Oliver's Story (1978)

PG | 90 mins | Drama | 15 December 1978

Director:

John Korty

Producer:

David V. Picker

Cinematographer:

Arthur Ornitz

Production Designer:

Robert Gundlach
Full page view
HISTORY

Paramount Pictures’s sequel to Love Story (1970, see entry) was referred to by its working titles Love Story II in the 25 Jul 1977 DV, Love Story ‘78 in the 23 Mar 1977 Var and Oliver in the 26 Jan 1978 HR.
       The 14 May 1978 LAT noted that the difference in tone between the film and Erich Segal’s 1977 novel, Oliver’s Story, is illustrated by their respective endings. While the novel ends with “Oliver Barrett” giving up on love and returning home to Boston, the film concludes with the main character retaining a modicum of hope for romantic fulfillment.
       Following the success of Erich Segal’s 1970 novel Love Story and the subsequent film adaptation, two sequels were developed separately but simultaneously. As reported by the 23 Mar 1977 Var, Paramount owned sequel film rights and commissioned Edward Hume to develop a screenplay in the early 1970s, but Segal had publishing rights to his novel and wrote a sequel entitled Oliver’s Story published by Harper & Row in Mar 1977. Segal could pursue a deal to adapt his novel into a movie and ITC’s Lord Lew Grade expressed interest in producing it, but Paramount held the right of first refusal on any adaptation of Segal’s sequel. An article in the 30 Jan 1978 Publishers Weekly announced that Segal was writing a screenplay based on Oliver’s Story for Paramount.
       The studio offered actor Ryan O’Neal, the star of Love Story, $3 million to return ... More Less

Paramount Pictures’s sequel to Love Story (1970, see entry) was referred to by its working titles Love Story II in the 25 Jul 1977 DV, Love Story ‘78 in the 23 Mar 1977 Var and Oliver in the 26 Jan 1978 HR.
       The 14 May 1978 LAT noted that the difference in tone between the film and Erich Segal’s 1977 novel, Oliver’s Story, is illustrated by their respective endings. While the novel ends with “Oliver Barrett” giving up on love and returning home to Boston, the film concludes with the main character retaining a modicum of hope for romantic fulfillment.
       Following the success of Erich Segal’s 1970 novel Love Story and the subsequent film adaptation, two sequels were developed separately but simultaneously. As reported by the 23 Mar 1977 Var, Paramount owned sequel film rights and commissioned Edward Hume to develop a screenplay in the early 1970s, but Segal had publishing rights to his novel and wrote a sequel entitled Oliver’s Story published by Harper & Row in Mar 1977. Segal could pursue a deal to adapt his novel into a movie and ITC’s Lord Lew Grade expressed interest in producing it, but Paramount held the right of first refusal on any adaptation of Segal’s sequel. An article in the 30 Jan 1978 Publishers Weekly announced that Segal was writing a screenplay based on Oliver’s Story for Paramount.
       The studio offered actor Ryan O’Neal, the star of Love Story, $3 million to return to the sequel but when he refused due to a scheduling conflict with his next film, M-G-M’s The Champ (1979, see entry), Paramount pursued other actors for the lead role, including William Katt, as reported by HR on 26 Jan 1978, 30 Jan 1978 and 28 Feb 1978. Later, O’Neal turned down The Champ but still declined to star in Oliver’s Story and publicly criticized Segal’s novel and screenplay. When he read a portion of writer-director John Korty’s revised script, O’Neal consented to reprise the role of “Oliver Barrett,” according to DV on 25 Jul 1977, HR on 26 Jan 1978 and LAT on 20 Mar 1978 and 14 May 1978.
       In the 12 Apr 1978 LAT, actor John Marley, who played Oliver’s father-in-law, “Phil Cavilleri,” in Love Story, claimed he did not return to the role in the sequel because he and Paramount could not come to an agreement about the size and placement of his onscreen credit. Instead of continuing to negotiate, the studio hired Edward Binns for the role when the option on Marley expired.
       While a news item in the 26 Jan 1978 HR listed Robert Evans as a producer, his name does not appear in the onscreen credits. Likewise, according to the 11 May 1978 HR and the 1 Dec 1980 People, the Primavera String Quartet was hired to perform during a scene, but their part was cut and they received no onscreen credit.
       Although several dates in Mar 1978 were announced as the start of principal photography for Oliver’s Story, according to production notes in AMPAS library files and the 14 May 1978 LAT, shooting on the ten-week, $6 million production began 27 Mar 1978 in MA. Korty felt strongly about using actual locations, so no sets were built. In MA, filming took place in Cambridge, in Boston at the Charles River Bridge, among other locales, and in Uxbridge, where the cemetery and mill scenes were shot, reported production notes, the 14 May 1978 LAT and the 26 May 1978 HR. The production then moved to New York City for six weeks and utilized locations including the Midtown Tennis Club and restaurants Charley O’s and O’Neal’s Balloon. Oliver’s apartment was found in lower Broadway; the tenement renovation scene took place at an actual building on the Lower East Side; the “Dr. Diehnhart” scenes were filmed in a real psychiatrist’s office; and assistant director Mel Howard’s Greenwich Village apartment doubled for the home of “Joanna Stone.” As stated in production notes, Oliver’s Story marked the first feature film that Bonwit Teller allowed to film inside its New York City department store, although the New York City offices of Paramount Pictures stood in for Bonwit’s executive suite. According to production notes, HR on 12 May 1978 and 26 May 1978 and Var on 21 Jun 1978, the movie completed location shooting in New York City two days ahead of schedule, then traveled to Hong Kong to shoot for seven days starting 15 May 1978. After using locations including the Repulse Bay Hotel, Oliver’s Story completed principal photography in Hong Kong on 27 May 1978.
       As noted in the 18 Dec 1978 LAT, the movie’s original ending showed Oliver returning to Joanna after ending the relationship with “Marcie Bonwit.” Upon viewing a rough cut of the film, however, Korty, producer David V. Picker and Paramount executives feared audiences would dislike watching “O’Neal in the arms of the merely attractive Pagett rather than those of the more glamorous Bergen,” so the picture was edited to conclude with Oliver standing on a bridge looking out on the water.
       According to the 12 Dec 1978 HR and the 15 Dec 1978 NYT, Oliver’s Story opened 15 Dec 1978 in New York City and in Los Angeles, CA, at the Village Theatre in Westwood, CA, and the Vogue Theatre in Hollywood, CA.
       The 12 Jun 1981 LAHExam reported that three Teamsters were implicated in an extortion ring involving Oliver’s Story and several other films shot on location in New England. The men were accused of padding the film companies’ payrolls with the names of people who either did not exist or did not show up to work. The outcome of the case was not determined at the time of writing this record. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1977.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jan 1978.
---
Daily Variety
1 Feb 1978.
---
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1978.
---
Daily Variety
24 Nov 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1978
p. 3, 16.
LAHExam
7 Aug 1977.
---
LAHExam
19 May 1978
Section B, p. 1, 3.
LAHExam
12 Jun 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Dec 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Jul 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Mar 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Apr 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Apr 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 May 1978
p. 35.
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1978
pp. 28-29
New York
8 Nov 1976
p. 71.
New York Times
15 Dec 1978
p. 12.
People
1 Dec 1980.
---
Publisher's Weekly
30 Jan 1978.
---
TV Guide
20 Feb 1982.
---
Variety
23 Mar 1977
p. 32.
Variety
15 Mar 1978.
---
Variety
21 Jun 1978.
---
Variety
13 Dec 1978.
---
Variety
20 Dec 1978
p. 27.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A David V. Picker Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
Key grip
Stillman
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus score
Oliver's Theme composed by
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Prod office coord
Scr supv
Casting
Prod auditor
Community liaison
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Oliver's Story by Erich Segal (New York, 1977).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Love Story II
Love Story '78
Oliver
Release Date:
15 December 1978
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 December 1978
Production Date:
27 March--27 May 1978 in Boston and Cambridge, MA, New York City, and Hong Kong
Copyright Claimant:
Drake Associates
Copyright Date:
5 March 1979
Copyright Number:
PA26334
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25314
SYNOPSIS

