Husbands and Wives (1992)

R | 107 mins | Comedy-drama, Romance | 18 September 1992

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen

Producer:

Robert Greenhut

Cinematographer:

Carlo Di Palma

Editor:

Susan E. Morse

Production Designer:

Santo Loquasto

Production Company:

TriStar Pictures
Full page view
HISTORY

As noted in NYT items from 5 Aug 1992 and 31 Aug 1992, the film was referred to as Woody Allen Fall Project ’91 until Jul 1992, when writer-director Woody Allen decided on the title, Husbands and Wives.
       A 5 Sep 1991 HR brief stated that Woody Allen was released from his three-picture contract at the financially troubled Orion Pictures to make Husbands and Wives with another studio. Allen entertained deals at Twentieth Century Fox and Walt Disney Pictures, but negotiations with both came to a halt over creative control issues. Allen then finalized a deal with TriStar Pictures, headed by former Orion executive Mike Medavoy, with whom he had had a working relationship since the 1970s, when Medavoy was an executive at United Artists.
       The production budget for Husbands and Wives was cited as $10 million in the 20 Aug 1992 LAT, and $15 million in a 12 Oct 1992 NYT article. Location scouting began in late Sep 1991, and a 10 Dec 1991 HR production chart listed the start of principal photography as 4 Nov 1991 in New York City. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, locations included Barnard College, which stood in for Columbia University, the offices of Artforum magazine, and Westhampton, Long Island. Principal photography ended on 20 Jan 1992.
       As noted in a 16 Dec 1991 People item, British actress Emily Lloyd completed two weeks of rehearsals and two days of filming in the role of “Rain,” but was replaced by Juliette Lewis in late Nov 1991, according ... More Less

