Against All Odds (1984)

R | 121 mins | Drama, Romance | 2 March 1984

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HISTORY

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Jeremy Carr, Visiting Research Fellow with the Arizona State University Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture.

The working titles for Against All Odds were Nothing to Lose and Out of the Past . As noted in a 29 Oct 1982 LAHExam news item, Against All Odds is based on the 1947 RKO film noir , Out of the Past (see entry), which starred Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, and Kirk Douglas and was directed by Jacques Tourneur. The 1947 film was written by Daniel Mainwaring, based on his novel published under the pseudonym, Geoffrey Homes, erroneously spelled Jeffrey Holmes in a 21 Apr 1983 DV article.
       A 21 Apr 1983 DV article reported that director Taylor Hackford brought the idea of a remake of Out of the Past to Paramount, but the studio asked him to first direct An Officer and a Gentleman (1982, see entry), hoping for its completion before an impending strike by the Directors Guild of America. During the interim, Eric Hughes wrote a script, then titled Nothing to Lose , using many of Hackford's ideas. After principal photography of An Officer and a Gentleman , Hackford raised money from private funders, but the funding fell through.
       A 10 Mar 1983 HR news item reported that Hackford's project was moved to Columbia. The article, citing an "inside source," reported that the director changed studios because Paramount had ... More Less

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Jeremy Carr, Visiting Research Fellow with the Arizona State University Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture.

