The Goodbye Girl (1977)

PG | 110 mins | Romantic comedy | 30 November 1977

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Neil Simon

Producer:

Ray Stark

Cinematographer:

David M. Walsh

Editor:

John F. Burnett

Production Designer:

Albert Brenner
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HISTORY

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and Note were written by participant Kelle Anzalone, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Jonathan Furner as academic advisor.
       End credits include the following written statement: “Filmed at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and on location in New York City.”
       On 15 May 1976, LAT announced that Warner Bros. Pictures was set to co-produce the film with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M). Ray Stark was listed as producer with M-G-M’s director of worldwide production, Daniel Melnick, as executive producer. A 19 May 1976 Var news item, which stated that the film’s “tentative title” was Goodbye Girl, noted that the film marked the first collaboration between Warner Bros. and M-G-M; however, neither Melnick nor M-G-M is credited onscreen as a producer.
       Several months later, the 31 Jul 1976 LAT reported that writer Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl was not a rewrite of his film Bogart Slept Here, as previously rumored. Simon’s wife at that time, Marsha Mason, was set to star with Robert De Niro in Bogart Slept Here, but the production was cancelled after one week of filming in Fall 1975. According to a 22 May 1977 LAT article, Richard Dreyfuss was brought to the Bogart Slept Here production as a possible replacement for De Niro and the chemistry between Mason and Dreyfuss inspired Simon to restructure the story into The Goodbye Girl. In a 15 Mar 1977 Var article, Simon noted that ... More Less

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and Note were written by participant Kelle Anzalone, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Jonathan Furner as academic advisor.
       End credits include the following written statement: “Filmed at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and on location in New York City.”
       On 15 May 1976, LAT announced that Warner Bros. Pictures was set to co-produce the film with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M). Ray Stark was listed as producer with M-G-M’s director of worldwide production, Daniel Melnick, as executive producer. A 19 May 1976 Var news item, which stated that the film’s “tentative title” was Goodbye Girl, noted that the film marked the first collaboration between Warner Bros. and M-G-M; however, neither Melnick nor M-G-M is credited onscreen as a producer.
       Several months later, the 31 Jul 1976 LAT reported that writer Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl was not a rewrite of his film Bogart Slept Here, as previously rumored. Simon’s wife at that time, Marsha Mason, was set to star with Robert De Niro in Bogart Slept Here, but the production was cancelled after one week of filming in Fall 1975. According to a 22 May 1977 LAT article, Richard Dreyfuss was brought to the Bogart Slept Here production as a possible replacement for De Niro and the chemistry between Mason and Dreyfuss inspired Simon to restructure the story into The Goodbye Girl. In a 15 Mar 1977 Var article, Simon noted that The Goodbye Girl was written as a play and marked “the first and only time I wrote something specifically for the players,” adding that Bogart Slept Here could have been a sequel to The Goodbye Girl.
       According to 2 Mar 1977 Var production charts, principal photography began 22 Feb 1977. Reports of filming continued through early May 1977.
       An 18 Nov 1977 Var news item announced that the film’s 27 Nov 1977 New York City premiere at the Loews Astor Plaza Theater was a benefit for the city’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre.
       The film won four Golden Globe awards in the following categories: Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy, Best Motion Picture Actor--Musical/Comedy (Richard Dreyfuss), Best Motion Picture Actress--Musical/Comedy (Marsha Mason), Best Screenplay--Motion Picture (Neil Simon). Quinn Cummings received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Supporting Role. All nominations were awarded with the exception of Best Motion Picture Actress in a Supporting Role. The picture was also nominated for five Academy Awards, including: Actor in a Leading Role (Richard Dreyfuss), Actress in a Leading Role (Marsha Mason), Actress in a Supporting Role (Quinn Cummings), Best Picture and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) for Neil Simon. Dreyfuss won the Best Actor Academy Award that year. The film was ranked #81 on AFI’s 2002 list of the top 100 love stories in American film, “100 Years… 100 Passions.”
       The Goodbye Girl was produced as a 1997 musical starring Bernadette Peters and Martin Short. It was also remade as a television film for the Turner Network Television (TNT) in 2003, with actors Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1977
p. 2, 8.
Los Angeles Times
15 May 1976
Section C, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1976
Section B, pp. 7-8.
Los Angeles Times
4 Dec 1977
Section X, p. 1, 36.
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1977
Section X, p.12.
New York Times
1 Dec 1977
p. 17.
Variety
19 May 1976.
---
Variety
2 Mar 1977.
---
Variety
15 Mar 1977.
---
Variety
16 Nov 1977
p. 20.
Variety
18 Nov 1977.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Ray Stark production
A Herbert Ross film
A Rastar feature
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, New York crew
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op, New York crew
Gaffer
Gaffer, New York crew
Key grip
Key grip, New York crew
Still photog
Still photog, New York crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Prop master, New York crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Mus scored and adpt by
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd, New York crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff, New York crew
Opticals
MAKEUP
Miss Mason's hair style
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod secy
Prod secy, New York crew
Unit pub
Loc mgr, New York crew
SOURCES
SONGS
"Goodbye Girl," written and performed by David Gates.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl
Release Date:
30 November 1977
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 27 November 1977 at the Loews Astor Plaza Theater
New York opening: 30 November 1977
Los Angeles opening: 9 December 1977
Production Date:
22 February--early May 1977 in New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Turner Entertainment Company & Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 November 1977
Copyright Number:
LP51268
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor®
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, former chorus girl Paula McFadden and her precocious ten-year-old daughter, Lucy, arrive home to discover a note from Paula’s boyfriend, Tony, who explains that he has left them to accept an acting role in a film production abroad. Devastated and penniless, Paula returns to dancing but finds she can no longer keep up. She soon learns that Tony sublet their apartment to his friend, fledgling actor Elliot Garfield, who arrives late one night from Chicago, Illinois, to claim his rental. Although Paula turns Elliot away, he calls from a pay phone outside to beg for compassion and she agrees share the apartment for three months, since Elliot has already paid the rent and she cannot afford the cost alone. Paula shows Elliot to Lucy’s bedroom and attempts to impose house rules, but Elliot argues that she must respect his odd habits, including morning meditation, late-night guitar playing and sleeping in the nude. The following morning, Paula and Lucy are awakened by Elliot’s meditative chants. When Paula complains, Elliot reports that he is preparing for his new role in an off-Broadway production of William Shakepeare’s Richard III and Paula protests that she will fail her audition due to sleep deprivation. That day, Paula is passed up for younger women at her dance try-out while Elliot conflicts with his theater director, who wants “Richard” to be portrayed as a homosexual. Paula is displeased when Elliot later brings his female co-star home to rehearse and Lucy suggests her mother is envious. One day, on a grocery excursion, Paula is robbed. Elliot’s failed attempt at ... +


