Fatso (1980)

PG | 93 mins | Comedy | 1 February 1980

Director:

Anne Bancroft

Writer:

Anne Bancroft

Producer:

Stuart Cornfeld

Cinematographer:

Bri Murphy

Editor:

Glenn Farr

Production Designer:

Peter Wooley

Production Company:

Brooksfilms Ltd.
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HISTORY

The following acknowledgment appears at the end of the film: “Hospital equipment furnished by Los Angeles New Hospital.”
       A 10 Feb 1979 LAT news item stated that, after signing on to film Fatso, actress Anne Bancroft would become one of “ten active women directors in the United States.” The film marked her debut as a feature film director, and represented her first screenplay. In 1976, Bancroft — along with Joanne Woodward, Lee Grant, Marsha Mason and Dyan Cannon — attended a one-year Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) at the American Film Institute.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Brianne Murphy, as the film’s director of photography, constituted the first time a woman was hired for that position on a theatrically-released feature by a major studio. Murphy would become the first female member of The American Society of Cinematographers. One of the production’s property masters, Sol Sommatino, prepared and served all the food used on the set. He collected and used many family recipes supplied by the Italian-American actors involved in the film. Sommatino, however, is not credited on-screen.
       A 2 Apr 1979 Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. press release in AMPAS library files announced that principal photography began 2 Apr 1979 on the studio’s Century City lot in Los Angeles, CA. After seven weeks, the production moved to New York City for a week of filming, which began 21 May 1979, according to an 18 May 1979 Twentieth Century-Fox press release. Locations ncluded the New York City Public Library steps, Greenwich Village and parts of Brooklyn, NY. On 29 May 1979, a Twentieth Century-Fox press release stated that principal photography was completed ... More Less

The following acknowledgment appears at the end of the film: “Hospital equipment furnished by Los Angeles New Hospital.”
       A 10 Feb 1979 LAT news item stated that, after signing on to film Fatso, actress Anne Bancroft would become one of “ten active women directors in the United States.” The film marked her debut as a feature film director, and represented her first screenplay. In 1976, Bancroft — along with Joanne Woodward, Lee Grant, Marsha Mason and Dyan Cannon — attended a one-year Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) at the American Film Institute.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Brianne Murphy, as the film’s director of photography, constituted the first time a woman was hired for that position on a theatrically-released feature by a major studio. Murphy would become the first female member of The American Society of Cinematographers. One of the production’s property masters, Sol Sommatino, prepared and served all the food used on the set. He collected and used many family recipes supplied by the Italian-American actors involved in the film. Sommatino, however, is not credited on-screen.
       A 2 Apr 1979 Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. press release in AMPAS library files announced that principal photography began 2 Apr 1979 on the studio’s Century City lot in Los Angeles, CA. After seven weeks, the production moved to New York City for a week of filming, which began 21 May 1979, according to an 18 May 1979 Twentieth Century-Fox press release. Locations ncluded the New York City Public Library steps, Greenwich Village and parts of Brooklyn, NY. On 29 May 1979, a Twentieth Century-Fox press release stated that principal photography was completed 29 May 1979.
       According to a 2 May 1979 Twentieth Century-Fox press release, Sutter’s Bakery, a real Brooklyn location that writer-director-actress Ann Bancroft used to frequent as a child, was recreated on the lot at Twentieth Century-Fox. Bancroft had cakes, cookies, pastries and other store merchandise flown in from the east coast to dress the Sutter Bakery set.
       The film received mostly poor reviews. Only Kevin Thomas in a 1 Feb 1980 LAT review labeled the film “an affectionate ethnic comedy” and praised actor Dom DeLuise for being able to “move deftly between slapstick and pathos.” Other reviewers such as Richard Schickel in a 25 Feb 1980 Time review complained that the film’s tone veered from “the grotesque” to “the hysterical.” According to Janet Maslin in a 1 Feb NYT review, DeLuise had been given scenes that were “absolutely unplayable.” In the Apr 1980 Films in Review, Robert Martin faulted the film for generating few laughs. The 25 Feb 1980 New West review by Stephen Farber pointed out that Bancroft had directed herself into giving a “terrible performance.” While a 10 Mar 1980 Box review declared that the movie’s biggest flaw was that it was “an offbeat film that may be just a little too offbeat.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Films in Review
Apr. 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1980
p. 3.
LAHExam
1 Feb 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Feb 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Feb 1980
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Feb 1980.
---
New West
25 Feb 1980.
---
New York Times
1 Feb 1980
p. 11.
Time
25 Feb 1980.
---
Variety
30 Jan 1980
p. 28.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Production of Brooksfilms Ltd.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp
Scoring mixer
Mus cond
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Asst to Anne Bancroft
Prod asst
Prod asst
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Prod coord
Transportation coord
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 February 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 1 February 1980
Production Date:
2 April 1979 -- Los Angeles
28 May 1979 -- New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
4 March 1980
Copyright Number:
PA68171
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by De Luxe®
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed with Panavision® equipment
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25723
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Dominick “Dom” DiNapoli was a baby, his mother fed him pastry when he cried, and, in church, a friend would give him Hershey’s chocolate bars. Now grown, a stocky Dom comforts his hysterical aunt at the funeral of her thirty-nine-year-old son, Salvatore. The sight of Salvatore in his open casket overwhelms Dom’s sister, Antoinette Asano. As Dom comforts Antoinette, they reminisce about how Salvatore loved to eat. Antoinette then informs her brother that she has made him an appointment to see Dr. Schwartzman, a diet specialist. Later, as Dom walks to work, he longingly watches Lydia, a shapely blonde, cleaning the windows of her antique shop. At the card shop where Dom and Antoinette work, he assists Mrs. Goodman, who suggests that Dom join “Chubby Checkers,” a diet company that helped her lose weight. When Antoinette arrives to work late, she yells at Dom for missing his doctor’s appointment. Dom dances around the store with Antoinette to prove he is in good health, but he is quickly winded from the effort and promises to see the doctor. Later at Dr. Schwartzman’s office, Dom is weighed, poked, stuck with needles and observed on a treadmill. As a nurse recites a long list of food that Dom must omit from his diet, his eyes well up with tears. At dinner, Dom eats broiled chicken and kale while his brother Frankie eats lasagna. When Dom walks to work, he again stares at Lydia polishing the front door of her store but passes by without a word. Dom arrives home with a birthday cake for his nephew, Anthony, but when Antoinette opens the box, she discovers ... +


