HealtH (1980)

PG | 98 mins | Satire | 12 September 1980

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HISTORY

End credits list script supervisor Luca Koulimelis incorrectly as “Luga Koulimelis” and Penn Herb Co. Olbas incorrectly as “Penn Herb Co. Oblas.”
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Many thanks for the following good humored and valuable contributions to the making of this film: Appri Cosmetics, Alta-Dena Dairy, American Dietaids, American Electric Corp., American Ginseng Co., Applewood Seed Co., Arrowhead Mills, Bantam Books, Battle Creek Medical Equipment Co., Bee Pollen from England, Belvedere Labs, Inc., Berkeley Publishing Corp., Marc Bernstein & Associates, Bima Industries, Inc., Bio-Botanica, Inc., James Brugman Enterprises, Inc., Bueno Labs, Inc., J. R. Carleson Labs, Inc., Celestial Seasonings, Cedar Lake Foods, Chico-San, Inc., Damian Ice Cream, Deboles Nutritional Foods, Inc., Patricia Donovan, Dynavit of America, Inc., Earth Products, Inc., Earthwonder, Inc., EFCO Products, Elam Mills, Erewhon, Inc., Everybody, Ltd., Filmore Foods, Inc., Finn Foods, Food Supplement Co., Inc., Four-D Marketing Corp., Golden Lotus, Inc., Great Earth Healing, Inc., Halpern Sounds, Hansen Foods, Inc., Gaylord Hauser, Health Valley Natural Food, Il Hwa American Ginseng Group, Imedex International, Inside-Out Bodywear, Inc., Jimbo’s Jumbos Peanut Co., Jones Beauty Supply, Kitchen Garden, L & A Juice Co., Lanzi Candy Co., Let’s Live Magazine, Libin & Associates, Life Force, Inc., Manfood Co., Manna Milling Co., Inc., Meta Marketing, Inc., Mill Creek Natural Products, Modern Products, Inc., Motivique/ Seante, Naturade Products, Inc., Natural Nectar Products, Naturally Vitamin Supplements, Inc., Nature’s Gate Herbal Cosmetics, Nature’s Herbs, Inc., Nature’s Way Products, Inc., Nuage Laboratories, Nu-Life, Nutri-Books Corp., Nutri-Dyne New England, Nutritional Counselors of America, Inc., Paradise Marketing, Penn Herb Co. Olbas, Rachel Perry Co., Point Brittany, Potions Eternal, Red Mills Farms, Inc., Responsive Marketing Communications, Inc., Rhonell Laboratories, Richlife, Inc., ... More Less

