Love Letters (1984)

R | 95 mins | Romance | 25 April 1984

Director:

Amy Jones

Writer:

Amy Jones

Producer:

Roger Corman

Cinematographer:

Alec Hirschfeld

Production Designer:

Jeannine Claudia Oppewall

Production Companies:

Adams Apple , New World Pictures
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HISTORY

End credits include the following information: “ ‘From Here To Eternity’ [clip] courtesy of Columbia Pictures”; and “This film is dedicated to Michael, Emma and Patrick.”
       According to a Jan 1984 AmCin article, producer Roger Corman encouraged writer-director Amy Jones to conceive an idea for an art house film as a follow-up to her directorial debut, Slumber Party Massacre (1982, see entry), a horror exploitation picture that became a financial hit for Corman’s New World Pictures. With Love Letters, Corman was hoping to replicate the box-office and critical success of New World’s I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977, see entry) and to inaugurate a new direction for the company toward “small, personal” films, as noted in a 27 Jan 1984 NYT article. Jones was interested in making a drama as a way to earn respect as a “serious filmmaker.” Inspired by the Francois Truffaut film, The Woman Next Door (1981) Jones realized that a romance with minimal locations, interior sets, and a small cast would fit Corman’s limited budget of approximately one million dollars.
       After viewing Shoot the Moon (1982, see entry), which dealt with marital infidelity, Jones was curious to revisit the theme from the perspective of the “other woman,” which she felt had been ignored. The script attracted a great deal of interest from actors. Jamie Lee Curtis stated in an 18 May 1983 Var article that she auditioned many times for the role of “Anna Winter,” explaining that the part was a rare opportunity for an actress under the age of twenty-five.
       ... More Less

End credits include the following information: “ ‘From Here To Eternity’ [clip] courtesy of Columbia Pictures”; and “This film is dedicated to Michael, Emma and Patrick.”
       According to a Jan 1984 AmCin article, producer Roger Corman encouraged writer-director Amy Jones to conceive an idea for an art house film as a follow-up to her directorial debut, Slumber Party Massacre (1982, see entry), a horror exploitation picture that became a financial hit for Corman’s New World Pictures. With Love Letters, Corman was hoping to replicate the box-office and critical success of New World’s I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977, see entry) and to inaugurate a new direction for the company toward “small, personal” films, as noted in a 27 Jan 1984 NYT article. Jones was interested in making a drama as a way to earn respect as a “serious filmmaker.” Inspired by the Francois Truffaut film, The Woman Next Door (1981) Jones realized that a romance with minimal locations, interior sets, and a small cast would fit Corman’s limited budget of approximately one million dollars.
       After viewing Shoot the Moon (1982, see entry), which dealt with marital infidelity, Jones was curious to revisit the theme from the perspective of the “other woman,” which she felt had been ignored. The script attracted a great deal of interest from actors. Jamie Lee Curtis stated in an 18 May 1983 Var article that she auditioned many times for the role of “Anna Winter,” explaining that the part was a rare opportunity for an actress under the age of twenty-five.
       Filming required thirty days, and a 17 Nov 1982 Var brief indicated that principal photography took place during fall 1982. Jones mentioned in the AmCin article that the schedule was considered generous by the standards of New World Pictures, but she convinced Corman to allow extra shooting days by using a reduced crew for one week. Location work was based in Los Angeles, CA, and included the San Fernando Valley, the canals of Venice Beach, and a residential neighborhood in West Los Angeles. The production utilized the soundstages at New World studio to construct the set for Anna’s bedroom.
       The picture was first shown to the public at the Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex) on 27 Apr 1983, according to a festival press release. Based on audience reaction, Jones made minor adjustments including condensing the opening scenes and softening the character of “Oliver Andrews.”
       Love Letters was not released until late-Apr 1984 and opened in New York City and Los Angeles to mixed reviews. Corman sold New World Pictures in 1983 and formed a new company called Millennium, which was later renamed New Horizons. Reviews from the 25 Apr 1984 LAT and 27 Apr 1984 NYT indicate the film remained under the New World banner. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jan 1984
pp. 42-45.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1983
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Apr 1984
Section H, p. 1, 5.
New York Times
27 Jan 1984
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
27 Apr 1984
Section C, p. 14.
Variety
17 Nov 1982.
---
Variety
4 May 1983
p. 502.
Variety
18 May 1983.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Roger Corman Presents
An Amy Jones Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Props
Const supv
Const
Const
Scenic artist
Morgan Crawford's painting by
Oliver Andrews' monograph by
Photograph of Anna by
Oliver's collection by
Oliver's collection by
Oliver's collection by
Oliver's collection by
COSTUMES
Jewelry by
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Second [eng]
Piano arr by
String quartet, Violincello
String quartet, Viola
String quartet, Violin
String quartet, Violin
Selected mus passages rec on
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff painting
Title des
Opt eff
Opt eff
Opt eff
Opt eff
Opt eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Pre-prod supv
Scr supv
Post prod supv
Prod accountant
Extra casting
Craft services
Craft services
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod services by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Prelude #15," by Chopin, [performed by] Constance Keene, pianist, Protone Records
"Contrapunctus 1," by J.S. Bach, [performed by] LA Saxophone Quartet, Protone Records.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
My Love Letters
Passion Play
Release Date:
25 April 1984
Premiere Information:
Filmex screening: 27 April 1983
Los Angeles opening: 25 April 1984
New York opening: 27 April 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Millennium
Copyright Date:
4 May 1984
Copyright Number:
PA212983
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
95
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27016
SYNOPSIS

