Made in Heaven (1987)

PG | 104 mins | Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 6 November 1987

Director:

Alan Rudolph

Cinematographer:

Jan Kiesser

Editor:

Tom Walls

Production Designer:

Paul Peters

Production Company:

Heavenmade
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HISTORY

When writers Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon began shopping their screenplay about eternal love to production companies, Embassy Pictures was the one that was first interested. The 2 Nov 1984 HR reported the company would make the picture and that Evans and Gideon would be producers. However, Embassy did not keep the project. The 22 Oct 1985 DV announced that the recently formed Lorimar Motion Pictures, a division of Lorimar Telepictures, was producing the film, as one of five films planned at the studio.
       The project caught the attention of director Alan Rudolph, drawn to the script because of its unconventional story. However, as enthusiastic as Rudolph was about the story, he was not interested in doing the visual effects for the Heaven sequences envisioned by producers, according to the Dec 1987 Box. The studio agreed to let Rudolph make the movie the way he wanted and, with the elimination of the visual effects, the planned $18 million budget was reduced. The 22 Oct 1985 DV reported the film’s new budget was about $13 million.
       Principal photography began 21 Mar 1986, according to a 2 Apr 1986 DV production chart. The 27 Mar 1986 HR said the production would shoot for three weeks in the Charleston, SC, area, then move to Atlanta, GA, for six weeks of shooting.
       In fall 1986, a new management team was put in charge at Lorimar. In late Dec 1986, when Made in Heaven tested poorly, that new regime demanded Rudolph shoot a new ending. However, Rudolph refused, telling the 8 Mar 1987 LAT that ... More Less

