Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1975)

PG | 110-112 mins | Melodrama | 1975

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writer:

Robert Getchell

Cinematographer:

Kent L. Wakeford

Editor:

Marcia Lucas

Production Designer:

Toby Carr Rafelson

Production Company:

Warner Bros., Inc.
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HISTORY

As noted in the Var review, the opening sequence is projected in a 1:1.33 aspect ratio, which was the industry standard before the advent of widescreen processes such as CinemaScope in the early 1950s. The opening credits appear against a satin cloth background framed in black, over the recording, “You’ll Never Know,” as sung by Alice Faye in the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox film, Hello, Frisco, Hello (see below). After the credits, the action begins with a scene set in the 1940s that is vermillion-tinted to suggest dream-like memories. That sequence, which was shot on a set and has the look of an old movie, depicts the title character, “Alice Hyatt” at the age of eight, vowing to become a singer when she grows up. The film then continues with the story in the present. At the end of the film, Alice, who never reaches her intended destination of Monterey, CA, walks with her son “Tommy” (Alfred Lutter) along a road toward a sign marking the “Monterey Dining Room.” A mix of standard tunes and contemporary rock songs are heard throughout the movie’s soundtrack. An excerpt featuring Betty Grable in the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox film, Coney Island (see below), as well as an excerpt featuring the comedian and television talk host, Johnny Carson, appear in the film.
       According to a 17 Feb 1975 LAT article, around 1973 John Calley, who was then president of Warner Bros., sent a screenplay by Robert Getchell to actress Ellen Burstyn. Although other producers and performers had rejected the script that was described by one producer as being “too much like a TV soap opera,” Burstyn liked ... More Less