Twenty-two-year-old Anna Winter hosts a classical music program on KLAS, a small, listener-supported radio station in Los Angeles, California. At the hospital, she visits her dying mother, Maggie, who gives her daughter an old ring, which no longer fits, indicating that the jewelry was not a gift from Anna’s father, Chuck Winter. She warns her daughter not to make the same mistakes she did. After a broadcast one day, Anna encounters Oliver Andrews, a forty-year-old successful commercial photographer who is being courted by the station as a potential donor. When Oliver tells Anna he is a fan of her show, she is flattered, but disappointed as she notices the wedding ring on his finger. At her bungalow along the Venice canals, Anna spends the evening with Wendy, her best friend and neighbor, who complains about the difficulties of dating men. After her mother dies, Anna sorts through some of Maggie’s personal belongings. Amid the mementos and photographs, she finds a box of love letters written to her mother by a man named Joseph Chesley. As Anna reads one of the letters, she is surprised to learn Maggie had an affair during her marriage. She quickly hides the box as her drunken father staggers up the stairs. Later at home, Anna shares one of the letters with Wendy, and mentions she was six-years-old when the affair occurred. At a KLAS concert, Oliver arrives and invites Anna for a drink. After confessing he is married with two young children, he flirts with Anna, telling her she is “extraordinary.” Later, Anna poses for photographs at Oliver’s studio. Wendy ... +


