The Butcher's Wife (1991)

PG-13 | 105 mins | Romantic comedy | 25 October 1991

Director:

Terry Hughes

Cinematographer:

Frank Tidy

Editor:

Donn Cambern

Production Designer:

Charles Rosen

Production Companies:

Nicita/Lloyd Productions, Paramount Pictures
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HISTORY

The 13 Feb 1989 DV and HR announced the signing of a “two-year first-look deal” between Nicita/Lloyd Productions and Paramount Pictures Corp. Among their initial projects was Butcher’s Wife, to be directed by Yurek Bogayevicz. Principal photography was scheduled for summer or autumn 1989. More than a year later, the 31 Mar 1990 Screen International reported that filming would begin during summer 1990, with actors Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline in lead roles. On 27 Apr 1990, HR noted that actor Dennis Quaid had been considered as a replacement for Kline, but was deemed “unsuitable,” while the 28 Apr 1990 Screen International announced Quaid as a cast member, with British actor Bob Hoskins in negotiations for another role. The “Castings-Film” column in the 10 Oct 1990 HR included actress Linda Knight among the cast. Neither Bogayevicz, Ryan, Kline, Quaid, Hoskins, nor Knight are credited onscreen in the final film. Director Terry Hughes told the 1 Nov 1991 HR that actress Demi Moore obtained the leading role as a result of the notoriety she received from the film, Ghost (1990, see entry). The fact that both pictures had supernatural themes was “purely coincidental.” The Butcher’s Wife marked Terry Hughes’s first narrative feature film.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the producers and screenwriters researched the subject of clairvoyance in Asheville, NC, a town “known for the many psychics who live there.” Principal photography began 8 Oct 1990 on Bald Head Island off the North Carolina coast. ... More Less

