Home Alone (1990)

PG | 103 mins | Comedy | 16 November 1990

Director:

Chris Columbus

Writer:

John Hughes

Producer:

John Hughes

Cinematographer:

Julio Macat

Editor:

Raja Gosnell

Production Designer:

John Muto
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HISTORY

According to studio documents in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 14 Feb 1990 in the affluent Chicago suburb of Kenilworth, IL. The million-dollar Georgian-style mansion at the heart of the story belonged to John and Cynthia Abendshien at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, IL (In a film scene, “Kevin” refers to it as “671 Lincoln Boulevard.”) Although snow fell naturally during production, the filmmakers had to provide artificial snow in order to maintain a uniform look. That meant that special effects supervisor Bill Purcell had to “get rid of 375 tons of real snow” and replace it during the alternately warm and cold seven-week location schedule with “360 tons of shaved ice, 6,250 yards of snow blanket, 11,000 gallons of airport runway foam, 6,000 pounds of potato flakes, 1,000 pounds of mini-fibers” and “polyurethane snow.” Filming took place during four sixteen-hour days at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which stood in for itself and for Orly Airport in Paris, France. In early March, comedian-actor John Candy completed his cameo appearance in one day at a small airstrip called Meig’s Field. A “Santa’s Village” was built for a night scene in front of Winnetka’s City Hall. Other locations included Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park, IL; Hubbard Woods, IL, where the production built an ice rink; and New Trier West High School in Northfield, IL, where the interior sets for the rooms of the “McCallister” mansion and the American Airlines 747 jetliner were built in the gymnasium. A set for a flooded basement was built in the school’s swimming pool.
       The 1 Jun 1990 DV announced that Home Alone had completed filming. The budget was ... More Less

