Hero at Large (1980)

PG | 98 mins | Comedy | 8 February 1980

Director:

Martin Davidson

Writer:

A. J. Carothers

Producer:

Stephen Friedman

Cinematographer:

David M. Walsh

Editor:

David Garfield

Production Designer:

Albert Brenner

Production Companies:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., Kings Road
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HISTORY

The following statement appears in the end credits: “The New York City Transit Authority is not responsible in any way for the contents of the motion picture.”
       Actor Allan Rich's name is misspelled "Allen" Rich in the opening credits.
       According to production notes found in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 26 Mar 1979 for six weeks on the sound stages at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., in Beverly Hills, CA. Once interior shots were done, the production moved to New York City for exteriors in the remaining four weeks of the schedule. An apartment building located at 26 Grove Street in Greenwich Village provided the exterior background for the main set of the film. Other Greenwich Village locations included the Greenwich Theatre, a Chinese takeout restaurant, and a dry cleaning store found on Bleecker Street.
       Uptown, the exterior of Sardi’s, a restaurant famous for its theatre clientele in the city’s theatre district, was filmed, while a replica of the eatery down to its walls covered in show business caricatures was replicated on sound stages. A press release found in AMPAS library files stated that owner Vincent Sardi, Jr., provided color reproductions of all the caricatures hanging on the walls of his restaurant when the eatery could not be closed for filming. Sardi, Jr., also loaned the production “tablecloths, napkins and tableware” for use on the set. Production notes stated that in a sequence involving six hundred extras in a political rally at New York’s City Hall, Brooklyn-born director Martin Davidson substituted the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall when the actual location could not accommodate the movie company.
       Broadway and 47th Street at Times Square, ... More Less

The following statement appears in the end credits: “The New York City Transit Authority is not responsible in any way for the contents of the motion picture.”
       Actor Allan Rich's name is misspelled "Allen" Rich in the opening credits.
       According to production notes found in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 26 Mar 1979 for six weeks on the sound stages at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., in Beverly Hills, CA. Once interior shots were done, the production moved to New York City for exteriors in the remaining four weeks of the schedule. An apartment building located at 26 Grove Street in Greenwich Village provided the exterior background for the main set of the film. Other Greenwich Village locations included the Greenwich Theatre, a Chinese takeout restaurant, and a dry cleaning store found on Bleecker Street.
       Uptown, the exterior of Sardi’s, a restaurant famous for its theatre clientele in the city’s theatre district, was filmed, while a replica of the eatery down to its walls covered in show business caricatures was replicated on sound stages. A press release found in AMPAS library files stated that owner Vincent Sardi, Jr., provided color reproductions of all the caricatures hanging on the walls of his restaurant when the eatery could not be closed for filming. Sardi, Jr., also loaned the production “tablecloths, napkins and tableware” for use on the set. Production notes stated that in a sequence involving six hundred extras in a political rally at New York’s City Hall, Brooklyn-born director Martin Davidson substituted the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall when the actual location could not accommodate the movie company.
       Broadway and 47th Street at Times Square, and Park Avenue between 28th and 53rd streets, were used for an all-night car chase sequence. Other locations included Gaiety Delicatessen, Shubert Alley, Sheridan Square, the “Elmwood Theatre on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, Queens,” and “an elevated train station in Coney Island, Brooklyn.”
       Filmmakers also staged a tenement house fire sequence “on a back lot at MGM,” which was completed after “a week of all-night filming.” Spare fire equipment was leased and twelve off-duty Culver City, CA, firemen were hired.
       Reviews for the film were mixed. Reviewers from the 6 Feb 1980 MPHPD, 11 Feb 1980 Village Voice, and the Mar 1980 Film Journal enjoyed the onscreen chemistry between actors John Ritter and Ann Archer. Other critics in 18 Feb 1980 Box and 6 Feb 1980 Var found the comedy had few laughs. Peter Rainer’s review from the 9 Feb 1980 LAHExam felt the movie fell “flat” from the start.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Feb 1980
p. 7.
Daily Variety
6 Feb 1980
p. 3, 6.
Film Journal
Mar 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1980
p. 23.
LAHExam
9 Feb 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Feb 1980
Section VI, p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Feb 1980.
---
New York Times
8 Feb 1980
p. 13.
Variety
6 Feb 1980
p. 20.
Village Voice
11 Feb 1980.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Co-Starring
Featuring
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
A Stephen Friedman/Kings Road Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, New York Crew
Cam op, New York Crew
1st asst cam, New York Crew
2d asst cam, New York Crew
Still photog, New York Crew
Gaffer, New York Crew
Key grip, New York Crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Graphics
Art dir, New York Crew
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Prop master, New York Crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward, New York Crew
Ward, New York Crew
SOUND
Sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit pub
Asst to Martin Davidson
Asst to Roger Rothstein
Scr supv
Casting
Casting
New York casting
New York casting, TNI Casting
New York casting, TNI Casting
Loc mgr, New York Crew
Bits and extras, New York Crew
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Captain Avenger
Release Date:
8 February 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 8 February 1980
Production Date:
26 March--mid June 1979 in Los Angeles and New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 February 1980
Copyright Number:
PA63816
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor®
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25714
SYNOPSIS

