Housesitter (1992)

PG | 102 mins | Romantic comedy | 12 June 1992

Director:

Frank Oz

Producer:

Brian Grazer

Cinematographer:

John Alonzo

Editor:

John Jympson

Production Designer:

Ida Random

Production Company:

Imagine Films
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HISTORY

Actress Phyllis Jubett Gould's name is misspelled in the cast list as "Phylus Jubbet Gould."
       End credits include “Special Thanks” to the residents of Boston, Cohasset and Concord, MA, “for their cooperation and support in this production,” and, “Grateful Appreciation to: Linda Peterson Warren and Tim Grafft of the Massachusetts Film Commission; The Bostonian Hotel; L.L. Bean, Inc., Freeport, Maine; Kraft General Foods; Aquarius Transfermation; Bart McCracken & Capron; Walter Macone; and Robin Oz." End credits also include a dedication to director Frank Oz’s mother, Frances Oznowicz.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Brian Grazer developed the role of “Newton Davis” with actor Steve Martin in mind. When Martin came aboard the project, he suggested Frank Oz to direct. Martin and Oz had previously collaborated on 1986’s Little Shop of Horrors and 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (see entries).
       A 22 Mar 1991 Screen International item announced that Meg Ryan was cast in the title role of        he Housesitter, and filming was set to begin Jul 1991. However, on 13 Jun 1991, DV reported that Ryan had dropped out of the project, citing creative differences with Frank Oz as the reason for her departure. Ryan allegedly felt her character, “Gwen,” needed more motivation. Shooting was delayed until Aug 1991. Announcing the start of principal photography that day, a 5 Aug 1991 DV brief noted that Goldie Hawn signed on as Ryan’s replacement in mid-Jul 1991. According to the 27 Sep 1991 HR, shooting was expected to continue through Oct 1991. Locations included Boston, MA, where the Café Budapest and Anderson-Nichols ... More Less

