Mistress (1992)

R | 109 mins | Comedy | 7 August 1992

Director:

Barry Primus

Cinematographer:

Sven Kirsten

Editor:

Steven Weisberg

Production Designer:

Phil Peters

Production Company:

Tribeca Productions
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HISTORY

According to the 15 Apr 1992 DV, writer-director Barry Primus spent seven years trying to get Mistress made. In a 30 Jul 1992 HR interview, Primus noted that he conceived the idea while he was unsuccessfully attempting to raise money for a short film, and the various investors wanted their girl friends to have roles in the picture. Primus came up with the story and collaborated with writer-producer J. F. Lawton, an editor on the short film project, to write a treatment. Primus’s friend, actor-producer Robert De Niro, encouraged Primus and Lawton to complete the screenplay. De Niro liked the script and reportedly spent years trying to interest producers. Although the script was well-received, potential investors believed it would not be marketable. Primus also stated that actress Bette Midler attempted to get the project financed, but was unsuccessful. When De Niro announced that he planned to start Tribeca Productions in two years, and promised to produce Mistress, Primus put up his own money to make a thirty-two minute short film, “Final Stage.” Wanting to make his feature film directorial debut on Mistress, Primus believed the short film would be good preparation and would demonstrate his skills to potential investors.
       An article in the 20 May 1991 DV reported that Mistress was Tribeca Production’s first independent feature. While Tribeca had a first-look deal with Tri-Star, the studio “presumably elected not to exercise that prerogative.” The 24 Aug 1992 DV noted that Arnon Milchan planned to finance the film, but had to “step out,” and recommended ... More Less

