Between the Lines (1977)

R | 101 mins | Comedy-drama, Romantic comedy | 10 August 1977

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HISTORY

       Between the Lines appears to have been the first film in which Bruno Kirby, Jr., son of television character actor Bruno Kirby, was billed as Bruno Kirby. He had previously appeared on television programs as Bruno Kirby, Jr. and was credited in films as Bruce Kirby, Bruce Kirby, Jr., and B. Kirby, Jr. His real name was Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu, Jr.
       A 2 Jun 1976 Var news item, which referred to the picture by its working title, Fun While It Lasted, announced that the film was based on the New York City newspaper Village Voice and was co-authored by Joan Micklin Silver, Fred Barron and David M. Helpern, Jr. At that time, Helpern was hired to direct the film while Silver was set to produce with her husband and owner of Midwest Films, Raphael D. Silver. Although Joan Micklin Silver took over as director, she is not credited onscreen as a writer or a producer.
       The 13 Sep 1976 Box announced that two weeks of location filming for Between the Lines would begin that day in Boston, MA. The film was scheduled to move to New York City at the end of 1976 for more shooting and post-production. Although director Brian De Palma was reportedly cast in a cameo role, he is not credited onscreen. An 18 Feb 1977 HR brief announced that principal photography had been completed. In all, the film was shot in forty-two days on an $83,000 budget, according to the 12-18 Aug 1977 L.A. Free Press.
       The 4-10 Mar 1977 L.A. Free Press noted ...

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       Between the Lines appears to have been the first film in which Bruno Kirby, Jr., son of television character actor Bruno Kirby, was billed as Bruno Kirby. He had previously appeared on television programs as Bruno Kirby, Jr. and was credited in films as Bruce Kirby, Bruce Kirby, Jr., and B. Kirby, Jr. His real name was Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu, Jr.
       A 2 Jun 1976 Var news item, which referred to the picture by its working title, Fun While It Lasted, announced that the film was based on the New York City newspaper Village Voice and was co-authored by Joan Micklin Silver, Fred Barron and David M. Helpern, Jr. At that time, Helpern was hired to direct the film while Silver was set to produce with her husband and owner of Midwest Films, Raphael D. Silver. Although Joan Micklin Silver took over as director, she is not credited onscreen as a writer or a producer.
       The 13 Sep 1976 Box announced that two weeks of location filming for Between the Lines would begin that day in Boston, MA. The film was scheduled to move to New York City at the end of 1976 for more shooting and post-production. Although director Brian De Palma was reportedly cast in a cameo role, he is not credited onscreen. An 18 Feb 1977 HR brief announced that principal photography had been completed. In all, the film was shot in forty-two days on an $83,000 budget, according to the 12-18 Aug 1977 L.A. Free Press.
       The 4-10 Mar 1977 L.A. Free Press noted that actor Bruno Kirby researched his role in its offices for several weeks, taking classified ads over the phone and mixing with the staff, but nobody knew who he was except the editor.
       The Silvers introduced Between the Lines at the American Film Institute Theatre at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center on 15 Apr 1977, according to the 7 Apr 1977 HR.

      End credits give "Special thanks to the cities of Boston and Cambridge, MA; The Real Paper, The Boston Phoenix, The Los Angeles Free Press, The Soho Weekly News, The Village Voice; Dance Your "A" Off Discotheque; Robert Christgau, Laura Shapiro, Jeff Lyons, Don Meehan, Richard Perry."

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 May 1977
---
Box Office
21 Jun 1976
---
Box Office
13 Sep 1976
---
Box Office
18 Oct 1976
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 1977
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 1977
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 1977
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 1977
---
LA Free Press
4-10 Mar 1977
---
LA Free Press
12-18 Aug 1977
---
New York Times
28 Apr 1977
---
Variety
2 Jun 1976
---
Variety
20 Apr 1977
p. 73
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Midwest Films Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Lighting
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Constr supv
Props
Master scenic
MUSIC
Addl mus comp & cond
SOUND
Prod sd
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Graphics
Titles & opts
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Prod secy
Asst to the prod
Scr supv
Loc coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Casting
Casting
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color and prints by
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Don't Want To Go Home" and "Sweeter Than Honey," music and words by Steve Van Zandt © Blue Midnight Music, sung by Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes; "Love Is On Our Side," music and words by John Finley & Edward Edwards; "You To Me Are Everything," music and words by Ken Gold & Michael Denne, sung by Eric Mercury, produced by Kenny Vance; "Heat Treatment," music and words by Graham Parker, sung by Graham Parker and The Rumour, courtesy of Photogram, Limited; "Fanny Mae," music and words by Waymon Glasco, Clarence L. Lewis & Morris Levy; "Having A Party," music and words by Sam Cooke, sung by Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, courtesy of Epic Records.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Fun While It Lasted
Release Date:
10 August 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 10 Aug 1977
Production Date:
13 Sep 1976 -- mid Feb 1977 in Boston, MA and New York City
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
MIdwest Films Productions
1977
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints
Prints by TVC
Duration(in mins):
101
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