Actress Phyllis Jubett Gould's name is misspelled in the cast list as "Phylus Jubbet Gould."
       End credits include “Special Thanks” to the residents of Boston, Cohasset and Concord, MA, “for their cooperation and support in this production,” and, “Grateful Appreciation to: Linda Peterson Warren and Tim Grafft of the Massachusetts Film Commission; The Bostonian Hotel; L.L. Bean, Inc., Freeport, Maine; Kraft General Foods; Aquarius Transfermation; Bart McCracken & Capron; Walter Macone; and Robin Oz." End credits also include a dedication to director Frank Oz’s mother, Frances Oznowicz.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Brian Grazer developed the role of “Newton Davis” with actor Steve Martin in mind. When Martin came aboard the project, he suggested Frank Oz to direct. Martin and Oz had previously collaborated on 1986’s Little Shop of Horrors and 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (see entries).
       A 22 Mar 1991 Screen International item announced that Meg Ryan was cast in the title role of        he Housesitter, and filming was set to begin Jul 1991. However, on 13 Jun 1991, DV reported that Ryan had dropped out of the project, citing creative differences with Frank Oz as the reason for her departure. Ryan allegedly felt her character, “Gwen,” needed more motivation. Shooting was delayed until Aug 1991. Announcing the start of principal photography that day, a 5 Aug 1991 DV brief noted that Goldie Hawn signed on as Ryan’s replacement in mid-Jul 1991. According to the 27 Sep 1991 HR, shooting was expected to continue through Oct 1991. Locations included Boston, MA, where the Café Budapest and Anderson-Nichols and Company architectural offices were shot. The towns of Concord and Cohasset stood in for “Dobbs Mill.” In Concord, the dream home designed by Martin’s character was built using plans from a Connecticut house which received House Beautiful magazine’s “Best Small House Design for 1990” award. The residence entailed two “saltbox” houses connected by a breezeway and surrounded by a “sweeping apron porch.” Production designer Ida Random made some modifications to the original house’s interior, and a construction crew worked “round-the-clock” for two months to build the modified design. Two weeks prior to filming, Hurricane Bob hit New England, but the newly erected structure withstood the storm’s sixty mile-per-hour winds.
       A 22 Jul 1991 Var production chart referred to the project as The Housesitter a.k.a. Yours Truly. A 22 Feb 1993 LADN item later noted that the film was released in Switzerland under the title, Lies Have Beautiful Legs.
       Housesitter was originally slated for release on 8 May 1992, but was pushed to 12 Jun 1992 when another Imagine Entertainment film, Far and Away (1992, see entry), received a Memorial Day release slot, according to a 21 Apr 1992 DV brief. Hawn, Martin, Oz, and Imagine were reportedly furious with Universal for moving the date, as a 12 Jun 1992 release pitted their film against bigger summer releases, including Alien 3, Batman Returns Lethal Weapon 3, Patriot Games, and Boomerang (1992, see entries). In a “united front” with their talent agents, publicists, and Imagine executives, the group requested the release be pushed again to late Jul. However, Universal did not comply, as it wanted to distance the release of Housesitter from another upcoming Universal picture starring Hawn, Death Becomes Her (1992, see entry). DV noted that a third film starring Hawn, CrissCross (1992, see entry), was scheduled to open 8 May 1992.
       Universal Pictures teamed with New York magazine to host an advance screening of the film in New York City on 4 Jun 1992, as stated in the 8 Jun 1992 issue of New York. Another advance screening took place on 8 Jun 1992 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Theater in Los Angeles, CA, as noted in an unsourced article in AMPAS library files. Promotions for the film included a sweepstakes sponsored by Shasta Beverages, according to a 22 May 1992 HR news item which stated that the grand-prize winner would receive a $135,000 log home in Montana. Other prizes included a week-long “house-sit” at a Beverly Hills, CA, mansion.
       Critical reception was mostly tepid. Although the 5 Jun 1992 HR predicted the film would charm mainstream audiences, reviews in the 5 Jun 1992 DV, 12 Jun 1992 LAT, and 12 Jun 1992 NYT complained that Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn’s talents were wasted on a weak script.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1992.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1991
p. 1, 32.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1991.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1992
