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HISTORY

A 13 Oct 1990 Screen International brief announced producer Brian Eastman’s Carnival (Films and Theatre) Ltd. would develop a film based on the stage play, Shadowlands, by William Nicholson. The play, which Nicholson adapted from his 1985 BBC made-for-television film of the same name, recently won London, England’s 1990 Evening Standard Play of the Year Award, and was about to open on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on 11 Nov 1990.
       According to the 10 Nov 1993 HR “Hollywood Report” column, Columbia Pictures chairman Frank Price saw the play in London at the suggestion of director Sydney Pollack. Others had tried to obtain film rights, but Brian Eastman did not agree to a partnership until meeting with Price, who promised the involvement of Sydney Pollack. Columbia’s acquisition of the project was announced in a 9 Jan 1991 LAT brief. Pollack was attached to direct, and Sean Connery was a top contender to star, with filming slated to begin in late 1991. Other actors under consideration included Michael Caine, Barbra Streisand, and Amy Irving. As noted in the 10 Nov 1993 HR, Pollack supervised William Nicholson’s rewrites.
       When Frank Price left Columbia, and began Price Entertainment, the studio placed Shadowlands into turnaround, as stated in a 23 Nov 1992 DV item. Rights reverted to Brian Eastman. Newly established Savoy Pictures took an interest and brought the project to Spelling Films International as a joint financing venture. According to a 29 Dec 1993 HR item, Joe Roth’s Caravan Pictures also bid on the project, but Savoy and Spelling won ... More Less

A 13 Oct 1990 Screen International brief announced producer Brian Eastman’s Carnival (Films and Theatre) Ltd. would develop a film based on the stage play, Shadowlands, by William Nicholson. The play, which Nicholson adapted from his 1985 BBC made-for-television film of the same name, recently won London, England’s 1990 Evening Standard Play of the Year Award, and was about to open on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on 11 Nov 1990.
       According to the 10 Nov 1993 HR “Hollywood Report” column, Columbia Pictures chairman Frank Price saw the play in London at the suggestion of director Sydney Pollack. Others had tried to obtain film rights, but Brian Eastman did not agree to a partnership until meeting with Price, who promised the involvement of Sydney Pollack. Columbia’s acquisition of the project was announced in a 9 Jan 1991 LAT brief. Pollack was attached to direct, and Sean Connery was a top contender to star, with filming slated to begin in late 1991. Other actors under consideration included Michael Caine, Barbra Streisand, and Amy Irving. As noted in the 10 Nov 1993 HR, Pollack supervised William Nicholson’s rewrites.
       When Frank Price left Columbia, and began Price Entertainment, the studio placed Shadowlands into turnaround, as stated in a 23 Nov 1992 DV item. Rights reverted to Brian Eastman. Newly established Savoy Pictures took an interest and brought the project to Spelling Films International as a joint financing venture. According to a 29 Dec 1993 HR item, Joe Roth’s Caravan Pictures also bid on the project, but Savoy and Spelling won the rights. Shadowlands was set to be one of Savoy’s debut slate of four films opening in late 1993, and would be a presentation of Price Entertainment, with production beginning in Oxford, England, in Apr 1992. Sir Richard Attenborough came on board to direct, and an 18 Dec 1992 Screen International news brief announced Anthony Hopkins would play “C.S. ‘Jack’ Lewis.” Attenborough, who was initially attached as producer before Pollack left the project, had first shown the script to Hopkins while filming Chaplin (1992, see entry).
       Debra Winger’s casting was announced in the 17 Feb 1993 HR. An 18 Nov 1993 LADN brief noted that Barbra Streisand had lobbied for the role of “Joy Gresham,” but Richard Attenborough rejected her as too much of a public personality. Sally Field and Anjelica Huston were also among the actresses he considered.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming began 3 Apr 1993 in Oxford, England. A Feb 1993 DV item clarified that only one day of second unit filming preceded the official start of principal photography on 26 Apr 1993, a date that was confirmed in an 8 Feb 1993 HR production chart. Oxford locations included the Randolph Hotel; Magdalen College at the University of Oxford; and the Duke Humphrey Library and Radcliffe Camera reading room, housed in the Bodleian Library, the second largest library in the U.K. Some interiors were filmed at Shepperton Studios, while location shooting also took place in London, Herefordshire, and the Great Central Railway in Loughborough, home to “Britain’s only perfectly preserved steam track,” as stated in production notes.
