Butterfly (1982)

R | 108 mins | Drama | 5 February 1982

Director:

Matt Cimber

Producer:

Matt Cimber

Cinematographer:

Eddy van der Enden

Production Designer:

Dave De Carlo

Production Company:

Par-Par Productions
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HISTORY

As announced in the 18 Jun 1980 DV, executive producer Tino Barzie, personal manager of Israeli businessman Meshulem Rikli and then-husband to actress Pia Zadora, acquired film rights to James M. Cain’s novel The Butterfly for $100,000 and a “percentage” of the picture’s proceeds. A news item for the 25 Aug 1980 DV stated that Barzie’s production would be written by Matt Cimber and John Goff. DV noted that Butterfly would be produced by Par-Par Productions, a company recently established by Barzie, administrator Burt Kleiner, and “a group of private New York investors.” Filming was scheduled to begin Sep 1980 in NV.
       On 2 Sep 1980, HR announced that Jeff Richards was hired as production manager, however, he received no credit in the final film and his participation is unknown. Multiple sources, including a 21 Oct 1980 HR article, reported that principal photography began 2 Sep 1980, and the 2 Sep 1980 HR named Boulder Dam in NV as the first filming site. The 21 Oct 1980 HR stated that Orson Welles was to film his scenes in Goldfield, NV, that week and would remain with the production for seven days. According to actor Stacy Keach, writer-producer-director Matt Cimber and writer Goff had changed Cain’s original novel setting of Appalachia to NV in order to further expose the passions and motivations of the characters. Additional locations in the Las Vegas, NV, area included Tonopah, as reported in a 9 Sep 1980 Var brief. Production offices were headquartered in the Las Vegas Riviera Hotel, which was also owned by Rikli. ... More Less

As announced in the 18 Jun 1980 DV, executive producer Tino Barzie, personal manager of Israeli businessman Meshulem Rikli and then-husband to actress Pia Zadora, acquired film rights to James M. Cain’s novel The Butterfly for $100,000 and a “percentage” of the picture’s proceeds. A news item for the 25 Aug 1980 DV stated that Barzie’s production would be written by Matt Cimber and John Goff. DV noted that Butterfly would be produced by Par-Par Productions, a company recently established by Barzie, administrator Burt Kleiner, and “a group of private New York investors.” Filming was scheduled to begin Sep 1980 in NV.
       On 2 Sep 1980, HR announced that Jeff Richards was hired as production manager, however, he received no credit in the final film and his participation is unknown. Multiple sources, including a 21 Oct 1980 HR article, reported that principal photography began 2 Sep 1980, and the 2 Sep 1980 HR named Boulder Dam in NV as the first filming site. The 21 Oct 1980 HR stated that Orson Welles was to film his scenes in Goldfield, NV, that week and would remain with the production for seven days. According to actor Stacy Keach, writer-producer-director Matt Cimber and writer Goff had changed Cain’s original novel setting of Appalachia to NV in order to further expose the passions and motivations of the characters. Additional locations in the Las Vegas, NV, area included Tonopah, as reported in a 9 Sep 1980 Var brief. Production offices were headquartered in the Las Vegas Riviera Hotel, which was also owned by Rikli. Nearly two months into production, a 21 Oct 1980 HR news item stated that author Evelyn Futch Smith would make her feature film debut in Butterfly, but she was not credited onscreen and her participation in the film remains undetermined. According to the 30 Oct 1980 DV, the film had a budget of $3.5 million, and on 31 Oct 1980, Var announced that production had concluded after nine weeks.
       Following the American Film Market in Los Angeles, CA, Par-Par Productions hosted a special screening and reception for foreign exhibitors in Las Vegas on 2 Apr 1982, according to a DV brief published that day. An advertisement in the 12 May 1981 HR announced that Butterfly was scheduled be shown once during the Cannes Film Festival on 16 May 1981, and the 19 Aug 1981 Var reported that the picture would have its official world premiere at the World Film Festival in Montreal, Canada, on 23 Aug 1981. The 25 Aug 1981 HR stated that the movie was originally expected to open in Jan 1982, preceded by a one-week run in Los Angeles in Nov or Dec 1981, in order to qualify for Academy Award consideration. However, the film did not open in New York City until 5 Feb 1982 and the first recorded opening in Los Angeles was on 5 Mar 1982.
       An article in the 19 Feb 1982 DV stated that producers hosted another exhibitor junket in Las Vegas on 16 Feb 1982. The film’s total promotional efforts cost $1 million, half of which was spent on press and marketing materials. In addition, the 1 Mar 1982 DV stated that Pia Zadora would tour seventeen major U.S. cities throughout that month. The 17 Mar 1982 HR noted that the picture had grossed $450,000 to date, playing in just fifteen theaters.
       On 7 Jul 1982, LAT reported that Vito Lombardi had filed a $20 million lawsuit against Par-Par Productions, claiming that his rough draft of the screenplay was used for the final film despite having never been offered a contract or payment for his work. In a follow-up article in the 9 Jul 1982 LAT, John Goff stated that Lombardi’s claims were unfounded and his contributions had been used for research purposes only. The outcome of the lawsuit is undetermined.
       As “Judge Rauch,” Orson Welles was nominated for a Golden Globe award in the category for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Pia Zadora received a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture. In addition, the film was nominated for a Golden Globe award in the category for Best Original Song—Motion Picture.
       Although Pia Zadora’s onscreen credit reads “Introducing Pia Zadora,” the actress made her motion picture debut in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964, see entry). Butterfly was her first starring role. The film marked Anne Dane’s motion picture debut. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Jun 1980.
---
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1980.
---
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1980.
---
Daily Variety
19 Feb 1982.
---
Daily Variety
1 Mar 1982.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1982
p. 3, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Mar 1982
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jul 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Jul 1982.
---
New York Times
5 Feb 1982
p. 5.
Variety
9 Sep 1980.
---
Variety
31 Oct 1980.
---
Variety
19 Aug 1981.
---
Variety
2 Sep 1981
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
M. Riklis Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Adpt for the scr
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Best boy
Crane op
Still photog
Still photog
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dec
Const supv
COSTUMES
Pia Zadora's cost
Ward mistress
Asst ward
MUSIC
Mus consultant
Mus ed
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Boom op
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Re-rec
Re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Graphics
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod coord
Scr supv
Set mechanic
Transportation capt
Asst transportation
Asst prod coord
Office coord
Asst to exec prod
Craft service
Asst to Mr. Cimber
Extras casting
Prod accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Pub dir
Public relations
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
[Col] In
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Butterfly by James M. Cain (New York, 1947).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"It's Wrong For Me To Love You," music by Ennio Morricone, lyrics by Carol Connors, sung by Pia Zadora
"Silver On The Stage," sung by Johnny Bond on CHM Records.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 February 1982
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 5 February 1982
Los Angeles opening: 5 March 1982
Production Date:
2 September--late October 1980 near Las Vegas, NV
Copyright Claimant:
Par-Par Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 January 1982
Copyright Number:
PA130885
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