Eighteen months after New York City lawyer Oliver Barrett buries his beloved wife, Jenny, his former father-in-law, Phil Cavilleri, encourages him to start meeting new people, especially women. Instead, Oliver concentrates on his work and does little to maintain his sparsely appointed apartment. Later, Oliver reluctantly accepts a dinner invitation from his friend, Stephen Simpson, but realizes the evening is a set-up when Stephen and his wife introduce Oliver to their other dinner guest, furniture maker Joanna Stone. After dinner, Oliver walks Joanna home and she invites him inside for coffee. Oliver admires her work and Joanna admits she looks forward to seeing him again, but he makes no effort to spend the night with her. One day, Oliver arrives at the park to go ice-skating only to find that the ice on the rink has melted. When a nearby jogger laughs at his dismay, Oliver runs to catch up with her and she introduces herself as Marcie Nash. After some banter, they agree to play tennis at the fitness club the next morning, with the loser treating the winner to dinner. During the tennis match, Oliver stumbles at first but rallies to beat Marcie. At dinner, Marcie reveals she works for Bonwit Teller department stores and is divorced. Her assumption that Oliver is also divorced leads him to later confess to his therapist, Dr. Dienhart, that he does not feel ready to tell Marcie, or any woman, his wife is deceased. Oliver resents that everybody he knows expects him to forget Jenny and start a relationship with someone new. Later, Oliver takes clients to a local ... +


