Of Mice and Men (1992)

PG-13 | 110 mins | Drama | 2 October 1992

Director:

Gary Sinise

Writer:

Horton Foote

Producers:

Russ Smith, Gary Sinise

Cinematographer:

Kenneth MacMillan

Production Designer:

David Gropman

Production Company:

Mice Productions
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HISTORY

A 23 Aug 1991 Screen International news item reported that actress Bridget Fonda was cast as “Curley’s wife,” but the role ultimately went to Sherilyn Fenn.
       According to an Oct 1992 Vogue article, actor-director-producer Gary Sinise first saw the play Of Mice and Men on a school field trip, when he was sixteen years old. He claimed it was his “first emotional experience” in the theater.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that Sinise met Elaine Steinbeck, widow of author John Steinbeck, in 1985, when, as artistic director of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, IL, he mounted a theatrical production of The Grapes of Wrath. The play went to Broadway, earning Sinese a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor and winning the award for Best Play. Sinese used his success to broach the subject of making a film adaption of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
       With Elaine Steinbecks’s blessing, Sinise approached another Steppenwolf Theatre alumnus, producer Russ Smith. The two producers decided to hire writer Horton Foote, whom they admired for his adaption of To Kill a Mockingbird (1963, see entry). Foote had met with John Steinbeck early in his career to discuss adapting the novel The Red Pony (1949, see entry), but Steinbeck opted to write the screenplay himself.
       Actor John Malkovich was always Sinise’s choice to play “Lennie.” Malkovich had appeared in that role with Sinese playing “George” in a 1980 Steppenwolf production of the play.
       One of the few changes from both the novel and play of Of Mice and Men is the handling ... More Less

