S.O.B. (1981)

R | 121 mins | Comedy | 1 July 1981

Director:

Blake Edwards

Writer:

Blake Edwards

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling

Production Designer:

Rodger Maus

Production Company:

Lorimar Productions
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HISTORY

The film includes the following written epilogue: “And so just as Felix had predicted, “NIGHT WIND” became the biggest money-making film in motion picture history and Sally won another Academy Award and the people who ran the studio made a ton of money and they all lived happily ever after… until the next movie!”
       According to items in DV on 20 Mar 1978 and 24 Dec 1979, the film was initially titled S.O.B. (Shoot Old Blue). The title was changed to S.O.B. (Standard Operation Bull****), but the film was released as S.O.B. without either subtitle.
       DV articles on 20 Mar 1978 and 18 May 1979 reported that S.O.B. was announced as an independent feature in May 1976, with producer-writer-director Blake Edwards having secured $6-7 million in financing. The 25 Jun 1981 LAT and the 1 Dec 1983 LAT reported that Edwards’ script was a fictionalized version of his negative experience with Paramount Pictures on Darling Lili (1970, see entry). Paramount’s handling of that film reportedly “enraged” Edwards and his spokesman claimed Paramount, its parent company, Gulf & Western, and its chairman, Charles Bludhorn, were Edwards’ “arch enemies.” The 1 Dec 1983 LAT article noted that no studio “would touch” the script as of 1975, speculating that Edwards was in a “low period” and the subject matter kept studios at bay. However, that changed with Edwards’ subsequent success with the Pink Panther series, including the 1975 The Return of the Pink Panther, the 1976 The Pink Panther Strikes Again, ... More Less