"The Hawker" picks up his stack of copies of the Back Bay Mainline, an “underground” newspaper, and gives them to pedestrians and drivers in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Among the drivers is Laura, a writer for the paper, who picks up her photographer friend, Abbie. Laura and Abbie are late for an editorial meeting. Stanley, the paper’s advertising man, comes into the meeting to tell the writers they will have to cut some of their copy to make room for new advertisements. The editor, Frank, takes Stanley into the hallway to tell him that he should be adding more pages. Frank threatens to quit the Mainline. Harry Lucas, one of the paper’s veteran writers, has missed the editorial meeting, but he wants Frank to agree to a series of articles about Boston’s strip clubs and vice dens. Abbie, Harry’s ex-girlfriend, wants to store her photography equipment in his apartment until she moves in with Lynn, the paper’s receptionist. As they carry Abbie’s boxes into Harry’s apartment, all of their old grudges re-surface; she chides him for being a hypochondriac and he wonders why he cares about investigative reporting, because nobody else does. Later, several members of the staff are eating at the office when Laura’s boyfriend, Michael, a novelist, reads his latest rejection letter from a publisher and music critic Max Orloff accuses Michael of living off Laura. ...

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"The Hawker" picks up his stack of copies of the Back Bay Mainline, an “underground” newspaper, and gives them to pedestrians and drivers in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Among the drivers is Laura, a writer for the paper, who picks up her photographer friend, Abbie. Laura and Abbie are late for an editorial meeting. Stanley, the paper’s advertising man, comes into the meeting to tell the writers they will have to cut some of their copy to make room for new advertisements. The editor, Frank, takes Stanley into the hallway to tell him that he should be adding more pages. Frank threatens to quit the Mainline. Harry Lucas, one of the paper’s veteran writers, has missed the editorial meeting, but he wants Frank to agree to a series of articles about Boston’s strip clubs and vice dens. Abbie, Harry’s ex-girlfriend, wants to store her photography equipment in his apartment until she moves in with Lynn, the paper’s receptionist. As they carry Abbie’s boxes into Harry’s apartment, all of their old grudges re-surface; she chides him for being a hypochondriac and he wonders why he cares about investigative reporting, because nobody else does. Later, several members of the staff are eating at the office when Laura’s boyfriend, Michael, a novelist, reads his latest rejection letter from a publisher and music critic Max Orloff accuses Michael of living off Laura. Lynn introduces the staff to David, who is in charge of personal ads but wants to write investigative articles. Lynn, privy to inside information, tells the others that Mainline publisher Stuart Wheeler is having a meeting with Roy Walsh, a publisher that buys underground papers and makes them more mainstream. The writers swear that if Walsh touches the paper, they’ll quit. Max enlists David into helping him carry a box of record albums to a local shop called Cheapo’s that buys the “review copies” Max gets free from record companies. When Max and Cheapo’s clerk, Allen, discuss the latest bootleg album of Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes’ rehearsal tapes, David learns that the bootlegger, Duck, is actually Kevin Austin, who is running for city council. Meanwhile, Michael tells Harry that he refuses to write for the Mainline because it is beneath him. Harry asks Michael to introduce him to his literary agent, but Michael refuses. At Lynn and Abby’s new apartment, they talk about the paper’s politics with Laura, who is tired of writing and can’t figure out why Abbie isn’t tired of taking photographs. Lynn doesn’t understand their frustration because she’s just a receptionist and doesn’t have “any special talent.” Later, Abbie accompanies Harry to a local strip club to take photos for his article on strippers. When they sit down with a performer named Danielle, Abbie establishes an instant rapport and gets Danielle to talk about the small details of her life, but Harry feels that Abbie is interfering with his interview. When Abbie defers to Harry, his questions upset Danielle because he talks down to her. Since Abbie isn’t allowed to take pictures in the club, she takes them in Danielle’s dressing room instead and resumes their previous conversation. Gently criticizing Abbie for hiding her femininity, Danielle dresses her up with makeup and a wig and gets her into nylons and a skimpy outfit, and Harry walks into the room and laughs. On the way home, Abbie yells at Harry for being a jerk. At the office next morning, Stanley apologizes to Lynn for last week's "misunderstanding." Lynn says it wasn’t a misunderstanding; he jumped on top of her. Back in his office, Stanley humiliates his assistant, Ahmed, and