The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

R | 125 mins | Comedy-drama | 21 December 1990

Director:

Brian De Palma

Producer:

Brian De Palma

Cinematographer:

Vilmos Zsigmond

Production Designer:

Richard Sylbert

Production Company:

Warner Bros., Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

End credits contain the following information: “Footage of Tom Brokaw at Newsdeck ©1990 by NBC News; MacNeil-Lehrer News Footage ©1990 by Educational Broadcast Corporation.” Also: “Warner Bros. wishes to thank the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, Television and Broadcasting and the People of the City of New York for their cooperation during filming.”
       According to the 24 Apr 1990 HR, the 9 Aug 1990 DV, and documents in AMPAS library files, principal photography began in New York City on 16 Apr 1990 and ended 27 Jul 1990 in Burbank, CA.
       The making of The Bonfire of the Vanities was covered by Wall Street Journal reporter Julie Salamon in her book, The Devil’s Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood (Boston, 1991). According to Salamon, the man most responsible for bringing The Bonfire of the Vanities to the screen was producer Peter Guber, one of the few people who believed Tom Wolfe’s sprawling novel could be contained within a two-hour movie. Guber brought the project to Warner Bros. and gathered most of the principals. The 29 Mar 1988 DV noted that director Adrian Lyne was briefly attached to the project. Salamon reported that the studio wanted Mike Nichols to direct, but Guber overruled them because Nichols insisted on bringing actor-comedian Steve Martin to portray the main character, “Sherman McCoy.” Likewise, Guber nixed the studio’s choice of Tom Cruise and picked Tom Hanks instead, claiming the role needed the actor’s “likeability.” When Sony Corporation hired Guber and business partner Jon Peters away from Warners, the film went into production without a producer, though Guber’s and ... More Less

