Nate and Hayes (1983)

PG | 100 mins | Swashbuckler, Adventure | 18 November 1983

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HISTORY

       The 24 May 1982 DV announced acquisition of worldwide distribution rights by Paramount Pictures Corp. to Savage Islands , the working title of a New Zealand production to begin principal photography in the South Pacific on 7 Sep 1982. The screenplay for the $7 million film was credited exclusively to David Odell. An article in the 3 Jun 1982 Screen International mentioned that the story was inspired by the adventures of the nineteenth-century American pirate, Bully Hayes. Photography began 13 Sep 1982, according to the 9 Sep 1982 Var. Filming locations included Fiji and Auckland and Rotorua, New Zealand.
       On 20 Oct 1982, Var reported that Paramount’s advance payment was well in excess of fifty percent of the film’s projected budget, and was believed to be the largest advance ever paid by a major U.S. studio for a New Zealand production. At the time, Savage Islands was also the most expensive picture made in the South Pacific. Producers Lloyd Phillips and Rob Whitehouse originally submitted a twenty-four-page treatment to Paramount, Warner Bros. Pictures, and the Ladd Company, all of which rejected it. Phillips then solicited script development funds from his agent, Duncan Heath of London, England; private investments brokered through Marac Corporation, a New Zealand merchant bank; and the New Zealand Film Commission. No tax-shelter funding was involved, as it had recently been outlawed by the New Zealand government. American writer David Odell completed a first draft, which received positive attention from Paramount. Phillips explained that the studio was considering a pirate-themed picture by director Roman Polanski, ... More Less

