Those Lips, Those Eyes (1980)

R | 106 mins | Drama | 15 August 1980

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HISTORY

According to a 17 Aug 1980 NYT article, writer David Shaber’s screenplay was largely autobiographical. Shaber studied medicine at Case Western Reserve University, but spent two summers working as a prop man at Cain Park Theater in Cleveland Heights, OH. His summer experiences got him hooked on live theater, and inspired him to change his major to study at Yale Drama School. After graduating, Shaber supported himself as a teacher, then moved to New York City, sold magazine stories, and began writing for theater and film.
       In 1979, after writing approximately eighteen screenplays, he sold two scripts: The Warriors (1979, see entry) and Last Embrace (1979, see entry). Studios were reluctant to buy Those Lips, Those Eyes because the consensus was that audiences would not be interested in a backstage story. Shaber’s script languished for three years before it was sold.
       Articles in the 9 Oct 1979 DV and 30 May 1979 Var stated that principal photography would begin in mid-Aug 1980. The $5-million movie would film on locations including the Cain Park Theater in Cleveland Heights, OH, and the Masquers Club in Hollywood, CA. The 17 Aug 1980 NYT reported that the Cain Park Theater, built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), had remained unchanged since Shaber’s summer stock days, and was available due to its semi-retired status. The theater was only being used on Saturdays for folk dances. Filmmakers could not find a suitable venue in CA, and it made sense to return to the scene of Shaber’s youth. The biggest drawback was the unpredictable weather that caused ... More Less

