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HISTORY

       An 18 Jan 1980 DV brief announced that principal photography would begin 1 Feb 1980 in Los Angeles, CA. According to an 11 Apr 1980 HR article, the picture had a budget of nearly $2.3 million, and completed filming on that day.
       News items in the 24 Dec 1980 DV and 27 Dec 1980 LAT reported that a $15-million lawsuit was filed by U.S. Film Office of Northbrook, IL, and William Boyd Enterprises of Beverly Hills, CA, for failing to secure the right to use "Hopalong Cassidy" film clips in the movie Fade To Black. American Cinema Releasing Co., Fade to Black Productions, Move Venture Limited Productions Inc., American Communications Industries Inc., and Leisure Investment Co. were named as co-defendants. The suit alleged that the portrayal of Cassidy in the film held Boyd and his character up “to contempt and ridicule,” and sought an injunction to remove the film from theaters. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined.
       A 9 Jan 1981 HR brief announced that the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films awarded two Golden Scrolls to American Cinema Releasing Co., and actor Dennis Christopher for his role as a movie fan turned psychotic killer. A news item in the 8 Feb 1981 HR stated that the picture had received France’s annual Avoriaz Film Festival’s Critics Prize.

      The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “Film Clips: “Kiss Of Death,” courtesy 20th Century-Fox, “White Heat,” courtesy United Artists, “Public Enemy,” courtesy of United Artists, “Horror Of Dracula,” courtesy Warner Brothers, “Creature From ...

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       An 18 Jan 1980 DV brief announced that principal photography would begin 1 Feb 1980 in Los Angeles, CA. According to an 11 Apr 1980 HR article, the picture had a budget of nearly $2.3 million, and completed filming on that day.
       News items in the 24 Dec 1980 DV and 27 Dec 1980 LAT reported that a $15-million lawsuit was filed by U.S. Film Office of Northbrook, IL, and William Boyd Enterprises of Beverly Hills, CA, for failing to secure the right to use "Hopalong Cassidy" film clips in the movie Fade To Black. American Cinema Releasing Co., Fade to Black Productions, Move Venture Limited Productions Inc., American Communications Industries Inc., and Leisure Investment Co. were named as co-defendants. The suit alleged that the portrayal of Cassidy in the film held Boyd and his character up “to contempt and ridicule,” and sought an injunction to remove the film from theaters. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined.
       A 9 Jan 1981 HR brief announced that the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films awarded two Golden Scrolls to American Cinema Releasing Co., and actor Dennis Christopher for his role as a movie fan turned psychotic killer. A news item in the 8 Feb 1981 HR stated that the picture had received France’s annual Avoriaz Film Festival’s Critics Prize.

