Crazy People (1990)

R | 91 mins | Comedy | 11 April 1990

Director:

Tony Bill

Writer:

Mitch Markowitz

Producer:

Thomas Barad

Cinematographers:

Victor J. Kemper, Bill Butler

Editor:

Mia Goldman

Production Designer:

John J. Lloyd

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

End credits contain the following information: “Filmed on location at Chatham Hall, Chatham, Virginia; Roanoke, Virginia; New York City, New York.” Also, “The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following: Carol Littleton; Jerry Van Voorhis, Rector; Dick Laboucher; Ronald E. Merricks; the students, faculty and friends of Chatham Hall; Larry Lambertson, M.D., psychiatric consultant; Las Encinas Hospital, Pasadena, CA; David Dwiggins; Danville Area Chamber of Commerce; Clare Baren. Special thanks to: Danville BMW; Virginia Film Office, Margo Millure. In memory of John B. Schuyler.” A final disclaimer announces: “Characters in this film do not depict persons with mental illnesses. Mental illness is a serious disease which affects many millions of people. Paramount Pictures acknowledges the input of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Ill, P. O. Box N.A.M.I., Arlington, VA 22216.”
       The film ends with “George Cartelli,” the “hello” guy, singing the “Hello” song as a “bouncing ball” accompanies the captioned lyrics.
       The 5 Mar 1989 LAT and 16 Mar 1989 Washington Post refer to actor-director Sydney Pollack as one of the producers of Crazy People, but he is not credited in the film.
       Principal photography began 17 Apr 1989, in Chatham, VA, according to the 13 Apr 1989 Richmond Times-Dispatch and 30 May 1989 HR. With the exception of two traffic scenes shot on a Manhattan bridge, Roanoke, VA, stood in for New York City, according to studio material in AMPAS library files. Roanoke’s Crestar Bank was transformed into the advertising agency of “Charles F. Drucker & Associates,” and the residence of “Emory Leeson” was filmed in a suburb. “Bennington Sanitarium” was shot at Chatham Hall, a ... More Less

End credits contain the following information: “Filmed on location at Chatham Hall, Chatham, Virginia; Roanoke, Virginia; New York City, New York.” Also, “The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following: Carol Littleton; Jerry Van Voorhis, Rector; Dick Laboucher; Ronald E. Merricks; the students, faculty and friends of Chatham Hall; Larry Lambertson, M.D., psychiatric consultant; Las Encinas Hospital, Pasadena, CA; David Dwiggins; Danville Area Chamber of Commerce; Clare Baren. Special thanks to: Danville BMW; Virginia Film Office, Margo Millure. In memory of John B. Schuyler.” A final disclaimer announces: “Characters in this film do not depict persons with mental illnesses. Mental illness is a serious disease which affects many millions of people. Paramount Pictures acknowledges the input of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Ill, P. O. Box N.A.M.I., Arlington, VA 22216.”
       The film ends with “George Cartelli,” the “hello” guy, singing the “Hello” song as a “bouncing ball” accompanies the captioned lyrics.
       The 5 Mar 1989 LAT and 16 Mar 1989 Washington Post refer to actor-director Sydney Pollack as one of the producers of Crazy People, but he is not credited in the film.
       Principal photography began 17 Apr 1989, in Chatham, VA, according to the 13 Apr 1989 Richmond Times-Dispatch and 30 May 1989 HR. With the exception of two traffic scenes shot on a Manhattan bridge, Roanoke, VA, stood in for New York City, according to studio material in AMPAS library files. Roanoke’s Crestar Bank was transformed into the advertising agency of “Charles F. Drucker & Associates,” and the residence of “Emory Leeson” was filmed in a suburb. “Bennington Sanitarium” was shot at Chatham Hall, a girls’ college-preparatory school in Chatham, VA.
       Emory Leeson was originally portrayed by actor John Malkovich, but after three weeks he left the production, the 12 May 1989 LAT reported. Dudley Moore replaced him three days later, according to the 16 May 1989 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Malkovich’s departure followed Tony Bill’s replacement of screenwriter Mitch Markowitz as director, and Bill was able to immediately hire Moore, his partner in a Venice, CA, restaurant. Also, Victor J. Kemper replaced the film’s original director of photography Bill Butler. Tony Bill told the 28 Feb 1990 Orange County Register that he had to reshoot three weeks of work.
       The 12 Apr 1990 Worcester, MA, Telegram & Gazette reported that Paramount’s Crazy People billboards, showing a cracked egg with arms captioned “Warning, Crazy People Are Coming,” received complaints from mental health advocates all over the country. The 23 May 1990 DV spotlighted the Concerned Relatives Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s objection to a billboard near the South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines, FL. The group claimed the illustration made a joke of mentally ill people, and its proximity to the hospital was “inappropriate.”
       According to the 3 Apr 1990 WSJ, the ABC and CBS television networks declined to run some commercials for Crazy People because they gave free exposure to corporate products and, at the same time, offended several national advertisers. Among the film’s targets were United Airlines (“Most of our passengers get there alive”), AT&T (“We’re tired of taking your crap. If we fold, you’ll have no damn phones”), Porsche, Jaguar, John Hancock, and Metamucil cereal. Proctor & Gamble Company called the film’s Metamucil ad (“It will help you go to the toilet”) “outlandish.” However, Paramount avoided offending any tobacco company by using a fictitious cigarette called “Amalfi.” “Cigarette companies are very litigious,” writer Mitch Markowitz said.
       The Jun 1990 Box reported that the film grossed only $7.8 million during its first two weeks of release.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jun 1990.
---
Daily Variety
22 May 1989
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1990
p. 31.
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1990
p. 2, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 May 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 1990
p. 4, 19.
LAHExam
12 May 1989.
---
LAHExam
2 Jun 1989.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
17 Apr 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Mar 1989
p.392.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1989
Section E, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
11 Apr 1990
Section F, p. 4.
New York Times
11 Apr 1990
p. 16.
Newsday
18 May 1989.
p. 11.
Orange County Register
28 Feb 1990
Section I, p. 4.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
13 Apr 1989
Section B, p. 8.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
16 May 1989
Section B, p. 1.
San Francisco Chronicle
12 Apr 1990
Section E, p. 2.
Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
12 Apr 1990
Section D, p. 1.
Variety
31 May 1989
p. 10.
Variety
11 Apr 1990
p. 29.
Wall Street Journal
3 Apr 1990
Section B, p. 1, 6.
Washington Post
16 Mar 1989
Section D, p. 3.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
and
as Himself
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Paramount Pictures Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr (New York)
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Asst prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Chief lighting tech
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Cableperson
Video assist
Asst chief lighting tech
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Aerial cam op
Still photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Story boards
Commercials dir by
Special prop ads prod by
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Addl ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Asst prop master
Leadperson
Prop person
Prop person
Prop person
Const foreperson
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Paint foreperson
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Des consultant
Costumer
Costumer
Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Orchestrator
Mus scoring mixer
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd asst
ADR mixer
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
ADR group coord
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Asst makeup artist
Asst makeup artist
Asst hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Scr supv
Aerial coord
Transportation coord
Asst prod accountant
Prod secy
Helicopter pilot
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Asst to Mr. Bill
Asst to Mr. Barad
Asst to Mr. Stalmaster
Asst to Mr. Moore
Addl casting (Virginia)
Addl casting (Virginia)
Loc mgr (New York)
Loc mgr (Virginia)
Transportation capt
Driver
Transportation dispatcher
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Caterer
Craft service
Projectionist
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt pilot
Stunt pilot
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Hello Song," by Cal DeVoll
"Continental Express Commercial," music by Michael Portis and Richard Kosinksi
Brandenberg Concerto No. 5--Allegro, by J. S. Bach, performed by Karl Richter and his Chamber Orchestra, courtesy of Teldec Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products.
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 April 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 11 April 1990
New York opening: week of 11 April 1990
Production Date:
began 17 April 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
30 May 1990
Copyright Number:
PA470438
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras and lenses
Duration(in mins):
91
Length(in feet):
8,239
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29894
SYNOPSIS

