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HISTORY

On 7 Mar 1988, a HR article announced that the Walt Disney Company was planning an American remake of the popular 1987 French film, Le Grand Chemin, which translates into English as, The Big Highway. The studio was collaborating on the project with Flach Films and its producer Jean Francois Lepetit, who had successfully remade the French comedy Trois hommes et un couffin as 3 Men and a Baby (1987, see entry). This latest attempt to capitalize on a French hit was titled Paradise and marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Mary-Agnes Donoghue, as noted in the 16 Sep 1991 HR review. Lepetit is credited onscreen as executive producer.
       A 12 Apr 1991 DV production chart listed the start of principal photography as 25 Mar 1991.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Donoghue originally set the story in northern Michigan and also considered the Seattle, WA, area, but both locales were ruled out due to weather concerns. After seeing images of the wetlands around Charleston, SC, she scouted the area during Sep 1990, and found it a perfect location to represent a small fishing community. The fictional town of “Paradise” was located forty miles north of Charleston in the hamlet of McClellanville, SC, where the production constructed a café and a gas station on the existing main street. However, McClellanville had been devastated by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and the lush Southern foliage the filmmakers wanted to capture for the residential area had yet to grow back. About twenty miles south of ... More Less

On 7 Mar 1988, a HR article announced that the Walt Disney Company was planning an American remake of the popular 1987 French film, Le Grand Chemin, which translates into English as, The Big Highway. The studio was collaborating on the project with Flach Films and its producer Jean Francois Lepetit, who had successfully remade the French comedy Trois hommes et un couffin as 3 Men and a Baby (1987, see entry). This latest attempt to capitalize on a French hit was titled Paradise and marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Mary-Agnes Donoghue, as noted in the 16 Sep 1991 HR review. Lepetit is credited onscreen as executive producer.
       A 12 Apr 1991 DV production chart listed the start of principal photography as 25 Mar 1991.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Donoghue originally set the story in northern Michigan and also considered the Seattle, WA, area, but both locales were ruled out due to weather concerns. After seeing images of the wetlands around Charleston, SC, she scouted the area during Sep 1990, and found it a perfect location to represent a small fishing community. The fictional town of “Paradise” was located forty miles north of Charleston in the hamlet of McClellanville, SC, where the production constructed a café and a gas station on the existing main street. However, McClellanville had been devastated by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and the lush Southern foliage the filmmakers wanted to capture for the residential area had yet to grow back. About twenty miles south of Charleston, on Wadmalaw Island, the production found a historic coastal village called Rockville, where the majority of filming took place. For the “Reed” residence, the art department renovated the interior and exterior of a dilapidated farmhouse, which had been uninhabited for about five years, and converted an adjacent empty lot into a cemetery. The main street of Georgetown, SC, provided another coastal location. As mentioned in a 27 Jan 1992 Var article, the production also visited Cleveland, OH, to shoot the opening sequence.
       While Paradise received enthusiastic reviews, particularly for husband and wife co-stars, Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, critics were generally less positive about the direction and writing. The Nov 1991 Box reported that the picture earned a disappointing $11 million after four weeks in release.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank the people of the village of Rockville, McClellanville, Georgetown and Charleston; South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department; The South Carolina Film Office.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Nov 1991
Section R, p. 79.
Daily Variety
12 Apr 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1991
p. 5, 51.
Los Angeles Times
20 Sep 1991
Calendar, p. 14.
New York Times
18 Sep 1991
Section C, p. 16.
Variety
16 Sep 1991
p. 89.
Variety
27 Jan 1992
p. 46.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures presents