According to the 15 Apr 1992 DV, writer-director Barry Primus spent seven years trying to get Mistress made. In a 30 Jul 1992 HR interview, Primus noted that he conceived the idea while he was unsuccessfully attempting to raise money for a short film, and the various investors wanted their girl friends to have roles in the picture. Primus came up with the story and collaborated with writer-producer J. F. Lawton, an editor on the short film project, to write a treatment. Primus’s friend, actor-producer Robert De Niro, encouraged Primus and Lawton to complete the screenplay. De Niro liked the script and reportedly spent years trying to interest producers. Although the script was well-received, potential investors believed it would not be marketable. Primus also stated that actress Bette Midler attempted to get the project financed, but was unsuccessful. When De Niro announced that he planned to start Tribeca Productions in two years, and promised to produce Mistress, Primus put up his own money to make a thirty-two minute short film, “Final Stage.” Wanting to make his feature film directorial debut on Mistress, Primus believed the short film would be good preparation and would demonstrate his skills to potential investors.
       An article in the 20 May 1991 DV reported that Mistress was Tribeca Production’s first independent feature. While Tribeca had a first-look deal with Tri-Star, the studio “presumably elected not to exercise that prerogative.” The 24 Aug 1992 DV noted that Arnon Milchan planned to finance the film, but had to “step out,” and recommended the project to his friend, Meir Teper. The first-time producer was also a friend of Robert De Niro and agreed to partner with Tribeca on the $5--$6 million film.
       A 7 May 1991 HR production chart noted principal photography began 25 Feb 1991 in Los Angeles, CA. The 20 May 1991 HR announced the completion of principal photography.
       The 1 Oct 1990 DV reported that J&M Entertainment would handle foreign distribution. According to the 5 Jun 1992 DV, Henry Jaglom’s Rainbow Releasing, which had several “successful shoestring releases” of Jaglom’s films, agreed to partner with Tribeca Productions on domestic distribution of Mistress. It marked Rainbow’s first partnership with an outside production company to release a film. The deal allowed Primus, De Niro, and Teper to participate in all marketing and distribution decisions.
       The film opened on 7 Aug 1992 in New York City and was released nationally on 21 Aug 1992. The 3 Aug 1992 DV reported the film’s 5 Aug 1992 New York City premiere would benefit Cancer Care. The 13 Aug 1992 DV announced the West Coast premiere would be held at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, CA, on 17 Aug 1992, and would benefit the Daniel Freeman hospital. The 27 Aug 1992 LAT noted the West Coast premiere raised $50,000 for the hospital.
       End credits include the following statements: “‘Le Grand Illusion’ directed by Jean Renoir,” “Exerpt [sic] from ‘Saint Joan’ by George Bernard Shaw,” and, “Special thanks to: Baldwin Piano and Organ Company; Bristol Farms; The Catalyst Group; Unique Product Placement; Eureka Beer; Jack Daniels; Matsuhisa Restaurant; Waterford Wedgewood USA; Mr. Eric Albertson; and friends: Harry Shearer; Richard Bruno; Ilona Herman; Mark Rydell; Ralph Rosenblum; George Primus.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1990.
---
Daily Variety
20 May 1991
p. 1, 19.
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1992.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1992
p. 3, 25.
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1992.
---
Daily Variety
13 Aug 1992.
---
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1992
p. 10, 20.
Los Angeles Times
21 Aug 1992
p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
27 Aug 1992.
---
New York Times
7 Aug 1992
p. 16.
Variety
11 May 1992
pp. 122-123.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Tribeca Productions and Meir Teper present
A Film by Barry Primus
DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Line prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Video assist
Still photog
Addl 2d unit op
Best boy elec
Key grip/Dolly grip
Best boy grip
Addl best boy grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Asst to the prod des
Model maker/Draftsperson
Art dept asst
Sketch artist
Model maker
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
Negative cutter, Alter Image
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Asst set dec
Key set dresser
On set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Food stylist
Prop master
Asst props
Const coord
Const crew foreman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Lead scenic artist
Scenic artist
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Asst to cost des
Asst ward
Ward for Mr. De Niro
Set-costumer
Mr. De Niro's ward courtesy of
Mr. De Niro's accessories courtesy of
Eyeware courtesy of
Eyeware courtesy of
Lingerie for Sheryl Lee Ralph by
Jewelry for Sheryl Lee Ralph by
Accessories for Sheryl Lee Ralph provided by
Swimsuits courtesy of
MUSIC
Mus seq staged by
Mus coord
Mus contractor
Mus scoring mixer
Synthesizer programming
Supv mus ed
Supv mus ed, Seque Music
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
ADR rec--Chicago
ADR rec--Los Angeles
ADR rec--New York
Walla group
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Machine op
Re-rec facilities
a division of LucasArts Entertainment Company
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Main title des
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup and hair for Mr. De Niro
Key makeup
Asst makeup
Key hairstylist
Asst hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
New York casting by
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Spec consultant
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Accountant
Asst accountant
Key set P.A.
Set prod asst
Asst to Mr. Primus
Asst to Ms. Charny
Asst to Mr. Teper
Asst to Mr. De Niro
Asst to prods
Pre-prod asst to the dir
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Set P.A./Craft service
Set loc P.A.
Set loc P.A.
Set loc P.A.
Set loc P.A.
Set loc P.A.
Set loc P.A.
Set loc P.A.
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting, Cenex Casting
Extras casting
Extras casting, Central Casting
Loc caterers
Security coord
Security coord
Asst security coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Unit pub
Completion bond company
Cranes and dollies by
Loc equipped by
Mr. De Niro's Lexus courtesy of
Sheryl Lee Ralph's Mercedes courtesy of
Danny Aiello's Cadillac courtesy of
STAND INS
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
MUSIC
“Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, 1st Movement,” written by J.S. Bach, arranged by Lazare, performed by The Hamburg Chamber Orchestra, courtesy of Southern Library of Recorded Music.
SONGS
“Sex Goddess,” written by Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni and James Rado
“Out Of My Hands,” written by Anthony Crawford, performed by Anthony Crawford, courtesy of Laura Spektor Gordon Productions
“Mitch’s Birthday Song,” written by Galt MacDermot
+
SONGS
“Sex Goddess,” written by Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni and James Rado
“Out Of My Hands,” written by Anthony Crawford, performed by Anthony Crawford, courtesy of Laura Spektor Gordon Productions
“Mitch’s Birthday Song,” written by Galt MacDermot
“The Kiss,” written by Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni and James Rado
“These Are Things We Cannot Change,” written by Galt MacDermot and William Dumare.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 August 1992
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 5 August 1992
New York opening: 7 August 1992
Los Angeles premiere: 17 August 1992
Los Angeles opening: 21 August 1992
Production Date:
began 25 February 1991
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Sound
This film recorded in a THX Sound System Theatre THX®
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31551
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Marvin Landisman was an aspiring screenwriter and director, but his career derailed when his leading man, Warren Zell, committed suicide. Years later, Marvin directs instructional home videos. His wife, Rachel, convinces him to move to New York City, where she plans to open a restaurant. As she searches for a location, she telephones Marvin, excited that she also found a potential position for him in the drama department of a New York city college. Meanwhile, Jack Roth, an older, down-on-his-luck producer, searches through piles of old screenplays and finds Marvin’s script The Darkness and the Light, about a painter who commits suicide. Jack contacts Marvin, who is surprised, but insists he must direct the film. Jack agrees, and they arrange to meet at Shelby’s diner to discuss the deal. Jack also invites Stuart Stratland, the twenty-four-year-old son of an award winning screenwriter. Jack claims Stuart has interesting ideas about Marvin’ script, but Marvin declares that not one word can be changed. Jack has an investor, George Lieberhoff, who wants his mistress to be in the film. When they meet with the elderly George and his young girl friend, Peggy Pauline, she wants to perform the lead role of the painter’s girl friend, but Marvin suggests she play the prostitute. Stuart, who is clearly smitten with Peggy, convinces them the script is not finished and can be adjusted to make the prostitute’s role more prominent. Afterward, Marvin is furious with Stuart, but Jack calms him, and notes that George liked the young screenwriter. After Peggy’s dismal audition, Marvin meets ... +