The 13 Feb 1989 DV and HR announced the signing of a “two-year first-look deal” between Nicita/Lloyd Productions and Paramount Pictures Corp. Among their initial projects was Butcher’s Wife, to be directed by Yurek Bogayevicz. Principal photography was scheduled for summer or autumn 1989. More than a year later, the 31 Mar 1990 Screen International reported that filming would begin during summer 1990, with actors Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline in lead roles. On 27 Apr 1990, HR noted that actor Dennis Quaid had been considered as a replacement for Kline, but was deemed “unsuitable,” while the 28 Apr 1990 Screen International announced Quaid as a cast member, with British actor Bob Hoskins in negotiations for another role. The “Castings-Film” column in the 10 Oct 1990 HR included actress Linda Knight among the cast. Neither Bogayevicz, Ryan, Kline, Quaid, Hoskins, nor Knight are credited onscreen in the final film. Director Terry Hughes told the 1 Nov 1991 HR that actress Demi Moore obtained the leading role as a result of the notoriety she received from the film, Ghost (1990, see entry). The fact that both pictures had supernatural themes was “purely coincidental.” The Butcher’s Wife marked Terry Hughes’s first narrative feature film.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the producers and screenwriters researched the subject of clairvoyance in Asheville, NC, a town “known for the many psychics who live there.” Principal photography began 8 Oct 1990 on Bald Head Island off the North Carolina coast. The primary location was “Captain Charlie’s Station,” a cluster of three houses that, in the early twentieth century, once belonged to the family of Charles Swan, the island’s lighthouse keeper. The adjacent lookout tower was constructed for the picture. The following week, filming continued in New York City, where locations included Washington Square Park, West Broadway, and Park Avenue. On 22 Oct 1990, production resumed in Hollywood, CA, using a studio backlot New York City street. For the winter sequence, leaves were stripped from artificial trees and covered with flocking, while the backlot was covered with shaved ice to simulate snow. With the exception of the butcher shop set, interiors were shot primarily on Paramount soundstages, as were the rooftop sequences. The St. Brendan Catholic Church in Los Angeles, CA, provided the church interior.
       Costume designer Theodora Van Runkle identified the inspiration for Demi Moore’s wardrobe as “an Andrew Wyeth painting of curtains blowing out over the windows of a farmhouse near the ocean.” The clothes for Moore’s character, “Marina,” were designed to appear “diaphanous” like the curtains, and somewhat worn from stone-washing. The character’s tapestry coat and accessories included feathers, seashells, and flowers indigenous to her native island. Moore was coached by psychic consultants Maria Papapetros and Laura Day. Papapetros instructed her in “meditation, psychic tuning and clairvoyant reading.” Principal photography was completed 18 Dec 1990. The 7 Dec 1990 Back Stage noted that the Florida-based CRM Group provided the aerial footage of Bald Head Island used in the opening sequence.
       The 21 Oct 1991 DV announced the film’s 23 Oct 1991 Midwest premiere at the Fox Theater in Detroit, MI. Proceeds benefitted the Purple Rose Theatre Company, founded by actor Jeff Daniels. As stated in a studio press release, The Butcher’s Wife opened 25 Oct 1990 in 800 theaters nationwide. Reviews were mixed. However, according to a “CinemaScore Movie Report” appearing in the 29 Oct 1991 HR, audiences in Los Angeles, Atlanta, GA, Milwaukee, WI, and Dallas, TX, gave the film a rating of eighty-two percent.
       End credits include the following statements: "The producers gratefully acknowledge the following for their assistance and cooperation: The New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Television, and Broadcasting; The Members of the New York City Police Department Motion Picture and Television Unit; The New York City Transit Authority Special Projects Unit; U.S. Department of the Interior; and National Park Service"; "Special thanks to Cerruti 1881"; "Filmed on location at Bald Head Island, North Carolina, and New York, New York"; "The Major League Baseball trademarks depicted in this program were licensed by Major League Properties, Inc." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
7 Dec 1990.
---
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1989
p. 1, 22.
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1990.
---
Daily Variety
11 Oct 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1989
p. 1, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1991
p. 7, 32.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1991
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1991
p. 8.
New York Times
25 Oct 1991
p. 24.
Screen International
31 Mar 1990.
---
Screen International
28 Apr 1990.
---
Variety
28 Oct 1991
p. 43.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Nicita/Lloyd Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
Addl unit prod mgr, East Coast units
2d asst dir, New York
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Steadicam op
Steadicam asst
Video playback
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Elec
1st company grip
2d company grip
2d company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
2d asst photog, East Coast units
Still photog, East Coast units
Chief lighting tech, New York
1st company grip, New York
Wescam aerial services provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set des
Set des
Paintings by
Prop master
Asst prop master
Prop asst
Leadperson
Const coord
Const foreperson
Prod painter
Greens dept supv
Prop master, New York
Set dec, New York
Const coord, North Carolina
Set dec, North Carolina
Swing gang
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Laborer
Laborer
Laborer
Laborer
Laborer
Laborer
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Greensman
Greensman
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Key costumer
Set costumer
Costumer for Demi Moore
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus consultant
Mus consultant
Mus scoring mixer
Orchestrations and orch cond by
Orch contractor
Mus preparation
Choir arr
Choir arr
Choir arr
Mus prod set supv
SOUND
Utility sd
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
ADR mixer
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Prod sd mixer, East Coast units
Boom op, East Coast units
Cable person, East Coast units
Dolby stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Visual eff prod by
Visual eff prod by
Matte artist
Matte artist
Matte photog
Opt composites
Spec rigging
Prod asst
Prod asst
Titles & opticals by
DANCE
Skating choreog, New York
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Make-up artist for Demi Moore
Hairstylist
Hairstylist for Demi Moore
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Unit pub
Voice casting
Prod auditor
Asst accountant
Const accountant
Accounting asst
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Dialect coach
Psychic consultant
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Loc mgr
Prod assoc
Asst to Ms. Nicita
Asst to Mr. Lloyd
Asst to Mr. Hughes
Asst to Ms. Moore
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Craft service
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Scr supv, East Coast units
Prod asst, East Coast units
Prod office coord, New York
Asst prod office coord, New York
Loc mgr, New York
Asst loc mgr, New York
Extras casting, New York
Transportation capt, New York
Asst prod office coord, North Carolina
Transportation coord, North Carolina
Travel arrangements by
Asst to exec in charge of prod
Asst to exec in charge of prod
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Caterer
Caterer
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways,” by Tom Snow & Dean Pitchford, performed by Julia Fordham, produced by Peter Asher, Julia Fordham performs courtesy of Circa Records Ltd./Virgin Records America, Inc.
“This Is Your Life,” by Caroline Buckley, Sally Herbert & Roger Swallow, performed by Banderas, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Group Distribution, Inc.
“T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do,” by Porter Grainger & Everett Robbins, performed by Bessie Smith, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
+
SONGS
“(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways,” by Tom Snow & Dean Pitchford, performed by Julia Fordham, produced by Peter Asher, Julia Fordham performs courtesy of Circa Records Ltd./Virgin Records America, Inc.
“This Is Your Life,” by Caroline Buckley, Sally Herbert & Roger Swallow, performed by Banderas, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Group Distribution, Inc.
“T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do,” by Porter Grainger & Everett Robbins, performed by Bessie Smith, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“Sing, Sing, Sing,” by Louis Prima
“Just For A Thrill,” by Lil Armstrong & Don Raye, performed by Ray Charles, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“In The Dark,” by Lil Green, performed by Mary Steenburgen
“Your Love Just Ain’t Right,” by Andre Williams, Reggie Turner & Keith Williams, performed by Angel, courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
“Salsa #3,” by John E. Oliver & Jonathan Wolff
“Gimma A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer,” by Wesley Wilson, performed by Mary Steenburgen
“My Foolish Heart,” by Ned Washington & Victor Young, performed by Stephane Grappelli & Marc Fosset, courtesy of Concord Jazz
“What’ll I Do,” by Irving Berlin, performed by Mary Steenburgen.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Butcher's Wife
Release Date:
25 October 1991
Premiere Information:
Midwest premiere in Detroit, MI: 23 October 1991
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 October 1991
Production Date:
8 October--18 December 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
16 December 1991
Copyright Number:
PA547015
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30755
SYNOPSIS