According to a 17 Aug 1980 NYT article, writer David Shaber’s screenplay was largely autobiographical. Shaber studied medicine at Case Western Reserve University, but spent two summers working as a prop man at Cain Park Theater in Cleveland Heights, OH. His summer experiences got him hooked on live theater, and inspired him to change his major to study at Yale Drama School. After graduating, Shaber supported himself as a teacher, then moved to New York City, sold magazine stories, and began writing for theater and film.
       In 1979, after writing approximately eighteen screenplays, he sold two scripts: The Warriors (1979, see entry) and Last Embrace (1979, see entry). Studios were reluctant to buy Those Lips, Those Eyes because the consensus was that audiences would not be interested in a backstage story. Shaber’s script languished for three years before it was sold.
       Articles in the 9 Oct 1979 DV and 30 May 1979 Var stated that principal photography would begin in mid-Aug 1980. The $5-million movie would film on locations including the Cain Park Theater in Cleveland Heights, OH, and the Masquers Club in Hollywood, CA. The 17 Aug 1980 NYT reported that the Cain Park Theater, built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), had remained unchanged since Shaber’s summer stock days, and was available due to its semi-retired status. The theater was only being used on Saturdays for folk dances. Filmmakers could not find a suitable venue in CA, and it made sense to return to the scene of Shaber’s youth. The biggest drawback was the unpredictable weather that caused filmmakers to go over budget and behind schedule.
       The following acknowledgment appears in end credits: “Our thanks to the city of Cleveland Heights, Ohio for its help and cooperation in the making of this motion picture at the Cain Park Theatre.”
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1979
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 1980
p. 3, 15.
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1980
p. 4.
New York Times
17 Aug 1980
---
New York Times
29 Aug 1980
p. 12
Variety
30 May 1979
---
Variety
13 Aug 1980
p. 23.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Also Starring:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Herb Jaffe Production
A Michael Pressman Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st ass cam
2d asst cam
2d cam
Gaffer
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec
Const coord
COSTUMES
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
Orig mus comp and cond
Mus staging
Mus supv and pre-score cond
Mus ed
Mus representative
Orch
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Pre-score & re-rec mixer
Pre-score & re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opticals by
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
2d makeup artist
Hairstylist
2d hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Asst to the producers & addl casting
Prod coord
Exec prod's secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Transportation coord
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Vocal eff adv
Casting
Casting
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Laboratory processing by
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Vagabond King," music by Rudolf Friml, book and lyrics by W. H. Post and Brian Hooker, courtesy of Tams-Whitmark Music Library, Inc., the estate of Russell Janney, the estate of Doris Cooper Hooker, Mrs. Kay Friml, R. I. M. Walsh, and Famous Music Co.
"The Desert Song," written by Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Sigmund Romberg, Laurence Schwab, and Frank E. Mandel, courtesy of Warner Brothers, Inc., and Robert A. Harbach, William O. Harbach, Phillip King, Jr., Mrs. Mildred Schwab Walsh, Laurence Schwab, Jr., Mrs. Catherine Pinckney, Phillip Zimit, United California Bank, and Warner Brothers Music
"Rose Marie," book & lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach, music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
+
SONGS
"The Vagabond King," music by Rudolf Friml, book and lyrics by W. H. Post and Brian Hooker, courtesy of Tams-Whitmark Music Library, Inc., the estate of Russell Janney, the estate of Doris Cooper Hooker, Mrs. Kay Friml, R. I. M. Walsh, and Famous Music Co.
"The Desert Song," written by Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Sigmund Romberg, Laurence Schwab, and Frank E. Mandel, courtesy of Warner Brothers, Inc., and Robert A. Harbach, William O. Harbach, Phillip King, Jr., Mrs. Mildred Schwab Walsh, Laurence Schwab, Jr., Mrs. Catherine Pinckney, Phillip Zimit, United California Bank, and Warner Brothers Music
"Rose Marie," book & lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach, music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
"The Red Mill," book and lyrics by Henry Blossom, music by Victor Herbert, courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 August 1980
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 29 August 1980
Los Angeles opening: 12 September 1980
Production Date:
began mid August 1980
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
4 September 1980
Copyright Number:
PA79163
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1951, at the Kempton Hills Park Theatre, Artie Shoemaker watches a summer stock musical from the wings, before he commits to becoming a prop man for the theater company. Artie’s younger brother believes he will never be able to juggle his pre-medical courses with theater obligations but Artie signs on anyway. His mother and father, an auto parts dealer, do not see any future in stage work, and hope the job will not work out. During rehearsals, Artie delivers an armful of props that Sherman Spratt, the director, finds inadequate. The star of the play, Harry Crystal, believes that Sherman is overreacting and defends Artie. Sherman backs down from firing Artie, but warns that he had better have the right props by afternoon rehearsal. Harry Crystal imparts basic theatre tips about what works for an audience sitting in an auditorium with 3,500 seats. Artie is worried about being fired, but Harry believes he will survive and persevere. A few nights later, some crew members glue a wine bottle and glasses to a table onstage. During intermission, Artie apologizes to Harry for the practical joke, but Harry takes it all in stride. For him, summer stock is a minor diversion. He is waiting for the great talent agent, Mickey Bellinger, to come to town to catch his performance. Once Mickey signs him as a client, he will be offered the best roles on Broadway instead of wasting his time in regional theater. Artie is concerned that he may ruin Harry’s chances, but Harry tells Artie that he worries too much. He advises Artie to pick a dancer in the company and ask her out on a ... +


