Far North (1988)

PG-13 | 86 mins | Comedy-drama | 9 November 1988

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HISTORY

On 18 May 1987, HR announced that Alive Films had agreed to produce Sam Shepard’s directorial debut, Far North, based on his original screenplay. A few months later, the 16 Jul 1987 HR stated that the deal had fallen through due to a dispute over deadlines. Nelson Entertainment, which had agreed to fund the $5 million budget through domestic video and foreign theatrical presales, also allegedly dropped out of negotiations. Despite these reports, however, both Alive and Nelson Entertainment are credited onscreen.
       According to the 4 Nov 1987 Var and 26 Feb 1988 HR, principal photography was completed between 5 Oct 1987 and Feb 1988 in the northern region of Minnesota and the port city of Duluth.
       Far North marked the fourth feature film collaboration between Shepard and his then-partner, Jessica Lange, following their co-starring roles in Frances (1982), Country (1984), and Crimes of the Heart (1986, see entries). Actor Charles Durning, who plays the family patriarch, “Bertrum,” also portrayed Lange’s onscreen father in the 1982 film, Tootsie (see entry).
       The 17 Aug 1988 Var and materials in AMPAS library files indicate that the film premiered as the opening night attraction at the Boston Film Festival on 15 Sep 1988, followed by a screening at the Toronto Festival of Festivals.
       Reviews were largely negative, and various contemporary sources reported feeble earnings at the box-office.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Racing Footage Courtesy of Canterbury Downs and The Breeders Cup”; “Prerecorded footage supplied by CNN® Cable News Network, Inc. 1987, All Rights Reserved”; “Filmed in Duluth, Minnesota”; ... More Less

On 18 May 1987, HR announced that Alive Films had agreed to produce Sam Shepard’s directorial debut, Far North, based on his original screenplay. A few months later, the 16 Jul 1987 HR stated that the deal had fallen through due to a dispute over deadlines. Nelson Entertainment, which had agreed to fund the $5 million budget through domestic video and foreign theatrical presales, also allegedly dropped out of negotiations. Despite these reports, however, both Alive and Nelson Entertainment are credited onscreen.
       According to the 4 Nov 1987 Var and 26 Feb 1988 HR, principal photography was completed between 5 Oct 1987 and Feb 1988 in the northern region of Minnesota and the port city of Duluth.
       Far North marked the fourth feature film collaboration between Shepard and his then-partner, Jessica Lange, following their co-starring roles in Frances (1982), Country (1984), and Crimes of the Heart (1986, see entries). Actor Charles Durning, who plays the family patriarch, “Bertrum,” also portrayed Lange’s onscreen father in the 1982 film, Tootsie (see entry).
       The 17 Aug 1988 Var and materials in AMPAS library files indicate that the film premiered as the opening night attraction at the Boston Film Festival on 15 Sep 1988, followed by a screening at the Toronto Festival of Festivals.
       Reviews were largely negative, and various contemporary sources reported feeble earnings at the box-office.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Racing Footage Courtesy of Canterbury Downs and The Breeders Cup”; “Prerecorded footage supplied by CNN® Cable News Network, Inc. 1987, All Rights Reserved”; “Filmed in Duluth, Minnesota”; and, “Special Thanks to: Al and Dorothy Lange; Pat Kingsley; The City of Duluth; Duluth Convention & Visitors Bureau; The Minnesota Motion Picture & Television Board; Oldsmobile of America; Northwest Airlines; Coca-Cola; Miller Beer; The University of Minnesota, Duluth; The Fond Du Lac Band of The Lake Superior Chippewas; Louis Kemp; Jeff Silberman; Mark Allen; Hal Trussell; E. Buffie Stone; Robert Grann; John Berquist; Donald Wirtanen; Duluth Playhouse; Aliant, Inc.; Bill Benz; John Laramore; Jim Byers; Kansas State Historical Society; Virginia Film Commission--Becky Albert; The Neighborhood Theatres--Ron Landry; The Mash Ka Wisen Indian Treatment Center.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Nov 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
9 Nov 1988
p. 18.
Variety
4 Nov 1987.
---
Variety
17 Aug 1988.
---
Variety
14 Sep 1988
p. 27, 31.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Alive Films Production with Nelson Entertainment
In Association with Circle JS Productions
A Film by Sam Shepard
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Key grip/Dolly grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Company grip
Grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Set lighting tech
Set lighting tech
Set lighting tech
[2d unit] Dir of photog
[2d unit] 1st asst cam
Cam and lighting equip by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dresser
Swing gang
Const coord
Prop maker foreman
Const foreman
Painter
Painter
Scenic artist
Const dept
Const dept
Const dept
Const dept
Const dept
Const dept
Const dept
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus comp and performed by
Mus comp and performed by
Mus comp and performed by
Mus comp and performed by
Mus comp and performed by
Mus comp and performed by
Addl mus
Addl musician
Addl musician
Addl musician
Addl musician
Mus prod by
Mus prod by
Mus rec
Mus consultant
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Supv sd ed
ADR/Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Rec asst
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
Foley rec
Foley rec
Foley artist
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Asst miniature maker
Spec eff eng
Titles and opt eff by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Livestock coord
Wrangler
Wrangler
Asst prod coord
Auditor
Prod secy
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Prod intern
Prod liaison
Craft services
First aid
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Prod van
Prod van
Insert car driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Asst chef
Loc catering by
Pub
Completion bond
Local casting
Bird song rec courtesy of
Bird song recordings courtesy of
STAND INS
Stunts
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timing
SOURCES
SONGS
"Voo Doo Child," written by Jimi Hendrix, performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan, courtesy of CBS Records, published by Bella Godiva Music, Inc.
"Voices Of The Loon," by William E. Barklow, Framingham State College, Framingham, MA, with Thanks to The North American Loon Fund.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
9 November 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 November 1988
Production Date:
5 October 1987--February 1988
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
gauge
35mm
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
86
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Kate, a New York City businesswoman, returns home to rural Minnesota to visit her cantankerous father, Bertrum, after he is hospitalized for falling off a horse-drawn wagon. Upon her arrival, Bertrum immediately detects that Kate is pregnant, claiming he can “smell it” on her. He hopes the child is a boy, since there are “too many women” in the family. Although he criticizes her recent decision to pursue a career in the big city, he insists Kate is the only one he can trust to shoot Mel, the horse that caused the accident. Appalled, Kate leaves to see her alcoholic Uncle Dale, who has been admitted to the rehabilitation center down the hall. At the family house, Kate finds her father’s rifle and consults her sister, Rita, and their flighty, forgetful mother, Amy, about whether or not she should shoot Mel. While Kate feels bound by a sense of duty to honor her father’s request, Rita abhors the idea and releases Mel from the barn. At the hospital, Uncle Dane sneaks a bottle of liquor into Bertrum’s room. As they drink, Bertrum laments the changes in society that have allowed his daughters to remain unmarried into middle age, and the alcohol causes a relapse in his condition. After learning of Mel’s disappearance, Bertrum becomes irate, and Kate reluctantly promises to kill the horse. On the drive home, Kate finds Mel wandering along the road and brings him back to the farm. Reunited with Rita, the two sisters mount the horse and take off in search of Rita’s teenage daughter, Jilly, who is lost in the woods. Meanwhile, Bertrum stubbornly leaves the hospital and walks several miles home, with Uncle ... +