p. 2, 25.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1992
p. 3, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1992
p. 9, 17.
Los Angeles Daily News
22 Feb 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Jun 1992
Calendar, p. 1.
New York
8 Jun 1992.
---
New York Times
12 Jun 1992
p. 1.
Screen International
22 Mar 1991.
---
Variety
22 Jul 1991.
---
Variety
8 Jun 1992
pp. 50-51.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Imagine Films Entertainment Presents
A Brian Grazer Production
A Frank Oz Film
An Imagine Films Entertainment Presentation
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Video playback
Key grip
Best boy grip
Rigging grip
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Generator op
Elec
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Art dept coord
Art dept coord
Art dept coord
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Draftsman
Set dec
Asst set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dressing asst
Prop master
Prop master
Prop asst
Greensman
Addl greens
Addl greens
Const coord
Const foreman
Charge scenic
COSTUMES
Cost des
Steve's Martin's costumer
Key cost
Costumer/Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus rec and mixed by
Scoring asst
Scoring asst
Scoring asst
Mus coord
New York coord
Mus rec at
Piano soloist
SOUND
Boom op
Cableman
Supervising sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial asst
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley rec
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
ADR vocal background
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec
Re-rec
Post-prod facility
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Main titles des by
MAKEUP
Steve Martin's makeup artist
Steve Martin's hairdresser
Goldie Hawn's makeup artist
Goldie Hawn's hairdresser
Addl makeup artist
Addl makeup artist
Addl hairdresser
Addl hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Casting assoc, New York
Casting assoc, Los Angeles
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
2d asst accountant
Transportation coord
Teamster capt
Teamster capt
Craft service
Craft service
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set intern
Prod office asst
Prod office asst
Prod office asst
Prod office asst
Loc asst
Asst to Frank Oz
Asst to Bernie Williams
Asst to Goldie Hawn
Asst to Goldie Hawn
Boston casting
Dog trainer
Dailies projection system
Kraft & Kraft & Hexagon des are registered tradema
Reproduced with permission
Children's tutoring provided by
STAND INS
Steve Martin's stand-in
Goldie Hawn's stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Yours Truly
The Housesitter
Lies Have Beautiful Legs
Release Date:
12 June 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 12 June 1992
New York opening: week of 12 June 1992
Production Date:
5 August--October 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc., & Imagine Films Entertainment, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 February 1993
Copyright Number:
PA599605
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31663
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Architect Newton Davis blindfolds his high school sweetheart, Becky Metcalf, and drives her to a house he designed in their hometown of Dobbs Mill, Massachusetts. He removes the blindfold, and Becky sees the house with a red ribbon tied around its wraparound porch. When Davis asks her to marry him, she laughs, tells him he is “nuts,” and turns down the proposal. Three months later, Davis is still nursing a broken heart at a party held by his Boston architecture firm at the Café Budapest. Davis’s colleague, Marty, encourages him to flirt with a waitress named Gwen, who pretends to be Hungarian. Davis stays late at the bar and doodles his Dobbs Mill house on a cocktail napkin. He propositions Gwen, who ignores him, then overhears her speaking to another waitress and realizes she is American. Outside the restaurant, Davis runs into Gwen and apologizes for his crass behavior. He offers to walk her home, and she accepts. Gwen describes her nomadic lifestyle, naming all the cities she has ever lived in. Davis talks about the house he built for Becky, which he cannot bring himself to sell. They walk in a circle, arriving back at the Café Budapest, and Gwen reveals that she lives upstairs. Davis asks to use her phone and she invites him up. When he discovers that Gwen has no phone, he accuses her of lying. However, she argues that he came upstairs to sleep with her, and they kiss. The next morning, Gwen wakes up to find Davis gone. However, she comes across his doodle of the house he designed and sets out to find it, taking a bus to Dobbs Mill and wandering ... +


