After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

R | 114 mins | Drama | 1990

Director:

James Foley

Cinematographer:

Mark Plummer

Editor:

Howard Smith

Production Designer:

David Brisbin

Production Company:

Avenue Pictures
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HISTORY

The summary for this entry was completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary was written by participant Jay Lewis, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor.

The film begins with a voice-over narration by actor Jason Patric in the role of Kevin “Collie” Collins and it continues intermittently throughout the story. The film also depicts sporadic flashbacks of a boxing match during which Collie killed his opponent.
       Director and co-writer, James Foley, was drawn to the story, adapted from Jim Thompson’s novel After Dark, My Sweet (1955), because it was more “romantic” than most of Thompson’s work, according to a 21 Jan 1990 article in NYT . The film was budgeted for $7 million and shot on location in the Southern California desert town of Mecca as well as in Palm Springs. As noted in the article, Avenue Pictures had recently achieved success with its production Drugstore Cowboy (1989, see entry), and was willing to take a risk in supporting a project with actors who had become less sought after, such as Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern. Dern commented that at age fifty, he found he was not being offered many roles, and compared the film to the work of director Hal Ashby, who died the previous year. As reported in NYT , Foley had directed a series of box-office failures before making After Dark, My Sweet , but saw the film as an opportunity for a comeback. A 2 Nov 1989 DV news item announced the start of principal photography.
              According to LAT ... More Less

The summary for this entry was completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary was written by participant Jay Lewis, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor.

The film begins with a voice-over narration by actor Jason Patric in the role of Kevin “Collie” Collins and it continues intermittently throughout the story. The film also depicts sporadic flashbacks of a boxing match during which Collie killed his opponent.
       Director and co-writer, James Foley, was drawn to the story, adapted from Jim Thompson’s novel After Dark, My Sweet (1955), because it was more “romantic” than most of Thompson’s work, according to a 21 Jan 1990 article in NYT . The film was budgeted for $7 million and shot on location in the Southern California desert town of Mecca as well as in Palm Springs. As noted in the article, Avenue Pictures had recently achieved success with its production Drugstore Cowboy (1989, see entry), and was willing to take a risk in supporting a project with actors who had become less sought after, such as Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern. Dern commented that at age fifty, he found he was not being offered many roles, and compared the film to the work of director Hal Ashby, who died the previous year. As reported in NYT , Foley had directed a series of box-office failures before making After Dark, My Sweet , but saw the film as an opportunity for a comeback. A 2 Nov 1989 DV news item announced the start of principal photography.
              According to LAT on 22 Jul 1990, the film was criticized for “gay bashing” before its release by Village Voice due to its depiction of the character “Doc Goldman,” who is an implied homosexual and is fatally wounded by Collins, the object of his affection. Foley argued that he intended all of the characters to be ambiguous and that the sexuality of Goldman was not determined. He noted that “90%” of the dialogue was derived from the novel, and that any indication of homoeroticism should be attributed to Thompson.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Sep 1990.
---
Daily Variety
2 Nov 1989.
---
Daily Variety
22 May 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 1990
p. 7, 41.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jul 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Aug 1990
p. 8.
New York Times
21 Jan 1990.
---
New York Times
24 Aug 1990
p. 11.
Variety
30 May 1990
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Film by James Foley
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Steadicam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam asst
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Leadman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Const coord
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Lead scenic artist
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus coord
Mus rec by
Mus ed
Temporary mus provided by
Mus clearance by
Electronic ensemble under the supv of Maurice Jarr
Electronic ensemble under the supv of Maurice Jarr
Electronic ensemble under the supv of Maurice Jarr
Electronic ensemble under the supv of Maurice Jarr
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Voice casting
Sd supv
ADR supv
Foley supv
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd asst
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Spec makeup eff
Hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Addl casting by
Loc casting
Casting asst to Mr. Rubin
Post prod supv
Avenue prod exec
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Loc mgr
Boxing trainer and adv
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod secy
Prod secy
Asst to Mr. Brokaw
Post prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation co-capt
Transportation co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Catering by
Catering by
Craft services
Studio teacher
Completion bond
Legal services
Legal services
Addl dist financing provided by
Publicity
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Negative timing
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel After Dark, My Sweet by Jim Thompson (Berkeley, 1955).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 24 August 1990
New York opening: week of 24 August 1990
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30282
SYNOPSIS

