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HISTORY

On 7 Aug 1968, Var announced that actor Paul Newman and former agency executive John Foreman had teamed up to produce A Hall of Mirrors, based on Robert Stone’s 1966 novel of the same name, which they purchased for $50,000. For an additional $60,000, Stone agreed to adapt his work for the screen, and Stuart Rosenberg later signed on to direct. Although an 8 Aug 1968 DV news item referred to the independent company’s deal with Universal Pictures, the film moved to Paramount Pictures and began casting early the following year.
       With Newman and wife Joanne Woodward already committed to appear in the leading roles, the 20 Feb 1969 DV reported that they would be joined by Anthony Franciosa. However, a 2 Apr 1969 DV item announced Franciosa’s departure—a story confirmed five days later by an LAT article claiming he had lost the job after getting into an argument with Rosenberg. Meanwhile, the 17 Mar 1969 DV indicated Anthony Perkins had been hired for the third principal role.
       Additional LAT and DV casting announcements throughout the spring and early summer included the following actors whose participation could not be determined, or may have been uncredited: Lou Gossett, Bill Holliday, Lorna Thayer, John Mitchum, Margie Welling, Maritza Ko, Sharri Zak, Helen Kleeb, Owen Bush, Jack Pepper, Greg Martin, Herman Boden, Joe Paz , John Marlin, Dian Myles, Ron Nyman, Rhodie Cogan, and Frank Radcliff. The 22 May 1969 edition of the Los Angeles Sentinel also noted that Playboy “Bunnies” Gwen Wong, Syleste Holt, Donna Russell, and Christin Holly (all members ... More Less

