Hard Times (1975)

PG | 97 mins | Drama | 8 October 1975

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HISTORY

       An 18 Mar 1974 Box news item announced that producer Lawrence Gordon had acquired rights to the original screenplay The Streetfighter by Bryan Gindorff and Bruce Henstell. A 8 Nov 1974 HR reported that while filming in New Orleans, LA, a Japanese martial arts film, also called The Street Fighter, opened at a local theater. Producer Lawrence Gordon stated he had earlier suggested changing the title to Hard Times, but Columbia Pictures preferred the original title. Although the official working title was Street Fighter up until Nov 1974, multiple articles referred to it as Hard Times, including a 4 Sep 1974 Var news item announcing the casting of Charles Bronson in the lead role.
       A news brief in the 24 Oct 1974 DV reported that actor Mike Fenton was cast in Street Fighter, but his name does not appear in the credits.
       Hard Times was the directorial debut of Walter Hill according to an article in the 26 Oct 1975 NYT.
       An 8 Nov 1974 HR news item stated that Hard Times was in production at that time.

      The following statement appears in end credits: “The producer wishes to thank the office of the governor of the State of Louisiana, the office of the mayor of the city of New Orleans, the New Orleans Police Department, and the state of Louisiana Department of Employment Security for their cooperation.”
...

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       An 18 Mar 1974 Box news item announced that producer Lawrence Gordon had acquired rights to the original screenplay The Streetfighter by Bryan Gindorff and Bruce Henstell. A 8 Nov 1974 HR reported that while filming in New Orleans, LA, a Japanese martial arts film, also called The Street Fighter, opened at a local theater. Producer Lawrence Gordon stated he had earlier suggested changing the title to Hard Times, but Columbia Pictures preferred the original title. Although the official working title was Street Fighter up until Nov 1974, multiple articles referred to it as Hard Times, including a 4 Sep 1974 Var news item announcing the casting of Charles Bronson in the lead role.
       A news brief in the 24 Oct 1974 DV reported that actor Mike Fenton was cast in Street Fighter, but his name does not appear in the credits.
       Hard Times was the directorial debut of Walter Hill according to an article in the 26 Oct 1975 NYT.
       An 8 Nov 1974 HR news item stated that Hard Times was in production at that time.

      The following statement appears in end credits: “The producer wishes to thank the office of the governor of the State of Louisiana, the office of the mayor of the city of New Orleans, the New Orleans Police Department, and the state of Louisiana Department of Employment Security for their cooperation.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Mar 1974
---
Daily Variety
24 Oct 1974
---
Daily Variety
22 Sep 1975
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 1974
p. 22
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1974
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 1974
p. 14
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1975
p. 5, 12
Los Angeles Times
8 Oct 1975
Section IV, p. 14
New York Times
9 Oct 1975
p. 54
New York Times
26 Oct 1975
---
Variety
4 Sep 1974
---
Variety
24 Sep 1975
p. 22
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Lawrence Gordon Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Sketch artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp
Orch
SOUND
Asst sd ed
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles by
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Make-up
Make-up
Hairstylist
Men's hair des
Miss Ireland's hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Asst to the prod
Prod exec
Transportation capt
Prod secy
Dir's secy
Loc auditor
Exec prod's secy
Loc equip by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Street Fighter
Release Date:
8 October 1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 8 Oct 1975
Production Date:
late 1974
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
8 October 1975
LP45064
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24270
SYNOPSIS

As the Great Depression grinds on, Chaney, a roughhewn hobo, jumps off a train boxcar, walks into town and discovers a bare-knuckle fight club. “Speed,” a slick low level fight promoter, watches his man get brutally beaten. Later, as Speed eats oysters in a restaurant, Chaney offers to fight for him, but Speed thinks that Chaney is too old. To prove his worth, Chaney gives Speed his last six dollars and tells him to bet it on him. They go back to the club, and Cheney knocks out his opponent with one punch. Chaney and Speed take a train to New Orleans, where Speed’s fiancé, Gayleen Schoonover, is waiting. Chaney refuses Speed’s invitation to move in with him, and instead rents a rundown hotel room. That night, Chaney meets Lucy Simpson, a convict’s wife, buys her coffee and walks her home, but she turns down his offer to accompany her inside. The next day, Chaney makes a deal with Speed to represent him, but insists that when he has made enough money, he is leaving. Speed takes Chaney to a river barge to watch Jim Henry, the no-holds-barred champion of New Orleans, who kicks, punches and head butts his opponent into a bloody pulp. Henry receives a cue from his elegantly dressed promoter, Chick Gandil, and lets the other fighter fall. Later, Speed introduces Chaney to Poe, who explains that he has two years of medical training and was thrown out of school due to opium addiction. Chaney agrees to hire Poe as his cut man. Next, Speed borrows a thousand dollars from Le Beau, a ruthless ...

