Shadow Play (1986)

R | 101 mins | Horror | 26 September 1986

Full page view
HISTORY

A 16 Jun 1986 DV production chart announced that principal photography began in Nov 1984 and locations included Seattle and San Juan Island, WA, Portland, OR, and New York City.
       According to a 20 Mar 1985 Var brief, the film’s budget was originally given as $1 million, but the figure was actually closer to $2 million. As reported in DV and Var articles from 13 Feb 1985, the cast and a contingent of locals were all investors in the film.
       According to a 16 Jul 1985 HR article, the picture marked writer-director-producer Susan Shadburne’s theatrical screenwriting and directorial debut.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special thanks to: The staff of Will Vinton Productions, Inc.; Western Airlines; Schramsberg Winery; Blitz Weinhard Breweries; Oregon Classic Cars; Norm Thompson Outfitters, Inc.; Pet World; Moe’s Pianos; U. S. Coast Guard A.N.T. Astoria; B.M.C. Larry Moody; M.K.C. Ray Tipton; The Biddle Family; Hugh Henry Orchids; Slocum Community Theater; Jeff Johnson; John Brice; Jim Rylander; Martha ... More Less

A 16 Jun 1986 DV production chart announced that principal photography began in Nov 1984 and locations included Seattle and San Juan Island, WA, Portland, OR, and New York City.
       According to a 20 Mar 1985 Var brief, the film’s budget was originally given as $1 million, but the figure was actually closer to $2 million. As reported in DV and Var articles from 13 Feb 1985, the cast and a contingent of locals were all investors in the film.
       According to a 16 Jul 1985 HR article, the picture marked writer-director-producer Susan Shadburne’s theatrical screenwriting and directorial debut.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special thanks to: The staff of Will Vinton Productions, Inc.; Western Airlines; Schramsberg Winery; Blitz Weinhard Breweries; Oregon Classic Cars; Norm Thompson Outfitters, Inc.; Pet World; Moe’s Pianos; U. S. Coast Guard A.N.T. Astoria; B.M.C. Larry Moody; M.K.C. Ray Tipton; The Biddle Family; Hugh Henry Orchids; Slocum Community Theater; Jeff Johnson; John Brice; Jim Rylander; Martha Farrish.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1985
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 1985
p. 3.
LAHExam
26 Sep 1986
p. 11, 38.
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1986
p. 16.
Variety
13 Feb 1985
p. 27.
Variety
20 Mar 1985.
---
Variety
21 May 1986
p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Millennium Pictures, Inc. presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Line prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Video tape op
N.Y. cam op
N.Y. cam asst
Unit still photog
Negative processing
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative conforming
Negative conforming
Negative conforming
COSTUMES
Asst ward
MUSIC
Mus prod
Mus prod
Solo piano arr
Mus mixing eng
Mus mixing tech
SOUND
Loc sd rec
Boom op
Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec, Studio C
Addl re-rec
Addl re-rec, Teknifilm
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Spec visual eff, Will Vinton Productions
Opticals
Title layout
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Cont/Scr supv
Asst to the prods
Legal consultant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Caterers
Post prod supv
Tech asst
Spec creative consultant
STAND INS
Ms. Leachman's stand-in
SOURCES
SONGS
"Beautiful Music Tonight," words and music by Jon Newton, sung by Taber Shadburne.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Ghostwriter
Release Date:
26 September 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 26 September 1986
Production Date:
began November 1984
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
101
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, playwright Morgan Hanna wakes from a nightmare in which her former fiancé, Jeremy Crown, jumped out of a lighthouse on Orcas Island. Morgan goes back to sleep after swallowing a sleeping pill with alcohol. The next day, she complains to her agent, Bette Mertz, that she cannot meet her November deadline because of writer’s block. Bette tells Morgan not to torture herself, and maybe she should do something else with her life. When Morgan talks to her psychiatrist, Dr. Feldman, she claims she does not feel guilty about Jeremy’s death seven years earlier, but the doctor believes she still feels responsible. At home, Morgan writes that she cannot forgive herself until she understands why Jeremy took his life. She accepts an invitation from Jeremy’s mother, Millie Crown, to visit Orcas Island in Washington and put her ghosts to rest. At the Crown home, the family maid, Zelda, announces that Millie Crown has not touched anything in Jeremy’s room since his death, and his room is off limits to everyone else except Millie. However, Millie invites Morgan to use Jeremy’s room to write. Later, as Morgan and Jeremy’s brother, John Crown, take a walk along the shore, Morgan believes that she sees Jeremy’s face in the window upon returning home. Morgan returns to her typewriter, and composes verse expressing her unresolved grief. In the last two lines, she writes, “Your parting secret, swift and sure, has left the scent of madness.” In the morning, Millie Crown gazes at the photograph of her dead husband on the mantle place. Morgan expresses sorrow that Millie has had to live through the death of a ... +


