The Boy Who Could Fly (1986)

PG | 110 mins | Drama | 26 September 1986

Director:

Nicholas Castle

Writer:

Nicholas Castle

Producer:

Gary Adelson

Cinematographers:

Steven Poster, Adam Holender

Editor:

Patrick Kennedy

Production Designer:

Jim Bissell

Production Company:

Lorimar Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

End credits state: “And special thanks to Louise Fletcher,” “Scenes from To Catch A Thief courtesy of Paramount Pictures Corporation,” and “From On The Edge (of the Reading 360 Series ) by Theodore Clymer and others, ©Copyright, 1973, 1970, by Ginn and Company, Used with permission." The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The B. C. District Council of the Directors Guild of Canada, The British Columbia Film Promotion Office, City of New Westminister, City of Vancouver, The Great Canadian Casino Supply Company Ltd., M. F. Wagner Shows, Ltd., Standard Building – Pinecorp Corporation.”
       According to news items in the 4 May 1985 Screen International and the Aug 1985 Box, principal photography would begin 15 May 1985 in Vancouver, B.C. A 13 Mar 1985 Var brief announced that the film would have a thirteen-week schedule and a $10 million budget.
       An Oct 1986 AmCin article reported that flying effects supervisor Bob Harman used his bag of tricks from Superman (1978, see entry) and other films to complete the film’s flying sequences. In a dream sequence, visual effects art director George Jensen used a combination of miniature effects, a cloud tank, fireworks footage, composite photography and matte painting, and “reactive” lighting. Visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund commented that the movie contained more than twenty different matte paintings.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the picture was shot in and around Vancouver and the Dominion Bridge sound stages, the site of an abandoned ironworks plant. Exteriors were filmed on New Westminister, B.C., streets and in the gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver.
       ... More Less

End credits state: “And special thanks to Louise Fletcher,” “Scenes from To Catch A Thief courtesy of Paramount Pictures Corporation,” and “From On The Edge (of the Reading 360 Series ) by Theodore Clymer and others, ©Copyright, 1973, 1970, by Ginn and Company, Used with permission." The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The B. C. District Council of the Directors Guild of Canada, The British Columbia Film Promotion Office, City of New Westminister, City of Vancouver, The Great Canadian Casino Supply Company Ltd., M. F. Wagner Shows, Ltd., Standard Building – Pinecorp Corporation.”
       According to news items in the 4 May 1985 Screen International and the Aug 1985 Box, principal photography would begin 15 May 1985 in Vancouver, B.C. A 13 Mar 1985 Var brief announced that the film would have a thirteen-week schedule and a $10 million budget.
       An Oct 1986 AmCin article reported that flying effects supervisor Bob Harman used his bag of tricks from Superman (1978, see entry) and other films to complete the film’s flying sequences. In a dream sequence, visual effects art director George Jensen used a combination of miniature effects, a cloud tank, fireworks footage, composite photography and matte painting, and “reactive” lighting. Visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund commented that the movie contained more than twenty different matte paintings.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the picture was shot in and around Vancouver and the Dominion Bridge sound stages, the site of an abandoned ironworks plant. Exteriors were filmed on New Westminister, B.C., streets and in the gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver.
       The film marked actor Fred Savage’s theatrical feature film debut.
       A 24 Jun 1986 LAT news item announced that the picture was the recipient of an award of merit from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror and the Academy of Family Film.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Oct 1986
pp. 56-60.
Box Office
Aug 1985
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 1986
p. 3, 45.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jun 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1986
p. 4.
New York Times
21 Nov 1986
p. 18.
Screen International
4 May 1985.
---
Variety
13 Mar 1985.
---
Variety
13 Aug 1986
p. 11, 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Gary Adelson Production
A Nick Castle Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
2d unit dir, Carnival flying seq
2d unit 1st asst dir, Carnival flying seq
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Cam op
Key focus
2d asst cam
Cam dept trainee
Chief lighting tech
Chief lighting tech
Best boy
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Generator op
Generator op
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly op
Grip
Rigging grip
Steadicam op
Still photog
Best boy
Video eng
Video eng
Video eng
Video playback
Video playback
Spec projection
2d unit gaffer, Carnival flying seq
Skycam prod supv, Carnival flying seq
Skycam pilot/Operator, Carnival flying seq
Skycam op, Carnival flying seq
Skycam rigger, Carnival flying seq
Skycam tech, Carnival flying seq
Dir of photog, Boss Film Corporation
Grip
Gaffer
Still photog
Projectionist
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst set dec
Set des
Const coord
Const foreman
Lead hand
Prop asst
Prop asst
Head painter
Stand-by painter
Head greensman
Set dresser
Prop maker
Model shop supv, Boss Film Corporation
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
A. D. R. ed
A. D. R. ed
Asst sd eff ed
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Flying eff supv
Flying eff rigger
Spec eff coord
Head spec eff
Visual eff art dir, Boss Film Corporation
Eff ed consultant, Boss Film Corporation
Spec eff foreman, Boss Film Corporation
Opt supv, Boss Film Corporation
Spec projects supv, Boss Film Corporation
Chief eng, Boss Film Corporation
Chief matte artist, Boss Film Corporation
Opt cam op
Opt cam op
Opt line-up
Opt line-up
Opt line-up
Opt line-up
Lab tech
Lab tech
Matte artist
Matte cam asst
Visual eff cam op
1st asst cam op
Head spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Des eng
Electronics
Electronics
Electronics
Software programmer
Precision cinetechnician
Precision cinetechnician
Title des
Title and opt eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod assoc
Prod coord
Scr supv
Casting - Vancouver
Casting - New York
Casting - Chicago
Prod accountant
Unit pub
Craft service/First aid
Asst to the prod
Prod asst
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod coord
Prod office asst
Prod office asst
Prod coord-Los Angeles
Secy to Gary Adelson
Addl casting
Extras casting
Transportation coord
Driver capt
Driver co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
"Jake" trained by
Doberman trained by
2d unit scr supv, Carnival flying seq
Prod supv, Boss Film Corporation
Prod adv, Boss Film Corporation
Prod coord
Asst to Richard Edlund
Prod consultant
Prod admin
Asst to Ronald Moore
Purchasing agent
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Skycam™ camera systems by
Grip and electrical equip
Cam and lenses
STAND INS
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord/Stunt double "Milly"
Stunt double "Eric"
ANIMATION
Anim supv, Boss Film Corporation
Tech anim supv
Tech anim
Anim
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"Walkin' On Air," written and performed by Stephen Bishop
"Back Of The Bus," music by Bruce Broughton, lyrics and vocals by Nick Castle.
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 September 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 26 September 1986
New York opening: 21 November 1986
Production Date:
began 15 May 1985 in Vancouver, Canada
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Deluxe®
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28073
SYNOPSIS

