A Dangerous Woman (1993)

R | 99 mins | Drama | 3 December 1993

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HISTORY

       The film includes opening and closing narration by Barbara Hershey as her character, “Frances.”
       A Dangerous Woman marked the first theatrical collaboration of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and his then-wife, writer-producer Naomi Foner. Their two children, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, appear in supporting roles. Jake is credited onscreen as “Jacob Gyllenhaal.”
       Although not included in onscreen credits, Anna Mathias sings the Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern song, “The Way You Look Tonight.”
       On 20 Mar 1990, HR announced that Steven Spielberg paid “a healthy six figures” for film rights to Mary McGarry Morris’s novel, A Dangerous Woman, before its publication in 1991. Spielberg was reportedly the first filmmaker approached, since he maintained contact with Morris after passing on the rights to her 1988 novel, Vanished. A 26 Feb 1993 DV brief indicated that the project was the first co-production between Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and an independent producer, World Films, Inc., which is not credited onscreen.
       The 3 Jul 1992 Screen International suggested that Universal Pictures was involved with the project, and claimed that the title was temporarily changed to Dangerous Women. Filming was expected to begin in Sep 1992.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography took eight weeks. Los Angeles, CA, area locations included the Ventura County town of Piru, where Frances’s house was located; and a shuttered cleaning plant in Burbank, which doubled as the dry cleaners where "Martha" works. Set decorators outfitted the location with 2,000 pounds of clothing, which was bagged and hung on the conveyors. A 28 Dec 1993 Village Voice article stated ... More Less

       The film includes opening and closing narration by Barbara Hershey as her character, “Frances.”
       A Dangerous Woman marked the first theatrical collaboration of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and his then-wife, writer-producer Naomi Foner. Their two children, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, appear in supporting roles. Jake is credited onscreen as “Jacob Gyllenhaal.”
       Although not included in onscreen credits, Anna Mathias sings the Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern song, “The Way You Look Tonight.”
       On 20 Mar 1990, HR announced that Steven Spielberg paid “a healthy six figures” for film rights to Mary McGarry Morris’s novel, A Dangerous Woman, before its publication in 1991. Spielberg was reportedly the first filmmaker approached, since he maintained contact with Morris after passing on the rights to her 1988 novel, Vanished. A 26 Feb 1993 DV brief indicated that the project was the first co-production between Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and an independent producer, World Films, Inc., which is not credited onscreen.
       The 3 Jul 1992 Screen International suggested that Universal Pictures was involved with the project, and claimed that the title was temporarily changed to Dangerous Women. Filming was expected to begin in Sep 1992.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography took eight weeks. Los Angeles, CA, area locations included the Ventura County town of Piru, where Frances’s house was located; and a shuttered cleaning plant in Burbank, which doubled as the dry cleaners where "Martha" works. Set decorators outfitted the location with 2,000 pounds of clothing, which was bagged and hung on the conveyors. A 28 Dec 1993 Village Voice article stated that Gyllenhaal and Foner referenced earlier drafts of Morris’s novel to rewrite the ending of the story, in which Martha is “resolved and at peace.”
       A Dangerous Woman screened at the Toronto Festival of Festivals, as indicated by the 13 Sep 1993 HR. Despite lackluster reviews for the film itself, critics praised Debra Winger’s performance, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.
       End credits state: "Special thanks to the Cities of Santa Paula and Piru, and Jonathan Weisgal, David O'Connor, Kevin Huvane, Alan Wertheimer, Donna Giglotti, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sam." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 1993
p. 5, 31.
Los Angeles Times
3 Dec 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
3 Dec 1993
Section C, p. 19.
Screen International
3 Jul 1992.
---
Variety
27 Sep 1993
p. 37.
Village Voice
28 Dec 1993
p. 92.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Gramercy Pictures Presents
In Association with Island World
A Rollercoaster Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Line prod
Exec prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Lighting equip supplied by
Cranes and dollies by
Cam dollies provided by
Arriflex cams by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept prod asst
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
Negative cutting, Universal Negative Cutting
Negative cutting, Universal Negative Cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Leadman
On set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Swing gang
Swing gang
Prop master
Asst props
Const coord
Const coord
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Plasterer
Plasterer
Lead scenic
Head painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Greens foreman
Swimming pool const and maintenance by
Lancaster, California
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Debra Winger's prescription eyewear by
Debra Winger's prescription eyewear by
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus supv
Mus supv
Mus eng
Guitar
Percussion
Woodwind
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd rec - Foley stage
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post-prod coord
ADR group coord
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Key makeup artist
Key hairstylist
Key hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod assoc
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Gyllenhaal and Ms. Foner
Addl casting
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod office asst
Prod office asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
First aid
Studio teacher
Craft service
Completion guarantor
Legal services, Surpin, Mayersohn & Edelstone
STAND INS
Voice-over
Voice-over
Voice-over
Voice-over
Voice-over
Voice-over
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel A Dangerous Woman by Mary McGarry Morris (New York, 1991).
SONGS
"High Horses," music written by Paul Di Bartolo, lyrics written by Rob De Luca and Ray West, performed by Spread Eagle, courtesy of MCA Records
"Fun With Hammers," music written by Andy Perkins, Jared Berry, and Ryan Hudson, performed by Also After
"Clean The Dirt," written by Mike Martt, Chris Gates and David Roach, performed by Junkyard, courtesy of Geffen Records
+
SONGS
"High Horses," music written by Paul Di Bartolo, lyrics written by Rob De Luca and Ray West, performed by Spread Eagle, courtesy of MCA Records
"Fun With Hammers," music written by Andy Perkins, Jared Berry, and Ryan Hudson, performed by Also After
"Clean The Dirt," written by Mike Martt, Chris Gates and David Roach, performed by Junkyard, courtesy of Geffen Records
"My Little Suede Shoes," written by Charlie Parker, performed by The Paul Smith Trio, courtesy of Granite Records
"Deseos De Amarte," written and performed by Francisco De La Cruz, courtesy of Kubaney Publishing Corp.
"Mi Noche Negra," written by Victor Waill and Geraldo Jimenez, performed by Victor Waill Y Su Grupo Pamela, courtesy of Quisqueya Publishing
"La Negrita Del Can," written by Francisco De La Cruz, performed by Felix Cumbe, courtesy of Kubaney Publishing Corp.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Dangerous Women
Release Date:
3 December 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 December 1993
Production Date:
September 1992--late January or early February 1993
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Eastman Color Film
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32465
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Although she has never been officially diagnosed with mental illness, Martha Horgan is a socially impaired young woman living in the guesthouse of her wealthy aunt, Frances Beechum, who has cared for her since her father died. Emotionally unfulfilled, Frances engages in an affair with her married boss, state assembly candidate Steve Bell. One night in a drunken rage, Steve’s jealous wife drives her car through the front entryway of Frances’s house. Frances posts an advertisement for a handyman to repair the damage before Steve’s fundraising gala. A drifter named Mackey inquires about the position, but Martha advises him to clean himself up and come back later. Meanwhile, Martha works at the local dry cleaners and cherishes her friendship with co-worker, Birdy Doozer. Due to her compulsive need to always tell the truth, Martha exposes Birdy’s low-life boyfriend, Getso, when she catches him stealing money from the cash register. Fed up with her “strange” behavior, the shop owner blames Martha instead, and fires her. That afternoon, the drifter, Mackey, returns to the house and meets Frances, who suspects he is a drunkard and turns down his request for work. Mackey offers Martha a ride into town, where she runs into Getso. As he approaches, Martha scrambles to get away and falls to the ground. Getso calls her a “screwball,” but Mackey comes to her defense. Grateful, Martha gives Mackey permission to begin work on the house, ignoring her aunt’s objections. Late that night, Mackey drunkenly stumbles into Martha’s guesthouse and confesses his past wrongdoings. Over time, Martha develops feelings for Mackey and decides to get a makeover. Frances disapproves, but Mackey criticizes Frances’s negativity and compliments Martha’s new ... +