exaggerates his own importance as Ahmed tries to feign interest. Elsewhere, Harry criticizes David’s proposed article on saving the whales by saying it has no viewpoint and suggests that David write it from the whale’s perspective. Max tries to wheedle a raise out of Wheeler, claiming that his meager $75 a week is forcing him to sell review albums. Wheeler cuts the conversation short when Mr. Walsh arrives for their meeting. Since the whale story seems to be going nowhere, David decides to write about the local bootleg album business. He repeatedly calls Kevin Austin for an interview, but Austin hangs up on him. Max teaches a writing class to several impressionable girls who think he is a local celebrity, but he talks nonsense about how the Beatles’ song, “Blackbird,” relates to a poem by Wallace Stevens and sums up his presentation by giving them his phone number. Meanwhile, Laura, who has put in twelve hours at the paper, shops for groceries on her way home and carries two bags into her apartment, where Michael is working on his novel. When Laura tells him she forgot the food for his dog, he suggests that she return to the store, which prompts her to snap back that she has already worked all day. Michael becomes defensive and they start fighting. Abbie goes to Harry’s apartment at two a.m. with prints of the photos she took of Danielle. He compliments her work, they go to bed and make love, and afterward Harry says he wants her to stay because he still loves her. David continues calling Austin and getting hang-ups. Michael arrives back at the office to announce that he has sold his book and will be moving to New York City to work with the publisher. A man named Herbert Fisk comes into the office, picks up Lynn’s typewriter, throws it on the floor and announces that he’s a performance artist who deserves to have an article written about him. “End of Communication,” he calls his art. Max answers by throwing papers and calling his performance “Paper in Flight.” By the time Fisk leaves, there are holes in the walls and the coffee machine is laying on the floor. That night, the staff attends Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes’ promotion party. Kevin “the Duck” Austin is there, but he keeps avoiding David, who at one point sidles up to him and quacks. After first telling David to get lost, Austin suggests they meet the following evening at five o’clock at Southport, the city’s wharf area. Harry drags Abbie out of the club, angry that she hasn’t called him back. She responds that she doesn’t want to give up photography to become a wife. Michael, in planning to move to New York, forgot to confer with Laura about it, and Laura insists that she likes her job and friends in Boston. Harry and Laura link up later and go back to his apartment. They reminisce over Harry’s old photographs of the staff when the Mainline was still a popular muckraking paper and the writers had more fun. Back at the party, Abbie asks Michael where Laura is and he presumes that his girlfriend has gone to bed with Harry. Intoxicated, Michael lets everyone know that he is the only one at the party with any talent. Michael goes to Harry’s place, slips into the bedroom and wakes up Laura, who tells him that she’s not going to New York with him. Back at the party, Max and Stanley get into a fight and Stanley gloats that he will be calling the shots soon because Ray Walsh is taking over the paper. The next afternoon, David asks Max directions to the Southport wharf, then gets on his bicycle to make his rendezvous with Austin. When Harry mentions that David had given up writing about whales and was now researching an article on a duck, Max tells Harry they have to hurry to Southport. They arrive as two thugs are beating and kicking David. When the men leave, Harry tells David that he is a real reporter now. The next day, Laura tells everyone she is going to New York with Michael after all. At the staff meeting, Ray Walsh, the new publisher, gives a speech about how he is not going to change anything, but Harry demands specifics. Finally, Ray concedes that in order to survive, the paper needs a broader-based readership and more advertising. Afterward, Ray privately tells Frank to get rid of Harry, but Frank says the other writers won’t like it. Ray tells him that if firing Harry provokes the staff into leaving, he can have another staff there tomorrow. When Frank fires Harry, Lynn is the only one who quits in protest; she sneers at the others because they have all “sold out.” Harry goes home and mopes. Meanwhile, David’s article about the local bootleg operation is that week’s hottest story, and another writer is interviewing him. Harry, Abbie and Max commiserate at a bar. When Abbie and Harry leave arm-in-arm on their way back to Harry’s place, Max cadges a drink from another patron. The man recognizes Max’s name because he reads the writer’s reviews and he’s happy to buy Max’s drink just to have the chance to hang out with him.

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

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