Unfaithfully Yours (1984)

PG | 96 mins | Romantic comedy | 10 February 1984

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HISTORY

End credits acknowledge: “Scenes from ‘L’Avventura’ courtesy of Cineriz Distributori Associati S.p.A.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film was “inspired by” the 1948 Preston Sturges comedy, Unfaithfully Yours (see entry). In a 14 Feb 1984 LAHExam article, director Howard Zieff stated that he never set out to remake the original, but the Sturges film offered Zieff a means to pursue his interest in directing an Italian-style comedy about marriage. While the 1948 film involved a jealous husband who imagines three methods of retaliation against his wife, Zieff’s version concerned a single revenge scheme in a reinterpretation of the story from a “from a madcap satire to a more romantic comedy.” After the director spent nearly ten years in development with the idea, the project was finally greenlit at Twentieth Century-Fox when actor Peter Sellers agreed to star as “Claude Eastman.” Zieff and Sellers intended to present Eastman as a larger-than-life European conductor, based on Carlo Maria Giulini or Herbert von Karajan. After Sellers passed away in 1980, Zieff approached Giancarlo Giannini and Marcello Mastroianni for the role, as mentioned in a 6 Oct 1980 DV column. A 30 Sep 1981 HR item revealed that Albert Finney was also considered as a replacement. Dudley Moore was ultimately cast following a recommendation by Steve Gordon, who directed Moore in Arthur (1981, see entry) and encouraged Zieff to delay the production until the actor was available.
       Unfaithfully Yours marked a reunion for Zieff and actors Albert Brooks and Armand Assante, who collaborated on Private Benjamin (1980, see entry). ... More Less

