Sunset (1988)

R | 105 mins | Western, Comedy | 29 April 1988

Director:

Blake Edwards

Writer:

Blake Edwards

Producer:

Tony Adams

Cinematographer:

Anthony B. Richmond

Production Designer:

Rodger Maus
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HISTORY

The following precedes end credits: “… and that’s the way it really happened. Give or take a lie or two.”
       According to the 24 Sep 1986 DV, the film was currently in pre-production and principal photography was scheduled to start in Jan 1987. An article in the May 1988 Box reported that writer-director Blake Edwards originally wanted actor Robert Duvall to play the character “Tom Mix,” but could not afford to hire Duvall and actor James Garner. Instead, actor Bruce Willis assumed the role after working with Edwards on the 1987 film Blind Date (see entry).
       The 7 Apr 1987 HR production chart noted principal photography began in Los Angeles, CA, on 6 Apr 1987. The 6 Apr 1987 HR reported that the picture’s budget was approximately $16 million. Although a 9 Jan 1987 DV brief reported scenes would be filmed with the Introvision system, providing the film “vintage backgrounds to be realistically superimposed on screen,” a Jan 1988 AmCin article noted filmmakers found the system “too restrictive.” Production notes in AMPAS library files state locations around Los Angeles included: the Ambassador Hotel; the Bullocks Wilshire building; Culver Studios; Hollywood Park Memorial Cemetery; the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; the Park Plaza Hotel; the Wiltern Theatre; Hollister, CA; Pasadena, CA; San Pedro, CA; Santa Paula, CA; the King Ranch in Piru, CA; and the Bell Moving Picture Ranch near Simi Valley, CA. The Jan 1988 AmCin noted that filming also took place at: Beverly Hills Hotel; Malibu, CA; Perris, CA; Riverside, CA; and Indian Dunes ranch in ... More Less

The following precedes end credits: “… and that’s the way it really happened. Give or take a lie or two.”
       According to the 24 Sep 1986 DV, the film was currently in pre-production and principal photography was scheduled to start in Jan 1987. An article in the May 1988 Box reported that writer-director Blake Edwards originally wanted actor Robert Duvall to play the character “Tom Mix,” but could not afford to hire Duvall and actor James Garner. Instead, actor Bruce Willis assumed the role after working with Edwards on the 1987 film Blind Date (see entry).
       The 7 Apr 1987 HR production chart noted principal photography began in Los Angeles, CA, on 6 Apr 1987. The 6 Apr 1987 HR reported that the picture’s budget was approximately $16 million. Although a 9 Jan 1987 DV brief reported scenes would be filmed with the Introvision system, providing the film “vintage backgrounds to be realistically superimposed on screen,” a Jan 1988 AmCin article noted filmmakers found the system “too restrictive.” Production notes in AMPAS library files state locations around Los Angeles included: the Ambassador Hotel; the Bullocks Wilshire building; Culver Studios; Hollywood Park Memorial Cemetery; the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; the Park Plaza Hotel; the Wiltern Theatre; Hollister, CA; Pasadena, CA; San Pedro, CA; Santa Paula, CA; the King Ranch in Piru, CA; and the Bell Moving Picture Ranch near Simi Valley, CA. The Jan 1988 AmCin noted that filming also took place at: Beverly Hills Hotel; Malibu, CA; Perris, CA; Riverside, CA; and Indian Dunes ranch in Valencia, CA. An 8 May 1987 HR item reported that actor Bruce Willis fell from his horse during filming, but “no harm was done.” Four days later, Willis clarified to the 12 May 1987 HR that the incident occurred during a fight scene. The 7 Jul 1987 DV announced filming wrapped on 2 Jul 1987.
       Willis and Jonathan D. Krane were listed in the HR production chart and an 18 Jun 1987 Exhibitor Relations Co., Inc. press release as being the film’s executive producers. However, onscreen neither Willis nor Krane are credited in this capacity. A brief in the 4 Jun 1987 DV reported stunt person J. P. Amateau being cast as a Western actor, but he is not credited onscreen.
       The picture’s anticipated release date was 18 Dec 1987. However, a 21 Oct 1987 Var item reported the film’s release was being moved to Feb 1988. The 12 Nov 1987 Chicago Tribune noted that a possible reason for the postponement was in response to too many other films opening during the 1987 Christmas season, moving the film’s release to “resurface during a less competitive new year.”
       Reports in the 13 Jan 1988 DV and 18 Jan 1988 Chicago Tribune noted that after reactions to preview screenings in San Diego and San Francisco, CA, a number of scenes were reshot.
       The picture opened on 29 Apr 1988, as noted in the NYT review of the same date. Four days later, the 3 May 1988 LAT listed a $2 million box-office gross during opening weekend, for an average of $1,986 per screen. According to the 3 Jul 1988 LAT, the picture grossed $6 million domestically.
       Sunset marked the feature film debut of actor Dermot Mulroney.
       The picture was nominated for one Academy Award in Costume Design.
       End credits state: “Filmed at the Culver Studios.” End credits also acknowledge: “Special Thanks To: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.; Leatrice Gilbert Fountain; the Francis Cagney Trust; the Will Rogers Family; W. C. Fields character courtesy of W. C. Fields Productions, Inc.; Mae West character courtesy of the receivership estate of Mae West; Groucho Marx character courtesy of Groucho Marx Productions, Inc.; Laurel and Hardy characters courtesy of Larry Harmon Pictures Corporation.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jan 1988
pp. 54-55.
Box Office
May 1988
p. 11.
Chicago Tribune
12 Nov 1987
Tempo, p. 9.
Chicago Tribune
18 Jan 1988
News, p. 10.
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1986
p. 10, 23.
Daily Variety
9 Jan 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
4 Jun 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Jun 1987
p. 14
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Jan 1988
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 1988
p. 3, 49.
Los Angeles Times
29 Apr 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
3 May 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1988
Calendar, p. 28.
New York Times
29 Apr 1988
Section C, p. 13.
Variety
21 Jan 1987
p. 24.
Variety
21 Oct 1987
p. 424.
Variety
4 May 1988
p. 10, 558.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Tri-Star Pictures In Association With
Mario and Vittorio Cecchi Gori Presents
A Hudson Hawk Production
A Blake Edwards Film
From Tri-Star-ML Delphi Premier Productions
From The Blake Edwards Company
A Tri-Star Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Asst lighting tech
Key grip
Grip best boy
Still photog
Video op
2d asst cam
Elec
Dolly grip
Grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const foreman
Set des
Leadman
Swing gang
Asst prop master
Propmaker foreman
Labor foreman
Paint foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus supv
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer
Boom man
Cable man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Main title des
DANCE
Choreog, El Coyote Club
Choreog, Plantation Club
MAKEUP
Hair des
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod controller/Post-prod exec
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Unit pub
Casting asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Insert car driver
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Asst to Mr. Edwards
Asst to Mr. Adams
Asst to Mr. Willis
Asst to Ms. Caroselli
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Craft services
Main title illustrations
Accounting asst
Asst to Jonathan D. Krane
Asst to Trish Caroselli
First aid
Extra casting
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Pub relations
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Black And Tan Fantasy,” performed by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, courtesy of RCA Records.
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 April 1988
Premiere Information:
Nationwide release: 29 April 1988
Production Date:
6 April--2 July 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Bright Star Film Enterprises
Copyright Date:
5 October 1988
Copyright Number:
PA383814
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28660
SYNOPSIS

