Violets Are Blue (1986)

PG-13 | 88 mins | Romance, Drama | 11 April 1986

Director:

Jack Fisk

Writer:

Naomi Foner

Producer:

Marykay Powell

Cinematographer:

Ralf Bode

Production Designer:

Peter Jamison

Production Companies:

Rastar, Columbia-Delphi IV Productions
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HISTORY

End credits state: “Band organ roll performance of 'The Vienna Blood Waltz' used by permission of Play-Rite Music Rolls, Inc." The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: "Special thanks to: The Maryland Film Commission, the State of Maryland, the late great Mayor Harry Kelly, and the people of Ocean City.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the producer, Marykay Powell, was a Baltimore, MD, native who had fond memories of vacationing as a child in Ocean City, MD, and working as a teenage waitress at a boardwalk hotel. She was convinced the area’s charm, particularly its Victorian-era downtown, would be the perfect setting for the film. Studio executives were more interested in using Santa Cruz, CA, for location shooting. However, director Jack Fisk, a native of Alexandria, VA, was familiar with the seaside resort, and a trip with Powell convinced him that the vacation spot would provide the right ambiance for the picture.
       Powell was interested in developing a story about revisiting first love and commissioned writer Naomi Foner to do the screenplay.
       Reportedly, filmmakers wanted to hire 2,000 background actors, and more than 6,000 townspeople showed interest. Local sailors taught actors Kevin Kline and Sissy Spacek the basics of sailing so they could perform scenes on a boat without the use of doubles. The film crew spent five weeks building a two-story house on the beach and decorated it with locally found antique furniture. The residence was used for scenes showing the "Squires’" family home.
       A 1 Aug 1984 Var brief and a 7 Aug 1984 HR production chart announced that principal photography began 6 ... More Less

End credits state: “Band organ roll performance of 'The Vienna Blood Waltz' used by permission of Play-Rite Music Rolls, Inc." The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: "Special thanks to: The Maryland Film Commission, the State of Maryland, the late great Mayor Harry Kelly, and the people of Ocean City.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the producer, Marykay Powell, was a Baltimore, MD, native who had fond memories of vacationing as a child in Ocean City, MD, and working as a teenage waitress at a boardwalk hotel. She was convinced the area’s charm, particularly its Victorian-era downtown, would be the perfect setting for the film. Studio executives were more interested in using Santa Cruz, CA, for location shooting. However, director Jack Fisk, a native of Alexandria, VA, was familiar with the seaside resort, and a trip with Powell convinced him that the vacation spot would provide the right ambiance for the picture.
       Powell was interested in developing a story about revisiting first love and commissioned writer Naomi Foner to do the screenplay.
       Reportedly, filmmakers wanted to hire 2,000 background actors, and more than 6,000 townspeople showed interest. Local sailors taught actors Kevin Kline and Sissy Spacek the basics of sailing so they could perform scenes on a boat without the use of doubles. The film crew spent five weeks building a two-story house on the beach and decorated it with locally found antique furniture. The residence was used for scenes showing the "Squires’" family home.
       A 1 Aug 1984 Var brief and a 7 Aug 1984 HR production chart announced that principal photography began 6 Aug 1984 in Ocean City. A Jun 1986 AmCin article reported that most sailing scenes were filmed in or around the Chesapeake Bay. The Oct 1984 Box and 11 May 1984 DV suggested that filmmakers intended to shoot scenes in Venice, Italy, once filming concluded in Maryland in Oct 1984. However, the entirety of the film's action takes place in Ocean City, and no Italian locations were used in the production. The budget was estimated to be less than $10 million.
       A 17 Apr 1986 HR brief indicated that the Maryland Film Commission and the Maryland Department of Economic and Community Development hosted an Annapolis, MD, premiere on 13 Apr 1986. The Jun 1986 Box reported domestic earnings of $489,000 from twenty-two theaters in its first ten days of release.
       Production notes state that the picture marked the theatrical film debut of fourteen-year-old actor Jim Standiford. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jun 1986.
p. 112.
Box Office
Oct 1984.
---
Box Office
Jun 1986.
---
Daily Variety
11 May 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 1986
p. 3, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Apr 1986
Section I, p. 12.
New York Times
11 Apr 1986
p. 8.
Variety
1 Aug 1984.
---
Variety
9 Apr 1986
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures presents
A Rastar Production
From Columbia-Delphi IV Productions
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d unit photog
Chief lighting tech
Best boy
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Leadman
Const coord
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Scoring mixer
Mus ed, Segue Music
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title and montage des
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Loc auditor
Transportation coord
Wrangler
Sailing coord
Sailing coord
Local contact
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Extra casting
Consultant to Jack Fisk
Prod secy
Prod coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timing
SOURCES
SONGS
"One Day (Love Song From 'Violets Are Blue')," written by Patrick Williams and Will Jennings, produced by Jay Gruska and Patrick Williams, performed by Laura Branigan, courtesy of Atlantic Records.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 April 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 11 April 1986
Annapolis, MD premiere: 13 April 1986
Production Date:
began 6 August 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 May 1986
Copyright Number:
PA288774
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
88
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1969 Ocean City, Maryland, teenager Gussie Sawyer tells her father, Ralph, a carnival carousel and bumper car operator, she is going camping with friends. Instead, she meets her boyfriend, Henry Squires, at the dock, and jumps into his arms. They sail to nearby Assateague Island, and collect wood to start a fire. Gussie curls up on a blanket and Henry smothers her with kisses. Henry expresses his impatience to start college in Boston, Massachusetts, and suggests that Gussie also enroll. However, Gussie would rather be a flight attendant and have adventures around the world. She promises that they will go to Venice, Italy, after he graduates. They kiss and express their devotion. Thirteen years pass and Gussie trades her airline job for a career in photojournalism. She covers royal weddings and war zones, but returns home on a vacation to see her family without much advance warning. Gussie is persuaded to enter a sailboat race with her father, Ralph. During the race, Gussie’s high school sweetheart, Henry Squires, now the town’s newspaper publisher, and his thirteen-year-old son, Addy, are in the lead. As the Sawyer sailboat catches up, Ralph yells to get Henry’s attention. Henry sees Gussie, loses his concentration, and capsizes his boat, falling into the water. Gussie and Ralph forge ahead and win the competition. At the Squires home, Ruth advises her son, Addy, not to sulk over his loss. Henry tells Ruth he has to go into the office to finish the lead story about development on Assateague Island even though it is Sunday. Addy comments that his father’s crusade against development is not making him popular among the local merchants. Henry ... +


