Rough Cut (1980)

PG | 111 mins | Adventure, Romantic comedy | 19 June 1980

Director:

Don Siegel

Writer:

Francis Burns

Producer:

David Merrick

Cinematographer:

F. A. Young

Editor:

Douglas Stewart

Production Designer:

Edward S. Haworth

Production Company:

A David Merrick Production
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HISTORY

       In a 24 Feb 1980 LAT article, screenwriter Larry Gelbart recalled that in the summer of 1977, producer David Merrick asked him to work on the screenplay for Rough Cut with Blake Edwards attached to direct, and actor Burt Reynolds cast in the starring role. Gelbart was told he could base his work on Derek Lambert’s 1975 source novel, Touch the Lion’s Paw, as well as an existing first draft by an unidentified writer. Within days, Gelbart’s manager told him the deal was off. He later learned that Merrick had replaced him with a writing team, but Reynolds, who had director and writer approval, insisted on working with Gelbart. After several creative meetings with Edwards in Paris, France, Gelbart handed a script to Merrick in Jan 1978. However, Edwards was dissatisfied with the finished screenplay, and Gelbart was dropped from the production.
       Gelbart got a second chance to work on the film in June 1979 when Merrick asked him to return to the project. By this time, a minimum of four other writers had churned out additional versions of the script. Edwards had since left the project due to time conflicts, involving his postproduction work on Revenge of the Pink Panther. (1978, see entry), according to a brief in the 27 Apr 1978 HR. The 24 Feb 1980 LAT reported that Gelbart worked closely with the new director, Donald Siegel, and Reynolds. The collaboration yielded three rewrites and filming commenced shortly thereafter. However within weeks of production, Siegel was fired and temporarily replaced by an unnamed British director. At that point, Edwards offered to ... More Less