In 1951, at the Kempton Hills Park Theatre, Artie Shoemaker watches a summer stock musical from the wings, before he commits to becoming a prop man for the theater company. Artie’s younger brother believes he will never be able to juggle his pre-medical courses with theater obligations but Artie signs on anyway. His mother and father, an auto parts dealer, do not see any future in stage work, and hope the job will not work out. During rehearsals, Artie delivers an armful of props that Sherman Spratt, the director, finds inadequate. The star of the play, Harry Crystal, believes that Sherman is overreacting and defends Artie. Sherman backs down from firing Artie, but warns that he had better have the right props by afternoon rehearsal. Harry Crystal imparts basic theatre tips about what works for an audience sitting in an auditorium with 3,500 seats. Artie is worried about being fired, but Harry believes he will survive and persevere. A few nights later, some crew members glue a wine bottle and glasses to a table onstage. During intermission, Artie apologizes to Harry for the practical joke, but Harry takes it all in stride. For him, summer stock is a minor diversion. He is waiting for the great talent agent, Mickey Bellinger, to come to town to catch his performance. Once Mickey signs him as a client, he will be offered the best roles on Broadway instead of wasting his time in regional theater. Artie is concerned that he may ruin Harry’s chances, but Harry tells Artie that he worries too much. He advises Artie to pick a dancer in the company and ask her out on a date. When Artie works up the courage to make a date, the dancer stands him up for a cast member. At home, as his brother ribs him about his lack of social life, Harry calls to invite Artie to join the company at Caruso’s, where everyone goes to unwind after the show. At the restaurant, Harry suggests that Artie keep company with a dancer named Ramona, who is sitting alone. Meanwhile, “Cooky,” a crew member, jokes that people have to keep their calls short at the pay phone so the line will be free when agent Mickey Bellinger telephones Harry. If Mickey does not call, maybe one of Harry’s famous friends will call instead. Harry retorts that he loves that stage actors dare people to pay rapt attention for two hours. Harry appears to have a chest spasm and collapses on the table. When a friend pulls him upright, Harry lapses into a Shakespearean graveyard scene and concludes his performance by collapsing again and giving Cooky “the finger.” Laughter erupts around him. Artie takes Ramona parking behind his fraternity house. It is too noisy to get anything going, but Ramona encourages him to ask her out again. Later, Artie’s father wants him to quit his theater job, but Artie promises that the minute he cannot juggle his schedule, he will quit the theater. One night during a performance, Harry sabotages a scenery change, and chaos breaks out backstage. After the problem is corrected, the performers start the next scene, and Harry presents Cooky with a wrench to make clear that he was responsible for the damage. Every time the choreography takes Harry near the wings, he makes an obscene gesture in Cooky’s direction. Cooky’s friends hold him back from starting a fight. One morning, Harry is late for rehearsal and Artie finds him on the payphone at Carmine’s. Harry is determined to speak to Marty Bellinger, and has been put on hold. Harry does not want to leave the phone booth but Artie persuades him to return before director Spratt fires him. When Artie mentions that his love life will suffer if Harry is let go, Harry gives him the key to his apartment to use for a date with Ramona. The next night, Artie helps the crew strike the set to make room for new scenery for the next production. Artie’s parents surprise him with a visit and plan to wait for him to finish his work. Harry comes to the rescue, charming Mr. and Mrs. Shoemaker and explaining that new sets have to be ready for dress rehearsal by noon the following day. Artie takes Ramona to Harry’s modest apartment. They settle in and make love. The phone rings. It is Mickey Bellinger and he will be in town Thursday to see Harry’s performance. After watching Harry rehearse, Artie hurries home, when his father stops his truck on the street and orders Artie to get in. Mr. Shoemaker shows him a letter from the dean explaining that Artie dropped his class and the money will be refunded. Mr. Shoemaker wants his son to finish college but with a year to go, Artie wants to move to New York City and become a playwright. Although it is what Artie wants, his father cannot help feeling that his son is throwing his future away. Thursday arrives and Harry angrily gives a lackluster performance until agent Mickey Bellinger arrives midway through the play. Afterward, Mickey compliments Harry’s performance and promises to get him hired for another road show tour. It is work, but not the Broadway show Harry had hoped. Mickey Bellinger is eager to leave but first wants to talk with Ramona. Harry is disappointed and yells at an elderly watchman for allowing his granddaughter to watch the actors from backstage. When he disappears into his dressing room to sulk, Artie tells him it was not right to pick on a harmless, old man. Artie waits an hour for Ramona to leave the theater. She announces that Mickey Bellinger offered her a part in a Cole Porter play on Broadway with a solo. Artie is angry that she does not apologize for being late and accuses him of performing sexual favors for Mickey. When he says he wants to move to New York to work and be with her, she reveals that the arrangement will not work because she is already married. Artie’s anger turns to hurt. He returns home and announces to his father that he will not be going to New York after all, and will return to school in the fall. At the next night’s performance, Artie is amazed when Harry displays newfound confidence and talks about pursuing a more powerful agent named Lou Biskin. When Artie informs Harry that he is quitting show business, Harry insists that it is too late. Artie is already hooked and if he did quit, he would have an aching hole in his heart the rest of his life. As Artie watches Harry from the wings, he realizes the actor is right. +

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

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