End credits acknowledge: “Scenes from ‘L’Avventura’ courtesy of Cineriz Distributori Associati S.p.A.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film was “inspired by” the 1948 Preston Sturges comedy, Unfaithfully Yours (see entry). In a 14 Feb 1984 LAHExam article, director Howard Zieff stated that he never set out to remake the original, but the Sturges film offered Zieff a means to pursue his interest in directing an Italian-style comedy about marriage. While the 1948 film involved a jealous husband who imagines three methods of retaliation against his wife, Zieff’s version concerned a single revenge scheme in a reinterpretation of the story from a “from a madcap satire to a more romantic comedy.” After the director spent nearly ten years in development with the idea, the project was finally greenlit at Twentieth Century-Fox when actor Peter Sellers agreed to star as “Claude Eastman.” Zieff and Sellers intended to present Eastman as a larger-than-life European conductor, based on Carlo Maria Giulini or Herbert von Karajan. After Sellers passed away in 1980, Zieff approached Giancarlo Giannini and Marcello Mastroianni for the role, as mentioned in a 6 Oct 1980 DV column. A 30 Sep 1981 HR item revealed that Albert Finney was also considered as a replacement. Dudley Moore was ultimately cast following a recommendation by Steve Gordon, who directed Moore in Arthur (1981, see entry) and encouraged Zieff to delay the production until the actor was available.
       Unfaithfully Yours marked a reunion for Zieff and actors Albert Brooks and Armand Assante, who collaborated on Private Benjamin (1980, see entry). Assante prepared for his role as a virtuoso violinist by training with violin coach Patinka Kopec for three months in New York City. Music coach Richard S. Kaufman instructed the actor for additional two months in Los Angeles, CA, and provided assistance on set.
       According to an 11 Feb 1983 DV item, principal photography began 13 Jan 1983. Although the story is set in New York City, filming took place almost entirely on Fox soundstages in Los Angeles. A 16 Mar 1983 NYT article described how the production re-created the interior of New York’s Russian Tea Room on Stage 16. Production designer Albert Brenner noted that permission and cooperation were still required from the restaurant to duplicate the general look of the place. Other New York sets constructed at Fox included Carnegie Hall and the Plaza Hotel. By replicating these interiors, Zieff calculated the production saved approximately one million dollars. The 11 Mar 1983 edition of Back Stage reported that the production was scheduled to begin shooting five days of location exteriors in New York City on 28 Mar 1983.
       As explained in LAT articles from 11 Feb 1983 and 3 Apr 1983, the production was beset by a revolving door of producers. Daniel Melnick originated the project at Fox, which represented his first production for the studio, according to an 18 Apr 1980 DV column. He left following a dispute with Fox over another film at Paramount Pictures, but retained onscreen credit as executive producer. Joe Wizan took over day-to-day producing duties, but departed when Fox appointed him as president of production to replace Sherry Lansing. The next producer, Frank Yablans, left Unfaithfully Yours soon after he was hired for an executive position at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists (MGM/UA). Marvin Worth became the next replacement and remained with the production until completion. He is credited onscreen as producer, along with Wizan.
       As reported in a 2 Feb 1984 LAT article, Dudley Moore had a “‘miserable experience’” making the picture, due to Fox executives challenging his interpretation of the character. Nevertheless, Moore believed Zieff’s version of the story was more enjoyable than the 1948 original, which the actor described as “sluggish.”
       A 17 Jan 1983 DV column stated the production budget was $12 million. The 5 Dec 1980 HR noted that Zieff received a salary of one million dollars, while Dudley Moore was reportedly paid $2.5 million and a profit percentage, according to a 19 Feb 1982 HR item.
       In an 11 Mar 1984 LAT editorial, a reader protested that the film’s print advertisement, showing the character Claude Eastman holding a dagger while looking at his “unfaithful” wife, was a “tasteless” depiction of violence against women. A Fox spokesperson responded that the studio planned to remove the dagger from the image, after receiving additional complaints about the promotion.
       Although the picture garnered mostly poor to lukewarm reviews, the Apr 1984 Box reported a box-office gross of $3.7 million in the first three days of release on 820 screens, which was the strongest opening for a Dudley Moore film since 10 (1979, see entry). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
11 Mar 1983
p. 79.
Box Office
Apr 1984
Section R, p. 43.
Daily Variety
18 Apr 1980.
---
Daily Variety
6 Oct 1980.
---
Daily Variety
17 Jan 1983.
---
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1983.
---
Daily Variety
9 Mar 1983
p. 22, 30.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 1984
p. 7, 136.
LAHExam
14 Feb 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Feb 1983
Section J, p. 1, 14.
Los Angeles Times
3 Apr 1983
Section Q, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
2 Feb 1984
Section J, pp. 2-3.
Los Angeles Times
10 Feb 1984
Section G, p. 1, 16.
Los Angeles Times
11 Mar 1984
Section AH, p. 99.
New York Times
16 Mar 1983
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
10 Feb 1984
p. 7.
Variety
8 Feb 1984
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Joe Wizan-Marvin Worth Production
A Howard Zieff Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Key grip
Gaffer
Stillman
2d asst cam
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Best boy
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Graphic des
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const coord
Const coord
Prop asst
Prop asst
Prop asst
Set des
Swing gang
Swing gang
Const foreman
Labor foreman
Paint foreman
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Tchaikovsky violin concerto - solo violin
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted b
Mus supv by
Mus coach
Violin coach
Mus ed
Scoring ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Boom op
Cable man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Process rear projection coord
Opticals by
Titles by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Unit pub
Transportation capt
Auditor
Transportation and airport facilities provided by
Admin asst to Mr. Wizan
Exec secy to Mr. Zieff
Asst to Mr. Bernstein
Craft service
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Const cost control coord
Security stage 16
Security stage 15
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the screenplay Unfaithfully Yours by Preston Sturges (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 1948).
SONGS
Song "Unfaithfully Yours," composed and performed by Stephen Bishop, produced by Greg Mathison.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 February 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 10 February 1984
Production Date:
began 13 January 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
6 March 1984
Copyright Number:
PA203848
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
96
Length(in feet):
26841
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Acclaimed symphony conductor, Claude Eastman, recounts how he finally found love after spending most of his life devoted to music. During a concert tour in Italy, he met a young actress named Daniella, and soon afterward, they were married. Tonight on Halloween, however, he plans to kill his new bride. Claude says the problem began four days ago when he returned home to New York City from a concert in England. At the airport, his wife welcomes him back by showering him with kisses. When she steps away to make a phone call, his friend and business manager, Norman Robbins, is concerned that marrying a beautiful woman half his age has transformed Claude into a jealous man. The conductor appears confused. Norman reminds Claude that, per his instructions, a private detective was hired to watch Daniella while he was away in England, but the conductor denies making the request. Claude immediately realizes that a misunderstanding occurred when he asked his Italian valet-cook, Giuseppe, to tell Norman to simply “keep an eye” on her in case she was lonely. The next day, Claude rehearses for an upcoming concert with his young protégé, Maxmillian “Max” Stein, a solo violinist, who enjoys a reputation for flirting with women. Later that day, Norman gives Claude the private detective’s report. Declaring that he has no reason to be suspicious of his wife, the conductor refuses to open the envelope, tears it into pieces and throws it in the trash. However, as soon as Norman leaves, Claude retrieves the torn document. At home, as he is about to look ... +