As noted in the Var review, the opening sequence is projected in a 1:1.33 aspect ratio, which was the industry standard before the advent of widescreen processes such as CinemaScope in the early 1950s. The opening credits appear against a satin cloth background framed in black, over the recording, “You’ll Never Know,” as sung by Alice Faye in the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox film, Hello, Frisco, Hello (see below). After the credits, the action begins with a scene set in the 1940s that is vermillion-tinted to suggest dream-like memories. That sequence, which was shot on a set and has the look of an old movie, depicts the title character, “Alice Hyatt” at the age of eight, vowing to become a singer when she grows up. The film then continues with the story in the present. At the end of the film, Alice, who never reaches her intended destination of Monterey, CA, walks with her son “Tommy” (Alfred Lutter) along a road toward a sign marking the “Monterey Dining Room.” A mix of standard tunes and contemporary rock songs are heard throughout the movie’s soundtrack. An excerpt featuring Betty Grable in the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox film, Coney Island (see below), as well as an excerpt featuring the comedian and television talk host, Johnny Carson, appear in the film.
       According to a 17 Feb 1975 LAT article, around 1973 John Calley, who was then president of Warner Bros., sent a screenplay by Robert Getchell to actress Ellen Burstyn. Although other producers and performers had rejected the script that was described by one producer as being “too much like a TV soap opera,” Burstyn liked it because of its women-centered theme. An 8 May 1975 LAT article reported that Burstyn bought the story. According to the Feb 1975 LAT article, the studio financed the film for $2.1 million, and Burstyn was cast in the title role. The LAT article and a Time article also dated 17 Feb 1975, reported that Calley and producer David Susskind allowed Burstyn to choose her own director and gave her final script approval. Burstyn, who was sensitive to the under-representation of women in the film industry, asked that qualified women be hired for prominent crew positions. Among the women hired for key jobs were producer Audrey Maas, associate producer Sandra Weintraub, film editor Marcia Lucas, art director Toby Carr Rafelson and script supervisor Julie Pitkanen. For director, Burstyn chose Martin Scorsese, who had recently directed Mean Streets (See Entry), and who, according to the LAT article, was suggested to her by Francis Ford Coppola. In the article, Burstyn stated that Scorsese admitted that he lacked experience in directing films about women’s issues but was open and, in her words, “wanted to participate in the consciousness of 1975.”
       The 17 Feb 1975 LAT article reported that Scorsese and Burstyn improvised on the script, and made a videotape of Burstyn portraying Alice twenty years in the future. With the aid of producers Weintraub and Larry Cohen, they used the tape to restructure scenes and suggest dialogue, then sent the material to Getchell, who rewrote the script, adding his own improvements. Burstyn got some ideas for the depiction of the relationship of Alice and Tommy from conversations with her own, then thirteen-year-old son, Jefferson Burstyn. According to the Feb 1975 LAT article, a scene in which Tommy asks Alice about her sex life was based on a real conversation. In the Feb 1975 LAT article, Burstyn also admits that the scene in which “Ben Eberhart” (Harvey Keitel) turns violent was based on a real life incident. According to the article, actress Diane Ladd, who portrays “Flo,” also improvised dialog for the script.
       Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore marked the feature film debut of Getchell and of thirteen-year-old Lutter, who had previously made a few television appearances. The film marked one of the earliest film appearances of Ladd’s daughter, actress Laura Dern, as a little girl eating ice cream. The 17 Feb 1975 Time article reported that Burstyn's son Jefferson appears in the film in a brief role as the neighbor’s son. HR production charts, the Box review and the film's production charts state that the picture was shot in Tucson, AZ. Modern sources add that portions of the film were shot in Phoenix and Amado, AZ and in New Mexico.
       While Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore was described in the MPD as an attempt to “rejuvenate” the woman's picture of thirty years ago, critic Pauline Kael’s NewYorker review called the film an “angry-young-woman movie,” comparing it to Great Britain's “angry young men” films of the 1950s. The reviews were generally favorable, but as noted by the Chicago Sun-Times review, the picture was simultaneously praised and criticized for its depiction of feminist issues.” Although the HR review described the film as a “compassionate, contemporary movie” that expressed the dilemmas of women living without men, a 16 Jul 1978 NYT essay stated that the film was “troubling for some feminists” who would rather see Alice succeed without a man. The SatRev reviewer stated that the film’s story ran “counter to current liberationist preferences” by presenting the “prevalent female stereotype” and did not “advance the cause.” The reviewer felt that Alice had made no progress and by the end of the film had “only changed her place of residence.”