When writers Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon began shopping their screenplay about eternal love to production companies, Embassy Pictures was the one that was first interested. The 2 Nov 1984 HR reported the company would make the picture and that Evans and Gideon would be producers. However, Embassy did not keep the project. The 22 Oct 1985 DV announced that the recently formed Lorimar Motion Pictures, a division of Lorimar Telepictures, was producing the film, as one of five films planned at the studio.
       The project caught the attention of director Alan Rudolph, drawn to the script because of its unconventional story. However, as enthusiastic as Rudolph was about the story, he was not interested in doing the visual effects for the Heaven sequences envisioned by producers, according to the Dec 1987 Box. The studio agreed to let Rudolph make the movie the way he wanted and, with the elimination of the visual effects, the planned $18 million budget was reduced. The 22 Oct 1985 DV reported the film’s new budget was about $13 million.
       Principal photography began 21 Mar 1986, according to a 2 Apr 1986 DV production chart. The 27 Mar 1986 HR said the production would shoot for three weeks in the Charleston, SC, area, then move to Atlanta, GA, for six weeks of shooting.
       In fall 1986, a new management team was put in charge at Lorimar. In late Dec 1986, when Made in Heaven tested poorly, that new regime demanded Rudolph shoot a new ending. However, Rudolph refused, telling the 8 Mar 1987 LAT that neither stars Kelly McGillis nor Timothy Hutton were available for reshoots. Insisting this was an unconventional movie that should not be judged by test marketing comment cards, the director persuaded the studio to allow him to re-edit the film. In the process of re-editing, Rudolph “discovered” a new ending, as he phrased it to the LAT. However, the 6 Nov 1987 Movieline magazine reported the studio took the film away from Rudolph and did the final edit.
       In the Dec 1987 Box, Rudolph explained that in his edit, the second half of the film was much darker. Many scenes shot for the second half were left on the cutting room floor after the studio finished its cut. Consequently, the second half of the film, in which the Hutton and McGillis characters are reborn on Earth and must find their way back to each other, become episodic, as the 10 Sep 1987 DV review noted.
       The movie also features two actresses in high profile, but uncredited roles. Actress Ellen Barkin plays a con woman named “Lucille,” but the actress is credited onscreen simply as “Lucille.” Actress Debra Winger, who was the real-life wife of Timothy Hutton, has a large role playing God’s right-hand man, “Emmett Humbird.” That role is credited onscreen merely as “Featuring Emmett as Himself.”
       Twentieth Century Fox was originally scheduled to distribute the film, with a Mar 1987 release date planned, the 1 Apr 1987 DV reported. However, because of the re-editing, the release was pushed back to fall 1987 and Lorimar handled distribution itself.
       Made in Heaven opened on 898 screens on 6 Nov 1987, earning $1.7 million in its first three days of release, according to the 10 Nov 1987 DV box-office report.
       End credits state: "Notoroious excerpt courtesy of ABC Video Enterprises, Inc.," and, "The Producers wish to thank: Elliot Roberts; Brian Frankish; The City of Charleston, South Carolina; The City of Atlanta, Georgia; Mayor Andrew Young; City of Georgetown, South Carolina; Middleton Place; Axis Recording Studio; Tomy Toys; Atlantic Realty Company; Macy’s/Atlanta; Oglethorpe University; The Larson Dream Band.” A dedication reads, "For Carol." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Dec 1987
p. 26, 28.
Daily Variety
22 Oct 1985
p. 1, 13.
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1986.
---
Daily Variety
1 Apr 1987.
---
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1987
p. 3, 10.
Daily Variety
10 Nov 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 1987
p. 3, 12.
Los Angeles Times
8 Mar 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Nov 1987
p. 1.
Movieline
6 Nov 1987
---
New York Times
6 Nov 1987
p. 16.
Variety
9 Sep 1987
p. 14, 16.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Featuring:
Emmett [Debra Winger]
as Himself
and
Lucille [Ellen Barkin]
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Lorimar Motion Pictures Presents
A Rudolph/Blocker Picture
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam loader
Cam op
Still photog
Key/Dolly grip
2d grip
Grip
Grip
Best boy
Grip & lighting by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec--Charleston
Set dec--Atlanta
Leadman--Charleston
Leadman--Atlanta
Set des--Charleston
Set des--Atlanta
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const gen foreman
Const foreman
Set painter foreman
Set painter
Const
Const
Const
Const
Const
Painter
Standby painter
Standby painter
Set dresser--Atlanta
Set dresser--Atlanta
Set dresser--Atlanta
Set dresser-- Atlanta
Set dresser--Atlanta
Set dresser--Atlanta
Set dresser--Atlanta
Set dresser--Atlanta
Set dresser-Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Set dresser--Charleston
