D.C. Cab (1983)

R | 99 mins | Comedy | 16 December 1983

Director:

Joel Schumacher

Writer:

Joel Schumacher

Producer:

Topper Carew

Cinematographer:

Dean Cundey

Editor:

David Blewitt

Production Designer:

John Lloyd

Production Companies:

RKO Pictures , Universal Pictures , Guber-Peters Company
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HISTORY

End credits include the following statements: “The producers wish to express their sincere thanks to: The Honorable Marion S. Barry, Mayor of the District of Columbia; The Office of Motion Picture and Television Development and the Police Department of the District of Columbia; The National Capital Region of the National Park Service; The United States Park Police; The Cardozo High School Band; The Compton High School Band; Tony Lama Company; Fran Wigglesworth and Carl 'Mr. Rhythm' Jackson;” “Original soundtrack album available on MCA records and cassettes.”
       An article in the Winter 1983-84 Movie magazine stated that producer Topper Carew asked writer-director Joel Schumacher to write a screenplay about a fictitious Washington, D.C., taxi company. Schumacher spent considerable time in the city with Carew, and became acquainted with its predominant African American and Cuban American cultures, neither of which had ever been featured in a motion picture. The writer-director also spent a great deal of time reading about and interviewing cab drivers. Three basic scenarios emerged from his research: cab drivers who cheated passengers, passengers who cheated cab drivers, and items lost in taxicabs. Among the items lost, Schumacher included large amounts of money, babies, “Stradivarius violins, first drafts of novels, [and] drugs.” He also heard numerous stories of sexual activity among passengers, and other stories that were too bizarre to be included in the script, as no audience would find them believable. Schumacher stated that he hired actor Charlie Barnett after seeing him perform a comedy routine on a New York City street corner. Prior to that, a casting call appeared in the 25 Jan 1983 DV, using the ... More Less