in association with Touchwood Pacific Partners I
A Jean Francois Lepetit/Interscope Communications Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Wildlife photog
Best boy elec
Elec
Elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod des
Asst art dir
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Catherine Reston Lee's paintings
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Costumer to Don Johnson
Women's costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Orch contractor
Supv copyist
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Sd eff rec
Supv foley ed
Foley ed
Foley walker
Foley walker
Foley mixer
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff coord
Title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist to Don Johnson
Makeup artist/Hairstylist to Melanie Griffith
Key hairstylist
Hairstylist to Don Johnson
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst to Mr. Palmer
Asst to Mr. Palmer
Asst to Mr. Kroopf
Asst to Miss Donoghue
Asst to Miss Donoghue
Asst to Ms. Griffith & Mr. Johnson
Asst to Ms. Griffith & Mr. Johnson
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Locs casting
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Studio teacher
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
Unit pub
Still photog
Still photog
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Loc asst
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Prod and distributed on
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the French film Le Grand Chemin written by Jean Loup Hubert (Flach Films, 1988).
SONGS
"O.K. Mood Swing," written by Prince Poetry and Pharoahe Monch, performed by Organized Konfusion, courtesy of Hollywood BASIC
"Paradise," written by Scott Cutler and Brian O'Doherty, performed by Brian O'Doherty
"Don't Need Love," written by Johnny Diesel, performed by Johnny Diesel & The Injectors, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
+
SONGS
"O.K. Mood Swing," written by Prince Poetry and Pharoahe Monch, performed by Organized Konfusion, courtesy of Hollywood BASIC
"Paradise," written by Scott Cutler and Brian O'Doherty, performed by Brian O'Doherty
"Don't Need Love," written by Johnny Diesel, performed by Johnny Diesel & The Injectors, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
"I Walked To The Party," written by Michael J. Henderson and R.S. Field, performed by Michael Henderson
"Alice Blue Gown," written by Harry Tierney and Joseph McCarthy
"Queen Of The Night" from The Magic Flute, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, courtesy of Delta Music, Inc.
"Totally Alone," written and performed by Billy Childs, courtesy of Windham Hill Jazz.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Highway
Release Date:
18 September 1991
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 18 September 1991
Los Angeles opening: 20 September 1991
Production Date:
began 25 March 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 September 1991
Copyright Number:
PA540659
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31378
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Rosemary sends her ten-year-old son, Willard Young, to spend summer vacation with her oldest friend, Lily Reed, in the small coastal village of Paradise. Rosemary is pregnant and needs time to try and reconcile with her husband, who has abandoned the family. Willard, a lonely boy at his elite prep school, believes his father is away on sea duty and is uneasy about staying with Lily and her husband, Ben Reed, who are strangers to him. On his first day in the country, Willard meets a spunky nine-year-old tomboy named Billie Pike, who offers to let him see her older sister, Darlene, naked. She leads him to a platform in a tree, where the two spy on a topless Darlene by the bedroom window. When surly Ben Reed arrives home, he introduces himself to Willard, but tells his wife not to expect him to entertain the young guest. Unable to sleep, Lily goes to the attic and tentatively looks through a box of child’s clothing. She holds up a jacket and embraces it. The next day, Billie and Willard share stories of their absent fathers. Billie confiscates a canoe and paddles Willard along the creek. At a lookout tower with a view of the wetlands, Willard is amazed as she fearlessly walks along the narrow railing. After church on Sunday, Willard listens to Ben argue with Lily and complain about the hypocritical parishioners. Before walking away, Lily reminds her husband that the church services comfort her. Later that afternoon, Willard is curious about the remote-controlled model airplane he found in a cabinet. Ben ... +


