Fatal Instinct (1993)

PG-13 | 90 mins | Comedy | 29 October 1993

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HISTORY

As described by director Carl Reiner in a 23 Sep 1992 HR article, Fatal Instinct was a parody of twelve to fifteen popular erotic and noir thrillers, including Double Indemnity, (1944), Cape Fear (1962/1991), Chinatown (1974), Body Heat (1981), Fatal Attraction (1987), Sleeping With the Enemy (1991), and Basic Instinct (1992, see entries).
       A 1 Oct 1993 article from The Film Journal reported that the original title, Triple Indemnity, was changed due to concerns about legal complications with the creators of Double Indemnity. The picture marked the debut for Jacobs/Gardner Productions, formed in 1991 by producing partners Katie Jacobs and Pierce Gardner.
       According to a 27 Oct 1992 HR production chart, principal photography began 26 Oct 1992 in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to location work, the production planned to shoot on the soundstages of Warner Hollywood Studios.
       Armand Assante stated in a 17 Nov 1993 Drama-Logue interview that after reading the script, he assumed Reiner wanted to cast him as mechanic “Frank Kelbo” and was surprised to be offered the role of cop-lawyer, “Ned Ravine.” Assante admitted that he was intimidated about portraying a comical and dim-witted character, noting that it had been twenty-five years since he had last played in a farce onscreen. However, Assante was the perfect fit for the part, according to Reiner, who mentioned in the production notes from AMPAS library files, that he aimed “for actors who could play it straight” and were not necessarily known for their comedic abilities. ... More Less

As described by director Carl Reiner in a 23 Sep 1992 HR article, Fatal Instinct was a parody of twelve to fifteen popular erotic and noir thrillers, including Double Indemnity, (1944), Cape Fear (1962/1991), Chinatown (1974), Body Heat (1981), Fatal Attraction (1987), Sleeping With the Enemy (1991), and Basic Instinct (1992, see entries).
       A 1 Oct 1993 article from The Film Journal reported that the original title, Triple Indemnity, was changed due to concerns about legal complications with the creators of Double Indemnity. The picture marked the debut for Jacobs/Gardner Productions, formed in 1991 by producing partners Katie Jacobs and Pierce Gardner.
       According to a 27 Oct 1992 HR production chart, principal photography began 26 Oct 1992 in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to location work, the production planned to shoot on the soundstages of Warner Hollywood Studios.
       Armand Assante stated in a 17 Nov 1993 Drama-Logue interview that after reading the script, he assumed Reiner wanted to cast him as mechanic “Frank Kelbo” and was surprised to be offered the role of cop-lawyer, “Ned Ravine.” Assante admitted that he was intimidated about portraying a comical and dim-witted character, noting that it had been twenty-five years since he had last played in a farce onscreen. However, Assante was the perfect fit for the part, according to Reiner, who mentioned in the production notes from AMPAS library files, that he aimed “for actors who could play it straight” and were not necessarily known for their comedic abilities. In the Drama-Logue article, both Reiner and Assante referred to the scene of Ned Ravine dancing in high heels as a highlight in the film, and Assante stated that “it was the only scene in the movie that was improvised.”
       On 20 Sep 1993, a New York magazine item reported Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) was pressured to issue replacement posters after some media outlets protested the original was “inappropriate.” Inspired by a scene in Basic Instinct, the one-sheet depicted a femme fatale with her legs crossed, and the phrase, “opening soon.” The illustration referred to a scene in the film where seductress “Lola Cain” admits to Ned Ravine that she is not wearing underwear and he offers her a pair from a box of “pop-up panties.” Secret Identitee, the company hired to handle the film’s merchandising, also borrowed from the same scene to send out similar boxes in the press kit, as noted in a 24 Nov 1993 HR column.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Producers wish to thank: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company; San Diego Gas and Electric – Encina Power Plant; All kitchen and bath products courtesy of Kohler®; Carry On Products.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1993.
---
Drama-Logue
17 Nov 1993
pp. 16-17.
Film Journal
1 Oct 1993
p. 16, 52.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 1992
p. 3, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 1993
p. 11, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 1993
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
29 Oct 1993
Calendar, p. 10.
New York
20 Sep 1993.
---
New York Times
29 Oct 1993
Section C, p. 8.
Variety
18 Oct 1993
pp. 50-51.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
A Jacobs/Gardner Production
A Carl Reiner Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
2d unit dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Video assist
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Rigging best boy
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Rigging key grip
Rigging best boy grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Lighting and grip equip by
Cranes and dollies by
Arriflex 535 cams by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
2d leadman
Set dresser
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Paint foreman
Stand-by painter
Const estimator
Greens person
Lead set des
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Key costumer
Set costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Addl mus and orch
Mus contractor
Concert master
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR asst
Supv Foley ed
Foley ed
Sd eff rec
Sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Foley rec
ADR rec
Prod sd rec
Boom op
Cable
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Mold maker
Process plate photog
Process plate projection
Title des by
Titles and opticals by
DANCE
Choreog
Lei Hula Bowl band
MAKEUP
Key make-up
Key make-up
Key hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation estimator
Unit pub
Asst to Carl Reiner
Asst to Katie Jacobs
Asst to Pierce Gardner
Asst to Pieter Jan Brugge
Asst to Armand Assante
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Key set PA
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Extras casting
Catering
Craft service
Animal trainer
Yiddish dial coach
First aid
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Train coach cars, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stand-in for Kate Nelligan
Stand-in for Sean Young
Stand-in for Sherilyn Fenn
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Brown Eyed Girl," written and performed by Van Morrison, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," written by Douglas Ingle, performed by Iron Butterfly, courtesy of Atco Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"The Mighty Bruins," written by Bill Conti, performed by the UCLA Marching Band, under the direction of Gordon Henderson.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Triple Indemnity
Release Date:
29 October 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 29 October 1993
Production Date:
began 26 October 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 November 1993
Copyright Number:
PA665800
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32512
SYNOPSIS

