Rachel, Rachel (1968)

101 mins | Drama | 26 August 1968

Director:

Paul Newman

Writer:

Stewart Stern

Producer:

Paul Newman

Cinematographer:

Gayne Rescher

Production Designer:

Robert Gundlach

Production Company:

Kayos Productions
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HISTORY

Working titles included Now I Lay Me Down, and A Jest of God, after the 1966 novel by Margaret Laurence upon which the film is based. The book was first recommended as a potential starring vehicle for Joanne Woodward by her talent agent, John Foreman, who was also business partners with Woodward and her husband, Paul Newman, in the newly formed Kayos Productions, as noted in the 1 Sep 1968 NYT. Woodward recalled that Newman had not liked the book when he had first read it, and he had expressed no intention of directing, but had made himself available when she and Foreman were unable to entice another director. On 27 Feb 1967, DV confirmed the forty-two-year-old Newman’s involvement. Although he had majored in directing years earlier at Yale University, as stated in the 22 Oct 1967 NYT, the film marked his motion picture directorial debut.
       Several studios turned down the project before Warner Bros.—Seven Arts, Inc. agreed to finance it for an estimated $700,000-$800,000. The 6 Jan 1969 DV indicated the studio paid $55,000 to take on the project, including payment for the book option. Newman and Woodward accepted deferred salaries in exchange for heavy profit participation, and Newman claimed in the 22 Oct 1967 NYT that he would be personally financially responsible for any budget overages. According to an 8 Nov 1967 DV article, Rachel, Rachel was set to be one of four pictures he was contracted to direct or star in for Warner Bros.—Seven Arts, two of which (including Rachel, Rachel) would star Woodward.
       Filming began ... More Less

