F/X (1986)

R | 108 mins | Mystery | 7 February 1986

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HISTORY

       According to a 2 Feb 1986 LAT news article, the film incorporates several “in” jokes heard in character Rollie Tyler’s spoken resume, one such involved uncredited writer, Thomas Pope, who worked on F/X script revisions, and actually wrote a teleplay for the television series The Wide World of Mystery titled Rock-a-Die Baby (ABC, 21 Mar 1975).
       A 20 Aug 1984 HR brief first announced principal photography would begin Oct 1984 with actors Robin Williams and Kurt Russell hired for leading roles and Roger Spottiswoode as director. A 30 Jan 1985 HR news item reported that Williams had dropped out of the project, but producer Dodi Fayed was still weighing Russell or Harrison Ford to star. According to a 20 Mar 1985 HR brief, rumors circulated that actor George C. Scott was being considered for a principal role. Production charts in the 29 Mar 1985 DV and 16 Apr 1985 HR stated principal photography would begin 15 Apr 1985 In New York City. A 30 Jul 1985 HR news item reported that the picture had a twelve-week shooting schedule, and principal photography was completed on 6 Jul 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland.
       According to a 31 May 1985 NYT article, various New York City locations included a phone booth in Greenwich Village, a shootout at an Italian restaurant, and the West Side Highway near 14th Street involving a chase sequence with Brown’s special effects-equipped truck. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the production built an auto impound yard on ...

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       According to a 2 Feb 1986 LAT news article, the film incorporates several “in” jokes heard in character Rollie Tyler’s spoken resume, one such involved uncredited writer, Thomas Pope, who worked on F/X script revisions, and actually wrote a teleplay for the television series The Wide World of Mystery titled Rock-a-Die Baby (ABC, 21 Mar 1975).
       A 20 Aug 1984 HR brief first announced principal photography would begin Oct 1984 with actors Robin Williams and Kurt Russell hired for leading roles and Roger Spottiswoode as director. A 30 Jan 1985 HR news item reported that Williams had dropped out of the project, but producer Dodi Fayed was still weighing Russell or Harrison Ford to star. According to a 20 Mar 1985 HR brief, rumors circulated that actor George C. Scott was being considered for a principal role. Production charts in the 29 Mar 1985 DV and 16 Apr 1985 HR stated principal photography would begin 15 Apr 1985 In New York City. A 30 Jul 1985 HR news item reported that the picture had a twelve-week shooting schedule, and principal photography was completed on 6 Jul 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland.
       According to a 31 May 1985 NYT article, various New York City locations included a phone booth in Greenwich Village, a shootout at an Italian restaurant, and the West Side Highway near 14th Street involving a chase sequence with Brown’s special effects-equipped truck. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the production built an auto impound yard on a pier located at West 14th Street. Other locations included Soho, Central Park, Chelsea and the city’s “wholesale meat district.” The production moved to a mansion in Rye, New York, known as the Wainwright House, to film a suspect’s “safe house.”
       The film marked the theatrical screenwriting debuts of Gregory Fleeman and Robert T. Megginson.

      Onscreen end credits list “Jewelry by…” incorrectly as “Jewellery by…” The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The film makers wish to extend a special thanks to: Patricia Reed Scott, Joyce Saffir, Beverly Sammartino and the New York City Mayor’s Office for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, Lt. Risoli and all the officers of the Special Operations Division of the New York Police Department, New York State Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, HRH Construction Corp., Bank of America.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Mar 1985
---
Fangoria
Mar 1986
p. 35-37
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 1984
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 1985
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 1985
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 1985
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1985
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 1986
p. 3, 7
Los Angeles Times
2 Feb 1986
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Feb 1986
p. 1, 5
New York Times
31 May 1985
---
New York Times
7 Feb 1986
p. 4
Variety
29 Jan 1986
p. 15, 19
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion Pictures Release
a Dodi Fayed Jack Wiener production
a Robert Mandel film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Chase 2d unit dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Elec best boy
Electric
2d unit dir of photog
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
Art dir/Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Assoc ed U. S.
2d asst ed U. S.
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dec
Lead set dresser
Master scenic artist
Standby scenic
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Shop craftsman
Head const grip
Asst prop man
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Selected men's and women's fashions from
Selected fashions from
Jewellery by
MUSIC
Mus rec eng
Leader
Mus rec at, U. K. post prod
SOUND
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Daily sd synchroniser U. S.
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Asst re-rec mixer
Prod sd transfers by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff consultant
Main titles & opticals, U. K. post prod
Chief spec eff man
Spec eff man
MAKEUP
Spec makeup supv
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Spec makeup eff
Spec makeup eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Services by, U. K. post prod
Post prod supv
Prod office coord
Post prod coord
Asst prod office coord
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. Mandel
Transportation capt
Loc staff
Loc staff
Loc staff
Loc staff
Addl casting
Casting asst
Addl casting asst
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Asst auditor
Unit pub
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Loc package provided by
Rosebud, Nellie, and other lifelike figures create
Bob Martin
Rosebud, Nellie, and other lifelike figures create
Rosebud, Nellie, and other lifelike figures create
Cars provided by
Daily News masthead used with the permission of th
Travel arrangements by
Aquarium displays and fish supplied by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
SOURCES
SONGS
End title song "Just An Illusion," performed by "Imagination," courtesy of Red Bus Records; "The Heart of Rock and Roll," performed by Huey Lewis and The News, written by J. Colla and Huey Lewis, courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc., ℗ 1983 Chrysalis Records, Inc.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 February 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 Feb 1986
Production Date:
15 Apr--6 Jul 1985
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Orion Pictures Corporation
21 May 1986
PA293334
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Processing by Technicolor
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision
Prints
Print by Deluxe
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

