Whispers in the Dark (1992)

R | 103 mins | Drama | 7 August 1992

Director:

Christopher Crowe

Cinematographer:

Michael Chapman

Editor:

Bill Pankow

Production Designer:

John Jay Moore

Production Companies:

Paramount Pictures , Martin Bregman Productions
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HISTORY

       Referring to the film by the working title Sessions, a 23 Jul 1990 HR news item noted that the project marked MCA Television Entertainment’s first foray into feature film production after its formation in 1988 as a producer of telefilms for the USA television network. The budget was expected to be significantly higher than the $2.5-$3 million telefilms MCA Television Entertainment (MTE) had produced up to that point, and Universal Pictures was set to distribute. However, neither MTE nor Universal remained with the project.
       In a 4 Oct 1991 news brief, Screen International listed Paramount Pictures as the new studio behind the project, and named Lou Diamond Phillips and Greta Scacchi as recent additions to the cast. Neither Scacchi nor Phillips appeared in the final film. The following week, an 11 Oct 1991 Screen International brief incorrectly listed Cameron Crowe as director.
       Principal photography began 21 Oct 1991 in New York City, as noted in a 15 Oct 1991 HR production chart that also listed North Carolina as a location. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, “Ann Hecker’s” office and apartment interiors were shot at a New York City studio facility located in a warehouse on Tenth Avenue.
       Whispers in the Dark initially received an “NC-17” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), as stated in a 2 Aug 1992 LAT article, which also noted that Paramount had invested $30 million in the film. Producer Martin Bregman subsequently dismissed the MPAA’s ratings process as “arbitrary,” and claimed only minimal cuts had to be made to the opening credits sequence ... More Less

       Referring to the film by the working title Sessions, a 23 Jul 1990 HR news item noted that the project marked MCA Television Entertainment’s first foray into feature film production after its formation in 1988 as a producer of telefilms for the USA television network. The budget was expected to be significantly higher than the $2.5-$3 million telefilms MCA Television Entertainment (MTE) had produced up to that point, and Universal Pictures was set to distribute. However, neither MTE nor Universal remained with the project.
       In a 4 Oct 1991 news brief, Screen International listed Paramount Pictures as the new studio behind the project, and named Lou Diamond Phillips and Greta Scacchi as recent additions to the cast. Neither Scacchi nor Phillips appeared in the final film. The following week, an 11 Oct 1991 Screen International brief incorrectly listed Cameron Crowe as director.
       Principal photography began 21 Oct 1991 in New York City, as noted in a 15 Oct 1991 HR production chart that also listed North Carolina as a location. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, “Ann Hecker’s” office and apartment interiors were shot at a New York City studio facility located in a warehouse on Tenth Avenue.
       Whispers in the Dark initially received an “NC-17” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), as stated in a 2 Aug 1992 LAT article, which also noted that Paramount had invested $30 million in the film. Producer Martin Bregman subsequently dismissed the MPAA’s ratings process as “arbitrary,” and claimed only minimal cuts had to be made to the opening credits sequence before the film was re-rated “R.”
       Critical reception was generally poor. The film was referred to as an “outright summer flop” in the 6 Sep 1992 Northwest Florida Daily News, and a 30 Oct 1992 DV box-office chart reported that it grossed a disappointing $11 million.
       The film marked Christopher Crowe’s feature film directorial debut.

