Lost in Yonkers (1993)

PG | 112 mins | Comedy-drama | 14 May 1993

Director:

Martha Coolidge

Writer:

Neil Simon

Producer:

Ray Stark

Cinematographer:

Johnny E. Jensen

Editor:

Steven Cohen

Production Designer:

David Chapman

Production Company:

Rastar Productions
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HISTORY

On 2 May 1991, Rastar Films published an announcement in HR, congratulating Ray Stark and Columbia Pictures on the acquisition of Neil Simon’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Lost in Yonkers, which opened on Broadway 21 Feb 1991. This marked the fifteenth time the playwright adapted his work for the screen.
       According to a 14 May 1993 HR article, Stark and Columbia approached director Martha Coolidge, who decided to join the project upon meeting Simon shortly following the completion of the second screenplay draft. As noted in the 17 Mar 1993 HR, actresses Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth agreed to reprise their Tony-winning stage roles as “Aunt Bella” and “Grandma,” while Richard Dreyfuss took over as “Uncle Louie,” played on Broadway by Kevin Spacey. The 23 Apr 1993 LADN noted that Dreyfuss won an Academy Award for his previous collaboration with Simon, the 1977 production of his original screenplay, The Goodbye Girl (see entry).
       Principal photography began on 10 Aug 1992, as reported in an 18 Aug 1992 HR production chart. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that the historic Murphy Theatre in downtown Wilmington, OH, stood in for the movie theater frequented by Aunt Bella in the film. Crew constructed Grandma’s candy store and apartment in a Ludlow, KY, parking lot, with adjacent buildings and businesses redressed to match the neighborhood, modeled after photographs of Yonkers, NY, circa 1942. Additional locations included Augusta, KY; a ferryboat in Higginsport, OH; and a train and lake in Indiana, the latter of which doubled for the Ohio River. The 18 Aug 1992 DV ... More Less

On 2 May 1991, Rastar Films published an announcement in HR, congratulating Ray Stark and Columbia Pictures on the acquisition of Neil Simon’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Lost in Yonkers, which opened on Broadway 21 Feb 1991. This marked the fifteenth time the playwright adapted his work for the screen.
       According to a 14 May 1993 HR article, Stark and Columbia approached director Martha Coolidge, who decided to join the project upon meeting Simon shortly following the completion of the second screenplay draft. As noted in the 17 Mar 1993 HR, actresses Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth agreed to reprise their Tony-winning stage roles as “Aunt Bella” and “Grandma,” while Richard Dreyfuss took over as “Uncle Louie,” played on Broadway by Kevin Spacey. The 23 Apr 1993 LADN noted that Dreyfuss won an Academy Award for his previous collaboration with Simon, the 1977 production of his original screenplay, The Goodbye Girl (see entry).
       Principal photography began on 10 Aug 1992, as reported in an 18 Aug 1992 HR production chart. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that the historic Murphy Theatre in downtown Wilmington, OH, stood in for the movie theater frequented by Aunt Bella in the film. Crew constructed Grandma’s candy store and apartment in a Ludlow, KY, parking lot, with adjacent buildings and businesses redressed to match the neighborhood, modeled after photographs of Yonkers, NY, circa 1942. Additional locations included Augusta, KY; a ferryboat in Higginsport, OH; and a train and lake in Indiana, the latter of which doubled for the Ohio River. The 18 Aug 1992 DV also noted that a scene was shot in a cemetery in Cincinnati, OH. The $15 million production was frequently stalled due to abrupt weather changes, but the 19 Oct 1992 DV reported that shooting was completed on 16 Oct 1992.
       A 22 Oct 1992 DV news item stated that Lost in Yonkers was the first film to be edited entirely on Avid’s new Film Option software, which used the film playback rate of twenty-four frames-per-second, as opposed to the previous precedent of thirty frames-per-second NTSC video standard, which was the only option available on earlier Avid models.
       On 24 Mar 1993, LAT reported that positive early feedback prompted Columbia to push up the release date from summer to 14 May 1993. The film received mixed-to-positive reviews, with several critics praising the strength of Ruehl and Worth’s repeat performances, and the feature film debuts of young actors Brad Stoll and Mike Damus.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Filmed at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, California”; “The original Broadway production of Lost in Yonkers was produced by Emanuel Azenberg”; “Special Thanks to: City of Ludlow, Kentucky; City of Wilmington, Ohio; Greater Cincinnati Film Commission; J. Dolan Communications”; and, “Clip from Now Voyager provided by Turner Entertainment Co.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Aug 1992.
---
Daily Variety
19 Oct 1992.
---
Daily Variety
22 Oct 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1993
p. 8.
Los Angeles Daily News
23 Apr 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Mar 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 May 1993
Section F, p. 1, 4-5.
Los Angeles Times
14 May 1993
Calendar, p. 8.
New York Times
14 May 1993
p. 10.
Variety
10 May 1993
p. 236.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures presents
a Rastar production
a film by Martha Coolidge
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Digitally ed on
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Lead person
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Set des
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost des
Key costumer
Men`s ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Prod mixer
Boom op
Sd services by
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Ms. Ruehl's makeup
Hairstylist
Mr. Dreyfuss' hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst to Ms. Coolidge
Asst to Ms. Coolidge
Asst to Mr. Caracciolo
Loc mgr
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Craft service
Caterer
Unit pub
Studio teacher
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Utility stunt
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Lost in Yonkers by Neil Simon (New York, 21 Feb 1991).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Now Voyager," written by Max Steiner, courtesy of Turner Entertainment Co.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers
Release Date:
14 May 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 May 1993
Production Date:
10 August--16 October 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 June 1993
Copyright Number:
PA618002
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32189
SYNOPSIS

