The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder (1974)

PG | 96 or 98 mins | Comedy | 1974

Director:

Arthur Hiller

Writer:

Daryl Henry

Cinematographer:

David M. Walsh

Editor:

Robert C. Jones

Production Designer:

Hilyard Brown

Production Company:

Playboy Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

On 22 Aug 1973, a Var news item reported that director Arthur Hiller, who had not directed a film since the release of The Man from La Mancha (1972), was contracted by Playboy Productions, Inc. to direct The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder . According to Var , Hiller had previously attempted to purchase the script but was outbid by Playboy. HR noted in a news item on 13 Feb 1973 that Playboy "paid a near-record price" for the film, but they did not disclose the amount. Playboy's acquisition of the script was announced on 7 Feb 1973 in HR . As stated in HR on 24 Aug 1973, the film initiated Playboy's policy of collaborating with major Hollywood studios for distribution and financing. An article on 14 Aug 1973 in HR described that Playboy was intending to shift its focus away from financing to the development of motion pictures and television productions. A deal for the film was negotiated with Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation at a budget of $1.5 million.
       The working title of the film was Vrooder's Hooch . An HR news item on 23 Sep 1974 announced the name change. According to studio production notes from AMPAS library files, Vrooder's Hooch was writer Daryl Henry's first script for a feature film.
       Actress Barbara Hershey is credited as Barbara Seagull in her role as "Zanni." According to studio publicity materials in the AMPAS library, Hershey changed her name after a seagull died in a scene she was filming for Last ... More Less

On 22 Aug 1973, a Var news item reported that director Arthur Hiller, who had not directed a film since the release of The Man from La Mancha (1972), was contracted by Playboy Productions, Inc. to direct The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder . According to Var , Hiller had previously attempted to purchase the script but was outbid by Playboy. HR noted in a news item on 13 Feb 1973 that Playboy "paid a near-record price" for the film, but they did not disclose the amount. Playboy's acquisition of the script was announced on 7 Feb 1973 in HR . As stated in HR on 24 Aug 1973, the film initiated Playboy's policy of collaborating with major Hollywood studios for distribution and financing. An article on 14 Aug 1973 in HR described that Playboy was intending to shift its focus away from financing to the development of motion pictures and television productions. A deal for the film was negotiated with Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation at a budget of $1.5 million.
       The working title of the film was Vrooder's Hooch . An HR news item on 23 Sep 1974 announced the name change. According to studio production notes from AMPAS library files, Vrooder's Hooch was writer Daryl Henry's first script for a feature film.
       Actress Barbara Hershey is credited as Barbara Seagull in her role as "Zanni." According to studio publicity materials in the AMPAS library, Hershey changed her name after a seagull died in a scene she was filming for Last Summer (1969, see entry). Although filmmakers were adamant about billing Barbara Seagull as Barbara Hershey to promote ticket sales, she refused. Hershey agreed to reduce her earnings from the film in order to retain her name change in the credits.
       According to a 1 Nov 1973 news item in HR , George Marshall was eighty-one years old when he was cast for the film. Although Marshall started his work in the film industry in 1913 as an extra at Universal Studios and performed in several shorts, features and television series episodes, he was best known for his prolific career as a director.