In New York City, playwright Morgan Hanna wakes from a nightmare in which her former fiancé, Jeremy Crown, jumped out of a lighthouse on Orcas Island. Morgan goes back to sleep after swallowing a sleeping pill with alcohol. The next day, she complains to her agent, Bette Mertz, that she cannot meet her November deadline because of writer’s block. Bette tells Morgan not to torture herself, and maybe she should do something else with her life. When Morgan talks to her psychiatrist, Dr. Feldman, she claims she does not feel guilty about Jeremy’s death seven years earlier, but the doctor believes she still feels responsible. At home, Morgan writes that she cannot forgive herself until she understands why Jeremy took his life. She accepts an invitation from Jeremy’s mother, Millie Crown, to visit Orcas Island in Washington and put her ghosts to rest. At the Crown home, the family maid, Zelda, announces that Millie Crown has not touched anything in Jeremy’s room since his death, and his room is off limits to everyone else except Millie. However, Millie invites Morgan to use Jeremy’s room to write. Later, as Morgan and Jeremy’s brother, John Crown, take a walk along the shore, Morgan believes that she sees Jeremy’s face in the window upon returning home. Morgan returns to her typewriter, and composes verse expressing her unresolved grief. In the last two lines, she writes, “Your parting secret, swift and sure, has left the scent of madness.” In the morning, Millie Crown gazes at the photograph of her dead husband on the mantle place. Morgan expresses sorrow that Millie has had to live through the death of a husband and a son. Although the plane crash happened twenty-one years ago, Millie remembers her husband every day. Later, Morgan works on her writing, as she recalls the moments leading up to Jeremy’s death. The next day, when Morgan announces that she has written a few pages of her play, Millie suggests actors from her local theater group do a reading. Morgan hands out pages to actors Conroy, Sarah, and Archie. She explains that her characters represent facets of one character. Except for Conroy, the actors miss the meaning behind Morgan’s poetic dialogue. Later, Morgan and Millie drink wine by the fireplace. Millie says Morgan is the only woman that Jeremy and John both liked among all their girl friends. Morgan goes back to work after Millie’s reminiscences inspire more verse. In the morning, Morgan takes a walk and the beautiful scenery unlocks her senses and her heart. She writes, “The taste of you is on my tongue again and I will graze ‘til morning.” Meanwhile, Millie visits her friend, psychic Byron Byron. He does a tarot card reading, in which they discover Morgan’s path involves danger, an alliance, and fate. Late at night, Morgan is frightened when she sees John’s face reflected in the kitchen window. He apologizes for frightening her. Morgan asks John to recount what Jeremy said a few hours before his death, and he describes how his brother never recovered from their father’s death. Jeremy tried to fill the hole in his heart through his relationship with Morgan, but decided he did not want to inflict his problem on her for a lifetime. John assures Morgan that Jeremy loved her, but he did not have the courage to reveal his pain. Morgan is anguished that she did not see the signs. Later, after another nightmare, Morgan visits Jeremy’s bedroom, and plays a phonograph record. All her good memories come flooding back. How Jeremy pretended to recite Shakespeare, and threw her in the pool. When she remembers their picnic at the lighthouse with John, she cries. On Jeremy’s desk, she sees her words written on a sheet of paper in the typewriter. She becomes hysterical, grabs the paper and runs back to her room. There, Zelda, the maid, offers to sit with Morgan until she falls asleep, but Morgan calms down and claims she is okay. The next day Morgan visits the lighthouse Jeremy called “the edge of the world.” She remembers how he and his brother would take refuge there, as children, when a storm raged, and the lighthouse is where Jeremy ran when his father died. Morgan continues to do more readings with the local theater group, and afterward, she and John go for a drink at a local bar. She reveals that she sees Jeremy’s reflection everywhere, and even found her work in