       In a 24 Feb 1980 LAT article, screenwriter Larry Gelbart recalled that in the summer of 1977, producer David Merrick asked him to work on the screenplay for Rough Cut with Blake Edwards attached to direct, and actor Burt Reynolds cast in the starring role. Gelbart was told he could base his work on Derek Lambert’s 1975 source novel, Touch the Lion’s Paw, as well as an existing first draft by an unidentified writer. Within days, Gelbart’s manager told him the deal was off. He later learned that Merrick had replaced him with a writing team, but Reynolds, who had director and writer approval, insisted on working with Gelbart. After several creative meetings with Edwards in Paris, France, Gelbart handed a script to Merrick in Jan 1978. However, Edwards was dissatisfied with the finished screenplay, and Gelbart was dropped from the production.
       Gelbart got a second chance to work on the film in June 1979 when Merrick asked him to return to the project. By this time, a minimum of four other writers had churned out additional versions of the script. Edwards had since left the project due to time conflicts, involving his postproduction work on Revenge of the Pink Panther. (1978, see entry), according to a brief in the 27 Apr 1978 HR. The 24 Feb 1980 LAT reported that Gelbart worked closely with the new director, Donald Siegel, and Reynolds. The collaboration yielded three rewrites and filming commenced shortly thereafter. However within weeks of production, Siegel was fired and temporarily replaced by an unnamed British director. At that point, Edwards offered to rewrite Gelbart’s work, but instead, Merrick rehired Siegel, while English playwright and novelist Anthony Shaffer was contracted to do rewrites.
       According to briefs in the 6 Jul 1979 HR and 11 Jul 1979 Var, principal photography would begin 16 Jul 1979 at Pinewood Studios in London, England. Other locations included Amsterdam, Holland, and Spain. A news item in an 8 Aug 1979 Var stated that a twelve-week schedule was planned. On 7 Aug 1979, HR announced that the title had been switched first to Jack of Diamonds, then followed by Diamond Cut Diamond. In a 7 Aug 1979 LAT article, Reynolds reported that creative differences between Merrick and Siegel had been smoothed over, but regretted that Gelbart was absent from the set due to other commitments.
       Just one week later, a 14 Aug 1979 DV news item announced that Merrick fired Siegel, and replaced him with Peter [Roger] Hunt on 13 Aug 1979. A 21 Aug 1979 LAT article suggested that Reynolds was an important advocate for Siegel’s return, while Hunt took over filming. In the same timeframe, Edwards met with Merrick but passed on the opportunity to direct. A 21 Aug 1979 DV news item stated that Paramount executives flew to England to meet with Merrick, and Siegel returned to work one week later on 20 Aug 1979. Additionally, a 14 Aug 1979 DV news item stated that Gelbart wanted his name removed from the credits because the last half of the screenplay no longer reflected his work. A brief in the 1 May 1980 DV reported that a Writers Guild arbitration ruled to deny Merrick’s request to give Shaffer a co-screenwriter credit with Gelbart, and Gelbart accepted the solo screen credit under the pseudonym “Francis Burns.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that West Wycombe Park, a historic property open to the public as part of Britain’s National Trust, located in Buckinghamshire, England, was the site of the film’s opening party sequence. Much of the filming took place at night, while the owner, Sir Francis Dashwood, and his family resided in private quarters. The estate remained open to the public during the day, even when some day shooting occurred.
       Other locations included Curzon House, in London, England, once the temporary home of the Queen Mother, and the kitchen of the White-Elephant-on-the-River Club stood in for Reynolds’ Chinese restaurant. In addition, filming took place at the All England Club at Wimbledon, Scotland Yard, Dingwall’s discotheque in Camden Lock, London Stansted Airport in Essex, Blackbushe Airport in Surrey, and Luton Airport in Bedfordshire.
       According to a 25 Mar 1980 LAT article, Gelbart wrote a new ending to the film without compensation, as a favor to Reynolds, which was scheduled for location work in Hawaii. Siegel, with his final cut approval, insisted on the change, but Merrick was opposed. A 23 Apr 1980 DV news item reported a reversal of opinion. Although the film tested well at a sneak preview in Lakewood, CA, Merrick called for a new ending that would push the film’s release until the fall 1980. A news item in the 13 May 1980 DV reported that actors David Niven and Reynolds were scheduled to report to Florida to shoot a new finale. In addition, a 8 May 1980 DV brief stated that Merrick had filed a $15 million breach-of-contract civil lawsuit against A. Siegel Film, Inc. and the Directors Guild of America. Merrick complained of Siegel’s inability to comply with the producer’s vision of the film, and failed to meet the deadline for the rough cut of the film. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined.
       Another breach-of-contract lawsuit was filed by Niven in New York City Supreme Court against Merrick and Paramount Pictures, Inc., as reported in the 3 Jul 1980 LAT. Niven asked for $1,791,667 in damages for unpaid salary and redress for being shortchanged in the film’s advertising campaign. Niven maintained that the film’s advertising falsely portrayed his role as less prestigious than the roles in which he was normally associated. As reported in the 3 Feb 1981 HR, Niven accepted an undisclosed six-figure settlement from Merrick and Paramount. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1979