Kate, a New York City businesswoman, returns home to rural Minnesota to visit her cantankerous father, Bertrum, after he is hospitalized for falling off a horse-drawn wagon. Upon her arrival, Bertrum immediately detects that Kate is pregnant, claiming he can “smell it” on her. He hopes the child is a boy, since there are “too many women” in the family. Although he criticizes her recent decision to pursue a career in the big city, he insists Kate is the only one he can trust to shoot Mel, the horse that caused the accident. Appalled, Kate leaves to see her alcoholic Uncle Dale, who has been admitted to the rehabilitation center down the hall. At the family house, Kate finds her father’s rifle and consults her sister, Rita, and their flighty, forgetful mother, Amy, about whether or not she should shoot Mel. While Kate feels bound by a sense of duty to honor her father’s request, Rita abhors the idea and releases Mel from the barn. At the hospital, Uncle Dane sneaks a bottle of liquor into Bertrum’s room. As they drink, Bertrum laments the changes in society that have allowed his daughters to remain unmarried into middle age, and the alcohol causes a relapse in his condition. After learning of Mel’s disappearance, Bertrum becomes irate, and Kate reluctantly promises to kill the horse. On the drive home, Kate finds Mel wandering along the road and brings him back to the farm. Reunited with Rita, the two sisters mount the horse and take off in search of Rita’s teenage daughter, Jilly, who is lost in the woods. Meanwhile, Bertrum stubbornly leaves the hospital and walks several miles home, with Uncle Dale following behind in protest. Once they find Jilly, Rita and Kate lose their way back to the house. After several hours, they find the main road and encounter Bertrum and Uncle Dale. Exhausted and petrified by the sight of the horse, Bertrum falls unconscious. The next day, the women gather the extended family to celebrate their grandmother’s one-hundredth birthday, while Bertrum leads Mel out into the fields with his rifle. +

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

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