Acclaimed symphony conductor, Claude Eastman, recounts how he finally found love after spending most of his life devoted to music. During a concert tour in Italy, he met a young actress named Daniella, and soon afterward, they were married. Tonight on Halloween, however, he plans to kill his new bride. Claude says the problem began four days ago when he returned home to New York City from a concert in England. At the airport, his wife welcomes him back by showering him with kisses. When she steps away to make a phone call, his friend and business manager, Norman Robbins, is concerned that marrying a beautiful woman half his age has transformed Claude into a jealous man. The conductor appears confused. Norman reminds Claude that, per his instructions, a private detective was hired to watch Daniella while he was away in England, but the conductor denies making the request. Claude immediately realizes that a misunderstanding occurred when he asked his Italian valet-cook, Giuseppe, to tell Norman to simply “keep an eye” on her in case she was lonely. The next day, Claude rehearses for an upcoming concert with his young protégé, Maxmillian “Max” Stein, a solo violinist, who enjoys a reputation for flirting with women. Later that day, Norman gives Claude the private detective’s report. Declaring that he has no reason to be suspicious of his wife, the conductor refuses to open the envelope, tears it into pieces and throws it in the trash. However, as soon as Norman leaves, Claude retrieves the torn document. At home, as he is about to look at the report, his wife arrives. Claude quickly tosses the pieces into a nearby wastebasket and pretends to be composing at the piano. Daniella is delighted when he gives her a gold Halloween pumpkin pin, which resembles one she saw on the jacket of her friend Carla Robbins, Norman’s wife. Meanwhile, Giuseppe empties the wastebasket and Claude must sort through the kitchen compactor for the report. Unable to read the private detective’s name on the smudged paper, he calls Norman for the contact information. Claude meets with detective Jess Keller and asks for any other copies. Realizing the conductor did not read the original, the detective reveals that a man left the Eastman apartment at 1:00 a.m. and adds that the building surveillance camera also caught the evidence, which Keller has on videotape. In an ongoing effort to appear trusting of his wife, Claude pretends to be uninterested, but winds up watching the tape. Although static obscures the man’s identity, Claude can see that the person wears argyle socks. After checking the socks of Giuseppe and Norman, he happens to notice that Max Stein wears argyle socks. Claude runs to Max’s suite at the Plaza Hotel and interrupts the violinist during an afternoon tryst with a woman. Claude attempts to discover the identity of the woman, but Max keeps him from entering the bedroom. On the carpet, Claude sees a gold pumpkin pin. He hears a door slam and thinks Daniella is trying to escape through another exit. After the conductor leaves, Max emerges from the bedroom with Carla Robbins. When Claude does not see his wife in the hotel, he rushes home and prepares to confront her. While waiting for her, he falls asleep in a chair near the front door and does not notice that she has been at home this whole time, taking a nap on the couch. After waking, Claude cannot confront Daniella because the couple must hurry to meet Max, Norman, and Carla for dinner at a Hungarian nightclub. Speaking privately, Carla reveals to Daniella that Claude almost caught her and Max at the hotel that afternoon. Daniella regrets loaning Carla and Max the apartment while Claude was in England. Meanwhile, Max takes Claude aside to explain his affair with Carla, but he does not refer to her name, and Claude mistakenly believes he is admitting to a fling with Daniella. On the nightclub stage, Claude and Max play a Hungarian violin duet and turn the performance into a duel. The next morning the misunderstanding continues as Daniella apologizes for “letting Max in” the apartment, but she neglects to mention Carla, and Claude becomes further enraged. When Daniella storms out, he follows her to a movie theater. During the film, he is arrested after confronting a snuggling couple, who look similar to Daniella and Max. After Claude is released, he seeks his valet Giuseppe’s advice about a “close friend” whose young wife is unfaithful. Screaming in Italian, Giuseppe zealously chops an eggplant with his knife and gives Claude the impression that violent revenge is necessary. On Halloween night, Jess Keller reviews client tapes when he discovers that Carla appears on the surveillance camera soon after Max leaves the Eastman residence. The detective rushes to Carnegie Hall to tell the conductor, but Claude is on stage performing with Max. While conducting, Claude laughs as he imagines in detail how he will frame Max for Daniella’s murder. After the concert, Claude embarks on the first stage of his complicated revenge by convincing Max to meet him and Daniella at the Russian Tea Room. However, when the threesome return to the apartment building, Claude’s strategy does not go as smoothly as he imagined, and he is obliged to swallow a drink mixed with tranquilizers intended for Max. Jess Keller fails to catch Claude at Carnegie Hall and rushes to the Eastmans’ apartment. There, he encounters Daniella and tells her about Claude’s suspicions. She slaps her husband for not trusting her and leaves. After speaking with Keller and realizing that his wife is innocent, Claude follows her outside to apologize. Under the influence of the tranquilizers, he struggles to explain that he was faced with circumstantial evidence of her infidelity. After he admits to being a jealous man and suggests she would be better off without him, Daniella reconciles with her husband and carries him back to the apartment. +

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

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