In 1929 Los Angeles, California, former lawman Wyatt Earp is hired by Alfie Alperin, head of Alperin Film Studios, to be technical consultant on a silent film about his life starring Tom Mix, the popular Western film actor. Later, Earp meets with his former lover, Christina, now married to Alperin. Christina tells him her son, Michael, has been accused of beating a woman at the Candy Store, an upscale brothel. As a favor to Christina, Earp agrees to look into the matter. Tom Mix warns Earp that Alfie Alperin, a former actor well known for his portrayal of the lovable film character “The Happy Hobo,” is rumored to be a sadistic individual. Tom and Earp decide to start their investigation by interviewing the Candy Store’s proprietress, Candice "Candy" Gerard. As Tom introduces Earp to Candy’s daughter, Cheryl King, Victoria, Alperin’s younger sister, arrives with her date, Chicago gangster Dutch Kieffer. Tom and Earp are directed to Candy’s guesthouse, where they see a black Cadillac automobile speeding away. Inside the guesthouse, they find Candy murdered and Michael Alperin drunk. Hearing from Cheryl that a police raid is about to occur, Tom and Earp leave with Michael. Tom suggests they hide Michael at the home of his girl friend, Alperin Studios employee Nancy Shoemaker. In the morning, Tom and Earp are summoned to see Marvin Dibner, chief of studio security, and Captain Blackworth of the city police to answer questions related to Candy’s murder. The men report they saw a black Cadillac leaving the scene. Later, Earp is invited to lunch with Alfie Alperin and is told that Michael ... +


