Brewster's Millions (1985)

PG | 101 mins | Comedy | 22 May 1985

Director:

Walter Hill

Cinematographer:

Ric Waite

Production Designer:

John Vallone

Production Company:

Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

The film begins with the following prologue: “This is the story of Montgomery Brewster, a relief pitcher in the minor leagues of life, who got handed the American Dream...on a very hot plate.”
       On 9 Jul 1982, DV announced filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich planned to include Brewster’s Millions among the six independent pictures he scheduled for 1983; the projects were funded through a $20 million deal with U.S. and foreign investors. Based on the 1902 George Barr McCutcheon bestselling novel, Brewster’s Millions, the film had been previously remade in the U.S. four times, in 1914, 1921, 1935, and 1945 (see entries), as well as in 1926 as Miss Brewster’s Millions (see entry), and in England, under the title Three on a Spree (1961). Bogdanovich’s version was reportedly most similar to Allan Dwan’s 1945 release, which was also based on a 1906 theatrical adaptation by Winchell Smith and Bryon Ongley. Bogdanovich’s Brewster’s Millions was scheduled to begin filming early 1983, in TX. According to a 16 May 1984 Var article, screen rights for the property were acquired by Lawrence Gordon Productions in 1982.
       The project remained in limbo nearly two years until a 16 Mar 1984 LAT article reported that Brewster’s Millions was set to mark Universal Pictures’ first film under the guidance of its new president, Frank Price. At that time, Bogdanovich was no longer associated with the picture, as Walter Hill was listed as director, and Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver were named producers. LAT noted that Richard Pryor, who had ... More Less