After a jealous lover opens fire in a crowded New York City restaurant and kills several diners, Ellen Keith, a blonde woman dressed in a white evening gown, gloves and diamonds, recognizes the shooter as a former boyfriend. Harry shoots her dead, then kills the remaining patrons. Suddenly, a director yells, “Cut,” and special effects man, Roland “Rollie” Tyler, tells girl friend, Ellen Keith, her death scene was superb. Producer “Joe Lightner” appears and tells Rollie he is a big fan of his work as a special effects man. Joe plans to make a science fiction movie and wants to discuss it further. Rollie agrees to meet the following morning at his workshop. At Rollie’s workshop, a full-sized Martian puppet named “Rosebud” greets Joe Lightner with a roar. Joe recognizes many of Rollie’s creations from films such as Blood in the Basement, and I Dismember Mama, then confesses that his name is actually Martin Lipton. He works for the State Department and is involved in the Witness Protection Program. Their star witness, a Mafia informant named Nicholas DeFranco, is in danger of being murdered. The government wants Rollie to use his skills to stage a phony murder so that DeFranco can “disappear” after his testimony. Rollie tells Martin a week is not enough time to teach him how to pull off such a feat, and he is not at all interested in crossing the line between make-believe and the real world. Later, Martin ...

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After a jealous lover opens fire in a crowded New York City restaurant and kills several diners, Ellen Keith, a blonde woman dressed in a white evening gown, gloves and diamonds, recognizes the shooter as a former boyfriend. Harry shoots her dead, then kills the remaining patrons. Suddenly, a director yells, “Cut,” and special effects man, Roland “Rollie” Tyler, tells girl friend, Ellen Keith, her death scene was superb. Producer “Joe Lightner” appears and tells Rollie he is a big fan of his work as a special effects man. Joe plans to make a science fiction movie and wants to discuss it further. Rollie agrees to meet the following morning at his workshop. At Rollie’s workshop, a full-sized Martian puppet named “Rosebud” greets Joe Lightner with a roar. Joe recognizes many of Rollie’s creations from films such as Blood in the Basement, and I Dismember Mama, then confesses that his name is actually Martin Lipton. He works for the State Department and is involved in the Witness Protection Program. Their star witness, a Mafia informant named Nicholas DeFranco, is in danger of being murdered. The government wants Rollie to use his skills to stage a phony murder so that DeFranco can “disappear” after his testimony. Rollie tells Martin a week is not enough time to teach him how to pull off such a feat, and he is not at all interested in crossing the line between make-believe and the real world. Later, Martin Lipton’s colleague, Colonel Mason, also tries to persuade Rollie to take the job. When Rollie realizes that the State Department may hire competitor, Bill McKinnon, his ego gets the better of him, and he accepts the job. Upon Martin’s arrival at his workshop, Rollie fires a weapon at Rosebud, and fake blood drips from puppet’s wounds. It is the same effect that will be used to stage DeFranco’s “murder.” Soon, Rollie makes plaster molds, a mask of DeFranco, and prosthetics, and when Colonel Mason insists Rollie is the only one who can pull off the fake murder, the special effects man reluctantly agrees. Later, as DeFranco dines alone at a restaurant, supposedly surrounded by government agents, a disguised Rollie shoots him several times. As DeFranco crumples to the ground, Rollie escapes. In the getaway car, Martin Lipton points a gun at Rollie. When Rollie struggles to grab the gun, the driver is killed, and the car crashes into a wooden fence. Martin is also supposedly killed, and Rollie runs from the scene to a payphone, and explains to Colonel Mason that Martin tried to kill him. Mason offers his belief that DeFranco bribed Martin, and promises to send a patrol car to rescue Rollie. Meanwhile, a passerby wants to use the phone, and Rollie hides down the street. When the patrol car stops, two officers shoot the man in the booth. When they radio that they killed the wrong man, Mason tells the officers to leave the scene. At the hospital, Martin Lipton, who survived the earlier car crash, identifies DeFranco’s body while Rollie hides at Ellen’s apartment. As he explains his situation, Rollie suspects Martin switched the blanks for real bullets. Ellen theorizes that Rollie was used as bait so DeFranco would agree to the plan. The next morning, as Ellen draws her curtains, she is shot and killed. When the shooter, William J. Adams, enters the apartment, Rollie knocks him unconscious with a stack of books, and ties his wrists together. As Rollie places Ellen’s body on the bed, the shooter revives. He fights back until Rollie kills him. At night, Lieutenant Leo McCarthy receives orders to investigate the crime scene at Ellen’s apartment. There, his partner, detective Mickey Gaillo, says they found fingerprints revealing the shooter was a former New York City officer, and also another set of unidentified prints. Neighbors identify Ellen’s three boyfriends, and police search for Rollie. Soon, Rollie calls his