      The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “Film Clips: “Kiss Of Death,” courtesy 20th Century-Fox, “White Heat,” courtesy United Artists, “Public Enemy,” courtesy of United Artists, “Horror Of Dracula,” courtesy Warner Brothers, “Creature From The Black Lagoon,” courtesy Universal, “Night Of The Living Dead,” courtesy of The Laurel Group Inc., ©1978 Image Ten Inc.” End credits also carry the following acknowledgments: “Special Thanks David Wolf,” and “Also, Special Thanks Ted Mann’s Chinese Theatre Elmer Haynes.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Jan 1980
---
Daily Variety
24 Dec 1980
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 1980
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1980
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 1981
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 1981
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Oct 1980
p. 37
Los Angeles Times
27 Dec 1980
---
New York Times
17 Oct 1980
p. 10
Variety
15 Oct 1980
p. 52
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Irwin Yablans & Sylvio Tabet Present
A Leisure Investment Company Movie Ventures Ltd. Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Addl cam op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Spec photog
Still photog
Addl cam asst
Addl cam op
Extra cam asst
Extra cam asst
Extra cam asst
Elec
Grip
Crane op
ART DIRECTOR
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Addl editing
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dec
Art dept leadman
Set const coord
Set const
Art dept swing gang
Art dept swing gang
Art dept swing gang
COSTUMES
Ward
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus coord
Music consultant
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup and hair
Addl makeup and hair
Addl makeup and hair
Addl makeup and hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Creative consultant
Truck and equip
Loc coord
Prod auditor
Prod coord
Transportation
Caterer
Head prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Set physician
Asst to the dir
Prod secy
Post prod secy
Honeywagon driver
Casting asst
Casting asst
Extra casting
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Featured stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntwoman
Stuntwoman
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
SONGS
"Theme From Fade to Black 'Heros,'" lyrics by Carol Connors, music by Craig Safan; "Pleasure Zone," Marsha & The Vendettas; "Nothing To Lose," Danny Johnson & The Bandits; "Every Summer Day," The Last; "Livin' Alone," The Rattlers; "Fun At The Beach," The "B" Girls; "American Masquerade," The Box Boys; "Tomorrow Night," The Shoes; "Operator, Operator," The Barbies; "You're So Strange," The Zippers; "Don't Aim Your Gun At Me," Marsha & The Vendettas; "Call Me Bitch," Marsha & The Vendettas.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 October 1980
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 17 Oct 1980; Los Angeles opening: 31 Oct 1980
Production Date:
1 Feb--11 Apr 1980 in Los Angeles, CA
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses & Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Aunt Stella Binford finds her deceased dance partner’s son, Eric Binford, asleep while an old movie blares on the television. As she wakes him, she complains that he wastes his time watching movies. Stella is full of regrets that Eric’s father broke up her dance team, and that her career was cut short by a car accident that left her legs paralyzed when Eric’s babysitter called her away from a party to care for the sickly four-year-old. As they eat breakfast, Stella pushes a stack of Eric’s movies off the table, and rages that he should fill his mind with knowledge instead of entertainment. Impersonating James Cagney, Eric tells Stella she talks too much and that someday she is going to eat her words. At Continental Film Services, a film rental company, Morty Berger, the boss, yells at Eric for being late, and asks him to make a delivery. At a city police station, Capt. Gallagher is skeptical that Dr. Moriarity’s program to rehabilitate juvenile offenders will work, and reminds Moriarity that he has six months to produce results. Anna, another officer, shows Moriarity to the basement, where a former drunk tank is his new office. As he leaves to make a delivery, Eric bets his coworkers, Richie and Bart, twenty dollars each that they cannot figure out Rick’s full name in the movie Casablanca. Eric says if he loses the bet, he will pay them fifty dollars. Then Eric stops at a diner, and becomes fascinated by an ...