On the island of Ocracoke, off the coast of North Carolina, a clairvoyant named Marina discovers a twin-tailed comet in the sky, a snow globe on shore, and a wedding band inside a fish, omens indicating she will soon find her perfect mate. After envisioning the man’s smile in a dream, she assumes it belongs to Leo Lemke, a middle-aged New York City butcher visiting the island. Two days later, Leo returns to the city with his new bride, to the astonishment of his customer, Robyn Graves. After Marina recounts their whirlwind romance, Robyn wonders if she will ever be as certain about her boyfriend, psychiatrist Alex Tremor. Marina has a vision of Robyn’s true love, whom the customer mistakenly believes to be Alex. That evening, in the apartment across the street, Alex reacts to Robyn’s sudden marriage proposal with skepticism over Marina’s psychic abilities. On a nearby rooftop, aspiring young artist Eugene Kearney gazes at Marina as she looks up at the stars. In the morning, Leo discovers the message, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” artistically rendered on the butcher shop window by Eugene. The artist offers to remove the message, but Marina likes it, and hires Eugene to work in the shop, despite warnings from Leo about his poor reputation. Alex Tremor appears moments later, reminding Eugene Kearny to attend his psychotherapy session, as prescribed by the boy’s probation officer. Marina cuts veal chops against her husband’s wishes, and within seconds, a “trendoid” art patron enters asking for veal chops. Despite his amazement at Marina’s prescience, ... +