Greens
Prop asst
Prop asst
Aunt Lisa's paintings
Aunt Lisa's paintings
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Costumer
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus score writ & performed by
Mus consultant--Atlanta
Supv mus coord
SOUND
Prod sd
Prod sd
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Co-supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley mixer
Prod asst
Sd cableman
Rec studio
Engineer, Producers 1 & 2
Addl synthesizer programming, Producers 1 & 2
Addl synthesizer programming, Producers 1 & 2
Re-rec services
FX mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Spec eff coord
Eff crew
Eff crew
Eff crew
Eff crew
Eff crew
Visual eff prod coord
Motion control
Motion control asst
Visual eff tech
Asst tech
Opticals & titles
Opt timer
Opt lineup
MAKEUP
Supv makeup & hair
Hair & makeup for Ms. McGillis
Hairdresser
Extra hairdresser
Extra hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod exec/Asst to Alan Rudolph
Prod accountant
Loc casting
Extras casting
Casting assoc
Prod coord--Charleston
Prod coord--Atlanta
Asst auditor
Prod secy--Atlanta
Prod secy--Los Angeles
Loc coord
Loc mgr
Loc mgr--Atlanta
Loc asst--Charleston
South Carolina Film Commission
Georgia Film Commission
Georgia Film Commission
Atlanta police coord
Studio mgr
Cheese host
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
First aid
First aid
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Professional fitness trainer for Ms. McGillis
Professional fitness trainer for Mr. Hutton
Legal services
Legal services, Haldeman & Peckeman
Projectionist
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Loc developing & printing
Col by
Timer
SOURCES
SONGS
“We’ve Never Danced,” words & music by Neil Young, performed by Martha Davis, courtesy of Capitol Records, produced by Richie Zito, © 1987 Silver Fiddle Music and Marilor Music/ASCAP
“There’s Only You,” written by Luther Vandross, performed by Luther Vandross, produced by Luther Vandross for Vandross Ltd., courtesy of Epic Records
“I Still Want You,” written by Ric Ocasek, performed by Ric Ocasek, produced by Ric Ocasek and Jimmy Iovine, courtesy of Geffen Records, © 1987 published by Lido Music, Inc./ASCAP
+
SONGS
“We’ve Never Danced,” words & music by Neil Young, performed by Martha Davis, courtesy of Capitol Records, produced by Richie Zito, © 1987 Silver Fiddle Music and Marilor Music/ASCAP
“There’s Only You,” written by Luther Vandross, performed by Luther Vandross, produced by Luther Vandross for Vandross Ltd., courtesy of Epic Records
“I Still Want You,” written by Ric Ocasek, performed by Ric Ocasek, produced by Ric Ocasek and Jimmy Iovine, courtesy of Geffen Records, © 1987 published by Lido Music, Inc./ASCAP
“Romance,” written by Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe, performed by R.E.M., produced by R.E.M. and Scott Litt, courtesy of IRS Records
“IF You Want Me To Stay,” written by Sylvester Stewart, performed by Sly Stone, produced by Sly Stone, courtesy of CBS Records, © 1973 Mijack/BMI
“Up The Ladder To The Roof,” written by Vincent Dimirco and Frank Wilson, performed by The Nylons, produced by Peter Mann and The Nylons, courtesy of Attic Records, © 1970 Jobete Co., Inc., all rights administered by Warner/Tamerlane Publishing Co., All rights reserved.
“I Am A Child,” written by Neil Young, performed by Buffalo Springfield, produced by Jim Messina, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products, courtesy of Cotillion Music, Inc.
“Mr. Soul,” written by Neil Young, performed by Buffalo Springfield, produced by Charles Greene and Brian Stone, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products, courtesy of Cotillion Music, Inc.
“For What It’s Worth,” written by Stephen Stills, performed by Buffalo Springfield, produced by Charles Greene and Brian Stone, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products, courtesy of Cotillion Music, Inc.
“Long May We Love,” written by Grace Freed and Roc Hillman, performed by Alberta Hunter, courtesy of DRG Records, Inc., © 1934 Intersong – USA, Inc. (admin. by Chappell & Co., Inc.), copyright renewed/all rights reserved
“Why Should We Try Anymore,” written by Hank Williams, performed by Hank Williams, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc., © 1950 Acuff-Rose/Opryland Music Inc. and Hiriam Music, Inc., copyright renewed/all rights reserved
“Goodnight Irene,” written by Huddie Ledbetter and John A. Lomax, performed by Ernest Tubbs and Red Foley, courtesy of MCA Records, © 1936 TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc., copyright renewed/all rights reserved
“Happy Birthday To You,” written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill, © 1935 Birch Tree Group, Ltd., copyright renewed/all rights reserved
“Up Jumped The Devil,” written by Tom Walls, performed by The Stank Band, © 1986 Marilor Music.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 November 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 November 1987
Production Date:
21 March--late May 1986
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Cameras & Lenses by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28544
SYNOPSIS

