Single White Female (1992)

R | 107 mins | Drama, Horror | 1992

Director:

Barbet Schroeder

Writer:

Don Roos

Producer:

Barbet Schroeder

Cinematographer:

Luciano Tovoli

Editor:

Lee Percy

Production Designer:

Milena Canonero

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
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HISTORY

       According to a 5 Apr 1991 Publisher’s Weekly news item, interest in film rights to the John Lutz novel S.W.F. Seeks Same was immediate after it was published in 1990. Agent Patricia Karlan, recommended the book to her client, writer-director Don Roos, and Guber-Peters Productions purchased the rights when Roos brought it to their attention, and signed him to adapt it. Barbet Schroeder was soon contracted to direct. According to a 29 Jun 1992 Var news item, Schroeder improvised the ‘cat-and-mouse’ chase between Allie and Hedy at the end of the picture to improve elements he felt were lacking in the original version. The 14 Aug 1992 NYT review states that the movie was shot in New York City and featured the Ansonia Building. The interiors, including apartments, corridors, lifts and boiler room, were studio-built sets, according to an 11-18 Nov 1992 Time Out article. Baseline’s StudioSystem database reports that Single White Female had a box office gross revenue of $46,150, 271.
              In Single White Female , Allison is a rising star in the fashion business due to her computer program that turns sketches into three-dimensional images. A 4 Sep 1992 LAT news item reported that Schroeder introduced this element to the story after reading an article about a similar program developed by the Los Angeles based software company, ModaCad, which sold for $12,000 to companies such as Guess and Ocean Pacific.
              The film does not provide an onscreen credit for costume designer. A 4 Aug 1992 DV column reports ... More Less

       According to a 5 Apr 1991 Publisher’s Weekly news item, interest in film rights to the John Lutz novel S.W.F. Seeks Same was immediate after it was published in 1990. Agent Patricia Karlan, recommended the book to her client, writer-director Don Roos, and Guber-Peters Productions purchased the rights when Roos brought it to their attention, and signed him to adapt it. Barbet Schroeder was soon contracted to direct. According to a 29 Jun 1992 Var news item, Schroeder improvised the ‘cat-and-mouse’ chase between Allie and Hedy at the end of the picture to improve elements he felt were lacking in the original version. The 14 Aug 1992 NYT review states that the movie was shot in New York City and featured the Ansonia Building. The interiors, including apartments, corridors, lifts and boiler room, were studio-built sets, according to an 11-18 Nov 1992 Time Out article. Baseline’s StudioSystem database reports that Single White Female had a box office gross revenue of $46,150, 271.
              In Single White Female , Allison is a rising star in the fashion business due to her computer program that turns sketches into three-dimensional images. A 4 Sep 1992 LAT news item reported that Schroeder introduced this element to the story after reading an article about a similar program developed by the Los Angeles based software company, ModaCad, which sold for $12,000 to companies such as Guess and Ocean Pacific.
              The film does not provide an onscreen credit for costume designer. A 4 Aug 1992 DV column reports that costumer Milena Canonero, who was credited as production designer, also performed, and was compensated for, the duties of costume designer. Canonero reportedly filed a formal complaint that she was misled by Columbia Pictures, who claimed during negotiations that it was against the regulations of the Art Directors Guild for individuals to be credited more than once on a film. Her contract therefore stipulated that she could only be credited for one position, and she selected production designer because it was her first film credit in this capacity. Canonero later discovered exceptions to the rule, but her request to Columbia for a correction in the credits of the already completed film was denied.
              In Oct 2005, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a direct-to-video sequel, Single White Female 2: The Psycho , directed by Keith Samples.



