Neil Simon's I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)

PG | 107-108 mins | Comedy, Drama | 26 March 1982

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Neil Simon

Producers:

Herbert Ross, Neil Simon

Cinematographer:

David M. Walsh

Editor:

Sidney Levin

Production Designer:

Albert Brenner
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HISTORY

End credits indicate that the film used excerpts from Emily Dickinson’s “Letters to Dr. And Mrs. Josiah Gilbert Holland,” courtesy of Harvard University Press, and that portions of the film were photographed on location in New York City.
       On 15 Feb 1980, HR announced that writer Neil Simon would write the motion picture adaptation of his 1980 play, I Ought to Be in Pictures, following the purchase of film rights by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. Simon would also share producing credit with the film’s director, who was yet to be determined. Due to contract stipulations, production would not begin until the play, which was expected to move to Broadway on 6 Apr 1980 following its 17 Jan 1980 premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA, ran three years in New York City, or closed. A 20 Feb 1980 Var article suggested that filming would not begin until 1982, with Herbert Ross expected to direct. An Oct 1980 Hollywood Studio Magazine news item announced that Peter Falk had been cast, and confirmed that Ross was directing the picture. The 20 Feb 1980 Var story also noted that this was the first Simon property to be produced by Fox, since the playwright’s other works had been produced by Columbia PicturesRastar at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M). Ross previously collaborated with Simon on The Sunshine Boys (1975, see entry), The Goodbye Girl (1977, see entry), and California Suite (1978, see entry). According to the 31 Jul 1981 Entertainment Today, Ross had also previously directed Dinah Manoff, who won a Tony Award for her ... More Less

End credits indicate that the film used excerpts from Emily Dickinson’s “Letters to Dr. And Mrs. Josiah Gilbert Holland,” courtesy of Harvard University Press, and that portions of the film were photographed on location in New York City.
       On 15 Feb 1980, HR announced that writer Neil Simon would write the motion picture adaptation of his 1980 play, I Ought to Be in Pictures, following the purchase of film rights by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. Simon would also share producing credit with the film’s director, who was yet to be determined. Due to contract stipulations, production would not begin until the play, which was expected to move to Broadway on 6 Apr 1980 following its 17 Jan 1980 premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA, ran three years in New York City, or closed. A 20 Feb 1980 Var article suggested that filming would not begin until 1982, with Herbert Ross expected to direct. An Oct 1980 Hollywood Studio Magazine news item announced that Peter Falk had been cast, and confirmed that Ross was directing the picture. The 20 Feb 1980 Var story also noted that this was the first Simon property to be produced by Fox, since the playwright’s other works had been produced by Columbia PicturesRastar at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M). Ross previously collaborated with Simon on The Sunshine Boys (1975, see entry), The Goodbye Girl (1977, see entry), and California Suite (1978, see entry). According to the 31 Jul 1981 Entertainment Today, Ross had also previously directed Dinah Manoff, who won a Tony Award for her performance, in the Broadway production of I Ought to Be in Pictures.
       A year after the film was announced, the 18 Feb 1981 Var reported that the picture was one of fifteen projects approved on the sole authority of newly-appointed Fox executive Sherry Lansing, with principal photography scheduled to begin 8 Jul 1981. A 26 Mar 1981 DV column suggested that Nora Kaye, wife of Herbert Ross, would be involved with the production; although the 16 Sep 1981 DV film assignments listed Bernardine Kent as the assistant to Nora Kaye, Kaye herself does not receive onscreen credit.
       A casting call in the 7 Apr 1981 DV included the roles of a priest, a middle-aged neighbor named “Mrs. Kettelman,” and a garage mechanic, all of which do not appear in the film. Contrary to a 21 Jan 1981 DV report that Gena Rowlands had been considered to star alongside Walter Matthau, the 19 Sep 1981 DV announced that Ann-Margaret would play “Steffy,” a role which had been expanded from the original stage production.
       The 29 Jul 1981 DV listed the film’s expected budget at $11 million, with a Mar 1982 release date. A 30 Jul 1981 HR brief stated that Ross had begun two weeks of rehearsals for the picture. According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, principal photography began 3 Aug 1981, at the Fox Studios and throughout Los Angeles, CA, with one week’s production in New York City. As stated in the 28 Aug 1981 DV, Neil Simon’s I Ought to Be in Pictures was one of only three features to begin filming that month, following a recent writers’ strike and threatened directors’ walkout. A 28 Oct 1981 Var brief noted that production at Fox had lasted sixty-seven days, while a 25 Oct 1981 LAT article stated that the final week of filming was currently taking place in New York City following work on Stage 14 at Twentieth Century-Fox; the production was reported to have cost $10.5 million.
       A 7 Oct 1981 DV news item included Stanley Larence among the cast, but he is not credited in the film.
       The picture received mixed reviews following its domestic opening 26 Mar 1982. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1981.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jan 1981.
---
Daily Variety
7 Apr 1981.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1981.
---
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1981.
---
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1981.
---
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1981.
---
Daily Variety
7 Oct 1981.
---
Entertainment Today
31 Jul 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1982
p. 6, 45.
Hollywood Studio Magazine
Oct 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1981
p. 27.
Los Angeles Times
31 Mar 1982
p. 7.
New York Times
26 Mar 1982
p. 8.
Variety
20 Feb 1980.
---
Variety
18 Feb 1981
p. 5, 38.
Variety
28 Oct 1981.
---
Variety
24 Mar 1982
p. 41.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Herbert Ross Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
Still photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Elec best boy
Grip best boy
Cam op
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Best boy
Dolly grip
Photog
Grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop
Const coord
Swingman
Greensman
Painter
COSTUMES
Men's costumer
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
Women's costumer
Tailor
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Post prod dial
Dial ed
Boomman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles by
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Unit pub
D.G.A. trainee
Asst to exec prod
Transportation coord
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Asst to Herbert Ross
Asst to Walter Matthau
Asst to Nora Kaye
Asst to Rick McCallum
Prod asst
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Craft service
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play I Ought to Be in Pictures by Neil Simon (New York, 3 Apr 1980).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"One Hello," sung by Randy Crawford, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, music by Marvin Hamlisch.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
I Ought To Be In Pictures
Release Date:
26 March 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 March 1982
Production Date:
3 August--late October 1981 in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
22 April 1982
Copyright Number:
PA135001
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
107-108
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26432
SYNOPSIS