Although she has never been officially diagnosed with mental illness, Martha Horgan is a socially impaired young woman living in the guesthouse of her wealthy aunt, Frances Beechum, who has cared for her since her father died. Emotionally unfulfilled, Frances engages in an affair with her married boss, state assembly candidate Steve Bell. One night in a drunken rage, Steve’s jealous wife drives her car through the front entryway of Frances’s house. Frances posts an advertisement for a handyman to repair the damage before Steve’s fundraising gala. A drifter named Mackey inquires about the position, but Martha advises him to clean himself up and come back later. Meanwhile, Martha works at the local dry cleaners and cherishes her friendship with co-worker, Birdy Doozer. Due to her compulsive need to always tell the truth, Martha exposes Birdy’s low-life boyfriend, Getso, when she catches him stealing money from the cash register. Fed up with her “strange” behavior, the shop owner blames Martha instead, and fires her. That afternoon, the drifter, Mackey, returns to the house and meets Frances, who suspects he is a drunkard and turns down his request for work. Mackey offers Martha a ride into town, where she runs into Getso. As he approaches, Martha scrambles to get away and falls to the ground. Getso calls her a “screwball,” but Mackey comes to her defense. Grateful, Martha gives Mackey permission to begin work on the house, ignoring her aunt’s objections. Late that night, Mackey drunkenly stumbles into Martha’s guesthouse and confesses his past wrongdoings. Over time, Martha develops feelings for Mackey and decides to get a makeover. Frances disapproves, but Mackey criticizes Frances’s negativity and compliments Martha’s new haircut. He acknowledges his attraction to her, and they make love. Eventually, Frances asks Martha to move into the main house so she can offer Mackey a full-time position. On the night of Steve Bell’s party, Frances sees Steve dancing with his wife and recognizes the foolishness of their affair. After a night of heavy drinking, she seduces Mackey in the kitchen while Martha listens from the staircase. The next morning, Mackey and Frances admit their tryst was a mistake. Although Martha is keen to resume her relationship with Mackey, the handyman insists he cannot give her the emotional support she needs and prepares to leave town. Determined to clear her name at work, Martha repeatedly calls Birdy in an attempt to convince her friend of Getso’s guilt. She sneaks into Birdy’s house to confront her, but walks in on Getso, home alone. When he pushes her toward the door, Martha becomes irate and stabs him to death with a sandwich knife. At the prison, a doctor informs Frances that Martha is pregnant. Frances mistakenly believes that Martha was infatuated with Getso and killed him for taking advantage of her. Mackey encourages her to use this story as her defense, since he does not intend to be involved in the child’s life. Martha refuses to be dishonest, but promises she will never tell anyone that Mackey is the father. In time, Mackey admits the truth to Frances, and Martha is assigned to the care of a mental facility. After a six-month disappearance, Mackey returns to town, buys a house on the lakefront, and helps Frances raise his baby daughter, who frequently visits Martha at the clinic. +

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

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