Amelia “Milly” Michaelson, her brother, Louis, and their mother, Charlene, inspect their new home, and soon Louis unpacks his action figures. Milly opens her window and says hello to her next-door neighbor, Eric, but he silently balances on the roof of his house. Louis explores the neighborhood riding his Big Wheel plastic tricycle with his dog, Max, when he meets a Doberman pincher, and a gang of boys. Sonny, the gang leader, warns Louis that he does not have permission to ride on the street. Louis beats a hasty retreat. Then Sonny counts to ten, and the gang chases after him. Geneva, Sonny’s sister, has already introduced herself to Milly and Charlene, but prods her brother to say hello. At night, Milly finds Charlene in the living room sadly gazing at a happy family photograph. Charlene tells Milly she will need her help to get past the sadness of her husband’s death. In the morning, Charlene is late dropping Louis at his third-grade class. Milly starts high school, and Charlene reports for work at an insurance company. However, Charlene struggles with her computer after being a housewife for thirteen years. Later, Milly sees Eric sitting on the roof, pretending that his arms are airplane wings. At dinner, Louis complains about getting homework. Charlene tells her children that her homework is to learn how to use the computer at the office. Milly says that her classmate, Eric Gibb, is that boy next door. He is autistic, does not speak, and his guardian is his uncle. Some school officials want to transfer Eric to a special hospital, but the teacher, Mrs. Sherman, thinks he is better off surrounded by ... +


