prod asst, San Francisco unit
Tech adv, San Francisco unit
Extra casting, San Francisco unit
Transportation capt, San Francisco unit
Driver, San Francisco unit
Driver, San Francisco unit
Driver, San Francisco unit
Driver, San Francisco unit
Craft service, San Francisco unit
Craft service, San Francisco unit
First aid, San Francisco unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Every Secret Thing by Patricia Campbell Hearst with Alvin Moscow (Garden City, 1982).
SONGS
"Way Back Home," performed by The Crusaders, written by Wilton Felder, published by Four Knights Music, courtesy of MCA Records.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Patty
Release Date:
23 September 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 23 September 1988
Production Date:
began 26 October 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Zenith Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
8 May 1989
Copyright Number:
PA419037
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
108
Length(in feet):
9,367
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the night of 4 February 1974 in Berkeley, California, nineteen-year-old Patricia “Patty” Hearst of the Hearst Publishing family is abducted, while her fiancé, Steven Weed, escapes. Her attackers lock her in the trunk of a car, then transfer her to a locked closet. One kidnapper announces that his name is “Cinque,” the general field marshal of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), the group responsible for the recent death of Oakland Public School Superintendent Marcus Foster. They plan to trade Patty for the freedom of their two friends serving time in prison for Foster’s murder. Members of the group take turns brainwashing Patty with their philosophy and goals to improve society. One female captor explains that the SLA will demand that supermarkets distribute seventy dollars’ worth of free food to every needy person in California, paid for by Hearst family money. Cinque, the group’s black leader, forces Patty to record a statement, encouraging her father, Randolph A. Hearst, to support the SLA’s food program, but he responds on a newscast that the plan would cost $400 million to implement. As the days pass, Patty sleeps constantly and grows weaker. Cinque sends another message to the media, stating his goal of creating a world in which African Americans can live safely, have access to good education, and be free from corporate tyranny. In time, food is distributed to the poor, but riots erupt and people are injured. Cinque gives Patty a choice of joining the revolution or being executed. She must also choose an SLA member to rape her. Patty agrees to join, and accepts the group’s revolutionary ideals. They dress her in combat fatigues and give her a new ... +


On the night of 4 February 1974 in Berkeley, California, nineteen-year-old Patricia “Patty” Hearst of the Hearst Publishing family is abducted, while her fiancé, Steven Weed, escapes. Her attackers lock her in the trunk of a car, then transfer her to a locked closet. One kidnapper announces that his name is “Cinque,” the general field marshal of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), the group responsible for the recent death of Oakland Public School Superintendent Marcus Foster. They plan to trade Patty for the freedom of their two friends serving time in prison for Foster’s murder. Members of the group take turns brainwashing Patty with their philosophy and goals to improve society. One female captor explains that the SLA will demand that supermarkets distribute seventy dollars’ worth of free food to every needy person in California, paid for by Hearst family money. Cinque, the group’s black leader, forces Patty to record a statement, encouraging her father, Randolph A. Hearst, to support the SLA’s food program, but he responds on a newscast that the plan would cost $400 million to implement. As the days pass, Patty sleeps constantly and grows weaker. Cinque sends another message to the media, stating his goal of creating a world in which African Americans can live safely, have access to good education, and be free from corporate tyranny. In time, food is distributed to the poor, but riots erupt and people are injured. Cinque gives Patty a choice of joining the revolution or being executed. She must also choose an SLA member to rape her. Patty agrees to join, and accepts the group’s revolutionary ideals. They dress her in combat fatigues and give her a new name, “Tanya.” Patty records a message to her family, explaining that she has decided to join the SLA’s righteous cause. In preparation for a bank robbery, SLA member “Teko” demonstrates how to use a gun, and afterward, expects sexual favors. During the robbery, Cinque announces that he represents the SLA and Patty Hearst has joined the fight. After they collect money from tellers’ drawers, one of the robbers shoots a customer. Back at the hideout, they celebrate their successful heist, and Cinque compliments Tanya on becoming a symbol of the revolution. Nevertheless, Teko and “Yolanda” warn that they will be watching her closely. Cinque decides to move to Los Angeles, California, where there are more opportunities to recruit new members, and the group arrives there on 9 May 1974. When Teko attempt to shoplift goods at Mel’s Sporting Goods store, a security guard slaps handcuffs on one of his wrists, and Tanya rescues him by firing her gun. Escaping, they exchange cars twice by persuading drivers to help the revolution, and one of the drivers, a high school, tags along with them for excitement. Teko, Yolanda, Tanya, and their willing captive avoid returning to their safe house. In the morning, Teko uses a hacksaw to remove the handcuffs and gives them to the student as a souvenir. Staying at a motel in Anaheim, California, they watch a number of live television newscasts in which the police surround the SLA hideout and, during a shootout, set it on fire. Everyone in the house dies, and at first the media speculate that Patty Hearst is among the victims. As Teko drives back to San Francisco, he announces to Yolanda that their new aliases are “Frank,” and “Eva.” Patty will now be known as “Pearl.” Eventually, the three travel to Pennsylvania, but Frank grows annoyed that the group is lazy and not interested in planning more bombings. They return to San Francisco in November to meet new SLA members, and begin committing bank robberies. Frank determines that the SLA will now kill police officers. Believing that Cinque was a genius, Frank decides they need to recruit another black man to replace him. Meanwhile, FBI agents raid the SLA safe house and arrest Patty Hearst. As she sits in jail, a team of lawyers works on her defense. A gynecologist examines her for signs of rape. She collapses when she sees her family. Her attorney, F. Lee Bailey, insists that she speak to a few psychiatrists, but she claims that she is unable to describe her ordeal. Doctors determine that she is being truthful. At night, in an adjacent cell, Yolanda accuses Patty of telling authorities that she and Teko are to blame for SLA violence. She muses that they should have killed Patty early on. At the start of the trial, Patty is cross-examined. Although in tape recordings released to the public, she stated that she was not brainwashed, in court, Patty responds that she is not sure what happened during her ordeal. In closing arguments, the prosecutor states that Patty’s story is not believable. He doubts that in her nineteen months of captivity, she pretended to be a revolutionary, or was too fearful to contact her parents or sisters or try to escape. The jury finds Patty guilty of bank robbery and using a firearm during a felony. On 22 July 1976, she is sent to the federal prison in Pleasanton, California. During a visit, her father tells her that the Supreme Court denied her appeal. In response, she plans to fire F. Lee Bailey, and hire a new attorney named George Martinez. Her father believes the political climate will not support a pardon, but Patty insists that she will use the press, do interviews, and challenge the public’s perception of her. +

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

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