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HISTORY

End credits conclude with the statement, "Filmed on location in Los Angeles and Rome."
       The 5 Aug 1975 HR reported the acquisition of the motion picture rights for author Harold Robbins’ yet unpublished novel, The Lonely Lady, (1976) by Universal Pictures. The announcement was made 4 Aug 1975 by Sid Sheinberg of MCA, Inc., Universal’s parent company, who stated that the Robert R. Weston production would be among the studio’s “most important” releases of 1976. Simon & Schuster planned a spring 1976 publication of the novel. The protagonist was described as a young woman in search of a “new identity in today’s changing society.” A news item in the 10 Oct 1975 HR announced the hiring of screenwriter-lyricist Robert Merrill to write the screenplay, but the 26 Jul 1976 HR named Dean Riesner as the screenwriter, with no mention of Merrill. Neither is credited onscreen. Robbins’s bestselling novel was in its fourth printing at that time. The 22 Sep 1976 Var reported that actress Susan Blakely was chosen to play the title character. According to the 28 Jul 1976 Var, The Lonely Lady was to be the first of three Universal films starring Blakely, which the actress perceived as a revival of the “women’s film” genre. Her combined salary for the three pictures was rumored to be close to $1 million. More than eighteen months later, the 12 Apr 1978 Var announced Roy Huggins as producer and Ed Hume as screenwriter. No mention was made of Blakely.
       Little was written about the ...

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End credits conclude with the statement, "Filmed on location in Los Angeles and Rome."
       The 5 Aug 1975 HR reported the acquisition of the motion picture rights for author Harold Robbins’ yet unpublished novel, The Lonely Lady, (1976) by Universal Pictures. The announcement was made 4 Aug 1975 by Sid Sheinberg of MCA, Inc., Universal’s parent company, who stated that the Robert R. Weston production would be among the studio’s “most important” releases of 1976. Simon & Schuster planned a spring 1976 publication of the novel. The protagonist was described as a young woman in search of a “new identity in today’s changing society.” A news item in the 10 Oct 1975 HR announced the hiring of screenwriter-lyricist Robert Merrill to write the screenplay, but the 26 Jul 1976 HR named Dean Riesner as the screenwriter, with no mention of Merrill. Neither is credited onscreen. Robbins’s bestselling novel was in its fourth printing at that time. The 22 Sep 1976 Var reported that actress Susan Blakely was chosen to play the title character. According to the 28 Jul 1976 Var, The Lonely Lady was to be the first of three Universal films starring Blakely, which the actress perceived as a revival of the “women’s film” genre. Her combined salary for the three pictures was rumored to be close to $1 million. More than eighteen months later, the 12 Apr 1978 Var announced Roy Huggins as producer and Ed Hume as screenwriter. No mention was made of Blakely.
       Little was written about the film until the 25 Feb 1982 LAHExam reported that Par-Par Productions, owned by Israeli multimillionaire industrialist Meshulam Riklis, was co-producing the film with Harold Robbins International. Robert R. Weston was reinstated as producer, and Matt Cimber was the new screenwriter. Playing the title role was Pia Zadora, Riklis’s wife and winner of a 1982 Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year for her role in Butterfly (1982, see entry), an honor that was reportedly greeted with cynicism by many in the film community. Principal photography was scheduled to begin in Rome, Italy, in spring 1982. An article in the 13 May 1982 DV included The Lonely Lady among a group of properties represented by the British firm J&M Film Sales, Ltd., which was currently preselling the picture to distributors attending the Cannes Film Festival, although photography was not scheduled to begin until Jul 1982.
       According to the 23 Jun 1982 Var, principal photography began 14 Jun 1982 at a villa near Rome, with Peter Sasdy directing. An article in the 12 Jul 1982 DV reported that duplicate Los Angeles landmarks and architecture were constructed in Italy for the film, “from the exterior of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to local supermarkets,” although some exterior photography was also planned for Los Angeles, CA. Riklis was reportedly supplying approximately half of the film's $6-7 million budget, along with completion costs, but refused any mention in credits. The industrialist believed that the film could earn up to $5 million “in overseas income alone,” and stated that the media attention garnered by his wife would have cost $10 million.
       The Lonely Lady opened 30 Sept 1983 to scathing reviews. The 3 Oct 1983 HR described it as “ineptly executed in nearly every aspect,” and the Dec 1983 Box noted that the picture grossed only “$1.2 million at 703 theatres during its opening weekend.”