       Various contemporary sources, including studio production notes, state that the film's locations included the San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles and its Wilshire Boulevard onramp. The hospital scenes were filmed at the West Los Angeles Veteran's Hospital. The films' exteriors were shot entirely on location while interiors were filmed at Twentieth Century-Fox sound stages. DV reported on 27 Dec 1973 that filming had been completed.
       Studio production notes also reported that $125,000 was spent on the construction of Vrooder's "hooch" or underground cavern. The set, which contained twenty-two portable components, was only eight feet wide, eleven feet long and seven feet tall, but its ceiling was constructed on hydraulics so it could be lifted for lights and camera visibility. After digging a real cave on location, the production design crew created a plaster mold that was removed from the site and held together with an exterior of wood supports. The replica of the cave was housed in a vacant building at the VA hospital. Items found on the side of the freeway, such as car bumpers, headlights and wood crates, were used to decorate the "hooch."
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Nov 1974
p. 4734.
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1973.
---
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 1974.
---
LAHExam
2 Oct 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Oct 1974.
---
New York Times
21 Oct 1974
p. 48.
Time
2 Dec 1974.
---
Variety
22 Aug 1973.
---
Variety
25 Sep 1974
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Arthur Hiller Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Key grip
Best boy
Filmed with
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Prod mixer
Rerec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
DETAILS
Release Date:
1974
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 2 October 1974
New York opening: 18 October 1974
Production Date:
23 October--late December 1974
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
18 October 1974
Copyright Number:
LP44011
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Deluxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
96 or 98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Julius "Julie" Vrooder escapes from his room at a Los Angeles, California veteran's psychiatric hospital. He whistles flirtatiously at his nurse, Zanni, but when Dr. Passki inquires about Vrooder's whereabouts, she denies seeing him. As he hides underneath his friend Alessini's bed, Vrooder draws a picture on Zanni's shoe and when Passki sees it, he becomes enraged and demands that Vrooder reveal himself. Unhindered by Passki's threats, Vrooder follows Zanni around the hospital grounds. When she tries to find him, however, he conceals himself in the bushes and she becomes caught in a net. After releasing Zanni from his trap, Vrooder leads her to his underground "hooch" hideout, which is illicitly equipped with electricity and a telephone. As Vrooder calls his mother to impress Zanni, the connection is deemed suspicious by telephone company inspector Fowler, who reports the call to Millard at the Department of Water and Power. Hoping to apprehend the person who is pilfering their services, the men trace the call to a freeway emergency call box near the hospital. Back at the hideout, Vrooder inquires about Zanni's relationship with Passki and learns she is considering his marriage proposal. As she leaves, Zanni asks Vrooder if she can return and they kiss. Later, Vrooder and his friend, Splint, dig a grave at the military cemetery that borders the hospital and Vrooder wishes that the soldiers practicing rifle salutes would aim at Passki's office. When Vrooder and Splint meet their older friend, Corky, in his hospital room, Corky argues that the veterans in the hospital are not crazy, just sensitive. Pushing Corky in his wheelchair on ... +