At a New York City delicatessen, actor Steve Nichols implores Marty Fields, his agent, to get him an audition for an off-Broadway production of Cyrano de Bergerac instead of a job in another television commercial. When Marty finds out that Steve passed along work to a fellow actor, and he won’t get the commission, he is furious. At his apartment, Steve sees his attractive neighbor, J. Jolene Marsh, fumbling to open her mailbox and makes conversation but she barely pays attention to him. When he rushes to attend a blender in his apartment, she follows and tells him she has a job working on television commercials. He asks her for a date, but she says she is filming a commercial at Sardi’s Restaurant late at night. When he suggests going out another time, she turns him down. Steve, dressed as Captain Avenger, has a job signing autographs in front of the Elmwood Theatre to promote the Captain Avenger movie. After work, he stops at a small grocery store and sees two punks attempt to rob the owners, the Rothbergs. Still in his Avenger costume, Steve fights the robbers and scares them away. The crime fighting exhilarates him and the Rothbergs are extremely grateful. At Sardi’s, Steve finds Jolene during a break in shooting but she insists he leave. ... +


At a New York City delicatessen, actor Steve Nichols implores Marty Fields, his agent, to get him an audition for an off-Broadway production of Cyrano de Bergerac instead of a job in another television commercial. When Marty finds out that Steve passed along work to a fellow actor, and he won’t get the commission, he is furious. At his apartment, Steve sees his attractive neighbor, J. Jolene Marsh, fumbling to open her mailbox and makes conversation but she barely pays attention to him. When he rushes to attend a blender in his apartment, she follows and tells him she has a job working on television commercials. He asks her for a date, but she says she is filming a commercial at Sardi’s Restaurant late at night. When he suggests going out another time, she turns him down. Steve, dressed as Captain Avenger, has a job signing autographs in front of the Elmwood Theatre to promote the Captain Avenger movie. After work, he stops at a small grocery store and sees two punks attempt to rob the owners, the Rothbergs. Still in his Avenger costume, Steve fights the robbers and scares them away. The crime fighting exhilarates him and the Rothbergs are extremely grateful. At Sardi’s, Steve finds Jolene during a break in shooting but she insists he leave. Instead, he waits until her work is done, but she declines his invitation to have coffee. Steve watches as the Rothbergs credit Captain Avenger with saving their lives during a television interview. When Steve tries to tell his neighbors that his good deed made the television news, Mrs. Havacheck, his building manager, warns him that his rent is late. At a meeting between Walter Reeves, president of Reeves Public Relations, and mayoral campaign manager Calvin Donnelly, the men discuss the need for a new strategy to reelect New York Mayor John Woodson because he is behind in the polls. Calvin warns Walter it is his job to fix the problem. Walter’s company also handles publicity for the Captain Avenger movie, and he is thrilled to learn that ticket sales of the movie have multiplied since the thwarted robbery. He decides to use the event to create an advantage for the mayor. At the Greenwich Theatre during another autograph session, fans mob Steve in his Captain Avenger costume, and Gloria Preston, a reporter from Channel 6 TV, interviews him, and he explains that Captain Avenger’s fight for justice has given people hope. Later, Steve asks Jolene what she thinks about the New York City – crime fighting Captain Avenger. She thinks it