Fletch (1985)

PG | 98 mins | Comedy | 31 May 1985

Director:

Michael Ritchie

Writer:

Andrew Bergman

Cinematographer:

Fred Schuler

Production Designer:

Boris Leven

Production Company:

Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

On 26 Nov 1974, DV announced that King-Hitzig Productions had acquired film rights to Gregory Mcdonald’s 1974 novel, Fletch. At that time, Mcdonald was reportedly writing the screenplay, and Columbia Pictures planned to release the picture. The 8 May 1975 HR reported principal photography would begin in the summer of 1975 in CA. More than a year later, however, the 30 Aug 1976 HR announced that filming would begin on the $1.7 million picture in Nov 1976, and that producer Jonathan Burrows and Claude Berda of Fred-Roy Productions, based in Paris, France, had acquired film rights.
       The project remained in limbo until the 25 Jun 1980 Var reported that Charisma Records would finance the $3.5 million picture and planned to begin shooting in FL in Nov 1980. Producer Peter Douglas’s brother, Michael Douglas, and Treat Williams were favored for the lead role. Just over two years later, the 17 Jan 1983 DV announced that Chevy Chase would star in the Universal Pictures production.
       On 15 Mar 1984, DV announced that principal photography would begin 23 May 1984. However, filming began in Southern CA on 29 May 1984, according to a 5 Jun 1984 HR production chart.
       Production materials in AMPAS library files reported that filming lasted two-and-a-half months and locations were scheduled to avoid the activities surrounding the 1984 Olympics that were occurring at the same time in Los Angeles, CA. Locations included Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Pier and beach, downtown Los Angeles, and Pearblossom, CA, with additional scenes shot in Utah and Rio de ... More Less

On 26 Nov 1974, DV announced that King-Hitzig Productions had acquired film rights to Gregory Mcdonald’s 1974 novel, Fletch. At that time, Mcdonald was reportedly writing the screenplay, and Columbia Pictures planned to release the picture. The 8 May 1975 HR reported principal photography would begin in the summer of 1975 in CA. More than a year later, however, the 30 Aug 1976 HR announced that filming would begin on the $1.7 million picture in Nov 1976, and that producer Jonathan Burrows and Claude Berda of Fred-Roy Productions, based in Paris, France, had acquired film rights.
       The project remained in limbo until the 25 Jun 1980 Var reported that Charisma Records would finance the $3.5 million picture and planned to begin shooting in FL in Nov 1980. Producer Peter Douglas’s brother, Michael Douglas, and Treat Williams were favored for the lead role. Just over two years later, the 17 Jan 1983 DV announced that Chevy Chase would star in the Universal Pictures production.
       On 15 Mar 1984, DV announced that principal photography would begin 23 May 1984. However, filming began in Southern CA on 29 May 1984, according to a 5 Jun 1984 HR production chart.
       Production materials in AMPAS library files reported that filming lasted two-and-a-half months and locations were scheduled to avoid the activities surrounding the 1984 Olympics that were occurring at the same time in Los Angeles, CA. Locations included Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Pier and beach, downtown Los Angeles, and Pearblossom, CA, with additional scenes shot in Utah and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
       An advertisement from the 6 Jun 1985 HR reported earnings of $7,022,970 after the film’s first three days of release in 1,225 theaters. According to an Oct 1988 Box news item, the picture ultimately grossed $23.9 million.
       A sequel to Fletch, tentatively titled Fletch and the Man Who, was announced in the 5 Jul 1985 NYT, but the 1989 sequel was retitled, Fletch Lives (see entry). Contemporary sources in 2014 announced a Fletch prequel, titled Fletch Won, would begin production sometime after 2015, and would star Jason Sudeikis in the title role. Fletch Won was the title of author Mcdonald’s 1985 prequel to Fletch. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Oct 1988.
---
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1974.
---
Daily Variety
17 Jan 1983.
---
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 1985
p. 3, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
31 May 1985
pp. 1-2.
New York Times
31 May 1985
p. 10.
New York Times
5 Jul 1985.
---
Variety
25 Jun 1980.
---
Variety
22 May 1985
p. 14, 36.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Universal--an MCA Company
a Douglas/Greisman production
a Michael Ritchie film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir of photog
2d unit 1st asst dir
2d unit 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Based on the novel by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Asst cam op
Asst cam op
Asst cam op
Asst cam op
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Key grip
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Prop master
Prop asst
Leadman
Const coord
Const foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Boom op
Foley by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opt eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod consultant
Casting asst
Extras casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Mr. Ritchie
Asst to Mr. Greisman
Asst to Mr. Douglas
Auditor
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Craft service
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald (Indianapolis, 1974).
SONGS
"Bit By Bit" (Theme from Fletch ), performed by Stephanie Mills, written by Harold Faltermeyer and Franie Golde, produced by Harold Faltermeyer
"Fletch, Get Outta Town," performed by Dan Hartman, written by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight, produced by Dan Hartman and Richard Landis
"Letter To Both Sides," performed by The Fixx, written by The Fixx, produced by Rupert Hine for Gestalt
+
SONGS
"Bit By Bit" (Theme from Fletch ), performed by Stephanie Mills, written by Harold Faltermeyer and Franie Golde, produced by Harold Faltermeyer
"Fletch, Get Outta Town," performed by Dan Hartman, written by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight, produced by Dan Hartman and Richard Landis
"Letter To Both Sides," performed by The Fixx, written by The Fixx, produced by Rupert Hine for Gestalt
"Moon River," written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, published by Famous Music Corporation, produced by special arrangement with Jonathan Burrows.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 May 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 31 May 1985
Production Date:
29 May--August 1984 in Los Angeles and Pearblossom, CA
Utah
and Rio de Januaryeiro, Brazil
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 August 1985
Copyright Number:
PA265466
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo™ in selected theaters
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27770
SYNOPSIS

