Homicide (1991)

R | 102 mins | Drama | 9 October 1991

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HISTORY

A 6 May 1990 LAT news brief indicated that playwright-director David Mamet’s third feature film was slated to begin production in Aug 1990. Although the LAT described Homicide as a loose adaptation of William Caunitz’s 1986 novel, Suspects, Mamet later stated in a 10 Feb 1991 NYT article that he had worked on the screenplay for three years prior to production, and by the time the script was finished, “there was nothing left of the book.” According to the NYT, the marked difference between the completed script and Caunitz’s book caused Orion Pictures to drop the film from their production roster. Undeterred, Michael Hausman, who produced Mamet’s previous two films, sought support from independent producer Edward R. Pressman. Although a 14 May 1990 DV news item cited a budget of $11 million, other contemporary sources noted that the picture was made for $6.5 million.
       Actor Bob Hoskins was listed among the cast in a 19 Jun 1990 Screen International news brief. However, he does not appear in the film.
       A 16 Oct 1990 HR production chart indicated that principal photography began 17 Sep 1990 in Baltimore, MD. On 19 Nov 1990, a full-page advertisement in Var announced that filming had ended. Prior to and during production, various contemporary sources suggested that Columbia Pictures planned to distribute the film. However, a 6 May 1991 Var news item noted that filmmakers intended to seek a distributor at the Cannes Film Festival market. Homicide served as the Festival’s opening night feature, screening 9 May 1991. Theatrical release followed ... More Less

A 6 May 1990 LAT news brief indicated that playwright-director David Mamet’s third feature film was slated to begin production in Aug 1990. Although the LAT described Homicide as a loose adaptation of William Caunitz’s 1986 novel, Suspects, Mamet later stated in a 10 Feb 1991 NYT article that he had worked on the screenplay for three years prior to production, and by the time the script was finished, “there was nothing left of the book.” According to the NYT, the marked difference between the completed script and Caunitz’s book caused Orion Pictures to drop the film from their production roster. Undeterred, Michael Hausman, who produced Mamet’s previous two films, sought support from independent producer Edward R. Pressman. Although a 14 May 1990 DV news item cited a budget of $11 million, other contemporary sources noted that the picture was made for $6.5 million.
       Actor Bob Hoskins was listed among the cast in a 19 Jun 1990 Screen International news brief. However, he does not appear in the film.
       A 16 Oct 1990 HR production chart indicated that principal photography began 17 Sep 1990 in Baltimore, MD. On 19 Nov 1990, a full-page advertisement in Var announced that filming had ended. Prior to and during production, various contemporary sources suggested that Columbia Pictures planned to distribute the film. However, a 6 May 1991 Var news item noted that filmmakers intended to seek a distributor at the Cannes Film Festival market. Homicide served as the Festival’s opening night feature, screening 9 May 1991. Theatrical release followed five months later. Reviews generally admired Mamet’s skillfully written dialogue, as well as the cast’s strong performances, while noting that existential aspects of the story could prove challenging to mainstream audiences.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank: Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Baltimore, Maryland; and the People of Baltimore, for their courtesy during the making of this film; Tremont Plaza Hotel; Baltimore County S.W.A.T. Team; Sgt. Larry Lewis and the Baltimore Police Dept.; Baltimore Film Commission; Maryland Film Commission; Joe Trabert; Charlie Armstrong,” and More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Oct 1991.
---
Daily Variety
14 May 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 1991
p. 8, 87.
Los Angeles Times
6 May 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 May 1991
Section F, p. 1, 5.
Los Angeles Times
16 Oct 1991
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
10 Feb 1991.
---
New York Times
6 Oct 1991
Section A, p. 56.
Screen International
19 Jun 1990.
---
Screen International
17 May 1991.
---
Variety
19 Nov 1990.
---
Variety
6 May 1991.
---
Variety
13 May 1991
p. 106.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Edward R. Pressman & Cinehaus Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d A.D.
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Still photog
Best boy
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Generator op/Elec
Grip trainee
Elec trainee
Loc projectionist
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Storyboard artist
Art dir
Art dept unit mgr
Art dept prod asst
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Post prod supv
Post prod supv
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
On set dresser
Asst dec
Prop master
Prop master
Const/Decorating foreman
Charge painter
Draftsperson
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward shopper
MUSIC
Mus comp, arranged and cond by
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus rec and mixed by
Mus rec at
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
1st boom op
2d boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Asst ADR ed
ADR rec eng
Rerec mixer
Asst rerec mixer
Rerec at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Main and end titles des by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Extra make-up/Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod consultant
Scr supv
Scr supv
Office prod asst
Set prod
Set prod
Set prod
Set prod/Medic
Asst to David Mamet
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Prod assoc, N.Y.
Asst to David Mamet, Boston
Asst to David Mamet, Boston
Film runner
Prod counsel
Prod financing counsel
Prod financing counsel
Prod financing counsel
Prod business liaison, L.A.
Prod finance
Prod finance
Asst to Mr. Pressman
L.A. prod asst
L.A. prod asst
L.A. prod asst
L.A. prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Caterer
Craft service
STAND INS
Stunt double for Randolph
Stunt double for Walter B. Wells
Stunt double for Gold
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Col timer
DETAILS
Release Date:
9 October 1991
Premiere Information:
Cannes Film Festival screening: 9 May 1991
New York opening: 9 October 1991
Los Angeles opening: 16 October 1991
Production Date:
17 September--mid November 1990
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31149
SYNOPSIS