In the summer of 1942, widower Eddie Kurnitz drives his young sons, Jay and Arty, to Yonkers, New York, to see their stern German grandmother for the first time in several years. Intimidated by his own mother, Eddie leaves the boys to wait in the family candy store while he goes upstairs to announce their arrival. Before long, Jay and Arty spot their daffy and emotionally volatile Aunt Bella absentmindedly wandering outside on her way home from the movie theater. After speaking with his mother, Eddie admits to having gone bankrupt paying for his wife’s medical bills. Although he has borrowed $9,000 from a "loan shark," he is unsure if he can repay the money unless he accepts a lucrative job traveling the Southern U.S. selling scrap metal for the war. Realizing they have no choice but to stay with their grandmother, Jay and Arty struggle to make a good impression. Grandma refuses, bluntly expressing her disdain for their dead mother, but Bella threatens to leave home unless the boys are allowed to stay. As Jay and Arty acclimate to life with Grandma, Bella develops a relationship with a mentally handicapped movie theater usher named Johnny, who shares her dream of owning a restaurant. When Johnny proposes, Bella excitedly tells the boys, but worries that Grandma will disapprove. While discussing her plans, Bella accidentally reveals that Grandma has nearly $15,000 in savings hidden somewhere in the house. Hoping to borrow the money to help their father, Jay and Arty obsessively scour the closets and cellar before finding their Uncle Louie in the candy store, as he hides from a gangster known as “Hollywood Harry.” Revealing a holster under his ... +


In the summer of 1942, widower Eddie Kurnitz drives his young sons, Jay and Arty, to Yonkers, New York, to see their stern German grandmother for the first time in several years. Intimidated by his own mother, Eddie leaves the boys to wait in the family candy store while he goes upstairs to announce their arrival. Before long, Jay and Arty spot their daffy and emotionally volatile Aunt Bella absentmindedly wandering outside on her way home from the movie theater. After speaking with his mother, Eddie admits to having gone bankrupt paying for his wife’s medical bills. Although he has borrowed $9,000 from a "loan shark," he is unsure if he can repay the money unless he accepts a lucrative job traveling the Southern U.S. selling scrap metal for the war. Realizing they have no choice but to stay with their grandmother, Jay and Arty struggle to make a good impression. Grandma refuses, bluntly expressing her disdain for their dead mother, but Bella threatens to leave home unless the boys are allowed to stay. As Jay and Arty acclimate to life with Grandma, Bella develops a relationship with a mentally handicapped movie theater usher named Johnny, who shares her dream of owning a restaurant. When Johnny proposes, Bella excitedly tells the boys, but worries that Grandma will disapprove. While discussing her plans, Bella accidentally reveals that Grandma has nearly $15,000 in savings hidden somewhere in the house. Hoping to borrow the money to help their father, Jay and Arty obsessively scour the closets and cellar before finding their Uncle Louie in the candy store, as he hides from a gangster known as “Hollywood Harry.” Revealing a holster under his jacket, Louie claims to be the bodyguard to a “very prominent public figure,” and offers the boys money to lie if anyone comes looking for him. Over the next few days, Hollywood Harry continues to stake out the house, and Bella grows nervous with the anticipation of telling Grandma about her engagement to Johnny. One night, Louie shows Jay and Arty a secret underground tunnel he and Bella dug as children to elude their mother’s strict rules. Although he relates more stories of Grandma’s abuses, he insists the old woman has “moxie” for enduring her tough German upbringing. On the night Louie plans to leave, Bella prepares a special dinner and struggles to tell her family about her relationship with Johnny. When she mentions the cost of opening their restaurant, Louie becomes suspicious of Johnny’s intentions. Bella, however, declares her feelings for Johnny and fights for her right to start a family and raise children who will love her unconditionally. After her tearful speech, Grandma retires to her room without a word. Later that night, Jay distracts Hollywood Harry, allowing Louie to escape. Meanwhile, Bella moves in with her sister, Gert, and tells Johnny that Louie gave her money for the restaurant. While she is eager to start their life together, Johnny becomes anxious, citing his usual excuse that it is “not a good day” to make any major decisions. Realizing he will never be ready for commitment, Bella decides to make amends with her mother, who insists she should still be treated as a child. Due to Grandma’s emotionally frigid parenting, Bella reveals she often sought affection from boys and young men she met in the park during her youth. Discovering that Bella has acquired the money for her restaurant, Grandma accuses her of stealing and orders her to leave. Bella snidely remarks that her dead siblings, Rose and Aaron, were the “lucky ones” for escaping their mother’s wrath. Hurt by her words, Grandma confesses how their deaths affected her and finally acknowledges that she has wronged her daughter. Bella admits that even though her relationship with Johnny is over, she still wants a life and family of her own. Eight months later, Louie goes on to earn his fortune in Guadalcanal, and Eddie returns from the South. As they say goodbye, Grandma tells Jay and Arty that her savings were hidden under their mattress all along. The boys regret leaving their aunt alone with Grandma, and although Bella earnestly tries to improve her relationship with her mother, the old woman ultimately refuses to change. Early one Sunday morning, Bella leaves home to begin a new life in Florida, where she gets a job waiting tables. +

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

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