Under the Rainbow (1981)

PG | 105 mins | Comedy | 31 July 1981

Director:

Steve Rash

Producer:

Fred Bauer

Cinematographer:

Frank Stanley

Editor:

David Blewitt

Production Designer:

Peter Wooley

Production Company:

Orion Pictures Company
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HISTORY

Articles in the 19 Mar 1979 HR and the 9 Nov 1979 Entertainment Today reported that Under The Rainbow would be Innovisions/ECA’s first project in their multi-picture deal with Orion Pictures. Producer Fred Bauer wrote the original story, which was developed by Pat Bradley. The company hired writers Pat McCormick, Harry Hurwitz, and Martin Smith to write the script.
       An item in the 9 Nov 1979 DV reported that principal photography would begin on 1 Jul 1980 in Culver City, CA. However, as noted in the 11 Aug 1980 LAT, Orion postponed filming due to the 1980 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike, which began 21 Jul 1980. The 14 Oct 1980 HR stated principal photography began 13 Oct 1980.
       The 17 Dec 1980 LAHExam reported that Orion considered replacing Chevy Chase with actor Robert Hays just prior to filming. Chase’s best friend, Doug Kenney, had recently died in an accident, and Chase was in a “deep depression.” Studio executives were concerned about Chase’s ability to work, but decided not to replace him. When the project went well past its fourteen-week shooting schedule and had doubled its $7 million budget, Orion executive Mike Medavoy insisted that Chase was not the problem, “despite reports to the contrary.” Medavoy attributed the problems to hiring 150 little people with no prior acting experience. An item in the 4 Mar 1981 DV reported that actress Carrie Fisher collapsed on the set a week earlier and was briefly hospitalized, reportedly due to the “after-effects of the flu and ... More Less