In 1929 Los Angeles, California, former lawman Wyatt Earp is hired by Alfie Alperin, head of Alperin Film Studios, to be technical consultant on a silent film about his life starring Tom Mix, the popular Western film actor. Later, Earp meets with his former lover, Christina, now married to Alperin. Christina tells him her son, Michael, has been accused of beating a woman at the Candy Store, an upscale brothel. As a favor to Christina, Earp agrees to look into the matter. Tom Mix warns Earp that Alfie Alperin, a former actor well known for his portrayal of the lovable film character “The Happy Hobo,” is rumored to be a sadistic individual. Tom and Earp decide to start their investigation by interviewing the Candy Store’s proprietress, Candice "Candy" Gerard. As Tom introduces Earp to Candy’s daughter, Cheryl King, Victoria, Alperin’s younger sister, arrives with her date, Chicago gangster Dutch Kieffer. Tom and Earp are directed to Candy’s guesthouse, where they see a black Cadillac automobile speeding away. Inside the guesthouse, they find Candy murdered and Michael Alperin drunk. Hearing from Cheryl that a police raid is about to occur, Tom and Earp leave with Michael. Tom suggests they hide Michael at the home of his girl friend, Alperin Studios employee Nancy Shoemaker. In the morning, Tom and Earp are summoned to see Marvin Dibner, chief of studio security, and Captain Blackworth of the city police to answer questions related to Candy’s murder. The men report they saw a black Cadillac leaving the scene. Later, Earp is invited to lunch with Alfie Alperin and is told that Michael is the prime suspect. However, Earp says Victoria Alperin and Dutch Kieffer were also at the Candy Store. At the studio, Earp learns from Nancy Shoemaker that Michael has been arrested. Worried over Nancy’s safety, Tom sends her to his country ranch to hide out. Afterward, Tom goes to Victoria’s house to confront her about her possible involvement with the murder. Victoria orders her Australian boxer houseman to throw Tom out, but the cowboy star knocks him out. Upset, Victoria orders her brother to punish Tom. Instead, Alperin slaps Victoria, instructing her to call police and tell them Tom beat and sexually assaulted her. Meanwhile, Earp visits Cheryl King to review her mother’s client list and get information on Dutch Kieffer’s whereabouts. She tells him Kieffer can be found at the Kit Kat Club. There, Earp finds the black Cadillac, but is knocked unconscious by one of Dutch’s henchman. When he awakens, Earp finds his hands bound, but overhears Kieffer conversing with Capt. Blackworth. Just then, Cheryl arrives and frees him. Confronting Blackworth and Kieffer, Earp tells them to leave Cheryl and him alone, or the names of Candy’s clients will be released to the press. Later, Kieffer informs Alperin that he needs to get Candy’s client list away from Earp and Tom. As he announces his plan to kidnap Nancy Shoemaker, Christina overhears and telephones Tom. After hanging up, she is severely beaten by Alperin. From an airfield, Tom and Earp fly a plane to get to the ranch before Kieffer’s men, but the plane runs out of fuel fifteen miles away from the property. Borrowing horses from two cowboys, Tom and Earp arrive and save Nancy by killing the henchmen in a shootout. Returning to the city, they learn that Candy’s attorney, Leo Vogel, gave Cheryl King a safe deposit box key. Inside the box, Earp and Cheryl find money and a letter written by Candy confessing that in 1916 she witnessed Alperin murder his first wife by throwing her over the side of his yacht. However, Alperin assaulted Candy, and promised to finance her business in exchanged for her silence. Afterward, Earp learns his former girl friend Christina is in the hospital dying as a result of Alperin’s assault. Rushing to her side, Earp tells Christina that Alperin most likely killed Candy and framed Michael. Before she dies, Christina confesses to Earp that Michael is not Alperin’s son. With Candy’s letter as evidence, Earp and Tom arrive at the first Academy Award ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to confront Alperin. In the lobby, Earp approaches Alperin to arrest him. However, Victoria stops Earp with a pistol aimed at him. After Alperin flees with his chauffeur, Arthur, Victoria admits that she murdered Candy. Capt. Blackworth and Marvin Dibner arrive to arrest Earp for killing Dutch Kieffer’s men. When Victoria refuses to let Earp go, she accidentally shoots Dibner and kills him. Hearing the gunshot, Dutch and Tom arrive as Blackworth fires his gun at Victoria. Tom shoots Blackworth dead. As Victoria lies dying, she confesses she killed Candy to ensure no one would learn Alperin murdered his first wife. Tom follows Alperin and Arthur to the pier. When Alperin threatens Arthur’s life to get him to the yacht before they are caught, the chauffeur drives off the pier. Tom dives into the water, saving Arthur, but Alperin attacks Tom. Earp appears, however, and shoots Alperin, killing him. Afterward, Earp decides to leave Los Angeles. At the train station, Cheryl, Nancy, and Michael, who has been cleared of murder charges, wish him farewell. Suddenly, Tom rides onto the train platform on his horse and says goodbye to Earp. He rides alongside Earp’s railcar as the train leaves the station. +

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

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