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HISTORY

A 6 Feb 1987 DV production chart stated that principal photography began on 13 Jan 1987 in San Francisco, CA. A brief in the 28 Jan 1987 LAT noted that filming took place at San Francisco Studios. According to an article in the 23 Oct 1987 DV, filming was completed in twelve shooting days, and the 12 Jan 1988 LAT listed the budget as $2.2 million.
       While the 25 Jan 1987 LAT reported the picture would open during summer 1987, a 28 Jul 1987 DV item noted that the film would be released domestically in Oct 1987.
       The 3 Sep 1987 DV reported that on 2 Sep 1988, actress Whoopi Goldberg filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against New World Pictures and director Rip Torn seeking injunction to stop the film’s release, as well as $5 million in punitive damages and $100,000 in actual damages. The suit stated that under Goldberg’s contract with New World Pictures and Telephone Prods. Inc., she had the right to be involved with editing the film, but “was not allowed to attend all editing sessions or share in cuts” with the director. After editing her own cut, Goldberg claimed New World Pictures and Telephone Prods. Inc. intended to release her version over Torn’s cut, but Torn and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) filed for arbitration against that decision. On 11 Aug 1987, the arbitrator sided with Torn and the DGA, ruling “that a disclaimer be placed on all prints of [Goldberg's version of] the film stating it had been edited ... More Less