      End credits include the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank: The personnel of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting and the members of the Special Operations Division of the New York City Police Department for their support and cooperation; Tavern on the Green”; “‘Olivia’s Travels’ paintings and drawings were executed by William Rodgers”; “Portraits of battered women provided by Alec Hemer”; and, “Partially filmed at M.I.C. Production Center, New York, NY.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1992
p. 14.
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1992.
---
Hollywood Drama-Logue
6-12 Aug 1992
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1992
p. 6, 22.
Los Angeles Times
2 Aug 1992
Calendar, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
7 Aug 1992
Calendar, p. 10.
New York Times
7 Aug 1992
p. 17.
Northwest Florida Daily News
6 Sep 1992
Section A, p. 1.
Screen International
19 Jul 1991.
---
Screen International
4 Oct 1991.
---
Screen International
11 Oct 1991.
---
Variety
3 Aug 1992
p. 39.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures presents
a Martin Bregman production
a Christopher Crowe film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 1st asst dir
2d unit dir
2d unit prod mgr
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
1st company grip
2d company grip
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Cam trainee
Addl photog
2d unit dir of photog
Addl cam op
Steadicam op
Aerial photog
Video playback op
Underwater grip
Louma crane tech
Cam remote tech
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Addl film ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Prop person
Prop person
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Head carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Key const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Charge person scenic artist
Prod scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Florida const
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
Orch cond
Mus preparation
Orch contractor
Mus scoring consultant
Mus supv
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cableperson
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main and end titles des and prod
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Spec makeup
Addl spec makeup
Addl spec makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Post prod coord
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Asst auditor
Post-prod accountant
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Extras casting for Todd Thaler Casting
Extras casting
Studio mgr
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Casting asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation/Florida
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Parking coord
Asst to Mr. Martin Bregman
Asst to Mr. Michael S. Bregman
Asst to Mr. Kesten
Asst to Mr. Crowe
Asst to Ms. Sciorra
Asst to Mr. Alda
Asst to Mr. LaPaglia
Magic consultant
Magic consultant
Craft service
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Voice over
Voice over
Voice over
Voice over
Voice over
Voice over
Voice over
Voice over
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Dailies by
SOURCES
SONGS
“I Get Along Without You Very Well,” by Hoagy Carmichael
“Stella By Starlight,” by Ned Washington & Victor Young
“Broken Arrow,” written and performed by Robbie Robertson, courtesy of Geffen Records
+
SONGS
“I Get Along Without You Very Well,” by Hoagy Carmichael
“Stella By Starlight,” by Ned Washington & Victor Young
“Broken Arrow,” written and performed by Robbie Robertson, courtesy of Geffen Records
“Concerto In E Major” (“L’Amoroso”), by A. Vivaldi, performed by Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by Vittorio Negri, courtesy of Philips Classics, by arrangement PolyGram Special Markets.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Sessions
Release Date:
7 August 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 August 1992
Production Date:
began 21 October 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
19 October 1992
Copyright Number:
PA589529
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision cameras and lenses
Prints
Prints by Deluxe
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31744
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Psychiatrist Ann Hecker wakes up from a recurring sex dream about Eve Abergray, a client who spends the bulk of her sessions detailing her sex life. At Ann’s office building in Manhattan, a man compliments Ann’s beauty in the elevator, but she is too shy to respond. She meets with an artist client named Johnny C., who shows her his latest painting of an angelic-looking woman. Her next session is with Eve Abergray, who points out that Ann is blushing as she describes a sexual encounter involving bondage. Afterward, Ann records session notes on a Dictaphone. At dinner with fellow psychiatrists Sarah and Leo Green, Ann announces her plans to break up with her live-in boyfriend, Paul. Before leaving, she tells Leo, formerly her therapist, that she would like to start seeing him again. Leo is wary since they have become friends, but promises to think about it. On her way to work, Ann runs into the man who complimented her in the elevator and thanks him. The man introduces himself as Doug McDowell and suggests they go on a date. In another session with Ann, Johnny C. confesses to obsessing over Eve Abergray after seeing her outside Ann’s office. Disturbed by Johnny’s sadistic sexual fantasies, Ann suggests they start meeting twice a week. Leo Green agrees to again see Ann for therapy, and in their first session, she describes her recurring sex dreams about Eve. Doug McDowell calls Ann for an impromptu date and takes her flying in his charter jet. Doug reveals that he was in the United States Air Force and has flown private jets ever since. They fly to Nantucket, Massachusetts for dinner, and bond ... +