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As the Great Depression grinds on, Chaney, a roughhewn hobo, jumps off a train boxcar, walks into town and discovers a bare-knuckle fight club. “Speed,” a slick low level fight promoter, watches his man get brutally beaten. Later, as Speed eats oysters in a restaurant, Chaney offers to fight for him, but Speed thinks that Chaney is too old. To prove his worth, Chaney gives Speed his last six dollars and tells him to bet it on him. They go back to the club, and Cheney knocks out his opponent with one punch. Chaney and Speed take a train to New Orleans, where Speed’s fiancé, Gayleen Schoonover, is waiting. Chaney refuses Speed’s invitation to move in with him, and instead rents a rundown hotel room. That night, Chaney meets Lucy Simpson, a convict’s wife, buys her coffee and walks her home, but she turns down his offer to accompany her inside. The next day, Chaney makes a deal with Speed to represent him, but insists that when he has made enough money, he is leaving. Speed takes Chaney to a river barge to watch Jim Henry, the no-holds-barred champion of New Orleans, who kicks, punches and head butts his opponent into a bloody pulp. Henry receives a cue from his elegantly dressed promoter, Chick Gandil, and lets the other fighter fall. Later, Speed introduces Chaney to Poe, who explains that he has two years of medical training and was thrown out of school due to opium addiction. Chaney agrees to hire Poe as his cut man. Next, Speed borrows a thousand dollars from Le Beau, a ruthless loan shark, who charges him fifty dollars a day interest. Speed then tries to trick Chick Gandil into letting Chaney fight Jim Henry at three to one odds, but Gandil will not take the bet for less than three thousand. To raise more money, Speed drives Chaney, Poe and Gayleen to a small fair in the bayou where they meet Pettibon, a backwoods promoter. After a huge barbeque, Chaney makes short work of Pettibon’s boy. Pettibon accuses him of being a ringer and refuses to pay. When Speed protests, Pettibon’s men pull their guns. Chaney drags Speed back to the car, then tells him to drive around until dark. That night, Chaney walks into Pettibon’s bar and catches his gunmen by surprise, beats them up, takes their guns and demands Pettibon pay up. Pettibon calls his bluff, and Chaney pistol-whips him. After collecting his winnings, Chaney empties the pistols by shooting up the bar. In the morning, Speed drops Chaney off at Gayleen’s. Chaney offers to buy her breakfast, but she invites him in for coffee. Later, at a restaurant, Chaney informs Gayleen he is only temporarily a fighter. Meanwhile, Speed and Poe crash a swanky black tie affair to make the bet with Gandil. The next day, Doty, Le Beau’s enforcer, corners Speed and demands his money. After a little arm-twisting, Speed promises Doty he will be paid in two days. The night of the fight, Speed, Chaney and Poe walk into a warehouse full of screaming men. The “ring” is a wire-fenced cage with barbed wire on top. The two fighters square off and, after trading blows for five minutes, Chaney opens up and beats Jim Henry to his knees. After the fight, instead of paying Doty back, Speed loses his share of the winnings playing craps. The next day, Gandil offers five thousand to buy half interest in Chaney, but Chaney refuses. That night, Doty appears with a hired thug, smashes Speed’s car with a sledgehammer, and suggests Speed pay up soon. The next day, Speed tries to pressure Chaney into taking up Gandil’s proposition, but Chaney quits instead. He goes to see Gayleen, but when he refuses to spend the night they have an argument, and Chaney leaves. Meanwhile, Gandil imports a ruthless fighter named “Street,” but Chaney refuses the fight saying he has enough money to quit the sport. That night Speed is kidnapped and brought to Le Beau’s place where he finds Gandil has paid the interest for Speed’s loan for the week. He guarantees to pay the principal if Chaney will fight. Speed explains that his fighter has quit, but Gandil thinks Chaney will change his mind if Speed is in danger. Poe goes to Chaney’s hotel and begs him to save Speed, but Chaney refuses to put up his own money for a wager. Instead, he goes to Gayleen’s, but learns she has met another man with a steady job and does not want to see him. That night, Chaney shows up at Gandil’s warehouse. When Chancy shows Gandil, Speed and Henry his money, Speed is shocked when he realizes Chancy is not only going to fight, but is betting his life’s savings. The fighters are closely matched. Twice Chaney goes to the floor and gets up, and in a series of vicious blows, Chaney brings Street to his knees. Gandil pulls out two metal bars and screams for Street to use them, but Street throws them away and comes in swinging. Chaney lets go with a flurry of punches and Street hits the floor and stays down. After collecting the winnings, Speed pays off Le Beau, gets in his car with Chaney and Poe, and drives to the outskirts of town. Chaney hands Poe and Speed rolls of money, then turns to walk away, but Speed stops him and says they should say something. Chaney smiles and wanders into the night.

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

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