Wrong Is Right (1982)

R | 117 mins | Satire, Comedy | 14 May 1982

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writer:

Richard Brooks

Producer:

Richard Brooks

Cinematographer:

Fred Koenekamp

Production Designer:

Edward Carfagno

Production Companies:

Columbia Pictures, Rastar Films
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HISTORY

A prologue includes images of satellites floating above the Earth, accompanied by voice-over narration from Sean Connery’s character, “Patrick Hale,” discussing the threat of space spy technology. Opening credits are superimposed over clips of Patrick working at his World Television News office and reporting at various events around the world, while U.S. Presidential candidate "Mallory" campaigns for office.
       End credits include the following acknowledgment: “Filmed in New York, Washington, D.C., Texas, New Mexico, France, Italy,” as well as the fictional location, “Hagreb.” Credits also give “Special Thanks to Dr. Ivan Catton and Dr. Gerald C. Pomraning (Nuclear Research Advisors) and The SONY Corporation of America.”
       A 15 Apr 1982 DV news item suggested that writer-director-producer Richard Brooks first gained approval to develop Wrong is Right with Columbia Pictures from President Frank Price and executive John Veitch. Although the 10 Jan 1980 DV suggested that the film was being prepared for a limited New York City and Los Angeles, CA, release for Christmas of that year, a 7 Nov 1980 DV item indicated that the project was not officially announced until 25 Feb 1980. The 3 Mar 1980 DV indicated that Brooks had yet to complete the screenplay, and the 21 Apr 1980 DV estimated the production start date for Sep 1980 or Oct 1980. However, the 7 Nov 1980 DV stated that principal photography had been rescheduled to begin Jan 1981.
       A 5 Jan 1981 DV item stated that Barbara Hershey had been attached to star, but she does not appear in the final film. A 2 Apr 1982 ... More Less