In 1969 Ocean City, Maryland, teenager Gussie Sawyer tells her father, Ralph, a carnival carousel and bumper car operator, she is going camping with friends. Instead, she meets her boyfriend, Henry Squires, at the dock, and jumps into his arms. They sail to nearby Assateague Island, and collect wood to start a fire. Gussie curls up on a blanket and Henry smothers her with kisses. Henry expresses his impatience to start college in Boston, Massachusetts, and suggests that Gussie also enroll. However, Gussie would rather be a flight attendant and have adventures around the world. She promises that they will go to Venice, Italy, after he graduates. They kiss and express their devotion. Thirteen years pass and Gussie trades her airline job for a career in photojournalism. She covers royal weddings and war zones, but returns home on a vacation to see her family without much advance warning. Gussie is persuaded to enter a sailboat race with her father, Ralph. During the race, Gussie’s high school sweetheart, Henry Squires, now the town’s newspaper publisher, and his thirteen-year-old son, Addy, are in the lead. As the Sawyer sailboat catches up, Ralph yells to get Henry’s attention. Henry sees Gussie, loses his concentration, and capsizes his boat, falling into the water. Gussie and Ralph forge ahead and win the competition. At the Squires home, Ruth advises her son, Addy, not to sulk over his loss. Henry tells Ruth he has to go into the office to finish the lead story about development on Assateague Island even though it is Sunday. Addy comments that his father’s crusade against development is not making him popular among the local merchants. Henry explains that unchecked construction will ruin the coastline. Ruth agrees that if there are no beaches, the tourists will go elsewhere. However, Ruth has not read her husband’s recent editorial criticizing the proposed causeway that will give visitors access to the area. She comments that the article is upstairs and she intends to read it. At the offices of the local newspaper, Gussie makes a surprise visit to see Henry. They make small talk, and are interrupted by a reporter named Ben before they can embrace. Henry invites Gussie to dinner the following night to meet his wife and son. When Gussie arrives at the Squires home, Henry is out on an errand. Gussie admires Ruth’s kitchen, and Ruth explains how it came together in bits and pieces. The conversation shifts to how the town considers Gussie a celebrity because of her international photojournalism career. Ruth describes how Henry always checks photo credits in magazines to see if the work is Gussie’s. Ruth introduces Gussie to her son, and Henry arrives with a bottle of French wine. At dinner, when Addy asks Gussie how much money she makes, his parents let him know that he is being rude. However, Gussie cheerfully replies that she does not know what she earns. Addy wants to know about Gussie’s career as a stewardess, and she says she stopped when the in-flight magazine paid to use her photographs. She found she could make more money as a photographer. For a while she lived in New York City, then moved to Paris, France. In the kitchen, Ruth remarks that Gussie is pretty, and Henry asks if she is jealous, but Ruth denies it. Henry offers to drive Gussie home, but she insists on walking. Ruth also suggests Henry drive Gussie, but again she refuses. Henry follows Gussie out and she accuses Henry of inviting her to dinner so he could brag about his perfect life. The past is dredged up, and Henry claims he would not have married Ruth if he knew Gussie planned to return home. When Ruth became pregnant, he did the responsible thing, but the pregnancy was not planned. Henry does not consider his life perfect, but Gussie complains she has no personal life, not even a cat. He grabs her and they kiss beneath the pier. Henry leaves Gussie at her front door. Later, as Gussie sits with old friends at the local bar, she sees Henry. Their eyes meet, and Gussie’s brother-in-law invites him to join their table. Tony, a family friend, needles Henry about his opposition to the proposed condominium development. Henry claims the project will destroy the fishing industry, but Tony, a fisherman, claims his livelihood has already suffered since the government imposed limits on fishing in the area in an attempt to rebuild