End credits list script supervisor Luca Koulimelis incorrectly as “Luga Koulimelis” and Penn Herb Co. Olbas incorrectly as “Penn Herb Co. Oblas.”
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Many thanks for the following good humored and valuable contributions to the making of this film: Appri Cosmetics, Alta-Dena Dairy, American Dietaids, American Electric Corp., American Ginseng Co., Applewood Seed Co., Arrowhead Mills, Bantam Books, Battle Creek Medical Equipment Co., Bee Pollen from England, Belvedere Labs, Inc., Berkeley Publishing Corp., Marc Bernstein & Associates, Bima Industries, Inc., Bio-Botanica, Inc., James Brugman Enterprises, Inc., Bueno Labs, Inc., J. R. Carleson Labs, Inc., Celestial Seasonings, Cedar Lake Foods, Chico-San, Inc., Damian Ice Cream, Deboles Nutritional Foods, Inc., Patricia Donovan, Dynavit of America, Inc., Earth Products, Inc., Earthwonder, Inc., EFCO Products, Elam Mills, Erewhon, Inc., Everybody, Ltd., Filmore Foods, Inc., Finn Foods, Food Supplement Co., Inc., Four-D Marketing Corp., Golden Lotus, Inc., Great Earth Healing, Inc., Halpern Sounds, Hansen Foods, Inc., Gaylord Hauser, Health Valley Natural Food, Il Hwa American Ginseng Group, Imedex International, Inside-Out Bodywear, Inc., Jimbo’s Jumbos Peanut Co., Jones Beauty Supply, Kitchen Garden, L & A Juice Co., Lanzi Candy Co., Let’s Live Magazine, Libin & Associates, Life Force, Inc., Manfood Co., Manna Milling Co., Inc., Meta Marketing, Inc., Mill Creek Natural Products, Modern Products, Inc., Motivique/ Seante, Naturade Products, Inc., Natural Nectar Products, Naturally Vitamin Supplements, Inc., Nature’s Gate Herbal Cosmetics, Nature’s Herbs, Inc., Nature’s Way Products, Inc., Nuage Laboratories, Nu-Life, Nutri-Books Corp., Nutri-Dyne New England, Nutritional Counselors of America, Inc., Paradise Marketing, Penn Herb Co. Olbas, Rachel Perry Co., Point Brittany, Potions Eternal, Red Mills Farms, Inc., Responsive Marketing Communications, Inc., Rhonell Laboratories, Richlife, Inc., Richter Brothers, Inc., Sam Sun Korean Ginseng Co., Inc., San Francisco Herb & Natural Food Co., Schiff Bio Foods, Seelect Inc., Shiloh Farms, Inc., Shine House, Inc., Simon & Schuster, Solgar Products, Inc., Sovex Natural Foods, Inc., Stearns Natural Products, Sullivan American Cosmetics, The Sunshine Center of St. Petersburg, Florida, WM. T. Thompson Co., Tom’s Natural Soap, Touch of Beauty, Tree of Life, Twin Laboratories, Inc., United Jet Ski, Vesna Cosmetics, Viva Vera Enterprises, Vita Flea International, Vita Mix Corp., Weleda, Inc., C & J Willenborg, Inc., F. L. Wilson Co.”
       According to a 4-19 Mar 1980 Marquee article, freelance journalist, Frank Barhydt, came up with the idea for the script while on assignment for a health magazine. During a three year-period, Barhydt attended health-food conventions throughout the country, and pieced together the script in his spare time. Barhydt, director Robert Altman, and writer-actor Paul Dooley revised scenes daily, much to the dismay of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. executives. Marquee also noted that "Health" was an acronym for "Happiness, Energy and Longevity Through Health," and the budget at that time was $5.2 million.
       The Steinettes, four-women backup singers, were added to the cast at the last minute when an Altman associate saw them backup a comedian named Stein, performing in Greenwich Village.
       A Twentieth Century-Fox press release in AMPAS library files stated that principal photography began on 21 Feb 1979 in the Don Cesar Hotel at St. Petersburg Beach in St. Petersburg, FL. A brief in the 18 Apr 1979 Var announced that principal photography was completed that day a week ahead of schedule after a seven-week shoot.
       According to a 21 Jan 1980 LAHExam article, the picture had been scheduled for a winter 1979 release. Plans to screen it at the Greater Miami Film Festival, and sneak it on both coasts were scrapped in favor of additional extensive editing. A 17 Nov 1980 New York article reported that although former Fox president, Alan Ladd, championed the $6 million film, the new regime under Norman Levy ignored the project. Altman claimed that the film company placated him by running the movie for almost five weeks in Los Angeles, CA, where it thrived without any advertising to support its release. According to Levy, the film performed poorly in Los Angeles, and received unfavorable reviews.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Cue
15 Feb 1980.
---
LAHExam
21 Jan 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1980
p. 1.
Marquee
4--19 Mar 1980
pp. 28-30.
New York
17 Nov 1980
p. 83.
New York Times
7 Apr 1982
p. 19.
Variety
18 Apr 1979.
---
Variety
27 Aug 1980
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Lion's Gate Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost consultant
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus score
Mus rec
Mus ed
Ass mus ed
Instrumental novelties for band comp
Addl orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Loc auditor
Pub mgr
Pub
Extra casting
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
SOURCES
SONGS
"Health," songs by Allan Nicholls and The Steinettes, all above music copyright ©1979 by Fox Fanfare Music, Inc.
"Thick And Thin," music by Bob Ecton, lyrics by Robert Altman, ©1979 by Lion's Gate Music.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
H.E.A.L.T.H.
Health!
Release Date:
12 September 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 12 September 1980
New York opening: 7 April 1982
Production Date:
21 February--18 April 1979 in St. Petersburg, Florida
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
12 December 1980
Copyright Number:
PA88826
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by DeLuxe®
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex lenses and cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS


