Jacknife (1989)

R | 102 mins | Drama | 10 March 1989

Director:

David Jones

Cinematographer:

Brian West

Editor:

John Bloom

Production Designer:

Edward Pisoni

Production Companies:

Kings Road Entertainment , Sandollar
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HISTORY

The following statement appears in end credits: “Special thanks to: The Department of Defense; The United States Air Force; The United States National Guard; The Veterans Administration; The 106th Air Rescue and Recovery Group; the men of The New Haven Grays, 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry; Connecticut Army National Guard; Tomassetti Distributors/Canada Dry Corp.; Nutmeg International Trucks, Inc.; Subaru of America; Rogers and Cowan; Unique Products Placement; The City of Montreal; Cidem-Cinema Montreal; Panavision Studios Canada; Crusader V. F. W. Post 1946, Naugatuck; and the hospitable residents of Meriden, New Britain and Cromwell, Connecticut.”
       Music performer Bekka Bramlett is incorrectly credited as "Beokka Bramlett" in end credits.
       According to items in AMPAS library files, during the early 1980s, producer Robert Schaffel wanted to make a contemporary remake of the 1955 film, Marty (see entry). Jeremy Zimmer, an agent at International Creative Management (ICM), suggested his client Stephen Metcalfe for the job and sent over a copy of Jacknife, screenplay Metcalfe had adapted from his own 1982 off-Broadway play, Strange Snow. Schaffel like the script so much that he forgot about remaking Marty and soon discovered that his friend, producer Carol Baum, was also interested in Jacknife . The two joined forces to option the screenplay. Although most of the major studios passed on the project, Steve Friedman, president of Kings Road Entertainment, agreed to finance it. David Jones was hired to direct. Jones was familiar with Metcalfe’s work because his wife, actress Sheila Allen, had appeared in Metcalfe’s play Vikings.
       An 11 May 1988 Var news brief announced ... More Less

The following statement appears in end credits: “Special thanks to: The Department of Defense; The United States Air Force; The United States National Guard; The Veterans Administration; The 106th Air Rescue and Recovery Group; the men of The New Haven Grays, 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry; Connecticut Army National Guard; Tomassetti Distributors/Canada Dry Corp.; Nutmeg International Trucks, Inc.; Subaru of America; Rogers and Cowan; Unique Products Placement; The City of Montreal; Cidem-Cinema Montreal; Panavision Studios Canada; Crusader V. F. W. Post 1946, Naugatuck; and the hospitable residents of Meriden, New Britain and Cromwell, Connecticut.”
       Music performer Bekka Bramlett is incorrectly credited as "Beokka Bramlett" in end credits.
       According to items in AMPAS library files, during the early 1980s, producer Robert Schaffel wanted to make a contemporary remake of the 1955 film, Marty (see entry). Jeremy Zimmer, an agent at International Creative Management (ICM), suggested his client Stephen Metcalfe for the job and sent over a copy of Jacknife, screenplay Metcalfe had adapted from his own 1982 off-Broadway play, Strange Snow. Schaffel like the script so much that he forgot about remaking Marty and soon discovered that his friend, producer Carol Baum, was also interested in Jacknife . The two joined forces to option the screenplay. Although most of the major studios passed on the project, Steve Friedman, president of Kings Road Entertainment, agreed to finance it. David Jones was hired to direct. Jones was familiar with Metcalfe’s work because his wife, actress Sheila Allen, had appeared in Metcalfe’s play Vikings.
       An 11 May 1988 Var news brief announced that principal photography began on 25 Apr 1988. A 5 Jul 1988 DV item reported filming was completed. Locations included Meriden and New Britain, Connecticut. Some interiors were filmed in Montreal, Canada.
       An 18 May 1988 Var news item estimated the film’s budget was over $10 million.