The film includes the following written epilogue: “And so just as Felix had predicted, “NIGHT WIND” became the biggest money-making film in motion picture history and Sally won another Academy Award and the people who ran the studio made a ton of money and they all lived happily ever after… until the next movie!”
       According to items in DV on 20 Mar 1978 and 24 Dec 1979, the film was initially titled S.O.B. (Shoot Old Blue). The title was changed to S.O.B. (Standard Operation Bull****), but the film was released as S.O.B. without either subtitle.
       DV articles on 20 Mar 1978 and 18 May 1979 reported that S.O.B. was announced as an independent feature in May 1976, with producer-writer-director Blake Edwards having secured $6-7 million in financing. The 25 Jun 1981 LAT and the 1 Dec 1983 LAT reported that Edwards’ script was a fictionalized version of his negative experience with Paramount Pictures on Darling Lili (1970, see entry). Paramount’s handling of that film reportedly “enraged” Edwards and his spokesman claimed Paramount, its parent company, Gulf & Western, and its chairman, Charles Bludhorn, were Edwards’ “arch enemies.” The 1 Dec 1983 LAT article noted that no studio “would touch” the script as of 1975, speculating that Edwards was in a “low period” and the subject matter kept studios at bay. However, that changed with Edwards’ subsequent success with the Pink Panther series, including the 1975 The Return of the Pink Panther, the 1976 The Pink Panther Strikes Again, and the 1978 Revenge of the Pink Panther (see entries). Edwards signed with Orion Pictures in May 1979 to make S.O.B. Principal photography was planned to start May 1980 and the film would be distributed through Warner Bros. However, the 11 Jul 1979 Var announced that Orion Pictures put three pictures into turn-around, including S.O.B. Articles in the 21 Dec 1979 DV and the 23 Jan 1980 Var announced that Edwards signed a film and television deal with Lorimar, and would direct three theatrical features for the company, including S.O.B. The 9 Jul 1980 Var noted that United Artists (UA) would handle domestic distribution.
       An 11 Jan 1980 DV item listed Cloris Leachman and Michael Callan among cast members. However, neither actor appeared in the film. The 18 Jan 1980 DV noted that actor Joel Grey turned down a role in the film.
       Principal photography was scheduled to begin 13 Mar 1980 in Los Angeles, CA. However, as noted in the 28 Feb 1980 DV, rain delayed the construction of a house set in Malibu, CA, and postponed the start of principal photography to 20 Mar 1980. The 25 Jun 1981 LAT noted the film’s budget was $12 million. The 3 Jul 1980 DV reported that principal photography was completed.
       According to articles in the 26 Nov 1980 Var and the 25 Jun 1981 NYT, Lorimar “severed” its distribution agreement with UA and signed with Paramount to handle domestic distribution of its films, including S.O.B., and Edwards was “not happy.” Paramount and Edwards were at odds over the film’s 4 Jul 1981 release date and its advertising campaign, but the film’s “press junket” escalated the animosity. Paramount felt the cost of the press junket was excessive, and wanted to scale back. However, Edwards insisted on an event with “high style and class.” The studio canceled the press junket, noting the cancellation was “due to the air traffic controllers strike and other extenuating circumstances.” When Edwards publicly complained, a Paramount spokesperson admitted the air traffic controllers strike was not a major reason for the cancellation, “but a nice way of not airing our differences, which apparently Mr. Edwards gets a kick out of doing.” Edwards chose to reschedule and finance the $200,000 press junket himself. Items in the 9 Jul 1981 DV and the 10 Jul 1981 HR reported that Edwards also financed a seven city press tour for six of the film’s stars: Julie Andrews, William Holden, Loretta Swit, Richard Mulligan, Robert Webber and Robert Preston. Edwards did not accompany the actors on the tour, noting that he wanted the “spotlight to be on the picture and not on the controversy.”
       The 7 Jul 1981 LAHExam reported that S.O.B. was the sole film debuting over the 4 Jul 1981 holiday weekend, and its five day box-office gross was $3,116,078. The 16 Sep 1981 Village Voice chart of “Summer 1981 Releases” listed S.O.B. as a “flop” with a box-office gross of $8 million. The accompanying article noted that distributer Paramount and producer Lorimar blamed each other for the plan to release the film during the summer, and speculated that if S.O.B. had been released in the fall or spring, it might have done slightly better and been upgraded to the “disappointments” category on the Village Voice list.
       End credits include the following statement: “The producers wish to thank the following for their cooperation in making this motion picture: Cal Trans and the California Highway Patrol; The City of Beverly Hills; and the City of Los Angeles Film Permit Office.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Mar 1978.
---
Daily Variety
18 May 1979
p. 1, 26.
Daily Variety
21 Dec 1979.
---
Daily Variety
24 Dec 1979.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jan 1980.
---
Daily Variety
18 Jan 1980.
---
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1980.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 1981.
---
LAHExam
7 Jul 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Jun 1981
Section J, pp. 1-3.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jun 1981
p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
1 Dec 1983
Section VI, p. 1, 6.
New York Times
25 Jun 1981.
---
New York Times
1 Jul 1981
p. 21.
Variety
11 Jul 1979
p. 4, 24.
Variety
23 Jan 1980.
---
Variety
9 Jul 1980.
---
Variety
26 Nov 1980.
---
Variety
24 Jun 1981
p. 23, 27.
Village Voice
16 Sep 1981.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Co-starring:
Featuring:
[and]
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Artista Management Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
Still photog
VTR op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
2d prop man
Prop man - mus seq
Const coord
Leadman
Swing
Stand-by painter
COSTUMES
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Orig mus comp by
Mus supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd boom man
Cableman
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Miss Andrews' hair by
Miss Andrews' hair by
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Transportation coord
Animal trainer
Scr supv
Dir of pub
Prod coord
Prod asst
Craft service
Student intern
Prod consultant
Prod auditor
Prod auditor
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Yachts and marine services by
Graphics courtesy of
Graphics courtesy of
Jewelry by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
ANIMATION
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Blake Edwards' S.O.B.
S.O.B. (Shoot Old Blue)
S.O.B. (Standard Operation Bull****)
Release Date:
1 July 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 1 July 1981
Production Date:
20 March--early July 1980
Copyright Claimant:
Lorimar Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 August 1981
Copyright Number:
PA113168
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by MGM Laboratory
Duration(in mins):
121
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26247
SYNOPSIS