Architect Newton Davis blindfolds his high school sweetheart, Becky Metcalf, and drives her to a house he designed in their hometown of Dobbs Mill, Massachusetts. He removes the blindfold, and Becky sees the house with a red ribbon tied around its wraparound porch. When Davis asks her to marry him, she laughs, tells him he is “nuts,” and turns down the proposal. Three months later, Davis is still nursing a broken heart at a party held by his Boston architecture firm at the Café Budapest. Davis’s colleague, Marty, encourages him to flirt with a waitress named Gwen, who pretends to be Hungarian. Davis stays late at the bar and doodles his Dobbs Mill house on a cocktail napkin. He propositions Gwen, who ignores him, then overhears her speaking to another waitress and realizes she is American. Outside the restaurant, Davis runs into Gwen and apologizes for his crass behavior. He offers to walk her home, and she accepts. Gwen describes her nomadic lifestyle, naming all the cities she has ever lived in. Davis talks about the house he built for Becky, which he cannot bring himself to sell. They walk in a circle, arriving back at the Café Budapest, and Gwen reveals that she lives upstairs. Davis asks to use her phone and she invites him up. When he discovers that Gwen has no phone, he accuses her of lying. However, she argues that he came upstairs to sleep with her, and they kiss. The next morning, Gwen wakes up to find Davis gone. However, she comes across his doodle of the house he designed and sets out to find it, taking a bus to Dobbs Mill and wandering the streets until she spots the idyllic home. Finding the door unlocked, she drops her bags, and marvels at the creative design. She goes to the general store, where Becky Metcalf overhears her telling the shop owner to charge her purchases to Newton Davis’s tab. Becky introduces herself to Gwen, who recognizes Becky’s name and fabricates a story about how she and Davis were recently married after a whirlwind courtship. Becky escorts her to the hardware store, where Gwen charges a host of housewares to Davis’s account. On the way home, Gwen stumbles upon a yard sale at a local school and purchases an armchair from the school principal. When she gives the address for delivery, the principal identifies himself as Davis’s father, George W. Davis. Gwen apologizes to George and his wife, Edna, for surprising them with the news of their son’s marriage. She explains that she and Davis were waiting for an appropriate time to tell them. Davis’s parents allude to past disagreements with their son, and Gwen tells them he recently cried when talking about their strained relationship. The next morning, Edna Davis comes by the house and finds Gwen sleeping in the armchair, her only piece of furniture. Edna gives her a check as a wedding gift and suggests they spend it. Later, Gwen goes to lunch with Becky and spins an elaborate tale about how she and Davis met, saying she was hit by a car and shared a hospital room with a work acquaintance of Davis’s. Gwen claims her face was covered in bandages, but Davis fell in love with her and even paid her hospital bills. Becky wonders how he could afford it on his salary, but Gwen informs her that Davis was recently promoted. She goes on to say they were married at the hospital, where, after declaring their vows, the doctor removed Gwen’s bandages and Davis saw her face for the first time. Back in Boston, Davis decides he must sell the house to get over his heartbreak. Arriving in Dobbs Mill, he is shocked to find the house fully furnished, and Gwen singing in the kitchen. He demands an explanation, and Gwen lies, saying she had to flee her apartment when Karol, her landlord and manager at Café Budapest, tried to force himself on her. Davis notices his mother’s coffee table in the living room and Gwen admits she told his parents they were married. He tries to throw her out, but Becky interrupts with a surprise visit. She congratulates Davis on his new promotion and marriage, and admits she is a tad jealous of their incredible love story. Davis decides to go along with Gwen’s invention. Walking Becky out, he tells her that Gwen cheated on him with an ex-boyfriend, and has come to Dobbs Mill to sort out her feelings. Davis decides to spend weekends at the house, pretending to work on his “marriage” while rekindling his romance with Becky. Meanwhile, his parents become increasingly attached to Gwen. When he tells his parents that he and Gwen are having problems, they bring in Reverend Lipton, who suggests Davis move to Dobbs Mill permanently. As he settles in, Gwen thrives in her role as a Dobbs Mill housewife, making friends with everyone in town. One night, Davis goes to Becky’s house to announce that he just had a fight with Gwen, but discovers that Gwen is already there. Feigning distress, Gwen makes up a story about a trip she and Davis took to Maui. Although they had a wonderful time, Gwen says that he wound up at the dentist’s office for an emergency procedure, and under the influence of nitrous oxide, called for Becky instead of Gwen. Later, Davis thanks Gwen, calling her “the Ernest Hemingway of bullshit.” Davis’s parents suggest a wedding reception at the new house. Although Davis resists the idea, Gwen happily goes along. Hoping to get a promotion to associate architect, Davis goes to see his boss, Moseby. He is dumbstruck when he finds Gwen at Moseby’s office, in the throes of a tall tale about her father, who was stationed on the same ship as Moseby during World War II. Before she leaves, she invites Moseby to the wedding reception, and he agrees as long as her dad will be there. Davis follows Gwen outside to reprimand her, but she promises that Moseby will promote him once he sees the house. He suspects the story about her father is a fabrication, and Gwen admits it is but says she will find stunt parents for the party. Davis goes to see Becky, who hints that his marriage was an act of revenge. They kiss, but Becky stops him, refusing to be a mistress. Soon after, Davis returns to Café Budapest, where Karol, the manager, greets him. Recalling Gwen’s story about Karol, Davis punches him. A waitress named Patty rushes to Karol’s aid and Davis explains himself. Patty tells him that Karol was never Gwen’s landlord and corrects him when he refers to her as “Gwen Dunkle,” saying her real name is “Gwen Phillips.” Davis returns home and accuses Gwen of pathological lying. He relays information he learned from Patty, who grew up in an orphanage with Gwen. He complains that he punched Karol for no reason, but Gwen is touched that he stood up for her, even if he was misguided. Davis asks Gwen about Ernie Phillips, the man she married at sixteen, and urges her to tell him the truth for once. Gwen admits she was married and says she came to Dobbs Mill to experience the quaint, small-town life she never had as a child. She packs her things to leave, but Davis begs her to stay for the party, offering her monthly “alimony” in exchange. Gwen rejects his money, but agrees to stay through the reception. On the day of the party, she picks up Ralph and Mary, two homeless people who live outside the Café Budapest, and dresses them up as her parents. Edna and George Davis arrive and take pictures with Mary and Ralph, who introduces himself as “Bernie Dunkle from the USS Pennsylvania. ” As more guests arrive, Davis searches for Gwen, who has locked herself in the bedroom. George eventually coaxes her out, saying that he loves her and is always there for her if she needs him. Ralph finds Moseby and tells him a rambling story about a firefight on the USS Pennsylvania that Moseby does not recall. Gwen appears and improvises a story about her father’s experience at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Moseby requests that Davis sing “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral,” having heard from Gwen that it is his specialty, and he reluctantly complies. Gwen becomes competitive with Becky, who is telling old stories about Davis. The room goes quiet as Gwen accuses Davis of being in love with Becky, then stalks outside. Impressed with the house, Moseby gives Davis the promotion and encourages him to patch things up with Gwen, claiming she is the reason he came. Davis finds Gwen, and congratulates her on her performance. However, Gwen is truly upset and tells him she thinks their “marriage” is worth saving. She catches a ride into town with a caterer. Davis catches up to her as she boards a bus back to Boston. He asks her to marry him, and when she refuses, he makes up a long story about the time he delivered himself to her in a box as a birthday gift. Gwen changes her mind, falling into his arms. Sometime later, construction workers build a guest cottage for Ralph and Mary on the property. Davis declares his love for Gwen, who confesses that her name is actually Jessica. +

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

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