End credits contain the following information: “Footage of Tom Brokaw at Newsdeck ©1990 by NBC News; MacNeil-Lehrer News Footage ©1990 by Educational Broadcast Corporation.” Also: “Warner Bros. wishes to thank the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, Television and Broadcasting and the People of the City of New York for their cooperation during filming.”
       According to the 24 Apr 1990 HR, the 9 Aug 1990 DV, and documents in AMPAS library files, principal photography began in New York City on 16 Apr 1990 and ended 27 Jul 1990 in Burbank, CA.
       The making of The Bonfire of the Vanities was covered by Wall Street Journal reporter Julie Salamon in her book, The Devil’s Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood (Boston, 1991). According to Salamon, the man most responsible for bringing The Bonfire of the Vanities to the screen was producer Peter Guber, one of the few people who believed Tom Wolfe’s sprawling novel could be contained within a two-hour movie. Guber brought the project to Warner Bros. and gathered most of the principals. The 29 Mar 1988 DV noted that director Adrian Lyne was briefly attached to the project. Salamon reported that the studio wanted Mike Nichols to direct, but Guber overruled them because Nichols insisted on bringing actor-comedian Steve Martin to portray the main character, “Sherman McCoy.” Likewise, Guber nixed the studio’s choice of Tom Cruise and picked Tom Hanks instead, claiming the role needed the actor’s “likeability.” When Sony Corporation hired Guber and business partner Jon Peters away from Warners, the film went into production without a producer, though Guber’s and Peters’ names remained in the credits. Director Brian De Palma wanted Uma Thurman to portray “Maria Ruskin,” but Hanks felt Thurman was too young and inexperienced. Having worked with actress Melanie Griffith in Body Double (1984, see entry), De Palma was initially reluctant to hire her, citing unpredictability, but he reconsidered. According to both Salamon and the 24 Sep 1991 issue of People, Griffith later created continuity and wardrobe problems when she got her breasts enlarged between the times she filmed in New York and Los Angeles.
       Salamon reported that one of the film’s most expensive decisions came when De Palma decided the script needed a sympathetic African American character. He changed Tom Wolfe’s Jewish judge, “Myron Kovitsky,” to “Judge White,” and hired Morgan Freeman to replace Alan Arkin, who was paid to leave the project. Freeman’s fee was substantially higher than Arkin’s. In Tom Wolfe’s book, “Peter Fallow” was an English journalist, but since Michael Christofer’s script had turned him into the story’s narrator, De Palma wanted an American. After Jack Nicholson turned down the role, De Palma settled on Bruce Willis, the only popular actor campaigning for the role, but the studio had to pay him $5 million, far more than Hanks’ salary. Actor F. Murray Abraham, who portrayed “D.A. Abe Weiss,” demanded equal billing to Morgan Freeman before the title, and removed his name from the credits when the studio refused.
       According to Salamon, the film’s opening scene, an unbroken, nearly five-minute journey through corridors and elevators, was shot with a Steadicam beneath New York’s World Trade Center. Locations were often hard to get because New Yorkers resented Tom Wolfe’s negative portrayals in the novel. The exterior of Sherman McCoy’s apartment was 800 Park Avenue, but the non-existent 816 Park Avenue had to be painted on the doorway canopy, because residents “didn’t want to be recognized,” the 17 Dec 1990 New York noted. Merrill Lynch’s large trading room in the World Trade Center stood in for McCoy’s workplace. In the Bronx, the “prostitute street” was 167th Street and River Avenue, and the “hit ’n run” was filmed beneath the Third Avenue Bridge. Exteriors were filmed at the Bronx County Building, but the interior of Abe Weiss’s office was filmed at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark, NJ, despite a NJ Supreme Court judge’s attempt to stop it, the 24 Dec 1990 Var reported. Morgan Freeman’s courtroom scenes were shot in the Queens, NY, County Courthouse. The African American housing project where demonstrations took place was located in the Bronx on 171st Street, near Third Avenue. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer was so offended by the film’s “Bronx bashing” that he demanded a disclaimer citing the borough’s many cultural institutions, but Warner Bros. eventually agreed only to assure in end credits that the story was fictional, the 1 May 1990 LAT and 4 May 1990 NYT reported. Ferrer’s office also objected to Julie Salamon attending, and reporting on, his secret meeting with producers.
       The production moved to Warner Bros.’ Burbank lot on 12 Jun 1990 for interiors, but second unit director of photography Eric Schwab stayed behind to film the landing of an Air France Concorde jet at JFK International Airport, with the sunset and Empire State Building in the background. Though the shot lasted only a couple of seconds in the film, it cost the studio $80,000, because Air France supplied its best pilots for the special landing. Interiors, including McCoy’s Park Avenue apartment, which cost $850,000 to build, were filmed on three sound stages. In fact, the Park Avenue set was featured in several pages of color photographs in the Nov 1990 House and Garden magazine. Production designer Richard Stylbert, explaining the elegance of his creation, told the Dec 1990 Interview, “The rich world is very large, meaning things are larger than life. The bond-trading floor has to be the largest in the world; apartments have seventeen rooms. The colors of the rich are subdued and …gold.”