In New York City, former chorus girl Paula McFadden and her precocious ten-year-old daughter, Lucy, arrive home to discover a note from Paula’s boyfriend, Tony, who explains that he has left them to accept an acting role in a film production abroad. Devastated and penniless, Paula returns to dancing but finds she can no longer keep up. She soon learns that Tony sublet their apartment to his friend, fledgling actor Elliot Garfield, who arrives late one night from Chicago, Illinois, to claim his rental. Although Paula turns Elliot away, he calls from a pay phone outside to beg for compassion and she agrees share the apartment for three months, since Elliot has already paid the rent and she cannot afford the cost alone. Paula shows Elliot to Lucy’s bedroom and attempts to impose house rules, but Elliot argues that she must respect his odd habits, including morning meditation, late-night guitar playing and sleeping in the nude. The following morning, Paula and Lucy are awakened by Elliot’s meditative chants. When Paula complains, Elliot reports that he is preparing for his new role in an off-Broadway production of William Shakepeare’s Richard III and Paula protests that she will fail her audition due to sleep deprivation. That day, Paula is passed up for younger women at her dance try-out while Elliot conflicts with his theater director, who wants “Richard” to be portrayed as a homosexual. Paula is displeased when Elliot later brings his female co-star home to rehearse and Lucy suggests her mother is envious. One day, on a grocery excursion, Paula is robbed. Elliot’s failed attempt at regaining her stolen purse, which contains the last of her savings, provokes Paula’s antagonism, but Elliot charms Lucy at dinner. Despite Paula’s hostility, Elliot lends her money for Lucy’s care. Sometime later, Elliot begrudgingly prepares for his role as an effeminate “Richard” but fears that the play will mark the end of his budding career. Paula announces she has found work and returns Elliot’s cash. When she reports that Lucy is ill, Elliot soothes the girl with his guitar. Upon the premiere of Richard III, Elliot returns home intoxicated and shattered by terrible reviews, but Paula consoles him. The next morning, Elliot is relieved to learn the show is cancelled. Despite his lack of income, Paula asks Elliot to remain in the apartment so he can watch Lucy while she works as an emcee at an automobile show that evening. Paula is surprised and flustered when Elliot and Lucy arrive at the convention. She stumbles over her lines, provoking Elliot to feel better about his failed rendition of Richard III, and he compliments her. Leaving Lucy with her mother, Elliot announces that he is on his way to a new job, but declines to mention that it is at a strip club. There, Elliot is injured by a drunk patron but the audience gives Elliot a standing ovation, mistaking the fistfight for scripted entertainment. Returning home, Elliot attempts to seduce Paula and she scolds him, claiming she does not want to be happy. They make a date for the following evening and Paula races home from the convention to find that Elliot has decorated the roof of their building. As he tells her about his new job with an improvisation group, they take shelter from the rain, kiss and make love. In the morning, Lucy is displeased by the new arrangement. Both mother and daughter fear their hearts will be broken again, but Elliot pleads his sincerity. Later that day, Elliot picks Lucy up from school in a chartered horse-drawn carriage and secures the girl’s approval. Over time, Elliot achieves success in his improvisation troupe. Paula renovates the apartment with their new income and Elliot proposes marriage. However, a film director recruits Elliot for a movie in Seattle, Washington, and he jumps at the opportunity, leaving Paula to worry if he will leave her as Tony did. Elliot promises Paula that he will be back after the four-week shoot and she reflects that she is stronger because of their relationship. Elliot leaves, but he calls Paula later that night from the pay phone outside their apartment, announcing that he purchased plane tickets for two. Seeing Elliot’s gesture as a confirmation of his commitment, Paula decides to stay home with Lucy. Elliot asks Paula to have his guitar restrung while he is away, she hangs up the phone with joy, knowing he would not have left the instrument behind if he intended to leave permanently. Despite the pouring rain, Paula climbs onto the fire escape, clutching the guitar, and declares her love for Elliot, who is standing in the street below. She blows him goodbye kisses as he drives away in a taxicab. +

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

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