Amelia “Milly” Michaelson, her brother, Louis, and their mother, Charlene, inspect their new home, and soon Louis unpacks his action figures. Milly opens her window and says hello to her next-door neighbor, Eric, but he silently balances on the roof of his house. Louis explores the neighborhood riding his Big Wheel plastic tricycle with his dog, Max, when he meets a Doberman pincher, and a gang of boys. Sonny, the gang leader, warns Louis that he does not have permission to ride on the street. Louis beats a hasty retreat. Then Sonny counts to ten, and the gang chases after him. Geneva, Sonny’s sister, has already introduced herself to Milly and Charlene, but prods her brother to say hello. At night, Milly finds Charlene in the living room sadly gazing at a happy family photograph. Charlene tells Milly she will need her help to get past the sadness of her husband’s death. In the morning, Charlene is late dropping Louis at his third-grade class. Milly starts high school, and Charlene reports for work at an insurance company. However, Charlene struggles with her computer after being a housewife for thirteen years. Later, Milly sees Eric sitting on the roof, pretending that his arms are airplane wings. At dinner, Louis complains about getting homework. Charlene tells her children that her homework is to learn how to use the computer at the office. Milly says that her classmate, Eric Gibb, is that boy next door. He is autistic, does not speak, and his guardian is his uncle. Some school officials want to transfer Eric to a special hospital, but the teacher, Mrs. Sherman, thinks he is better off surrounded by other students. She also heard that Eric has pretended to be an airplane ever since he was five-years-old and his parents died in a plane crash. In gym class, Milly volunteers to play catch with Eric and encourages him to fly. Later, Louis shows Milly a letter from the school describing various discipline issues. He asks his sister to forge his mother’s signature. Soon, Milly realizes that Eric has entered her bedroom through an open window. She leaves and when she returns, Eric is back on the roof of his house. Later, Sonny’s sister, Geneva, confirms that Eric is known for his strange behavior. According to her, the boy who used to live in Milly’s house claimed that Eric somehow hid his BB gun high up on a telephone pole beyond his reach. As Geneva and Milly talk in the backyard, they notice Eric is perched on the edge of the roof as if ready for takeoff. Milly climbs a ladder and pulls Eric back into the window of his attic room. When he shows her a photograph of his family, he takes her hand. Milly bears a striking resemblance to his mother. She tells Eric not to climb out on the roof. As she leaves, Milly meets Eric’s alcoholic uncle Hugo. Unconcerned that Eric was on the roof, Hugo does not think Eric would hurt himself anymore than if he were a bubble or a feather. Later, while Charlene is out for the evening, Milly and Geneva get drunk and watch movies on television. Milly thinks Eric pretends to be uncommunicative, and is handsome. She fantasizes that a well-timed kiss will transform him into a prince. At school, Eric imitates Milly’s gestures as she stands by her locker. Mrs. Sherman observes the exchange, and asks to speak with Milly. The teacher explains she fought against Eric being institutionalized, but when his uncle lost control, Eric spent a month away, and fell seriously ill. Mrs. Sherman proposes that Milly has had such a positive effect that she might earn extra credit if she befriended Eric. Milly takes the challenge and keeps a journal. Eric continues to imitate Milly, but he is incapable of doing things on his own. She becomes discouraged when Eric makes no progress, but on the twenty-first day of her journal account, Eric smiles when Milly tries to make a paper airplane. On the thirty-third day, Eric catches a ball at the park before it hits Milly in the head; then they fly a kite. Soon, Milly notices little improvements every day. However, Eric disappoints her by refusing to catch a ball in gym class while other students watch. When she asks a student to throw the ball at her, she thinks Eric will catch it. Instead, she receives a black eye. At dinner, Charlene is in a foul mood after being demoted at work. She orders Louis to his room after learning that he has not turned in homework, talks back to his teacher and does not pay attention in class. She is angry that Milly has not kept her informed. They fight because Milly thinks she does a better job of caring for Louis than Charlene. Later, the family comes downstairs and finds Eric watching their home movies of a family barbecue with the late Donald Michaelson. Charlene and Milly hug and enjoy the memories. Eric watches and sheds a tear. One day on a class trip to a botanical garden, Milly wanders off and climbs on the narrow ledge of a bridge above a waterfall to pick a rose. She loses her balance, and dreams that the doctors say she has a slight concussion. When she wakes in a hospital room, Eric is sitting by an open window. Milly wants to know how he gained access to her room, but he remains silent. She then remarks that he caught her when she fell so he really can fly. He smiles, nods his head to say yes, and hands her the rose she wanted. Eric takes Milly’s hand, they step off the window ledge and fly over the city. They kiss, then Eric delivers Milly back to her room, and floats away. Milly wakes up and tries to explain to her mother that Eric can really fly. Soon, Dr. Granada, a psychiatrist, asks Milly questions about her accident. Milly maintains that Eric kept her from falling, but Dr. Granada suggests that a tree or bush broke her fall. The doctor switches the subject to Milly’s father, who committed suicide. Milly prefers to believe that her father died of terminal cancer and left the family because he did not want them to see him suffer. Dr. Granada responds that under the circumstances, it would not hurt to believe in a bit of magic. Milly returns home and spies a white rose in a vase near her bedroom window. She calls for Eric, but learns from his uncle that authorities took custody of the boy, during Hugo’s recent drinking binge. Milly, Louis, and Charlene visit Eric at the hospital, but are told that visiting privileges are only for relatives. Eric sees them leave, has a fit and has to be restrained. Days later during a thunderstorm, Milly sees a bolt of lightning and thinks she sees Eric on the roof. She climbs into his room with a ladder, looking for him. She finds him shivering on his bed, and covers him with a blanket. Eric pulls out an odd shaped box, produces a gold ring, and places it on Milly’s finger. The next morning, hospital staff arrives, looking for Eric. Milly and Eric escape but Sonny reveals where they can be found. The friends hope Mrs. Sherman will help them, but hospital workers are questioning her, so they escape to the high school roof. Once they are cornered, Eric takes Milly’s hand and they fly over the crowd at the high school carnival. The town follows Milly and Eric as they fly back to Milly’s house. Eric tells Milly he loves her, says goodbye, and flies away. Scientists and reporters descend trying to rationally explain Eric’s actions. Everyone is influenced by Eric’s magic. Charlene finally learns the computer and is promoted. Louis figures out how to defeat Sonny and his gang so that he can ride around the block without being bullied. Uncle Hugo sobers up and gets a job. Milly never forgets Eric and the lessons he taught her. +

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

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