Former boxer Kevin “Collie” Collins walks through the desert with his belongings in a paper bag and stops at Bert’s Bar, where he meets Fay Anderson. Kevin tells her he is looking for his friend, Jack Billingsley, because they were separated after their car broke down. When Fay seems bothered by Kevin, Bert tells him to leave, but Kevin punches him and quickly limps away. Fay follows Kevin in her car and invites him to come home with her, assuring him that Bert will not go to the police. When they introduce themselves, Fay recognizes Kevin’s name, tells him her husband is dead and asks if she can call him “Collie.” Offering Collie her husband’s clothes and showing him the dying date palm orchard and vacant trailer on her property, Fay proposes that Collie board with her in exchange for work. That evening at a restaurant, as Fay and Collie dance, Garrett “Uncle Bud” Stoker introduces himself to Collie and asks about his last fight. Telling Collie that he used to be a detective, Uncle Bud attempts to persuade Collie to work for him, but warns that he should sleep alone. Back at Fay’s house, she drunkenly tells Collie that a scheme has been developing between herself and Bud, and says that he should leave before he is pulled into their “mess.” At a diner, Collie unsuccessfully attempts to hitch a ride out of town with a truck driver. Afraid that Collie is scaring the customers with his rambling stories about Jack Billingsley, the man behind the counter asks Collie to sit in the back of the restaurant. As ... +