The working titles for Against All Odds were Nothing to Lose and Out of the Past . As noted in a 29 Oct 1982 LAHExam news item, Against All Odds is based on the 1947 RKO film noir , Out of the Past (see entry), which starred Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, and Kirk Douglas and was directed by Jacques Tourneur. The 1947 film was written by Daniel Mainwaring, based on his novel published under the pseudonym, Geoffrey Homes, erroneously spelled Jeffrey Holmes in a 21 Apr 1983 DV article.
       A 21 Apr 1983 DV article reported that director Taylor Hackford brought the idea of a remake of Out of the Past to Paramount, but the studio asked him to first direct An Officer and a Gentleman (1982, see entry), hoping for its completion before an impending strike by the Directors Guild of America. During the interim, Eric Hughes wrote a script, then titled Nothing to Lose , using many of Hackford's ideas. After principal photography of An Officer and a Gentleman , Hackford raised money from private funders, but the funding fell through.
       A 10 Mar 1983 HR news item reported that Hackford's project was moved to Columbia. The article, citing an "inside source," reported that the director changed studios because Paramount had delayed production. The article speculated that the deciding factor to make the move was a promise by Columbia to "fully budget" the film. At that point, according to the article, no release plans had been determined.
       Although a 21 Apr 1983 DV article reported that principal production would begin on 22 Apr, HR news items dated 17 and 24 May 1983, listed the start date as 25 Apr. As noted in the 21 Apr 1983 DV article, romantic sequences were scheduled to be filmed near Mayan ruins in Mexico, followed by eight weeks in Los Angeles for "more gritty, action oriented segments."
       The 21 Apr 1983 DV article reported that Richard Attenborough was slated to play "a powerful Century City attorney." However, a 26 Apr 1983 DV news item stated that the actor had dropped out of the production due to his commitment to the opening of the 1982 UK/India film, Gandhi , and a 9 May 1983 HR news item reported that Richard Widmark was signed by Hackford for the role. Jane Greer, the feminine lead in Out of the Past , was cast as "Mrs. Wyler" in Against All Odds . Paul Valentine, who portrayed an underworld character, "Joe Stefanos," in the 1947 film, was cast as "Councilman Weinberg" in the remake.
       2 Aug 1983 HR and 3 Aug 1983 Var news items reported that principal photography had been recently completed. End credits acknowledge a "Special Thanks to Tony Smith for Music Help." The film's title song, "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song-Motion Picture. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1983.
---
Daily Variety
26 Apr 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1984
p. 3, 18.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
29 Oct 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Mar 1984
p. 1.
New York Times
2 Mar 1984
p. 14.
New Yorker
19 Feb 1979.
---
Variety
3 Aug 1983.
---
Variety
15 Feb 1984
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Taylor Hackford film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Mexico prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam, 2d unit
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Steadicam op
Cam 1st asst
Cam 2d asst
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Projectionist-Mexico
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Leadman
Standby painter
Greensman
Const coord
Const foreman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Prop maker
Prop maker
Prop maker
Prop maker
Prop maker
Plasterer
Painter
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost
Men's cost
Women's cost
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus score
Supv mus ed
Supv mus ed
Mus rec by
Mus rec by
Mus coord
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
Titles by
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Make-up consultant
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting asst
SEG extras
Prod consultant
"Tundra's" trainer
"Tundra's" trainer
Doberman trainer
Craft service
DGA trainee
Prod office coord
Prod office secy
Asst to Mr. Hackford
Asst to Mr. Hackford
Secy to Mr. Hackford
Asst to prods
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Mexico accountant
Asst auditor
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Cam car driver, 2d unit
Traffic control, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Porsche stunt driver
Ferrari stunt driver
Sully stunt double
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
COLOR PERSONNEL
Supv lab timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the film Out of the Past written by Daniel Mainwaring (RKO Radio Pictures, 1947).
SONGS
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," written and performed by Phil Collins, produced by Arif Mardin, courtesy of Atlantic Records/Virgin Records
"Violet and Blue," written and performed by Stevie Nicks, produced by Jimmy Iovine, courtesy of Modern Records
"Walk Through the Fire," written and performed by Peter Gabriel, courtesy of Geffen Records/Charisma Records
+
SONGS
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," written and performed by Phil Collins, produced by Arif Mardin, courtesy of Atlantic Records/Virgin Records
"Violet and Blue," written and performed by Stevie Nicks, produced by Jimmy Iovine, courtesy of Modern Records
"Walk Through the Fire," written and performed by Peter Gabriel, courtesy of Geffen Records/Charisma Records
"Making a Big Mistake," written and performed by Mike Rutherford, courtesy of Atlantic Records
"Balcony," written by Stewart Adamson, performed by Big Country, produced by Chris Thomas, courtesy of Phonogram Records Ltd. (London) & Polygram Records
"My Male Curiosity," written by August Darnell, performed by Kid Creole & The Coconuts, courtesy of Sire Records/Island Records/Champion Entertainment.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 March 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 2 March 1984
Production Date:
began late April 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 March 1984
Copyright Number:
PA207506
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metro Color®
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
121
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27136
SYNOPSIS

In Mexico, American football player Terry Brogan searches for Jessie Wyler by asking people he encounters if they recognize her from a photo he carries. Until recently, Terry played for the Los Angeles Outlaws, a team owned by Jessie's mother, Grace Wyler, a land developer who has taken over her deceased husband's businesses. A few days earlier, Terry was in California at a practice session during which Mrs. Wyler was present: As Terry and the other athletes play ball, Mrs. Wyler and her business associate, attorney Ben Caxton, entertain government officials, hoping to convince them to rezone a canyon where Mrs. Wyler wants to build expensive homes. Terry, a veteran player called the "old man" by teammates, has been recuperating from a shoulder injury, but needs to remain in the game to pay off debts. Goaded by the team's manager, he reinjures himself attempting to prove he is capable of playing and is cut from the team. Hank Sully, a sympathetic trainer, warns Terry that since Mr. Wyler's death, Mrs. Wyler has been rebuilding the team to show more profit and less talent. Terry contacts his lawyer and former schoolmate, Steve Kirsch, to fight the release from his team. Kirsch, who has joined Caxton's lawfirm, refuses to represent Terry, but makes a token offer to help him with a low-interest loan. As Terry leaves the office, Kirsch's secretary, Edie, tells him about Caxton's attempt to get a zoning variance for Mrs. Wyler's development project. Later that evening, Terry is approached by Tommy, an employee of bookie and club owner, Jake Wise. He says that Jake wants Terry to do a job for him, but despite his previous ... +


