Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)

R | 103 mins | Comedy | 31 January 1986

Director:

Paul Mazursky

Producer:

Paul Mazursky

Cinematographer:

Donald McAlpine

Editor:

Richard Halsey

Production Designer:

Pato Guzman
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HISTORY


       Articles in the 5 Oct 1984 LAT and 10 Oct 1984 Var reported that the film known by its working title Jerry Saved From Drowning had been a project at Universal Pictures but had been put into turnaround. Director Paul Mazursky was able to sign a deal with the new Walt Disney Company management team Chairman Michael Eisner and Chief Operating Officer Frank Wells. The project with Mazursky, known for his eclectic subject matter, signaled a departure by the studio from its traditional family fare.
       A 23 Feb 1986 article in the Denver Post reported that Mazursky was inspired by the 1932 French film Boudu Savé Des Eaux in which an angry bum was not in the least bit grateful after being rescued from an attempted suicide in the Seine River. Mazursky got the idea to change the setting to Beverly Hills, CA, and make the family neurotic and comprised of “checkbook liberals,” the type of people who think they are helping society with their money. Although no cast had yet been set, Jack Nicholson reportedly "expressed interest" in the lead role.
       A 19 Aug 1985 Newsweek article stated that actor Nick Nolte researched his role as a homeless man by spending several days at a mission in downtown Los Angeles, CA, and ceased bathing for a month. As reported in the 31 Jan 1986 LADN, Nolte returned to the Union Rescue Mission ten times during his research. He also spent time in Venice Beach, CA, and found that one-third of the homeless he met had lost their foothold in the middle class, while the ... More Less


       Articles in the 5 Oct 1984 LAT and 10 Oct 1984 Var reported that the film known by its working title Jerry Saved From Drowning had been a project at Universal Pictures but had been put into turnaround. Director Paul Mazursky was able to sign a deal with the new Walt Disney Company management team Chairman Michael Eisner and Chief Operating Officer Frank Wells. The project with Mazursky, known for his eclectic subject matter, signaled a departure by the studio from its traditional family fare.
       A 23 Feb 1986 article in the Denver Post reported that Mazursky was inspired by the 1932 French film Boudu Savé Des Eaux in which an angry bum was not in the least bit grateful after being rescued from an attempted suicide in the Seine River. Mazursky got the idea to change the setting to Beverly Hills, CA, and make the family neurotic and comprised of “checkbook liberals,” the type of people who think they are helping society with their money. Although no cast had yet been set, Jack Nicholson reportedly "expressed interest" in the lead role.
       A 19 Aug 1985 Newsweek article stated that actor Nick Nolte researched his role as a homeless man by spending several days at a mission in downtown Los Angeles, CA, and ceased bathing for a month. As reported in the 31 Jan 1986 LADN, Nolte returned to the Union Rescue Mission ten times during his research. He also spent time in Venice Beach, CA, and found that one-third of the homeless he met had lost their foothold in the middle class, while the other two-thirds needed to be hospitalized for mental health issues or at least receive out-patient services.
       According to a 7 Apr 1986 LAT article, Mazursky assigned the task of creating son "Max Whiteman’s" videos to associate producer Geoffrey Taylor and independent editor Michael Herzmark. At first, Mazursky thought about having an actual fifteen-year-old shoot the film, but Taylor, who remembered the angst-filled days of his youth, persuaded the director otherwise. The men scoured Herzmark’s music collection to find a soundtrack that would thematically tie together images of violence and sex. To keep the video short, Mazursky cut shots of the three nuclear waves and a Hydrogen-bomb explosion. Disney executives pulled a clip from the video, showing animated character Donald Duck having a temper tantrum.
       Production charts in the 19 Apr 1985 DV and 21 May 1985 HR stated principal photography would begin May 1985 in Los Angeles. A 9 Aug 1985 DV news item announced the completion of principal photography.
       According to a 7 Nov 1985 DV article, the picture was mostly shot at Disney’s Burbank studio backlot on a closed set. An 18 Aug 1985 LAT article reported that a 5,000 square-foot set was built on Disney’s Stage 4 for additional shooting.
       A 20 Dec 1985 NYT news item reported that Disney executives sneak previewed the picture on New Year’s Eve, 1985, in thirty-six cities across the country, including New York City’s Ziegfeld Theater. Tickets were distributed through radio stations.
       A 5 Feb 1987 LAHExam article stated that singer-actor Little Richard, also known as Richard Penniman, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court to claim ownership along with singer Billy Preston of the song, "It’s A Matter Of Time," that was heard on the film’s soundtrack. However, the “rival songwriting team” of John Schuller and Sylvia Smith believed they co-wrote the song with Preston in early 1985. Representatives of the team contended that the film version was derivative and contained identical musical and lyrical passages. An 18 Jun 1987 LAT article reported that songwriter-singer Preston, and songwriting team, Smith and Schuller, in turn, filed a lawsuit against Little Richard for recording his own version for the film, and seeking credit for co-writing their song. The copyright infringements lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court. Preston claimed that Little Richard sat in on a session in which Preston recorded the song. The songwriting team and Preston sought unspecified damages and a restraining order, including royalties of $1 “for every copy of the song produced.” The outcome of the lawsuit could not be determined as of the 21 Nov 2014 writing of this note.
      In onscreen end credits, Lillian O. MacNeill is incorrectly listed as “Lillian Mac Neill.”