In the middle of a New York City traffic jam, advertising copywriter Emory Leeson gets out of his car and yells at other drivers. Meanwhile, Charles F. Drucker, president of Charles F. Drucker & Associates, reminds Emory’s partner, Stephen “Steve” Bachman, that Emory’s ad campaign ideas are due tomorrow. When Emory arrives and claims he has no ideas because he is tired of lying, Steve demands he come up with something within twenty-four hours. During the next morning’s traffic rush, Emory again gets out of his car and harasses another driver. At the office, he tells Steve his writer’s block has ended, but his new ad copy is outrageous. An ad promoting Greek tourism reads: “Forget France—the French are boring. Come to Greece, we’re much nicer.” A Jaguar automobile ad promises instant sex with young women. Emory explains that his ads tell the truth, and everybody knows it. Believing Emory is having a breakdown, Charles Drucker tells Steve to drive him home. When they arrive, Emory’s house is empty, but he refuses to admit his wife has left him. The next day, Emory brings in new mockup advertisements, but they are as unconventional as the others. Steve drives Emory to Bennington Sanitarium, an estate in the country, assuring him the agency will pay for his stay. Steve telephones his assistant, Mark Olander, to say he will not be back in time, so Mark will have to take the approved mockups on his desk to the printers. Mark grabs Emory’s crazy ads instead of the authorized ones, and they appear the next day in magazines and newspapers, and on the sides of buses. Meanwhile, at Bennington, Dr. Liz Baylor introduces ... +