       Although the film did not open nationally until 1975, according to the 27 Jan 1975 New York review, the film opened in Los Angeles in Dec 1974 in order to get Academy Award eligibility. For her performance in the film, Burstyn won an Academy Award for Best Actress, and Ladd and Getchell were nominated for Awards for Actress in a Supporting Role and Writing (Original Screenplay), respectively. Burstyn also received a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama, and Ladd for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Getchell was also nominated for a WGA Award for Drama Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Scorsese was nominated for a Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm. The movie inspired a television spin-off, entitled Alice , which aired on the CBS network 1976—1985 and starred Linda Lavin as Alice Hyatt, Polly Holliday as “Flo” and Vic Tayback, who reprised his film role as “Mel.” Lutter reprised his role as Tommy Hyatt in the pilot episode. A few years into the run of the series, Ladd was added to the cast as a new character, “Belle,” to replace Holliday, who left the series to star in another spin-off series called Flo . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Jan 1975
p. 4748.
Box Office
7 Apr 1975.
---
Chicago Sun-Times
1 Dec 1974.
---
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1974
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1974
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1974
p. 3.
Ladies Home Journal
Jun 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Dec 1974
Section IV, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
17 Feb 1975
Calendar, pp. 1, 10.
Los Angeles Times
8 May 1975.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Jan 1975
p. 62.
New York
27 Jan 1975.
---
New York Times
30 Jan 1975
p. 28.
New York Times
30 Mar 1975
Section II, p. 1.
New York Times
2 Feb 1975
Section II, p. 13.
New Yorker
13 Jan 1975
pp. 74-78.
Newsweek
27 Jun 1975
p. 64.
Saturday Review
25 Jan 1975
p. 49.
The New Republic
15 Feb 1975
p. 22.
Time
3 Feb 1975
pp. 40-41.
Variety
11 Dec 1974
p. 16.
Wall Street Journal
10 Feb 1975.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A David Susskind production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod exec
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
1st cam asst
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Gaffer
Key grip
Best boy
Best boy
Stills
Filmed with
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Men`s ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Addl orig mus by
SOUND
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Loc auditor
Transportation capt
Dir's secy
Warner Bros. casting
Warner Bros. casting
Warner Bros. outer casting
Prod services and Equip provided by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Wildwood Flower," traditional, arranged by Danny Franklin.
SONGS
"All the Way from Memphis," music and lyrics by Jan Kunter, performed by Matt the Hoopla
"Roll Away the Piano," music and lyrics by Leon Russell and Greg Dempsey, performed by Leon Russell
"Daniel," by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, performed by Elton John
+
SONGS
"All the Way from Memphis," music and lyrics by Jan Kunter, performed by Matt the Hoopla
"Roll Away the Piano," music and lyrics by Leon Russell and Greg Dempsey, performed by Leon Russell
"Daniel," by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, performed by Elton John
"Jeepster," by Marc Bolan, performed by T. Rex
"Where or When," music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart
"When Your Lover Has Gone," music and lyrics by by E.A. Swan
"Gone With the Wind," music by Allie Wrubel, lyrics by Herb Magidson
"I've Got a Crush on You," music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin
"I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry," music and lyrics by Hank Williams
"Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine," music by Karl Hoschna, lyrics by Otto Harbach, sung by Betty Grable, from the film, Coney Island
"You'll Never Know," by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, sung by Alice Faye, from the film Hello, Frisco, Hello .
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 9 December 1974
New York opening: 29 January 1975
Production Date:
26 February--24 April 1974
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros., Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 December 1974
Copyright Number:
LP44049
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Lenses/Prints
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
110-112
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As a child in Monterey, California, Alice Graham longs to be a singer. However, twenty-seven years later, she is a housewife in Socorro, New Mexico, at the mercy of a brutish husband, Don Hyatt, who is routinely on the verge of physically abusing her and their eleven-year-old son, Tommy. One day, she confides to her neighbor, Bea, about Don’s outbursts. Bea observes that no woman can live without a man, but Alice is not so certain. When her thoughts are interrupted by her ringing phone, Alice learns that Don has been killed in a traffic accident. After using most of the family’s saving to pay for the funeral, Alice knows she must make money, but the only employment she had before her marriage was in Monterey, where she sang in bars. To refresh her skills, she practices the piano, but admits to herself that her talents are limited. At the beginning of Tommy’s summer vacation, Alice sells the house and, with Tommy, begins the drive toward Monterey, the place where she was once happy. In Phoenix, Arizona, she rents an inexpensive motel room with a kitchenette and promises Tommy they will be in Monterey by his twelfth birthday at the end of the summer. Nervous but hopeful, Alice proceeds to a bar and asks for an audition, but is told that the owner is ill and uninterested in hiring a singer. At a second bar, she walks out after discovering that the owner is only interested in the way she looks. Alice then approaches Mr. Jacobs of Jacob’s Bar, but breaks down, crying. After hearing that she is a widow with a child, Jacobs, who has no piano, takes ... +