              End credits state: “Footage from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson courtesy of Carson Tonight, Inc.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1985.
---
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1985.
---
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1985.
---
Denver Post
23 Feb 1986
Section K, p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1986
p. 3, 23.
LAHExam
5 Feb 1987.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
31 Jan 1986
p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
5 Oct 1984
p. 1, 17.
Los Angeles Times
18 Aug 1985
Calendar, pp. 26-27, 44-45.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jan 1986
Section G, p. 1, 14.
Los Angeles Times
7 Apr 1986
p. 1, 5.
Los Angeles Times
18 Jun 1987.
---
New York Times
20 Dec 1985.
---
New York Times
17 Jan 1986.
---
New York Times
31 Jan 1986
p. 8.
New York Times
13 Feb 1986.
---
Newsweek
19 Aug 1985.
---
Variety
10 Oct 1984.
---
Variety
15 Jan 1986
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Films
in Association with Silver Screen Partners II
A Paul Mazursky Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Dolly grip
Max's videos by
Max's videos by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Key set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Greensman
Supv painter
Scenic artist
Paintings
Paintings & sculptures
Sculptures
Sculptures
Kinetic sculpture
Portrait of the Whiteman's
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
SOUND
Prod sd
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opticals
Title des
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Asst to Mr. Mazursky
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Exec asst
Exec asst
Owner and trainer of Mike
Animal trainer
Unit pub
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Asst to Andy Summers
Casting asst
Extra casting
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Boudu sauvé des eaux by René Fauchois (1919).
SONGS
“It’s A Matter Of Time,” written and produced by Little Richard & Billy Preston, performed by Little Richard
“Tutti Frutti,” written and performed by Little Richard, courtesy of Specialty Records
“Helium Bar,” written and performed by The Weirdos, original footage produced by Hack Productions
+
SONGS
“It’s A Matter Of Time,” written and produced by Little Richard & Billy Preston, performed by Little Richard
“Tutti Frutti,” written and performed by Little Richard, courtesy of Specialty Records
“Helium Bar,” written and performed by The Weirdos, original footage produced by Hack Productions
“Once In A Lifetime,” written by David Byrne & Brian Eno, performed by The Talking Heads, courtesy of Sire Records and EMI Records, Limited, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“California Girls,” written by Brian Wilson, performed by David Lee Roth, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“I Love L. A.,” written and performed by Randy Newman, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Jerry Saved From Drowning
Release Date:
31 January 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 31 January 1986
Production Date:
May--early August 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Films a.a.d.o. Walt Disney Productions
Copyright Date:
17 January 1986
Copyright Number:
PA273009
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Deluxe
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28011
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Homeless man Jerry Baskin dumpster dives in Beverly Hills, California, with his dog, Kerouac. They bathe in city fountains and take naps in the park. In the bedroom of his palatial Beverly Hills home, Dave Whiteman watches an angst-filled video filmed by his teenage son, Max, but is not impressed. In the kitchen, his wife, Barbara Whiteman, practices her Spanish with the maid, Carmen. Dave loses patience with Max and tells his son to stop filming. When Kerouac prods Jerry, he refuses to wake up. The dog charms a passing female jogger and accepts baked goods, then follows her home. At Thanksgiving, Dave asks Ranbir, his wife’s yogi, if he can teach his nineteen-year-old daughter, Jenny, to eat. Dave’s father, Mel Whiteman, complains all the white meat is gone, and his wife, Sadie, tells him Matisse, the family dog, ate the food. Barbara thinks Matisse is neurotic, and suggests it is time to take him to a pet psychiatrist. Dave wishes his son would learn the family business, but Max wants to be a filmmaker. When Jerry awakens, he wanders the streets, looking for Kerouac. At home, Max wears a tutu and dances to classical music. Dave wants to make love to Barbara, but she rejects him. He worries that his daughter, Jenny, is anorexic and thinks Max’s tutu is a sign of gender confusion. When Dave sneaks into Carmen’s bedroom for some romance, Matisse activates the alarm system. Soon, Dave must explain to police that the alarm went off by accident. The next day, Jerry hears a dog bark in an alley, and wanders over to the pool in the Whitemans’ lush backyard. ... +