       The 24 May 1982 DV announced acquisition of worldwide distribution rights by Paramount Pictures Corp. to Savage Islands , the working title of a New Zealand production to begin principal photography in the South Pacific on 7 Sep 1982. The screenplay for the $7 million film was credited exclusively to David Odell. An article in the 3 Jun 1982 Screen International mentioned that the story was inspired by the adventures of the nineteenth-century American pirate, Bully Hayes. Photography began 13 Sep 1982, according to the 9 Sep 1982 Var. Filming locations included Fiji and Auckland and Rotorua, New Zealand.
       On 20 Oct 1982, Var reported that Paramount’s advance payment was well in excess of fifty percent of the film’s projected budget, and was believed to be the largest advance ever paid by a major U.S. studio for a New Zealand production. At the time, Savage Islands was also the most expensive picture made in the South Pacific. Producers Lloyd Phillips and Rob Whitehouse originally submitted a twenty-four-page treatment to Paramount, Warner Bros. Pictures, and the Ladd Company, all of which rejected it. Phillips then solicited script development funds from his agent, Duncan Heath of London, England; private investments brokered through Marac Corporation, a New Zealand merchant bank; and the New Zealand Film Commission. No tax-shelter funding was involved, as it had recently been outlawed by the New Zealand government. American writer David Odell completed a first draft, which received positive attention from Paramount. Phillips explained that the studio was considering a pirate-themed picture by director Roman Polanski, budgeted at $32 million, but chose the Phillips-Whitehouse production, with its modest $6 million budget. By the time of the Var article, the budget had increased to $10 million. Paramount’s only requirement was that it had approval of the director. The producers’ first choice was New Zealander Sam Pillsbury, but he was deemed unacceptable for “a film of this magnitude.” Several others were considered until all parties agreed upon English television director Ferdinand Fairfax. A second draft of the script was written by American screenwriter John Hughes, and revised during production by Fairfax, although he is not credited onscreen. The director described opening scenes in the original draft as “a reaction to Raiders of the Lost Ark ” (1981, see entry), and believed his revisions gave it a resemblance to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, see entry). A U.S. release in 1,000 theaters was planned for Jun 1983. Phillips and Whitehouse retained all distribution rights for Australia and New Zealand.
       The 23 Oct 1982 Screen International reported that a nineteenth-century port city was constructed for the film in Fiji, the Bay of Islands, “in considerable detail.” Production at the time was “on budget and on schedule.” In the 4 Dec 1982 Screen International, Fairfax spoke of the difficulties of realistically depicting a battle at sea using real ships on the ocean. He contrasted the situation with films of the past, in which such scenes were staged on a studio lot, using a backdrop and a water tank. Fairfax and actress Jenny Seagrove disliked the original screenplay, and accepted their roles on condition that it be rewritten. The production experienced delays due to inclement weather, and the absence of actor Tommy Lee Jones, who spent several days in Auckland, where his wife was giving birth to their son. According to Lloyd Phillips, postproduction would take place at his London-based company, Rocking Horse Films Ltd., to be completed by May 1983, for a release of 1,200 prints the following month in the U.S.
       The 14 Dec 1982 HR stated that photography would be completed in mid Dec 1982, two weeks behind schedule, due to “bad weather, accidents and technical difficulties.” The final budget was $12 million, which included “precompletion publicity” expenses, such as flying journalists to Fiji and New Zealand, where they could observe filming. Weeks later, a full-page advertisement in the 2 Feb 1983 Var announced the completion of photography.
       According to the 5 Jul 1983 HR, Phillips and Whitehouse held a “trade screening” in Wellington, New Zealand in late Jun 1983, which excluded local journalists. The print shown was reportedly not the final edit. The 28 Sep 1983 Var announced the official name of the picture as Nate and Hayes, due for release in the US on 18 Nov 1983.
       The 18 Nov 1983 HR stated that Nate and Hayes would open that day in 945 theaters, with Paramount supplying an advertising budget estimated at $2.5-3 million. A release was planned for late Nov 1983 in Fiji, and late Dec 1983 in New Zealand.
       The Jan 1984 Box reported meager earnings of $815,160 for the film’s opening weekend, and described the plot as “a cookie-cutter combination” of scenes from Star Wars (1977, see entry), Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Cat Ballou (1965, see entry). However, the 16 Nov Var praised writers Hughes and Odell for their imaginative screenplay.
      End credits conclude with the following statement: "The producers would like to thank the many people and organizations in helping this film to be made. In particular: The government and people of Fiji; the New Zealand Film Commission; Miles Coney, Marac Corporation; Otehei Bay, Bay of Islands, New Zealand; Wakaya Island, Fiji; Gerald Lancaster, Pacific Harbour, Fiji." Another acknowledgment notes the picture was "Filmed entirely on locations in Fiji and New Zealand and in the Phillips Whitehouse Studios, Mangere, Auckland, New Zealand by Phillips Whitehouse Productions Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand."
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1984.
---
Daily Variety
24 May 1982.
---
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1982.
---
Films in Review
Jan 1984
p. 53.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 1983
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 1983
p. 3, 25.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1983
p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
18 Nov 1983
p. 18.
New York Times
18 Nov 1983
p. 30.
Screen International
3 Jun 1982.
---
Screen International
23 Oct 1982
p. 12.
Screen International
4 Dec 1982
p. 11.
Variety
9 Sep 1982.
---
Variety
20 Oct 1982
p. 278.
Variety
2 Feb 1983
p. 37.
Variety
28 Sep 1983.
---
Variety
19 Oct 1983.
---
Variety
16 Nov 1983
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Phillips-Whitehouse Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3rd asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Scr story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Main cam op
2d cam op
Main cam focus
2d cam focus
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Focus, 2d unit
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Cam equip supplied by
Sydney, Australia
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir (Fiji)
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2nd asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Props buyer/Dresser
Standby props
Des asst
Des asst
Armourer
Const mgr
Leading hand carpenter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des, 2d unit
Ward mistress, 2d unit
Standby ward, 2d unit
Supv cutter, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus rec at
Wembley, England
Mus rec eng
Cond by
SOUND
Boom op
Dubbing ed
Dial ed
Footsteps ed
Chief dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Floor supv
New Zealand
MAKEUP
Makeup supv and spec makeup eff
Senior makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Loc mgr (Fiji)
Continuity
Armourer
Maritime consultant
Prod accountant
Prod's asst
Prod's secy
Studio mgr
Prod asst
Unit nurse
Maori liaison
Caterer
Casting-Los Angeles
Casting-Australia
Casting-Australia
Casting-U.K.
Casting-New Zealand
Casting-New Zealand
London liaison
Post prod facilities
Hanwell, London, England
STAND INS
Stunt coord, 2d unit
COLOR PERSONNEL
Processing lab
Sydney, Australia
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on a story by Lloyd Phillips.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Savage Islands
Release Date:
18 November 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 November 1983
Production Date:
13 September--mid December 1982
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
21 December 1983
Copyright Number:
PA196873
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
New Zealand, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28965
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Captain “Bully” Hayes and his crew bring a cargo of rifles to a tribe of South Pacific islanders at war with Spanish colonialists. When the queen refuses to pay for the guns, Hayes suspects treachery and throws his bandolier into a fire, hoping the exploding bullets will frighten the natives. However, the sailors are quickly surrounded, and only Hayes breaks free. After successfully eluding his pursuers, Hayes is arrested by a company of Spanish soldiers, led by his nemesis, Ben Pease. While he waits in his cell to be hanged, Hayes tells his story to writer Louis Beck, who considers him the last of the pirates. Hayes is proud to be called a pirate, but stresses that he always lived by a moral code. He recounts the events leading to this moment, beginning with a voyage on his ship, the Rona, to a small island where passengers Nathaniel “Nate” Williamson of Boston, Massachusetts, and his fiancée, Sophie, are to begin their missionary work. Hayes and Sophie have a mutual attraction, and she invests her small inheritance in his cargo business as a way of maintaining contact. Upon reaching their destination, Nate enjoys a happy reunion with his uncle, Reverend Williamson, and his aunt, Katherine, while Sophie watches wistfully as the ship sails away. The elder Williamsons express their surprise at the couple’s safe arrival, considering Hayes’s reputation as a “cutthroat" ... +