p. 1, 11.
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1979.
---
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1979.
---
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1980.
---
Daily Variety
1 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1980
p. 3, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 1981
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
7 Aug 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Aug 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Feb 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Mar 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Jun 1980
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1980.
---
New York Times
19 Jun 1980
p. 19.
Variety
11 Jul 1979.
---
Variety
8 Aug 1979.
---
Variety
18 Jun 1980
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
David Merrick Presents
A Siegel Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Key grip
Gaffer
Cam focus
Clapper/Loader
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Standby ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Const coord
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Mr. Reynolds' ward
Lesley-Anne Down's jewelry by
MUSIC
Mus scored and adpt by
From the mus of
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Loop ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd asst
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Mr. Reynolds' makeup
Hairdresser
Miss Downs' hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Assoc to Mr. Siegel
Scr supv
Dial coach
Unit pub
Loc mgr
Auditor
Casting
Amsterdam contact
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Touch the Lion's Paw by Derek Lambert (New York, 1975).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
“Caravan,” Duke Ellington with Irving Mills & Juan Tizol, published by Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
“C Jam Blues,” written by Duke Ellington, published by United Artists Music.
SONGS
“Sophisticated Lady,” Duke Ellington with Irving Mills & Mitchell Parish, published by Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
“In A Sentimental Mood,” Duke Ellington with Irving Mills & Manny Kurtz, published by Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
“Mood Indigo,” Duke Ellington with Irving Mills & Albany Bigard, published by Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
+
SONGS
“Sophisticated Lady,” Duke Ellington with Irving Mills & Mitchell Parish, published by Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
“In A Sentimental Mood,” Duke Ellington with Irving Mills & Manny Kurtz, published by Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
“Mood Indigo,” Duke Ellington with Irving Mills & Albany Bigard, published by Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
“Prelude To A Kiss,” Duke Ellington with Irving Gordon & Irving Mills, published by Tempo Music, Inc.
“Satin Doll,” Duke Ellington with Johnny Mercer & Billy Strayhorn, published by Tempo Music, Inc.
“I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” Duke Ellington with Paul Webster, published by United Artists Music
"Don’t Get Around Much Anymore," Duke Ellington with Bob Russell, published by United Artists Music.
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DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Diamond Cut Diamond
Jack of Diamonds
Release Date:
19 June 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 June 1980
New York opening: week of 19 June 1980
Production Date:
began 16 July 1979 in London, England
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
26 September 1980
Copyright Number:
PA81095
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
111
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At an outdoor black-tie party, Jack Rhodes smiles at Gillian Bromley from across the lawn, and follows her inside the adjoining mansion. There, he strikes up a conversation, impersonating Cary Grant, but Gillian accuses him of sounding like Tony Curtis, doing an impression of Grant. When Jack’s friend Sheila introduces him to another party guest, Gillian disappears. He soon follows Gillian to the second floor, then traverses the mansion’s exterior. Perched by a window, he watches her steal expensive jewelry from a hidden drawer. He then positions himself at the bottom of the main staircase, hoping to interest her in a date. Jack is undeterred by Gillian’s lack of interest, and suggests that they will meet again. Later, Jack returns home with Sheila, but leaves her sprawled on the downstairs bed while he investigates a noise in his bedroom. When Jack discovers Gillian in his closet with the intent to rob him, he locks her inside and returns to Sheila. Once Sheila is gone, Jack questions Gillian, who admits to stealing for the thrill. They arrange to meet for lunch, but before she leaves, she returns his stolen billfold. Later at Scotland Yard, Gillian meets Chief Inspector Cyril Willis, who plans to use Gillian to trap Jack, the world’s most brilliant diamond thief. Cyril is determined to outfox Jack before his mandatory retirement starts. Cyril’s dream is to leave the force in a blaze of glory by apprehending Jack. Later, Gillian arrives for lunch with Jack in a stolen white convertible Mercedes sports car. When a police car flags her for speeding, she evades the law. Gillian and Jack dine and gamble at a casino. Still later, Jack ... +