In Brooklyn, New York, nineteen-year-old Libby Tucker visits her grandparents’ graves in a cemetery, informing them that she is leaving for Hollywood, California, to work in motion pictures and look up her estranged father. On the bus that night, she tells her seat partner that her father is Herbert Tucker, a successful screenwriter. In Colorado, Libby gets off the bus and hitchhikes the remainder of the journey. Upon her arrival in Los Angeles, California, Libby telephones her father, but panics and hangs up. The next morning, a man named Monte Del Rey offers her a career in pornography, pretending to be a modeling agent. Libby visits her father’s home, where she meets Herbert’s girl friend, Twentieth Century-Fox hairstylist Stephanie “Steffy” Blondell, and reveals she has not seen her father since she was three years old. While Steffy goes to the store, Libby records a telephone message for Herbert about a rejected script. When Herbert wakes up, Libby admits that she is his daughter. Having recently taken a sleeping pill for his insomnia, Herbert has trouble forming coherent sentences, but welcomes her to Los Angeles and kisses her on the forehead. He asks about Libby’s brother, Robbie, and shows her his fruit trees in the backyard. Although he agrees to let her stay in the house, Herbert is skeptical of Libby’s ambition to be an actress. The girl hopes he will help jumpstart her career by using his industry connections, insisting he owes her a favor after walking out on the family. Meanwhile, a man approaches Steffy on her way home from the store, asking to collect a large debt Herbert owes him; Steffy begrudgingly writes a check to keep ... +


