Hard Promises (1992)

PG | 95 mins | Romantic comedy | 31 January 1992

Director:

Martin Davidson

Writer:

Jule Selbo

Cinematographer:

Andrzej Bartkowiak

Editor:

Bonnie Koehler

Production Designer:

Dan Leigh

Production Companies:

Stone Group Pictures , High Horse Films
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HISTORY

A news item in the 27 Aug 1990 DV announced that Sissy Spacek would co-star with actor-producer William L. Petersen in Hard Promises, to be directed by Lee Grant and produced by Stone Group Pictures in association with Petersen’s High Horse Films. A 16 Aug 1990 Chicago Tribune brief noted that Lee Grant was travelling to Chicago, IL, to audition actors in Petersen’s Remains Theatre ensemble. As noted in a 13 May 1991 DV article, Stone Group Pictures was a joint venture between Stonebridge Entertainment, headed by Michael Douglas and executive producer Rick Bieber, and Epic Productions, headed by Moshe Diamant and Edward Sarlui. In accordance with Stone Group’s distribution model at that time, Columbia Pictures was set to distribute the film domestically, while Vision International would handle foreign sales.
       A 30 Aug 1990 Chicago Tribune item incorrectly listed actress Lee Remick, instead of Lee Grant, as director.
       Principal photography began 29 or 30 Sep 1990 in Austin, TX, according to various sources, including the 7 Nov 1990 Austin American Statesman and 26 Oct 1990 DV. Although Rip Torn and Shirley Knight were listed as cast members, they do not appear in the final film. Likewise, DV named Rick Shaine (misspelled as “Rich Shaine”) as editor, but Shaine did not remain with the project.
       According to an article in the 30 Sep 1990 Austin American Statesman, locations included Hyde Park, a farm located on the fringes of Austin, and the W. F. Haun & Son heating and air-conditioning store, which doubled as “Walter Humphrey Appliances.” A 6 ... More Less