Investigative reporter Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher poses as a drug-addicted vagrant on a Santa Monica, California, beach, planning to write an exposé for the newspaper where he works. As he tracks the activities of the local drug dealer, Fat Sam, to discern his supplier, a man named Alan Stanwyk spies on Fletch, then approaches him with a $1,000 offer to listen to a proposition at his home. When Fletch arrives at Stanwyk’s Beverly Hills mansion, the gentleman reveals that he is suffering from terminal bone cancer and offers Fletch $50,000 to murder him, as a means to avoid a painful, prolonged death. Stanwyk assures Fletch that he will not be found at fault, because he has planned to make the altercation appear like a random burglary. Stanwyk offers to buy Fletch an airplane ticket to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he can hide until the case is closed. Fletch agrees to the scheme, believing Stanwyk has mistaken him for a vagrant, then goes to his newspaper office and asks his friend, a woman named Larry, to research the man. While there, his editor, Frank Walker, pressures him to finish his Santa Monica narcotics article. When Larry’s research reveals that Stanwyk owns an aviation company, but there is no mention of his illness in any of the society papers in which Stanwyk appears, Fletch visits the gentleman’s doctor, pretending to be a patient. While there, Fletch disguises himself as a doctor and reads Stanwyk’s medical records, which reveal that he does not have cancer. Later, Fletch goes to Stanwyk’s tennis club and speaks to his wife, Gail, pretending to be a friend ... +