A 6 Feb 1987 DV production chart stated that principal photography began on 13 Jan 1987 in San Francisco, CA. A brief in the 28 Jan 1987 LAT noted that filming took place at San Francisco Studios. According to an article in the 23 Oct 1987 DV, filming was completed in twelve shooting days, and the 12 Jan 1988 LAT listed the budget as $2.2 million.
       While the 25 Jan 1987 LAT reported the picture would open during summer 1987, a 28 Jul 1987 DV item noted that the film would be released domestically in Oct 1987.
       The 3 Sep 1987 DV reported that on 2 Sep 1988, actress Whoopi Goldberg filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against New World Pictures and director Rip Torn seeking injunction to stop the film’s release, as well as $5 million in punitive damages and $100,000 in actual damages. The suit stated that under Goldberg’s contract with New World Pictures and Telephone Prods. Inc., she had the right to be involved with editing the film, but “was not allowed to attend all editing sessions or share in cuts” with the director. After editing her own cut, Goldberg claimed New World Pictures and Telephone Prods. Inc. intended to release her version over Torn’s cut, but Torn and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) filed for arbitration against that decision. On 11 Aug 1987, the arbitrator sided with Torn and the DGA, ruling “that a disclaimer be placed on all prints of [Goldberg's version of] the film stating it had been edited in violation of the DGA basic agreement and that ads be taken out stating the same.” In response to the ruling, New World decided to only release Torn’s version, which Goldberg found to be “artistically inferior.” As reported in the 21 Oct 1987 DV, the judge ruled against Goldberg on 20 Oct 1987.
       According to announcements in the 30 Oct 1987 issues of DV and HR, New World Pictures had scheduled a limited theatrical release on 15 Jan 1988 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, New York City, and Toronto, Canada. However, the picture opened a week later on 22 Jan 1988 in Los Angeles. The 26 Jan 1988 LAT stated that the film took in $54,811 at the box office during its opening weekend on fifty screens.
       Reviews in the 22 Jan 1988 HR and 27 Jan 1988 Var listed the film’s running time as eighty-two minutes, while the 14 Feb 1988 NYT noted the film was ninety-seven minutes. The print viewed by AFI was seventy-nine minutes.
       The Telephone marked the feature directorial debut of actor Rip Torn.
       End credits state: “Special thanks to: John Alonzo; William House; Geraldine Page; Robert Radnitz; Leonard Rosenman; Anthony Torn; Robert M. Young"; and, “Acknowledgements: San Francisco Studios; General Car Rental; Code-A-Phone; ‘Enchanted Cottage’ video clip, courtesy of RKO.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Feb 1987
p. 20.
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1987
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Sep 1987
p. 1, 17.
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1987
p. 2, 26.
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1987
p. 25.
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1987
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1988
p. 122.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jan 1987
Calendar, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jan 1987
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
12 Jan 1988
Business, p. 9A.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jan 1988
Calendar, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jan 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
14 Feb 1988
Section A, p. 77.
Variety
27 Jan 1988
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
New World Pictures and Odyssey Entertainment Ltd. present
An Esparza/Katz Production
In Association with Hawkeye Entertainment, Inc.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Video playback
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Best boy grip
Unit photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec/Prop master
Prop master
Asst set dresser
Asst set dresser
Const foreman
Const foreman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Lead set painter
Asst painter
Asst painter
Asst painter
Asst painter
Greensman
COSTUMES
Whoopi Goldberg's cost by
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus rec
Mus mixed
Mus coord
SOUND
Re-rec at
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Film sd
ADR/Foley supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup / Whoopi Goldberg
Hairstylist / Whoopi Goldberg
Hairdresser
Makeup/Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Visual consultant
Prod exec
Scr supv
Asst to Whoopi Goldberg
Prod coord
Prod auditor
Post prod accountant
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Torn
Asst to Mr. Katz
Asst to Mr. Esparza
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation capt
Animal wrangler
Animal wrangler
Animal wrangler
Animals by
Little Rock, CA
Unit pub
Promotions coord
STAND INS
Stand-in for Whoopi Goldberg
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
“Sweet Georgia Brown,” written by: Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey, © 1925 Warner Bros. Inc. (renewed) (A.S.C.A.P.)
“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” written by: Hank Williams, © 1949 (renewed 1976) Acuff-Rose/Opryland Music Inc. and Hiram Music, Inc. for the U.S.A., outside the U.S.A., Acuff-Rose/Opryland Music Inc. International copyright secured, all rights reserved
“Lakota National Anthem,” arrangement by Kevin Locke, performed by Kevin Locke, courtesy of Featherstone Productions
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SONGS
“Sweet Georgia Brown,” written by: Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey, © 1925 Warner Bros. Inc. (renewed) (A.S.C.A.P.)
“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” written by: Hank Williams, © 1949 (renewed 1976) Acuff-Rose/Opryland Music Inc. and Hiram Music, Inc. for the U.S.A., outside the U.S.A., Acuff-Rose/Opryland Music Inc. International copyright secured, all rights reserved
“Lakota National Anthem,” arrangement by Kevin Locke, performed by Kevin Locke, courtesy of Featherstone Productions
“One Love/People Get Ready,” written by: Bob Marley and Curtis Mayfield, © 1964 Cayman Music (A.S.C.A.P.)/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI), performed by Bob Marley, courtesy of Island Records
“Happy Endings,” written by: Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston, © 1987 Daywin Music, Inc., admininistered by Careers Music Inc., Bruce Johnston Publishing, administered by Careers Music Inc. and Daywin Music Inc., performed by The Beach Boys and Little Richard, produced by Terry Melcher (The Beach Boys appear courtesy of Brother Records, Inc.), single available on Critique Records (distributed by Atlantic Recording Corp.).
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DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Telephone
Release Date:
22 January 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 Jan 1988; New York opening: 12 Feb 1988
Production Date:
13 Jan--late Jan or early Feb 1987
Copyright Claimant:
New World Pictures, Ltd., & Odyssey Entertainment, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
16 February 1988
Copyright Number:
PA359246
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the evening, unemployed actress Vashti Blue returns to the apartment she shares with her pet goldfish and owl. On the answering machine, Vashti listens to her messages, and hears her agent remind her of an audition, as well as a notification about her overdue telephone bill. She also hears a voice she believes is her former lover, Larry. Throughout the night, Vashti entertains herself by dialing different telephone numbers, talking to the local market, video store, police station, and her friend, Jennifer. The noise from the calls causes Vashti’s next-door neighbor to yell at her in frustration. Later, Vashti’s former agent, Rodney, and his new client, “Honey Boxe,” arrive, asking to use her telephone. However, Vashti refuses Rodney’s request. Rodney tells Vashti that her bad attitude always made it difficult to find her acting jobs. Annoyed, Vashti asks Rodney and Honey Boxe to leave. Afterward, Vashti again telephones Jennifer, confessing she has not been sleeping well, and taking too much of her medications. Later, a man from the telephone company arrives at the apartment to take back her telephone. Vashti insists the telephone is a necessity in her life, but the man tells Vashti that her service was terminated two months ago, and the telephone is disconnected. As the man picks up the telephone, Vashti attacks and kills him. Afterward, she picks up the receiver and “calls” the police station to report her crime. ... +


In the evening, unemployed actress Vashti Blue returns to the apartment she shares with her pet goldfish and owl. On the answering machine, Vashti listens to her messages, and hears her agent remind her of an audition, as well as a notification about her overdue telephone bill. She also hears a voice she believes is her former lover, Larry. Throughout the night, Vashti entertains herself by dialing different telephone numbers, talking to the local market, video store, police station, and her friend, Jennifer. The noise from the calls causes Vashti’s next-door neighbor to yell at her in frustration. Later, Vashti’s former agent, Rodney, and his new client, “Honey Boxe,” arrive, asking to use her telephone. However, Vashti refuses Rodney’s request. Rodney tells Vashti that her bad attitude always made it difficult to find her acting jobs. Annoyed, Vashti asks Rodney and Honey Boxe to leave. Afterward, Vashti again telephones Jennifer, confessing she has not been sleeping well, and taking too much of her medications. Later, a man from the telephone company arrives at the apartment to take back her telephone. Vashti insists the telephone is a necessity in her life, but the man tells Vashti that her service was terminated two months ago, and the telephone is disconnected. As the man picks up the telephone, Vashti attacks and kills him. Afterward, she picks up the receiver and “calls” the police station to report her crime. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.