In Mexico, American football player Terry Brogan searches for Jessie Wyler by asking people he encounters if they recognize her from a photo he carries. Until recently, Terry played for the Los Angeles Outlaws, a team owned by Jessie's mother, Grace Wyler, a land developer who has taken over her deceased husband's businesses. A few days earlier, Terry was in California at a practice session during which Mrs. Wyler was present: As Terry and the other athletes play ball, Mrs. Wyler and her business associate, attorney Ben Caxton, entertain government officials, hoping to convince them to rezone a canyon where Mrs. Wyler wants to build expensive homes. Terry, a veteran player called the "old man" by teammates, has been recuperating from a shoulder injury, but needs to remain in the game to pay off debts. Goaded by the team's manager, he reinjures himself attempting to prove he is capable of playing and is cut from the team. Hank Sully, a sympathetic trainer, warns Terry that since Mr. Wyler's death, Mrs. Wyler has been rebuilding the team to show more profit and less talent. Terry contacts his lawyer and former schoolmate, Steve Kirsch, to fight the release from his team. Kirsch, who has joined Caxton's lawfirm, refuses to represent Terry, but makes a token offer to help him with a low-interest loan. As Terry leaves the office, Kirsch's secretary, Edie, tells him about Caxton's attempt to get a zoning variance for Mrs. Wyler's development project. Later that evening, Terry is approached by Tommy, an employee of bookie and club owner, Jake Wise. He says that Jake wants Terry to do a job for him, but despite his previous friendship with Jake, Terry is not interested. However, his dire financial situation prompts Terry to change his mind. Jake explains that his girl friend, Jessie Wyler, stabbed him and fled to Mexico with $50,000 she stole from him. Jake wants Terry to find her, but Terry is reluctant until Jake reminds him of his dismal career options and reminds him that he knows of something in Terry's past that could ruin him. Later, Terry crashes a party given by Mrs. Wyler to advance her development project. Although Terry needs information about Jessie, he also hopes to plead for his position on the team. Mrs. Wyler, who is estranged from Jessie, dislikes Jake and encourages Terry to stay away from him. She offers to double the money Jake is offering, if he will protect Jessie from Jake. She also suggests she could put him back on the team, if he complies, Terry is offended and says he wants his job back because he is worth it, not because he is a spy. Hank, who has been required to attend the function, privately vents his frustration that the Outlaws are being used to sell real estate and also warns Terry against working with Jake. However, Terry decides to take the money and enjoy himself in Mexico while looking for Jessie. Having learned from Mrs. Wyler that Jessie is in Cozumel, Terry finds her, but when he tries to initiate small talk, she remains aloof. When Jake later phones him, Terry denies finding her and, attracted to Jessie, pursues her to Tulum. When he again meets her, she asks whether he is working for her mother or Jake, and what threats were used to bribe him. Angered, he returns to his hotel, intending to return to Los Angeles, but Jessie follows. Trusting that he will not reveal her location, she invites him to her house. There, she eventually tells him about her unhappy home life, and her brother who committed suicide. She also reveals that Jake helped her overcome drug problems. She lost interest in Jake, but he would not let her go and claimed she would have to kill him first. Flirtation between Terry and Jessie leads to passionate lovemaking, after which they spend several days together. During that time, Terry tells her that when he was in debt, he assisted in Jake's illegal sports gambling activities by fumbling a ball so as not to exceed an anticipated point spread. Terry asks Jessie about Jake's $50,000, but she denies taking it. Later, to keep Jake off their trail, Terry and Jessie leave town separately and meet ten days later at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. There, Jessie admits that she has Jake's money in Mexico City and, when Terry feels hurt that she lied to him, she says she was unsure whether she could trust him. Their tryst among the ruins is interrupted by Hank Sully, who was sent by Jake to find them. The