Felix Farmer was a successful movie producer married to Sally Miles, a famous actress with a wholesome image. However, Felix’s latest film, Night Wind, starring Sally, was a failure and he “lost his mind.” At his Malibu, California, beach house, as Felix reads headlines reporting his film was the lowest grossing movie in history, Sally leaves with their two children, her assistant, Gary Murdock, and the cook. At Capital Studios, David Blackman, the studio head, meets with his top executives and the film’s director, Tim Culley, to discuss removing Night Wind from theaters and re-cutting it to Blackman’s specifications. Although Felix has an ironclad contract, Blackman orders Culley to obtain Felix’s cooperation. On the beach outside Felix’s home, Burgess Webster, a little known actor, drops dead while jogging on the sand. Meanwhile, Felix attempts suicide by sitting in a car with the engine running and the garage doors closed. As Culley drives to Felix’s beach house, he picks up two hitchhikers, Lila and Babs. While they look for Felix inside, the gardener notices Felix in the car and reaches to shut off the ignition, but accidentally shifts the car into gear, and it smashes through the wall, across the beach and into the water. No one notices Burgess Webster’s body on the beach as they rescue Felix. Culley handles the police while Dr. Irving Finegarten settles Felix into an upstairs bedroom and calms him with a hypodermic sedative. As press agent Ben Coogan arrives and discusses how to handle the situation with ... +


