Diggstown (1992)

R | 97 mins | Drama | 14 August 1992

Director:

Michael Ritchie

Writer:

Steven McKay

Producer:

Robert Schaffel

Cinematographer:

Gerry Fisher

Editor:

Don Zimmerman

Production Designer:

Steve Hendrickson

Production Company:

Diggstown Productions
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HISTORY

The opening title card identifies the location as: “Winfield Prison Olivair County Georgia.”
       Leonard Wise’s 1978 novel, Diggstown Ringers, was originally adapted by screenwriter Rick Husky for producer Len Goldberg at Universal Pictures, according to the 25 Aug 1980 Var, but nothing came of the project. Later, actor Tony Musante optioned the novel, 16 Jun 1982 Var reported, but was unable to make the film.
       Principal photography began 11 Oct 1991 under the title Diggstown Ringers, the 15 Nov 1991 DV noted. Locations included MT and both Sacramento and Los Angeles, CA. Fifty-five-year-old actor Louis Gossett, Jr., told the 13 Dec 1991 NYT and 17 Jun 1992 Chicago Sun-Times that he lost over thirty-five pounds during the eight weeks he trained for the role of boxer “Honey” Roy Palmer.” Gossett’s wife, Cyndi James Gossett, portrays his character’s wife, “Mary Palmer.” Retired football star and former boxer Ed “Too Tall” Jones was reportedly set to play one of Gossett’s opponents, but did not appear in the film.
       The 31 Aug 1992 Var reported that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) spent approximately $17 million to promote the $15-million film, but box office sales, despite mostly good reviews, were barely over $1.8 million, according to the 26 Oct 1992 Var. However, the 15 Apr 1993 DV noted that when Diggstown was released on home video, it made $20 million in the first three weeks.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank: Ruff Hewn; RCA Thompson; Willis & Geiger; Tommy Armour Golf Co.; Mercedes Benz of America; The ... More Less