End credits include the following statements: “The producers wish to express their sincere thanks to: The Honorable Marion S. Barry, Mayor of the District of Columbia; The Office of Motion Picture and Television Development and the Police Department of the District of Columbia; The National Capital Region of the National Park Service; The United States Park Police; The Cardozo High School Band; The Compton High School Band; Tony Lama Company; Fran Wigglesworth and Carl 'Mr. Rhythm' Jackson;” “Original soundtrack album available on MCA records and cassettes.”
       An article in the Winter 1983-84 Movie magazine stated that producer Topper Carew asked writer-director Joel Schumacher to write a screenplay about a fictitious Washington, D.C., taxi company. Schumacher spent considerable time in the city with Carew, and became acquainted with its predominant African American and Cuban American cultures, neither of which had ever been featured in a motion picture. The writer-director also spent a great deal of time reading about and interviewing cab drivers. Three basic scenarios emerged from his research: cab drivers who cheated passengers, passengers who cheated cab drivers, and items lost in taxicabs. Among the items lost, Schumacher included large amounts of money, babies, “Stradivarius violins, first drafts of novels, [and] drugs.” He also heard numerous stories of sexual activity among passengers, and other stories that were too bizarre to be included in the script, as no audience would find them believable. Schumacher stated that he hired actor Charlie Barnett after seeing him perform a comedy routine on a New York City street corner. Prior to that, a casting call appeared in the 25 Jan 1983 DV, using the film’s original title, Capitol Cab.
       Referring to the picture under its new name, D.C. Cab, the 31 May 1983 HR, reported that principal photography began 11 Apr 1983, and the 3 Jun 1983 DV stated that it ended 2 Jun 1983 in Washington, D.C., in front of the White House. According to DV, the production received “unprecedented” cooperation from the city during photography, which included security for the parade sequence, and crowd control during scenes that featured actor Mr. T, popular star of the television series, The A-Team (ABC, 23 Jan 1983--8 Mar 1987). Movie magazine cited a “reconverted garage” in Los Angeles, CA, and Washington, D.C., landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building, Dulles Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery among the filming locations.
       The 25 May 1983 Var announced that a soundtrack album was planned, featuring performances by Irene Cara, Giorgio Moroder, Musical Youth, Tierra, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and actor Gary Busey, with several others to be added. Of these performers, only Cara and Moroder appeared on the album, although Gary Busey’s song, “Why Baby Why,” was listed in end credits. A Feb 1984 release was planned for the album, two months prior to the projected Apr 1984 release of the film.
       The 24 Oct 1983 HR announced the 16 Dec 1983 release of D.C. Cab by its distributor, Universal Pictures, was the originally scheduled slot for The Lonely Guy (1984, see entry), but photography on that film was not yet complete. Studio executives also wanted to capitalize on the popularity of Mr. T, demonstrated by the high ratings of his television series.
       The 14 Dec 1983 LAT reported that the film’s advertising campaign, which prominently featured an illustration of Mr. T, was replaced by a design that featured romantic leads Adam Baldwin and Jill Schoelen, with the slogan, “They won’t stop ’til they get to the top.” The change was influenced by Universal’s new senior executive vice president, Marvin Antonowsky, who created similar promotions for Columbia Pictures. Antonowsky stated that the change was “a collective decision,” explaining that the new design better represented the film.
       D.C. Cab opened to positive reviews. The 20 Dec 1983 LAHExam reported that the $8 million film grossed a modest $1.56 million at 863 theaters in its first weekend. However, according to the 20 Dec 1983 LAT, producer Topper Carew believed in the film’s imminent success and cited it as proof “that black producers and multiethnic movies can make it.” The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) encouraged its members to see the film, which was officially endorsed by the Beverly Hills-Hollywood chapter, and was celebrated with “D.C. Cab Days” by the African American mayors of Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Universal executive Robert Rehme, commenting on a challenge from the NAACP to “increase minority involvement in movies,” stated that the film proved the commercial value of making multiethnic pictures. However, the early release “ruined extensive promotional plans for the movie and cast” and created a challenge for Universal’s marketing department. Also, the film’s R-rating prevented many members of Mr. T’s young audience from attending. In spite of these obstacles, the studio spent more than $6 million in advertising, some of which targeted African American audiences. A music video of the closing theme song, “Dreams,” performed by Irene Cara, was released in late Dec 1983, and Peters arranged for Geffen Records, with whom the singer was contracted, to recall her current album and include the song on the reissue.
       The 18 Sep 1985 HR reported that RKO General, Inc., was suing Universal for approximately $78 million in a breach of contract suit involving five films co-produced by the companies between 1980 and 1984, one of which was D.C. Cab. RKO, which contributed $75 million to the $100 million joint venture, accused Universal of “utilizing funds for their own purposes without keeping proper books or records.” The plaintiff further alleged that Universal did not enter the agreement in good faith, and intended to “operate the venture for its own profits.” The defendant was also accused of withdrawing money from the venture “for its own purposes.” The suit followed following a Nov 1982 audit of the venture’s accounts by RKO. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Jan 1983.
---
Daily Variety
10 Mar 1983.
---
Daily Variety
25 Apr 1983.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1983
p. 3, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 1985.
---
LAHExam
20 Dec 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 Dec 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1983
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
20 Dec 1983
Part VI, p. 1, 6.
Movie Magazine
Winter 1983/84.
---
New York Times
16 Dec 1983
p. 8.
Screen International
18 Feb 1984.
---
Variety
25 May 1983.
---
Variety
14 Dec 1983
p. 17.
Variety
21 Dec 1983.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring in alphabetical order:
[as the Barbarian Brothers]
[as the Barbarian Brothers]
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
RKO Pictures and Universal Pictures
in association with the Guber-Peters Company present
a Joel Schumacher film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d unit dir of photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, Washington, D.C. crew
Cam op, Washington, D.C. crew
Cam asst, Washington, D.C. crew
Cam asst, Washington, D.C. crew
Still photog, Washington, D.C. crew
Gaffer, Washington, D.C. crew
Key grip, Washington, D.C. crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop person
Asst prop person
Stand-by painter
Property, Washington, D.C. crew
COSTUMES
Men's cost supv
Men`s cost
Women's cost supv
Women`s cost
MUSIC
Mus coord
Mus coord
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Mus arr
Mus arr
Eng by
Eng by
Eng by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Looping dial ed
Prod mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
ADR and Foley mixer
Looping group supplied by
Sd, Washington, D.C. crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
DANCE
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Head hair stylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Post prod supv
Dial coach
New York casting
Washington, D.C. casting
Casting asst
Scr supv
Craft service
Cook driver
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Insert car driver
Mechanic
Transportation
Transportation
Transportation
Transportation
Prod asst
Loc auditor
Catering by
Asst to Joel Schumacher
Asst to Joel Schumacher
Asst to Joel Schumacher
Asst to Joel Schumacher
Asst to Joel Schumacher
Asst to Jon Peters
Intern
Asst to Topper Carew
Asst to Cassius Weathersby
Asst to Cassius Weathersby
Liaison, Washington, D.C. crew
Transportation, Washington, D.C. crew
Transportation, Washington, D.C. crew
Transportation, Washington, D.C. crew
Transportation, Washington, D.C. crew
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The Dream," performed by Irene Cara, music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Irene Cara/Pete Bellotte, courtesy of Network Records
"Single Heart," performed by DeBarge, music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Pete Bellotte, courtesy of Motown Records
"Party Me Tonight," performed by Stephanie Mills, music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Pete Bellotte, courtesy of Polygram Records
+
MUSIC
"The Dream," performed by Irene Cara, music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Irene Cara/Pete Bellotte, courtesy of Network Records
"Single Heart," performed by DeBarge, music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Pete Bellotte, courtesy of Motown Records
"Party Me Tonight," performed by Stephanie Mills, music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Pete Bellotte, courtesy of Polygram Records
"Knock Me On My Feet," performed by Champaign, music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Pete Bellotte, courtesy of Columbia Records
"One More Time Around The Block Ophelia," performed by Gary U.S. Bonds, written by Phil Galdston and Peter Thom
"D.C. Cab," performed by Peabo Bryson, written by Richard Feldman, Rick Kelly, Larry John McNally
"Deadline U.S.A.," performed by Shalamar, written by Allee Willis, Danny Sembello, Dennis Matkosky, courtesy of Solar Records
"World Champion," performed by Leon Sylvers III, written by Ron Finch, Daryl Ross
"Squeeze Play," performed by Karen Kamon, written by Andy Goldmark, Phil Galdston, courtesy of Columbia Records
"Knock Me On My Feet" (Instrumental), performed by Giorgio Moroder, music by Giorgio Moroder
"Vietnam," performed by Jimmy Cliff, courtesy of Island Records
"Why Baby Why," written and performed by Gary Busey.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Capitol Cab
Release Date:
16 December 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 December 1983
Production Date:
11 April--2 June 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 March 1984
Copyright Number:
PA204432
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Color by Technicolor
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex camera and lenses by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