       A paperback edition of Robbins’s novel, featuring Zadora clad in a string bikini on the cover, was published by Pocket Books prior to the film’s release.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Aug 1975
---
Box Office
Dec 1983
---
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1982
---
Daily Variety
13 May 1982
---
Daily Variety
12 Jul 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 1975
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 1975
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1975
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1976
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 1983
p. 4
LAHExam
25 Feb 1982
p. 2
Los Angeles Times
3 Oct 1983
p. 1
New York Times
1 Oct 1983
p. 13
Playboy
Dec 1983
---
Variety
28 Jul 1976
---
Variety
22 Sep 1976
---
Variety
12 Apr 1978
---
Variety
8 Mar 1982
---
Variety
23 Jun 1982
---
Variety
5 Oct 1983
p. 20
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert R. Weston Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr, 2d unit
Asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Still photog
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Lucianno Spadoni
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set const
Prop master
Prop master
Set dressings
Set dressings
Set dressings
Set dressings
Set dressings
Set dressings
Flowers by
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward master
Ward asst
Seamstress for Miss Zadora
Seamstress
Ward, 2d unit
Costumer for Miss Zadora
Cost
Cost
Shoes & handbags for Miss Zadora
Shoes & handbags for Miss Zadora
Jewels by
MUSIC
Mus coord
Mus score comp
SOUND
Boom man
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
Make up artist for Miss Zadora
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairdresser for Miss Zadora
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Make up, 2d unit
Hairdresser, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
London casting
New York casting
for B.C.I.
Asst to prod
Dir secy, Rome
Dir secy, London
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Crowd marshall
Financial coord
Accounting secy
Cashier
Prod asst, 2d unit
Post prod completed at
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col
S.p.A.-Rome
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Lonely Lady by Harold Robbins (New York, 1976).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
MUSIC
"The Lonely Lady," written by Charles Calello and Roger Voudouris, performed by Larry Graham, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, published by Flowering Stone Music (ASCAP); "The Clapping Song," written by Lincoln Chase, performed by Pia Zadora, published by Al Gallico Music (BMI), recorded by Elektra/Curb Records, produced by Charles Calello; "The Fanatic," written by J. Spry, C. J. Spry, L. Ruiz, A. Blea, performed by Felony, courtesy of Scotti Bros. Records, published by Roaring 80's Music (ASCAP); "You Are Everything To Me," written by Willie Wilkerson and Mike Brayn, performed by Larry Graham, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records and Marilyn McCoo, published by Flowering Stone Music (ASCAP), produced by Charles Calello; "It's Gonna Be A Long Night," written by Charles Calello and Roger Voudouris, performed by Roger Voudouris, published by Flowering Stone Music; "My Heart's On Fire," written by Charles Calello and Roger Voudouris, performed by Roger Voudouris, published by Flowering Stone Music; "The Way You Do It," written by Jeff Harrington and Jeff Pennig, performed by Oren Waters, published by Flowering Stone Music; "Give It Up," written by Jeff Harrington and Jeff Pennig, performed by Jeff Harrington, courtesy of Scotti Bros. Records, published by Flowering Stone Music.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Harold Robbins' The Lonely Lady
Release Date:
30 September 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 30 Sep 1983
Production Date:
began 14 Jun 1982 in Rome, Italy
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
KGA Industries, Inc.
1 March 1984
PA203662
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Jerilee Randall enters the Awards Presentation Ceremony alone, unrecognized by the media and the crowd gathered outside. Several years earlier, as a student at Valley High School, Jerilee received an award, presented by film director Guy Jackson, for her outstanding achievements in creative writing. In an acceptance speech, Jerilee states that in each of her stories, at least one character must be “concerned with some important issue that people are afraid to talk about.” Afterward, Jerilee attends a party where she meets Walt Thornton, Jnr., the son of renowned screenwriter, Walter Thornton. He invites Jerilee to meet his famous father, and during the drive, Walt’s friends Joe and Mary attempt to draw her into their amorous activities in the back seat. Shortly after arriving, Joe knocks Walt unconscious and rapes Jerilee with the nozzle of a garden hose before the elder Walter comes to her rescue. Days later, Walter visits Jerilee to return the award statuette she left in his home. They bond over their shared passion for writing, and over time, their mutual admiration turns to love. Although Jerilee’s widowed mother, Veronica, disapproves of her daughter’s romance with an older man, she does not interfere with the couple’s plans to marry. Later, Walter’s agent tries to discourage Jerilee’s aspirations, saying, “women can’t write,” and advises her to earn a living from her beauty rather than her mind. Jerilee proves him wrong by writing a critically-acclaimed book of short stories. When an unemployed actress begs Walter for a part in his next picture, he uses the incident to show his wife that many in the entertainment industry have ...