Articles in the 19 Mar 1979 HR and the 9 Nov 1979 Entertainment Today reported that Under The Rainbow would be Innovisions/ECA’s first project in their multi-picture deal with Orion Pictures. Producer Fred Bauer wrote the original story, which was developed by Pat Bradley. The company hired writers Pat McCormick, Harry Hurwitz, and Martin Smith to write the script.
       An item in the 9 Nov 1979 DV reported that principal photography would begin on 1 Jul 1980 in Culver City, CA. However, as noted in the 11 Aug 1980 LAT, Orion postponed filming due to the 1980 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike, which began 21 Jul 1980. The 14 Oct 1980 HR stated principal photography began 13 Oct 1980.
       The 17 Dec 1980 LAHExam reported that Orion considered replacing Chevy Chase with actor Robert Hays just prior to filming. Chase’s best friend, Doug Kenney, had recently died in an accident, and Chase was in a “deep depression.” Studio executives were concerned about Chase’s ability to work, but decided not to replace him. When the project went well past its fourteen-week shooting schedule and had doubled its $7 million budget, Orion executive Mike Medavoy insisted that Chase was not the problem, “despite reports to the contrary.” Medavoy attributed the problems to hiring 150 little people with no prior acting experience. An item in the 4 Mar 1981 DV reported that actress Carrie Fisher collapsed on the set a week earlier and was briefly hospitalized, reportedly due to the “after-effects of the flu and exhaustion.” Fisher’s agent noted that her original deal specified a twelve-week shooting schedule, and the film was “now in its twentieth week.” Discussions were underway for how much longer Fisher’s presence was required. The 26 Mar 1981 DV reported the completion of principal photography.
       The film marked the feature film debut of actors Zelda Rubenstein and Phil Fondacaro.
       Under the Rainbow was among the films listed in the Dec 1981 Rolling Stone article, “Big Bucks, Big Losers, Twenty-four Films that Bombed in 1981.” The article estimated the film’s production budget at $20 million, while domestic rentals to date were $6 million.
       The end cast credits conclude with the credit for Leonard Barr who portrayed “Pops,” and his credit is followed by the statement: “Good-bye, Leonard, we’ll miss you very much…”
       End credits include approximately seventy transportation department personnel. However, the text was too small and illegible to read on the two prints viewed by AFI.
       End credits include the following statements: “Special thanks to Bill Lytle, without whom this picture would have been called ‘A Small Hotel’” and, “We would also like to thank the following people and companies for their help and cooperation: Amtrak; John Butterworth; Joe Lipsher; Ray Martin/Raymar Co.; Pacific Railroad Society, Inc.; Billy Barty Foundation for Little People; R.M.S. Queen Mary; Dr. David R. Rimoin; Union Pacific Railroad; City Council of Culver City, R. Ronald Perkins, Mayor, Paul A. Jacobs, Vice-Mayor, Richard Brundo, Councilman, Richard M. Alexander, Councilman, Paul Netzel, Councilman; Dale Jones, Chief Administrative Officer; Warren Spry, Municipal Services Director; Robert Ogle, City Attorney; Culver City Police Department; Culver City Fire Department; Culver City Unified School District; Linwood E. Howe Elementary School; Caryll Wild and the Downtown Merchants Association of Culver City; Culver City Historical Society; Culver City Chamber of Commerce.” The “thanks” also included a list of approximately two hundred personal names and companies. However, the text was too small and illegible to read on the two prints viewed by AFI. End credits also include the statement: "Filmed at Kings Point Corporation, Laird International Studios and at Burbank Studiosdios, Burbank, California."
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1979.
---
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1981.
---
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1981.
---
Entertainment Today
9 Nov 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1980.
---
LAHExam
17 Dec 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Aug 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1981
p. 2.
New York Times
31 Jul 1981
p. 14.
Rolling Stone
Dec 1981
p. 44.
Variety
5 Aug 1981
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Co-starring:
and
as Pops
William Yamadera
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion Pictures release
Thru Warner Bros., A Warner Communications Company
Innovisions/ECA Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d cam op
Addl asst cam
Addl asst cam
Steadicam op
2d unit dir of photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Key grip
2d grip
Crane and dolly grip
Crane and dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
Matte artist
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Drapery foreman
Greensman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Set des
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Labor foreman
Labor foreman
Laborer
Laborer
Laborer
Paint foreman
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Standby painter
Sign writer
Sign writer
Sign writer
Sign writer
Prop food
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost supv
Women's cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Scoring mixer
Mus ed
Mus cond
Mus rec at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
2d boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed, New Creative Sound
Sd ed, New Creative Sound
Sd ed, New Creative Sound
Sd ed, New Creative Sound
Dial replacement supv
Dial replacement ed
Dial asst ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
End title supv
MAKEUP
Hairstyles and wigs created by
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup created by
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Background prod
Prod coord
Prod coord
Key prod asst
Key prod asst
Key prod asst
Fencing instructor
Video op
Asst video op
Extra casting
Extra casting
Extra casting
Extra casting aide
Animals supplied by
Head animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Livestock coord
Asst to the exec prod
Secy to the prod
Prod asst
Prod asst
Driver
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Vice president of morale
Vice president of morale
Solicitor general
Chancellor of the exchequer
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Payroll supv
Accounting secy
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc services provided by
Spec security
Spec security
Spec security
Spec security
Spec security
Spec security
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
Culver City loc asst
The Burbank Studios Ranch loc asst
The Burbank Studios Ranch loc asst
The Burbank Studios Ranch loc asst
The Burbank Studios Ranch loc asst
The Burbank Studios Ranch loc asst
The Burbank Studios Ranch loc asst
First aid
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Caterer
Caterer
Caterer
Caterer
Caterer
Streudels supplied by
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation dispatcher
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Things Are Looking Up Today," words and music by Joe Renzetti and Simon Stokes
"We Always Knew You Knew You Could,' words and music by Joe Renzetti and Simon Stokes.
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 July 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 31 July 1981
Production Date:
13 October 1980--end March 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Company
Copyright Date:
5 October 1981
Copyright Number:
PA124926
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1938 Culver, Kansas, a little person named Rollo Sweet lives at a mission, where he awaits a letter from Hollywood regarding an acting role. The residents gather around the radio to listen to an address from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the reception is poor. Rollo climbs onto the roof and adjusts the antennae, but falls off. Unharmed, he runs inside to listen to the speech. Meanwhile, in Nazi Germany, Hitler is angered by the President’s address and sends Otto Kriegling, a dwarf Nazi spy, to California to pass secret invasion plans to a Japanese operative dressed in a white suit. At the Culver City Studios in California, studio chief Louis appoints Annie Clark as “special talent coordinator” for the 150 little people arriving by train to appear as “munchkins” in the film, The Wizard of Oz. He also assigns his nephew, Homer, to assist Annie. Homer books rooms for the munchkins at the quiet Culver Hotel across the street from the studio. However, the receptionist hides the reservation so the hotel owner, Lester Hudson, will leave his nephew, Henry Hudson, in charge of the empty hotel and take her to a convention. Meanwhile, Secret Service Agent Bruce Thorpe is assigned to escort a foreign Duke and Duchess and their dog, Streudel, to California. The Duke insists an assassin is targeting him, but no one believes him. On the train to California, the Duke accidentally shoots Streudel while the Duchess is at the bar. As the porter helps the Duke and Bruce find a replacement dog, ... +