assistant, Andy, and asks her to meet him at the boathouse in Central Park with his green makeup bag. Meanwhile, Leo McCarthy becomes angry when Captain Wallenger assigns Lieutenant Murdoch to the high profile murder case because of McCarthy’s bad attitude. When Andy is followed on her way to the boathouse, she and Rollie push the agent into the lake and hide in a tunnel. Soon, Rollie and Andy disguise themselves as homeless people. At the station, Leo McCarthy’s coworker, Marisa Velez, tells Leo that shooter Adams joined the Justice Department after he left the New York Police Department. A computer search reveals that “Witness Protection & Relocation” is a division of the Justice Department. Soon, McCarthy and his partner, Mickey, interview Colonel Mason at the Justice Department. He pulls Adams’s file, which describes him as a subpar freelancer who had not been employed by the Justice Department for several years. After McCarthy and Mickey leave, the colonel summons Martin to his office but a telephone call from Rollie interrupts their conversation. As they listen, they trace the call to a phone booth located in the building. Soon, Martin finds a rigged phone in the lobby. As he picks up the receiver, Rollie’s voice instructs him to meet at a Soho location. The colonel orders Martin to kill Rollie and sends additional reinforcements. As Martin drives, Rollie appears in the back seat of his car, slides a wire around Martin’s neck, and forces him to travel to another destination. At the station, Marisa Velez shows McCarthy that Adams and the officers responsible for the phone booth murder all have phony social security numbers. He deduces that they all work for Colonel Mason at the Justice Department. Martin and Rollie stop at a deserted section of the West Side Highway, and Rollie orders Martin into the trunk. Andy, who was hiding in the trunk, moves to the passenger seat. Rollie crashes the rear end of the car several times until Martin reveals where to find Mason. At the station, McCarthy demands that Lt. Murdoch hand over DeFranco’s file, then calls Col. Mason at his home. DeFranco grabs the telephone from Mason and, thinking he is speaking to Rollie, tells McCarthy he is a dead man and hangs up. The colonel tells DeFranco that he just made a tactical error. In three hours he will leave the country and now someone knows he is alive, jeopardizing the plan. Later, Rollie and Andy break into a car impound lot and stage an explosion in order to retrieve Rollie’s special effects truck. As they escape, Mickey follows, and calls for backup. Rollie sets a trap, causing several patrol cars to crash. Mickey follows Rollie’s truck through the wholesale meat district. As Rollie drops a lifelike female mannequin on the road, Mickey stops to avoid running over the body and Rollie escapes. Later, Rollie tricks Andy into leaving the truck and drives away. At the station, Capt. Wallenger cites Leo McCarthy for a number of offenses, including the coercion of Lt. Murdoch, and suspends him even though McCarthy insists DeFranco is alive and should be captured. McCarthy hands over his badge and weapon, but steals the captain’s badge and drives to the colonel’s house to find DeFranco. Meanwhile, Rollie electrocutes the agent guarding the colonel’s front gate and enters the property. DeFranco wants to escape, but Col. Mason insists that a helicopter will arrive any minute to transport him to safety. Rollie dismantles the alarm system, sets up several traps, and kills two agents. McCarthy arrives at the mansion joined by state troopers, and they discover the two dead agents by the front gate. DeFranco hears a noise and begins shooting. Suddenly, Rollie falls through a window, supposedly shot. DeFranco and Col. Mason run past Rollie when they hear the helicopter, but DeFranco is electrocuted as he opens a door, and hands the colonel a key to a Swiss safety deposit box before dying. Rollie points a gun and confronts Col. Mason, who offers him the safety deposit box key and says its contains the $15 million DeFranco stole from the Mafia. Rollie lays down his gun and looks out the window. The colonel grabs the weapon but Rollie has applied Crazy Glue to the trigger, and it becomes stuck in the colonel’s hands. Rollie pushes him out the front door. Although, Col. Mason pleads for his life, police shoot him dead when they see him pointing a gun. Inside, McCarthy and state troopers find Rollie and DeFranco dead. McCarthy tosses Capt. Wallenger’s badge in the dirt and drives away. At the morgue, Rollie revives after drugs wear off, climbs out of a body bag, and removes special makeup appliances from his body. He climbs out a window but before he can escape, McCarthy points a gun in his face and says they need to talk. Rollie and the lieutenant strike a deal. Later, Rollie travels to the Royal Bank of Geneva. Disguised as DeFranco, he retrieves the $15 million from the safety deposit box. Afterward, he joins the soon-to-be retired Leo McCarthy, waiting at a nearby marina. McCarthy says his share of the money will ease the pain of retirement. However, Rollie will stow away his share. For now, he will remain a special effects artist because he cannot imagine doing anything else.

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

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