A prologue includes images of satellites floating above the Earth, accompanied by voice-over narration from Sean Connery’s character, “Patrick Hale,” discussing the threat of space spy technology. Opening credits are superimposed over clips of Patrick working at his World Television News office and reporting at various events around the world, while U.S. Presidential candidate "Mallory" campaigns for office.
       End credits include the following acknowledgment: “Filmed in New York, Washington, D.C., Texas, New Mexico, France, Italy,” as well as the fictional location, “Hagreb.” Credits also give “Special Thanks to Dr. Ivan Catton and Dr. Gerald C. Pomraning (Nuclear Research Advisors) and The SONY Corporation of America.”
       A 15 Apr 1982 DV news item suggested that writer-director-producer Richard Brooks first gained approval to develop Wrong is Right with Columbia Pictures from President Frank Price and executive John Veitch. Although the 10 Jan 1980 DV suggested that the film was being prepared for a limited New York City and Los Angeles, CA, release for Christmas of that year, a 7 Nov 1980 DV item indicated that the project was not officially announced until 25 Feb 1980. The 3 Mar 1980 DV indicated that Brooks had yet to complete the screenplay, and the 21 Apr 1980 DV estimated the production start date for Sep 1980 or Oct 1980. However, the 7 Nov 1980 DV stated that principal photography had been rescheduled to begin Jan 1981.
       A 5 Jan 1981 DV item stated that Barbara Hershey had been attached to star, but she does not appear in the final film. A 2 Apr 1982 DV article reported that despite Brooks’ final casting authority, Robert Conrad was cast at the suggestion of Price.
       13 Feb 1981 HR production charts confirmed that principal photography began 19 Jan 1981 in New York City and Los Angeles. The 15 Apr 1982 DV reported that Brooks also filmed in Washington, D.C., forgoing official clearances by posing as a television news crew.
       According to the 2 Apr 1982 DV, Brooks finished the film more than $2 million under its projected $12 million budget. Because of the expensive cost to film in the African regions of Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, the “Hagreb” desert scenes were created by editing footage filmed on a studio lot with clips from National Geographic and American and British television news programs. In addition, Brooks negotiated a product placement deal with the Sony Corporation, which allowed them to use $800,000 worth of television monitors and news equipment, and reportedly saved the production $1.5 million. Finally, he accepted the minimum Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA) wage of $30,000, which the 15 Apr 1982 DV claimed would also be deducted from his percentage of eventual box-office earnings. After a seventy-four day shooting schedule, the 27 Apr 1981 Var announced the completion of production.
       Throughout filming and post-production, Brooks kept the script a secret: the 21 Sep 1981 DV and Oct 1981 Playboy suggested that only select Columbia employees and star Sean Connery were allowed to know the film’s ending, which was shot using notes. As reported in Playboy, the actors were given lines of dialogue on strips of paper, which they were then required to return at the end of the scene. In addition, the 15 Apr 1982 DV stated that Brooks confiscated a print of the film after a preview screening held 13 Apr 1982, at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. According to the 21 Sep 1981 DV, Brooks was so pleased with the work of film editor George Grenville, he also credited him as an associate producer. Wrong is Right marked their fourth motion picture collaboration, following The Happy Ending (1969, see entry), $ (1971, see entry), Bite the Bullet (1975, see entry), and Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977, see entry).
       A 29 Apr 1982 Columbia Pictures press release in AMPAS library files indicated that Brooks was scheduled to attend special screenings on 3 May 1982 at the Dallas, TX, U.S.A. Film Festival and 7 May 1982 at the Seattle, WA, International Film Festival. A 13 May 1982 HR news item stated that, following previous engagements beginning 16 Apr 1982, in New York City and Los Angeles, the film was scheduled to open in 935 additional theaters across the U.S. on 14 May 1982. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Jan 1980
p. 1, 46.
Daily Variety
3 Mar 1980.
---
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1980
p. 1, 16, 18.
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1980.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1981.
---
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1981.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1982
p. 9.
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 1982
p. 3, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Apr 1982
p. 1, 9.
New York Times
16 Apr 1982
Section C, p. 8.
Playboy
Oct 1981.
---
Variety
27 Apr 1981.
---
Variety
7 Apr 1982
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
From Rastar
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, New York crew
1st asst dir, New York crew
2d asst dir, New York crew
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
2d asst cam
Best boy
Key grip
Still photog
Cam op, Texas crew
1st asst cam, Texas crew
2d asst cam, Texas crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, New York crew
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const coord
Const coord
Standby scenic, New York crew
COSTUMES
Men`s ward
Women's ward
Cost, New York crew
MUSIC
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff foreman
Title and montage des
Spec photog eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Casting
Video coord
W. T. N. tech adv
Transportation capt
Transportation coord
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Prod office coord, New York crew
Teamster capt, New York crew
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Better Angels by Charles McCarry (New York, 1979).
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 May 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 April 1982
Production Date:
19 January--late April 1981 in New York City, Los Angeles, CA, Washington, D.C., TX, NM, France, and Italy
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 April 1982
Copyright Number:
PA135176
Physical Properties:
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
117
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26433
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, sensationalist World Television News ( W. T. N. ) reporter Patrick Hale reports on the rising murder rates and the public’s desensitization to violence in contemporary culture. While land sailing through the desert of Hagreb, North Africa, Patrick records a live report about the country’s King Awad, who recently became involved in oil drilling. Suddenly, one of Awad’s diplomatic automobiles swerves around Patrick, causing his vehicle to overturn. While the cameramen speak with their bosses on the telephone, Patrick answers interview questions from American newspaper reporter Sally Blake, explaining his attraction to the flashy world of television. They encounter a group of rioting Hagreb people attacking the car of wealthy Europa Trading Co. oil exporter, Helmut Unger, and help him escape with two silver suitcases, which Sally notices are highly radioactive. After dropping Unger at an oil plant, Sally reveals that he is a dangerous terrorist weapons dealer, and realizes they are being followed by two terrorists, Abu and Suzy. Patrick then takes Sally to the city and pushes through a crowd of protesters to pick up Embassy official Homer Hubbard. Across town, Sally meets an undercover contact to inform him about Unger’s suitcases, unaware that Abu and Suzy have discreetly planted a bomb nearby. The device explodes moments before Patrick and Hubbard can save her, and Patrick’s camera crew records the incident for live television. Meanwhile, in Washington, ... +