On the island of Ocracoke, off the coast of North Carolina, a clairvoyant named Marina discovers a twin-tailed comet in the sky, a snow globe on shore, and a wedding band inside a fish, omens indicating she will soon find her perfect mate. After envisioning the man’s smile in a dream, she assumes it belongs to Leo Lemke, a middle-aged New York City butcher visiting the island. Two days later, Leo returns to the city with his new bride, to the astonishment of his customer, Robyn Graves. After Marina recounts their whirlwind romance, Robyn wonders if she will ever be as certain about her boyfriend, psychiatrist Alex Tremor. Marina has a vision of Robyn’s true love, whom the customer mistakenly believes to be Alex. That evening, in the apartment across the street, Alex reacts to Robyn’s sudden marriage proposal with skepticism over Marina’s psychic abilities. On a nearby rooftop, aspiring young artist Eugene Kearney gazes at Marina as she looks up at the stars. In the morning, Leo discovers the message, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” artistically rendered on the butcher shop window by Eugene. The artist offers to remove the message, but Marina likes it, and hires Eugene to work in the shop, despite warnings from Leo about his poor reputation. Alex Tremor appears moments later, reminding Eugene Kearny to attend his psychotherapy session, as prescribed by the boy’s probation officer. Marina cuts veal chops against her husband’s wishes, and within seconds, a “trendoid” art patron enters asking for veal chops. Despite his amazement at Marina’s prescience, Alex disapproves of the advice she gave Robyn Graves, believing she is foolish to live by “something as primitive as female intuition.” While exploring her new neighborhood, Marina wanders into a dress shop and convinces dowdy choir mistress Stella Keefover to buy a flashy evening gown, as she will soon be performing in a nightclub. Realizing the impracticality of walking barefoot in the city, Marina buys a pair of shoes, for which she pays $3.50, misinterpreting shopkeeper Grace’s request for $350.00. During a therapy session with Alex Tremor, Stella Keefover shocks the psychiatrist by announcing her intention to become a blues singer, inspired by Marina’s advice. That evening, Grace approaches Marina about the outstanding balance on the shoes, but changes her mind after the clairvoyant gives her a package of steaks, predicting the shopkeeper will soon “be cooking for two.” The next day, Grace exasperates Alex by canceling weekend plans with him and Robyn, certain that she will meet her true love if she remains in the city, as Marina predicted. At the butcher shop, Leo fears that Marina may be a voodoo practitioner, after discovering a “mojo” given to her by elderly neighbors Molly and Gina, and a pet chicken, given to her by Eugene. At Leo’s request, Marina attends a session with Alex, but she convinces the psychiatrist to spend the hour rollerskating in the park. Stella Keefover gives her debut performance at Dellago’s tavern, and enthralls Leo Lemke with her rendition of a song made famous by his idol, blues singer Bessie Smith. Meanwhile, Marina demonstrates her psychic ability by holding Alex’s hands and recounting key moments from his childhood. Later, as they sit on Alex’s roof, Marina explains that Leo is her “split-apart,” based on a legend told by her grandmother, Grammy D’Arbo. According to the legend, humanity was comprised of hermaphroditic creatures that the gods split into individual genders, leaving each with the challenge of reclaiming their other half. Alex attributes the story to the philosopher, Plato, and argues that marriage requires a stronger foundation. Leo Lemke confesses his romantic feelings for Stella Keefover, but refuses to be unfaithful to Marina, while Alex is troubled by his attraction to Marina, and struggles to find a psychological solution. The next day, Stella excitedly tells Marina about her evening with Leo, until she realizes he is married to her psychic advisor. Certain that her marriage was a mistake, Marina is determined to find Leo a new wife. Leo assumes Marina is losing her mind and blames Alex for her behavior. Late that night, Marina awakens Alex to say he was the man she saw in her dream. He argues that Marina is merely getting revenge on Leo for having an affair, not realizing that she is unaware of her husband’s budding romance. Her mind clouded with anger, Marina returns to work the following day and falsely accuses Eugene Kearney of stealing. She later apologizes, and refers him to the art patron, assuring him that she will launch his career. At their next session, Alex encourages Stella to pursue a romance with Leo, and while the butcher is happy with this development, he is furious at Alex for meddling in his personal life. When Alex confronts Marina, blaming her for disrupting the community, she accuses him of lacking the courage to understand the world beyond his textbooks. Marina apologizes to Leo for their failed marriage and returns to her island. Alex seeks emotional support from Grace and discovers that Robyn is her new lover. Days pass, and after seeing a twin-tailed comet in the sky, Alex travels to Ocracoke, where he is reunited with Marina. Months later, Alex and Marina celebrate their wedding at Dellago’s, and Eugene opens his own art studio. +

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

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