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Jerilee Randall enters the Awards Presentation Ceremony alone, unrecognized by the media and the crowd gathered outside. Several years earlier, as a student at Valley High School, Jerilee received an award, presented by film director Guy Jackson, for her outstanding achievements in creative writing. In an acceptance speech, Jerilee states that in each of her stories, at least one character must be “concerned with some important issue that people are afraid to talk about.” Afterward, Jerilee attends a party where she meets Walt Thornton, Jnr., the son of renowned screenwriter, Walter Thornton. He invites Jerilee to meet his famous father, and during the drive, Walt’s friends Joe and Mary attempt to draw her into their amorous activities in the back seat. Shortly after arriving, Joe knocks Walt unconscious and rapes Jerilee with the nozzle of a garden hose before the elder Walter comes to her rescue. Days later, Walter visits Jerilee to return the award statuette she left in his home. They bond over their shared passion for writing, and over time, their mutual admiration turns to love. Although Jerilee’s widowed mother, Veronica, disapproves of her daughter’s romance with an older man, she does not interfere with the couple’s plans to marry. Later, Walter’s agent tries to discourage Jerilee’s aspirations, saying, “women can’t write,” and advises her to earn a living from her beauty rather than her mind. Jerilee proves him wrong by writing a critically-acclaimed book of short stories. When an unemployed actress begs Walter for a part in his next picture, he uses the incident to show his wife that many in the entertainment industry have lost their self-respect. Regardless, Jerilee is anxious to learn screenwriting and becomes Walter’s assistant on his latest film. On the set, she reconnects with director Guy Jackson, who complains about the length of a key speech in Walter’s screenplay, to be delivered during a child’s funeral. Jerilee replaces the entire speech with the word, “why,” which pleases the director. Walter is angered by his wife’s audacity, but accepts credit for the rewrite. After the film has become a commercial and critical success, Jerilee is angered by Walter’s refusal to acknowledge her contribution during a lunch with friends and associates. He admits to his loss of self-respect and leaves. Upon returning home, Jerilynn tries to reason with her husband, but he becomes verbally abusive and makes a cruel reference to the garden hose. Sometime later, Guy visits Jerilee in her modest apartment. She has left Walter, written another book, and wants to write a screenplay about two people whose deep love cannot surmount their lack of compatibility. Guy takes her to a party, where she encounters rising star George Ballantine, and they begin a torrid affair, despite the fact that he is married. George rejects Jerilee when he learns that she is pregnant with his child, and she has an abortion. While at a restaurant with Veronica, Jerilee meets nightclub owner Vincent Dacosta and his business partner, Nick Rossi, who are in search of screenplays for their new film production company. When Jerilee offers her screenplay, Dacosta is interested, but later admits that he and Nick will need more than six months to raise the necessary funds. Aware of Jerilee’s dire financial situation, he offers her a job at his nightclub. Their business relationship develops into a stormy love affair, as Dacosta reveals his volatile personality and penchant for cocaine. Jerilee has a nervous breakdown after Dacosta allows her to be molested by lesbian Italian actress Carla Maria Peroni, and she is committed to a mental hospital. Guy’s regular visits to the hospital, along with his love and encouragement, speed Jerilee’s recovery. Her harrowing experiences inspire her to write a new screenplay, titled The Hold-Outs, which Guy takes to his agent. Jerilee is offered the opportunity to sell her screenplay to producer Tom Castel, providing George Ballantine is given a starring role. She refuses at first, but Guy convinces her, saying, “It’s the movie that matters.” Jerilee meets with Castel at his home, where the producer leaves the decision to his bisexual wife, Joanne, who insists that Jerilee join her in the hot tub. Months later, at the Presentation Ceremony, Jerilee wins the award for best original screenplay. During her acceptance speech, she admits that she, like so many women in Hollywood, had to trade sex for a career, and describes how she was exploited by her colleagues. Jerilee places her award statuette on the podium and leaves the ceremony in tears, ignoring the taunts of outraged audience members.

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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.