More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
5 Jul 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 1989
p. 4, 24.
Los Angeles Times
10 Mar 1989
p. 6.
New York Times
10 Mar 1989
p. 10.
Variety
11 May 1988.
---
Variety
18 May 1988.
---
Variety
1 Mar 1989
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Kings Road Entertainment Presents
A Sandollar/Schaffel Production
A David Jones Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr (Montreal)
1st asst dir (Montreal)
2d asst dir (Montreal)
Asst prod mgr, Connecticut
3d asst dir, Connecticut
Unit mgr, Montreal
3d asst dir, Montreal
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam
2d unit cam op
2d unit cam op
Focus puller, Connecticut
Clapper/loader, Connecticut
Cam trainee, Connecticut
Still photog, Connecticut
Gaffer, Connecticut
Best boy elec, Connecticut
Elec, Connecticut
Elec, Connecticut
Elec, Connecticut
Key grip, Connecticut
Dolly grip, Connecticut
Grip, Connecticut
Grip, Connecticut
Grip, Connecticut
Grip, Connecticut
Focus puller, Montreal
Clapper/loader, Montreal
Cam trainee, Montreal
Still photog, Montreal
Gaffer, Montreal
Best boy elec, Montreal
Elec, Montreal
Elec, Montreal
Key grip, Montreal
Grip, Montreal
Grip, Montreal
Arriflex cam equip supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, Connecticut
Asst to prod des, Connecticut
Art dir, Montreal
Asst to prod des, Montreal
Art dept coord, Montreal
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Set dir, Connecticut
Leadman, Connecticut
Set dresser, Connecticut
Set dresser, Connecticut
Set dresser, Connecticut
Master scenic artist
Scenic artist, Connecticut
Scenic artist, Connecticut
Const supv, Connecticut
Prop master, Connecticut
Asst prop master, Connecticut
Set dir, Montreal
Leadman, Montreal
Set dresser, Montreal
Set dresser, Montreal
Set dresser, Montreal
Scenic artist, Montreal
Const supv, Montreal
Const supv, Montreal
Prop master, Montreal
Asst prop master, Montreal
Prop buyer, Montreal
Prop buyer, Montreal
Dresser, Montreal
Dresser, Montreal
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv, Connecticut
Ward supv, Connecticut
Ward supv, Montreal
MUSIC
Orig score by
Mus ed
Mus rec and mixer
Musc supv of songs
SOUND
Sd mixer, Connecticut
Boom op, Connecticut
Sd asst, Connecticut
Sd mixer, Montreal
Boom op, Montreal
Sd ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed, post prod Australia
Asst sd ed, post prod Australia
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff, Connecticut
Spec eff, Connecticut
Spec eff, Connecticut
Titles & Opticals by
MAKEUP
Mr. De Niro's hair and make-up
Make-up artist
Hairstylist, Connecticut
Addl make-up by, Connecticut
Hairstylist, Montreal
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Asst to prod and dir
Asst to Mr. De Niro
Prod office coord, Connecticut
Prod accountant, Connecticut
Asst prod accountant, Connecticut
Prod secy, Connecticut
Loc scout and liaison, Connecticut
Transportation coord, Connecticut
Teamster capt, Connecticut
Helicopter liaison, Connecticut
Craft service, Connecticut
Craft service, Connecticut
Catering by, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Prod asst, Connecticut
Addl casting, Connecticut
Prod office coord, Montreal
Prod accountant, Montreal
Asst prod accountant, Montreal
Prod secy, Montreal
Loc mgr, Montreal
Transportation coord, Montreal
Picture vehicles coord, Montreal
Craft service, Montreal
Catering by, Montreal
Prod asst, Montreal
Prod asst, Montreal
Prod asst, Montreal
Addl casting, Montreal
Post prod supv, post production
Loc equip supplied by
Dallies by
Prod services provided by
Manager, Prod services
Exec in charge of prod
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Strange Snow by Stephen Metcalfe (New York, week of 1 Feb 1982).
SONGS
“Pictures In My Mind,” writer: Mike Piccirillo, performer: Terry Wood
“Rain,” writers: Simon Stokes, Joe Renzetti, performer: Lorraine Devon
“Beat Me Up,” writers: Dyna Brein, Jan Lucas, performer: Joe Lamont
+
SONGS
“Pictures In My Mind,” writer: Mike Piccirillo, performer: Terry Wood
“Rain,” writers: Simon Stokes, Joe Renzetti, performer: Lorraine Devon
“Beat Me Up,” writers: Dyna Brein, Jan Lucas, performer: Joe Lamont
“Dreammaker,” writers: Simon Stokes, Jack Conrad, performer: Beokka Bramlett
“One Way Or Another,” writer: Mike Piccirillo, performer: Beau Williams
“Oh What A Love, Oh What A Night,” writer: Gene Evaro, performer: Gene Evaro. All songs courtesy Sounds of Film, Inc.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 March 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 10 March 1989
Production Date:
began 25 April 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Kings Road Entertainment, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 May 1989
Copyright Number:
PA416672
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by The Film House Group
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29548
SYNOPSIS