Marvin Landisman was an aspiring screenwriter and director, but his career derailed when his leading man, Warren Zell, committed suicide. Years later, Marvin directs instructional home videos. His wife, Rachel, convinces him to move to New York City, where she plans to open a restaurant. As she searches for a location, she telephones Marvin, excited that she also found a potential position for him in the drama department of a New York city college. Meanwhile, Jack Roth, an older, down-on-his-luck producer, searches through piles of old screenplays and finds Marvin’s script The Darkness and the Light, about a painter who commits suicide. Jack contacts Marvin, who is surprised, but insists he must direct the film. Jack agrees, and they arrange to meet at Shelby’s diner to discuss the deal. Jack also invites Stuart Stratland, the twenty-four-year-old son of an award winning screenwriter. Jack claims Stuart has interesting ideas about Marvin’ script, but Marvin declares that not one word can be changed. Jack has an investor, George Lieberhoff, who wants his mistress to be in the film. When they meet with the elderly George and his young girl friend, Peggy Pauline, she wants to perform the lead role of the painter’s girl friend, but Marvin suggests she play the prostitute. Stuart, who is clearly smitten with Peggy, convinces them the script is not finished and can be adjusted to make the prostitute’s role more prominent. Afterward, Marvin is furious with Stuart, but Jack calms him, and notes that George liked the young screenwriter. After Peggy’s dismal audition, Marvin meets Jack and Stuart at the diner and insists he cannot hire her. However, he learns that she is no longer interested because she auditioned for a horror film, and is insulted that she prioritized another project. Jack has already lined up another investor, Carmine Rasso, who also wants a role for his girl friend, Patricia Riley, so she will be distracted from her pursuit of marriage. Carmine confides that he is so upset about the possibility of wedlock that he is having an affair. Carmine’s only concern is that the script must have humor, and Stuart convinces them that the painter’s death is not too depressing. Marvin does not like the suggested changes, but grudgingly agrees. Patricia’s audition for Marvin is awkward, and she admits to participating in the film to make Carmine happy. Jack claims they need more money to finance the project and must turn to Carmine’s friend, Evan M. Wright, who also has a mistress requiring a role in the film. Evan is a wealthy, no-nonsense businessman who declares the script needs changes in order to guarantee a profit. He wants the painter changed to a photographer and demands to participate in the editing process. Evan’s mistress, Beverly Dumont, is a smart, talented, African-American beauty, and Marvin is impressed with her audition. She informs Marvin that she is also having an affair with Carmine, so if Marvin disappoints her, he is in trouble with both of his investors. Marvin’s wife telephones and wonders why he has not come to New York to interview at the college. He professes to be busy at work and does not tell her about the film. In time, Peggy changes her mind about the horror film, and, George becomes an investor in Marvin’s project. Stuart suggests the lead character be changed to a gigolo, so he can handle all of the mistresses. Marvin is upset, but Stuart insists he is trying to make the script work for everyone. He also declares his love for Peggy and wants to borrow Marvin’s apartment for their romantic trysts. Marvin hopes George will not learn of the affair, but agrees to Stuart’s request. Rachel returns and encourages Marvin to join her in New York. He finally reveals the truth about the project. Rachel is upset because they spent seven years trying to make the film, but no one wanted to participate in such a depressing project. She is finally happy in New York and wishes he would resolve his guilt over Warren Zell’s suicide. He admits the film might not be made, but he must try. Marvin asks her to leave, and Rachel returns to New York alone. Marvin wants to return to his original screenplay, but Stuart believes Marvin is self-destructive. Marvin reveals that he wrote the screenplay to find meaning in Warren Zell’s suicide, but Stuart claims the investors are only interested in making the film for their mistresses. Realizing this, Marvin wants to eliminate the suicide, but Stuart declares it is the only element that everyone agrees on. They meet to close the deal at a birthday party George is hosting for Peggy’s vocal coach. Evan is angry that he has been unable to reach Beverly, and Patricia becomes upset when she realizes Carmine is having an affair with her. Stuart brought the latest version of the script. Although Marvin wants to read it, Beverly takes it from him. Stuart becomes jealous when Peggy dances with a fellow acting student and ignores him. Meanwhile, Jack meets with George, Carmine, and Evan to sign the contracts. The investors quickly realize Jack is attempting to sneak an extra profit point for himself into the contract. Jack declares it is legal and refuses to give up any points. Although Marvin agrees to give up a point, the men continue to argue, and Carmine leaves to find Patricia and propose marriage. Evan walks out, and George declares Marvin and Jack should have more integrity. Beverly finishes the script and is furious to learn that Peggy’s role is central while she has been relegated to a prostitute who gets murdered. She confronts Marvin, who admits he has not read the final script. She does not believe him, accuses him of being a sell-out, and leaves with Evan. Furious, Marvin hunts for Stuart and finds him arguing with Peggy. Stuart storms out before George arrives. George believes Peggy is having an affair with Marvin and orders him to leave with Jack. Outside, Jack and Martin catch up with Stuart. He realizes he was blinded by his love for Peggy and altered the script to accommodate her. Jack berates the three investors, and claims he still believes in the picture. Marvin declares he is not interested and drives away. Later, Jack finds another rich man who wants to get into the film business, and Martin agrees to meet them at Shelby’s diner. +

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

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