       Salamon, along with the 10 May 1990 LAT, reported that the post- Don Giovanni opera party had to be filmed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, after New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art scrapped plans to film there, because the studio used the museum’s name without permission to gather socialites as extras. In mid-Oct, long after principal photography ended on 27 Jul 1990, and only two months before the film’s scheduled opening at Christmas, Schwab shot the opening title scene of the lower New York skyline, including the World Trade Center. At a cost of $150,000, Schwab and his crew filmed from the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building, with one of its eagle gargoyles—shaped like a 1930s Chrysler car hood ornament—in the foreground. The time-lapse shot lasted from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. The most expensive scene in The Bonfire of the Vanities, Salamon reported, was Sherman McCoy’s rampage in a courthouse with a sword. It cost $2 million, but was cut from the final release. So was the film’s original final scene, in which “Henry Lamb,” the injured young black man at the center of the story, walked out of his hospital room and returned to anonymity.
       The Bonfire of the Vanities was both a critical and box-office disaster, which the press dubbed “Bombfire.” Costing about $45 million, it grossed only $15.4 million in its first forty-five days of release. The 23 Dec 1991 People estimated that the budget went as high as $50 million.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Mar 1988.
---
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1990
p. 1, 6.
Daily Variety
16 Apr 1990.
---
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1990.
---
Hollywood Drama-Logue
30 Aug 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1990
p. 10, 22.
House and Garden
Nov 1990
pp. 174-176, 232.
Interview Magazine
Dec 1990
p. 28.
LAHExam
5 Apr 188.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
24 Sep 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Sep 1989
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
1 May 1990
Section F, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Oct 1990
Section T, p. 34.
Los Angeles Times
21 Dec 1990
p. 1.
New York
17 Dec 1990.
---
New York
2 Dec 1991.
---
New York Times
6 Feb 1990
Section B, p. 8.
New York Times
4 May 1990.
---
New York Times
21 Dec 1990
p. 1.
New York Times
18 Nov 1991.
---
People
15 Oct 1990.
---
People
24 Sep 1991.
---
People
23 Dec 1991
p. 111.
Toronto Star
2 May 1990
Section F, p. 1.
USA Today
24 Apr 1990
p. 2D.
Variety
24 Dec 1990
pp. 36-37.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Warner Bros. Presents
A Brian DePalma Film
Distributed by Warner Bros.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
D.G.A. trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Video assist
Video assist
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Key grip
2d grip
2d grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
1st asst film ed
1st asst film ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Paint foreman
Scenic artist
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set dressing leadman
Set dressing leadman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Men`s ward
Women's ward
Ward to Bruce Willis
Fur coats by
MUSIC
Mus ed
Editorial mus consult
Orch
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst ADR ed
Prod sd mixer
Prod sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Boom op
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Main title des and prod by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup to Bruce Willis
Hair stylist
Hair stylist
Hair stylist to Bruce Willis
Make-up spec eff
Make-up spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod secy
Prod. office coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Casting assoc
Extra casting
Extra casting
NY casting asst
Asst to Mr. Caruso
Asst to Tom Hanks
Asst to Bruce Willis
Asst prod office coord
Asst prod ssecy
Prod office secy
Staff asst
Staff asst
Staff asst
Staff asst
Staff asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Transportation coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Animal trainer
Courtroom tech adv
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe (New York, 1987). "Serialized version originally published in Rolling Stone. "
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Pennies From Heaven," written by John Burke and Arthur Johnston
"Am I Living In Vain?," written by E. Twinky Clark
"Let Jesus Fix It For You," written by Milton Biggham
+
SONGS
"Pennies From Heaven," written by John Burke and Arthur Johnston
"Am I Living In Vain?," written by E. Twinky Clark
"Let Jesus Fix It For You," written by Milton Biggham
"The Storm Is Passing Over," written by Herbert Robinson
"That's Life," written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon
Don Giovanni, "Serenade in G (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)," composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 December 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 21 December 1990
New York opening: week of 21 December 1990
Production Date:
16 April--27 July 1990 in New York City, New Jersey, and Los Angeles
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 December 1990
Copyright Number:
PAu1438911
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Technicolor®
Lenses
Camera and lenses by Panavision ®
Duration(in mins):
125
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30841
SYNOPSIS