Working titles included Now I Lay Me Down, and A Jest of God, after the 1966 novel by Margaret Laurence upon which the film is based. The book was first recommended as a potential starring vehicle for Joanne Woodward by her talent agent, John Foreman, who was also business partners with Woodward and her husband, Paul Newman, in the newly formed Kayos Productions, as noted in the 1 Sep 1968 NYT. Woodward recalled that Newman had not liked the book when he had first read it, and he had expressed no intention of directing, but had made himself available when she and Foreman were unable to entice another director. On 27 Feb 1967, DV confirmed the forty-two-year-old Newman’s involvement. Although he had majored in directing years earlier at Yale University, as stated in the 22 Oct 1967 NYT, the film marked his motion picture directorial debut.
       Several studios turned down the project before Warner Bros.—Seven Arts, Inc. agreed to finance it for an estimated $700,000-$800,000. The 6 Jan 1969 DV indicated the studio paid $55,000 to take on the project, including payment for the book option. Newman and Woodward accepted deferred salaries in exchange for heavy profit participation, and Newman claimed in the 22 Oct 1967 NYT that he would be personally financially responsible for any budget overages. According to an 8 Nov 1967 DV article, Rachel, Rachel was set to be one of four pictures he was contracted to direct or star in for Warner Bros.—Seven Arts, two of which (including Rachel, Rachel) would star Woodward.
       Filming began 25 Aug 1967 in Danbury, CT, a production chart in the 13 Sep 1967 Var reported. Shooting also took place in the towns of Bethel and Georgetown, CT, and was completed the week of 16 Oct 1967, as stated in the 22 Oct 1967 NYT.
       Popular Library was slated to release a paperback version of Laurence’s novel to coincide with the opening of the film, according to a 15 Nov 1967 Var item. Theatrical release took place on 26 Aug 1968 at New York City’s Plaza and Trans-Lux West theaters, according to the NYT review published the following day. While reviews were mixed, the film was deemed a “sleeper” in the 30 Oct 1968 Var, which suggested it might be Warner Bros.—Seven Arts’ highest grossing movie of 1968, with $5-$6 million in projected box-office receipts.
       Newman’s directing credit does not appear until the end of the film. Items in the 16 Sep 1968 and 6 Jan 1969 DV stated that the Directors Guild of America (DGA) initially denied Newman’s request to display only the film’s title and Woodward’s name in opening credits; however, when the film debuted in New York City, Newman’s credit did not appear until the end of the picture, and a DGA member reported the aberration to the guild. In his defense, Newman rallied the support of fellow directors Norman Jewison, Otto Preminger, George Roy Hill, Billy Wilder, Richard Brooks, William Wyler, Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn, and Martin Ritt. Preminger, and filmmaker George Stevens, had reportedly lost earlier court decisions contesting the same issue, but the DGA decided to reverse its decision in the case of Rachel, Rachel, citing the “artistic nature of the film” as their reason for allowing Newman to display the directing credit as he wished. DGA president Delbert Mann claimed “it was the first time to his knowledge that a director’s credit has come at the very end of a film.” Controversy also arose when Newman was quoted as saying his contract had “set a precedent” by allowing him the right to edit the picture for television. The 6 Jan 1969 DV noted that the DGA had previously been unsuccessful in obtaining the same rights for other members. Warner Bros.—Seven Arts executive Kenneth Hyman refuted Newman’s claims of setting a precedent in a 10 Jan 1969 DV article, arguing that his right to edit the film for television depended on “certain contractual limitations.” Hyman stressed that Newman would only be asked to edit the picture if Warner Bros.—Seven Arts deemed it necessary to alter it for television, and in that case, he would have only sixty days to complete the task, or the studio would edit it without him.
       Golden Globe Awards went to Paul Newman for Best Director – Motion Picture, and to Joanne Woodward for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. The film received the following Academy Award nominations: Best Picture; Actress (Joanne Woodward); Actress in a Supporting Role (Estelle Parsons); and Writing (Screenplay—based on material from another medium). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Feb 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Mar 1967
p. 1.
Daily Variety
8 Nov 1967
p. 1, 11.
Daily Variety
19 Feb 1968
p. 11.
Daily Variety
12 Apr 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 May 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1968
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
6 Jan 1969
pp. 1-2.
Daily Variety
10 Jan 1969
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1969
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
20 Sep 1968
Section C, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
29 Sep 1968
Section N, p. 14.
New York Times
22 Oct 1967.
---
New York Times
27 Aug 1968
p. 36.
New York Times
1 Sep 1968
Section D, p. 9.
Variety
8 Feb 1967
p. 21.
Variety
23 Aug 1967
p. 3.
Variety
13 Sep 1967
p. 26.
Variety
15 Nov 1967
p. 77.
Variety
29 Nov 1967
p. 13.
Variety
21 Aug 1968
p. 6.
Variety
2 Oct 1968
p. 4.
Variety
30 Oct 1968
p. 5, 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Paul Newman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Associate ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Scenic art
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
Sd ed
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr cont
Prod & loc cons
Prod & loc cons
Stills
Constr mgr
Key grip
Casting
Ch gaffer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence (New York, 1966).
MUSIC
Selected songs by Erik Satie and Robert Schumann.
SONGS
Unidentified song, words and music by Jerome Moross and Stewart Stern, performed by The Phaetons.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Now I Lay Me Down
Jest of God
A Jest of God
Release Date:
26 August 1968
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 August 1968
Los Angeles opening: 2 October 1968
Production Date:
25 August--mid October 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Kayos Productions
Copyright Date:
1 September 1968
Copyright Number:
LP37144
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
101
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Rachel Cameron, a 35-year-old spinster schoolteacher, feels that her life has been meaningless. She lives in a small New England town with her simpering widowed mother in an apartment over the funeral parlor that once belonged to her father. Haunted by memories of her childhood and her mortician father, Rachel spends each frustrating day taking care of her mother and working with the schoolchildren. Her closest friend is Calla Mackie, another unmarried teacher who persuades Rachel to attend a revival meeting led by Reverend Wood. There, to Rachel's astonishment, all of her pent-up frustrations are released when a visiting preacher urges her to give expression to her repressed emotions. Despite a near-hysterical breakdown and her revulsion at Calla's tentative overtures of lesbian love, Rachel realizes that only by exposing herself to life can she experience it. She therefore gives herself to a former high school friend, Nick Kazlik, who is in town for a visit with his parents. Mistaking her first sexual encounter for love, she fantasizes about a future with Nick. Her hopes are shattered, however, when Nick, put off by her seriousness, abruptly ends their affair. A short time later, Rachel discovers that she may be pregnant. Determined to accept the consequences of her actions, she decides to go away and have the child. After Calla has helped her find a teaching post in Oregon, Rachel learns that her pregnancy is merely a cyst requiring minor surgery. Though she is disappointed at her loss, Rachel's new respect for herself remains, and she decides to move to Oregon. As she leaves with her somewhat reluctant mother and looks for the last time at the familiar sights of her ... +


Rachel Cameron, a 35-year-old spinster schoolteacher, feels that her life has been meaningless. She lives in a small New England town with her simpering widowed mother in an apartment over the funeral parlor that once belonged to her father. Haunted by memories of her childhood and her mortician father, Rachel spends each frustrating day taking care of her mother and working with the schoolchildren. Her closest friend is Calla Mackie, another unmarried teacher who persuades Rachel to attend a revival meeting led by Reverend Wood. There, to Rachel's astonishment, all of her pent-up frustrations are released when a visiting preacher urges her to give expression to her repressed emotions. Despite a near-hysterical breakdown and her revulsion at Calla's tentative overtures of lesbian love, Rachel realizes that only by exposing herself to life can she experience it. She therefore gives herself to a former high school friend, Nick Kazlik, who is in town for a visit with his parents. Mistaking her first sexual encounter for love, she fantasizes about a future with Nick. Her hopes are shattered, however, when Nick, put off by her seriousness, abruptly ends their affair. A short time later, Rachel discovers that she may be pregnant. Determined to accept the consequences of her actions, she decides to go away and have the child. After Calla has helped her find a teaching post in Oregon, Rachel learns that her pregnancy is merely a cyst requiring minor surgery. Though she is disappointed at her loss, Rachel's new respect for herself remains, and she decides to move to Oregon. As she leaves with her somewhat reluctant mother and looks for the last time at the familiar sights of her home town, she speculates on what the future may bring. +

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

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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.