According to studio documents in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 14 Feb 1990 in the affluent Chicago suburb of Kenilworth, IL. The million-dollar Georgian-style mansion at the heart of the story belonged to John and Cynthia Abendshien at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, IL (In a film scene, “Kevin” refers to it as “671 Lincoln Boulevard.”) Although snow fell naturally during production, the filmmakers had to provide artificial snow in order to maintain a uniform look. That meant that special effects supervisor Bill Purcell had to “get rid of 375 tons of real snow” and replace it during the alternately warm and cold seven-week location schedule with “360 tons of shaved ice, 6,250 yards of snow blanket, 11,000 gallons of airport runway foam, 6,000 pounds of potato flakes, 1,000 pounds of mini-fibers” and “polyurethane snow.” Filming took place during four sixteen-hour days at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which stood in for itself and for Orly Airport in Paris, France. In early March, comedian-actor John Candy completed his cameo appearance in one day at a small airstrip called Meig’s Field. A “Santa’s Village” was built for a night scene in front of Winnetka’s City Hall. Other locations included Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park, IL; Hubbard Woods, IL, where the production built an ice rink; and New Trier West High School in Northfield, IL, where the interior sets for the rooms of the “McCallister” mansion and the American Airlines 747 jetliner were built in the gymnasium. A set for a flooded basement was built in the school’s swimming pool.
       The 1 Jun 1990 DV announced that Home Alone had completed filming. The budget was a “relatively modest” $18.2 million, the 9 Apr 1991 DV noted. The 26 Nov 1990 HR outlined how Twentieth Century Fox designed the film’s advertising campaign to allay parents’ concern about leaving a child behind and stress the comedic elements. For example, the original advertising line—“When Kevin’s family left for vacation, they forgot one minor detail: Kevin”—was amended with: “But don’t worry, he cooks, he cleans, he kicks some butt.” A thirty-second television ad intercut Kevin’s antics with scenes of his desperate mother trying to get home. The studio’s main message was that Home Alone “is a family picture and that it is a comedy,” according to its marketing director.
       Although Twentieth Century Fox predicted respectable ticket sales in the neighborhood of $70-80 million, the film grossed $285 million, according to the 14 Feb 1993 Parade, and became the third top-grossing movie in the U.S. and Canada up to that time.
       The film was also nominated for two Academy Awards: Music (Original Score) and Music (Original Song)--"Somewhere In My Memory."
       Due to the film's success, John Hughes Chris Columbus, Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, and much of the supporting cast returned for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992, see entry). John Hughes then went on to write and produce Home Alone 3 (1997, see entry), which featured a new protagonist portrayed by Alex D. Linz. An ABC television movie, Home Alone 4 aired in 2002, and revived many characters from the original films, although they were played by different actors.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgements: "Miracle on 34th Street provided by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson footage supplied by Carson Tonight; It’s a Wonderful Life provided by Republic Pictures Corporation; clip from How the Grinch Stole Christmas provided by Turner Entertainment Co.”; and, “Special Thanks to: The residents of Lincoln Ave.; Village of Winnetka; Winnetka Police Department, Lt. Joe Sumner, Lt. Bill Gallagher; Chicago Film Office, Charles Geocaris; City of Chicago; Illinois Film Office; Department of Aviation – O’Hare International Airport, Lisa Howard, Colleen McShane; American Airlines/Norm Marshall & Associates; Trinity High School Choir; Ascension Children’s Choir; F. Schumacher & Co. Wall Coverings.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1990
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1990
p. 2, 12.
Daily Variety
2 Jan 1991
p. 1, 36.
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1991
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 1990
p. 8, 52.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 1990
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Feb 1990
Calendar, p. 37.
Los Angeles Times
16 Nov 1990
Calendar, p. 6.
New York Times
16 Nov 1990
p. 12.
Parade Magazine
14 Feb 1993.
---
People Magazine
29 Apr 1991.
---
Variety
19 Nov 1990
p. 79.
Wall Street Journal
2 Sep 2011.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A John Hughes production
A Chris Columbus film
Produced and released by Twentieth Century Fox
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
"B" cam op
"B" cam asst
Loader
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Best boy elec
Generator op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Cam equip supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst to prod des
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Post prod supv
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Asst set dec
Set des
Lead person
Set dresser
Buyer
Prop master
Asst props
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Painter
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Seamstress
MUSIC
Scoring mixer
Copyist
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cable person
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
Digital sd eff rec
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec FX coord
1st spec FX
Spec FX foreman
Opt eff
MAKEUP
Key makeup
Asst makeup
Key hair stylist
Asst hair stylist
Spec eff makeup
Asst spec eff makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Asst to Mr. Hughes
Asst to Mr. Hughes
Asst to Mr. Levinson
Asst to Mr. Rosenfelt
Asst to Mr. Columbus
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Unit pub
Casting asst/L.A.
Extras casting
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Accounting asst
Office, Prod asst
Office, Prod asst
Set, Prod asst
Set, Prod asst
Set, Prod asst
Set, Prod asst
Loc, Prod asst
Art dept, Prod asst
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Craft service
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Somewhere In My Memory," music by John Wiliams, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
"Star Of Bethlehem," music by John Wiliams, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, produced by John Williams, performed by Mel Torme, courtesy of Concord Records
+
SONGS
"Somewhere In My Memory," music by John Wiliams, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
"Star Of Bethlehem," music by John Wiliams, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, produced by John Williams, performed by Mel Torme, courtesy of Concord Records
"Please Come Home For Christmas," written by Charles Brown and Gene Redd, produced and performed by Southside Johnny Lyon, courtesy of Cypress Records
"White Christmas," written by Irving Berlin, performed by The Drifters, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," written by Johnny Marks, performed by Brenda Lee, courtesy of MCA Records
"Run Rudolph Run," written by Johnny Marks, performed by Chuck Berry, courtesy of MCA Records
"How The Grinch Stole Christmas," written by Theodore Giesl and Albert Hague
"Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," written by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots
"Carol Of The Bells," written by Peter Wilhousky.
+
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
16 November 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 November 1990
Production Date:
14 February--late May 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
28 November 1990
Copyright Number:
PA490001
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
103
Length(in feet):
9,234
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30598
SYNOPSIS