Julius "Julie" Vrooder escapes from his room at a Los Angeles, California veteran's psychiatric hospital. He whistles flirtatiously at his nurse, Zanni, but when Dr. Passki inquires about Vrooder's whereabouts, she denies seeing him. As he hides underneath his friend Alessini's bed, Vrooder draws a picture on Zanni's shoe and when Passki sees it, he becomes enraged and demands that Vrooder reveal himself. Unhindered by Passki's threats, Vrooder follows Zanni around the hospital grounds. When she tries to find him, however, he conceals himself in the bushes and she becomes caught in a net. After releasing Zanni from his trap, Vrooder leads her to his underground "hooch" hideout, which is illicitly equipped with electricity and a telephone. As Vrooder calls his mother to impress Zanni, the connection is deemed suspicious by telephone company inspector Fowler, who reports the call to Millard at the Department of Water and Power. Hoping to apprehend the person who is pilfering their services, the men trace the call to a freeway emergency call box near the hospital. Back at the hideout, Vrooder inquires about Zanni's relationship with Passki and learns she is considering his marriage proposal. As she leaves, Zanni asks Vrooder if she can return and they kiss. Later, Vrooder and his friend, Splint, dig a grave at the military cemetery that borders the hospital and Vrooder wishes that the soldiers practicing rifle salutes would aim at Passki's office. When Vrooder and Splint meet their older friend, Corky, in his hospital room, Corky argues that the veterans in the hospital are not crazy, just sensitive. Pushing Corky in his wheelchair on the hospital grounds, Vrooder runs into Zanni and, as they sit in the cemetery, she asks about his service in Vietnam. Vrooder tells her that he narrowly escaped dying with the rest of his squad in an ambush because he stopped to ask an old woman if she needed help. As the enemy proceeded toward them, the woman showed Vrooder to a hiding place, where he discovered that he was sitting on a dead child. After a bomb exploded, leaving Vrooder wounded and the old lady dead, Vrooder was decorated with a Silver Star for being the sole survivor of his squad and for killing the lady and child. Vrooder cries in Zanni's arms. Later, Vrooder's family picks him up for a visit, and he tells them that Passki is giving him an inferiority complex. As Vrooder plays with seagulls on the beach, his parents argue about how to help their son. Although his father wants him to return home, his mother is frightened and feels unable to care for him. Meanwhile, Zanni attempts to call Vrooder at his hideout, but the phone rings at the freeway call box and Millard and Fowler take note. On the way back to the hospital, Vrooder's parents announce that they are going to bring him home, but Vrooder dissuades them by staging a psychotic episode. Returning to his hideout, Vrooder receives a call from Zanni and she suggests a dinner date. As they drink wine that evening, Zanni predicts that Vrooder will stay at the hospital forever because he has failed to put the past behind him, but she encourages him to go home. When Zanni expresses concern about her decision to marry Passki, Vrooder suggests that they run away to Canada, where his uncle has a cabin, and they make love. The next morning, Vrooder proposes they get married that afternoon. Back at the hospital, Vrooder finds that Alessini has been put in isolation for starting a fire. Alessini wants to go home, but says that he will never be released and Vrooder advises his friend to forget about Vietnam. Later, after a baseball game in which Vrooder chases a bird instead of catching a ball, Passki expresses concern that his patient is regressing, but Vrooder tells him he can't concentrate because he is in love. When Passki announces to Zanni that he intends to resign from the hospital so they can get married right away, Zanni does not respond. Meanwhile, Vrooder tells Splint and Corky about his marriage to Zanni and Corky formulates a plan to overcome Passki. Splint kidnaps the hospital chaplain and brings him to Vrooder's hideout. The chaplain refuses to perform the marriage until he sees Corky guide Zanni toward him in her wedding dress. As Vrooder and Zanni recite their vows, Passki is visited in his office by Millard and Fowler. They report that Vrooder has been stealing electrical power and telephone services. Back at the wedding celebration, Corky gets drunk and tells Vrooder about how he became a P.O.W. during WWI. When a police helicopter flies overhead to find Vrooder and the party members rush to hide, Corky has a stroke, but he refuses to go to the hospital. Corky says that he feels ready to die and passes away peacefully with his friends by his side. Vrooder collects Corky's belongings from his hospital room and forges a note in his hand, announcing that he has gone away to die. As they bury him, Splint uses Corky's bugle to call out his passing to the veterans on the hospital grounds. That evening, Passki unsuccessfully attempts to discourage a police sergeant from persecuting Vrooder and a team of officers is called in to search the location of Vrooder's hideout. From his underground retreat, Vrooder and Zanni hear officers trigger the trip wires he has set. An officer finds Corky's wheelchair and the sergeant suspects homicide. Passki, however, argues that Vrooder is innocent despite his anti-establishment beliefs. When the sergeant points out that Vrooder stole Zanni from him, Passki expresses concern for her safety. In the morning, the police surround Vrooder's hideout with guns drawn and the sergeant uses a bullhorn to demand his surrender. Splint breaks through the barricade to warn his friends as Vrooder and Zanni escape from the hideout and seek shelter in the bushes. Vrooder activates the recording of a gun battle that is amplified through an outdoor speaker. As the officers duck in fear and the sergeant gets caught in Vrooder's net trap, Vrooder and Zanni walk away casually, arm in arm. Standing at the contested freeway call box, Vrooder and Zanni hitch a ride on the back of a truck to the airport, where a plane takes off into the sunset. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.