Starting Over (1979)

R | 105 mins | Comedy, Romance | 5 October 1979

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HISTORY

End credits include the statement, “Thanks to the Boston Garden.”
       As announced in a 12 Dec 1973 HR brief, Paramount Pictures Corp. originally launched the project with the creative team of director Arthur Hiller, screenwriter Robert Goldman, and producers Peter Bart and Max Palevsky.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Starting Over represented the first feature film screenplay for writer-producer James L. Brooks.
       A 1 Nov 1978 DV brief stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 13 Nov 1978 in New York City. A 4 Feb 1979 LAT article noted that the production used the former Twentieth-Century-Fox soundstages on West 54th Street. As stated in production notes, filming also took place in Boston, MA. A 14 Feb 1979 HR item mentioned that shooting had completed two days early.
       As reported in a 29 Nov 1979 DV article, the picture set a record as Paramount’s highest grossing fall release, with a domestic box-office of $26.5 million after fifty-two days in theaters.
       The film received two Academy Awards nominations: Actress in a Leading Role for Jill Clayburgh and Actress in a Supporting Role for Candice Bergen. ... More Less

End credits include the statement, “Thanks to the Boston Garden.”
       As announced in a 12 Dec 1973 HR brief, Paramount Pictures Corp. originally launched the project with the creative team of director Arthur Hiller, screenwriter Robert Goldman, and producers Peter Bart and Max Palevsky.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Starting Over represented the first feature film screenplay for writer-producer James L. Brooks.
       A 1 Nov 1978 DV brief stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 13 Nov 1978 in New York City. A 4 Feb 1979 LAT article noted that the production used the former Twentieth-Century-Fox soundstages on West 54th Street. As stated in production notes, filming also took place in Boston, MA. A 14 Feb 1979 HR item mentioned that shooting had completed two days early.
       As reported in a 29 Nov 1979 DV article, the picture set a record as Paramount’s highest grossing fall release, with a domestic box-office of $26.5 million after fifty-two days in theaters.
       The film received two Academy Awards nominations: Actress in a Leading Role for Jill Clayburgh and Actress in a Supporting Role for Candice Bergen.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1978.
---
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 1979
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
4 Feb 1979
Section M, p. 1, 34.
Los Angeles Times
30 Sep 1979
p. 1.
New York Times
5 Oct 1979
p. 8.
Variety
3 Oct 1979
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
An Alan J. Pakula Film
A James L. Brooks Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Stillman
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Chargeman scenic artist
Set dresser
Prop master
Const grip
Shop craftsman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Costumer
Mr. Reynolds' ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Loop ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod exec
Casting
Prod office coord
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Exec in charge of pub
Asst to Mr. Pakula
Asst to Mr. Gerrity
Teamster capt
Extra casting
New York prod facilities
STAND INS
Stuntman
Stunt woman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Starting Over by Dan Wakefield (New York, 1973).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Better Than Ever," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, sung by Candice Bergen
"Easy For You," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, sung by Candice Bergen
"Starting Over," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, sung by Candice Bergen
+
SONGS
"Better Than Ever," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, sung by Candice Bergen
"Easy For You," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, sung by Candice Bergen
"Starting Over," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, sung by Candice Bergen
"The Way We Were," by Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, sung by Sylvia Smith
"Better Than Ever," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, sung by Stephanie Mills, produced by Mtume and Lucas
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 October 1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 5 October 1979
New York opening: week of 5 October 1979
Production Date:
13 November 1978 -- mid February 1979 in New York City and Boston
Copyright Claimant:
Century Associates
Copyright Date:
10 October 1979
Copyright Number:
PA61640
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25516
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, Phil Potter, a freelance magazine writer, tries once more to reconcile with his wife Jessica, but she wants a divorce and is ready to pursue an independent life as a singer-songwriter. Leaving their apartment with a single suitcase, Phil moves to Boston, Massachusetts, where his brother, Michael “Mickey” Potter, resides. While Mickey, a psychiatrist, recommends a local support group for divorced men, and his wife, Marva, states that the end of marriage could be an exciting new beginning, Phil is too sad to consider their advice. Later, Phil rents an apartment in town and tries to make the place feel like a home, but longs for companionship. Walking to Mickey’s house for dinner one night, Phil encounters a skittish woman, who believes Phil is following her. After cursing at him, she runs away. When Phil arrives at the house, Mickey introduces the same woman as Marilyn Holmberg, a nursery school teacher and friend, whom he and Marva invited to dinner, hoping she and Phil might be well matched. Realizing the mistake she made, Marilyn is overcome with embarrassment. At the end of the evening, Phil asks Marilyn for a date, but she is wary of recently divorced men and thinks they should wait. After learning his divorce is final, Phil joins the support group and has his first date in eight years with an overeager woman named Marie. As soon as he arrives home from the uncomfortable experience with Marie, he telephones Marilyn and persuades her to have dinner with him. The evening goes well, and Phil and Marilyn enjoy getting to know each ... +