A young man named Albert Hockenberry arrives in Washington, D.C., from Locust Grove, Georgia, and makes his way to the D.C. Cab Company, owned and operated by Harold Oswell, a Vietnam War veteran who served alongside Albert’s late father. Their reunion is interrupted by Ernesto Bravo, the city Hack Inspector, who claims that driver Tyrone Bywater overcharged a Japanese couple for a ride to the airport. Although Harold returns the couple’s money, Bravo indicates that he will find any excuse to shut the company down. Meanwhile, Tyrone shifts Bravo’s car into reverse, and when the inspector starts his vehicle, it accelerates backward into the front of a Chinese restaurant. That night at Harold’s house, Albert informs his host that he intends to remain in the city and learn about the taxicab business. Although Harold is happy to have Albert as a houseguest, his wife, Myrna, is not and starts a fight with her husband over a trivial matter. Albert begins his training by riding along with the company’s drivers, including Xavier, a well-dressed Latin American who aspires to be a gigolo, and Samson, a civic-minded African American, angered over the presence of drug dealers in his neighborhood. On the day Albert receives his hack license, a driver named Ophelia threatens to leave D.C. Cab to work for rivals Emerald Cab Company, angered over being robbed at gunpoint multiple times by a masked man. Determined to keep his best driver, Harold invites Ophelia to discuss her grievances over a beer. Later, while sitting in a diner with his coworkers, Albert makes eye contact with Claudette, the pretty granddaughter of Maudie the ... +