is the work of a publicity-seeking nut, which discourages Steve from revealing his alter ego. At his apartment, Mrs. Havacheck wants the rent, and threatens to evict Steve if she does not receive a check by evening. On the television news, New Yorkers want the real Captain Avenger to step forward. Steve dresses in his Avenger costume, and with the help of a police scanner, his cab rams a weaving car filled with suspects and it flips over. The suspects shoot him in the arm, and shortly thereafter, the police make several arrests. Soon, Steve discovers that Mrs. Havacheck has locked him out of his apartment. Jolene bandages him and he falls asleep on her couch. Walter is on the verge of being fired by Calvin because of Mayor Woodson’s shrinking popularity, but he saves his job by taking credit for masterminding the Avenger’s good deeds. He convinces Calvin that more Captain Avenger publicity opportunities will help the mayor win the election. Meanwhile, Jolene tells Steve that he can stay at her apartment until he mends. When Jolene returns from a date with Milo, her boss, Steve wants to know about the relationship but she evades his questions. The next day, Milo shows up unexpectedly to escort Jolene to a client’s boat. They fight, but Milo won’t leave until Steve emerges from the bathroom dressed in Jolene’s pink robe and orders him to go. Jolene welcomes Steve’s kiss and they make love. Later, Eddie from Reeves Public Relations pays Steve’s rent and knocks on Jolene’s door with a job for the actor. The company offers Steve a publicity opportunity that will wrap up his Avenger career with a bang and offers him a part in a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to sweeten the deal, but Steve turns Walter down. Instead, he woos Jolene with Chinese food and a bouquet of roses, but she tells him she doesn’t want to be in a relationship at the moment. Back in his apartment, he listens to the television and hears Dr. Joyce Brothers say that Captain Avenger brings hope to the city. Soon, Steve appears in his Captain Avenger costume on a train to break up a robbery, as passengers cheer him on, but the crime has been staged by Reeves Public Relations. Later, Steve tells Walter he is not interested in perpetuating a hoax and wants to quit. When Walter says the mayor wants to hold a Captain Avenger Day, Steve vows that will be the last time he plays the comic book hero. Soon, Gloria suspects that Avenger’s latest exploits are phony. On Captain Avenger Day, the crowd cheers relentlessly as Steve tells them that the things Avenger stands for -- justice, loyalty, courage, and caring for people – are the things that matter. After Mayor Woodson gives Steve the key to the city, Gloria broadcasts live, accusing Steve of phony heroics and working for the mayor’s reelection. The crowd turns on Steve and steals his key. Meanwhile, reporters corner Jolene in front of the apartment and she vigorously defends Steve’s honor. When the reporters leave, Steve packs a suitcase while Jolene tells him not to run away or forget his career. As he walks away, he comes upon a burning building where firemen have rescued a woman, but Johnny, her son, is still trapped inside. Steve climbs to the roof of the burning building in his Avenger costume after Chief Palmer has ordered his men to stay out. Steve finds Johnny and drops the boy into a fireman’s net below. Before Steve can jump, he is caught in an explosion and disappears from view. Two bystander heroes and the chief run into the building and save him. Away from the flames, Jolene hugs Steve and tells him she loves him. Arm in arm, they return to their apartment building. +

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

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