As a child in Monterey, California, Alice Graham longs to be a singer. However, twenty-seven years later, she is a housewife in Socorro, New Mexico, at the mercy of a brutish husband, Don Hyatt, who is routinely on the verge of physically abusing her and their eleven-year-old son, Tommy. One day, she confides to her neighbor, Bea, about Don’s outbursts. Bea observes that no woman can live without a man, but Alice is not so certain. When her thoughts are interrupted by her ringing phone, Alice learns that Don has been killed in a traffic accident. After using most of the family’s saving to pay for the funeral, Alice knows she must make money, but the only employment she had before her marriage was in Monterey, where she sang in bars. To refresh her skills, she practices the piano, but admits to herself that her talents are limited. At the beginning of Tommy’s summer vacation, Alice sells the house and, with Tommy, begins the drive toward Monterey, the place where she was once happy. In Phoenix, Arizona, she rents an inexpensive motel room with a kitchenette and promises Tommy they will be in Monterey by his twelfth birthday at the end of the summer. Nervous but hopeful, Alice proceeds to a bar and asks for an audition, but is told that the owner is ill and uninterested in hiring a singer. At a second bar, she walks out after discovering that the owner is only interested in the way she looks. Alice then approaches Mr. Jacobs of Jacob’s Bar, but breaks down, crying. After hearing that she is a widow with a child, Jacobs, who has no piano, takes her down the street to a piano bar where he lets her audition. Despite her lack of strong talent, he hires her and buys a piano. On the job, Alice meets Ben Eberhart, an immature twenty-seven-year-old with whom she eventually goes to bed. One morning, a stranger, Rita, comes to call and reveals that she is Ben's wife. Presuming that the philandering Ben did not tell Alice he is married, Rita forgives her and explains that she is financially dependent on Ben, because of their child's expensive medical condition. The women are beginning to bond, when Ben unexpectedly arrives. In a rage, he breaks through the motel room door, while yelling profanities and threats. Wielding a knife at Rita, he kicks her out the door, then threatens to hit Alice. His fury spent, Ben informs Alice that he will see her after work that evening. However, as soon as Ben leaves, Alice and Tommy pack hastily and drive out of town. In Tucson, Alice finds another cheap motel and again looks for a job, but when she returns later with groceries, she tells Tommy that she will waitress at the diner next door. At the chaotic diner, Alice finds that she dislikes Flo, a brassy waitress who amuses the customers with homespun sayings and humorous sexual innuendo. Throughout the day, Flo bickers with Mel, the widowed owner, as another waitress, the accident-prone Vera, frequently confuses the customer’s orders. Meanwhile, Tommy, who loves rock music, begins taking guitar lessons. At the music school, he befriends Audrey, a hardened, young daughter of a prostitute who invites him to drink ripple and teaches him how to steal guitar strings from a music store. Although bored and full of energy, Tommy settles in at the diner, where he eats his meals and reads horror books given to him by Vera. Alice catches the eye of David, a calm-natured, divorced rancher and a regular customer who, like Tommy, plays the guitar. When David invites Tommy to ride his horse, Alice is at first reluctant to give permission. She resists David’s offers of friendship, but is won over, as much by Tommy’s enthusiasm as her own. Over several visits to David's ranch, their relationship grows, but Alice confesses to David that she still yearns for a singing career. At the diner, Alice remains aloof from Flo until she witnesses a comical argument between Mel and Flo that causes her to laugh hysterically. The women then become friends, and after Flo advises Alice how to get more tips by showing cleavage, Alice realizes how much she has missed having a friend. Tommy's twelfth birthday is celebrated at the ranch, but, in a foul mood, the adolescent instigates a quarrel with his host by whining and complaining about David’s country music. When Tommy’s bad behavior prompts David to discipline him, David and Alice argue heatedly until she announces that their relationship has ended. On the ride back to the motel, Tommy, still in bad spirits, accuses Alice of reneging on her promise to be in Monterey by his birthday. Their argument escalates until Alice stops the car and orders him to walk to the motel. Tommy instead walks to Audrey’s house and drinks ripple until he is drunk. Hours later, Alice is frantically searching for her son, when she gets a call from the police, who are holding Audrey and Tommy at the station. The next day Alice oversleeps, then cries in front of customers. When Flo takes her aside to talk privately, Alice confides that she spent all her money on Tommy’s birthday. Alice says that she stayed with Don because she believed he took care of her, but now realizes he did not. Although she admits that she cannot live without a man, Alice says that she fears losing control of her life if she remarries. Flo advises her to decide what she wants, then pursue it. Later in the day, when David walks into the diner, Flo insists that Alice serve him. Ignoring Alice’s coldness toward him, David asks her to give him another chance and, as he leaves, he points out that he said “please.” In front of the customers, Alice argues with him across the room, but when David offers to give up his ranch and move to Monterey with her and Tommy, they make up. After she has time to think about it, Alice realizes that she can be a singer anywhere. Tommy, who is content to remain in Tucson, tells Alice that he is fond of David but hates his music. He then tells her what David told him: Two people can fight but still like each other. +

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

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