A 23 Aug 1991 Screen International news item reported that actress Bridget Fonda was cast as “Curley’s wife,” but the role ultimately went to Sherilyn Fenn.
       According to an Oct 1992 Vogue article, actor-director-producer Gary Sinise first saw the play Of Mice and Men on a school field trip, when he was sixteen years old. He claimed it was his “first emotional experience” in the theater.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that Sinise met Elaine Steinbeck, widow of author John Steinbeck, in 1985, when, as artistic director of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, IL, he mounted a theatrical production of The Grapes of Wrath. The play went to Broadway, earning Sinese a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor and winning the award for Best Play. Sinese used his success to broach the subject of making a film adaption of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
       With Elaine Steinbecks’s blessing, Sinise approached another Steppenwolf Theatre alumnus, producer Russ Smith. The two producers decided to hire writer Horton Foote, whom they admired for his adaption of To Kill a Mockingbird (1963, see entry). Foote had met with John Steinbeck early in his career to discuss adapting the novel The Red Pony (1949, see entry), but Steinbeck opted to write the screenplay himself.
       Actor John Malkovich was always Sinise’s choice to play “Lennie.” Malkovich had appeared in that role with Sinese playing “George” in a 1980 Steppenwolf production of the play.
       One of the few changes from both the novel and play of Of Mice and Men is the handling of the character “Curley’s wife.” Foote wrote her to be more sympathetic and three dimensional than the earlier material. According to Elaine Steinbeck, her husband never gave the character a name because, “She’s not a person, she’s a symbol. She has no function, except to be a foil--and a danger to Lennie.”
       Filming was originally set to take place in the Monterey-Salinas, CA, area, which is often referred to as “Steinbeck Country” because many of his books take place there. However, local agriculture had changed since the 1930s, and miles of wheat fields had been replaced by miniature artichokes and Japanese eggplants. The producers had to build their own wheat farm on the Gainey Ranch in Santa Ynez, CA. After consulting the California Wheat Growers Association, the production team planted a wheat/rye hybrid that could be planted in July and harvested in mid-October. Wheat is usually planted in December and harvested in June. A back-up crop was planted in San Jose, CA, in case the first crop was not the desired height or color needed for the film.
       Farm buildings were constructed to look like those photographed during the Depression by Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans. They built in four weeks, then later dismantled and transported to a sound stage in Los Angeles, CA. Props and paraphernalia were borrowed from local ranches to dress the sets.
       A 1 Oct 1991 HR production chart reported that principal photography began on 16 Sept 1991. By mid-Oct 1991, production moved to the Polsa Ranch in Acton, CA, to film the creek sequences. After one week, the production moved to Los Angeles, CA, where a turn-of-the-19th-century house was used for the interior of the farm house. The scenes of 1930s Salinas, CA, were filmed on the Warner Bros. backlot before the final three weeks were shot in a Culver City sound stage.
       A 15 May 1992 DV column reported that the 5,000-square-foot bunkhouse was donated to the Los Angeles Cultural Arts Department’s “Materials for Arts Project,” which in turn gave it to Cedar-Sinai’s “Camp Rainbow” for critically ill children, where it was used as an arts center. Another $1-million worth of props, furniture, sets, computers and appliances were also donated to non-profits. MGM/UA received an $80,000 tax write-off.
       Of Mice and Men was originally filmed in 1940, starring Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr. (see entry). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 may 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1992
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
2 Oct 1992
Calendar, p. 12.
New York Times
2 Oct 1992
Section C, p. 5.
Screen International
23 Aug 1991.
---
Variety
25 May 1992
pp. 49-50.
Vougue
Oct 1992.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents
A Russ Smith/Gary Sinise production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Leadman
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Head scenic artist
Paint foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Asst cost des
Set costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus rec & mixed by
Orch & cond by
Mus consultant
Mus consultant
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Foley ed
Asst sd eff
Foley sd eff
Foley sd eff
Foley mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Key hair stylist
Asst makeup artist
Asst hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod assoc
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Pub, PMK
Pub
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting
Asst to Mr. Smith
Key set prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Boss wrangler
Animal trainer
Craft service
Catering
Catering
Video playback
First aid
Prod equip provided by
Animal action was monitored by
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (New York, 1937).
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 October 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 2 October 1992
New York opening: week of 2 October 1992
Production Date:
16 September 1991 -- mid November 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 November 1992
Copyright Number:
PA627324
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Originated on Eastman colour film from Kodak
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision cameras and lensesi
Duration(in mins):
110
Length(in feet):
9,968
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31799
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Two itinerant farm workers, George Milton and his simple-minded friend, Lennie Small, are forced to flee armed men after Lennie rips a woman’s dress while trying to feel its material. They jump on a train and arrive at Soledad, California, where they take jobs as ranch hands. As they walk, George sees Lennie is carrying a dead mouse. George throws the mouse away, causing Lennie to cry that he misses the woman who gave him mice to play with. George reminds Lennie that the woman was his Aunt Clara, who stopped getting him pets because Lennie kept killing them by petting too hard. George promises Lennie a puppy if he stops crying. At nightfall, George tells Lennie to gather firewood so he can cook some beans, and becomes irate when Lennie whines about not having ketchup. George yells that Lennie has ruined his life by always getting into trouble. A contrite and confused Lennie offers to run away and live in a cave, but George mutters that Aunt Clara would not like him wandering off on his own. That night, George recites an oft-told dream of him and Lennie buying their own ranch, with lots of rabbits for Lennie to feed. Commanding Lennie to look around and remember where they are, George instructs him to return to this spot and hide in the bushes if he gets in trouble. In the morning, they arrive at the Tyler Ranch, where they meet an old, one-handed man named Candy. He takes George and Lennie to meet the “Boss,” who yells at them for being a day late. During the interview, George explains that Lennie is his cousin and was kicked in ... +