As noted in NYT items from 5 Aug 1992 and 31 Aug 1992, the film was referred to as Woody Allen Fall Project ’91 until Jul 1992, when writer-director Woody Allen decided on the title, Husbands and Wives.
       A 5 Sep 1991 HR brief stated that Woody Allen was released from his three-picture contract at the financially troubled Orion Pictures to make Husbands and Wives with another studio. Allen entertained deals at Twentieth Century Fox and Walt Disney Pictures, but negotiations with both came to a halt over creative control issues. Allen then finalized a deal with TriStar Pictures, headed by former Orion executive Mike Medavoy, with whom he had had a working relationship since the 1970s, when Medavoy was an executive at United Artists.
       The production budget for Husbands and Wives was cited as $10 million in the 20 Aug 1992 LAT, and $15 million in a 12 Oct 1992 NYT article. Location scouting began in late Sep 1991, and a 10 Dec 1991 HR production chart listed the start of principal photography as 4 Nov 1991 in New York City. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, locations included Barnard College, which stood in for Columbia University, the offices of Artforum magazine, and Westhampton, Long Island. Principal photography ended on 20 Jan 1992.
       As noted in a 16 Dec 1991 People item, British actress Emily Lloyd completed two weeks of rehearsals and two days of filming in the role of “Rain,” but was replaced by Juliette Lewis in late Nov 1991, according to the 31 Aug 1992 NYT. Although some speculated that Allen fired Lloyd because he was unhappy with her performance, a representative for Allen told People that the actress’s departure was “by mutual consent.” According to a 22 Sep 1992 Newsday brief, actress Mia Farrow, Woody Allen’s longtime romantic partner and collaborator, who had her choice of roles in the film, opted for “Judy Roth” over “Sally” because she found the character “more complex and demanding.”
       The film was first screened on 19 Aug 1992 at a private event in New York City, as noted in the 21 Aug 1992 LAT, and was slated to premiere on 19 Sep 1992 as the closing night screening of the Toronto Film Festival, according to the 20 Aug 1992 HR. However, in mid-Aug 1992, news of Woody Allen’s break-up with Mia Farrow incited a media frenzy and accelerated release plans. According to the 31 Aug 1992 NYT, in Jan 1992, while Husbands and Wives was still in production, Farrow had discovered nude photographs of her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Farrow Previn, taken by Woody Allen, who had begun an affair with the twenty-one-year-old in Dec 1991. Farrow left Allen, and a custody battle ensued over their two adopted children, Dylan and Moses, and their biological son, Satchel. Further controversy arose when, on 17 Aug 1992, Connecticut State Police confirmed they were investigating a complaint that Allen had sexually abused his and Farrow’s seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan. On 18 Aug 1992, a day after he had released a statement “affirming his love for Soon-Yi,” Allen held a press conference to deny the allegations that he had sexually abused Dylan Farrow. As a result of the highly publicized scandal, TriStar Pictures moved the release date for Husbands and Wives from 23 Sep to 18 Sep 1992, as stated in several contemporary sources including the 26 Aug 1992 HR. Although the film had been initially slated for a platform release on five screens in New York City, Los Angeles, CA, and Toronto, Canada, widening to 800 screens on 9 Oct 1992, TriStar nixed the platform release in favor of an opening-day release on 865 screens, as stated in the 21 Sep 1992 LAT. According to a 28 Aug 1992 Screen International item, Toronto Film Festival organizers would still be able to premiere Husbands and Wives prior to the new release date, as the festival was set to begin on 10 Sep 1992.
       Although the notoriously media-shy Allen, who had not taken part in a major publicity campaign since 1979’s Manhattan (see entry), had initially agreed to participate in a press junket, the plans were cancelled in light of the controversy. Furthermore, a 20 Aug 1992 DV article noted that TriStar would probably release other stars, including Judy Davis, Juliette Lewis, Liam Neeson, Sydney Pollack, Lysette Anthony, and Blythe Danner, from any contractual obligations to promote the film. Mia Farrow, who had been cast in Allen’s next production, Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993, see entry), set to begin filming in Sep 1992, dropped out of the project and was replaced by Diane Keaton, as announced in a 20 Aug 1992 DV item.
       A 25 Aug 1992 DV brief noted rumors that audiences were routinely booing trailers for Husbands and Wives, which appeared to mirror Allen’s personal life with its themes of infidelity, marital discord, and the portrayal of a “May-December” romance between nineteen-year-old Juliette Lewis and fifty-six-year-old Allen. TriStar hired “an outside service” to survey audiences at 150 theaters around the U.S., but found that, when the trailer was shown, “There was no booing, only some inappropriate laughter occasionally by people realizing the close parallels between the two (real life and art).” Allen refuted such comparisons in an interview with Time magazine, published on 31 Aug 1992, stating, “The plots of my movies don’t have any relationship to my life.”