Investigative reporter Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher poses as a drug-addicted vagrant on a Santa Monica, California, beach, planning to write an exposé for the newspaper where he works. As he tracks the activities of the local drug dealer, Fat Sam, to discern his supplier, a man named Alan Stanwyk spies on Fletch, then approaches him with a $1,000 offer to listen to a proposition at his home. When Fletch arrives at Stanwyk’s Beverly Hills mansion, the gentleman reveals that he is suffering from terminal bone cancer and offers Fletch $50,000 to murder him, as a means to avoid a painful, prolonged death. Stanwyk assures Fletch that he will not be found at fault, because he has planned to make the altercation appear like a random burglary. Stanwyk offers to buy Fletch an airplane ticket to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he can hide until the case is closed. Fletch agrees to the scheme, believing Stanwyk has mistaken him for a vagrant, then goes to his newspaper office and asks his friend, a woman named Larry, to research the man. While there, his editor, Frank Walker, pressures him to finish his Santa Monica narcotics article. When Larry’s research reveals that Stanwyk owns an aviation company, but there is no mention of his illness in any of the society papers in which Stanwyk appears, Fletch visits the gentleman’s doctor, pretending to be a patient. While there, Fletch disguises himself as a doctor and reads Stanwyk’s medical records, which reveal that he does not have cancer. Later, Fletch goes to Stanwyk’s tennis club and speaks to his wife, Gail, pretending to be a friend of her husband. As Fletch flirts with the young woman, she gives no indication of Stanwyk’s illness, but comments on how preoccupied he has been. Afterward, Fletch poses as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agent and interviews the chairman of Stanwyk’s aviation company, Stanton Boyd. He learns that Stanwyk recently bought property in Provo, Utah, with his wife’s money. Back on the beach, Fletch’s friend, Gummy, is beaten by two police officers. As they arrest the boy, Fletch throws a rock through the patrol car window. When this fails to get a response, Fletch suspects the officers are involved with an illicit scheme, and later asks Frank for more time to work on the developing story. Sometime later, Fletch flies to Utah to continue investigating Stanwyk. He breaks into a real estate office and finds inconsistencies in the paperwork concerning Stanwyk’s recent property purchase. When Fletch returns home, officers await and falsely arrest him for heroin possession. At the station, Chief Karlin threatens him not to write the story about police involvement with drug dealing on the beach, claiming that undercover officers are preparing to make arrests and Fletch’s story would alert the culprits. When Fletch refuses, Karlin aims a gun at him, asserting he could claim self-defense and get away with the murder, so Fletch agrees to drop the story. Later, Fletch tells Frank what happened at the police station, but Frank does not believe him. In time, Fletch reveals his true identity to Gail Stanwyk, confessing that her husband hired him to commit his murder. Fletch has a romantic interest in Gail, and he persuades her not to tell anyone about her husband’s plan so he can continue his investigation. Later, Fletch follows Stanwyk. After witnessing him receive a briefcase from Chief Karlin, Fletch realizes that Stanwyk is colluding with the police on their drug dealings. When Fletch arrives home, he is met by officers, and a car chase ensues. Later, Fletch learns that Stanwyk and a Utah woman named Sally Anne Cavanaugh have reservations on a flight to Rio de Janeiro, and Fletch returns to Provo to find the woman. After discovering that she has recently moved, Fletch visits Stanwyk’s parents, Marvin and Thelma, who also live in Utah. They show him pictures of their son and his “wife,” Sally Anne. When Fletch mentions Gail’s name, they have never heard of the woman. Fletch returns to Los Angeles and tells Gail about Stanwyk’s secret life with Sally Anne. Later, Fletch reveals his identity as a reporter to Gummy, who confesses that he was delivering drugs from Chief Karlin to Fat Sam to sell on the beach. Fletch convinces Fat Sam to help him expose Karlin, then brings him and Gummy to the newspaper office, and Frank finally believes that the police are involved with the drug dealing. That night, Fletch goes to Stanwyk’s mansion to carry out the “murder.” Before Fletch can reveal what he has uncovered, Stanwyk aims a gun at him. Just then, Gail arrives to confront her husband about his bigamy, and he prepares to kill her as well. Fletch realizes that Stanwyk chose him to carry out the murder because they shared the same body type. Stanwyk’s plan was to fake his own death, murder Fletch, and burn Fletch's body so it was mistaken for his. Assuming a new identity, Stanwyk plotted an escape to Rio with his original wife, Sally Anne, along with his pilfered riches. Just then, Chief Karlin arrives unexpectedly, overhears Stanwyk’s plan, and murders him. As Fletch and Karlin fight, Gail hits the police chief on the head, knocking him unconscious. Later, the newspaper prints Fletch’s exposé, and he and Gail use the airplane tickets to Rio to enjoy a romantic vacation. +

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

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