Psychiatrist Ann Hecker wakes up from a recurring sex dream about Eve Abergray, a client who spends the bulk of her sessions detailing her sex life. At Ann’s office building in Manhattan, a man compliments Ann’s beauty in the elevator, but she is too shy to respond. She meets with an artist client named Johnny C., who shows her his latest painting of an angelic-looking woman. Her next session is with Eve Abergray, who points out that Ann is blushing as she describes a sexual encounter involving bondage. Afterward, Ann records session notes on a Dictaphone. At dinner with fellow psychiatrists Sarah and Leo Green, Ann announces her plans to break up with her live-in boyfriend, Paul. Before leaving, she tells Leo, formerly her therapist, that she would like to start seeing him again. Leo is wary since they have become friends, but promises to think about it. On her way to work, Ann runs into the man who complimented her in the elevator and thanks him. The man introduces himself as Doug McDowell and suggests they go on a date. In another session with Ann, Johnny C. confesses to obsessing over Eve Abergray after seeing her outside Ann’s office. Disturbed by Johnny’s sadistic sexual fantasies, Ann suggests they start meeting twice a week. Leo Green agrees to again see Ann for therapy, and in their first session, she describes her recurring sex dreams about Eve. Doug McDowell calls Ann for an impromptu date and takes her flying in his charter jet. Doug reveals that he was in the United States Air Force and has flown private jets ever since. They fly to Nantucket, Massachusetts for dinner, and bond over their shared Midwestern roots. Ann tells him her late father was also a pilot, and Doug discusses his short-lived marriage. When he drops her off at home, Ann invites Doug inside, and they make love. She remarks that he is the gentlest man she has ever met. In her next session, Eve Abergray undresses and begins to masturbate despite Ann’s protests. Eve breaks down crying and admits to having a fight with her lover after he took photographs of her with a noose around her neck. Eve admits feeling aroused even though the situation was dangerous. In her next session with Leo, Ann discusses the possibility that Eve is delusional since there are discrepancies in her descriptions of her lover. Leo discourages Ann from spying on Eve, but she ignores his advice and follows Eve to her regular Wednesday lunch date. Ann is shocked to discover Doug McDowell seated at Eve’s side. Doug spots Ann from across the room and chases after her, but she flees in a taxi. Unaware that Ann followed them, Eve cries at her next session and announces that Doug broke up with her. Concealing the fact that she knows Doug, Ann suggests that she and Eve evaluate their progress and whether or not to continue seeing each other. Eve accuses Ann of dumping her, and Ann excuses herself to make an urgent call to Leo Green. When she returns, Eve has disappeared. That evening, Doug accosts Ann in the lobby, and Eve catches them. Doug promises Ann he had no idea she was Eve’s psychiatrist. In a hysterical state, Eve reveals that she stole Ann’s session tapes to prevent her from ending their therapy sessions. Later, Leo Green advises Ann to hire a malpractice attorney and forbids her from seeing Eve again. Ann worries about Eve’s emotional instability, however, and goes to her apartment the next morning to find Eve hanging from a rope. An autopsy reveals Eve was murdered, and police detective Larry Morgenstern questions Ann, who refuses to discuss Eve’s personal life on the basis of doctor-patient confidentiality. Leo Green suspects Doug is the murderer, but Ann, who continues to have feelings for Doug, rejects the idea. Meanwhile, Detective Morgenstern discovers that Eve’s art gallery was set to feature paintings by Johnny C., also known as John Castillo, Ann’s patient with sadistic sexual fantasies. When Ann refuses to hand over Johnny’s session tapes as evidence, Morgenstern places her behind a two-way mirror and interrogates Johnny about his history of torturing women. That night, Johnny breaks into Ann’s apartment and ties her up. He threatens to burn her with a cigarette and laments his innate desire to torture women. However, he denies killing Eve and claims to have spent the night of her murder with a crack cocaine addict named “Frank Karsh.” Threatening to take his own life, Johnny breaks Ann’s window and crawls onto the ledge. Ann calls Morgenstern for help. When he arrives, he coaxes Johnny back inside, but Johnny slips. Morgenstern grabs onto him, but his grip loosens and Johnny falls to his death. Distraught, Ann retreats to Leo and Sarah Green’s apartment, where she stays up talking about her mother’s death and her father’s subsequent suicide. Leo is impressed that Ann has finally expressed anger toward her father. In the morning, Doug shows up at Ann’s apartment and is happy to hear that Eve’s suspected killer is dead. He flies Ann to meet his mother in Iowa. There, Ann learns that Doug’s first wife hanged herself, and she asks why Doug never told her. He confesses to having cheated on his wife, prompting the depression that drove her to suicide, but insists Eve’s death by hanging was only a coincidence. Returning home from Iowa, Ann is contacted by Morgenstern, who reveals that Frank Karsh corroborated Johnny’s alibi. He now suspects Doug for Eve’s murder. The next day, Doug calls Ann with news that Morgenstern questioned him for three hours. She agrees to meet him at Teterboro Airport. On her way there, Ann is accosted by Paul, her mentally unstable ex-boyfriend, who secretly follows her to Teterboro. At the airport, Ann finds Doug in his office, staring in shock at Detective Morgenstern’s dead body. Doug cries out that he found Morgenstern this way, and chases after Ann as she runs outside. Just as Doug catches up to her, Ann’s ex-boyfriend Paul arrives and runs him over. Ann recovers from the incident at Sarah and Leo’s beach house. Perusing her friends’ music collection, she finds a tape from her early sessions with Leo and listens to it while Leo and Sarah run errands. In the recording, Leo chronicles his growing obsession with a young Ann. Leo returns home to find Ann listening to the tape. He guzzles wine and claims he murdered Eve in order to protect Ann from blackmail. Leo knocks Sarah over the head with the wine bottle and chases Ann onto the beach, where he attacks her with a fishhook. She wrestles the weapon away and uses it to kill him. Sometime later, Doug links arms with Ann on a runway, congratulating her after she completes her first solo flight. +

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

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