Twenty-two-year-old Anna Winter hosts a classical music program on KLAS, a small, listener-supported radio station in Los Angeles, California. At the hospital, she visits her dying mother, Maggie, who gives her daughter an old ring, which no longer fits, indicating that the jewelry was not a gift from Anna’s father, Chuck Winter. She warns her daughter not to make the same mistakes she did. After a broadcast one day, Anna encounters Oliver Andrews, a forty-year-old successful commercial photographer who is being courted by the station as a potential donor. When Oliver tells Anna he is a fan of her show, she is flattered, but disappointed as she notices the wedding ring on his finger. At her bungalow along the Venice canals, Anna spends the evening with Wendy, her best friend and neighbor, who complains about the difficulties of dating men. After her mother dies, Anna sorts through some of Maggie’s personal belongings. Amid the mementos and photographs, she finds a box of love letters written to her mother by a man named Joseph Chesley. As Anna reads one of the letters, she is surprised to learn Maggie had an affair during her marriage. She quickly hides the box as her drunken father staggers up the stairs. Later at home, Anna shares one of the letters with Wendy, and mentions she was six-years-old when the affair occurred. At a KLAS concert, Oliver arrives and invites Anna for a drink. After confessing he is married with two young children, he flirts with Anna, telling her she is “extraordinary.” Later, Anna poses for photographs at Oliver’s studio. Wendy eyes Oliver suspiciously as he leaves Anna’s apartment and warns her friend about falling in love with a married man. Meanwhile, Anna continues to be fascinated by her mother’s love letters from Joseph, as she embarks on her own affair with Oliver. One day, Anna asks to see pictures of Oliver’s young children, two-year-old Emma and eight-year-old Paul, but he avoids showing her a photograph of his wife, Edith. During a visit with her despondent and alcoholic father, Anna remarks how much she misses her mother. When Chuck Winter confesses that he was never good enough for Maggie, Anna accuses her father of marrying her mother because she was pregnant. Chuck shakes his head, assuring his daughter that he loved Maggie. Anna has always been wary of her father and as she begins to leave, he loses his temper and accuses her of being just like her mother. Driving home, Anna is upset and stops at a payphone to call Oliver, but she hangs up as soon as his wife answers. Anna later finds a photograph of Edith in Oliver’s wallet to help “make her real.” When Anna is offered a better job at her “dream station,” KBFK, in San Francisco, California, she is reluctant to be away from Oliver and turns down the opportunity. During one of their trysts, Anna asks Oliver to temporarily take off his wedding ring, but he refuses. One evening, Oliver takes Anna out to dinner to meet his friend and fellow artist, Morgan Crawford, but Anna feels excluded during their pretentious conversation. On the drive home, Oliver recognizes a couple his wife Edith knows and instructs Anna to duck down so she will not be seen by them. When they arrive at the bungalow, Oliver directs Anna into the living room and surprises her with a piano. Despite the gift, Anna appears anxious about the future of their relationship. Later, she waits outside the Andrews’ home in her car and follows Edith and Emma to a park. She runs away when Edith looks up and sees her staring. One day, Oliver calls to cancel their rendezvous, but Anna convinces him to stop by for a few minutes. She wants to have sex as soon as he arrives and showers him with kisses. Oliver, however, confesses that he recently reconciled and made love to his wife, causing Anna to escape to the bathroom crying. Oliver tries to explain that he has been with Edith for fifteen years and has two children he loves, but Anna is not interested. She professes her love for Oliver, and they have frenzied sex. Later, Anna borrows sentences from Joseph Chesley’s letters to compose her own letter to Oliver, in which she declares she no longer wants to share him with someone else. Hoping he will choose to leave his wife, Anna writes, “sometimes it is right to do the wrong thing.” Tearfully, Anna tells Wendy that her mother and Joseph had an ideal love and made a mistake not staying together, and ruining her family’s life in the process. Anna drives to the Andrews' home at night and watches the family in the living room. Oliver sees her through the window and confronts her outside. As they fight, Edith witnesses the ruckus from the upstairs porch. After Anna falls and hits her head on the sidewalk, she wakes to find herself lying in Emma’s bedroom. Anna overhears Oliver and Edith arguing downstairs and tells them she is sorry. As she walks to her car, Oliver argues that he must choose to hurt the fewer number of people and assures Anna that she is young and will meet someone better. That night while trying to sleep, she recalls fights between her parents and imagines shooting her father. The next day, she burns Joseph Chesley’s love letters. On a visit to her mother’s grave, Anna sees fresh gardenias and notices a man walking away. As she approaches, Joseph recognizes her as Maggie’s daughter. He tells Anna the last time he saw Maggie was five years ago for a few hours. Anna gives Joseph the ring that her mother gave her in the hospital. In tears, Joseph is amazed that Maggie, whom he calls “the love of his life,” kept the ring for so long. Anna sadly observes she has never experienced that kind of love. +

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

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