The opening title card identifies the location as: “Winfield Prison Olivair County Georgia.”
       Leonard Wise’s 1978 novel, Diggstown Ringers, was originally adapted by screenwriter Rick Husky for producer Len Goldberg at Universal Pictures, according to the 25 Aug 1980 Var, but nothing came of the project. Later, actor Tony Musante optioned the novel, 16 Jun 1982 Var reported, but was unable to make the film.
       Principal photography began 11 Oct 1991 under the title Diggstown Ringers, the 15 Nov 1991 DV noted. Locations included MT and both Sacramento and Los Angeles, CA. Fifty-five-year-old actor Louis Gossett, Jr., told the 13 Dec 1991 NYT and 17 Jun 1992 Chicago Sun-Times that he lost over thirty-five pounds during the eight weeks he trained for the role of boxer “Honey” Roy Palmer.” Gossett’s wife, Cyndi James Gossett, portrays his character’s wife, “Mary Palmer.” Retired football star and former boxer Ed “Too Tall” Jones was reportedly set to play one of Gossett’s opponents, but did not appear in the film.
       The 31 Aug 1992 Var reported that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) spent approximately $17 million to promote the $15-million film, but box office sales, despite mostly good reviews, were barely over $1.8 million, according to the 26 Oct 1992 Var. However, the 15 Apr 1993 DV noted that when Diggstown was released on home video, it made $20 million in the first three weeks.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank: Ruff Hewn; RCA Thompson; Willis & Geiger; Tommy Armour Golf Co.; Mercedes Benz of America; The Vista Group; Braun.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Chicago Sun-Times
17 Jun 1992
p. 4
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1991
p. 14
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1992
p. 3
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1993
p. 2
Hollywood Drama-Logue
13-19 Aug 1992
p. 22
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1992
Calendar, p. 10
New York Times
13 Dec 1991
Section C, p. 16
New York Times
18 Jun 1982
Section C, p. 10
New York Times
14 Aug 1992
Section C, p. 1, 10
Variety
25 Aug 1980
p. 3
Variety
16 Jun 1982
p. 14
Variety
12 Aug 1991
p. 63
Variety
3 Aug 1992
p. 38
Variety
31 Aug 1992
p. 4
Variety
31 Aug 1992
p. 99
Variety
7 Sep 1992
p. 70
Variety
26 Oct 1992
p. 1
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
A Schaffel/Eclectic Films Production
A Michael Ritchie Film
From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Line prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
"B" cam op
"B" cam 1st asst
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Rigging grip
Lighting & grip equip by
Cam cars & cam cranes provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Prod illustrator
Prison art dir
Graphics consult
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Lead man
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Lead scenic artist
Asst lead scenic
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Set costumer
Set costumer
Set costumer
Set costumer
Asst cost des
MUSIC
Mus consultant
Mus consultant
Mus ed
Scoring supv
Scoring mixer
Guitar soloist
SOUND
Boom op
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Voice casting
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Prosthetic/Key makeup
Makeup & hair for Mr. Woods
Makeup & hair for Mr. Gossett
Makeup artist
Key hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Trainer/Tech adv
Trainer
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Loc mgr
Addl loc
Prison prod supv
Asst to Mr. Ritchie
Asst to Mr. Schaffel and Mr. Vahabzadeh
Asst to Mr. Woods
Asst to Mr. Gossett
Asst prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Unit pub
Extras casting
Extras coord
Casting asst
Craft service
First aid
STAND INS
Fight coord
Fight coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based upon the novel The Diggstown Ringers by Leonard Wise (Garden City, 1978).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Mountain Music," written by Randy Owen, performed by Alabama, courtesy of RCA Records, label of BMG Music
"Jesus My Jesus," written by Carol Cymbala, performed by the New Testament Baptist Church Choir #2 of North Highlands, CA
"My Blue Condition," written by Roger Brown & Carl Jackson Vipperman, performed by Dana McVicker
+
SONGS
"Mountain Music," written by Randy Owen, performed by Alabama, courtesy of RCA Records, label of BMG Music
"Jesus My Jesus," written by Carol Cymbala, performed by the New Testament Baptist Church Choir #2 of North Highlands, CA
"My Blue Condition," written by Roger Brown & Carl Jackson Vipperman, performed by Dana McVicker
"Home Is Where The Heart Is," written & performed by Michael Stanton.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Diggstown Ringers
Midnight Sting
Release Date:
14 August 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 August 1992
New York opening: 14 August 1992
Production Date:
began 11 October 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 September 1992
Copyright Number:
PA584868
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Originated on Eastman Color Film from Kodak
With animated sequences
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
97
Length(in feet):
8,805
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31768
SYNOPSIS

During a boxing match inside Winfield Prison in Olivair County, Georgia, inmate Gabriel Caine is paid $10,000 to lead a fellow prisoner through a tunnel to freedom. Gabriel returns in time to see Minoso Torres defeat Edward “Wolf” Forrester. Gabriel visits the battered Wolf in the infirmary and assures him everything is going according to plan. Warden Bates calls Gabriel into his office, suspecting he had something to do with recent escapes, and predicts that his upcoming release will be of short duration. Randall Patrick Shannon "Fitz" Fitzpatrick visits the prison to update Gabriel on their next confidence scheme in nearby Diggstown, Georgia. When Fitz returns to Diggstown, he plays poker at the local gambling house with Frank Mangrum, Sam Lester, Tank Miller, Corny "Buster" Robbins, and other locals, and wins every hand. After watching the game, Robby Gillon walks across the street to the boxing arena owned by his father, John Gillon. Reminding Robby that someday he will inherit Diggstown, John presents his son with a 1958 red Corvette as a high school graduation gift. When Gabriel Caine is released from prison, he tells Wolf that their association must remain a secret. Gabriel visits Victor Corsini, a well-known gangster in Miami, Florida, to explain his $500,000 “sting” and secure financial support. Gabriel drives to Diggstown, sits in John Gillon’s personal chair in the small arena, and watches a boxing match. When John Gillon arrives and demands his seat, Gabriel declares he has bet $1,000 on one of the fighters, and John challenges him to raise his bet to $2,000, before giving the fighter a “thumbs down.” The boxer takes the next punch and falls down, and Gabriel loses ... +