A news item in the 27 Aug 1990 DV announced that Sissy Spacek would co-star with actor-producer William L. Petersen in Hard Promises, to be directed by Lee Grant and produced by Stone Group Pictures in association with Petersen’s High Horse Films. A 16 Aug 1990 Chicago Tribune brief noted that Lee Grant was travelling to Chicago, IL, to audition actors in Petersen’s Remains Theatre ensemble. As noted in a 13 May 1991 DV article, Stone Group Pictures was a joint venture between Stonebridge Entertainment, headed by Michael Douglas and executive producer Rick Bieber, and Epic Productions, headed by Moshe Diamant and Edward Sarlui. In accordance with Stone Group’s distribution model at that time, Columbia Pictures was set to distribute the film domestically, while Vision International would handle foreign sales.
       A 30 Aug 1990 Chicago Tribune item incorrectly listed actress Lee Remick, instead of Lee Grant, as director.
       Principal photography began 29 or 30 Sep 1990 in Austin, TX, according to various sources, including the 7 Nov 1990 Austin American Statesman and 26 Oct 1990 DV. Although Rip Torn and Shirley Knight were listed as cast members, they do not appear in the final film. Likewise, DV named Rick Shaine (misspelled as “Rich Shaine”) as editor, but Shaine did not remain with the project.
       According to an article in the 30 Sep 1990 Austin American Statesman, locations included Hyde Park, a farm located on the fringes of Austin, and the W. F. Haun & Son heating and air-conditioning store, which doubled as “Walter Humphrey Appliances.” A 6 Oct 1990 Austin American Statesman article noted that filming moved that day to the Tips Iron & Steel Co. warehouse located on Baylor Street. The following week, the company was set to move to Donn’s Depot, a bar on West Fifth Street. Petersen reportedly cut his arm on a glass barber pole prop while filming a fistfight with actor Brian Kerwin, and received forty stitches at Brackenridge Hospital, but the incident caused no delays in production.
       TX locations outside of Austin included the cities Pflugerville and Lockhart, as noted in the 5 Nov 1990 Austin American Statesman. The 25 Sep 1990 Austin American Statesman stated that roughly 400 extras were hired with the help of Third Coast Casting. While shooting at Lockhart Junior High School, filmmakers recruited the school’s football team, girls’ soccer team, cheerleaders, and marching band baton twirlers as background actors. Grant and additional casting person Jo Edna Boldin also hired two-step dancers from local bars, including the Broken Spoke, New West, and Donn’s Depot. Children in an acting class scene were selected from a class at the Dougherty Arts Center in Austin.
       As reported in the 7 Nov 1990 Austin American Statesman and 8 Nov 1990 DV, Grant left the film five weeks into production. Stone Group/High Horse publicist Jeff Friedman cited creative differences as her reason for leaving. As explained in a 31 Dec 1990 Austin American Statesman article, producers wanted a comedic film, while Grant was pushing for a more dramatic picture with some comedic elements. Petersen told the 26 Jan 1992 ^LAT that Grant was giving the film a more serious tone than he felt the material warranted, stating, “It’s a movie about forgiveness. I didn’t want to make a movie about pain.” In the 30 Jan 1992 Orange County Register, Spacek described the tensions on set and ensuing change of directors as “a horrible situation for everybody.” Spacek claimed to have taken the role partly because of Grant’s involvement, and although her replacement, Martin Davidson, met with Spacek individually for five hours when he first joined the crew, she later lamented that the mid-production shift caused her to lose her “overview” and act “moment to moment, scene by scene.”
       Filming was originally set to conclude on 14 Nov 1990. According to the 26 Jan 1992 LAT, Martin Davidson was given nineteen days to re-shoot the film in its entirety. Instead of the customary one-to-two script pages per day, Davidson was forced to shoot six-to-seven pages per day. Reportedly, only two scenes shot by Grant made it into the final edit, comprising fourteen minutes of the final ninety-five-minute picture. As of 6 Nov 1990, Davidson was on set at Camp Ben McCulloch in Driftwood, TX. It could not be determined when principal photography officially concluded, although the 22 Feb 1991 Austin American Statesman stated that the film had not yet wrapped and was “still in a state of flux.” Meanwhile, the 13 Nov 1990 Chicago Tribune had noted a potential scheduling conflict for William Petersen, whose upcoming play, American Buffalo, was slated to open at Remains Theatre on 18 Dec 1990.
       While in Austin, Spacek and castmate Mare Winningham were enlisted to film public service announcements for the local DayGlo Family Treatment Program, a service for emotionally troubled and abused children, as stated in the 13 Dec 1990 Austin American Statesman.
       Although the budget was not made public, rumors circulated that the film cost around $8 million. According to the 29 Nov 1991 Austin American Statesman, initial plans for a late spring 1991 release were abandoned, and the opening was pushed back to fall, and then late fall 1991. By late Oct 1991, the film was removed from Columbia’s release schedule. In the meantime, a 14 Sep 1991 premiere was held as part of the closing night festivities of the Toronto Festival of Festivals, as noted in a 5 Sep 1991 Chicago Tribune item.
       Despite concerns that Hard Promises might be relegated to a direct-to-video release, the film opened on 31 Jan 1992 in Chicago, Los Angeles, CA, and New York City. Critical reception was mixed, and the 11 Feb 1992 DV cited a ten-day gross of only $277,686. According to the 9 Jun 1992 Chicago Tribune, the release never expanded beyond three cities.
       A 2 Nov 1992 DV chart noted that Hard Promises had been released on home video by Columbia TriStar.
       End credits include the statements: “The producers wish to extend their gratitude to the following people for their assistance and cooperation: the people of Lockhart, Texas, Tim McCanlies, Buzzy Feiton, Ron Sage and Wyn Davis”; “Filmed entirely on location in Austin, Texas”; “Special thanks to Credit Lyonnais Bank, Nederland, N.V., for its financing and assistance”; and, “Special thanks to: Crossroads Elementary School; Frigidaire Appliances.”
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Austin American Statesman
22 Aug 1990
Section D, p. 9.
Austin American Statesman
25 Sep 1990
Section C, p. 6.
Austin American Statesman
30 Sep 1990
Section B, p. 1.
Austin American Statesman
6 Oct 1990
Time Out, p. 3.
Austin American Statesman
5 Nov 1990
