Cheaper to Keep Her (1981)

R | 92 mins | Comedy, Romance | 1981

Director:

Ken Annakin

Producer:

Lenny Isenberg

Cinematographer:

Roland Ozzie Smith

Editor:

Rudy Freeman

Production Designer:

Kirk Axtell

Production Company:

Regal Productions
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HISTORY

An article in the 27 Sep 1979 HR reported that Tovah Feldshuh would make her feature film debut in Cheaper To Keep Her, but Feldshuh had a role in The Idolmaker (1980, see entry) released a year earlier. Actor Mac Davis made his feature film debut in North Dallas Forty (1979, see entry) and this was also his second feature film to be released. Production notes in AMPAS library files noted that Cheaper To Keep Her was the first time that Feldshuh and Davis played the leads in a feature film. The 18 Mar 1981 LAT review stated that Priscilla Lopez made her feature film debut in Cheaper To Keep Her, and the 26 Oct 1979 DV noted that Carolyn Lagerfelt also made her motion picture debut in the film.
       According to an article in the 14 Apr 1980 HR, the film was budgeted at approximately $3.5 million. Items in the HR and DV on 21 Aug 1979 reported a 1 Oct 1979 principal photography start date, and filming took place in the Los Angeles, CA, area, including Venice Beach. The 2 Oct 1979 HR noted the film had an estimated eight week shooting schedule and the 29 Nov 1979 HR announced principal photography had been completed.
       On 20 Aug 1980, DV announced that American Cinema acquired domestic distribution rights for the film, and the 14 Oct 1980 HR added that American Cinema would also handle worldwide ... More Less

An article in the 27 Sep 1979 HR reported that Tovah Feldshuh would make her feature film debut in Cheaper To Keep Her, but Feldshuh had a role in The Idolmaker (1980, see entry) released a year earlier. Actor Mac Davis made his feature film debut in North Dallas Forty (1979, see entry) and this was also his second feature film to be released. Production notes in AMPAS library files noted that Cheaper To Keep Her was the first time that Feldshuh and Davis played the leads in a feature film. The 18 Mar 1981 LAT review stated that Priscilla Lopez made her feature film debut in Cheaper To Keep Her, and the 26 Oct 1979 DV noted that Carolyn Lagerfelt also made her motion picture debut in the film.
       According to an article in the 14 Apr 1980 HR, the film was budgeted at approximately $3.5 million. Items in the HR and DV on 21 Aug 1979 reported a 1 Oct 1979 principal photography start date, and filming took place in the Los Angeles, CA, area, including Venice Beach. The 2 Oct 1979 HR noted the film had an estimated eight week shooting schedule and the 29 Nov 1979 HR announced principal photography had been completed.
       On 20 Aug 1980, DV announced that American Cinema acquired domestic distribution rights for the film, and the 14 Oct 1980 HR added that American Cinema would also handle worldwide distribution.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1979.
---
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1979.
---
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1981
p. 3.
New York Times
9 May 1981
p. 48
Variety
24 Sep 1980
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Regal Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
D.G.A. trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Cam asst
Chief lighting tech
Key grip
Still photog
Still photog
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop
Asst prop
Leadman
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Asst ward
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Boom man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Craft services
Transportation coord
Loc mgr
Asst to the prod
Prod accountant
Extra casting
Asst accountant
Prod coord
Post prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Grieg's 'Peer Gynt,'" by Edvard Grieg, performed by Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, courtesy of Capitol Records/Angel Records and EMI Records Limited, recorded in cooperation with V.E.B. Deutsch Schallplatten, Berlin, D.D.R.
SONGS
"Theme from Cheaper To Keep Her, " music by Richard Halligan, lyrics by Carol Connors, sung by Mark Vicha
"Love Came Unexpectedly," music by Richard Halligan, lyrics by Carol Connors, sung by Edie Lehman and Gene Morford
"Seduced," sung by Leon Redbone, music and lyrics by Gary Tigerman, courtesy of Masked Announcer, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Theme from Cheaper To Keep Her, " music by Richard Halligan, lyrics by Carol Connors, sung by Mark Vicha
"Love Came Unexpectedly," music by Richard Halligan, lyrics by Carol Connors, sung by Edie Lehman and Gene Morford
"Seduced," sung by Leon Redbone, music and lyrics by Gary Tigerman, courtesy of Masked Announcer, Inc.
"Haven't You Heard," music by Patrice Rushen, Charles Mims, Jr. and Freddie Washington, lyrics by Patrice Rushen and Sheree Brown, sung by Patrice Rushen, courtesy of Elektra/Asylum Records
"Alfie," music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David, performed by Boots Randolph, courtesy of Monument Records.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 13 March 1981
New York opening: 8 May 1981
Production Date:
1 October--late November 1979 in Los Angeles
Copyright Claimant:
Regal Productions
Copyright Date:
3 August 1981
Copyright Number:
PA109959
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Panaflex camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Under the watchful eye of his ex-wife and her Doberman Pinscher dog, Bill Dekker retrieves his belongings. When Dekker’s married friend, Tony Turino, helps him move into a retirement community, the landlord insists that no one younger than sixty is allowed, but Dekker bribes him and is allowed to remain. Dekker and Tony are private investigators; however, Dekker’s ex-wife put a lien on the men’s business so they answer a lawyer’s advertisement for undercover investigators. Dekker flirts with the receptionist, Theresa, and learns that the lawyer is an attractive woman named Katherine D. Locke. Dekker runs to his car to freshen up for the interview, but a mugger attacks him. When Dekker overpowers the mugger and drags him into Locke’s office to call the police, Locke recognizes the thief as the husband of one of her clients. The mugger would rather go to jail than pay overdue alimony, but Locke refuses to alert the police and warns Dekker that he will lose the job opportunity if he calls them. After the mugger leaves, Dekker claims Locke is running a “divorce mill” but she counters she is helping women find their husband’s hidden assets. They agree to work together because she needs his expertise and he is desperate for work. Theresa gives Dekker ten case files and they make a dinner date for Saturday. Dekker and Tony investigate, and learn the first man on their list was recently arrested. Later, Tony pretends to be an exterminator and discovers that another husband bought a mansion in his girlfriend’s name. At the next stop, Dekker is refused a meeting with ... +


