You Light Up My Life (1977)

PG | 90 mins | Comedy-drama | September 1977

Director:

Joseph Brooks

Writer:

Joseph Brooks

Producer:

Joseph Brooks

Cinematographer:

Eric Saarinen

Editor:

Lynzee Klingman

Production Designer:

Tom Rasmussen

Production Company:

The Session Company
Full page view
HISTORY

End credits include the following written statements: "Recording sequences filmed at United-Western Recording Studios, Hollywood, California, Jerry Barnes, manager"; "Public performances, ASCAP"; and "We express our appreciation and thanks to all those members of the New York Philharmonic who played on the soundtrack of this motion picture."
       Principal photography was scheduled to begin 16 Jun 1975 under the title Session, with Cindy Williams slated to play the lead, according to the 19 Apr 1975 LAT. By late 1976, when first-time producer-director-writer-composer Joseph Brooks shopped for a distributor, he considered retitling the film You Light Up My Life, the 19 Nov 1976 DV noted; the article quoted the film's budget at $1.2 million, which Brooks, already famous for his Clio Award-winning television commercials, raised from personal sources.
       According to the 28 Nov 1977 People, the singer who dubbed actress Didi Conn's voice was Kvitka "Kacey" Ciszk, who also had a cameo as a "bridesmaid" in the film. When Arista Records released a single and a soundtrack album, Ciszk was listed as part of the "Original Cast." Debby Boone later recorded "You Light Up My Life" for Warner Bros. Records using Joseph Brooks' instrumental tracks from the film. While Ciszk's original version was a small hit, Boone's cover single duplicated the song's fictional success in the film by reaching number-one on the national music charts, and remaining there for ten weeks. "You Light Up My Life" won the 1977 Academy Award for Best Music (Original ... More Less

End credits include the following written statements: "Recording sequences filmed at United-Western Recording Studios, Hollywood, California, Jerry Barnes, manager"; "Public performances, ASCAP"; and "We express our appreciation and thanks to all those members of the New York Philharmonic who played on the soundtrack of this motion picture."
       Principal photography was scheduled to begin 16 Jun 1975 under the title Session, with Cindy Williams slated to play the lead, according to the 19 Apr 1975 LAT. By late 1976, when first-time producer-director-writer-composer Joseph Brooks shopped for a distributor, he considered retitling the film You Light Up My Life, the 19 Nov 1976 DV noted; the article quoted the film's budget at $1.2 million, which Brooks, already famous for his Clio Award-winning television commercials, raised from personal sources.
       According to the 28 Nov 1977 People, the singer who dubbed actress Didi Conn's voice was Kvitka "Kacey" Ciszk, who also had a cameo as a "bridesmaid" in the film. When Arista Records released a single and a soundtrack album, Ciszk was listed as part of the "Original Cast." Debby Boone later recorded "You Light Up My Life" for Warner Bros. Records using Joseph Brooks' instrumental tracks from the film. While Ciszk's original version was a small hit, Boone's cover single duplicated the song's fictional success in the film by reaching number-one on the national music charts, and remaining there for ten weeks. "You Light Up My Life" won the 1977 Academy Award for Best Music (Original Song).
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Aug 1977.
---
Daily Variety
19 Nov 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 1977
p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
19 Apr 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Sep 1977
p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1978.
---
New York Times
1 Sep 1977
p. 11.
People
28 Nov 1977.
---
Variety
1 Jun 1977.
---
Variety
10 Aug 1977
p. 16.
Variety
26 Oct 1977.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Joseph Brooks Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/Asst mgr
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Key grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Cam asst
Cam asst
2nd asst
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Props
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp, arr, and cond
Engineer
N.Y. Mus coord
L.A. mus coord
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Asst prod mgr
Clam furnished by
Special comedy material
Addl casting
Prod secy
Asst to the prod
Asst to the dir
Research
Research
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
SONGS
"California Daydreams," words and music by Joseph Brooks
"Do You Have A Piano," words and music by Joseph Brooks
"Rollin' The Chords," words and music by Joseph Brooks
+
SONGS
"California Daydreams," words and music by Joseph Brooks
"Do You Have A Piano," words and music by Joseph Brooks
"Rollin' The Chords," words and music by Joseph Brooks
"You Light Up My Life," words and music by Joseph Brooks
"The Morning Of My Life," words and music by Joseph Brooks
"Oh Promise Me." music by Reginald De Koven, lyrics by Clement Scott.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Session
Release Date:
September 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 21 September 1977
Production Date:
began 16 Junee 1975
Copyright Claimant:
Mondial International Corporation
Copyright Date:
5 August 1977
Copyright Number:
PA32896
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Technicolor
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24970
SYNOPSIS

Laurie Robinson, a girl about twelve years old, tells corny jokes in front of a middle-aged audience, while her father, small-time comedian Si Robinson, prompts her from the wings. In the dressing room after the show, Si tells Laurie she did a good job but needs to improve her timing. A decade later, Laurie drives through Los Angeles, California, from one television commercial audition to another. In a studio, after reading a script about Fenwick eggs making fluffier omelets, she blows the audition by telling the Fenwick Farm representatives that milk makes omelets fluffy, not eggs. Later, at her own recording session, Laurie tells Annie Gerrard, her friend and fellow actress, that she would rather concentrate on songwriting and singing than doing comedy with her father. At that moment, Si calls Laurie to test a new joke for the local Kids Komedy Hour television show that afternoon, but Laurie says the children are too young to understand it. At the show, she tells the joke anyway, and none of the kids laugh. After the director tells Laurie and Si that their act “needs work,” Si suggests that Laurie needs to work on her timing. That night, when Laurie goes to a club with Annie, she meets a young film director, Cris Nolan, who kisses her on the lips and asks her to go home with him; as she explains that she is sitting with friends, Cris kisses her again. Laurie drives him back to his apartment and spends the night. Over breakfast, Cris plans their next date for that evening, but Laurie confesses that she has to ... +