Masked agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) creep up the staircase of an inner-city apartment building. On the second floor, they break down a door and unleash a shower of gunfire, but their suspect, African American drug dealer Robert Randolph, escapes. The next morning, Commissioner Walker alerts the local homicide unit to the situation. Detective Bob Gold comes forward with the name of someone who may know Randolph’s whereabouts. FBI liaison Patterson berates the detective for withholding information, before dismissing him as a “kike.” Bob Gold’s partner, Tim Sullivan, confronts Patterson about the racial slur, but Bob holds his friend back. Later, the investigative team mocks the FBI for botching the job. Tim Sullivan suggests that he and Bob question Robert Randolph’s brother-in-law, Willie Sims. En route, they encounter a police cruiser blocking the street in front of a candy store. Bob Gold investigates and discovers the proprietor, an old Jewish woman, shot dead behind the counter. As the crime scene is cordoned off, residents of the rough neighborhood inform Bob Gold that the elderly lady “had a fortune in her basement.” A well-dressed young woman runs up and asks what happened, indicating that her grandmother owned the store. Bob Gold acknowledges the tragedy, but insists he is not the officer to answer her questions. A police captain arrives and assigns Bob to the case. Chagrined, Bob returns to the police station and takes statements from two African American youths who were at the scene. Tim Sullivan returns with Willie Sims, surprised to see his partner working another case. Sullivan argues with Lieutenant “Lou” Senna that Bob is the only officer with the skill to coerce Willie ... +