Homeless man Jerry Baskin dumpster dives in Beverly Hills, California, with his dog, Kerouac. They bathe in city fountains and take naps in the park. In the bedroom of his palatial Beverly Hills home, Dave Whiteman watches an angst-filled video filmed by his teenage son, Max, but is not impressed. In the kitchen, his wife, Barbara Whiteman, practices her Spanish with the maid, Carmen. Dave loses patience with Max and tells his son to stop filming. When Kerouac prods Jerry, he refuses to wake up. The dog charms a passing female jogger and accepts baked goods, then follows her home. At Thanksgiving, Dave asks Ranbir, his wife’s yogi, if he can teach his nineteen-year-old daughter, Jenny, to eat. Dave’s father, Mel Whiteman, complains all the white meat is gone, and his wife, Sadie, tells him Matisse, the family dog, ate the food. Barbara thinks Matisse is neurotic, and suggests it is time to take him to a pet psychiatrist. Dave wishes his son would learn the family business, but Max wants to be a filmmaker. When Jerry awakens, he wanders the streets, looking for Kerouac. At home, Max wears a tutu and dances to classical music. Dave wants to make love to Barbara, but she rejects him. He worries that his daughter, Jenny, is anorexic and thinks Max’s tutu is a sign of gender confusion. When Dave sneaks into Carmen’s bedroom for some romance, Matisse activates the alarm system. Soon, Dave must explain to police that the alarm went off by accident. The next day, Jerry hears a dog bark in an alley, and wanders over to the pool in the Whitemans’ lush backyard. He fills his pockets with rocks from the garden, jumps in the pool and sinks like a stone. At first, Dave thinks Jerry is the new pool man, then instructs his family to telephone emergency number “911,” and dives into the water still holding his mobile phone. Dave saves Jerry, but Barbara worries that he might catch a disease after administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to the homeless man. Nevertheless, Barbara calls Dave a hero, then leaves for her aerobics class. Jerry cuddles Matisse, then Dave has Jerry remove his dirty, wet clothes so Carmen can wash them, and gives him a Brooks Brothers robe to wear. Son Max films the drama. Dave offers Jerry Thanksgiving leftovers, and Jerry asks if Dave has any white meat, then rudely complains that the dressing has too much onion in it. Dave wants to know how Jerry became homeless. He says he went to prison for counterfeiting draft cards, and had trouble finding employment with a police record. He became an actor and had a relationship with actress Linda Evans before her fame on the television show Dynasty, but then they broke up. He was depressed for a year, and did drugs. He and a younger sister were orphaned as children but remained close. When she died of leukemia, his life spiraled out of control. Jerry grabs his clean clothes, and says he must leave, but has a dizzy spell and Dave insists the stay in the pool cabaña until he regains his strength. When Barbara returns, she wants Jerry to leave but Dave shows her that Jerry and Matisse have become friends. She is suspicious because Matisse likes no one. Later, when Dave sneaks downstairs to see Carmen, Jerry distracts him. They go to the kitchen, and Dave discovers Jerry once lived in Brooklyn, New York. The men reminisce about rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. Soon, Barbara asks to speak to Jerry alone. She apologizes for disliking him, which is fueled by her middle-class prejudices, and believes he is probably a wonderful person. Jerry just stares with a blank expression. The next day, Dave takes Jerry to a salon for a haircut and shave, then buys him a new wardrobe. The next stop is Dave’s clothing hanger factory. There, he offers Jerry a job and describes how his workers have great dental insurance, but Jerry is not