Compromising Positions (1985)

R | 98 mins | Comedy, Mystery | 30 August 1985

Director:

Frank Perry

Writer:

Susan Isaacs

Producer:

Frank Perry

Cinematographer:

Barry Sonnenfeld

Editor:

Peter Frank

Production Designer:

Peter Larkin

Production Companies:

Blackhawk Enterprises, C.P. Films, Inc.
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HISTORY

       Film rights for Susan Isaac’s 1978 novel, Compromising Positions, were purchased for $250,000 by Warner Bros. Pictures before the Mar 1978 release of the novel, according to HR on 26 Jan 1978 and 10 Jan 1980. As reported in the 26 Apr 1978 HR, Richard Levinson and William Link were hired to co-write the script, and according to the 31 Jul 1978 HR, Shirley MacLaine was in consideration for the lead role. However, none of these individuals remained with the project.
       The feature remained in limbo, until the 2 May 1984 HR announced that producer-director Frank Perry had cast Susan Sarandon in the lead role. Perry explained in the 28 Aug 1985 HR that he had attempted to purchase film rights when the novel was first published. The script was reportedly reverted back to Susan Isaacs when Warner Bros. failed to produce a workable screenplay. When Perry purchased rights from Isaacs, he hired her as screenwriter and promised her a sole writing credit on the feature.
       According to the 2 Nov 1984 HR, principal photography began that week in NY, with a seven-week shooting schedule. United Artists Communications, Inc., was listed as the financier of the $6 million picture. Production ultimately took place over eight and a half weeks, according to the 20 Dec 1984 DV.
       A Mar 1985 Box news item reported that filming occurred in Long Island, NY, while the 14 Mar 1985 HR added that Silvercup Studios in Long Island City was used for production. ... More Less

       Film rights for Susan Isaac’s 1978 novel, Compromising Positions, were purchased for $250,000 by Warner Bros. Pictures before the Mar 1978 release of the novel, according to HR on 26 Jan 1978 and 10 Jan 1980. As reported in the 26 Apr 1978 HR, Richard Levinson and William Link were hired to co-write the script, and according to the 31 Jul 1978 HR, Shirley MacLaine was in consideration for the lead role. However, none of these individuals remained with the project.
       The feature remained in limbo, until the 2 May 1984 HR announced that producer-director Frank Perry had cast Susan Sarandon in the lead role. Perry explained in the 28 Aug 1985 HR that he had attempted to purchase film rights when the novel was first published. The script was reportedly reverted back to Susan Isaacs when Warner Bros. failed to produce a workable screenplay. When Perry purchased rights from Isaacs, he hired her as screenwriter and promised her a sole writing credit on the feature.
       According to the 2 Nov 1984 HR, principal photography began that week in NY, with a seven-week shooting schedule. United Artists Communications, Inc., was listed as the financier of the $6 million picture. Production ultimately took place over eight and a half weeks, according to the 20 Dec 1984 DV.
       A Mar 1985 Box news item reported that filming occurred in Long Island, NY, while the 14 Mar 1985 HR added that Silvercup Studios in Long Island City was used for production.
       The Nov 1985 Box reported earnings of $5.8 million from 570 screens in the first ten days of release.
      End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Thanks to England & Company Marketing/Public Relations Incorporated; The New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting; The New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development; The Suffolk County Film Commission; Chodos Dental Supplies, Inc.; The Optical House, N.Y.; Woodbury Commons; Ben Kahn Furs; The Omega House; The Syosset Club; The Sunshine Singers, East Hampton, N.Y.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Mar 1985.
---
Box Office
Nov 1985.
---
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1978
p. 1, 21.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jan 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1985
p. 3, 30.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Aug 1985
p. 1, 18.
New York Times
30 Aug 1985
p. 5.
Variety
14 Aug 1985.
---
Variety
21 Aug 1985
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Paramount Pictures presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Asst prod
WRITER
Scr
From her novel
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Key grip
Gaffer
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
2d grip
Dolly grip
Best boy
Cam and lenses by
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set prop
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec supv, Trans/Audio, Inc.
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main title by
MAKEUP
Hair & makeup
Hair & makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting, Feuer and Ritzer, Inc.
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Scr supv
Transportation capt
Loc scout
Extras casting
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod coord
Office asst
Dental consultant
Animal handler
Animal handler
Loc asst
Asst to Frank Perry
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc equip by
Nancy Miller's sculptures and art work by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs (New York, 1978).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
30 August 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 30 August 1985
Production Date:
late October or early November -- late December 1984 in Long Island, NY
Copyright Claimant:
C.P. Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 November 1985
Copyright Number:
PA271756
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Camera and lenses by Panavision ®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27803
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When dentist Dr. Bruce Fleckstein is murdered in his Long Island, New York, office, the townswomen gossip about who may have killed the flirtatious man. Former journalist Judith Singer is questioned by Detective David Suarez, even though she had seen the dentist only once. Later, Judith’s lawyer husband, Bob, reports rumors that Dr. Fleckstein was about to be indicted on pornography charges. When Judith’s friend, Mary Alice Mahoney, admits to having an affair with the dentist and allowing him to take intimate photographs of her, she asks Judith to investigate. Learning that several women in town also had affairs with Dr. Fleckstein, Judith asks her previous employer, News Day, to re-hire her for a freelance story. She begins by interviewing Dr. Fleckstein’s brother-in-law, Dicky Dunck, and his wife, Brenda, about how the family is grieving. When Judith later visits the dentist office, she encounters Detective Suarez, who reports that her presence at the crime scene has made her a suspect. Sometime later, Judith recruits help from her friend, Nancy Miller, whose lover, “Cupcake,” is a police officer. Nancy learns from Cupcake that three women have been identified from intimate photographs at Dr. Fleckstein’s home, but their friend, Mary Alice, was not among them. One day, Judith’s home is vandalized with a warning for her to drop the investigation, and her husband, Bob, learns she has returned to work as a journalist. Unsupportive of his wife, Bob calls Detective Suarez to their home in hopes of putting a stop to Judith’s story. The police officer learns that Judith possesses ... +