In the middle of a New York City traffic jam, advertising copywriter Emory Leeson gets out of his car and yells at other drivers. Meanwhile, Charles F. Drucker, president of Charles F. Drucker & Associates, reminds Emory’s partner, Stephen “Steve” Bachman, that Emory’s ad campaign ideas are due tomorrow. When Emory arrives and claims he has no ideas because he is tired of lying, Steve demands he come up with something within twenty-four hours. During the next morning’s traffic rush, Emory again gets out of his car and harasses another driver. At the office, he tells Steve his writer’s block has ended, but his new ad copy is outrageous. An ad promoting Greek tourism reads: “Forget France—the French are boring. Come to Greece, we’re much nicer.” A Jaguar automobile ad promises instant sex with young women. Emory explains that his ads tell the truth, and everybody knows it. Believing Emory is having a breakdown, Charles Drucker tells Steve to drive him home. When they arrive, Emory’s house is empty, but he refuses to admit his wife has left him. The next day, Emory brings in new mockup advertisements, but they are as unconventional as the others. Steve drives Emory to Bennington Sanitarium, an estate in the country, assuring him the agency will pay for his stay. Steve telephones his assistant, Mark Olander, to say he will not be back in time, so Mark will have to take the approved mockups on his desk to the printers. Mark grabs Emory’s crazy ads instead of the authorized ones, and they appear the next day in magazines and newspapers, and on the sides of buses. Meanwhile, at Bennington, Dr. Liz Baylor introduces Emory to her group therapy class, which includes a childlike woman named Kathy Burgess; George Cartelli, who says “hello” all the time; “Saabs,” who talks only about Saab automobiles; and “Manuel Robles,” an African American who claims to be Latino. When Emory admits to feeling depressed because he lies for a living, everybody welcomes him with a group hug. Later, Kathy befriends Emory and takes him to her secret place in a nearby forest. Meanwhile, Drucker calls Steve into his office and fires both him and Emory. However, many overweight newspaper readers, responding to Emory’s ad campaign for a diet program that calls them “fat slobs,” flood the diet company’s telephone order department. A natural fiber cereal ad promising more trips to the toilet and a lower chance of getting cancer empties store shelves. When television news announcers report on the overwhelming consumer response to the Drucker agency’s “no-nonsense ads,” Drucker rehires Steve and sends him to Bennington to bring Emory back to the city. Enjoying the sanitarium’s rustic charms, Emory declares he needs more rest, but threatened with the cancellation of his health insurance, he offers a compromise: He will stay at Bennington and enlist his fellow patients as copywriters. As Emory turns group therapy into writing sessions, the other patients are excited and work as a team. Kathy tells Emory that when her parents died years earlier, she was separated from her older brother, Adam Burgess. She shows Emory a pack of Adam’s letters and claims her brother will someday rescue her. When Drucker, Steve, and several other agency men arrive at Bennington, the patients display new storyboard ideas, including an ad for a cigarette that promises more flavor to offset the possibility of pulmonary disease. For American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), a new tag line warns complaining customers: “We’re tired of taking your crap.” A third, showing a couple embracing in the surf, beckons vacationers to “Come in the Bahamas.” Despite his skepticism, Drucker prints them, and advertisers respond favorably. When Dr. Horace Koch, the head of Bennington, returns after an absence and expresses outrage at the goings-on, Steve promises the agency will add a new wing to the sanitarium in his honor. However, Emory is angered when Drucker appears on The Larry King Show and takes credit for his agency’s new line of ads. Other patients are dismayed by being treated as “nobodies,” but they tell Emory not to “rock the boat.” When Drucker arrives at the sanitarium to award each copywriter with a fancy pen, Emory leads a mutiny and Drucker fires everybody. Back in New York, Drucker and copywriters search for the “compelling truth” about a shampoo, but their ideas only “sound honest,” without being honest. One writer confesses that after working in the advertising business, they do not know how to tell the truth. To lure back Emory and his crazy ad team, Drucker delivers fantasy automobiles with vanity license plates to Bennington, and the patients drive them around the sanitarium grounds. Kathy thinks about leaving, but says she would be frightened if Emory were not with her. Meanwhile, Drucker confides to Steve that he plans to privately negotiate contracts with each patient. When he brings Dr. Koch into the deal, the sanitarium head recommends they first get rid of Emory, who will recognize the unfairness of the contracts. Told that Emory will be leaving, Kathy insists on accompanying him, but Dr. Koch refuses to sign her release. When Dr. Liz Baylor objects, Dr. Koch fires her. He also tells Emory that Kathy herself wrote the letters from her brother, and that she fell in love with other patients before him. Kathy admits the truth to Emory, but asks him to trust her. When Emory returns home and goes through the therapy group’s going-away presents, he sees that Kathy’s card has a photo of herself and her brother in his U.S. Army uniform. He tries to telephone Bennington, but cannot reach her, so he searches for Dr. Baylor. Drucker takes several Japanese Sony Corporation executives to Bennington to let them see the crazy advertising team present ideas for a Sony campaign. However, without Emory, the patients are listless and their ideas incoherent. The executives leave in anger. Drucker complains to Dr. Koch, who threatens the patients with isolation in dark rooms if they do not invent new copy. Kathy runs to her secret place to be alone. Meanwhile, Emory tracks down both Dr. Baylor and Kathy’s brother, Adam. Approaching Bennington in an Army helicopter, Emory directs the pilot to land near Kathy’s secret place. After she has a warm reunion with her brother, they land the helicopter on the sanitarium’s front lawn, rescue the patients, and fly away. They start their own agency, and the first customer is Sony: The chief executive officer loves their idea that because Asians are smaller, they are better at working on micro-systems. The advertising tag line says it all: “Sony—because Caucasians are just too damned tall.” +

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.