In an affluent Chicago, Illinois, suburb, Peter and Kate McCallister, their five children, and Peter’s brother and sister-in-law, with four children—thirteen in all—rush through Peter and Kate’s large home preparing to leave for a Christmas trip in Paris, France. Harry, a professional cat burglar disguised as a police officer, talks to Peter, ostensibly to make sure the homeowner has taken proper security measures. Peter’s youngest son, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, notices Harry’s gold front tooth and instinctively dislikes him. Kevin is the family brat, and everyone, especially his older brother, “Buzz” McCallister, picks on him. Buzz tells Kevin and one of their cousins that Mr. Marley, an old man next door who puts rock salt on the snowy neighborhood sidewalks, murdered his family in 1958, but was never convicted because no bodies were found. When Buzz provokes his kid brother during dinner, Kevin attacks him and starts a chain reaction of accidents that prompts Kate to send Kevin to the attic bedroom for the rest of the night. Complaining that everyone hates him, Kevin wishes the family would “all just disappear.” Kate dares him to say it again, with the threat that repeating his wish might make it come true, so Kevin again wishes them gone. During a strong wind at four-thirty in the morning, a tree limb falls on a power line, knocking out the McCallisters’ electricity and silencing clock radios. As the Airport Express vans arrive at 8:00 a.m., the McCallisters are still in bed. Scrambling to get to the airport on time, the family forgets Kevin. He awakens and goes downstairs to find the house empty. The presence of cars in the garage convinces him they did ... +