Laurie Robinson, a girl about twelve years old, tells corny jokes in front of a middle-aged audience, while her father, small-time comedian Si Robinson, prompts her from the wings. In the dressing room after the show, Si tells Laurie she did a good job but needs to improve her timing. A decade later, Laurie drives through Los Angeles, California, from one television commercial audition to another. In a studio, after reading a script about Fenwick eggs making fluffier omelets, she blows the audition by telling the Fenwick Farm representatives that milk makes omelets fluffy, not eggs. Later, at her own recording session, Laurie tells Annie Gerrard, her friend and fellow actress, that she would rather concentrate on songwriting and singing than doing comedy with her father. At that moment, Si calls Laurie to test a new joke for the local Kids Komedy Hour television show that afternoon, but Laurie says the children are too young to understand it. At the show, she tells the joke anyway, and none of the kids laugh. After the director tells Laurie and Si that their act “needs work,” Si suggests that Laurie needs to work on her timing. That night, when Laurie goes to a club with Annie, she meets a young film director, Cris Nolan, who kisses her on the lips and asks her to go home with him; as she explains that she is sitting with friends, Cris kisses her again. Laurie drives him back to his apartment and spends the night. Over breakfast, Cris plans their next date for that evening, but Laurie confesses that she has to be at her wedding rehearsal. He asks if the previous night was just a final fling before marriage, and she says she cannot see him anymore. Laurie later meets her fiancé, Ken Rothenberg, who wants her to accompany him to a party that evening. When Laurie explains that she has already arranged a recording date, Ken demands to know what is so important about “some rotten session.” At the studio, Laurie records her song, then sings background vocals and directs the musicians during overdubs. From there, she goes to the wedding rehearsal, where Si has arranged an elaborate setup with an old friend who owns the Wedding Palace. The focus of the ceremony is a large clam shell that opens to reveal Laurie and Ken sitting inside. Ken hates the idea and tells Laurie he does not want to get married “inside a giant clam,” but when Laurie hints to Si that they should try something else, he changes the subject, because he needs jokes for a roast at the Moose Lodge. As he gives Laurie details, she makes up one-liners and put-downs, and Si likes them all. The next day, Laurie auditions for a film that needs a singing voice for the leading lady. The director, she discovers, is Cris, who is as surprised as she is. Since Laurie arrived early, Cris asks to see the songs in her portfolio; he has an orchestra from an earlier number and wants to hold the musicians over for her audition. Laurie gives the charts for her newest song to the conductor, Roy, who in turn hands them out with specific instructions. Laurie's voice and the orchestra's performance of her song, “You Light Up My Life,” impresses everyone, and Cris asks her if she would be interested in auditioning for the lead in his movie. When Laurie does a "cold reading" of a scene in the control room, Cris sets up an appointment at his office the next day to work on her song and “tone it down” for the movie. Laurie hurries off to a pre-wedding pool party at Ken’s parents’ home. Si is happy because his Moose Lodge routine, especially Laurie's jokes, got plenty of laughs, but he notices that Laurie is worried. He asks why she and Ken have not touched or danced with each other all evening. Si knows that their peripatetic life on the road has deprived Laurie of the security of a home, but if she is not in love and is marrying Ken only to please her father, it would break his heart. The next day, Laurie visits Ken where he works as a tennis instructor and asks if he loves her; Ken says of course and gives her a perfunctory hug. Later, Cris sings "You Light Up My Life" for Laurie at his piano, giving it a more subdued treatment, then takes her for a walk along the beach. Laurie visits Annie to confess that she loves Cris, and adds that she may have the lead in his film. Later, Laurie calls off the marriage. Meanwhile, Cris auditions another girl for his movie and tells her she has the part, then gives his assistant, Charley Nelson, the job of calling Laurie with the bad news. When Laurie asks why Cris did not call himself, Charley explains that Cris has been in meetings all afternoon. Laurie calls Cris's office, but the receptionist tells her he is probably at home because he does not have any meetings. Laurie arrives at Cris's apartment as he and his new leading lady are leaving for dinner with friends. Cris apologizes and tells her she is special enough to get other roles. That night, when Laurie and Si perform at the Family Komedy Hour, her routine falls flat. Tears flood her eyes as she remembers the days when people laughed at her little-girl antics. The audience feels sorry for her. Laurie imitates her father, saying, “Isn’t this kid terrific, ladies and gentlemen?” then apologizes and walks off. In the dressing room, Si tells her she was just having a bad night and her timing was off, but Laurie insists that she will not do the act anymore because she is not funny. She wants to sing, and Columbia Records in New York City is interested in her. She gives Si a cassette tape of her songs and tells him he has to let go of her, because she needs to depend on herself; she is going to New York City alone. They hug and kiss goodbye, and Laurie drives away. Sometime later, Laurie's “You Light Up My Life” climbs the music charts and reaches number one.

+

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.