Two itinerant farm workers, George Milton and his simple-minded friend, Lennie Small, are forced to flee armed men after Lennie rips a woman’s dress while trying to feel its material. They jump on a train and arrive at Soledad, California, where they take jobs as ranch hands. As they walk, George sees Lennie is carrying a dead mouse. George throws the mouse away, causing Lennie to cry that he misses the woman who gave him mice to play with. George reminds Lennie that the woman was his Aunt Clara, who stopped getting him pets because Lennie kept killing them by petting too hard. George promises Lennie a puppy if he stops crying. At nightfall, George tells Lennie to gather firewood so he can cook some beans, and becomes irate when Lennie whines about not having ketchup. George yells that Lennie has ruined his life by always getting into trouble. A contrite and confused Lennie offers to run away and live in a cave, but George mutters that Aunt Clara would not like him wandering off on his own. That night, George recites an oft-told dream of him and Lennie buying their own ranch, with lots of rabbits for Lennie to feed. Commanding Lennie to look around and remember where they are, George instructs him to return to this spot and hide in the bushes if he gets in trouble. In the morning, they arrive at the Tyler Ranch, where they meet an old, one-handed man named Candy. He takes George and Lennie to meet the “Boss,” who yells at them for being a day late. During the interview, George explains that Lennie is his cousin and was kicked in the head by a horse when he was child. After stepping out of the ranch house, George admits to Lennie he lied about the horse and being cousins. Candy shows them the bunkhouse, where they run into the boss’s son, Curley, a short man wearing one black glove. Curley demands to know why Lennie is late, and orders George to shut up and let Lennie talk for himself. After Curley leaves, Candy explains that Curley is a boxer, but still has a little man’s dislike for anyone bigger than he is. George warns Lennie to keep clear of the boss’s son. Curley’s young and attractive wife pretends to look for her husband, but it is only an excuse for her to check out the new ranch hands. Her flirting turns George away, and he warns Lennie to stay away from her. At noon, the laborers arrive, including Slim, their foreman, and another ranch worker named Carlson, who asks Slim about his dog’s puppies. When Slim says he drowned three because the mother could not produce enough milk, Carlson suggests they kill Candy’s old mongrel and give him one of the surviving pups. After a hard day of haying, George asks Slim if Lennie can have one of the puppies. Impressed by how hard Lennie worked, Slim agrees. However, George informs Lennie that the puppies are too young to be separated from their mother, so Lennie beds down with the dogs. The next day, a mule throws a shoe and Slim orders George to take it to the barn. He arrives to find Curley’s wife waiting, but her attempt to seduce him is interrupted by the arrival of “Crooks,” a hunchbacked African-American stable man, and Curley. When Curley demands to know what George is up to, he answers that he is minding his own business. Curley warns he will beat George if he ever finds him minding his own business with his wife again. That night, Carlson and Slim pressure Candy into letting Carlson put his old dog out of its misery. When Candy hears the shot, he curls up on his bunk and cries. The next day, George tells Slim he lived near Lennie’s Aunt Clara, and picked on Lennie when he was a boy. One day, they were playing near a river and George ordered Lennie to jump in. Lennie did, but could not swim, and almost drowned. When George got him to dry ground, Lennie forgot it was George who told him to jump in. From that moment on, George felt responsible for his friend, and when the aunt died, the two hit the road together. That night, George tells Lennie he knows of a farm they could buy when they get a few more dollars. Candy overhears and offers $350 dollars out of the $600 they need if they take him with them, because he is getting too old to work. George agrees. When Curley accuses Slim of sleeping with his wife, the foreman threatens to beat the little man. Seeing Lennie smiling about the farm, Curley thinks he is making fun of him. He punches Lennie in the face. The large man refuses to defend himself, until George yells for him to “get him.” Lennie grabs Curley’s hand and crushes it. Slim orders Curley to tell the boss he got his hand crushed in a harvester, and threatens to expose what really happened if he refuses. As George cleans the blood off his friend’s face, Lennie asks if he can still feed the rabbits. The next night, George goes to town with the other men and leaves Lennie with the puppies. Later, George returns and finds Lennie talking to Crooks in the barn. As he walks Lennie to the bunkhouse, they meet Curley’s wife, who wants to talk to someone, but George refuses, and she runs away in tears. The next morning, Curley’s wife finds Lennie crying over the corpse of a puppy he accidently killed while petting it too hard. Instead of leaving, she talks to Lennie about her dreams of being a movie star, and how she married Curley to be free of her mother. When Lennie states he likes stroking soft things, she suggests he touch her hair, but Lennie cannot control his strong hands. As he musses her hair, Curley’s wife screams, and with his attempt to silence her, he accidently breaks her neck. Lennie runs to the stream and hides in the bushes where he earlier agreed to go in times of trouble. Candy later finds the dead woman, and informs George. She believes Curley will lynch Lennie, but George vows he will not let anyone hurt his friend. The other men form a posse, and Slim tells George he can let Curley shoot Lennie or watch his friend go to jail. George steals a pistol and goes to the stream, where he finds Lennie. Hearing dogs approaching, George stands behind Lennie and regales him with dreams of a ranch full of rabbits, then shoots him in the back of the head. +

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

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