Joseph “Megs” Megessey arrives at fellow Vietnam War veteran Dave’s home to go fishing on opening day. After banging on the door and getting no reply, he goes around back and finds the door unlocked. Dave’s sister, Martha, hears the pounding and rushes into Dave’s room to find him passed out surrounded by beer bottles. She grabs a golf club and runs outside. Not finding anyone, she goes back inside, sees Megs and attacks. Megs shields himself with a kitchen chair and introduces himself. After ignoring Martha’s protests, Megs steps into Dave’s room. Finding his friend dead drunk, Megs yells that he drove over 2,500 miles and leaves the house. Martha talks him into returning. Inside, she hurls a bucket of water on Dave who wakes up cursing. When he still refuses to get up, Martha dangles a worm in front of him and Dave bolts to the bathroom to vomit. Martha suggests she make breakfast, but Megs tells her he prefers a “morning” beer and runs out to his car to get some. When Dave comes downstairs, Martha suggests she meet them later at a bar, but Dave tells her they do not need a sister hanging around. Dave explains Megs is not his friend, but someone he served with in the army. When Dave tells Megs that Martha does not drink beer, she pops one open and toasts to fishing, and declares she is going fishing with the men. After stopping at a diner where Megs eats enough for three men, he asks Dave if he thinks Martha likes him. At the ... +