At a resort hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida, the ATA/HTL health convention is in full swing. At the event, the candidates running for president spout their agendas. Candidate Isabella Garnell says political talk should be honest and not dressed up in slogans, and advertising. Eighty-three-year-old candidate, Esther Brill, urges the crowd to feel themselves. On an outdoor set built for The Dick Cavett Show, independent candidate, Dr. Gil Gainey, is told by a staffer he is not scheduled to be interviewed, but he argues it is an omission. Dick Cavett greets Esther Brill on stage, flanked by two corncob-dressed escorts, but she is more interested in Harry Wolff, her campaign manager and personal advisor. Gloria Burbank, the president’s deputy advisor on health, joins Esther and Isabella Garnell, a former research chemist and Brookings Institute fellow, on the panel. Esther takes credit for being the first person to discover the link between smoking and cancer. Harry Wolff is annoyed that Gloria Burbank is a replacement for Dr. Charles Guffy, the president’s health advisor. Gloria Burbank reminds the audience the president grew up on a farm, eating honey and blackstrap molasses. According to Isabella Garnell, the president’s childhood influences are not reflected in the federal budget that barely invests any money in researching and understanding good nutrition. Soon, Cavett comments that Esther does not look her age, which she attributes to making good choices, and then falls into a narcoleptic stupor with her eyes open. The show stops taping so that Harry can assist Esther. In a hotel suite, Esther revives when her dog, Lenny, jumps ... +