interested and asks to go to lunch. Soon, the Whitemans hire a pet psychiatrist, Dr. Von Zimmer, to find out why Matisse is not eating. He says Matisse is angry, and tells Barbara the dog will return to normal once their houseguest leaves. Later, Barbara says she has tried feeding Matisse every kind of dog food. Jerry explains Matisse thinks he is human, and wants to eat what the family eats not dog food. Jerry mixes together Mighty Dog, Kal-Kan with liver, and Puppy Chow for crunchiness, sets it on the floor, and starts eating. Matisse joins him. At night, Barbara tells Dave how Jerry got Matisse to eat. He comments that Jerry possesses “a kind of wisdom.” The following day, Dave skips work and meets Jerry’s friends at the beach. Later, he telephones Barbara to say he is spending the night there. Watching a sunset, Jerry reveals he knows about Dave’s affair with Carmen. Although the romance adds spice to his life, Dave claims he loves Barbara. When the men return, Barbara waits on the driveway, and tells Dave she is upset by his behavior. The following day, Jerry practices Tai Chi near the pool, and Barbara has one of her frequent headaches. Jerry says he learned relaxation techniques at an ashram, and can rid Barbara of her headache. He massages her back and legs, loosening her tension, and they make love. Barbara admits she is exhilarated, but tells Jerry it would be wrong to have sex again. When Dave returns home, she is affectionate for the first time in years, and they make love. Later, when Dave goes to see Carmen, he finds her making love with Jerry. He warns Jerry not to sleep with Carmen again, then returns to Barbara. The next day by the pool, Jerry announces it is time for him to leave. Dave wants to see Jerry make more of his talents, and offers a manager position at one of his trailer park properties, but Jerry refuses. Dave insists he stay until the New Year, but when Jerry relieves himself on the backyard plants, he changes his mind. Jenny Whiteman returns home for the holidays, and Jerry picks on her for not eating. Meanwhile, Dave is angry that he lent Jerry his car and the stereo system was stolen. Barbara interrupts and says all will be settled after the party. Later, Carmen no longer wants to be Dave’s plaything. Jerry loaned her books on workers’ rights and she has become politicized. Jenny hears Jerry playing Debussy on the living room piano in the living room at night. She compliments his playing, then launches into a speech accusing him of being a psychopath taking advantage of her kind parents, and insists he will have to leave. He grabs her and gives her a passionate kiss. At the Whitemans’ party, Dave notices Jenny is eating again. She says her appetite has returned because she is in love with Jerry, and Dave chases Jerry into the backyard. They end up in the pool as Matisse sets off the security alarm, summoning police. The next morning, the Whiteman family and Jerry awaken after passing out around the pool. Jerry complains that Dave tried to kill him, and he should have let him drown in the beginning. Dave claims that Jerry took advantage of his kindness, but Jerry responds that he told everyone what they wanted to hear. He removes his fancy clothes and dresses in his own ragged clothes. He announces he is leaving although Carmen offers to make a cup of cappuccino. Barbara gives Jerry permission to take Matisse. In the alley, Jerry tells Matisse about all the adventures they will have, and fishes a discarded tin of liver paté out of a garbage bin to share. When the Whiteman family and Carmen venture into the alley and see Jerry on the ground about to eat the paté, their staring causes Jerry to change his mind and return with Matisse to the Whiteman house for cappuccino. +

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

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