In an affluent Chicago, Illinois, suburb, Peter and Kate McCallister, their five children, and Peter’s brother and sister-in-law, with four children—thirteen in all—rush through Peter and Kate’s large home preparing to leave for a Christmas trip in Paris, France. Harry, a professional cat burglar disguised as a police officer, talks to Peter, ostensibly to make sure the homeowner has taken proper security measures. Peter’s youngest son, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, notices Harry’s gold front tooth and instinctively dislikes him. Kevin is the family brat, and everyone, especially his older brother, “Buzz” McCallister, picks on him. Buzz tells Kevin and one of their cousins that Mr. Marley, an old man next door who puts rock salt on the snowy neighborhood sidewalks, murdered his family in 1958, but was never convicted because no bodies were found. When Buzz provokes his kid brother during dinner, Kevin attacks him and starts a chain reaction of accidents that prompts Kate to send Kevin to the attic bedroom for the rest of the night. Complaining that everyone hates him, Kevin wishes the family would “all just disappear.” Kate dares him to say it again, with the threat that repeating his wish might make it come true, so Kevin again wishes them gone. During a strong wind at four-thirty in the morning, a tree limb falls on a power line, knocking out the McCallisters’ electricity and silencing clock radios. As the Airport Express vans arrive at 8:00 a.m., the McCallisters are still in bed. Scrambling to get to the airport on time, the family forgets Kevin. He awakens and goes downstairs to find the house empty. The presence of cars in the garage convinces him they did not leave for the airport, so he believes his wish made them disappear. Overjoyed by freedom, Kevin eats ice cream, watches violent videotapes, sleds down the staircase, uses his father’s toiletries, and raids Buzz’s personal things, including his pellet gun and firecrackers, and accidentally frees Buzz’s pet tarantula. Meanwhile, flying over the Atlantic Ocean, Kate realizes Kevin is not on the airplane. As night falls, Harry and his partner-in-crime, Marv, sit in a van marked “Oh-Kay Plumbing & Heating,” watching as electrical timers in several houses switch on outside Christmas bulbs and other lights to give the impression someone is home. They prepare to rob the McCallister house, but when Kevin hears them outside, he turns on porch lights and scares them away. At first, Kevin runs upstairs and hides under his parents’ bed, but soon realizes he is the “man of the house.” Running outside, he sees Mr. Marley salting the snowy sidewalk and hurries, terrified, back inside. In Paris, Kate telephones the police back home because the McCallister telephone is not working. A patrolman is dispatched to the house, but his pounding on the door sends Kevin into hiding. The cop reports that nobody is home and all is secure. Because of the holidays, airplanes flying to the U.S. are full, so Kate trades her first-class ticket home for an economy-class seat on the next airplane out. Kevin steals Buzz’s money and goes to a drugstore to buy a toothbrush, but when Mr. Marley comes into the store, Kevin runs away in fear. Meanwhile, as Harry and Marv rob the Murphy house across from the McCallisters’, Peter McCallister telephones the Murphys from Paris to see if anyone is home. Listening to Peter’s message, Harry realizes the McCallister house should be empty and plans to rob it that night. As the thieves leave the Murphy house, Marv stops up the kitchen sink and turns on the water to flood the place, a modus operandi that has earned the two crooks the name “the wet bandits.” In the driveway, Harry almost runs over Kevin returning from the store. Kevin becomes frightened when he recognizes Harry from his gold tooth, and Harry is disturbed by the boy’s reaction. When Harry follows him, Kevin runs and hides, and by the time the boy returns home, he swears to be ready for the intruders. That night, when Harry and Marv arrive, Kevin scares them off by creating moving silhouettes on the front shades with standup posters and mannequins to create the impression of a party. Looking at a portrait of his parents and four siblings, Kevin wishes he could have them back again. The next day, the boy shops at a supermarket with Buzz’s money, washes clothes in the basement, and acts like the man of the house. Staking out the seemingly empty house, Harry tells Marv that something does not look right. He sends Marv to check the back door, but Kevin plays a violent video and lights firecrackers to make the burglar believe other thieves are fighting each other inside. Harry decides they should stick around to find out who the other thieves are. Arriving in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Christmas Eve, Kate cannot get a seat on an airplane home, but Gus Polinski, “Polka King of the Midwest,” offers to drop her off because his band is driving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in a rented van and Kate’s home is on the way. When Harry spots Kevin sawing down a fir tree in the McCallister back yard, he realizes the little boy has tricked them. Harry sneaks up to a window and peers in at Kevin setting up a Christmas tree, but the boy sees the robber’s face reflected in a Christmas ornament. Kevin opens a side window and listens as the thieves get into their van in the driveway, discussing their plan to return at 9:00 p.m. Early in the evening, Kevin goes to a local “Santa hut” and asks a raggedy Santa to tell the “real” Santa that he wants his family back in lieu of Christmas presents. As Kevin walks home, the sight of other families enjoying Christmas Eve makes him homesick. He hears choral music at a church, goes inside, and listens to a choir practice. He notices Mr. Marley sitting nearby. The old man wishes Kevin a Merry Christmas and invites the boy to sit beside him. Marley recognizes Kevin as his neighbor and assures him the stories he may have heard are untrue. He is watching his granddaughter rehearse with the choir, because he and his son once had a terrible argument and now his family does not want him around. Kevin suggests that Marley overcome his fear of rejection, telephone his son, and make up. They shake hands, and Kevin hurries home. Arriving before 9:00, he hoses down the outside steps to make them icy, puts fresh tar on the cellar steps, and rigs several booby traps inside the house. When the robbers arrive at the back door, Kevin shoots them with pellets through a doggie door. Both robbers fall on slippery ice, and once they get inside the house, Kevin’s Rube Goldberg-like inventions burn Harry’s head and Marv’s face, and make Marv step on a nail and pieces of glass. When the robbers trap Kevin in the attic, he slides down a rope to a backyard tree house. The robbers follow, but Kevin cuts the rope, sending Harry and Marv crashing into the side of the house. They chase the boy to the Murphy house, which is now partially flooded from the open kitchen taps, but as they capture Kevin, Marley sneaks up from behind and knocks them out with a snow shovel. Kevin rushes home before police arrive. Harry and Marv are arrested for being “the wet bandits.” Before going to bed, Kevin hangs seven stockings on the mantel. As he awakens on Christmas morning, Kate arrives and embraces him. Moments later, his father and siblings rush in the door, saying they caught a flight home. Everyone is shocked at how Kevin has prepared the house for Christmas and stocked it with food. Looking through a window, Kevin sees Mr. Marley hugging his son. The old man waves thanks to the boy. In the kitchen, Peter finds Harry’s gold tooth on the floor and wonders what it is. +

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

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