At a resort hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida, the ATA/HTL health convention is in full swing. At the event, the candidates running for president spout their agendas. Candidate Isabella Garnell says political talk should be honest and not dressed up in slogans, and advertising. Eighty-three-year-old candidate, Esther Brill, urges the crowd to feel themselves. On an outdoor set built for The Dick Cavett Show, independent candidate, Dr. Gil Gainey, is told by a staffer he is not scheduled to be interviewed, but he argues it is an omission. Dick Cavett greets Esther Brill on stage, flanked by two corncob-dressed escorts, but she is more interested in Harry Wolff, her campaign manager and personal advisor. Gloria Burbank, the president’s deputy advisor on health, joins Esther and Isabella Garnell, a former research chemist and Brookings Institute fellow, on the panel. Esther takes credit for being the first person to discover the link between smoking and cancer. Harry Wolff is annoyed that Gloria Burbank is a replacement for Dr. Charles Guffy, the president’s health advisor. Gloria Burbank reminds the audience the president grew up on a farm, eating honey and blackstrap molasses. According to Isabella Garnell, the president’s childhood influences are not reflected in the federal budget that barely invests any money in researching and understanding good nutrition. Soon, Cavett comments that Esther does not look her age, which she attributes to making good choices, and then falls into a narcoleptic stupor with her eyes open. The show stops taping so that Harry can assist Esther. In a hotel suite, Esther revives when her dog, Lenny, jumps on her lap. Harry suggests that Esther should probably not reschedule her Cavett interview because it is too tiring. However, Esther insists because she can sell more books, and more merchandise. When Harry says she does not have any merchandise to sell, she responds it does not mean she is not interested in the potential of selling merchandise. In another suite, hotel manager, Sally Benbow, removes the furniture at the request of Isabella’s assistant, Willow Wertz, who understands Isabella’s talk about living simply and removing artificiality as a means to reducing consumption. Gloria sits with Cavett and his producer, Lance, at their dining room table, when Harry appears and asks to reschedule Esther’s interview. Gloria suggests that Harry’s agenda is really chasing women, while Cavett and his aide are not certain whether they want to risk redoing Esther’s interview, and leave. Gloria is about to visit both women candidates in their suites, when Gil Gainey accosts her in the hallway. He is convinced she is going to give Isabella or Esther an endorsement, and pressures her to support him. She insists she has no such plans, but he refuses to believe her, and stalks off. Gloria visits Esther, who signs a copy of her book, but again descends into narcolepsy after Gloria conveys the president’s good wishes. Esther’s traveling physician, Dr. Ruth Ann Jackle, says that Esther’s “spell” is a passing phase. Gloria concludes Esther has lost her grip on reality. When she suggests that the public should know the truth, Harry warns her not to take sides or interfere with the upcoming election. He tries to seduce her in the hallway, but she comes to her senses, and remembers all the times he cheated when they were married. Later, Gloria delivers the same message to Isabella, who is skeptical about the president’s interest, and encourages Gloria to think for herself. Off the record, Gloria reveals that Esther is senile and probably incapable of holding office. The next morning, Isabella spies Gainey’s supposedly drowned body at the bottom of the swimming pool. From a balcony, Dr. Jackle also sees Gainey, but Esther’s eyesight is dim, and she cannot locate the pool. Gloria dives in for a swim, sees Gainey, and panics. When Gainey is rescued, he uses the publicity stunt to deliver portions of his platform. Soon, Gainey, and pitchman, Fred Munson, down their vitamins with cocktails. They tell Harry that Esther is not presidential material, but he tells them to eat their kelp. Harry greets hustler and “dirty trickster,” Bobby Hammer, who claims he is just at the convention for his health. Harry warns Isabella about Hammer and is adamant that Esther’s camp has nothing to do with his presence at the convention. At night, Isabella interrupts a poolside cocktail party to give a speech with a bullhorn from a hotel tower. Soon, businessman Colonel Cody visits Isabella, and explains that he owns the convention, which is a means to attract business, nothing more. When he suggests her tired ideas will not have any effect on the organization, she senses his resentment, and admits she must accept that his only weapon is assassination. As the conversation winds down, he determines that she is not a threat. Later, Col. Cody seeks out Hammer in the lobby, and warns him that he will be paid handsomely if he completes his assignment. As Cavett interviews Gainey, and tries to elicit an explanation regarding his pool stunt, Gainey uses the moment to state that he represents the middle, and launches into an advertising pitch about his product, Vital-Sea. Elsewhere, Gloria takes a bold step, and privately endorses Isabella, then suggests that it would be exciting to see Esther debate Isabella. Soon, Harry stops Gloria’s electioneering, and she angrily tells him that he is an opportunist who has lost his convictions. Hammer, dressed as an adoring female fan, visits Gloria in her hotel room, and spreads the rumor that Isabella is a former navy officer who had a sex-change operation. Gloria refuses to believe the rumor, but visits Isabella in her suite to extract a confession. Instead, Isabella suggests that she talk with Willow for the information she wants. While looking for Willow, Gloria has a confrontation with the Colonel. He warns that he is the only one who sets policy, and sways elections. He claims that his clout put the president in office, and he refutes Gloria’s opinion that his organization lacks leadership. He says her work is meaningless, and she will not change a thing. Gloria’s meeting with Col. Cody reduces her to tears. Soon, Harry calms Gloria’s nerves, and plies her with alcohol. He suggests that she spend the night, and she agrees. The next day, Cavett gathers the candidates, Esther and Isabella, to announce that Esther is the next president. Above, on a balcony, Gloria admits that Harry was right about the election. He says that Isabella lost because nobody could understand her. Prodded by Cavett, Esther explains her future plans as president, then suddenly becomes catatonic. Isabella diverts attention away from Esther by explaining how she will support Esther’s goals for the future. Meanwhile, Col. Cody refuses to pay Hammer his fee, and pushes him in the pool. Harry remarks that the colonel is really Esther’s crazy brother. Gloria is angry that Harry hid the information from her the previous night, and leaves. Later, Cavett sees talk show host, Dinah Shore. When Dinah says that she is attending a hypnotists’ convention, Cavett responds he should have covered that event instead of the health convention. +

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

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