Section B, p. 1.
Austin American Statesman
7 Nov 1990
Section B, p. 4.
Austin American Statesman
13 Dec 1990
Section E, p. 3.
Austin American Statesman
31 Dec 1990
Section C, p. 9.
Austin American Statesman
22 Feb 1991
Weekend, p. 6.
Austin American Statesman
29 Nov 1991
Weekend, p. 5.
Boston Globe
9 Sep 1990
Section B, p. 97.
Chicago Tribune
16 Aug 1990
p. 28.
Chicago Tribune
30 Aug 1990
p. 28.
Chicago Tribune
13 Nov 1990
p. 18.
Chicago Tribune
5 Sep 1991
Tempo, p. 3.
Chicago Tribune
31 Jan 1992.
---
Chicago Tribune
9 Jun 1992
p. 5.
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1990.
---
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1990.
---
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1990.
---
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1990.
---
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1990.
---
Daily Variety
8 Nov 1990
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 May 1991.
---
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1992.
---
Daily Variety
2 Nov 1992
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 1991
p. 9, 56.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jan 1992
Calendar, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jan 1992
p. 6.
New York Times
31 Jan 1992
p. 12.
Orange County Register
30 Jan 1992
Section F, p. 4.
Variety
2 Sep 1991.
---
Variety
7 Oct 1991
p. 196.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Stone Group Pictures presents
A High Horse Films Production
A Martin Davidson Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Loader
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Best boy elec
Elec
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Rigging grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Best boy, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art P.A.
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
"The Big Dog" dresser
"The Big Dog" dresser
"The Big Dog" dresser
Scenic artist
Const coord
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Painter
Prop master
Asst prop master
On-set dresser/3d prop
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Cost des, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus supv
Addl mus by
Mus ed
Mus transfers
Mus rec at
Mus rec at
Eng, Mus rec
Mus coord
Mus coord
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cable person
Sd editing
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Post prod sd facilities
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR/Foley mixer
Addl re-rec mixer
Addl re-rec mixer
Sd mixer, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
MAKEUP
Ms. Spacek hair and make-up
Key make-up
Asst make-up
Asst hair
Hair/Make-up, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod supv
Prod coord
Asst coord
Prod auditor
Prod controller
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Exec in charge of post prod
Projectionist
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Asst to Ms. Chvatal
Asst to Ms. Chvatal
Asst to Mr. Petersen
Asst to Mr. Bieber
Asst to Mr. Bieber
Asst to Mr. McAlevey
Asst to Mr. Kurta
Asst to Mr. Davidson
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Local casting
Extras casting
Addl casting
Catering, Silver Screen Catering
Catering, Silver Screen Catering
Security
Craft service
Set teacher
Dog trainer
24 frame video playback
Dailies adv
Payroll services
Product placement services by
Line prod, 2d unit
Prod coord, 2d unit
Loc mgr, 2d unit
Transportation coord, 2d unit
Transportation capt, 2d unit
Helicopter pilot, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Craft services, 2d unit
Accountant, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Still Ain't Over," written and performed by Brock Walsh, produced by Kenny Vance and John Keane, arranged by John Keane, CabesaLuna, Third Stone from the Middle, admin. by WB Music Corp - ASCAP
"Hard Promises," written by John Keane and John Goodwin, produced and performed by John Keane, Lay Cut Music - BMI
"Forgiven" & "It Ain't Love," written and performed by Sean Keller, produced by John Jennings, El Jefe Music/Third Stone from the Sun Music, admin. by Warner - Tamerlane - BMI
+
SONGS
"Still Ain't Over," written and performed by Brock Walsh, produced by Kenny Vance and John Keane, arranged by John Keane, CabesaLuna, Third Stone from the Middle, admin. by WB Music Corp - ASCAP
"Hard Promises," written by John Keane and John Goodwin, produced and performed by John Keane, Lay Cut Music - BMI
"Forgiven" & "It Ain't Love," written and performed by Sean Keller, produced by John Jennings, El Jefe Music/Third Stone from the Sun Music, admin. by Warner - Tamerlane - BMI
"Kisses In The Rain," written, performed and produced by Eve Moon, Purple Ear Music/Third Stone from the Sun Music, admin. by Warner - Tamerlane - BMI
"Happy Happy Wedding Day," written by David Alex-Barton, Bartones Music/Third Stone from the Sun Music, admin. by Warner - Tamerlane - BMI
"True Love," words and music by Cole Porter, © 1955 Chappell & Co. (renewed) ASCAP, all rights reserved, performed by David Alex-Barton
"I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock And Roll)," written by Nick Lowe, Anglo-Rock, Inc. BMI - Rock Music Co., Ltd. PRS, performed and arranged by David Alex-Barton, produced by David Alex-Barton and Barry Marshall
"She's My Soul" and "Piggly Wiggly Girl," written and performed by David Forman, produced by Kenny Vance, David Forman and John Frizzell, Fools Music Inc./Third Stone from the Middle, admin. by WB Music Corp. - ASCAP and Red Giant Inc./Third Stone from the Sun Music, admin. by Warner - Tamerlane - BMI
"Oceans Apart," written by David Forman and David Levine, performed by David Forman, produced by Kenny Vance, David Forman and John Frizzell, Fools Music Inc./Third Stone from the Middle, admin. by WB Music Corp. - ASCAP and Red Giant, Inc./Third Stone from the Sun Music, admin by Warner - Tamerlane - BMI
"Life's Beautiful," written and performed by James Campagnola, produced by Kenny Vance and James Campagnola, Wing Not Music/Red Giant Inc./Third Stone from the Sun Music, admin by Warner - Tamerlane - BMI
"Guys Talk," written by Kenny Vance and Philip Namanworth, Third Stone Picture Music - BMI, Third Stone Movie Music - ASCAP.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 January 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 31 January 1992
New York opening: week of 31 January 1992
Production Date:
began 29 or 30 September 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Stone Group Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
4 June 1992
Copyright Number:
PA575415
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
95
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30888
SYNOPSIS