couple attempts to run, but Hank pulls a gun, and a struggle ensues. When Hank reaches for his dropped gun, Jessie retrieves it and shoots him in the chest. Jessie flees, but Terry remains with Hank until he dies, then dumps his body into a lake. When Terry returns to town, he finds that Jessie has gathered her belongings and left by plane. Later, after Terry returns to California, Jake offers Terry another job and reveals his knowledge of Hank's disappearance. However, Terry says that if Jake tells what he knows, his own misdeeds will be disclosed. Jake argues that there are other people and more than one game involved. Terry is angry when he discovers that Jessie has reunited with Jake. She later explains that she loves Terry, but feels he cannot take care of her and she feels she must choose between the protection of her mother or Jake. Warning that Jake could hurt him, Jessie urges Terry to do what Jake wants and be finished with him. Later, Terry goes to Jake's club to discuss the job proposal. Jake says that to run his gambling syndicate successfully, he received information about player injuries from Hank and details about the expiration of players' contracts from Kirsch, but they double-crossed him and fixed a game behind his back, allowing Kirsch to win big. Aware that Kirsch is keeping information about his illegal exploits, Jake wants Terry to break into his office and remove compromising files. Terry senses that Jake is planning more than a theft, but feels compelled to take the job. He visits Jessie and they express love for one another, but both feel unable to change their situations. When Jessie later asks Jake to let her go, he reminds her that he protected her from Caxton and her mother. Recalling how she helped him, Jake tells Jessie he needs her and would kill for her. When Terry goes into Kirsch's office, he finds the attorney murdered and realizes Jake is framing him for the killing. One of Jake's men appears, dressed as an armed security guard, but Terry wrestles the gun from the man and knocks him out. Outside the building, Terry seeks out Edie, and learns that she has recently been fired. He says he could not locate whatever Jake wanted, prompting Edie to remember Kirsch's "treasure chest," a box that contains compromising information on many people. Because Edie knows so much about Kirsch's activities, Terry warns her that she, too, is in danger. Terry and Edie return to the office for the box, but are set upon by Jake's men. After defeating them, Terry and Edie flee. Jessie, who has learned about Kirsch's murder from Terry, confronts her mother at a party to celebrate a rezoning victory. Jessie insists on talking to Caxton and tells him that Jake fixed games, bet against his own bank and killed Kirsch. She and Caxton go to Jake's club, where Jake tells Jessie that Caxton owns seventy-five percent of his club and that he and Tommy do Caxton's bidding. Terry calls the club and tells Caxton he has Kirsch's information and they agree to meet him at the canyon. Accompanied by Jessie and Tommy, who holds Jake at gunpoint, Caxton drives to the canyon. In the car, Caxton explains to Jessie that he takes care of the needs of his clients, including her mother, who wanted to develop the canyon but could not accomplish her goal with campaign contributions alone. When they meet, Terry tells Caxton he will trade him the information if Caxton and Jake stay out of his life. Caxton says he is willing to negotiate, but the desperate Jake first holds Jessie hostage, then takes aim to kill Jake. Jessie gets Tommy's gun and kills Jake. Afterward, Caxton says he can protect Jessie from murder charges, but insists that Terry hand over the information and never see her again. Jessie agrees to cooperate, if Caxton will leave Terry alone. Some time later, Terry attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the Wyler land development. Careful to remain distant from Jessie, Terry tells Caxton that he will be playing for the Miami Dolphins next year. He comments on how well Caxton has managed the news about Jake's killing, which will certainly result in Jessie's acquittal of murder charges. Caxton reminds Terry that he is out of Jessie's life, but, while exchanging longing glances with Jessie from a distance, Terry tells Caxton he cannot control them forever. +

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

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