The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and notes were written by participant Candis Pham, a student at Georgia Institute of Technology, with Vinicius Navarro as academic advisor.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 Aug 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 1992
p. 5, 14.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1992
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
4 Sep 1992.
---
New York Times
14 Aug 1992
p. 8.
Publishers Weekly
5 Apr 1991.
---
Time Out (London)
11-18 Nov 1992.
---
Variety
29 Jun 1992.
---
Variety
10 Aug 1992
p. 55.
Village View
14-20 Aug 1992
p. 10.
WSJ
13 Aug 1992.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A film by Barbet Schroeder
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr, New York crew
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, New York crew
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
Key grip, New York crew
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Asst to Ms. Canonero
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Lead set des
Scenic painter
Chargeman scenic artist, New York crew
COSTUMES
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Ward supv, New York crew
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus rec and mixed by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd des
Asst sd des
Asst sd des
Prod mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv ADR ed
Sd mixer, New York crew
Post prod sd services provided by
A Division of LucasArt Entertainment Company
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup, New York crew
Spec makeup eff
Hairstylist
Hairstylist, New York crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting asst
Extra casting
Extra casting, New York crew
Prod coord
Prod office coord, New York crew
Prod secy
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Asst to Mr. Schroeder
Asst to Mr. Baran
Prod accountant
Loc, New York crew
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Unit pub
Animals provided by
Animal trainer
Medical consultant
Prod trainee
DGA trainee
DGA trainee, New York crew
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel S.W.F. Seeks Same by John Lutz (New York, 1990).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Trio Sonata in C, RV 60," composed by Vivaldi, performed by The Purcell Quartet, courtesy of Hyperion Records, Ltd.
SONGS
"Sadeness Part I," written by Curly MC, F. Gregorian and David Fairstein, performed by Enigma, courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd./Charisma Records, America, Inc.
"The Way You Make Me Feel," written by Dave King and Mandy Meyer, performed by Katmandu, courtesy of Epic Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Rhythm of Time," written by Daniel Bresanutti, Patrick Codenys, Jean Luc De Meyer and Richard JK, performed by Front 242, courtesy of RRE Records and Epic Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
+
SONGS
"Sadeness Part I," written by Curly MC, F. Gregorian and David Fairstein, performed by Enigma, courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd./Charisma Records, America, Inc.
"The Way You Make Me Feel," written by Dave King and Mandy Meyer, performed by Katmandu, courtesy of Epic Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Rhythm of Time," written by Daniel Bresanutti, Patrick Codenys, Jean Luc De Meyer and Richard JK, performed by Front 242, courtesy of RRE Records and Epic Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"State of Independence," written by Vangelis and Jon Anderson, performed by Moodswings, featuring the voice of Chrissie Hynde, courtesy of Arista Records, Inc./BMG Eurodisc Ltd.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 August 1992
New York opening: week of 14 August 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 September 1992
Copyright Number:
PA581784
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Technicolor
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
107
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31513
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, software designer Allie Jones, discovers that her fiancé, Sam Rawson, has cheated on her with his ex-wife, and kicks him out of her apartment. To get over her grief for Sam, Allie places an ad in the newspaper that reads, “SWF seeks female to share apt in West 70s. Non-smoker, professional preferred.” After a series of interviews, Allie settles on the shy and plain Hedy Carlson. Allie and Hedy become friends, sharing clothes, accessories, and memories. Hedy even cooks and cleans for Allie and brings home a puppy that Allie does not like, but eventually begins to love. Unknown to Allie, Hedy has erased phone messages and stolen letters, in order to sabotage Sam’s attempts at reconciliation. However, she does notice that Hedy is beginning to mimic her in dress and manner, but shrugs it off as a manifestation of Hedy’s shyness. Sometime later, Sam makes a surprise visit, and reunites with Allie. They renew their engagement and talk about moving in together. After a full night and day of being away from the apartment, Allie comes home to a very angry Hedy, who cries and tells Allie she should have called to let her know where she was, and says she really cares about Allie’s well being. Hedy is also concerned, with Allie and Sam back together, she will eventually have to move out. The next morning, Sam fixes the balcony guard so the dog cannot get out, while Hedy makes breakfast. When the meal is ready, Hedy pulls Sam away from his work. Allie walks in and, declining breakfast, ... +