Rosemary sends her ten-year-old son, Willard Young, to spend summer vacation with her oldest friend, Lily Reed, in the small coastal village of Paradise. Rosemary is pregnant and needs time to try and reconcile with her husband, who has abandoned the family. Willard, a lonely boy at his elite prep school, believes his father is away on sea duty and is uneasy about staying with Lily and her husband, Ben Reed, who are strangers to him. On his first day in the country, Willard meets a spunky nine-year-old tomboy named Billie Pike, who offers to let him see her older sister, Darlene, naked. She leads him to a platform in a tree, where the two spy on a topless Darlene by the bedroom window. When surly Ben Reed arrives home, he introduces himself to Willard, but tells his wife not to expect him to entertain the young guest. Unable to sleep, Lily goes to the attic and tentatively looks through a box of child’s clothing. She holds up a jacket and embraces it. The next day, Billie and Willard share stories of their absent fathers. Billie confiscates a canoe and paddles Willard along the creek. At a lookout tower with a view of the wetlands, Willard is amazed as she fearlessly walks along the narrow railing. After church on Sunday, Willard listens to Ben argue with Lily and complain about the hypocritical parishioners. Before walking away, Lily reminds her husband that the church services comfort her. Later that afternoon, Willard is curious about the remote-controlled model airplane he found in a cabinet. Ben reveals he built the toy for someone, but lets Willard keep the plane after showing him how to fly it. While sitting in a tree by the neighborhood cemetery, Willard observes Lily laying flowers at a gravesite. After she leaves, he reads the headstone that belongs to a child, James Benjamin Reed, who died at the age of three. Willard decides to assist Lily with the laundry instead of playing that afternoon. The next morning, Ben, a professional fisherman, takes Willard on his shrimp boat for the day and is impressed with the young boy’s willingness to help. When Willard asks about James’s death, Ben reveals that his son died two and half years ago in an accident and admits the tragedy has affected his relationship with Lily, but refuses to discuss the matter further. Meanwhile, Billie and Willard continue to share adventures and decide they are best friends. Back at the house, Willard questions Lily about when she first met Ben, and she fondly recalls falling in love, but is hesitant to share her current feelings with the inquisitive boy. After a fun outing on the beach, Lily appears more optimistic, but when Ben attempts to kiss her, she pulls away, telling him she is not ready. Frustrated, Ben escapes to the local bar. Later that night, Willard listens from upstairs as Ben returns home drunk and confronts his distant wife. Ben drags her to the attic and begins destroying James’s crib, and almost tears off Lilly’s nightgown before stopping himself. Sobbing, Lilly confesses she did not attend to James when she heard him cry once, but that was the time he choked on the candy and died. Ben tries to reassure her that she was not at fault, but she describes feeling numb inside and does not want to be touched. Ben realizes that he is unable to help her overcome the tragedy, and they agree to separate. One afternoon, Billie surprises Willard when she puts on a fancy dress and takes him to the town of Brimley. There, she hopes to meet her estranged father, Earl McCoy, who performs on roller skates at the roller-skating rink. When Earl McCoy finally appears, Billie runs to him and reveals that she is his daughter. However, he is not interested in her, and skates away. Back in Paradise, Billie’s mother, Sally Pike, tries to comfort her distraught daughter, while Willard goes aboard the shrimp boat and finds Ben attempting to settle into his temporary home. At the house, Willard struggles to understand why Lily will not ask Ben to return, if she misses him. Lily tries to explain to the young boy that not everything can be easily repaired. At Sally Pike’s birthday party, her crass boyfriend, Ernest Parkett, announces that they are getting married. Screaming at her mother, Billie is furious and escapes to her hiding place on the tree platform. When Willard approaches, Billie lashes out at him, and declares the truth of why his own absent father has not returned. Willard refuses to believe his father would desert the family for another woman and runs off. When Lily finds out that the young boy has torn up his father’s letters, she searches for him and notifies Ben. Billie goes missing as well, and Sally joins Lily at the house to commiserate about the children. Sally reluctantly admits Billie is right, and she should probably not marry the thoughtless Ernest. After Ben searches through the night with no luck, the police are contacted. Meanwhile, Billie has fallen asleep in a tree while searching for Willard on her own. In the morning, she hears the model airplane overhead and informs the adults that the boy is at the lookout tower. Ben and the others nervously watch as Willard walks on the railing of the high tower and refuses to let anyone approach him. After accomplishing his goal, Willard raises his hands in triumph, falls to the ground, but Ben catches him in time. Later, when Lily asks why he performed such a daring stunt, Willard says he is tired of being afraid. Although he is unsure if his father will return, he insists the stunt helped him. Before leaving Paradise, Willard and Billie embrace, agreeing that they are still best friends. Rosemary arrives to pick up Willard, and introduces him to his new baby brother. Ben and Lily bid goodbye to Willard at the bus stop, and return home to begin reconciling. +

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

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