In Brooklyn, New York, nineteen-year-old Libby Tucker visits her grandparents’ graves in a cemetery, informing them that she is leaving for Hollywood, California, to work in motion pictures and look up her estranged father. On the bus that night, she tells her seat partner that her father is Herbert Tucker, a successful screenwriter. In Colorado, Libby gets off the bus and hitchhikes the remainder of the journey. Upon her arrival in Los Angeles, California, Libby telephones her father, but panics and hangs up. The next morning, a man named Monte Del Rey offers her a career in pornography, pretending to be a modeling agent. Libby visits her father’s home, where she meets Herbert’s girl friend, Twentieth Century-Fox hairstylist Stephanie “Steffy” Blondell, and reveals she has not seen her father since she was three years old. While Steffy goes to the store, Libby records a telephone message for Herbert about a rejected script. When Herbert wakes up, Libby admits that she is his daughter. Having recently taken a sleeping pill for his insomnia, Herbert has trouble forming coherent sentences, but welcomes her to Los Angeles and kisses her on the forehead. He asks about Libby’s brother, Robbie, and shows her his fruit trees in the backyard. Although he agrees to let her stay in the house, Herbert is skeptical of Libby’s ambition to be an actress. The girl hopes he will help jumpstart her career by using his industry connections, insisting he owes her a favor after walking out on the family. Meanwhile, a man approaches Steffy on her way home from the store, asking to collect a large debt Herbert owes him; Steffy begrudgingly writes a check to keep him from showing up at the house with Libby present. Inside, Libby yells at Herbert for his failures as a father, and he demands her respect. Steffy begs Libby to give Herbert time to adjust, but the girl leaves. Later, Herbert tells Steffy he has a meeting at Universal Pictures, while he goes gambling at the racetrack. Herbert speaks with the man who took money from Steffy, and upon realizing she paid his debts, pays her back. He returns to Steffy’s house and they discuss their relationship. That night, Herbert drags his screaming daughter out of her motel room and takes her to dinner. He insists she stay with him, and she concedes, showing him photographs of her family. Back home, Herbert realizes that Libby is serious about her commitment to acting, and apologizes for arguing with her that morning. One day, Herbert takes Libby, Steffy, and Steffy’s two children to a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game. Steffy tells Herbert that she suggested Libby join the Los Angeles School of Dramatic Arts, but Herbert tells his girl friend that he does not want his daughter working in the film business. That night, Herbert stays awake to listen to Libby recite poetry, including a poem about a relationship between father and daughter. A few weeks later, Libby has redecorated the house, fixed up Herbert’s car, and prepared her father’s suits for his studio meetings. When Herbert retrieves Libby from acting class, she tells him that she is going out that night with a fellow student, Gordon Zaharias, to make industry connections. Herbert tells Libby that he had a successful meeting, but she determines he is lying and forces him to admit that he went to the racetrack instead. Herbert complains about young industry executives who do not appreciate his work. Later, Gordon and Libby become intimate in the back seat of a car, and Libby reveals that she is a virgin who always gets scared and backs out of having sex at the last minute. Understanding, Gordon says he will give her time and asks to see her the following night. Unable to sleep because Libby has not yet returned home, Herbert ponders the significance of his two fruit trees, comparing them to his abandoned children. Frustrated by Herbert’s resistance to change and commitment, Steffy admits she had dinner with a male co-worker and enjoyed their open communication. She says she wants more for herself and her future, and leaves. After 3:00 am, Libby returns home, and Herbert demands to know where she has been. She explains that she handed out business cards to numerous celebrities at a party in Beverly Hills, where she was working with Gordon as a valet. Herbert maintains that she has no chance of finding work that way, but she reminds him that he has given up writing his screenplay. He apologizes, and later Libby asks her father about sex, wanting to know what sex was like between her parents. Libby says her mother never had a relationship with another man after Herbert left, and treated her daughter like her husband instead of her child. Herbert compliments Libby’s confidence, but the girl admits she is scared and uncertain about what she wants in life, except for someone to “want her for who she is.” As Libby cries, Herbert stresses the importance of forming a deep, emotional relationship with someone. The next morning, Libby announces that she is returning to New York City that afternoon, satisfied that she had gained an emotional relationship with her father. She telephones her mother to report her future arrival, and forces Herbert to say hello. Herbert speaks with his son, Robbie, who plans to come to Los Angeles the following summer to attend school. As Libby leaves, Steffy tells Herbert that she was invited to travel to Hawaii for three weeks with her male co-worker; she begs Herbert to tell her not to go, but he refuses. At the bus station, Herbert buys Libby’s ticket and gives her a bag of fruit from his trees. She takes photographs of her father, but he hesitates when she asks for a picture of him and Steffy together. After Libby boards the bus, Herbert asks Steffy not to go on her trip, and Steffy finds a note Libby tacked to Herbert’s car windshield, advertising his screenplays. On the bus, Libby sits next to a young man traveling to New York City to become a theater actor; when he asks what she does for a living, Libby declares she is in a “transitional period.” Herbert drives alongside the bus on the highway and waves to his daughter through the window. +

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

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