In New York City, Phil Potter, a freelance magazine writer, tries once more to reconcile with his wife Jessica, but she wants a divorce and is ready to pursue an independent life as a singer-songwriter. Leaving their apartment with a single suitcase, Phil moves to Boston, Massachusetts, where his brother, Michael “Mickey” Potter, resides. While Mickey, a psychiatrist, recommends a local support group for divorced men, and his wife, Marva, states that the end of marriage could be an exciting new beginning, Phil is too sad to consider their advice. Later, Phil rents an apartment in town and tries to make the place feel like a home, but longs for companionship. Walking to Mickey’s house for dinner one night, Phil encounters a skittish woman, who believes Phil is following her. After cursing at him, she runs away. When Phil arrives at the house, Mickey introduces the same woman as Marilyn Holmberg, a nursery school teacher and friend, whom he and Marva invited to dinner, hoping she and Phil might be well matched. Realizing the mistake she made, Marilyn is overcome with embarrassment. At the end of the evening, Phil asks Marilyn for a date, but she is wary of recently divorced men and thinks they should wait. After learning his divorce is final, Phil joins the support group and has his first date in eight years with an overeager woman named Marie. As soon as he arrives home from the uncomfortable experience with Marie, he telephones Marilyn and persuades her to have dinner with him. The evening goes well, and Phil and Marilyn enjoy getting to know each other over the next two weeks. Phil, however, confides to the support group that he has avoided going to bed with Marilyn, and a fellow divorcé suggests that he probably still feels married. One evening, Phil surprises Marilyn at her apartment and announces that he wants to have sex with her. Despite his abrupt declaration and her anxiety, they spend the night together. When Phil leaves before dawn, Marilyn angrily reminds him that she is not a one-night stand, but Phil reassures her. As his relationship with Marilyn progresses, Phil overcomes his fear of teaching for the first time and begins a new job educating college students about magazine writing. At Thanksgiving, Mickey and Marva notice how happy the couple appears. During the holiday dinner, Marilyn answers the telephone and tells Phil that Jessica is on the line. While everyone at the table overhears the conversation, Phil awkwardly informs Jessica that Marilyn is a friend of Mickey and Marva. Upset, Marilyn leaves the gathering. Phil follows her, explaining that he was nervous since he had not spoken to Jessica in awhile and felt as if he was cheating on her. Although Marilyn is more comfortable with Phil than any previous boyfriend, she believes he still has feelings for his former wife and says goodbye. Later, Phil approaches Marilyn while she volunteers at the nursery school’s charity fair. In light of her outburst at Thanksgiving, Phil believes they need to define their relationship more clearly, then asks Marilyn to move in with him. With both nervousness and enthusiasm, she agrees. To celebrate their first evening of co-habitation, Marilyn makes a “Welcome Home Hotstuff” banner, while Phil is at work. On the way back to the apartment, Phil arranges for duplicate keys and adds Marilyn’s name to the mailbox. Upon arrival, however, he is shocked to find Marilyn sitting on the couch with Jessica. To ease the awkward encounter, Marilyn enables the former spouses to visit in private. Dressed in a sexy blouse, Jessica explains to Phil that she impulsively decided to visit him and apologizes for her timing, but confesses she is disappointed to find he is not pining for her. As Phil drives Jessica back to her hotel, she flirts with him, while he admits that he is still mad at her. When they arrive at her hotel room, Jessica hangs the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and has a bottle of wine waiting. Phil is ready to give in to the seduction, but as she sings her song, “Better Than Ever,” dedicated to their reconciliation, his desire dissipates, and he leaves. Jessica telephones later that evening to explain that her dramatic behavior was inspired by her love for him. During the support group meeting, Phil confesses that he desperately wanted to have sex with his former wife. While shopping for a couch with Jessica, Phil has an anxiety attack in the department store, and Mickey is summoned to calm him down. After he recovers, Phil reveals to Marilyn that he must return to Jessica. As Marilyn angrily moves back to her apartment, she persuades Phil to “swear on his brother’s life” that he will never contact her again. In New York City, Phil attempts to resume his relationship with Jessica, but as they bicker, Phil is reminded that the connection with his former wife does not feel as “terrific” as the one with Marilyn. After six weeks, he arrives back in Boston. Phil, however, is unaware that Marilyn has been has been dating John Morganson, a professional basketball player with the Boston Celtics. At the department store, he buys the couch Marilyn wanted, then arrives outside her nursery school dressed for the Christmas season as Santa Claus. Marilyn does not immediately recognize him as she meets her new boyfriend and drives away. When Phil tries telephoning her, she pretends to be a voice on an answering machine. Next, Phil tracks down Marilyn at the Boston Garden arena while she watches her boyfriend practice with the Celtics. Seeing Phil arrive, Marilyn immediately claims she is no longer interested in their relationship, until Phil asks her to marry him. Shocked by the proposal, Marilyn cannot hide her feelings, and embraces him. +

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

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