A young man named Albert Hockenberry arrives in Washington, D.C., from Locust Grove, Georgia, and makes his way to the D.C. Cab Company, owned and operated by Harold Oswell, a Vietnam War veteran who served alongside Albert’s late father. Their reunion is interrupted by Ernesto Bravo, the city Hack Inspector, who claims that driver Tyrone Bywater overcharged a Japanese couple for a ride to the airport. Although Harold returns the couple’s money, Bravo indicates that he will find any excuse to shut the company down. Meanwhile, Tyrone shifts Bravo’s car into reverse, and when the inspector starts his vehicle, it accelerates backward into the front of a Chinese restaurant. That night at Harold’s house, Albert informs his host that he intends to remain in the city and learn about the taxicab business. Although Harold is happy to have Albert as a houseguest, his wife, Myrna, is not and starts a fight with her husband over a trivial matter. Albert begins his training by riding along with the company’s drivers, including Xavier, a well-dressed Latin American who aspires to be a gigolo, and Samson, a civic-minded African American, angered over the presence of drug dealers in his neighborhood. On the day Albert receives his hack license, a driver named Ophelia threatens to leave D.C. Cab to work for rivals Emerald Cab Company, angered over being robbed at gunpoint multiple times by a masked man. Determined to keep his best driver, Harold invites Ophelia to discuss her grievances over a beer. Later, while sitting in a diner with his coworkers, Albert makes eye contact with Claudette, the pretty granddaughter of Maudie the waitress, who tries to discourage Albert from pursuing her granddaughter. Bravo enters the diner to announce that a violin, valued at $500,000, was left in an unidentified taxi, prompting the drivers to scramble to their vehicles in search of the instrument. Later, Tyrone and Albert drive mother and daughter Mattie and Denise to the embassy where they work as domestics, and are greeted by the children of Ambassador Rayburn, who pelt the taxi with eggs. That night, Tyrone dares Albert to drive the cab on railroad tracks to prove his courage, and the two barely escape with their lives. In the morning, the masked robber enters Tyrone’s cab while Albert is at the wheel, and threatens him at gunpoint. Albert careens through the city toward the garage, and delivers the robber to the heavily armed drivers, while proving his courage to Tyrone. Mr. Rhythm, an elderly homeless man who sleeps in the garage, finds the missing violin in one of the taxis, earning the company a $10,000 reward. Harold calls a meeting at the diner to announce that he will share the reward if his employees reinvest in D.C. Cab as partners. All refuse except Albert, who is distracted by the sight of Claudette. While the other drivers dispute the proposition, Maudie gives Albert another warning. The next day, Claudette sneaks out of the diner and spends several hours with Albert in his taxi. Later, Harold returns home to discover that Myrna has taken the reward money and locked him out of the house. Believing that D.C. Cab is doomed, the drivers gather at the garage to clean out their lockers. Albert berates them for their lack of dedication and offers to invest $6,063, the last of his inheritance, to finance improvements on the vehicles and the garage. All agree to Albert’s offer, exception for Tyrone, who is determined to start his own business. Over time, improvements are made and the employees share in the company’s newfound prosperity. Albert wins over Maudie and no longer has to keep his romance with Claudette a secret. Tyrone, meanwhile, has no success as a souvenir salesman. One day, while delivering Denise and Mattie to the embassy, kidnappers commandeer Albert’s cab, taking him and the Rayburn children hostage, and inflicting Mattie with a minor gunshot wound. The hostages are brought to a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city, where Albert is forced to deliver ransom demands by telephone, leading law enforcement to implicate him as an accomplice. Bravo shutters D.C. Cab pending an investigation. Tyrone rejoins his colleagues, offering a plan to rescue Albert and the children. Three drivers enter Mattie’s hospital room disguised as lawyers, and acquire information on the kidnappers from federal agents standing guard. At the farmhouse, Albert breaks free and runs to his taxi, where he radios the garage, awakening Mr. Rhythm. Albert identifies his location using landmarks, which include Chinese actor Bruce Lee, before the kidnappers take him back into custody. Mr. Rhythm relays the information to Harold and his drivers, who liberate their taxis and search for the farmhouse, maintaining communication via radio. The drivers discover the farmhouse near a drive-in theater showing a Bruce Lee film, and make an unsuccessful attempt to convince the kidnappers that they are surrounded by the police. Samson rescues the children before the criminals escape in their van, with Albert as their remaining hostage. In the ensuing chase, Albert breaks free and climbs into Samson’s taxi. The van runs off an embankment and lands in the center of the movie screen, before it crashes to the ground. Harold and his crew are feted as heroes, and the city holds a parade in their honor. +

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

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