On a dude ranch, Joey Coalter receives a wedding invitation announcing that his estranged wife, Christine Ann Boykin, is getting remarried. Returning to his hometown, Joey learns from his best friend, Pinky, that Christine, whom Joey calls “Chris,” was granted a divorce from him in his absence. He visits the elementary school where Chris teaches drama, but she refuses to speak to him and runs home. As he passes by the school soccer field, Joey encounters his daughter, Beth, who sent him the wedding invitation. Beth begs her father to stop the marriage, and he assures her that he will not let her down. Joey goes to his former home to talk to Chris, but she locks him out. Her best friend, Dawn, who is married to Pinky, reminds her that she is doing the right thing by marrying her fiancé, Walter Humphrey. Chris recalls her twelve-and-a-half-year marriage to Joey. He rarely spent time with her and Beth, preferring to take odd jobs and have “adventures” around the world. Although Chris is still drawn to Joey’s charm, she is determined to settle down with Walter, who owns an appliance store and offers her the stability she has been craving. To convince Joey that they are officially divorced, Chris escorts him to the office of her lawyer, Stuart Haggerty. Joey is incensed as he reads the divorce settlement, which became legal after he was unreachable and a mandatory separation period was met. Joey demands to know why Chris ended the marriage, and she lists a slew of unfortunate things that happened in his absence. Joey argues that he was making money to support the family. Suddenly, he gives her a ... +


