Max Dugan Returns (1983)

PG | 98 mins | Comedy | 25 March 1983

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Neil Simon

Producers:

Herbert Ross, Neil Simon

Cinematographer:

David M. Walsh

Editor:

Richard Marks

Production Designer:

Albert Brenner
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HISTORY

End credits include the following statement: "Charley Lau's appearance courtesy of The Chicago White Sox."
       The 11 Dec 1980 DV announced playwright Neil Simon’s plans for a feature film, entitled Max Dugan Returns. Simon was considering actress Goldie Hawn for a leading role. According to a studio press release in AMPAS library files, the film marked Simon’s seventh original screenplay, his fifth collaboration with producer-director Herbert Ross, the fifth starring role for Simon’s wife, actress Marsha Mason, in a film written by her husband, and the screen debut of stage actor Matthew Broderick.
       In the 16 Jan 1982 LAHExam, actor Jason Robards noted that the screenplay read like a stage play, and suggested performing it live for a month prior to filming. The title was incorrectly stated as The Return of Max Dugan.
       On 22 Mar 1982, DV announced the 12 Apr 1982 start of principal photography. The 2 Jul 1982 DV reported the recent conclusion of photography and plans for a 1983 release. One of the filming locations was identified as Washington Boulevard in Venice, CA, by the 6 May 1982 LAT. Actress Beverly Todd was listed as a cast member in the 6 Jul 1982 HR, although her name does not appear onscreen.
       An article in the 9 Mar 1983 DV stated that the picture was underwritten by SLM Entertainment, Ltd., which allocated between $26 million and $32 million to finance at least four productions for Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.
       The studio held an exclusive preview screening ... More Less

End credits include the following statement: "Charley Lau's appearance courtesy of The Chicago White Sox."
       The 11 Dec 1980 DV announced playwright Neil Simon’s plans for a feature film, entitled Max Dugan Returns. Simon was considering actress Goldie Hawn for a leading role. According to a studio press release in AMPAS library files, the film marked Simon’s seventh original screenplay, his fifth collaboration with producer-director Herbert Ross, the fifth starring role for Simon’s wife, actress Marsha Mason, in a film written by her husband, and the screen debut of stage actor Matthew Broderick.
       In the 16 Jan 1982 LAHExam, actor Jason Robards noted that the screenplay read like a stage play, and suggested performing it live for a month prior to filming. The title was incorrectly stated as The Return of Max Dugan.
       On 22 Mar 1982, DV announced the 12 Apr 1982 start of principal photography. The 2 Jul 1982 DV reported the recent conclusion of photography and plans for a 1983 release. One of the filming locations was identified as Washington Boulevard in Venice, CA, by the 6 May 1982 LAT. Actress Beverly Todd was listed as a cast member in the 6 Jul 1982 HR, although her name does not appear onscreen.
       An article in the 9 Mar 1983 DV stated that the picture was underwritten by SLM Entertainment, Ltd., which allocated between $26 million and $32 million to finance at least four productions for Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.
       The studio held an exclusive preview screening in Los Angeles, CA, on 9 Mar 1983, and announced press screenings for 21 Mar 1983. Max Dugan Returns was released on 25 Mar 1983 to mixed reviews. While the 21 Mar 1983 HR called it the “’feel-good’ movie of the year,” the 5 Apr 1983 Village Voice complained that the story “panders to greed as the only basic emotion in human life.” The Jun 1983 Box review noted that the picture earned approximately $10 million in 800 theaters during the seventeen days following its release. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jun 1983.
---
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1980.
---
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1982.
---
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1982.
---
Daily Variety
7 Mar 1983
p. 1, 30.
Daily Variety
9 Mar 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1983
p. 4.
LAHExam
16 Jan 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 May 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Mar 1983
p. 1.
New York Times
25 Mar 1983
p. 8.
Screen International
3 Jul 1982.
---
Variety
28 Apr 1982.
---
Variety
23 Mar 1983
p. 18.
Village Voice
5 Apr 1983
p. 51.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Herbert Ross Film
in Neil Simon's
Produced and Released by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
D G A trainee
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Cam op
Asst cam
Elec best boy
Grip best boy
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop
Set des
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
Diamond necklace courtesy of
Mr. Sutherland's clothes by
MUSIC
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des by
Title des by
Title des by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Unit pub
Prod auditor
Asst to exec prod
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
ANIMATION
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Return of Max Dugan
Neil Simon's Max Dugan Returns
Release Date:
25 March 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 March 1983
Production Date:
12 April--late June 1982.
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
5 April 1983
Copyright Number:
PA168293
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Deluxe®
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26713
SYNOPSIS

In Venice, California, Michael McPhee wakes his mother, Nora, a widowed schoolteacher, who has fallen asleep grading test papers. Nora drives Michael to school in her dilapidated Volvo, which is stolen later that morning. She reports the theft to police detective Brian Costello, then accepts his offer to drive her to work. Upon entering the classroom, Nora informs her students that their papers were inside the stolen car, and the test will have to be repeated. Knowing that Nora cannot afford to replace the car on her meager salary, Brian loans her a motorcycle, and spends the evening teaching her how to operate it. Nora’s attraction to Brian increases when he interrupts their ride to thwart a grocery store robbery, and she agrees to see him the following Saturday. Late in the evening, Nora receives a telephone call from a stranger who asks to see her “for old time’s sake,” then appears at her door. She approaches him with a pistol before realizing the stranger is her father, Max Dugan, who abandoned his family twenty-eight years earlier. Nora assumes her father needs money, but is surprised when he hands her $10,000 in cash. He informs her of his fatal heart condition and offers his estate of $687,000 in exchange for spending his final months with his grandson. When Nora questions the source of the money, Max admits to stealing it from a mafia-controlled casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, whose owners robbed him of his real estate holdings. As a result, he is wanted by gangsters and the police. Nora refuses to accept stolen money but allows him ... +