The film begins with the following prologue: “This is the story of Montgomery Brewster, a relief pitcher in the minor leagues of life, who got handed the American Dream...on a very hot plate.”
       On 9 Jul 1982, DV announced filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich planned to include Brewster’s Millions among the six independent pictures he scheduled for 1983; the projects were funded through a $20 million deal with U.S. and foreign investors. Based on the 1902 George Barr McCutcheon bestselling novel, Brewster’s Millions, the film had been previously remade in the U.S. four times, in 1914, 1921, 1935, and 1945 (see entries), as well as in 1926 as Miss Brewster’s Millions (see entry), and in England, under the title Three on a Spree (1961). Bogdanovich’s version was reportedly most similar to Allan Dwan’s 1945 release, which was also based on a 1906 theatrical adaptation by Winchell Smith and Bryon Ongley. Bogdanovich’s Brewster’s Millions was scheduled to begin filming early 1983, in TX. According to a 16 May 1984 Var article, screen rights for the property were acquired by Lawrence Gordon Productions in 1982.
       The project remained in limbo nearly two years until a 16 Mar 1984 LAT article reported that Brewster’s Millions was set to mark Universal Pictures’ first film under the guidance of its new president, Frank Price. At that time, Bogdanovich was no longer associated with the picture, as Walter Hill was listed as director, and Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver were named producers. LAT noted that Richard Pryor, who had been cast in the role of “Montgomery Brewster,” was one of Frank Price’s main assets when he was head of Columbia Pictures, and he was therefore able to lure the star to Universal based on their past relationship. Screenwriters Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod had recently achieved box-office success with the 1983 release Trading Places, which shared the theme of an African American man being initiated into the lifestyle of a millionaire. The 16 May 1984 Var article, which announced the casting of comedian John Candy as “Spike Nolan,” stated that that the film was budgeted at $15 million.
       Although LAT reported that principal photography would begin 16 Apr 1984, the 24 Apr 1984 HR announced that filming was pushed back one week to start 30 Apr 1984, in San Pedro, CA. Production notes in AMPAS library files maintained that filming ultimately began that day at Universal Studios soundstages in Los Angeles, CA, not in San Pedro, and production ended 8 Aug 1984 after three weeks of location work in New York City. HR noted that shooting in Los Angeles was scheduled to end before the Olympic Games began, as the festivities were hosted in the city that summer. Additional locations listed in production notes included Los Angeles’ L’Orangerie restaurant and the Biltmore Hotel, while New York City sites included the Cartier boutique on Fifth Avenue and the Plaza Hotel.
       A multi-city premiere on 21 May 1985 in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, and New York City was scheduled to benefit the victims of famine in Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ghana. The events were sponsored by the Black American Response to the African Crisis and Richard Pryor’s Indigo Productions, as announced in the 16 Mar 1985 LAT.
       The picture opened domestically 22 May 1985 to mixed, fairly negative reviews. Many critics noted Pryor’s unsuccessful departure from his biting, vulgar comedic routines to his overly charming and sanguine performance in Brewster’s Millions. While the Aug 1985 Box complained the film was a “perplexing disappointment,” it reported a $9.9 million gross its first week in 1,521 theaters, and net earnings of $24 million after nineteen days.
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Aug 1985.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1982
p. 1, 21.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1985
p. 3, 10.
Los Angeles Times
16 Mar 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1985
p. 1, 4.
New York Times
22 May 1985
p. 23.
Variety
16 May 1984
p. 44, 137.
Variety
22 May 1985
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Journalists at rally:
[and]
Hackensack Bulls:
Yankees:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Lawrence Gordon-Joel Silver Production
A Walter Hill Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, New York Crew
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog by
Cam op
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Still photog
Key grip
Best boy
Best boy
Best boy
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Key gaffer
Lamp op
Collaborative dir of photog, New York crew
Panaflex® camera and lenses by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Prop asst
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Prod painter
Standby painter
Leadman
Leadman
Leadman
Leadman
Leadman
Set des
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost des
Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:
Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:
Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:
Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:
Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:
Men's cost supv
Women's cost supv
Men's set costumer
Women's set costumer
Mr. Pryor's costumer
Men`s ward
Men`s ward
MUSIC
Mus
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley ed
Foley by
Foley by
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR mixer
ADR rec
Vocal eff adv
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opt eff and mont
Titles and visual eff des and prod by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Mr. Pryor's make-up
Hairstylist
Mr. Pryor's hair stylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting asst
Prod assoc
Pub coord
Extras casting
Extras casting, Central Casting
Extras casting, Central Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Cost estimator
Asst to Lawrence Gordon
Asst to Joel Silver
Asst to Walter Hill
Asst to Gene Levy
Asst to Richard Pryor
Asst to Richard Pryor
Prod consultant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
DGA intern
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Craft service
Caterer
Caterer
Extras casting, New York crew
Loc mgr, New York crew
Prod office coord, New York crew
Asst to the prod
Secy to prod
Prod asst
Account asst
First aid
Police coord
Atmosphere coord
Athletes registry
Athletes registry
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Supv col consultant
Col consultant
Daily col consultant
Daily col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Brewster's Millions by George Barr McCutcheon (New York, 1902).
SONGS
“In the Nick of Time,” words and music by Huey Lewis and Ry Cooder, performed by Patti LaBelle, courtesy of MCA Records, INC.
COMPOSERS
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 May 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 May 1985
Production Date:
30 April--8 August 1984 in Los Angeles and New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 July 1985
Copyright Number:
PA252489
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
101
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27741
SYNOPSIS

At a Minor League baseball game in Hackensack, New Jersey, pitcher Montgomery Brewster, of the Hackensack Bulls, notices a man in the stands taking his picture and mistakenly believes he is being scouted by the Major League. Celebrating their victory at a bar following the game, Brewster and his friend, catcher Spike Nolan, get into a brawl and are arrested. However, J. B. Donaldo, the man who has been watching Brewster, posts bail for the two men, then drives them to New York City. There, Brewster meets a group of lawyers who inform him that his great uncle, Rupert Horn, has named him sole heir of a great fortune. Watching a home movie filmed before his great uncle’s death, Brewster learns the unusual conditions of the will. In an attempt to make Brewster hate spending money, Rupert demands that his heir liquidate $30 million in thirty days. If Brewster succeeds, he will receive the full inheritance of $300 million, but he must prove that his only remaining assets are the clothes on his back. After hearing several other rules for spending the money, including not telling his friends why he is spending it, Brewster is offered a $1 million escape clause, but he accepts the challenge for $300 million. The lawyers assign Brewster an accounting paralegal named Angela Drake to keep track of his spending, but he is warned not to reveal the truth to her or he will forfeit the inheritance. Brewster sets out with his friend, Spike, to start spending the money, and perplexes Spike with his careless decisions. Brewster buys new uniforms for the Hackensack Bulls, ... +