       According to a 15 Sep 1992 DV article, the promotional campaign for Husbands and Wives included a “hefty schedule of TV, newspaper and magazine advertising” that was disproportionate to the usual level of interest in a Woody Allen film. Despite the widespread assumption that TriStar was upping its publicity efforts to take advantage of the Woody Allen-Mia Farrow scandal, the studio contended that Husbands and Wives was “Allen’s most commercial [film] in years.” Television advertisements were accused of being pointedly ironic, with a clip of Farrow’s character Judy asking her onscreen husband “Gabe Roth,” played by Allen, “Do you think we’d ever break up?” However, TriStar denied having altered any advertisements since news of the controversial break-up became public.
       Shortly before the film’s release, a 35mm print went missing in transit from Newark Airport to Dallas, TX, as reported in the 25 Aug 1992 HR. An NYT article of the same date noted that the print was intended for Liam Neeson, who was on location on another film in Dallas. Some feared the print had been stolen for piracy purposes, but, as reported in a 28 Aug 1992 HR brief, it was found, seemingly untouched, at La Guardia Airport. Meanwhile, a 28 Aug 1992 LAT item reported that “two reliable sources” had purchased pirated home video versions of the film from “surreptitious callers,” and found the audio and video quality to be “outstanding.”
       Husbands and Wives received the widest release of any Woody Allen film, to date, according to the 28 Aug 1992 Screen International. Although analysts predicted box-office grosses of more than $20 million, a 30 Nov 1992 Var item cited a “meager” cumulative domestic box-office gross of $10 million. According to a 24 Nov 1992 HR article, it was hoped that the picture would perform better overseas, as it had already set a record as the most successful Italian release of any Woody Allen film, grossing $1.5 million in seventeen days. It was also performing well in Australia, and TriStar anticipated similar success in Spain and France, where it was not yet in release. As noted in the 12 Oct 1992 NYT, Husbands and Wives would have to gross $25 million for TriStar to “break even,” based on a $15 million production budget and millions of dollars in publicity costs.
       Critical reception was largely positive. Several reviewers likened the film to Allen’s well-received comic dramas, Manhattan (1979, see entry) and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986, see entry), and considered Husbands and Wives a return to form for the writer-director after the disappointing Shadows and Fog (1992, see entry), released earlier the same year. The 12 Oct 1992 NYT noted some viewers’ complaints that director of photography Carlo Di Palma’s handheld camera technique was too disorienting, while other audience members who were once loyal Woody Allen fans claimed they were unable to enjoy the picture in light of recent news, as stated in the 21 Sep 1992 LAT.
       Husbands and Wives received Academy Award nominations for Actress in a Supporting Role (Judy Davis) and Writing (Original Screenplay), and won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for Best Original Screenplay. Judy Davis was named Best Supporting Actress by several film critics’ associations, including the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
       The film marked Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s thirteenth and final collaboration (as of Jan 2017).
       End credits include the following statement: “The Producers gratefully acknowledge and wish to thank the following for their assistance: The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting; 20th Century Draperies, Inc.; Barnard College; General Camera Corp.; NBA Entertainment, Inc.; Magno Sound & Video; Madison Square Garden Corporation and the New York Knickerbockers Basketball Club; Producers Library Service; and Sveriges Television for sequences from ‘The Miracle of Life.’” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1992.
---
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1992
p. 1, 10.
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1992
p. 10.
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1992.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1992.
---
Daily Variety
8 Sep 1992.
---
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1992
p. 3, 19.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1991
p. 3, 28.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 1992
pp. 137-138.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 1992
p. 5, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 1992
p. 4, 42.
Los Angeles Times