In 1938 Culver, Kansas, a little person named Rollo Sweet lives at a mission, where he awaits a letter from Hollywood regarding an acting role. The residents gather around the radio to listen to an address from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the reception is poor. Rollo climbs onto the roof and adjusts the antennae, but falls off. Unharmed, he runs inside to listen to the speech. Meanwhile, in Nazi Germany, Hitler is angered by the President’s address and sends Otto Kriegling, a dwarf Nazi spy, to California to pass secret invasion plans to a Japanese operative dressed in a white suit. At the Culver City Studios in California, studio chief Louis appoints Annie Clark as “special talent coordinator” for the 150 little people arriving by train to appear as “munchkins” in the film, The Wizard of Oz. He also assigns his nephew, Homer, to assist Annie. Homer books rooms for the munchkins at the quiet Culver Hotel across the street from the studio. However, the receptionist hides the reservation so the hotel owner, Lester Hudson, will leave his nephew, Henry Hudson, in charge of the empty hotel and take her to a convention. Meanwhile, Secret Service Agent Bruce Thorpe is assigned to escort a foreign Duke and Duchess and their dog, Streudel, to California. The Duke insists an assassin is targeting him, but no one believes him. On the train to California, the Duke accidentally shoots Streudel while the Duchess is at the bar. As the porter helps the Duke and Bruce find a replacement dog, the Duke reveals that the dead dog is “Streudel the thirteenth,” and his near-sighted wife has never noticed the changing pets. When they reach Union Station in Los Angeles, an assassin makes an unsuccessful attempt on the Duke’s life. Rollo, who was tired of waiting in Kansas, stows away on the same train. As he disembarks, a security guard chases him into the station where Annie and Homer are meeting the Wizard of Oz munchkins, and Rollo quickly blends in with the cast. At the Culver Hotel, Henry Hudson posts a sign renaming it “The Hotel Rainbow.” A bus transporting the Japanese Amateur Photography Society, or “JAPS,” breaks down in front of the hotel, and the Japanese men dressed in white suits check rent rooms. Bruce, the Duke and Duchess, and Streudel reach the hotel, not realizing an assassin is following them. Annie, Homer, and the munchkins arrive at the hotel to discover their reservation is missing and there are not enough rooms. Bruce has booked the entire fourth floor for the Duke and Duchess, and refuses to offer any rooms to Annie, citing security reasons. However, Akido, leader of the Japanese tourists, offers to share some of their rooms, and Annie lends him a copy of The Wizard of Oz screenplay. Munchkins and tourists overflow the lobby as Otto Kriegling arrives, searching for his contact among the similarly-dressed Japanese men, while Nakamuri, a Japanese spy, searches for Otto. At dinner, Otto mistakenly assumes Akido is the Japanese spy and slips the secret plans inside the screenplay. Moments later, Otto meets Nakamuri and realizes he gave the plans to the wrong person. The assassin tries to poison the Duke’s drink, but accidentally poisons Akido. When Annie stops at his table to retrieve the script. Akido drinks the wine and dies. Otto and Nakamuri believe Annie killed him to get the secret plans, but Henry Hudson thinks Akido died of a heart attack and hides the body in the freezer until his uncle returns. During the evening, the munchkins undergo costume fittings and makeup for the next day’s filming. Upon returning from the studio, their shenanigans and parties cause mayhem throughout the hotel. Bruce and Annie’s paths cross as Otto and Nakamuri attempt to retrieve the secret papers, and the assassin repeatedly tries to kill the Duke. Rollo overhears Otto and Nakamuri plot against Annie, and he rushes to her aid. It is a wild night of murder, parties, fights, chases, kidnapping and the blossoming romance between Bruce and Annie. In the morning, Otto and Nakamuri trap Bruce, Annie, the Duke and Duchess, and Streudel in the hotel barbershop. Bruce hides the papers inside a locket on Streudel’s collar and lets him out the door before revealing the dog has the secret plans. Otto leaves Nakamuri to guard the hostages and runs after the dog. As Otto chases Streudel onto the studio lot, Rollo rallies the munchkins and they pursue the spy through various film sets. Meanwhile, the assassin sneaks into the barbershop to kill the Duke, but he and Nakamuri kill each other. Bruce and Annie join the pursuit at the studio, although Bruce reveals that he misled Otto by retaining the secret plans. Otto steals a truck to escape, and Rollo gives chase in a horse and carriage. As Otto discovers that the plans are not in the locket, Rollo’s carriage veers out of control and he crashes into the Wizard of Oz Emerald City entrance. When Rollo regains consciousness, he is back at the mission in Kansas, recovering from his fall. Rollo realizes it was all a dream, featuring his friends at the mission. They lead Rollo outside where Homer Henkel has arrived to take him to Hollywood as part of “Zeemeyer’s Midgets” acting troupe. Rollo boards the bus and meets “agent to the stars” Al Zeemeyer, who bears a striking resemblance to Otto Kriegling. As Rollo leaves for Hollywood, Henry Hudson raises a sign over the mission, renaming it the “Rainbow Mission.” +

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

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