Peter Fallow, an inebriated best-selling author, arrives at a banquet to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Waiting near the dais, Peter wishes Sherman McCoy, the man at the center of his book, were here. Two years earlier, Sherman is a bond trader living with his wife, Judy, and daughter, Campbell, in a $6-million apartment on New York City’s Park Avenue. Sherman is a “master of the universe,” making millions of dollars on Wall Street. He also maintains an affair with Maria Ruskin, the wife of tycoon Arthur Ruskin, but one day, he cannot reach her. Using the excuse of walking the dog, he goes to a telephone booth, but mistakenly calls his own number. When Judy answers, he blurts out, “Maria?,” then realizes his mistake and hangs up. Returning home, Sherman denies making the call, but Judy knows he is lying. The next day, he works on a possible $600-million deal that will earn him a $1.7 million commission. That night, after picking up his mistress, Maria, at John F. Kennedy International Airport upon her return from Italy, Sherman misses their turn-off to Manhattan and gets lost in the Bronx, whose ghetto streets are filled with prostitutes, pimps, drunks, and thieves. Arriving at an on-ramp back to the expressway, Sherman gets out of his Mercedes-Benz to remove a truck tire in the middle of the road. Two young African Americans, Henry Lamb and Roland Auburn, approach him menacingly. Maria slides behind the wheel as Sherman escapes into the passenger side, and she backs into Henry Lamb in order to escape. Sherman wonders if they should telephone police about hitting the young man, but Maria claims the press would turn ... +