       A 14 Mar 1993 item in The Observer (London) reported that Magdalen College president Anthony Smith broke a college rule by permitting Attenborough to film while the Trinity term was in session. Fellows, including Dr. John Gregg, the current occupant of Lewis’s old rooms at Magdalen, objected to filming. In lieu of uprooting Dr. Gregg, an unoccupied room at Magdalen was filmed, and interiors of the rooms were recreated at Shepperton.
       As noted in the 30 Sep 1994 Screen International, post-production was completed at Twickenham Studios. The film came in under its $22 million budget, according to the 29 Dec 1993 HR.
       Shadowlands premiered on 5 Dec 1993 at Mann’s National Theater in Westwood, CA. The event was held unusually early – three and a half weeks before theatrical release – to accommodate Anthony Hopkins’s schedule. A royal premiere was set to take place in England, as stated in the 30 Dec 1993 HR, as both Prince Charles and Princess Diana attended the University of Oxford.
       To qualify for Academy Award consideration, the film opened in New York City and Los Angeles, CA, on 29 Dec 1993. The release was slated to expand to 500-600 theaters the following week, on 7 Jan 1994, and to roughly 1,000 screens by 21 Jan 1994, as noted in the 12 Jan 1994 HR “Hollywood Report” column. After nine weeks in release, a cumulative domestic gross of $23.2 million was cited in the 4 Mar 1994 Chicago Tribune.
       Critical reception was positive. Shadowlands was named one of the top ten films of the year by the National Board of Review. Debra Winger was nominated for an Academy Award for Actress in a Leading Role, and William Nicholson received an Academy Award nomination for Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published), while BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) honored the film with its Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film of 1993.
       A novelization was written by Leonore Fleischer, and published by Signet Books in 1993.
       End credits include the following statements: "'Shadowlands' was developed as a film by Carnival (Films and Theatre) Ltd. The original play was produced for the London stage by Carnival in association with the Theatre Royal Plymouth and Armada Productions"; "Shadowlands Productions wish to thank the president, fellows, staff and students of Magdalen College Oxford whose hospitable collaboration made this film possible & Douglas Gresham; Walter Hooper; Ellen Mirojnick; Wheaton College Illinois; CS Lewis Foundation Redlands California; The National Railway Museum York; The staff and volunteers of The Great Central Railway Loughborough; Forest Enterprise - The Forest of Dean; The Borough of Camden, Philippe Hartman; Thames Valley Police Oxford, Malcolm Townsend"; and, "Filmed in the United Kingdom at Shepperton Studios, and on location in the City of Oxford and the County of Herefordshire." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Chicago Tribune
4 Mar 1994.
---
Daily Variety
23 Nov 1992
p. 1, 13.
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1993
p 4, 28.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 1993
p. 3, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Nov 1993
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1993
p. 8, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1993
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 1993
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 1994
p. 46.
Los Angeles Daily News
18 Nov 1993
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jan 1991
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
8 Dec 1993
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
29 Dec 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
29 Dec 1993
Section C, p. 11.
Screen International
13 Oct 1990.
---
Screen International
18 Dec 1992.
---
Screen International
30 Sep 1994.
---
The Observer (London)