In New York City, sensationalist World Television News ( W. T. N. ) reporter Patrick Hale reports on the rising murder rates and the public’s desensitization to violence in contemporary culture. While land sailing through the desert of Hagreb, North Africa, Patrick records a live report about the country’s King Awad, who recently became involved in oil drilling. Suddenly, one of Awad’s diplomatic automobiles swerves around Patrick, causing his vehicle to overturn. While the cameramen speak with their bosses on the telephone, Patrick answers interview questions from American newspaper reporter Sally Blake, explaining his attraction to the flashy world of television. They encounter a group of rioting Hagreb people attacking the car of wealthy Europa Trading Co. oil exporter, Helmut Unger, and help him escape with two silver suitcases, which Sally notices are highly radioactive. After dropping Unger at an oil plant, Sally reveals that he is a dangerous terrorist weapons dealer, and realizes they are being followed by two terrorists, Abu and Suzy. Patrick then takes Sally to the city and pushes through a crowd of protesters to pick up Embassy official Homer Hubbard. Across town, Sally meets an undercover contact to inform him about Unger’s suitcases, unaware that Abu and Suzy have discreetly planted a bomb nearby. The device explodes moments before Patrick and Hubbard can save her, and Patrick’s camera crew records the incident for live television. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. current U.S. President Lockwood chooses not to acknowledge the event, prompting presidential candidate Mallory to criticize the government’s antipathy toward Sally’s death and the corrupt oil trade. In Hagreb, Patrick meets with King Awad, who proclaims, “Tomorrow will be the most important day of my life,” but does not explain why. Patrick presents him with his birthday gift: a photographic camera. The king cuts his finger while pressing the shutter, but dismisses the injury. A few hours later, President Lockwood meets with the U.S. Vice President, Mrs. Ford, anti-terrorism chief Gen. Wombat, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Jack Harvey, who use space satellites to track Patrick’s location. They discover the reporter in the midst of a shootout involving the fanatical terrorist leader, Rafeeq Abdallah, who, according to Sally Blake, planned to detonate two atom bombs on New York City and Jerusalem, Israel. As Patrick interviews Rafeeq, he learns that the terrorist had formed an alliance with the supposedly peaceful King Awad. That night, Patrick attempts to steal the suitcases from Unger, but fails, prompting President Lockwood to order Awad’s assassination, unaware that Harvey is recording their conversation. Upon hearing of Awad’s death, Patrick listens to an audiotape supposedly proving the king’s suicide, but Rafeeq blames the CIA. After Patrick leaves, Unger refuses to give Rafeeq the atom bombs until he receives the payment owed to him from Awad. Unsure what to believe, Patrick returns to W. T. N. headquarters in New York City, where he faces scrutiny for doubting the suicide explanation. He then interviews Mallory about his position, and the candidate reveals that Awad’s suicide tape recording had been spliced together from other audio clips of the king’s voice. In addition, Unger is offering to sell his suitcases for $1 million each. Hoping to find out what they contain, Patrick reviews the footage he recorded in his car after rescuing Unger from the rioters, but finds that the film has been damaged from radiation exposure. When Patrick tells Harvey that he intends to publicly blame the CIA for Awad’s murder, Harvey plays him the secret audio recording of Lockwood’s execution order. Patrick then tells the president that he knows the truth, and Lockwood gives a national address taking the blame. However, his honest approach backfires when Patrick airs a report calling Lockwood a murderer, and his approval ratings plummet. Suddenly, everyone fights to obtain Unger’s unused bombs: Lockwood needs to claim the murder was “justifiable homicide,” Rafeeq wishes to confiscate them, Mallory hopes to use them to win the election, and Patrick wants them for the subject of his next news story. Meanwhile, Abu and Suzy plant a bomb in Unger’s French warehouse before an intermediary named John Brown arrives to retrieve the suitcases. Sometime later, Patrick finds John Brown’s dead body and Homer Hubbard, who informs the reporter that one of his agents had replaced Awad’s birthday gift with a decoy camera containing a poisonous needle, which slowly killed the king after he pierced his finger. Unger returns to his warehouse and catches fire from the explosion of the terrorists’ bomb. Elsewhere, Abu and Suzy find the hidden suitcases and send them on a boat back to Rafeeq. In the U.S., a nationwide oil shortage sparks economic collapse and increasing public disapproval of the Lockwood administration. At a re-election campaign event in Texas, Abu bombs himself while being recorded on national television, and Suzy stabs a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent. Back in New York City, a female protester mimics Abu’s suicide bombing, prompting President Lockwood to cancel the remainder of his campaign tour. That night, Patrick watches as Suzy leads a group of suicide bombers parachuting over the White House in Washington, D.C., and learns that similar incidents have occurred all across the country. The reporter then receives a telephone call from Rafeeq, who threatens to drop both bombs on New York City unless Lockwood resigns within ten hours and is tried for Awad’s murder on live television. Although his producer taped the conversation, Patrick hopes to prevent mass panic by refusing to publicize the clip. After reviewing New York City’s inefficient evacuation procedures, Patrick describes the apocalyptic damage that will occur, and Lockwood decides to resign. Minutes before Lockwood’s resignation speech at the United Nations, however, Patrick and Harvey spot the two suitcases dangling from a spire above the World Trade Center. Harvey cuts the wires, deactivating the explosives in time to prevent the president from leaving office. Lockwood immediately declares war on Rafeeq, securing the sudden support of the violence-loving public, while Patrick joins the soldiers on the front by jumping out of a helicopter with his television camera. +

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

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