While on a stakeout at an amusement park in Los Angeles, California, police detective Ned Ravine is approached by a flirtatious, sultry blonde woman. However, he must leave her to pursue culprit Milo Crumley, known as the “pantyhose bandit.” After arresting Milo, Ned, who is also a defense attorney, offers to represent him in court. At his law office, Ned relies on his devoted secretary, Laura, who is always efficient except when tortured by flashbacks of her abusive husband. After successfully defending Milo in court, Ned receives a surprise visit from Lola Cain, the blonde woman from the amusement park. The beautiful seductress asks Ned to meet her the following evening to look over some papers that she cannot understand. While workaholic Ned is on police duty at night, his wife, Lana Ravine, has been having an affair with auto mechanic Frank Kelbo. Lana asks Frank’s advice about her husband’s accident insurance policy, and learns that it contains a triple indemnity rider worth $9 million, if Ned is shot with a pistol, falls from a northbound train, and drowns in a freshwater stream. Undaunted by the complications, Lana plots to murder Ned that weekend while he travels to a legal symposium in Santa Barbara, California, and agrees to share the insurance payout with her lover. She instructs Frank to tamper with Ned’s car, so he will be forced to take the train. At his office, Ned receives instructions to meet Lola at Le Hot Club and from there, the two proceed to her mansion. After looking over her “papers,” a laundry receipt and a lottery ticket, Ned succumbs to ... +