Joseph “Megs” Megessey arrives at fellow Vietnam War veteran Dave’s home to go fishing on opening day. After banging on the door and getting no reply, he goes around back and finds the door unlocked. Dave’s sister, Martha, hears the pounding and rushes into Dave’s room to find him passed out surrounded by beer bottles. She grabs a golf club and runs outside. Not finding anyone, she goes back inside, sees Megs and attacks. Megs shields himself with a kitchen chair and introduces himself. After ignoring Martha’s protests, Megs steps into Dave’s room. Finding his friend dead drunk, Megs yells that he drove over 2,500 miles and leaves the house. Martha talks him into returning. Inside, she hurls a bucket of water on Dave who wakes up cursing. When he still refuses to get up, Martha dangles a worm in front of him and Dave bolts to the bathroom to vomit. Martha suggests she make breakfast, but Megs tells her he prefers a “morning” beer and runs out to his car to get some. When Dave comes downstairs, Martha suggests she meet them later at a bar, but Dave tells her they do not need a sister hanging around. Dave explains Megs is not his friend, but someone he served with in the army. When Dave tells Megs that Martha does not drink beer, she pops one open and toasts to fishing, and declares she is going fishing with the men. After stopping at a diner where Megs eats enough for three men, he asks Dave if he thinks Martha likes him. At the river, Megs admits to Martha he really does not fish, then sits down with Dave and asks what he thinks about his Red Sox cap, explaining it belonged to “Bobby.” For most of the day, Dave swills whiskey. When Martha catches a trout, Megs lifts her in the air and they both fall into the river. They return home, where Megs carries a passed out Dave to bed. Martha overhears Megs refer to himself as “Jacknife,” as he tells Dave to sleep while he keeps watch. On the way out, Megs gives Martha a business card, telling her to have Dave call if he wants to talk. Days later, Megs shows up at the trucking company where Dave works and they go to a bar. Dave talks about returning wounded from the war to discover his father had died and how he never had the chance to punch him in the face for talking him into enlisting in the army. When Megs brings up the war, Dave insists it never happened. That night, Megs remembers an incident in which Dave was too frightened to get out of a helicopter, and he and Bobby threw Dave out as it lifted off, injuring his leg. He also remembers being wounded and Bobby being machine-gunned down as he tried to help. Distraught by the memories, Megs drives to a bar full of veterans. There, he tells his friend, Jake, that he wants to help Dave, but is having trouble with memories that seeing Dave has suddenly unleashed. Jake tells Megs that everyone needs someone who cares, and Megs mentions his attraction to Martha. A few days later, Martha visits Megs at the garage where he works, and asks him out for coffee, but he takes her to a nice restaurant instead. Martha waves aside his compliments on her figure, but he tells her she gets prettier the more he gets to know her. On Saturday, they drive to a Vietnam War Memorial with Bobby’s name on it. Megs admits that when he returned from the war, he often got into fights and contemplated suicide. One day, he prayed and realized he had to live to make Bobby’s death mean something. Later, Martha and Megs go to a restaurant, unaware Dave is there getting drunk. Dave slinks out before they can see him. When Martha gets home, Dave warns her that Megs is crazy and asks her to stop seeing him, but Martha refuses. The next day, Dave finds Megs in his truck. They pull into at a truck stop and get into a game of basketball until Dave falls and hurts his leg. Megs drives the rig and reminisces about Vietnam. Finally, Dave orders Megs to stop seeing his sister. As Megs talks about dealing with his anger issues, he drives the rig faster and faster until he almost rear-ends a car. When Dave asks him to slow down, Megs repeats Dave’s contention that he is a “crazy bastard” who does not care who he kills. Once Megs calms down, he takes Dave to a veterans' group therapy session, but Dave bolts after hearing one man talk about returning to the United States. Because he was in uniform no one would pick him up as he hitchhiked. Megs goes to Dave’s house and finds Martha eating alone. He attempts to kiss her, but she pushes him away. Enraged, he slams his fist through a window. As Martha bandages his hand, she tells Megs she liked the kiss. After she takes Megs to the emergency room, they return to her home and make love. Afterwards, Martha asks Megs to chaperone a senior prom. Across town, Dave visits Bobby’s parents, Ed and Pru Buckman, and asks them to let him clean their yard in the spring. The day of the prom, Martha shows off her dress to Dave. He explodes, calls Megs a “loser,” and demands she break off her date. She refuses and tells her brother she is sick of hiding from life and worrying if he will commit suicide. She informs Dave she plans to live on her own. That night, Megs appears in a white tux with flowers, candy and champagne. While the two have a wonderful time at the prom, Dave gets drunk then has a flashback. He remembers Bobby carrying him to a medic, then running back to help Megs even though Dave screamed that Megs was dead. He hallucinates that a bleeding Bobby is sitting at the bar. He leaps into his car and drives to Martha’s school and sees his own high school picture in the trophy box. Enraged, he smashes the case with a chair. Upon hearing glass breaking, Martha and Megs rush into the hall. Dave tells Megs it is his fault Bobby is dead because Megs forced them to jump out of the helicopter. Megs screams that Bobby died because Dave chickened out, forcing them to throw him out of the helicopter whereupon he broke his ankle and they had to carry him. Megs was wounded and left bleeding while Bobby got Dave to safety, before coming back for Megs. Megs remembers Dave yelling for Bobby to leave him behind. Dave lets out a whimper and rushes from the building while Megs calls out for Dave to stop running from his past. Later, Martha and Megs drive back home, but Dave is not there. Martha tells Megs that Dave is not his friend, but Megs insists he is Dave’s friend. Dave finally arrives home full of apologies, but Martha turns her back on him. Megs uses his handkerchief to wipe the blood off Dave’s forehead, explaining that Martha cannot understand his behavior because she was not in Vietnam. Dave cries that if Bobby had not gone back for Megs he would be alive, but Megs explains that Bobby could not leave either of them. He then reminds Dave that he, Bobby and Megs all promised that when they returned they were going to watch a baseball game in Fenway Park and go fishing. Dave breaks down in Megs’s arms, then hugs Martha and apologizes. Martha follows Megs out and asks if he is leaving now that he has completed his mission. Megs tells her they have been fooling themselves and drives away. The next day, Dave attends a group therapy session and shares how Bobby used to tell him and Megs that there were certain girls who just made you complete by being with you and how each one of them would one day find that type of girl because they deserved it. Megs is halfway out of town when he turns around and drives to Martha’s. She opens the door and lets him in. +

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

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