14 Mar 1993.
---
Variety
13 Dec 1993
p. 38.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Savoy Picture Release
Price Entertainment in association with Spelling Films International Presents
Richard Attenborough's Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Video assist
Cam trainee
Plate photog & translites
Stills photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Cam, 2d unit
Op, 2d unit
Focus, 2d unit
Clapper loader, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
Standby art dir
Storyboard artist
Art dept runner
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
2d asst ed
Cutting room asst
Negative cutter, Post prod crew
SET DECORATORS
Prod buyer
Scenic artist
Asst scenic artist
Draughtsman
Junior draughtsman
Prop master
Chargehand standby prop
Standby prop
Chargehand dressing prop
Const co-ord
Master carpenter
Chargehand carpenter
Chargehand carpenter
Standby carpenter
Chargehand plasterer
Master painter
Chargehand painter
Chargehand painter
Standby painter
Chargehand rigger
Chargehand rigger
Standby rigger
Chargehand stagehand
Standby stagehand
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward master
Ward mistress
SOUND
Boom op
Sd maintenance
Asst sd ed, Post prod crew
Dial ed, Post prod crew
Asst dial ed, Post prod crew
Footsteps ed, Post prod crew
Asst footsteps ed, Post prod crew
Sd mixer, Post prod crew
ADR and footsteps mixer, Post prod crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Sr spec eff tech
Titles and opt eff, Post prod crew
Title des, Post prod crew
MAKEUP
Make-up des
Make-up artist
Chief hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
In charge of prod
Scr supv
Financial controller
Prod coord
Floor runner
Prod runner
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Oxford loc asst
Oxford loc asst
Casting dir
Casting asst
Crowd casting Oxford
Crowd casting London
Unit pub
Pub asst
Unit nurse
Asst accountant
Computer op
PA to Richard Attenborough
PA to Brian Eastman
PA to Brian Eastman
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Banking services
Legal services
Leonard Dicker & Schreiber
Legal services
Hill Wynne Troop & Meisinger
Legal services
Cooper Epstein & Hurewitz
Legal services
Katten Muchin Zaris & Weitzman
Legal services
Richards Butler
Legal services
Mischon de Reya
Completion guaranty provided by
Post production
COLOR PERSONNEL
Originated and printed on
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the stageplay Shadowlands by William Nicholson (New York, 11 Nov 1990).
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 December 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 5 December 1993
Los Angeles and New York openings: 29 December 1993
Production Date:
began April 1993
Copyright Claimant:
Shadowlands Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
5 January 1994
Copyright Number:
PA677947
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision cameras and lenses supplied by Panavision UK
Duration(in mins):
130
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32508
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1952 Oxford, England, novelist C.S. Lewis, known to his friends as “Jack,” is a reserved bachelor living with his brother, Warnie. In addition to writing books, Lewis tutors at the University of Oxford and gives lectures. One day, speaking to the Association of Christian Teachers, Lewis proposes that pain is “God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” At home, he reads fan letters, one of them from Joy Gresham, an American poet with whom he has a regular correspondence. Joy and her son, Daniel, are coming to London, England, and Lewis arranges to meet her for tea. Accompanied by his brother, Warnie, Lewis waits for Joy at a tearoom. When she arrives, she calls out Lewis’s name loudly in a New York accent, drawing the attention of other patrons as Lewis meekly raises his hand. Joy apologizes for acting tense, and admits she is in awe of him. Lewis finds her directness charming, and after tea, they go for a walk around the Oxford campus. Joy, who was born Jewish, raised atheist, and has converted to Christianity, once considered herself a Communist, and is surprised Lewis never did. They climb to the roof of a building where, according to Lewis, choristers sing at sunrise on the first day of May. Joy imagines it would be lovely, and teases him when he admits he has never attended the event. The befuddled Lewis confesses he does not know how to respond to her. At the train station, he invites Joy to bring her son, Daniel, to his house. Daniel is a fan of Lewis’s, and brings his copy of The Lion, the Witch, ... +


In 1952 Oxford, England, novelist C.S. Lewis, known to his friends as “Jack,” is a reserved bachelor living with his brother, Warnie. In addition to writing books, Lewis tutors at the University of Oxford and gives lectures. One day, speaking to the Association of Christian Teachers, Lewis proposes that pain is “God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” At home, he reads fan letters, one of them from Joy Gresham, an American poet with whom he has a regular correspondence. Joy and her son, Daniel, are coming to London, England, and Lewis arranges to meet her for tea. Accompanied by his brother, Warnie, Lewis waits for Joy at a tearoom. When she arrives, she calls out Lewis’s name loudly in a New York accent, drawing the attention of other patrons as Lewis meekly raises his hand. Joy apologizes for acting tense, and admits she is in awe of him. Lewis finds her directness charming, and after tea, they go for a walk around the Oxford campus. Joy, who was born Jewish, raised