When Dominick “Dom” DiNapoli was a baby, his mother fed him pastry when he cried, and, in church, a friend would give him Hershey’s chocolate bars. Now grown, a stocky Dom comforts his hysterical aunt at the funeral of her thirty-nine-year-old son, Salvatore. The sight of Salvatore in his open casket overwhelms Dom’s sister, Antoinette Asano. As Dom comforts Antoinette, they reminisce about how Salvatore loved to eat. Antoinette then informs her brother that she has made him an appointment to see Dr. Schwartzman, a diet specialist. Later, as Dom walks to work, he longingly watches Lydia, a shapely blonde, cleaning the windows of her antique shop. At the card shop where Dom and Antoinette work, he assists Mrs. Goodman, who suggests that Dom join “Chubby Checkers,” a diet company that helped her lose weight. When Antoinette arrives to work late, she yells at Dom for missing his doctor’s appointment. Dom dances around the store with Antoinette to prove he is in good health, but he is quickly winded from the effort and promises to see the doctor. Later at Dr. Schwartzman’s office, Dom is weighed, poked, stuck with needles and observed on a treadmill. As a nurse recites a long list of food that Dom must omit from his diet, his eyes well up with tears. At dinner, Dom eats broiled chicken and kale while his brother Frankie eats lasagna. When Dom walks to work, he again stares at Lydia polishing the front door of her store but passes by without a word. Dom arrives home with a birthday cake for his nephew, Anthony, but when Antoinette opens the box, she discovers that Dom has already eaten a big slice of cake, and has a tantrum. One day, Lydia visits the card shop to order wrapping paper for her store. When Dom offers her a snack, she refuses because she has a family history of diabetes. He confesses that he is not careful about what he eats. Later, Dom brings the rolls of wrapping paper to Lydia’s store, and they find they have a lot in common. She is part Italian, they both have younger brothers named Frankie, and deceased parents. Dom joins Chubby Checkers and padlocks the kitchen cabinets at home, instructing Frankie never to give him the keys. He shows Frankie the telephone numbers of his “checkers” and insists that Frankie call them if he goes on a binge. At night, Dom cannot sleep, so he turns on the television and sees food on every channel. He becomes insatiably hungry and points a gun at Frankie’s face, demanding the keys to the kitchen cabinets. When Frankie realizes the gun is Anthony’s toy, Dom grabs a large kitchen knife and threatens him. After Frankie prays for his life, Dom drops the knife and apologizes, while Frankie calls Dom’s “checkers,” Sonny LoPilada and Oscar Lapidus. Dom tells Sonny and Oscar that he was too afraid to ask Lydia for a date so he consumed a whole pizza instead, and feels terribly guilty. Before long, the men recount their favorite foods, while sipping hot water with lemon. Soon, Dom wants honey, but Frankie refuses to unlock the cabinets. However, Sonny rips the doors off the cabinets, and the men organize an impromptu party. Later, Frankie informs Antoinette that Dom and his checkers have eaten everything in sight. Antoinette arrives with Lydia to appraise Dom and Frankie’s antiques. Dom is embarrassed when Lydia sees him in bed wearing his pajamas, but she is unfazed. Lydia gives him a get-well gift and he invites her to the St. Anthony’s Church bazaar. Later, they go on dates to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park and explore the streets of New York City. Over time, Dom loses weight to the point that he notices his clothes are baggy while he dresses in preparation of proposing to Lydia over dinner. Unable to find something to wear that fits properly, he becomes late for his big date. When he calls to inform Lydia, he cannot find her and begins to worry. He contacts the restaurant and the police, but then agrees to pick up Chinese food for Antoinette’s card players. However, he is so upset that he eats all the food before he returns home. When Dom apologizes to Antoinette, she tells him that he has a sickness. Speaking to his mother’s photograph on the mantel, Dom blames her for turning him into a fat man. He tells her that he is a forty-year-old fatso, incapable of being anything else. The phone rings and Dom learns from Lydia that she has gone to Boston, Massachusetts, to be with her brother, who chopped off a finger in an accident. Dom travels to Boston to be with Lydia, where she informs Dom that her brother will recover. As they admire the babies in the maternity ward of the hospital, Lydia agrees to marry Dom. +

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

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