At an outdoor black-tie party, Jack Rhodes smiles at Gillian Bromley from across the lawn, and follows her inside the adjoining mansion. There, he strikes up a conversation, impersonating Cary Grant, but Gillian accuses him of sounding like Tony Curtis, doing an impression of Grant. When Jack’s friend Sheila introduces him to another party guest, Gillian disappears. He soon follows Gillian to the second floor, then traverses the mansion’s exterior. Perched by a window, he watches her steal expensive jewelry from a hidden drawer. He then positions himself at the bottom of the main staircase, hoping to interest her in a date. Jack is undeterred by Gillian’s lack of interest, and suggests that they will meet again. Later, Jack returns home with Sheila, but leaves her sprawled on the downstairs bed while he investigates a noise in his bedroom. When Jack discovers Gillian in his closet with the intent to rob him, he locks her inside and returns to Sheila. Once Sheila is gone, Jack questions Gillian, who admits to stealing for the thrill. They arrange to meet for lunch, but before she leaves, she returns his stolen billfold. Later at Scotland Yard, Gillian meets Chief Inspector Cyril Willis, who plans to use Gillian to trap Jack, the world’s most brilliant diamond thief. Cyril is determined to outfox Jack before his mandatory retirement starts. Cyril’s dream is to leave the force in a blaze of glory by apprehending Jack. Later, Gillian arrives for lunch with Jack in a stolen white convertible Mercedes sports car. When a police car flags her for speeding, she evades the law. Gillian and Jack dine and gamble at a casino. Still later, Jack cooks Gillian a Chinese meal in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant that he owns. As they make plans to see each other again, Gillian tells Jack that her former boyfriend, a diamond merchant named Maxwell Levy, is fond of sleeping with her for good luck when he sends a large shipment of rough diamonds to be cut in Antwerp, Belgium. Otherwise, her interest is in Jack. Later, Gillian reports back to Cyril that Jack is apathetic about Maxwell’s business routine. However, Cyril believes that Jack will fall for their trap and reminds Gillian that the reward for her help will be erasing her police record. The next day, Jack takes Gillian to a Wimbledon tennis match between Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. While enjoying a snack courtside, Jack’s friend Ronnie Taylor and his friend, "Maxwell Levy," stop by their table. When Maxwell invites them to watch Tracy Austin play, Jack encourages Gillian to join the men. She later learns that Jack paid an actor named Peter Pritchard to impersonate Maxwell, because her story struck him as false. Caught in her lie about Maxwell, Gillian reveals Cyril’s plan. Jack is angry about the deception, but wants to know why Gillian has not slept with him. After confessing her reticence to arbitrarily sleep with a stranger, she invites Jack into her home, and they make love. Later, Jack tells Gillian that he wants to intercept Maxwell’s diamond shipment. He orders her to telephone Cyril for the shipment date, but the phone line is busy. At a meeting with Cyril, Gillian tells the inspector she no longer wants to assist him, but he describes the miserable conditions of prison and she changes her mind. Cyril tells her he will pass along the date of Maxwell’s shipment in a couple of days. Meanwhile, Jack enlists his friend, Nigel Lawton, to handle logistics of the robbery. Jack also recruits Ernst Mueller, a former German WWII pilot, and Ferguson, a former pilot turned entertainer. Soon, Cyril calls on Gillian to get more details about Jack’s whereabouts, but Gillian claims ignorance. When Jack arrives at Gillian’s house, he is introduced to the inspector. The men have a cordial conversation, and then, the inspector leaves. Later, Jack and Gillian join Mueller and Ferguson aboard a private jet. Jack and Gillian, disguised as Arabs, arrive in Antwerp. They change clothes, but hand their disguises to decoys, who are followed by several local detectives. Meanwhile, Cyril speaks with Antwerp Inspector Vanderveld, who reports that his men have Jack and Gillian under surveillance. Later, Jack shows Gillian a getaway airport security car hidden in a barn. When she complains that she has not been apprised of Jack’s master plan, he says he never tells his associates everything, but declares that he loves her. Elsewhere, Cyril watches his team load the diamond shipment in a van, which is then transferred to a private plane bound for Antwerp. However, Mueller and Ferguson, flying a second plane, pretend to be air traffic control operators. They radio the pilots of the first plane, instructing them to divert their aircraft to Amsterdam, Holland. When Cyril meets the plane in Antwerp, he thinks the diamond shipment is being unloaded, but the disguised second plane lands with fake jewels. The real shipment goes to Amsterdam, where Jack and Gillian, disguised as security guards, meet the plane and steal the diamonds. Soon, airport security chases after Jack and Gillian. Soon, Gillian eludes the men and drives the getaway car to a private airstrip, where the second plane piloted by Mueller and Ferguson waits for them, and they escape. Elsewhere, Maxwell Levy inspects the loose diamonds and declares them to be worthless quartz stones. On a yacht sailing in tropical waters, Jack and Gillian enjoy cocktails, but Jack reveals that the diamonds they stole in Amsterdam are fakes. When Gillian asks who has the real diamonds, Cyril climbs aboard and proposes to sell the actual diamonds to Jack for $1 million. Jack offers $3 million to Cyril for his troubles. Cyril and Jack explain that they collaborated from the beginning, and Gillian deduces that the diamonds were already stolen before she and Jack took possession of the shipment in Amsterdam. When Gillian remarks that the men have pulled off a robbery worth $30 million, Jack replies that the only problem is that $30 million will not buy what it used to buy.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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