On a dude ranch, Joey Coalter receives a wedding invitation announcing that his estranged wife, Christine Ann Boykin, is getting remarried. Returning to his hometown, Joey learns from his best friend, Pinky, that Christine, whom Joey calls “Chris,” was granted a divorce from him in his absence. He visits the elementary school where Chris teaches drama, but she refuses to speak to him and runs home. As he passes by the school soccer field, Joey encounters his daughter, Beth, who sent him the wedding invitation. Beth begs her father to stop the marriage, and he assures her that he will not let her down. Joey goes to his former home to talk to Chris, but she locks him out. Her best friend, Dawn, who is married to Pinky, reminds her that she is doing the right thing by marrying her fiancé, Walter Humphrey. Chris recalls her twelve-and-a-half-year marriage to Joey. He rarely spent time with her and Beth, preferring to take odd jobs and have “adventures” around the world. Although Chris is still drawn to Joey’s charm, she is determined to settle down with Walter, who owns an appliance store and offers her the stability she has been craving. To convince Joey that they are officially divorced, Chris escorts him to the office of her lawyer, Stuart Haggerty. Joey is incensed as he reads the divorce settlement, which became legal after he was unreachable and a mandatory separation period was met. Joey demands to know why Chris ended the marriage, and she lists a slew of unfortunate things that happened in his absence. Joey argues that he was making money to support the family. Suddenly, he gives her a passionate kiss, declares his love for her, and storms out of Haggarty’s office. In town, he sees Walter Humphrey and punches him in the face. Later, Joey and Pinky arrive unannounced at the rehearsal ceremony. Chris cries to Walter, who has a black eye from the punch Joey delivered. She asks Walter to remind her what their future will be like, and frantically expresses her desire to plant a garden together. Walter senses the emotional unrest that Joey’s homecoming has caused, and promises his wife-to-be that he will not abandon her. They continue with the rehearsal, but Joey demands time alone with Chris. He tries to persuade her that they should be together because they still love each other. Chris reminds her wayward ex-husband that he has been unfaithful, and accuses him of using their home like a motel. She claims she no longer loves him, and he leaves in a fit of anger. At his unfinished cabin by a creek, Joey drinks beer with Pinky and pretends to be excited by his newfound freedom. Pinky eventually loses patience with Joey’s self-aggrandizing ramblings and accuses him of being self-involved. Pinky mentions his recent promotion at the iron and steel factory, and accuses Joey of dismissing his workaday accomplishments. After Pinky leaves, Joey goes to a bar and infiltrates Walter’s bachelor party. Instead of fighting him again, he apologizes and plies Walter with shots of tequila. Walter eventually passes out at the table, and Joey sneaks away to find Chris. He meets her outside Dawn’s house, where she had her bachelorette party, and she allows him to walk her home. They reminisce about their days as high school sweethearts, and Chris confesses that she still loves him, even though she denied it earlier. They make love in the bedroom they once shared. In the morning, Joey is surprised to learn that Chris still intends to marry Walter. In a desperate attempt to win her back, he goes to the factory where Pinky works and secures a regular job. Joey returns to Chris’s house to give her the news, but she insists that the job will make him miserable. Walter arrives with a basket full of seeds for his and Chris’s future garden, and Chris embraces him. Realizing that he has lost her, Joey gives the couple his blessing. That afternoon, he appears at the wedding reception and asks for one dance with the bride. Taking Chris in his arms, Joey beseeches her to outlive Walter, so that they can reunite in her widowhood and grow old together. On his way out, Joey finds Pinky, who asks his friend to send a postcard from his next stop. Joey takes Beth for a ride to his unfinished cabin. Although she is disappointed by the turn of events, he promises her that he will be back in the summer and suggests they finish building his cabin together. Beth tells her father that he does not need to make promises for her to love him. Instead of making more promises, he tells her he will simply try to do better. +

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

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