In the small town of Sunbury in the late 1940s, Mike Shea is frustrated because he cannot find a job. When his girlfriend, Brenda Carlucci, breaks up with him, having accepted someone else’s marriage proposal, Mike decides to move to California. About one hundred miles into his journey, Mike sees a car that has run off a bridge into a river. Mike dives in and helps the mother and her two children escape the car before it submerges. However, Mike drowns in the process. He awakens in Heaven, where he is greeted by his elderly Aunt Lisa. Mike does not believe he is dead and demands to speak to someone. Aunt Lisa says Emmett Humbird is the man in charge. Emmett is not God, but he does run the place. However, he hates to talk to new arrivals. Lisa advises that a wonderful adventure awaits Mike and shows him around Heaven. She lets Mike stay at her apartment, advising him to rest for a while and things will gradually start making sense. Although Lisa showed no creativity while alive on Earth, she says she took up painting upon arrival in Heaven and shows off some of her best work. She says the best way to get around in Heaven is by instant transportation. All Mike has to do is imagine the face of a person he wants to see and he will be instantly transported to where they are. Mike tries to imagine the face of his friend Larry Polsky, who died on Omaha Beach in France, during World War II, but he mistakenly transports into a family’s home, where he meets the beautiful young Annie Packert, who works ... +


In the small town of Sunbury in the late 1940s, Mike Shea is frustrated because he cannot find a job. When his girlfriend, Brenda Carlucci, breaks up with him, having accepted someone else’s marriage proposal, Mike decides to move to California. About one hundred miles into his journey, Mike sees a car that has run off a bridge into a river. Mike dives in and helps the mother and her two children escape the car before it submerges. However, Mike drowns in the process. He awakens in Heaven, where he is greeted by his elderly Aunt Lisa. Mike does not believe he is dead and demands to speak to someone. Aunt Lisa says Emmett Humbird is the man in charge. Emmett is not God, but he does run the place. However, he hates to talk to new arrivals. Lisa advises that a wonderful adventure awaits Mike and shows him around Heaven. She lets Mike stay at her apartment, advising him to rest for a while and things will gradually start making sense. Although Lisa showed no creativity while alive on Earth, she says she took up painting upon arrival in Heaven and shows off some of her best work. She says the best way to get around in Heaven is by instant transportation. All Mike has to do is imagine the face of a person he wants to see and he will be instantly transported to where they are. Mike tries to imagine the face of his friend Larry Polsky, who died on Omaha Beach in France, during World War II, but he mistakenly transports into a family’s home, where he meets the beautiful young Annie Packert, who works as a guide showing newcomers around Heaven. It turns out that Heaven resembles the town on Earth where Mike was living. Mike comments that he imagined angels had wings playing harps in clouds. Annie replies that those angels do exist, but are the “old guard.” Annie leaves, but another guide, Guy Blanchard, tells Mike that Larry Polsky has gone back to Earth as a baby. Guy explains that everyone is eventually sent back to Earth. However, no one knows when they will be sent, so they enjoy their time in Heaven. A shovel appears in Mike’s bedroom, but he does not know why. Emmett Humbird, the man in charge, comes to welcome Mike to Heaven, complimenting him on how well he is adjusting. When Mike asks about the shovel, Emmett says it likely represents an idea Mike will take back to Earth with him whenever he is sent back as a baby. Annie explains that she was born in Heaven and has not yet been to Earth. Mike kisses her and tells her he is falling in love with her. She says she is glad he died and asks him to make love to her. Mike imagines a house in a field and it appears. He takes his shovel and starts digging a garden. Later Mike asks Annie to marry him. According to Heaven, they already are married, she tells him, but Mike wants to have a ceremony nonetheless. However, shortly before the ceremony, Annie gets news she is being sent to Earth. She and Mike make love before she departs, excited to become someone’s baby. Mike goes to Emmett, demanding to be sent back to Earth as a baby boy so he can search for Annie. Emmett says if the two fell in love in Heaven, they will fall in love on Earth too, provided they meet. Emmett agrees to send Mike back, but only gives him thirty years to find her. Mike is reborn on Earth in 1951 as a baby named “Elmo Barnett” and shows strong musical talent. Meanwhile, Annie is reborn “Allison ‘Ally’ Chandler,” the daughter of a toy company executive, and shows great potential in drawing. By the late 1960s when both are in their late teens, Ally is a student activist in college and dating aspiring filmmaker Tom Donnelly. Meanwhile, Elmo is a hippie hitchhiking across the country, searching for a purpose. He joins the military and earns the Purple Heart medal while serving in Vietnam. A few years later, Ally and Elmo almost meet in Grand Central Station in New York City, but narrowly miss each other. Ally now works as a cartoonist, has written a book, The Care and Feeding of Mice, and is married to Tom Donnelly, who now works in advertising. Meanwhile, as Elmo drives across country, his car breaks down in a small town and the mechanic wants $550 to fix it. A woman named Lucille offers to help him get the money if he will start a fist fight in a bar with a man she claims has been harassing her mother. However, once Elmo initiates the fight, Lucille pulls a gun on a rich man who is gambling in the back and takes his money. Elmo and Lucille leave together, but then she robs him as well. In 1979, Emmett appears to Elmo’s unconscious mind on his twenty-eighth birthday, reminding him that he only has two years left. Emmett comments that Elmo seems to be drifting through life and not looking for Annie. However, at night during their dreams, Elmo dreams of Annie/Ally, who also dreams of him. Meanwhile, Ally and Tom’s marriage is on the verge of collapse, Tom complaining that he cannot live with Ally’s free spirit, act-on-impulse approach to life. She goes to California to work at her father’s toy company. She becomes head of the company after her father dies and starts dating Donald Sumner. Elmo hitchhikes to California, picked up by an elderly couple, Annette and Steve Shea, who were Mike’s former parents. The couple gets along well with Elmo, tell him about their late son, and buy him a trumpet when they notice him admiring it in a store window. When Elmo and the Sheas arrive in Los Angeles, California, they pull into a gasoline station where Ally and Donald are also filling up their car. However, Ally and Elmo do not see each other. Elmo practices the trumpet and eventually joins the other musicians playing for money on the boardwalk at Venice Beach, California. He invites some of those musicians to play on the album he wants to record. Elmo gets the money to record the album from a woman named Wiley Foxx, who introduces him to Brian Dutton, owner of Halo Records. Elmo releases a jazz-rock album titled “We Never Danced,” and promotes it via talk show appearances. When asked if there is a special girl in his life, Elmo replies that there is, but he has not met her yet. On Elmo’s thirtieth birthday, he is in New York City when his musician friends throw him a birthday party. Ally is also in New York on business. The two find themselves on the same street corner, but do not see each other. As they walk down the street, each has memories of making love to the other. Finally, they turn and make eye contact. They stare at each other, knowing they are finally reunited.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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