Eighteen months after New York City lawyer Oliver Barrett buries his beloved wife, Jenny, his former father-in-law, Phil Cavilleri, encourages him to start meeting new people, especially women. Instead, Oliver concentrates on his work and does little to maintain his sparsely appointed apartment. Later, Oliver reluctantly accepts a dinner invitation from his friend, Stephen Simpson, but realizes the evening is a set-up when Stephen and his wife introduce Oliver to their other dinner guest, furniture maker Joanna Stone. After dinner, Oliver walks Joanna home and she invites him inside for coffee. Oliver admires her work and Joanna admits she looks forward to seeing him again, but he makes no effort to spend the night with her. One day, Oliver arrives at the park to go ice-skating only to find that the ice on the rink has melted. When a nearby jogger laughs at his dismay, Oliver runs to catch up with her and she introduces herself as Marcie Nash. After some banter, they agree to play tennis at the fitness club the next morning, with the loser treating the winner to dinner. During the tennis match, Oliver stumbles at first but rallies to beat Marcie. At dinner, Marcie reveals she works for Bonwit Teller department stores and is divorced. Her assumption that Oliver is also divorced leads him to later confess to his therapist, Dr. Dienhart, that he does not feel ready to tell Marcie, or any woman, his wife is deceased. Oliver resents that everybody he knows expects him to forget Jenny and start a relationship with someone new. Later, Oliver takes clients to a local official, Mr. Gentilano, to seek approval for the bid they submitted to the city to renovate the decrepit apartment building their landlord has neglected. The residents invite Gentilano to the apartment building to see their work for himself. Sometime later, Oliver and Marcie meet in upstate New York for their next date. During dinner, Oliver clarifies that he is not a divorcé but a widower. After dinner, Oliver learns Marcie booked a room in the hotel that adjoins the restaurant. He angrily accuses her of making assumptions about him until she explains that she must stay in the hotel overnight because she has work in the area the next day. Oliver returns home but later regrets his argument with Marcie. He wants to see her again but he does not have her phone number and he fails to find her on the employee rolls at Bonwit or at the fitness club until one day when she unexpectedly calls him. Marcie admits there is a good reason why Oliver could not find her name among Bonwit’s employees and invites him to the store to explain in person. Oliver finds Marcie in the store’s executive suite and learns her real last name is Bonwit – she is an executive at the department store and her family used to own the company. When Marcie suggests they take a drive, Oliver agrees and admits he is wealthy as well, when they stop for hot dogs. Spotting a motel across the street, Oliver and Marcie check in and make love. Afterwards, Oliver admits to feeling guilty about their liaison because he did not think about Jenny. Days later, Oliver visits his parents and learns his father, Oliver, III, is ready to retire. Although Oliver, III, would like his son to take over the company, the younger Oliver explains that he has his own work to focus on and is not interested in running the family business. Another day, Gentilano visits Oliver and his apartment dweller clients as they repair and repaint their building. Gentilano expresses concern over the residents’ ability to maintain the building as needed, but when a visiting television news crew interviews him on camera, he pledges his support for the inhabitants’ project. Some night later, when Oliver and Marcie have a picnic in his apartment, she notes the sparseness of his home and comments that she also had a “mock poverty” phase after her divorce. When Oliver reacts angrily, Marcie explains that feeling guilty about their social standing is not going to change the fact that they both appreciate quality goods. The next day, Oliver phones Marcie to apologize but she is attending a board meeting and quickly ends the call. Later, Oliver expresses anger that Marcie did not take his call and was cold to him on the phone, but Marcie explains that she is trying to maintain her standing on the board and had to act professionally. When Oliver asks if she is going to continue to compartmentalize their relationship, Marcie explains that she likes being a working woman and suggests that he accept her as she is. Oliver calms down and admits he is tired because the tenants’ case is more work than he initially imagined. Oliver accepts Marcie’s invitation to join her in Hong Kong for a working vacation. Upon touring the city, Oliver is taken aback by the widespread poverty and feels marginalized by Marcie’s work. When unexpected business plans prevent Marcie from going to lunch with him, Oliver insists on seeing her company’s factory instead. Bonwit’s Hong Kong representative, John Hsiang, takes Oliver to the clean, ventilated, well-lit facility and explains that the company pays the workers well and finds a role for every adult member of a family who wants to work there. When Oliver later admits to Marcie how impressed he is with the factory’s working conditions, she accuses him of secretly hoping to see a sweatshop so he could use the injustice as an excuse to break up with her. Marcie asserts Oliver will never accept her and accuses him of obsessing about the working-class Jenny because she was his “pass to the people.” When Oliver warns Marcie to leave his wife out of the argument, Marcie claims Jenny is getting in the way of their romance and she is unable to compete with a dead woman. The two end their relationship. Back in New York City, Oliver admits to Dr. Dienhart that he cannot stop comparing other women to Jenny and the therapist suggests this is progress. Later, Oliver visits his family’s mill to attend his father’s retirement party. There, Oliver realizes how much the workers esteem Oliver, III, and appreciates how the Barrett family has benefitted from the millworkers’ endeavors. At the Barrett family home, Oliver tells his father he would like to help out with the mill after all. Later, Oliver stands on a bridge and watches a woman rowing in the water. He muses that a part of him was trying to die because he felt he owed his life to Jenny. Oliver realizes that he must pursue a new life to honor his lost love. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.