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Aunt Stella Binford finds her deceased dance partner’s son, Eric Binford, asleep while an old movie blares on the television. As she wakes him, she complains that he wastes his time watching movies. Stella is full of regrets that Eric’s father broke up her dance team, and that her career was cut short by a car accident that left her legs paralyzed when Eric’s babysitter called her away from a party to care for the sickly four-year-old. As they eat breakfast, Stella pushes a stack of Eric’s movies off the table, and rages that he should fill his mind with knowledge instead of entertainment. Impersonating James Cagney, Eric tells Stella she talks too much and that someday she is going to eat her words. At Continental Film Services, a film rental company, Morty Berger, the boss, yells at Eric for being late, and asks him to make a delivery. At a city police station, Capt. Gallagher is skeptical that Dr. Moriarity’s program to rehabilitate juvenile offenders will work, and reminds Moriarity that he has six months to produce results. Anna, another officer, shows Moriarity to the basement, where a former drunk tank is his new office. As he leaves to make a delivery, Eric bets his coworkers, Richie and Bart, twenty dollars each that they cannot figure out Rick’s full name in the movie Casablanca. Eric says if he loses the bet, he will pay them fifty dollars. Then Eric stops at a diner, and becomes fascinated by an aspiring platinum blonde model named Marilyn O’Connor, sitting in a booth with her friend, Stacy. Eric imagines Marilyn O’ Connor made up to look like Marilyn Monroe, singing “Happy Birthday.” He tries to impress her with his knowledge of movie trivia, and Marilyn asks him to give her a ride back to work. He leaves her at a skate shop in Venice, California, and they make plans to see a picture at a Westwood movie theater. Later, Stella is impressed when Eric cleans his room and dresses smartly for his date. In his best “Cary Grant” voice, Eric tells Stella his date’s name is “Marilyn Monroe,” and he asks her for some movie money. She agrees in exchange for a backrub after his return. Eric waits in front of Ships diner and then moves on to the theater but Marilyn never shows. At dinner, Marilyn remembers her date and races off to meet Eric at Ships. Tired of waiting, Eric returns home, and screens a print of Kiss Of Death in the study. Stella knocks on the door, but he ignores her. However, she then opens the door with her key, and delivers an ultimatum. If he does not find something to do besides wasting his time watching movies, he can find himself another place to live. When he tells her she is missing the best part of the film, where actor Richard Widmark pushes an invalid in a wheelchair down the stairs, she knocks the projector to the floor. Then, Stella apologizes, but complains that Eric’s bedroom is a mess. He replies that she has ruined his film like she ruins everything, and reenacts the scene from the movie, pushing Stella in her wheelchair down the outdoor staircase. Afterward, Eric sinks to the bathroom floor, vomiting. Later, he attends Stella’s funeral, and burns her health food books in the fireplace. He applies theatrical makeup and dresses as Bela Lugosi in Dracula and watches a horror film at a theater. Later, he chases after a prostitute, who becomes impaled on a fence. At work, Eric tries to collect on the Casablanca bet, but Richie reneges and bullies him. Later, dressed as Hopalong Cassidy, Eric confronts Richie at a carnival, shooting and killing him. At the police station, Gallagher orders Moriarity not to interfere with his criminal investigation of the cowboy and Dracula killings. On the street, Eric gets a ride with an important producer named Gary Bially. As they share a marijuana cigarette, Eric pitches a movie idea, and Gary’s enthusiasm causes Eric to go home to tell Stella that they will never have to worry about money again as soon as Gary buys his screenplay. Then, he remembers that Stella is dead. Later, Eric spends his time buying movie stills, taking photographs at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and watching movies at home. He masturbates to images of Marilyn Monroe and then apologizes to her. Soon, Morty fires Eric for insubordination and stealing the company scooter. When Eric wants to retrieve his rare posters, Morty refuses to let him in the building. At night, Eric returns dressed as "The Mummy," and frightens Morty into having a fatal heart attack. Later, Eric hears Gary take credit for his movie idea during a television interview. When Eric calls Gary to remind him that the idea came from him, Gary denies knowing Eric, and claims not to accept outside material. Eric dresses as James Cagney, playing “Cody Jarrett” in White Heat, tracks down Gary at a hair salon and sprays him with machine gun bullets. Meanwhile, at the Venice boardwalk, Marilyn sees an advertisement posted by a photographer looking for a “Marilyn Monroe” lookalike, and pursues the job. Later, police think Eric is a suspect and search his home, while Gallagher argues with Moriarity that Eric is dangerous. Although Eric has moved out, police confiscate his Polaroid instant snapshots and other items he has left behind. When Stacy drops Marilyn at the photography studio, Eric is the photographer, dressed as “Laurence Olivier” from The Prince and the Showgirl. Marilyn changes into the showgirl costume, and they drink champagne and dance on an elaborate set. Marilyn says she knows Eric’s true identity. Meanwhile, Moriarity and Anna answer a radio call, and discover Eric’s photography studio. Eric shoots Moriarity in the leg, denying he is Eric. Soon, Eric and Marilyn head to Hollywood’s Chinese Theater. Moriarity follows them inside the theater and urges Eric to release Marilyn, but doing his “Cagney” impression Eric refuses to surrender her. While Eric and Marilyn climb to the roof and lock the door behind them, a SWAT team surrounds the theatre. A marksman ignores the captain’s orders and shoots Eric in the chest. Eric pushes Marilyn down the stairs and locks the roof door. He climbs the awning, takes a bow, and snipers shoot him. With the little strength he has left, he reenacts Cagney dying at the end of White Heat. As more shots ring out, Eric plummets to the pavement below.

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

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