Under the watchful eye of his ex-wife and her Doberman Pinscher dog, Bill Dekker retrieves his belongings. When Dekker’s married friend, Tony Turino, helps him move into a retirement community, the landlord insists that no one younger than sixty is allowed, but Dekker bribes him and is allowed to remain. Dekker and Tony are private investigators; however, Dekker’s ex-wife put a lien on the men’s business so they answer a lawyer’s advertisement for undercover investigators. Dekker flirts with the receptionist, Theresa, and learns that the lawyer is an attractive woman named Katherine D. Locke. Dekker runs to his car to freshen up for the interview, but a mugger attacks him. When Dekker overpowers the mugger and drags him into Locke’s office to call the police, Locke recognizes the thief as the husband of one of her clients. The mugger would rather go to jail than pay overdue alimony, but Locke refuses to alert the police and warns Dekker that he will lose the job opportunity if he calls them. After the mugger leaves, Dekker claims Locke is running a “divorce mill” but she counters she is helping women find their husband’s hidden assets. They agree to work together because she needs his expertise and he is desperate for work. Theresa gives Dekker ten case files and they make a dinner date for Saturday. Dekker and Tony investigate, and learn the first man on their list was recently arrested. Later, Tony pretends to be an exterminator and discovers that another husband bought a mansion in his girlfriend’s name. At the next stop, Dekker is refused a meeting with Dr. Alfred Sunshine and causes a scene asking about the doctor’s rates. Later, Dekker speaks with Stanley Bracken, who runs a second-hand store and complains that his wife wants him to go Acapulco, Mexico, but he has no money. Locke believes Bracken is lying and makes his case a top priority. The next day, Dekker and Tony follow Bracken as he boards a bus. In turn, they are followed by two suspicious men. Bracken, however, does not disembark with the other passengers and disappears after the bus parks. On Saturday night, Theresa insists that Dekker take her to an expensive restaurant, promising she will make it worth his while. Later, however, the promise of sex remains unfulfilled when Dekker is unexpectedly unable to perform. Meanwhile, Katherine Locke’s friend, Nora, insists that Locke is still upset over her ex-husband and takes her to a singles bar, but Locke refuses to be set-up on a date. The next day, Dr. Sunshine hides a picture of his girlfriend, Laura, as his wife, Katherine Locke, arrives. He left her six months earlier and, although Locke wants a divorce, he wishes to reconcile and convinces her to join him for brunch the next day. That afternoon, Dekker and Tony secretly photograph Sunshine as he kisses Laura outside a restaurant and note a “For Sale” sign on Laura’s expensive car. Later, the two suspicious men watch as Dekker and Tony follow Bracken again. They see Bracken get off the bus, but lose sight when he gets into a car and drives away. That night, Dekker goes to Locke’s office to talk about the cases. He tells her about Sunshine, but she claims Sunshine is reconciling with his wife. Unaware that Locke is Sunshine’s wife, Dekker insists the doctor’s wife needs to know the truth and shows Locke the photographs of Sunshine and Laura. She is shocked, but claims to be fine. Dekker takes her to dinner and, later, she wants to make love. Dekker is excited, but Locke is intoxicated and passes out. The next day, Locke confronts Sunshine at brunch. He claims he broke up with Laura and is taking Locke to Acapulco. She believes his story when he hands her the airplane tickets. Meanwhile, Dekker learns that Sunshine and Laura are selling their home and Laura’s car. Then, Dekker and Tony discover that Sunshine vacated his office and an I.R.S. man is looking for him. Later, Dekker and Tony successfully follow Bracken and find that he runs a gambling operation, but they lose him again when he leaves in another car. That night, Dekker briefs Locke on the Bracken case and they argue about whether Ida Bracken is involved. When Locke claims Dekker always sides with men, he counters that he is not on Sunshine’s side. Locke insists Dekker is wrong about Sunshine and their argument escalates until she fires him and he quits. The next day, Dekker goes to Sunshine’s mansion, posing as a wealthy homosexual interested in buying Laura’s car. Laura and Sunshine are leaving that evening so Dekker agrees to bring the money to the dock before they sail. Dekker tells Tony to find Sunshine’s wife and bring her to Locke’s office, then hides in Bracken’s car outside the gambling operation. Bracken drives off with a briefcase of cash and Dekker watches as he hides it in another building. After Bracken leaves, Dekker retrieves the money. When he reaches Locke’s office, Dekker is infuriated to learn that she is Sunshine’s wife, but their argument is interrupted by Ida Bracken and her two sons, who have been following Dekker. Ida drags Bracken inside, and he admits to hiding money as savings for their old age. Ida scolds Dekker that he was hired to find the money, not take it. Although they leave some money to compensate Locke for her work, they tie up Dekker and Locke before departing. Dekker and Locke make amends as they escape their bonds and rush to the dock. There, Laura and Sunshine anxiously await Dekker’s payment but Dekker insists on a test drive. He races around the docks and deliberately destroys the car, then grabs Sunshine’s cruise tickets and leaves Laura and Sunshine in the wrecked vehicle. In a luxury cruise cabin, Dekker and Locke find Sunshine’s hidden money and make love as the ship sets sail. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.