In Venice, California, Michael McPhee wakes his mother, Nora, a widowed schoolteacher, who has fallen asleep grading test papers. Nora drives Michael to school in her dilapidated Volvo, which is stolen later that morning. She reports the theft to police detective Brian Costello, then accepts his offer to drive her to work. Upon entering the classroom, Nora informs her students that their papers were inside the stolen car, and the test will have to be repeated. Knowing that Nora cannot afford to replace the car on her meager salary, Brian loans her a motorcycle, and spends the evening teaching her how to operate it. Nora’s attraction to Brian increases when he interrupts their ride to thwart a grocery store robbery, and she agrees to see him the following Saturday. Late in the evening, Nora receives a telephone call from a stranger who asks to see her “for old time’s sake,” then appears at her door. She approaches him with a pistol before realizing the stranger is her father, Max Dugan, who abandoned his family twenty-eight years earlier. Nora assumes her father needs money, but is surprised when he hands her $10,000 in cash. He informs her of his fatal heart condition and offers his estate of $687,000 in exchange for spending his final months with his grandson. When Nora questions the source of the money, Max admits to stealing it from a mafia-controlled casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, whose owners robbed him of his real estate holdings. As a result, he is wanted by gangsters and the police. Nora refuses to accept stolen money but allows him to stay the night. The next morning, Max introduces himself to Michael as “Mr. Parker,” the new tenant in the guest room. Although Nora corroborates Max’s story, she later questions his alias, and he explains that Michael would resent her for making his grandfather leave. He also rationalizes his long absence, saying he had nothing to offer. Nora responds, “Affection would have been enough.” At school, Nora catches Celia, one of her best students, passing answers to classmate Maria. Nora has conflicted feelings as Celia reveals that she and Maria are cousins, and the transgression was motivated by a sense of family duty. Nora and Michael return home that afternoon to find new appliances in the kitchen and a modern home entertainment system in Michael’s room. An outraged Nora demands her father return the items he purchased with stolen money, but Max insists they are television game show prizes. The argument continues that evening, as Nora expresses concern that Max might corrupt her son’s morals. Afraid that either Brian or Mrs. Litke, their meddlesome neighbor, might become suspicious of the family’s newfound wealth, Nora recommends that Max not venture out of the house. The following afternoon, Nora attends a Venice High School baseball game and watches in anguish as Michael strikes out, losing yet another game for the team. Their gloom is compounded upon discovering that Brian’s motorcycle has been stolen. However, they return home to find a new Mercedes-Benz sedan in their driveway. Nora tells her father to return the car, and demands he explain his presence to Michael. In private, Max reintroduces himself to Michael as ex-convict “Gus Wittgenstein,” cellmate of the late Max Dugan, whose final request was that his grandson inherit his estate and study philosophy at a prominent East-coast university. After finding a diamond necklace on her dressing table, Nora softens her attitude toward her father’s largesse, until Michael informs her of Max’s latest alias. Nora goes on a dinner date with Brian, during which she makes excuses for her recent acquisitions, including $5,000 that accidentally falls from her purse. Despite her questionable behavior, Brian’s infatuation with Nora is unabated. Following baseball practice the next day, Chicago White Sox batting coach Charley Lau introduces himself to Michael, and proceeds to teach the boy proper batting technique. Michael and Nora return home to Max’s latest offerings, a complete remodel of their house and a Great Dane named Plato. Nora succumbs to her father’s generosity, and asks him to stay for as long as he is able. Brian appears at the door while Max is alone in the house, and questions the old man about his presence. Max claims to be a tenant who has assisted with the improvements, and plans to leave town within the week. Brian trails Max to a bank, and learns that he has made a cash deposit of $400,000 in Nora’s name. Based on his observations and those of Mrs. Litke, Brian accuses Nora of being involved in some kind of illegal activity, but she feigns outrage and refuses to discuss the matter. Nora informs Michael of Max’s true identity, then recommends that her father turn himself in to the police, anticipating leniency because of his poor health. Instead, Max leaves the next morning, fearing police might charge Nora as his accomplice. Following his departure, Nora and Michael find a videocassette in which he reveals plans to spend his remaining days on a beach in Brazil. That afternoon, Brian confronts Nora with the truth about Max and demands to know his whereabouts, but Nora claims ignorance. They meet again at a baseball game, in which the Venice High team faces its rival, Santa Monica High, whose star pitcher is Brian’s son, Kevin. Both Charley and Max observe from a distance as Michael hits the winning homerun. After the game, Nora informs Brian that Max is in Brazil, but invites the detective to postpone his manhunt and join her and the boys for pizza. Nora and Michael reach the parking lot to discover their car missing, then see Max driving it away and waving goodbye. +

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

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