Peter Fallow, an inebriated best-selling author, arrives at a banquet to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Waiting near the dais, Peter wishes Sherman McCoy, the man at the center of his book, were here. Two years earlier, Sherman is a bond trader living with his wife, Judy, and daughter, Campbell, in a $6-million apartment on New York City’s Park Avenue. Sherman is a “master of the universe,” making millions of dollars on Wall Street. He also maintains an affair with Maria Ruskin, the wife of tycoon Arthur Ruskin, but one day, he cannot reach her. Using the excuse of walking the dog, he goes to a telephone booth, but mistakenly calls his own number. When Judy answers, he blurts out, “Maria?,” then realizes his mistake and hangs up. Returning home, Sherman denies making the call, but Judy knows he is lying. The next day, he works on a possible $600-million deal that will earn him a $1.7 million commission. That night, after picking up his mistress, Maria, at John F. Kennedy International Airport upon her return from Italy, Sherman misses their turn-off to Manhattan and gets lost in the Bronx, whose ghetto streets are filled with prostitutes, pimps, drunks, and thieves. Arriving at an on-ramp back to the expressway, Sherman gets out of his Mercedes-Benz to remove a truck tire in the middle of the road. Two young African Americans, Henry Lamb and Roland Auburn, approach him menacingly. Maria slides behind the wheel as Sherman escapes into the passenger side, and she backs into Henry Lamb in order to escape. Sherman wonders if they should telephone police about hitting the young man, but Maria claims the press would turn the story into two wealthy white people cheating on their spouses. The next day, in Judge White’s courtroom at the Bronx County Building, Assistant District Attorney Jed Kramer complains when the African American judge dismisses his case against a prominent white man arrested on flimsy evidence. Judge White admonishes Jed and accuses his boss, District Attorney Abe Weiss, who wants to run for mayor, of searching for rich, white defendants to offset all his black defendants. As Jed Kramer leaves the courtroom, Bronx police detectives Martin and Goldberg tell him a young black man, Henry Lamb, is in a coma after being hit by a white man in a Mercedes-Benz. The detectives take Jed to civil rights leader Reverend Bacon, who represents the boy’s mother, Annie Lamb. Reminding Jed that he is the African American community’s “safety valve” for “steam control,” Bacon portrays Henry as an innocent college student run down by an uncaring white man. Annie says before her son went into a coma, he remembered that the license plate number began with R, followed by P or E. Meanwhile, Sherman and Judy drive to his parents’ mansion in the Hamptons. Though the senior McCoy was once a stockbroker, he looks unfavorably on Wall Street’s speculative new bond market, and feels that money has replaced integrity. Judy explains to her daughter, Campbell McCoy, that bonds are like a golden cake, and that her daddy, Sherman, slices up that cake, passes the pieces around, and keeps the golden crumbs for himself. Elsewhere, Peter Fallow, a tabloid reporter, drinks at an expensive restaurant. When former girl friend Caroline Heftshank arrives, she introduces Peter as a “has been” to her current Italian boyfriend, Filippo Chirazzi. Peter’s boss, British publisher Sir Gerald Moore, threatens to fire him because he never works. Peter is awakened the next morning by a telephone call from Albert Fox, Reverend Bacon’s political “fixer,” who convinces him to write a story about Henry Lamb. Peter interviews one of Henry’s former schoolteachers, who explains that the Bronx’s educational system is a joke, and that a good student in the ghetto is any kid who does not urinate on the teacher. Peter writes a sympathetic story. The next day, as Sherman has a difficult time on the telephone with his $600-million client, his eyes fall upon the front page headlines of Peter’s tabloid, The City Light: “Honor Student in Coma. Cops Sit on Hit & Run.” Frantic, Sherman alienates his client and ruins the deal. When he shows the tabloid to Maria, she is more concerned with a workman inside her apartment fixing the intercom system to the door buzzer. After the man leaves, Maria explains that she illegally pays monthly $1,100 to sublet the apartment from Caroline Heftshank, who has a long-term $300-a-month lease protected by rent control. Concerning the article, Maria tells Peter not to worry, because she was driving. At a demonstration outside the Bronx County Building, Reverend Bacon accuses D.A. Abe Weiss of burying the case. Watching Bacon on television, Weiss demands Jed Kramer track down all Mercedes-Benzs with license numbers beginning in R, followed by either P or E. Weiss reiterates that he needs a “Great White Defendant” to make the Bronx’s blacks vote for him in November’s election. When Martin and Goldberg visit Sherman McCoy at home, he is evasive and uncooperative. Convinced of his guilt, they report the news to Jed. Soon Roland Auburn, the other young black man, comes forward to identify Sherman. Sherman’s lawyer, Tom Killian, warns him that his arrest is imminent. That night, Sherman and Judy attend the opera Don Giovanni, and at a party afterward, a distraught Sherman pulls Maria aside to tell her of his pending arrest. The next day, when Killian and detectives Martin and Goldberg pick Sherman up, they tell him Maria left for Italy that morning. Outside the courthouse, the detectives handcuff Sherman and lead him through a horde of reporters and photographers. Peter Fallow is there, but stands back from the fray. Sherman is arraigned, fingerprinted, and placed in a jail cell. Inside the courtroom, Judge White sets bail at only $10,000, despite the objections of Jed Kramer and an angry crowd. Outside, Peter Fallow, drinking whiskey, leaves the courthouse and runs into Sherman being released through a side door. Seeing other members of the press nearby, Peter hurries Sherman into the subway without revealing his own identity. Sitting on the subway train, Sherman cries and complains how Peter Fallow has ruined his life with the trumped-up tabloid story. As he rushes off the train at a station, he adds, “and I wasn’t even driving,” which piques Peter’s interest. Sherman sneaks past the picket line in front of his apartment building and finds his wife, Judy, throwing a dinner party. Everyone seems happy to see him, but a coworker hints that he is not welcome back at the brokerage and a neighbor says the co-operative that owns the apartment building wants him to move. Getting a shotgun, Sherman chases everyone out. Judy informs him that the party, planned two weeks earlier, was her final duty before leaving him. Meanwhile, Sir Gerald Moore fetes Peter at the newspaper. Caroline pulls him into her office to tell him she is angry, because Maria ran off with her boyfriend, Filippo. She has been evicted from her apartment because the landlord wired the intercom with a tape recorder and proved she was illegally subletting to Maria. Having heard the tape, Caroline knows Maria, not Sherman, hit Henry Lamb. The next day, Peter interviews Maria’s husband, Arthur Ruskin, hoping to contact Maria. Fortuitously, Arthur suffers a fatal heart attack during the interview that brings Maria home from Italy. Though Peter implicates Maria as the driver in The City Light, Reverend Bacon and Albert Fox call him to Henry’s hospital room to explain that the real story is their $10 million lawsuit against the hospital for malpractice. Peter’s next-morning headline reads: “Did Negligent Hospital Slaughter Lamb?” Desperate, D.A. Weiss promises Maria immunity if she testifies that Sherman was driving. Peter gets a copy of the incriminating recording from the man who bugged Maria’s apartment and sends it anonymously to Sherman’s lawyer, but it is legally unusable because Sherman did not record it. When Sherman wears a hidden microphone to Arthur’s funeral to get Maria’s admission, she discovers it and tells Jed Kramer she is ready to testify. Sherman’s father visits him to offer support, and though he has always taught Sherman integrity, he admits that a lie is okay if the truth cannot set you free. The next day, as Maria testifies against him, Sherman plays his tape through a small amplifier that lets the courtroom hear her admission. When the judge asks where he got it, Sherman says he recorded it himself. Judge White throws out the case, admonishes the district attorney’s office, and gives a speech about decency and justice. Now, nearly two years later, Peter Fallow steps in front of an admiring crowd at the Pulitzer banquet. D.A. Weiss, Assistant D.A. Kramer, Maria, Reverend Bacon, and all of Sherman’s other antagonists are there to celebrate. Peter muses that Sherman, who disappeared after the trial, lost everything but gained his own soul, whereas he, himself, began with nothing and gained everything. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.