When dentist Dr. Bruce Fleckstein is murdered in his Long Island, New York, office, the townswomen gossip about who may have killed the flirtatious man. Former journalist Judith Singer is questioned by Detective David Suarez, even though she had seen the dentist only once. Later, Judith’s lawyer husband, Bob, reports rumors that Dr. Fleckstein was about to be indicted on pornography charges. When Judith’s friend, Mary Alice Mahoney, admits to having an affair with the dentist and allowing him to take intimate photographs of her, she asks Judith to investigate. Learning that several women in town also had affairs with Dr. Fleckstein, Judith asks her previous employer, News Day, to re-hire her for a freelance story. She begins by interviewing Dr. Fleckstein’s brother-in-law, Dicky Dunck, and his wife, Brenda, about how the family is grieving. When Judith later visits the dentist office, she encounters Detective Suarez, who reports that her presence at the crime scene has made her a suspect. Sometime later, Judith recruits help from her friend, Nancy Miller, whose lover, “Cupcake,” is a police officer. Nancy learns from Cupcake that three women have been identified from intimate photographs at Dr. Fleckstein’s home, but their friend, Mary Alice, was not among them. One day, Judith’s home is vandalized with a warning for her to drop the investigation, and her husband, Bob, learns she has returned to work as a journalist. Unsupportive of his wife, Bob calls Detective Suarez to their home in hopes of putting a stop to Judith’s story. The police officer learns that Judith possesses crucial information about the case, but she refuses to share her sources. Detective Suarez leaves angry, telling Judith that she is still a suspect, but later returns to her home and shares information about the case. In time, Dr. Fleckstein’s wife, Phyllis, agrees to an interview with Judith. Phyllis claims her husband was innocent to the pornography charges, and that her brother, Dicky, who owns a printing company, was the one printing pornography, unbeknown to Dr. Fleckstein. Dicky had named his brother-in-law as the responsible party to protect himself from criminal charges. Phyllis believes someone was also trying to destroy her husband’s reputation by linking him to organized crime. Detective Suarez later returns to Judith’s home, and the two decide to become partners. When the detective tries to kiss Judith, she rebuffs his advances, although he argues that he is not seeking a meaningless affair. Judith admits her attraction to Detective Suarez to her friend, Nancy. Sometime later, Detective Suarez shows Judith the photographs that Dr. Fleckstein took of his many lovers, and Judith identifies Dicky’s wife, Brenda, in one of the pictures. Meanwhile, Bob is angry that Judith has not given up on writing the story. Giving it some thought, Judith surmises that Dr. Fleckstein took Brenda as a lover to blackmail Dicky into not testifying against him. Based on her theory, Judith and Detective Suarez conclude that Dicky murdered his brother-in-law, and Judith meets with Brenda to evoke a confession. However, Brenda believes Dicky is innocent, and admits to thinking that Dr. Fleckstein was in love with her. When Dicky asks Judith for a meeting, Detective Suarez decides to send her undercover, wearing a wire. Later, Bob threatens to leave Judith if she insists on going through with the story, and she drives away in tears. Down the road, Phyllis unexpectedly appears in the back seat of her car, holds Judith at gunpoint, and forces her to drive to her home, where Dicky awaits. Judith realizes the siblings are working together, and Phyllis presses Judith for information. When Phyllis leaves, Dicky holds Judith at gunpoint, but she begs for release. Dicky admits that he showed Phyllis the intimate photograph of his wife, Brenda, and she became enraged about her husband’s infidelity. Phyllis then forced Dicky to her husband’s office, where he waited in the lobby, unaware that Phyllis was murdering Dr. Fleckstein. Judith remains hostage as Phyllis tries to take the gun back from Dicky. However, he refuses and accidentally shoots his sister as she charges towards him. As Judith calmly takes the gun from Dicky and orders him to help the wounded Phyllis, Detective Suarez and several officers arrive at the scene, and Judith is praised for her bravery. Returning home, Judith encounters her angry husband, but he realizes she has endured trauma, and softens his approach. Sometime later, Judith proudly turns in her story to News Day, and it makes the front page. She discusses her next report with her friend, Nancy, who inquires about Judith’s flirtation with Detective Suarez. Judith reveals her loyalty to Bob, who, she explains, is trying to be a better husband. Before Nancy leaves, the friends share a few jokes about dentists. +

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

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