During a boxing match inside Winfield Prison in Olivair County, Georgia, inmate Gabriel Caine is paid $10,000 to lead a fellow prisoner through a tunnel to freedom. Gabriel returns in time to see Minoso Torres defeat Edward “Wolf” Forrester. Gabriel visits the battered Wolf in the infirmary and assures him everything is going according to plan. Warden Bates calls Gabriel into his office, suspecting he had something to do with recent escapes, and predicts that his upcoming release will be of short duration. Randall Patrick Shannon "Fitz" Fitzpatrick visits the prison to update Gabriel on their next confidence scheme in nearby Diggstown, Georgia. When Fitz returns to Diggstown, he plays poker at the local gambling house with Frank Mangrum, Sam Lester, Tank Miller, Corny "Buster" Robbins, and other locals, and wins every hand. After watching the game, Robby Gillon walks across the street to the boxing arena owned by his father, John Gillon. Reminding Robby that someday he will inherit Diggstown, John presents his son with a 1958 red Corvette as a high school graduation gift. When Gabriel Caine is released from prison, he tells Wolf that their association must remain a secret. Gabriel visits Victor Corsini, a well-known gangster in Miami, Florida, to explain his $500,000 “sting” and secure financial support. Gabriel drives to Diggstown, sits in John Gillon’s personal chair in the small arena, and watches a boxing match. When John Gillon arrives and demands his seat, Gabriel declares he has bet $1,000 on one of the fighters, and John challenges him to raise his bet to $2,000, before giving the fighter a “thumbs down.” The boxer takes the next punch and falls down, and Gabriel loses $2,000. Meanwhile, Fitz plays pool with Frank Mangrum and Robby Gillon, and wins Robby’s Corvette. As Buster runs across the street to tell Robby’s father, Frank punches Fitz for criticizing Charles Macum Diggs, the local boxer who gave the town its name, and proclaims Diggs the greatest fighter of all time. Challenged to name a better boxer, Fitz cites “Honey” Roy Palmer and offers $10,000 to back up his claim. John Gillon walks in, identifies himself as Diggs’s former manager, and convinces Fitz to bet $100,000. When John Gillon demands proof of assets, Gabriel volunteers to back Fitz’s bet. However, Gabriel demands that Miami mob boss Victor Corsini “escrow” their wagers, and John Gillon agrees. Gabriel flies to Texas to talk to former partner Honey Roy Palmer. The aging boxer insists he has gone straight, but agrees to fight since Corsini will kill Gabriel if the deal falls through. In Diggstown, John Gillon learns that Honey Roy is a forty-eight-year-old black man who has not fought professionally in nearly twenty years. However, he won all his career fights with knockouts, except for two bouts in which he was beaten by “Hammerhead” Hagan. Gabriel, Fitz, and Honey Roy visit Ben Culver, the only man in Diggstown who still owns his farm. Ben maintains Charles Diggs’s original training ring in his barn, and tells them the brain-damaged Diggs lives in a rundown farmhouse. Gabriel asks Wolf’s sister, Emily Forrester, to remain quiet about her suspicions that he, Fitz, and her brother are up to something. Gabriel and Fitz work out a contract with John Gillon, Sheriff Stennis, local banker Chet Willis, and the mayor to determine which ten men qualify to fight Honey Roy. John Gillon agrees to spread the matches over a twenty-four-hour day, but insists that his son, Robby, and another high school boy, Billy Hargrove, wear headgear, and that anyone who lives in Olivair County is eligible. Gabriel agrees only if eligibility is confined to those able to prove prior residency inside the county line, in order to prevent Gillon from adding “ringers.” While Honey Roy trains at Ben’s farm, seven of Gillon’s boxers, including Frank Mangrum, Tank Miller, and the Busby brothers, train