19 Aug 1992
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
18 Sep 1992
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
21 Sep 1992
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
21 Aug 1992
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
28 Aug 1992
Section F, p. 23.
New York Times
5 Aug 1992
Section A, p. 21.
New York Times
25 Aug 1992
Section C, p. 13.
New York Times
31 Aug 1992
Section C, p. 13.
New York Times
18 Sep 1992
p. 1.
New York Times
12 Oct 1992
Section C, p. 11.
Newsday
22 Sep 1992
p. 11.
People
16 Dec 1991.
---
Screen International
28 Aug 1992.
---
The Wall Street Journal
20 Aug 1992
Section B, p. 1.
Variety
31 Aug 1992
p. 59.
Variety
30 Nov 1992.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
TriStar Pictures Presents
A Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe Production
A TriStar Release
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam trainee
Still photog
Video
Key grip
Best boy grip
Gaffer
Best boy elec
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative matching
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Prop master
Const coord
Standby carpenter
Chief const grip
Master scenic artist
Standby scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Cost asst
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Casting assoc
Projectionist
Asst prod coord
Prod assoc
Asst prod auditor
Asst to Mr. Greenhut
Asst to Mr. Allen
Loc scout
Loc scout
Loc scout
Studio mgr
Addl casting
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"What Is This Thing Called Love," by Cole Porter, performed by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra, courtesy of Academy Sound & Vision Limited
"West Coast Blues," by John L. (Wes) Montgomery, performed by Wes Montgomery, courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
"Symphony No. 9 in D ('Andante Comodo')," by Gustav Mahler, performed by Sir John Barbirolli & The Berlin Philharmonic, courtesy of Angel/EMI Classics, by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
+
SONGS
"What Is This Thing Called Love," by Cole Porter, performed by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra, courtesy of Academy Sound & Vision Limited
"West Coast Blues," by John L. (Wes) Montgomery, performed by Wes Montgomery, courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
"Symphony No. 9 in D ('Andante Comodo')," by Gustav Mahler, performed by Sir John Barbirolli & The Berlin Philharmonic, courtesy of Angel/EMI Classics, by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"That Old Feeling," by Lew Brown & Sammy Fain, performed by Stan Getz & Gerry Mulligan, courtesy of PolyGram Special Products, a division of PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc.
"Top Hat, White Tie And Tails," by Irving Berlin, performed by Bernie Leighton
"Makin' Whoopee," by Walter Donaldson & Gus Kahn, performed by Bernie Leighton
"The Song Is You," by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II, performed by Bernie Leighton.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 September 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 September 1992
Production Date:
4 November 1991--20 January 1992
Copyright Claimant:
TriStar Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 September 1992
Copyright Number:
PA584691
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
107
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31908
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A documentary crew follows the lives of two married couples in New York City: novelist Gabe Roth and his wife, Judy, and their best friends, Jack and Sally. One night, Jack and Sally announce they are separating, to the dismay of Gabe and especially Judy. That night, Judy questions Gabe about their own marriage. She worries that he secretly longs to be with another woman, and Gabe tries to assure her otherwise. He recalls a story Jack told him about a co-worker who suggested he hire high-class call girl Shawn Grainger after complaining about Sally’s frigidity. Although Gabe believes Jack never cheated, Shawn Grainger is interviewed and confirms that she and Jack had sex regularly for a brief period of time. Sally goes on a date with her co-worker, Paul. Arriving at his house, she is distracted and asks to use the phone. Paul overhears as Sally calls Jack and flies into a rage when he tells her he is in a relationship with someone new. She suspects Jack has fallen in love with his sophisticated co-worker, Gail, but sometime later, she meets Gabe and Judy for lunch and they run into Jack with his new girl friend, a young aerobics instructor named “Sam.” Flustered, Sally claims to have an appointment and escapes in a cab. Gabe and Judy decline Jack’s invitation to dinner, but they go to a convenience store with him and Sam. There, Gabe pulls Jack aside to reprimand him. He refers to Sam as a “cocktail waitress” and shames him for leaving his wife. Jack argues that he could never relax around Sally, whose tastes were too highfalutin. Around the same time, Gabe, who works ... +