Captain “Bully” Hayes and his crew bring a cargo of rifles to a tribe of South Pacific islanders at war with Spanish colonialists. When the queen refuses to pay for the guns, Hayes suspects treachery and throws his bandolier into a fire, hoping the exploding bullets will frighten the natives. However, the sailors are quickly surrounded, and only Hayes breaks free. After successfully eluding his pursuers, Hayes is arrested by a company of Spanish soldiers, led by his nemesis, Ben Pease. While he waits in his cell to be hanged, Hayes tells his story to writer Louis Beck, who considers him the last of the pirates. Hayes is proud to be called a pirate, but stresses that he always lived by a moral code. He recounts the events leading to this moment, beginning with a voyage on his ship, the Rona, to a small island where passengers Nathaniel “Nate” Williamson of Boston, Massachusetts, and his fiancée, Sophie, are to begin their missionary work. Hayes and Sophie have a mutual attraction, and she invests her small inheritance in his cargo business as a way of maintaining contact. Upon reaching their destination, Nate enjoys a happy reunion with his uncle, Reverend Williamson, and his aunt, Katherine, while Sophie watches wistfully as the ship sails away. The elder Williamsons express their surprise at the couple’s safe arrival, considering Hayes’s reputation as a “cutthroat" and “blackbirder,” or slave trader. The next day, as Rev. Williamson officiates at his nephew’s wedding, a group of blackbirders, led by Pease, invade the island. Nate Williamson is rendered unconscious, while his aunt and uncle are killed, and Sophie is taken prisoner, along with most of the island’s inhabitants. When he regains consciousness, Nate assumes Hayes is the culprit and pursues him on a raft, which capsizes, leaving the young man stranded on a sandbar. On Pease’s ship, the Leonora, the captain meets with Count Von Rittenberg of Germany, who wants to expand his country’s influence in the South Pacific. Pease accepts 5,000 gold marks to broker a deal with King Owatopi of Ponape to establish a German anchorage on the island, but warns Rittenberg that the inhabitants practice incest, cannibalism, and human sacrifice. Elsewhere, Hayes and his crew discover Nate stranded on the sandbar and bring him aboard. Hayes answers Nate’s accusations of murder and blackbirding by identifying the guilty party as Pease, who leaves mark implicating Hayes at scene of his crimes. He explains that the two were once business partners, and during a fight over a woman, he accidentally shot away Pease’s testicles. Hayes offers to assist Nate in his quest to rescue Sophie and kill Pease. They sail to Samoa, where Pease is auctioning his captives into slavery. While Hayes inquires about Pease’s whereabouts, Nate searches for Sophie. He enters the auction house and denounces Pease, after which he is ejected from the building. Upon learning that Hayes is on the island, Pease orders his men back to their ship, but Hayes and his men dispatch each of the crewmembers along the way. Nate boards the Leonora and finds a note from Sophie to Hayes, saying that she is being taken to Ponape, adding that she will always remember him. Nate and Hayes confront Pease, who tries to leave the village on a buckboard. When they demand Sophie’s return, Pease rolls a barrel of human heads toward them and continues toward the beach. Hayes and his crew follow on foot and reach the shore as Pease boards Von Rittenberg’s steam-powered battleship. Realizing they need a faster ship, the men steal the Leonora and sail for Ponape. Inside the captain’s quarters, both Nate and Hayes admit to being in love with Sophie. However, Nate believes Hayes should marry Sophie, as she would be a positive influence, while Hayes argues that Nate would be a better companion for her. They ultimately conclude that Sophie should decide for herself. On Ponape, Pease and Rittenberg are brought before King Owatopi. They offer the king a full-sized human head and a barrel of shrunken heads as payment for use of the island. But Owatopi demands more, so they deliver Sophie as a human sacrifice. As she is lowered into a flaming pit, Nate and Hayes come to Sophie’s rescue, then fire on the natives, killing the king and several of his minions. The adversaries return to their ships, and Rittenberg unsuccessfully attempts to sink the Leonora, before following it into a cove. The pirates board the warship, kill Rittenberg and most of his crew, and place an artillery shell in the gun turret mechanism. As the pirates swim back to their ship, Pease orders the gun operator to aim in their direction, detonating the shell and destroying the warship. Pease survives and swims to shore. Now in his prison cell, Hayes tells Beck that in the eighteen months since the incident, he has become a gunrunner to anti-colonialists, and Nate and Sophie are a married couple living in Boston. Hayes is led to the gallows as Pease looks on with delight. Nate, disguised as a priest, produces two pistols, and he and Hayes fire on the Spaniards. Sophie appears at the top of the prison wall, disguised as a nun, and throws ropes down to the men. She signals a pair of horses outside the wall and they pull the men to the top of the wall. When Pease tries to interfere, Hayes ties one of the ropes around his neck, and as the horses pull, Pease is hanged while Hayes is hoisted over the wall. Upon reaching shore, the three slide down a rope and crash into a guano barge, then board a dinghy and row toward the Leonora. +

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

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