at the arena. Gillon confides to Sheriff Stennis he is completing his team with Buck Holland and Sonny Hawkins, but he may not need a tenth man. Meanwhile, during a run, Honey Roy comes upon an old farmhouse where Charles Diggs sits impassively on the porch. When Honey Roy later asks what is wrong with him, Gabriel explains that John Gillon owns most of the town because he convinced the residents to bet on the heavily favored hometown champ, Diggs, while he secretly bet on the opponent. Knowing Diggs would never “take a fall,” Gillon drugged him, and the other fighter pounded him senseless. When Fitz gives Gabriel the list of fighters, he sees that John Gillon is withholding= the identity of the tenth man until the fight. A few days later, a train delivers a coffin containing Wolf Forrester’s battered body to the Diggstown train station. Emily Forrester threatens to expose Gabriel, but he explains that it was her brother who told him how John Gillon took over Diggstown. Wolf had also revealed that Gillon contrived a phony drug arrest that sent him to Winfield Prison. Gabriel needs Emily, who works at Chet Willis’s bank, to find out Gillon’s worth. Fitz pays $5,000 to the Busby brothers, Slim and Hambone, to throw their fights, and arranges for the other fighters to be occupied with women and alcohol on the day before the matches begin. Honey Roy stops at Diggs’s house on one of his runs, but Diggs remains unable to speak. Emily reports to Gabriel that Gillon is worth nearly $2 million. Victor Corsini and his henchmen fly into Diggstown in a helicopter. Gillon strategizes with his fighters, explaining that each one has a mission to attack one of Honey Roy’s body parts. Townspeople, including Charles Diggs, fill the arena. As the fights proceed, John Gillon and Gabriel increase their side bets. Slim Busby’s performance is so amateurish that Gillon recognizes that he has been bribed to take a fall. Gillon has Slim tied up in the dressing room and threatens Hambone Busby that he will kill his brother if he tries the same thing. Regardless of waging a vicious, hard-fought round, Hambone loses to Honey Roy, runs to the dressing room, and finds his brother hanged. Sheriff Stennis pulls his gun and stops Hambone from attacking John Gillon. During a break in the matches, Gabriel tries to get a list of the next five boxers. Vincent Corsini’s main henchman, Paulo, places a noose around Gabriel’s neck outside of town to remind him that Honey Roy had better win. In a meeting with John Gillon and Vincent Corsini, Gabriel demands that the mobster cover his new $1.5 million bet or he will forfeit the fight. Corsini agrees, and Gillon offers his Diggstown property to match the bet. The fight resumes at nine o’clock that night, and Honey Roy beats Sonny Hawkins. Robby Gillon is next, but his father orders him to refuse to fight. After Frank Mangrum loses, Tank Miller, a huge man, batters Honey Roy, but loses. The next boxer, unknown to Gabriel until now, is Hammerhead Hagan, the only fighter who ever beat Honey Roy, and Gillon has documentation that they moved him into town before the fight contract was signed. Gabriel wants to protect his fading boxer, but Honey Roy refuses to quit, and knocks Hammerhead unconscious. Gillon claims there is still a tenth fighter, because his son, Robby, never entered the ring. He brings in Minoso Torres, the prison boxer who beat Wolf Forrester, and reminds Gabriel that Winfield Prison is in Olivair County. As the fight begins, Honey Roy seems beaten, but Gabriel gives Torres the same thumbs-down sign that John Gillon used on the day they met, and the fighter lets Honey Roy knock him out. Gabriel and Corsini collect their winnings, and allow Hambone Busby to beat John Gillon as revenge for killing his brother. +

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

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