atheist, and has converted to Christianity, once considered herself a Communist, and is surprised Lewis never did. They climb to the roof of a building where, according to Lewis, choristers sing at sunrise on the first day of May. Joy imagines it would be lovely, and teases him when he admits he has never attended the event. The befuddled Lewis confesses he does not know how to respond to her. At the train station, he invites Joy to bring her son, Daniel, to his house. Daniel is a fan of Lewis’s, and brings his copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for Lewis to sign. The novelist inscribes it with the message, “The magic never ends.” Daniel asks to see the attic, and Warnie takes him upstairs. When Lewis inquires about Joy’s poetry, she tells him she won a national poetry award, shared with Robert Frost, and reluctantly recites her poem, “Snow in Madrid.” Afterward, she laments never having been to Madrid, Spain. Joy believes that “experience is everything,” and that people learn through pain. Lewis disagrees with her about the importance of experience, and states that pain is simply a tool. Joy quotes Lewis’s lecture in which he called pain “God’s megaphone.” He is embarrassed, and she confesses she has read most of his writing. She asks if he has ever really been hurt, and he recalls his mother’s death when he was nine years old. At the time, he lacked faith, and considered the traumatic event to be the end of his world. Learning that Joy will still be in England for Christmas, Lewis invites her and Douglas to spend the holiday with him and Warnie. His colleagues at Oxford, especially Christopher Riley, are shocked when Lewis reveals his Christmas plans. When Joy and Douglas return to Lewis’s home, Douglas runs up to the attic, where he attempts to disappear into an old wardrobe, like the characters in Lewis’s novels. Lewis finds the boy, who misses home, but reveals that his father scares him by shouting too much. That night, Lewis asks Joy to accompany him and Warnie to a party at the university. Joy draws suspicious looks from Lewis’s colleagues, and takes issue with Christopher Riley’s comment that men have intellect while women have “soul.” Joy asks Riley if he is trying to be offensive or stupid, bringing the conversation to a halt. During Christmas dinner, Douglas asks to call his father, but Joy forbids it. Alone with Lewis that night, she admits to having marital troubles. Her husband, an abusive alcoholic, has cheated on her and wants a divorce. After Joy and Douglas return to the U.S., Warnie notices his brother fall into a mild depression. Sometime later, Lewis gives a lecture in London. He spots Joy in the crowd and approaches her. She tells him she is now divorced and living in London with her son, and they resume their frequent meetings. One day, Joy senses tension between them, and guesses that Lewis wants to clarify his intentions now that she is divorced. Joy tells him she understands he has no romantic intentions, then struggles to ask him for a favor. Later, Lewis informs Warnie that he has agreed to marry Joy so she can stay in the country. He insists the marriage is only a technicality: they will not be married in a church, and Joy will retain her name and residence. Lewis keeps the marriage secret from his colleagues, even when Joy attends Encaenia, an annual party at Oxford. There, Joy confronts Lewis about distancing himself from others, and surrounding himself with younger, less learned people who cannot beat him in an argument. Lewis starts to question his beliefs. At her home in London, Joy collapses and is taken to the hospital, where it is discovered she has advanced cancer that has eaten away her left femur. Lewis is devastated by the news. He moves Douglas into his house, and makes frequent visits to the hospital. Realizing how terrified he is of losing her, he confesses his love and asks Joy to marry him before God. Joy accepts, and they receive a Christian marriage in her hospital room. Radiation treatment puts her cancer into remission, and Joy is eventually released from the hospital. The doctor gives her weeks or months to live. On their first night sharing a bedroom together, Joy asks Lewis to explain his nightly routine, and assures him nothing will change except she is here with him. On May Day, the newlyweds wake up early to hear the chorus sing at dawn. Inspired by a painting of a “golden valley” that Lewis has had since he was a child, Joy suggests they take a trip to Herefordshire where that valley is located. When they find it, Joy forces Lewis to acknowledge her imminent death, arguing that their future pain is part of their present happiness. Overwhelmed by emotion, he kisses her. As Joy’s health declines, Lewis nurses her and remains by her bedside. She urges him to let her go, and he admits he is not sure he can, but promises to take care of Douglas. Before she dies, Joy tells Lewis, “I’ve loved you so.” He declares his love for her, and says he did not know he could be so happy. At her funeral, Lewis is inconsolable, and ignores the grieving Douglas. After some time passes, Warnie insists that his brother talk to the boy. Lewis finds Douglas in the attic and reveals that his mother died when he was around Douglas’s age. The boy yearns to see his mother again, and Lewis commiserates. They both weep and embrace each other. Returning to work, Lewis begins a discourse with a new student on pain and love, and shares his new perspective that pain is a part of happiness. +

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

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