Former boxer Kevin “Collie” Collins walks through the desert with his belongings in a paper bag and stops at Bert’s Bar, where he meets Fay Anderson. Kevin tells her he is looking for his friend, Jack Billingsley, because they were separated after their car broke down. When Fay seems bothered by Kevin, Bert tells him to leave, but Kevin punches him and quickly limps away. Fay follows Kevin in her car and invites him to come home with her, assuring him that Bert will not go to the police. When they introduce themselves, Fay recognizes Kevin’s name, tells him her husband is dead and asks if she can call him “Collie.” Offering Collie her husband’s clothes and showing him the dying date palm orchard and vacant trailer on her property, Fay proposes that Collie board with her in exchange for work. That evening at a restaurant, as Fay and Collie dance, Garrett “Uncle Bud” Stoker introduces himself to Collie and asks about his last fight. Telling Collie that he used to be a detective, Uncle Bud attempts to persuade Collie to work for him, but warns that he should sleep alone. Back at Fay’s house, she drunkenly tells Collie that a scheme has been developing between herself and Bud, and says that he should leave before he is pulled into their “mess.” At a diner, Collie unsuccessfully attempts to hitch a ride out of town with a truck driver. Afraid that Collie is scaring the customers with his rambling stories about Jack Billingsley, the man behind the counter asks Collie to sit in the back of the restaurant. As Collie stumbles into an occupied booth, a man offers to buy him food and inquires how long it has been since Collie was committed. After acknowledging that it has been a year since his hospitalization, Collie agrees that he should return for treatment, but adds that he has not been in any trouble. The man tells Collie that he’s a doctor and invites him home. Although Collie is provided his own room at Doc Goldman’s house in return for work, he worries about Fay and when he returns to her, she sits on his lap and kisses him lovingly. Collie admits to Fay that after meeting her, he couldn’t go back to his regular life. Sometime later, Bud suggests a plan to Collie where he would get rich without hurting anyone. Driving Collie to a golf course, Bud gives Collie a newspaper clipping and tells him that the wealthy Vanderventer child, Charlie, has a regular appointment to play there on Saturdays from one to four o’clock. Bud explains that Collie will dress in uniform and kidnap Charlie before his chauffeur arrives to pick him up at 3:45, adding that his plan is fail-safe because of his connections to the police force, which will alert him to their activities. Back at Fay’s house, Doc Goldman tracks Collie down. He suggests that Collie is not thinking clearly and encourages him to come home with him, but Collie says that he feels needed for the first time in life and it gives him a sense of purpose. Doc Goldman agrees to let Collie stay with Fay under the condition that he inform her that Collie had escaped from an insane asylum. When Collie begs Doc Goldman not to reveal his secret for fear that he will lose Fay, Doc Goldman agrees to not see her. In a meeting with Fay and Bud, Collie suggests that instead of kidnapping Charlie, they fake an attempt to take him and interrupt it, portraying Bud as a hero. Collie speculates that the family will give them a reward for their efforts, but Bud says that the plan won’t work without the apprehension of a culprit. When Bud leaves, Fay comments on her new sobriety and propositions Collie, but when he returns from cleaning himself up, she is gone. Calling Doc Goldman, Collie realizes that the doctor had communicated with Fay by phone about his condition. Doc Goldman explains that he didn’t break his promise of not “seeing” Fay, and claims that he did not say anything to alarm her. When the doctor says that he was only looking out for Collie’s best interests and encourages him to return to him, Collie refuses and hangs up, but realizes that Bud is in the room. Although Fay told Bud about Doc’s call, he still wants to go through with the kidnapping. Realizing that Bud is setting him up to be killed, Collie remembers his last fight, when he lost control and took the life of his opponent. The next day, Collie heads to the golf course, disguised as Charlie’s chauffeur, but when a bully child jumps into his car to avoid retaliation, he drives away with the wrong kid. The boy, who mistakes Collie for Rogers, Charlie’s chauffeur, expresses concern for the abuse Charlie endures from his parents, and says that Charlie’s health has deteriorated over the years. Bud and Fay pull in front of Collie to collect Charlie, but when Bud gets out of the car, he sees the boy and reprimands Collie for getting the wrong kid. Returning to the golf course at 3:45, Collie is mistaken for Rogers by an instructor, who tells Charlie to go with him, despite Charlie’s uncertainty that Collie is his chauffeur. As Rogers pulls up, Collie knocks him out and takes Charlie to Fay’s house, promising not to hurt him. Wrestling a gun from Bud and pointing it at Fay, Collie says that he does not like to be treated as if he is stupid. Fay apologizes for disappearing, but realizes that Collie believes he was set up to be killed as the culprit in the fake kidnapping plan he concocted. While Fay is outraged by the accusation, Bud argues that the situation was a misunderstanding and they should be happy because they got what they wanted. Later, after Fay feeds Charlie Coke and pie, Collie tells Fay that he has reconsidered her involvement in Bud’s plan to kill him. Fay suggests they escape, but doubts if they can have a future together and leaves in her car without him. Charlie then tells Collie that he is sick, and as he vomits in the toilet, Charlie is surprised that Collie isn’t mad at him and hugs him, confessing that he likes his kidnapper. That evening, when Fay returns, she finds Charlie near death and Collie discovers the boy is diabetic. When Bud reports that the family is willing to pay the ransom the following day, he is unwilling to get insulin for Charlie for fear of exposing their operation and suggests that it might be better for them if the boy dies. Collie, however, convinces Bud to go along with his plan to steal insulin from Doc Goldman, but when he meets up with Bud at Bert’s Bar, he sees Bert threaten Bud with a knife and rescues him. Back at Fay’s house, Collie administers the drug to Charlie and the boy improves slightly. Later, Fay and Collie make love. The next morning, Fay nervously reports that they need to meet Bud because Charlie has run away, but Collie again suspects he is being set up. He hits Fay and orders her to show him where she has hidden Charlie. Collie tends to Charlie, but as Fay becomes outraged and claims she tried to kill the boy, Doc Goldman arrives and says he happened to be in the neighborhood. Intimating a belief that Charlie is Fay’s relative, Doc Goldman opens his medicine bag to treat the boy but comments that he is missing his B-12 shots. On his way out, Doc Goldman tells Collie that he is being used, but Collie refuses to let the doctor leave and tells Fay to prepare for their own departure. As Doc Goldman threatens Collie with a raised arm, Collie punches him in the side and knocks him unconscious. Fay and Collie take Charlie to a hideout at a date processing sweatshop provided by Bud. When Bud tries to leave, Collie insists that they stick together to collect the money and threatens to turn Bud in to the police if he does not return from the drop off. Admitting that he lied about his police connections, Bud says he cannot be sure if the collection is a trap and begs Collie not to make him go. Collie, however, drives them to the airport to collect the ransom and as Bud heads into the terminal, police arrive at the scene. When an officer sternly asks Collie for vehicle registration and seems to recognize him, Collie insists that he is retired and waiting for his friend, Jack Billingsley. Before Collie can reach for his concealed gun, the officer remembers that he won $100 on one of his fights, shakes his hand and offers to guide him out of the airport. As Collie backs up, Bud comes out of the terminal waving a suitcase and is shot in the back by Bert. When Bert collects the suitcase, the police kill him. Squad cars arrive at the scene, but Collie drives away with Fay sobbing in the backseat. Listening to a news report on the radio, they learn that Collie has been named a suspect, Fay is believed to be abducted, and Doc Goldberg is dead. Pulling over in the middle of the desert, Collie decides that his only hope is to keep Fay alive. In an effort to turn her against him, Collie tells Fay that it was a mistake to keep Charlie alive because if the boy talks, he will be implicated in the crime and she will come off as a victim. Collie provokes Fay by confessing he is a killer and claims that he used the mental institution as a way to evade prosecution. When Collie reaches for Charlie, Fay is convinced that he intends to kill the boy and shoots him. As Collie dies, he reveals to Fay that she did the right thing. +

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

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