A documentary crew follows the lives of two married couples in New York City: novelist Gabe Roth and his wife, Judy, and their best friends, Jack and Sally. One night, Jack and Sally announce they are separating, to the dismay of Gabe and especially Judy. That night, Judy questions Gabe about their own marriage. She worries that he secretly longs to be with another woman, and Gabe tries to assure her otherwise. He recalls a story Jack told him about a co-worker who suggested he hire high-class call girl Shawn Grainger after complaining about Sally’s frigidity. Although Gabe believes Jack never cheated, Shawn Grainger is interviewed and confirms that she and Jack had sex regularly for a brief period of time. Sally goes on a date with her co-worker, Paul. Arriving at his house, she is distracted and asks to use the phone. Paul overhears as Sally calls Jack and flies into a rage when he tells her he is in a relationship with someone new. She suspects Jack has fallen in love with his sophisticated co-worker, Gail, but sometime later, she meets Gabe and Judy for lunch and they run into Jack with his new girl friend, a young aerobics instructor named “Sam.” Flustered, Sally claims to have an appointment and escapes in a cab. Gabe and Judy decline Jack’s invitation to dinner, but they go to a convenience store with him and Sam. There, Gabe pulls Jack aside to reprimand him. He refers to Sam as a “cocktail waitress” and shames him for leaving his wife. Jack argues that he could never relax around Sally, whose tastes were too highfalutin. Around the same time, Gabe, who works as a writing professor at Columbia University, takes an interest in one of his students, a beautiful, talented writer named “Rain.” He tells an interviewer that although he has daydreamed about students in the past, he has never cheated on his wife. He recalls his most passionate relationship many years ago, when he fell in love with a “sexually carnivorous” but mentally ill woman named Harriet Harmon, and says he has always had a penchant for unstable women. Later, Judy’s ex-husband is interviewed. He believes Judy is passive aggressive, and gets whatever she wants by acting like a victim. At home, Judy talks to Gabe about a passage in his latest manuscript that closely mirrors the time they met at a party in the Hamptons. Judy is upset by the portrayal of her character as an unexciting successor to the hero’s passionate first love. Sometime later, Sally meets Judy for lunch and announces that she has come to love being single. Judy arranges for Sally to meet her attractive co-worker, Michael Gates. Michael takes an immediate interest in Sally and asks her on a date. However, Sally is uncomfortable when he tries to kiss her and admits she caught Jack cheating on her but never confronted him. When they finally sleep together, Sally is distracted by racing thoughts, in which she compares Michael’s lovemaking to Jack’s and decides that Michael is a “hedgehog,” while Jack is a “fox.” As they cuddle in bed, Sally and Michael hear a crash and fear a burglar has broken in. However, they go downstairs and discover a drunken Jack, cursing Sally for changing the locks. Jack has just come from a party where his dimwitted new girl friend, Sam, embarrassed him by talking about astrology and other New Age fads. He begs Sally to come back to him, but she refuses. As they spend more time together at work, Judy realizes she has feelings for Michael. She shares her poetry with him, and Michael is impressed by it. Judy confesses she has not shown her poems to Gabe. When Michael shares that he is in love with Sally, Judy is upset by the news. She tells an interviewer she wishes she had never introduced them. Gabe spends more time with Rain, and allows her to read his manuscript. Over coffee, she lavishes Gabe with praise, but panics when she realizes she left the manuscript – his only copy – in a taxi. They go in search of it, and are relieved when it is found by another passenger. Meanwhile, Rain reveals her true feelings about the book, saying she felt threatened by Gabe’s attitude toward women and his portrayal of casual affairs. Gabe later tells an interviewer that the argument only made him more attracted to her. Soon, Jack and Sally get back together. They have dinner with Gabe and Judy, and Sally warns Gabe that Michael might be interested in Sally after reading her poems. Gabe is surprised to hear that Judy has been writing poetry and questions her about it when they get home. Judy admits she did not want to show Gabe her writing because he is too critical. They get into a heated argument about the state of their marriage, and Judy announces that it is over. She soon begins dating Michael. One night, he complains about her over-attentiveness and suggests he could never feel as passionately about her as he did Sally. Judy leaves his apartment in a huff, but Michael chases after her, insisting he needs her. Elsewhere, Gabe attends Rain’s twenty-first birthday party. He follows Rain and her young boyfriend around, and finally pulls Rain aside in the kitchen. He gives her a music box, and she asks him for a birthday kiss. Gabe initially kisses Rain on the cheek, but complies when she demands a more passionate kiss. Afterward, although the kiss stirred romantic feelings, Gabe declares they should not go any further. A year and a half later, Judy has divorced Gabe and married Michael, who claims he pursued Judy after she went back to Gabe for a brief period. Michael and Judy tell an interviewer they are happy. Likewise, Jack and Sally claim they have learned to better tolerate each other’s flaws, but admit their sexual problems are still unresolved. Gabe is working on a new novel, which he claims is more political and less autobiographical. He has been reluctant to enter into a new relationship, but knows that he will someday have the urge to “get back into the swing of things.” +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.