While on a stakeout at an amusement park in Los Angeles, California, police detective Ned Ravine is approached by a flirtatious, sultry blonde woman. However, he must leave her to pursue culprit Milo Crumley, known as the “pantyhose bandit.” After arresting Milo, Ned, who is also a defense attorney, offers to represent him in court. At his law office, Ned relies on his devoted secretary, Laura, who is always efficient except when tortured by flashbacks of her abusive husband. After successfully defending Milo in court, Ned receives a surprise visit from Lola Cain, the blonde woman from the amusement park. The beautiful seductress asks Ned to meet her the following evening to look over some papers that she cannot understand. While workaholic Ned is on police duty at night, his wife, Lana Ravine, has been having an affair with auto mechanic Frank Kelbo. Lana asks Frank’s advice about her husband’s accident insurance policy, and learns that it contains a triple indemnity rider worth $9 million, if Ned is shot with a pistol, falls from a northbound train, and drowns in a freshwater stream. Undaunted by the complications, Lana plots to murder Ned that weekend while he travels to a legal symposium in Santa Barbara, California, and agrees to share the insurance payout with her lover. She instructs Frank to tamper with Ned’s car, so he will be forced to take the train. At his office, Ned receives instructions to meet Lola at Le Hot Club and from there, the two proceed to her mansion. After looking over her “papers,” a laundry receipt and a lottery ticket, Ned succumbs to Lola’s sexual advances and engages in various erotic scenarios with her throughout the house. In the morning, Ned reminds Lola he is married and cannot continue their affair. The rejection shocks Lola, and she gives Ned a deranged look. Meanwhile, criminal Max Shady is released from prison and is determined to take revenge on Ned for losing his case seven years ago. Laura shows Ned the multiple death threats Shady has faxed to the office, but the attorney believes the criminal just needs to vent his anger and is not concerned. At home, Ned wants to make amends with his estranged wife and buys her a pet skunk, but she is unimpressed and remains focused on killing him. When Ned treats Laura to shopping and dinner for her birthday, she looks at her handsome boss with affection, hoping he will take an interest in her. At the restaurant, an obsessive Lola interrupts them and threatens Ned with an ice pick, giving Laura another reason to worry about her boss’s safety. Unable to use his car after the engine goes missing, Ned initially considers flying to Santa Barbara. He is fearful about taking the train since several members of his family have been killed in train wrecks, but Lana persuades him and advises that he stand in the vestibule between cars to calm his nerves. She and Frank secretly get on the train with Ned, who is also being followed on board by Max Shady. As the train leaves the station, Ned is anxious and sweating. After he gets up from his seat and walks toward the vestibule, Lana follows. She enters the area and shoots a man in the back, who is standing by the exit door and wearing a suit similar to Ned’s. She believes she has shot her husband, but the man who falls out of the train, riddled with bullets, is Max Shady. Ned appears from the adjacent bathroom and is grateful to his wife for risking her life to protect him. However, as a police officer, he must arrest her for Shady’s murder, but agrees to serve as her defense attorney. At the murder trial, Ned succeeds in convincing the jury that his wife should be acquitted. As soon as she is free, Lana kills her accomplice Frank over concerns he might betray her. Lola witnesses the deed and blackmails Lana. Ned walks in the house as Lola is talking to his wife, and denies knowing the blonde woman. Later, an angry Ned goes to Lola’s mansion and warns her to stay out his life. During their altercation, Lola reveals that Lana is her identical twin sister, who stole her boyfriend Dwayne, the love of her life. When a confused Ned remarks that the two women look completely different, Lola explains that Lana destroyed her original face with a shovel and she had to endure fifty-three plastic surgery operations. Ned is amazed at the beautiful result, but Lola disagrees, calling herself “ugly.” She says Dwayne abandoned her for Lana after he saw her transformation. Lola’s attempt to destroy her sister’s marriage to Ned was part of her revenge. She also tells Ned that Lana murdered the mechanic. When Ned informs Lola that the mechanic’s name was Frank Kelbo, she is devastated, realizing that Frank was the son of Dwayne, whose last name was Kelbo. Returning home, Ned finds hot water running in the bathtub, but his wife is absent. Laura, who has been conducting her own investigation, arrives to alert Ned that his wife and Frank were plotting to murder him so they could collect on his insurance policy. She also confides about her difficult past and fleeing from her obsessive-compulsive, abusive husband. As Ned and Laura talk in the kitchen, Lana saws a break in the upstairs handrail, but Lola surprises her sister and drowns her in the bathtub. When Ned goes to investigate the faucet noise, he discovers his wife’s dead body and is assaulted by Lola. Meanwhile, downstairs, Laura’s sadistic husband sneaks into the house and confronts his wife. After Ned and Laura subdue their attackers, they embrace and share a passionate kiss. Suddenly, the two apparently dead sisters recover and rush at Ned and Laura with sharp objects. However, Laura proves to be a skilled sharpshooter as she simultaneously kills Lana and Lola with two pistols. She and Ned propose marriage and spend their first night together, as the pet skunk watches from his hiding spot in the dresser. +

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

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