At the Arizona-Nevada border in 1937, a seventeen-year-old girl hitches a ride with a truck driver going toward the town of Good Springs. She seduces him, and he pulls the truck over to the side of the road. When the truck stops, she grabs her suitcase and runs over the hill toward a small shack belonging to a rugged-looking man named Jess Tyler. The girl questions him about his marriage to Belle Morgan, with whom he had two children before Belle left to be with her lover, Moke Blue. The girl reveals that she is Kady, one of Jess's daughters. Over dinner, Kady explains that she and her sister, Janey, grew up in a boarding house for miners, and that Belle has fallen ill. Kady also has a one-month-old son named Danny. Although Jess initially refuses to let Kady stay with him, her tears change his mind. As he readies for bed, he becomes distracted watching Kady’s silhouette undressing behind a screen. The next morning, Jess finds Kady inspecting the abandoned silver mine that sits on the hill above the house. The owner, Mr. Gillespie, shut the mine down, but Kady thinks that there could be enough silver remaining to provide her and Jess with a better life. Jess accuses Kady of only chasing after money, but she admits that the father of her child is Mr. Gillespie’s son, Wash, who refused to marry her because of her poor family history. Jess takes her to church, where they see Ed Lamey, a relative of Moke Blue who scavenges mines. When the preacher tells Kady that she must cleanse herself of sin, she takes offense and storms off down the ... +