his typewriter. John prefers to think that those who loved Jeremy have not been able to let him go, and the work she is generating now might actually have been written many years before and may have been repressed until her recent visit. Morgan claims she has not written poetry before. However, John assures her that her poetry is magnificent and quite special. He asks her to dance. Afterward, they go for a swim in the pool at the Crown home. Soon, Morgan sees Jeremy’s image in the glass door although John tells her that nobody is there. When Morgan opens the door, Jeremy disappears. As Morgan runs upstairs, John explains to his mother that he believes Morgan is close to a breakdown, and it would be healthier if she left. Morgan calls her psychiatrist, but gets his answering machine and hangs up. She returns to her typewriter and records her feelings on paper. The next day, she is pleased as the local actors recite her dialogue. Later, when Morgan visits Byron, he is expecting her and offers to do a reading. Byron reveals that Morgan will complete a manuscript, and is not losing her mind but experiencing “the apocalypse,” which proceeds great change. She feels Jeremy’s presence because his soul is lingering to make things right. At night, John visits Morgan in her room, but she imagines Jeremy’s spirit is with her. They make love and his presence inspires her to do more writing. In the morning, when Morgan tries to explain to John that it was Jeremy to whom she gave herself, John is angry and comments that although Jeremy has been gone seven years, he is still the more popular brother. John tells Morgan he loves her, but she does not want to hear it. He apologizes, and she collapses in his arms crying. The next night during a storm, Morgan hears Jeremy’s voice asking her to ride with him through the glass. She covers all the windows and mirrors. Morgan hears someone using her typewriter in Jeremy’s room but the machine is at rest. She pulls aside the curtains and uncovers the mirrors. In the last mirror, she sees Jeremy running toward her with his arms extended. She calls his name, and smashes the mirror. Morgan tells Millie and Zelda that she has cut her hand but now knows how her play will end. The next day, the actors agree to read through the finished play before Morgan leaves Orcas Island. John is happy that Morgan is returning to New York City but she insists she is going home and he will not be able to find her. Later, Millie is sad as John carries Morgan’s suitcases to the car. John hugs his mother, but remarks that Morgan deserves to have a future. Byron appears from behind a curtain and comments that Jeremy deserved a future as well. Angrily, John responds that Jeremy threw his future away, and warns Byron to mind his own business. As John leaves, Millie cries that Morgan belongs to Jeremy. Byron suggests she let John go. During the reading of Morgan’s play, one of the most revealing lines is, “I am so longing to pluck the future from the past.” In the dialogue, Morgan asks Jeremy to take her with him. As the reading ends, Morgan tells the actors they were extraordinary, then excuses herself to meet someone. When John arrives at the theater, he learns Morgan is gone, and follows her to the lighthouse. As Morgan climbs the lighthouse stairs and steps onto the outer balcony, John appears, claiming that Jeremy wants him, not her. Then, he reveals that the night of the engagement party, John was drunk and ran to the lighthouse. As Jeremy chased him, John went onto the balcony, coaxing his brother to have a champagne toast with one leg over the railing. John tells Jeremy that he is both the groom and the best man. John also remarks that he does not need to stick around and lifts his other leg over the railing. When Jeremy tries to stop John, he slips and plunges into the sea. Morgan screams, then laughs hysterically and makes her way down the lighthouse stairs to her car. She returns to the Crown home, and receives a telephone call from her agent Bette Mertz about producing her new play. Morgan hears the typewriter upstairs, and inspects the copy on a sheet of paper in the machine. The message tells Morgan to take the future, the sky, the sun, the stars, and fly. She holds the paper to her breast and laughs.
+

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.