Felix Farmer was a successful movie producer married to Sally Miles, a famous actress with a wholesome image. However, Felix’s latest film, Night Wind, starring Sally, was a failure and he “lost his mind.” At his Malibu, California, beach house, as Felix reads headlines reporting his film was the lowest grossing movie in history, Sally leaves with their two children, her assistant, Gary Murdock, and the cook. At Capital Studios, David Blackman, the studio head, meets with his top executives and the film’s director, Tim Culley, to discuss removing Night Wind from theaters and re-cutting it to Blackman’s specifications. Although Felix has an ironclad contract, Blackman orders Culley to obtain Felix’s cooperation. On the beach outside Felix’s home, Burgess Webster, a little known actor, drops dead while jogging on the sand. Meanwhile, Felix attempts suicide by sitting in a car with the engine running and the garage doors closed. As Culley drives to Felix’s beach house, he picks up two hitchhikers, Lila and Babs. While they look for Felix inside, the gardener notices Felix in the car and reaches to shut off the ignition, but accidentally shifts the car into gear, and it smashes through the wall, across the beach and into the water. No one notices Burgess Webster’s body on the beach as they rescue Felix. Culley handles the police while Dr. Irving Finegarten settles Felix into an upstairs bedroom and calms him with a hypodermic sedative. As press agent Ben Coogan arrives and discusses how to handle the situation with Culley and Finegarten, gossip columnist Polly Reed arrives and lets herself inside. Upstairs, the drugged Felix prepares to hang himself, but slips off the bookshelf, crashes through the floor and lands on Polly, sending her to the hospital with a fractured pelvis and broken arm. Culley places a rug over the hole in the bedroom floor, and Finegarten heavily sedates Felix. Culley takes hitchhiker Lila to the grocery store and they run into actor Sam Marshall, who invites them to his birthday party. However, Culley insists they cannot leave Felix alone, so Sam offers to bring the party to Felix’s home. David Blackman sends his studio executive, Dick Benson, to talk to Felix, but Felix is heavily sedated, and Benson stays for the party, which soon turns into an orgy. Upstairs, Felix awakens and as he walks across the rug over the hole, he is lowered to the first floor. He attempts to kill himself by placing his head in the oven, but is thwarted by a couple having sex in the kitchen. Felix finds a gun and crawls under the rug to shoot himself, but a half-naked woman joins him, and moments later, Felix is inspired by the idea to turn Night Wind, into a “pornographic epic.” The others try to stop him, but Felix is determined. He meets with David Blackman and his studio executives, and outlines his plan to reshoot Night Wind, with his wife, Sally, playing a nymphomaniac. He insists it will become the greatest money-making film in motion picture history. When Blackman refuses, Felix bites the studio head’s finger. Blackman threatens to have him arrested, but Felix owns 150,000 shares of Capital Film stock and threatens to appeal to the other stockholders, and offers to buy the film. They negotiate a deal for $16 million, stocks, and the severance of Felix’s three picture “pay or play” deal. Sally is furious, and threatens to arrest Felix for stealing half her money. Felix is excited by her anger and promises the film will change her image. Sally worries about hurting her image with a nude scene, but her agent, Eva Brown, and lawyer, Herb Maskowitz, convince her to do the film. They insist the nude scene would not be gratuitous, and also claim she might lose a lawsuit against Felix which could result in bad publicity. Eva also promises to negotiate a very profitable deal. As Eva and Herb leave, Sally’s assistant, Gary, confronts them. He thinks Sally might win the lawsuit and wonders if Herb is putting the interests of his client, Capital Studios, ahead of Sally’s. Eva understands Gary’s ploy, and agrees to help him become a producer. Sally’s participation in the film generates nationwide publicity. Studio owner, J. G., contacts David Blackman and demands that Capital Studios obtain distribution rights because Sally’s nude scene could make the film a hit. Blackman and his executives try to get onto the set when Sally’s nude scene is filmed, but are refused entrance. Polly, wheeled from her hospital bed, refuses to be turned away, and press agent Ben Coogan brings her inside. Sally is nervous about filming the scene, so Dr. Finegarten gives her a shot to “loosen” her up. Her anxiety melts away and she does not care who watches the scene, which ends as Sally rips off her top and reveals her breasts. As everyone claps, Sally happily curtsies, then passes out. J. G. pressures Blackman about the distribution deal, and he contacts Eva Brown, who promises that Sally will sign the contract. Eva calls Gary, and he convinces Sally to trust her agent’s advice. Later, Blackman and his entourage interrupt Felix and Culley as they screen the new film. Felix orders them to leave, but learns that Sally signed a distribution deal with Capital Studios. Felix fights with Blackman, who orders him off the lot. Screaming that they stole his film, Felix steals a car and leads a police chase to Sally’s home, where he crashes the car into the kitchen. Sally is not home, but Felix sees their children and takes his son’s water pistol. He sneaks outside, steals another car, and leads a second police chase to the film lab. Using the water pistol, he takes a hostage as he loads the film reels of Night Wind onto a cart. When guards and police confront them in the lobby, Felix aims the water pistol at them, and they shoot him. Felix falls onto the reels of his film, claims his death will result in an additional $10 million at the box-office, and dies. As Sally and the studio plan an elaborate funeral, Culley, Finegarten and Ben Coogan meet at a bar. They decide not to attend the funeral, feeling that Felix deserves a better send-off. They sneak into the funeral home to steal the body. They discover the corpse of Burgess Webster, the actor who died on the beach, and place Webster’s body in Felix’s closed coffin. They take Felix’s corpse to the beach house, and toast their friend. Culley finds a Viking helmet among Felix’s possessions and the men decide on a Viking funeral for Felix. They take Felix’s boat out to sea, place his corpse on a rowboat, drench it with gasoline and set it on fire. Meanwhile, Sally, her entourage, and the studio executives attend Felix’s funeral. As Felix predicted, Night Wind became the biggest money-making film in motion picture history and garnered Sally another Academy Award. +

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

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