At the Arizona-Nevada border in 1937, a seventeen-year-old girl hitches a ride with a truck driver going toward the town of Good Springs. She seduces him, and he pulls the truck over to the side of the road. When the truck stops, she grabs her suitcase and runs over the hill toward a small shack belonging to a rugged-looking man named Jess Tyler. The girl questions him about his marriage to Belle Morgan, with whom he had two children before Belle left to be with her lover, Moke Blue. The girl reveals that she is Kady, one of Jess's daughters. Over dinner, Kady explains that she and her sister, Janey, grew up in a boarding house for miners, and that Belle has fallen ill. Kady also has a one-month-old son named Danny. Although Jess initially refuses to let Kady stay with him, her tears change his mind. As he readies for bed, he becomes distracted watching Kady’s silhouette undressing behind a screen. The next morning, Jess finds Kady inspecting the abandoned silver mine that sits on the hill above the house. The owner, Mr. Gillespie, shut the mine down, but Kady thinks that there could be enough silver remaining to provide her and Jess with a better life. Jess accuses Kady of only chasing after money, but she admits that the father of her child is Mr. Gillespie’s son, Wash, who refused to marry her because of her poor family history. Jess takes her to church, where they see Ed Lamey, a relative of Moke Blue who scavenges mines. When the preacher tells Kady that she must cleanse herself of sin, she takes offense and storms off down the road. The next morning, a man drops Kady off at Jess’s shack. She tells her father that she spent the night at a girl friend’s house, but refuses to give more details. She decides to leave, but he convinces her to stay by promising to search the mine for silver chips. As he kisses her brow to soothe her headache, she caresses his face, but he pulls away. Despite spending the entire next day in the mine, they do not find any silver. Later, while taking a bath, Jess gives Kady an intimate massage. She encourages his touch, but his conscience forces him to stop. The next day in the mine, Jess and Kady find $210 worth of silver ore. Their voices echo through the tunnels, and Ed Lamey overhears the news of their plunder. After Kady and Jess use the money to buy new clothes, they visit the local diner. When Kady tries to leave with two men, Jess becomes jealous and starts a fight. As a result, Jess and Kady are forced to pay twelve dollars in damages to Judge Rauch. Critical of Kady’s hypersexual body language and appearance, the judge accuses her of being an unruly youth and scolds her father for not sending her to reform school. When Jess and Kady leave the courthouse, they return home to find that Janey and Kady’s baby, Danny, have arrived. Janey announces that Wash has decided to marry Kady, and Jess notices a strange butterfly-shaped birthmark on Danny’s abdomen. The next morning, when Wash arrives in his expensive convertible, Kady accepts his proposal. After asking Jess’s permission and promising that Kady will be well provided for, Wash declares that they will marry in two days. That evening, Moke Blue and Ed Lamey bring Belle to visit, but she collapses in a coughing fit and has to be put to bed. On the porch, Moke Blue slyly suggests to Wash that Mr. Gillespie should put Jess in charge of the mine. When Moke Blue goes inside to tend to Belle, she attempts to stab him with a hat pin, but he throws her aside and kills her. At Belle’s funeral, Ed Lamey’s suspicious smile causes Jess to realize Ed knows something about the mine. Jess runs into the tunnel and discovers Moke Blue, shirtless, stealing chunks of silver ore. Jess spots a butterfly-shaped birthmark near Moke Blue’s navel, which prompts him to believe that Moke Blue is Danny’s real father. Disgusted to discover that Moke Blue had sex with Kady, Jess shoots him in the stomach. Before dying, Moke Blue explains that the birthmark only occurs in males, and reveals that Kady is also his daughter. Jess drags Moke Blue deeper into the mine and leaves his body covered in rubble. At the hotel where the Gillespies are lodging, Jess meets with Mr. Gillespie and his wife, Helen, to inform them that Danny is Moke Blue’s son, not Wash’s. Jess tells Wash it would be best for him to never see Kady again. As a result, Wash never arrives to retrieve Kady on the day of their wedding. The next morning, Jess and Kady kiss on the hillside, where they are seen by Ed Lamey. Once inside the mine, Jess and Kady make love and excavate more silver. The police arrive shortly afterward and arrest them on charges of incest. When Judge Rauch sentences Jess to ten years in prison, Jess claims that he raped Kady so that she can avoid facing a similar sentence. But Kady refuses to allow him to perjure himself and admits to the court that she had wanted to have sex with him. Jess reveals that Moke Blue is Kady’s real father, prompting Ed Lamey to proclaim that he and Moke Blue were actually half brothers who shared a mother. After comparing baby Danny and Ed Lamey’s birthmarks that prove their relation and disproves Kady and Jess’s incest, the judge allows Jess and Kady to walk free. Kady leaves town with Wash because he can provide a good life for Danny, but she promises that Jess will always be her “daddy.” +

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

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