On 7 Aug 1968, Var announced that actor Paul Newman and former agency executive John Foreman had teamed up to produce A Hall of Mirrors, based on Robert Stone’s 1966 novel of the same name, which they purchased for $50,000. For an additional $60,000, Stone agreed to adapt his work for the screen, and Stuart Rosenberg later signed on to direct. Although an 8 Aug 1968 DV news item referred to the independent company’s deal with Universal Pictures, the film moved to Paramount Pictures and began casting early the following year.
       With Newman and wife Joanne Woodward already committed to appear in the leading roles, the 20 Feb 1969 DV reported that they would be joined by Anthony Franciosa. However, a 2 Apr 1969 DV item announced Franciosa’s departure—a story confirmed five days later by an LAT article claiming he had lost the job after getting into an argument with Rosenberg. Meanwhile, the 17 Mar 1969 DV indicated Anthony Perkins had been hired for the third principal role.
       Additional LAT and DV casting announcements throughout the spring and early summer included the following actors whose participation could not be determined, or may have been uncredited: Lou Gossett, Bill Holliday, Lorna Thayer, John Mitchum, Margie Welling, Maritza Ko, Sharri Zak, Helen Kleeb, Owen Bush, Jack Pepper, Greg Martin, Herman Boden, Joe Paz , John Marlin, Dian Myles, Ron Nyman, Rhodie Cogan, and Frank Radcliff. The 22 May 1969 edition of the Los Angeles Sentinel also noted that Playboy “Bunnies” Gwen Wong, Syleste Holt, Donna Russell, and Christin Holly (all members of the Screen Actors Guild) served as background performers in a scene shot on a sound stage reproduction of the local Playboy Club in New Orleans, LA.
       According to an 11 Apr 1969 DV production chart, principal photography began in New Orleans on 3 Apr 1969. After several days on location, the cast and crew returned to the Paramount studio lot in Hollywood, CA, by mid-Apr 1969. A 21 Apr 1969 DV brief indicated that filming took place simultaneously on Stages 6 and 7. Later that summer, however, multiple contemporary sources, including the 23 Jun 1969 DV, once again placed Newman and Woodward on location in New Orleans. Production was completed shortly thereafter, and a 10 Dec 1969 Var article revealed the finished film was awaiting release.
       Several months later, the 29 Apr 1970 Var stated that Paramount had tested the picture for audiences in Boston, MA, under the title WUSA, which was intended to capitalize on the recent influx of release titles containing abbreviations or acronyms. The change stuck, and the Thanksgiving 1970 release date was pushed up by a few weeks. New York City screenings began 1 Nov 1970 at the Penthouse and Palaza theaters, followed by an exclusive West Coast engagement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on 4 Nov 1970. The 9 Jan 1971 LAT announced that citywide expansion across Los Angeles area was due to take place on 20 Jan 1971.
       At the time of its theatrical release, reviews for WUSA were generally negative, and Newman told the 24 Nov 1971 Var that he was disappointed by its commercial returns in the U.S., calling it a “flop.” He hoped its controversial subject matter would play better with foreign audiences, and the picture was included in that year’s London Film Festival lineup. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Aug 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Feb 1969
p. 1.
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1969
p. 26.
Daily Variety
11 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Apr 1969
p. 12.
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 May 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 May 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
27 May 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Jun 1969
p. 2.
Los Angeles Sentinel
22 May 1969
Section F, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
4 Apr 1969
Section H, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
7 Apr 1969
Section G, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jul 1969
Section C, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1970
Section I, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1970
Section H, p. 1, 17.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jan 1971
Section B, p. 6.
New York Times
2 Nov 1970
p. 69.
Variety
7 Aug 1968
p. 5.
Variety
2 Apr 1969
p. 26.
Variety
10 Dec 1969
p. 26.
Variety
29 Apr 1970
p. 22.
Variety
9 Sep 1970
p. 22.
Variety
24 Nov 1971
p. 4.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Stuart Rosenberg-Paul Newman-John Foreman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Ch cine
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Woodward's cost
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus comp & cond
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Dial coach
Prop master
Gaffer
Constr mgr
Casting dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel A Hall of Mirrors by Robert Stone (Boston, 1966).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Glory Road," music and lyrics by Neil Diamond, sung by Neil Diamond.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
A Hall of Mirrors
Release Date:
1 November 1970
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 1 November 1970
Los Angeles opening: 4 November 1970
Production Date:
began 3 April 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Stuart Rosenberg Productions
Copyright Date:
19 August 1970
Copyright Number:
LP38418
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
115
MPAA Rating:
GP
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Rheinhardt, a drunken drifter, collects a debt from his old friend Farley, a con man currently posing as a revivalist preacher in New Orleans, and learns from him that right-wing radio station WUSA is looking for an announcer. Later that night in a waterfront bar he meets Geraldine, who is trying to hustle a drunken sailor into buying her dinner; after Rheinhardt buys her a steak, she takes him to her roominghouse where they spend the night together. The next day he meets Bingamon, the radio station's owner, and is hired on the stipulation that he read reactionary editorials on the air. Soon he meets the naive and liberal Rainey, who has been unknowingly duped by Bingamon into taking part in a phony welfare investigation actually intended to create a backlash among whites. Rheinhardt, disturbed because he, too, is being manipulated, gets drunk, quarrels with Rainey, and then walks out on Geraldine. Later, after Rainey has learned the truth of the situation from black newspaperman Roosevelt Berry, WUSA sponsors a large political hate rally with gospel singers, a guest appearance by an aging cowboy star, and a demonstration by black militants outside the stadium. Rainey, now completely disillusioned, tries to assassinate Bingamon in front of the audience, but he hits one of the demagogue's assistants. As Rainey tries to escape, the hysterical crowd stomps him to death. Meanwhile, the gospel group, which is made up of Geraldine's hippie neighbors, fears that the riot will lead to drug arrests, and they give Geraldine their stash of marijuana. When the police discover the drugs and arrest her, Geraldine hangs herself in the jail cell. Rheinhardt learns the news from Geraldine's crippled ... +


Rheinhardt, a drunken drifter, collects a debt from his old friend Farley, a con man currently posing as a revivalist preacher in New Orleans, and learns from him that right-wing radio station WUSA is looking for an announcer. Later that night in a waterfront bar he meets Geraldine, who is trying to hustle a drunken sailor into buying her dinner; after Rheinhardt buys her a steak, she takes him to her roominghouse where they spend the night together. The next day he meets Bingamon, the radio station's owner, and is hired on the stipulation that he read reactionary editorials on the air. Soon he meets the naive and liberal Rainey, who has been unknowingly duped by Bingamon into taking part in a phony welfare investigation actually intended to create a backlash among whites. Rheinhardt, disturbed because he, too, is being manipulated, gets drunk, quarrels with Rainey, and then walks out on Geraldine. Later, after Rainey has learned the truth of the situation from black newspaperman Roosevelt Berry, WUSA sponsors a large political hate rally with gospel singers, a guest appearance by an aging cowboy star, and a demonstration by black militants outside the stadium. Rainey, now completely disillusioned, tries to assassinate Bingamon in front of the audience, but he hits one of the demagogue's assistants. As Rainey tries to escape, the hysterical crowd stomps him to death. Meanwhile, the gospel group, which is made up of Geraldine's hippie neighbors, fears that the riot will lead to drug arrests, and they give Geraldine their stash of marijuana. When the police discover the drugs and arrest her, Geraldine hangs herself in the jail cell. Rheinhardt learns the news from Geraldine's crippled friend, Philomene; after visiting the grave, he packs his bags and leaves the city. +

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

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