Masked agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) creep up the staircase of an inner-city apartment building. On the second floor, they break down a door and unleash a shower of gunfire, but their suspect, African American drug dealer Robert Randolph, escapes. The next morning, Commissioner Walker alerts the local homicide unit to the situation. Detective Bob Gold comes forward with the name of someone who may know Randolph’s whereabouts. FBI liaison Patterson berates the detective for withholding information, before dismissing him as a “kike.” Bob Gold’s partner, Tim Sullivan, confronts Patterson about the racial slur, but Bob holds his friend back. Later, the investigative team mocks the FBI for botching the job. Tim Sullivan suggests that he and Bob question Robert Randolph’s brother-in-law, Willie Sims. En route, they encounter a police cruiser blocking the street in front of a candy store. Bob Gold investigates and discovers the proprietor, an old Jewish woman, shot dead behind the counter. As the crime scene is cordoned off, residents of the rough neighborhood inform Bob Gold that the elderly lady “had a fortune in her basement.” A well-dressed young woman runs up and asks what happened, indicating that her grandmother owned the store. Bob Gold acknowledges the tragedy, but insists he is not the officer to answer her questions. A police captain arrives and assigns Bob to the case. Chagrined, Bob returns to the police station and takes statements from two African American youths who were at the scene. Tim Sullivan returns with Willie Sims, surprised to see his partner working another case. Sullivan argues with Lieutenant “Lou” Senna that Bob is the only officer with the skill to coerce Willie Sims into talking, but Lou indicates that the old woman’s family, the Kleins, want Bob, a Jew, to handle the candy store case. Two detectives interrupt the conversation to announce that Sims revealed the location of his brother-in-law’s hideout. Bob Gold promises Lou Senna he will attend to the candy store murder as soon as they arrest Robert Randolph. However, by the time Bob and Tim Sullivan arrive at the derelict apartment building, the drug dealer is nowhere to be found. Randolph’s mother accuses the homicide squad of stalking her innocent son. Bob Gold pleads with her to help them find Randolph. Just then, another detective informs Bob that Dr. Klein received a death threat. He rushes to the Klein’s elegant townhome, and the doctor and his wife describe seeing a shooter on the roof of a neighboring building. Bob is skeptical, but agrees to post someone to watch over them. Guests arrive to pay respects, and Bob goes to the study to take a call from Tim Sullivan, who informs him that Randolph’s mother intends to cooperate with police. Bob complains about being stuck at the Kleins, remarking that they are too wealthy for their own good. As he hangs up, he notices young Miss Klein in the room. He apologizes, but she storms out. Just then, gunshots ring out. Bob investigates the rooftop across from the Klein’s residence, noticing a piece of paper marked “Grofaz.” He returns to the candy store and explores the basement, where he finds a submachine gun packing crate containing an invoice and a list of Jewish names. At the station the next morning, Bob Gold tries to make sense of the clues. The homicide squad brings in Randolph’s mother and describes the plan to capture her son, but Bob Gold cannot participate. Tim Sullivan tells him to forget the Klein case, but Bob insists he must solve the mystery. Tim scoffs that his partner’s Jewish identity has clouded his vision. Later, Bob goes to a Jewish library, where the librarian informs him that “Grofaz” is an archaic pseudonym for Adolf Hitler. Bob requests additional files on anti-Semitic acts, but the librarian claims there are no such documents in the library. That night, Bob follows a lead to an abandoned Jewish schoolhouse. There, he is confronted by a group of elderly Jewish men, some of whom he recognizes from the Klein’s apartment. The detective asks for help solving the candy store murder. Benjamin, the group’s leader, admits that old Mrs. Klein was “running guns” during the Arab-Israeli War of Independence in the late 1940s, and demands that Bob destroy the list of names he found in the candy store basement. Bob protests that the list is police evidence, and refuses to help, angering Benjamin. After the encounter, Bob runs into Chava, another woman from the Klein’s apartment, and asks for her perspective. Chava reveals that she, too, is pursuing leads regarding old Mrs. Klein’s death, and suggests that “Mr. Andersen,” the owner of a model train shop, may have been involved in the murder. She shows the detective a bomb and describes it as a “message” for Mr. Andersen. Bob breaks into the train shop and discovers Nazi propaganda in the back room. Angered, he triggers the timer on the bomb, fleeing with Chava as the device explodes. Later, men from Benjamin’s organization pressure Bob to give them the list of names. He resists, until they blackmail him with photographs showing his involvement in the train shop incident. Just then, Bob realizes that he has missed the meeting with Randolph, which the homicide squad expected him to attend. He rushes to the scene, only to find police under siege by the drug dealer, who has taken refuge in a dilapidated building. Bob sneaks into the building and stumbles over his wounded partner, Tim Sullivan. When Tim dies in his arms, Bob pursues Randolph, ignoring the squad’s cries to wait for backup. In the basement, Bob trips and loses his gun, and is unable to retaliate when Randolph shoots him. The injured detective stalls for time by quarreling with the criminal. A police S.W.A.T. team kills Randolph and rescues Bob. Sometime later, Bob returns to the police station, where he learns that the two African American boys from the candy store confessed to killing the old woman. Stunned, the detective slumps against the wall, wondering if his involvement with the Klein family and their Jewish associates was entirely misguided. +

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

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