At a Minor League baseball game in Hackensack, New Jersey, pitcher Montgomery Brewster, of the Hackensack Bulls, notices a man in the stands taking his picture and mistakenly believes he is being scouted by the Major League. Celebrating their victory at a bar following the game, Brewster and his friend, catcher Spike Nolan, get into a brawl and are arrested. However, J. B. Donaldo, the man who has been watching Brewster, posts bail for the two men, then drives them to New York City. There, Brewster meets a group of lawyers who inform him that his great uncle, Rupert Horn, has named him sole heir of a great fortune. Watching a home movie filmed before his great uncle’s death, Brewster learns the unusual conditions of the will. In an attempt to make Brewster hate spending money, Rupert demands that his heir liquidate $30 million in thirty days. If Brewster succeeds, he will receive the full inheritance of $300 million, but he must prove that his only remaining assets are the clothes on his back. After hearing several other rules for spending the money, including not telling his friends why he is spending it, Brewster is offered a $1 million escape clause, but he accepts the challenge for $300 million. The lawyers assign Brewster an accounting paralegal named Angela Drake to keep track of his spending, but he is warned not to reveal the truth to her or he will forfeit the inheritance. Brewster sets out with his friend, Spike, to start spending the money, and perplexes Spike with his careless decisions. Brewster buys new uniforms for the Hackensack Bulls, and arranges for them to play the New York Yankees at month’s end. As Brewster hires people to perform various jobs, invites groups of people on the street to lunch, and causes a ruckus around New York City, news crews begin to follow the new multi-millionaire. He soon sets up shop at a luxury hotel and begins a flirtation with Angela Drake, who is uninterested in his advances. When Angela’s lawyer fiancé, Warren Cox, comes to visit her at the hotel, he compliments the decor and explains his knowledge of decorating came from his former wife, Marilyn, an interior designer. Brewster offers to hire him and Marilyn to redecorate his hotel room, and Warren accepts, much to Angela’s chagrin. Warren, who works at the law firm overseeing Brewster’s inheritance, asks for a leave of absence to work for Brewster, and the lawyers order him to act as a spy. At the hotel, Brewster is hounded by artists and inventors, answering his call for ideas. As he invests in every witless plan, Spike and Angela are aghast and later stage an intervention to encourage Brewster to hire a financial advisor, but his spending continues. Elsewhere, the law firm continues their surveillance of Brewster in hopes that he will fail and the firm will get to keep the $300 million. The lawyers reveal the truth about Brewster’s money to Warren, and bribe him with a partnership, ordering him to create an accounting error that will forfeit Brewster’s inheritance. Meanwhile, the strain of keeping the secret from Angela and Spike troubles Brewster. Despite his seemingly worthless investments, Brewster makes huge profits. In an effort to spend, he runs for mayor and pays for the expensive campaign advertising while turning down contributions, and begins to make a dent in his fortune. On game day against the Yankees, the Minor league Bulls hold their own, but the Yankees win and Brewster, learning he’s a favorite to win the mayoral election, addresses the fans that he is pulling out of the race. The day also marks the end of his baseball career, and he invites the fans back to his hotel for a party, where he spends his last $38,000. Angela completes her accounting of Brewster’s money, and he invites her to be his date to the party, but she is furious at his careless actions. After she storms away, Brewster admits his love for her. At the party, Spike takes up a collection to give to his bankrupt friend, but Brewster turns down the money. Minutes before Brewster returns to the law firm to claim his inheritance, Warren shows up and returns $20,000, claiming the money was his interior decorator’s deposit, thereby ruining Brewster’s chance at the $300 million. In the conference room, Brewster admits his defeat. Watching through a window, Warren waits in anticipation and reveals the truth of the past month’s events to Angela, who rushes to Brewster’s defense. Warren insults Angela, prompting Brewster to punch him, and the lawyer vows to sue. Brewster offers Angela the $20,000 as a retainer fee for being his lawyer, and she quickly writes him a receipt before the clock strikes midnight and his time expires. Brewster is awarded the full $300 million inheritance and walks away with Angela. +

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

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