the fish population. Tony cannot feed his family and needs the construction work. Days later, Henry cannot stop thinking about Gussie. He shows up at the Sawyer house claiming that Addy left his jacket at Ralph Sawyer’s bumper car ride. Gussie agrees to help Henry look for the jacket, knowing it is a made-up story. They stroll along the boardwalk, and spend time on the carnival rides. Gussie is sorry that she could not return home when Henry’s father died. She was not ready. He wants reassurance that their passion the other night was not an accident, but she claims there is no future for them. Her vacation ends in a few days. Although he asks Gussie to stay longer, she maintains it is too late. Later, Henry sits on his porch at night, lost in thought. When Ruth suggests he go to bed, Henry claims he has work to do. One day, Henry invites Gussie to lunch. He throws jars of peanut butter and jelly in a bag, and they sail to Assateague Island. On shore, they make love and Henry says it feels like nothing has changed. She fanaticizes what it would be like to have a life with him, and they kiss. However, Gussie reveals that Ocean City is not her home anymore. They are interrupted by gunshots, and quickly dress. Gussie grabs her camera and they run toward the commotion. Over the ridge, condominium developers have captured ponies that are under wildlife protection, and are administering drugs to the animals. Gussie climbs into the horse pen and takes photographs. When the men notice her, she runs away and opens the corral gate, allowing the ponies to escape. Gussie removes the film from her camera and gives the roll to Henry for safekeeping. They run to Henry’s moored sailboat, but are stopped by the men, who confiscate Gussie’s camera. Later, Henry writes a story for his newspaper to accompany Gussie’s photographs. Caught up in the excitement of their investigative reporting, Gussie wonders if Henry might collaborate with her on an upcoming assignment about children in Central America and the Middle East. Henry asks her to submit his name to her publication. Later at home, Ruth Squires asks her husband if Gussie took the photographs for the pony story. Henry claims that he hired Gussie to take the photographs on Assateague Island, but Ruth does not believe him, and observes that he has never lied to her before. At the newspaper offices, Henry tells Gussie the Baltimore Sun picked up their story and the governor asked for an injunction to stop new construction on the island and formed a committee to investigate the criminal activities. Gussie informs Henry that he has been hired as a writer on her new assignment, but they have to leave in a few days. At first, Henry says it is too short notice to get a replacement to run the paper, but Gussie insists he is passing up a major opportunity and stalks out of the office. Henry tells Gussie that Ruth knows about their affair, and he is sleeping at the newspaper offices, but he assures Gussie that he will be ready to leave. Later, Henry informs Ruth he has accepted the assignment. She believes it is an opportunity to sleep with his girlfriend and tells him he should not hide his motivation. He argues that the assignment could lead to a better paying job, but she accuses him of having ambitions he might have realized sooner if his father had not died suddenly and she had not become pregnant. She knows that she cannot compete with Gussie and her glamorous career, but will not apologize for liking her simple life in Ocean City. Henry walks away without responding. Later, Ralph Sawyer tells Gussie to leave Henry alone, but she insists it is only about the work. They will be partners for two weeks. Her father believes there is another relationship waiting for her, but Gussie insists she loves Henry. At the Squires home, Henry packs for his trip while Ruth watches in silence. Gussie says goodbye to her family and leaves for the airport. As they sit in the airport lobby, Henry looks around distractedly, and announces that he belongs in Ocean City, but they will always have each other. Gussie boards the plane. He watches the plane take off as Gussie wipes away her tears. Below, she sees the ponies of Assateague running freely, and takes photographs. +

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

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