In New York City, software designer Allie Jones, discovers that her fiancé, Sam Rawson, has cheated on her with his ex-wife, and kicks him out of her apartment. To get over her grief for Sam, Allie places an ad in the newspaper that reads, “SWF seeks female to share apt in West 70s. Non-smoker, professional preferred.” After a series of interviews, Allie settles on the shy and plain Hedy Carlson. Allie and Hedy become friends, sharing clothes, accessories, and memories. Hedy even cooks and cleans for Allie and brings home a puppy that Allie does not like, but eventually begins to love. Unknown to Allie, Hedy has erased phone messages and stolen letters, in order to sabotage Sam’s attempts at reconciliation. However, she does notice that Hedy is beginning to mimic her in dress and manner, but shrugs it off as a manifestation of Hedy’s shyness. Sometime later, Sam makes a surprise visit, and reunites with Allie. They renew their engagement and talk about moving in together. After a full night and day of being away from the apartment, Allie comes home to a very angry Hedy, who cries and tells Allie she should have called to let her know where she was, and says she really cares about Allie’s well being. Hedy is also concerned, with Allie and Sam back together, she will eventually have to move out. The next morning, Sam fixes the balcony guard so the dog cannot get out, while Hedy makes breakfast. When the meal is ready, Hedy pulls Sam away from his work. Allie walks in and, declining breakfast, leaves with Sam. Feeling alone and unappreciated, Hedy calls Buddy, but the puppy continues to whimper by the door for Allie and Sam. Later that day, Allie and Sam return to the apartment to find that Buddy has fallen from the apartment window and been killed. Hedy explains that the balcony guard Sam tried to fix earlier that morning was not properly secured and Buddy must have pushed his way out. The next day, as Allie finishes a software project for her client, Mitchell Meyerson, he invites her to join him for dinner. Allie declines, saying that she needs to leave, but as she turns back to her computer to add some finishing touches to the program, Mitchell comes from behind and tries to grope her. Allie kicks Mitchell, grabs her things and leaves before he can catch her. With Sam away on a business trip, Allie tells Hedy about her ordeal with Mitchell. To cheer her up, Hedy talks Allie into going to a beauty salon. As the hair stylist works on Allie’s hair, she looks up to see Hedy’s new haircut exactly matching her own. While walking home, Allie tells Hedy it is weird that they now look almost identical. Hedy defends herself, saying that she looks up to Allie and thought that the change would make them like sisters. One morning, when Allie cannot find an outfit she wants to wear, she looks in Hedy’s closet to see if she has borrowed the outfit and notices that Hedy’s wardrobe is exactly the same as her own. While looking through Hedy’s possessions, Allie comes across a shoebox filled with photos, letters, and news clippings. She learns that Hedy’s real name is Ellen Besch, and that she had a twin sister named Judy who drowned when they were nine. Traumatized by her sister’s death, Hedy never got over the fact that she had lived while her sister had died. Allie also finds a letter Sam sent her when they were separated. Allie takes her concerns to her close friend, Graham, who lives upstairs. He advises her that Hedy needs psychological help and should be asked to move out as soon as possible. Hedy overhears the conversation through the air vent connecting the two apartments and manages to sneak into Graham’s apartment without being seen. When Allie leaves, Hedy attacks Graham with a metal rod, and throws him in the tub. Allie arrives home to find Hedy sitting in the shower in a dazed state and tries to talk to her about her desire to move in with Sam. Hedy yells at Allie, saying that she just wants to take care of Allie and loves her like a sister. She emphasizes that that no matter what Allie thinks, Sam will cheat on her again. Later that night while Allie is asleep, Hedy answers the phone. Sam, back from his business trip, asks Hedy to tell Allie he wants to see her. Hedy says she will but, instead, sneaks into Sam’s apartment. Dozing, Sam does not realize the woman getting into bed with him is Hedy. Hedy performs oral sex on Sam, but when he realizes it is Hedy, he is upset. He dresses to leave, intent on confessing to Allie what has happened, but a crazed Hedy kills him by jamming her spiked heel through his forehead. The next morning, Allie watches the TV news and learns that Sam has been murdered. Hysterical, Allie throws up in the bathroom where she finds Hedy’s shoe covered in blood. When Hedy finds her on the floor, Allie acts as if she does not know about Sam’s murder and pretends she is throwing up because she is pregnant with Sam’s child. Then, telling Hedy that Graham had called, she says she’s going upstairs to see him. Aware that Allie is lying, Hedy pulls a gun and leads Allie up to Graham’s room. Allie’s client, Mitchell, comes looking for Allie because she has managed to erase his computer files in retaliation for his attempt at seducing her. Unsuccessful at getting into Allie’s apartment, Mitchell goes to Graham’s place because he is Allie’s emergency contact. He overpowers Hedy to get in, and finds Allie bound and gagged. He attempts to free Allie, but Hedy grabs her gun, puts a pillow over Mitchell's face, and shoots him, using the pillow as a silencer. Hedy then chokes Allie into unconsciousness. Thinking that Allie is dead, Hedy takes her to the basement to dump her body in the incinerator. Allie revives while Hedy gets a wheelbarrow. She escapes into an air vent, and tricks Hedy into thinking she is in a closet. When Hedy looks up, Allie swings down from the vent and stabs her with a screwdriver, killing her. Later, Allie looks at some photos and reflects on Hedy’s inability to accept that her sister’s death was not her fault. Allie tries to forgive Hedy for Sam’s death, but in the end all she can do is try to do what Hedy could not: forgive herself. +

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

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