Pipe Dreams (1976)

PG | 90 mins | Romance | 1976

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HISTORY

       The 10 Jan 1976 LAT announced singer Gladys Knight’s film debut in Pipe Dreams, to be produced by her husband, Barry Hankerson, and that filming was planned for the vicinity of Anchorage, AK. Knight stated that her mother and sister were included among the production crew. According to the 9 Feb 1976 Box, principal photography began in Valdez, AK, on 15 Jan 1976. An article in the 12 Mar 1976 HR reported that the $2 million-film had recently completed production. Exterior photography took place in the vicinity of Fairbanks, AK, and interiors were filmed in Hollywood, CA. Perhaps suggesting that production began earlier than 15 Jan 1976, Knight commented on the difficulties of filming in AK during the middle of Dec 1975, specifically the short days and severe cold. A distribution deal was still in process, with a release planned for Aug 1976. The article also mentioned that the name of Knight’s production company, L. G. N., stood for “Love, God and Nature.”
       Pipe Dreams premiered 31 Oct 1976 at the Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, GA, as reported in the 8 Nov 1976 Box. According to the 20 Dec 1976 Box, Knight and Hankerson embarked on a promotional tour on 31 Oct 1976, which included sneak previews of the film. An overseas tour was planned for Jan 1977.
       Pipe Dreams opened to unenthusiastic reviews, although the 29 Oct 1976 DV made a favorable comparison between Knight and actress Liza Minelli. Both the 1 Nov 1976 HR ...

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       The 10 Jan 1976 LAT announced singer Gladys Knight’s film debut in Pipe Dreams, to be produced by her husband, Barry Hankerson, and that filming was planned for the vicinity of Anchorage, AK. Knight stated that her mother and sister were included among the production crew. According to the 9 Feb 1976 Box, principal photography began in Valdez, AK, on 15 Jan 1976. An article in the 12 Mar 1976 HR reported that the $2 million-film had recently completed production. Exterior photography took place in the vicinity of Fairbanks, AK, and interiors were filmed in Hollywood, CA. Perhaps suggesting that production began earlier than 15 Jan 1976, Knight commented on the difficulties of filming in AK during the middle of Dec 1975, specifically the short days and severe cold. A distribution deal was still in process, with a release planned for Aug 1976. The article also mentioned that the name of Knight’s production company, L. G. N., stood for “Love, God and Nature.”
       Pipe Dreams premiered 31 Oct 1976 at the Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, GA, as reported in the 8 Nov 1976 Box. According to the 20 Dec 1976 Box, Knight and Hankerson embarked on a promotional tour on 31 Oct 1976, which included sneak previews of the film. An overseas tour was planned for Jan 1977.
       Pipe Dreams opened to unenthusiastic reviews, although the 29 Oct 1976 DV made a favorable comparison between Knight and actress Liza Minelli. Both the 1 Nov 1976 HR and Mar 1977 Playboy described the film as “half-baked Alaska.”

      The end credits include the written acknowledgements: "Thanks to: Olympia Beer, Interwoven Socks, Collageman Montage Sweaters"; and, "Special Thanks to: Jomo Kenyatta Hankerson, Jimmy Newman Hankerson, Chetney Knight, Warrington Parker Jr., Shanga Parker." Songwriter Gerry Goffin's name is misspelled "Jerry Goffin" in the onscreen song credit for "So Sad the Song."

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Feb 1976
---
Box Office
6 Dec 1976
---
Box Office
8 Nov 1976
---
Box Office
20 Dec 1976
p. C-5, C-12
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1976
p. 4, 12
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 1976
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1976
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1976
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 1976
p. 14
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
4 Dec 1976
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Jan 1976
p. 14, Part II
Los Angeles Times
2 Dec 1976
p. 27
New York Times
24 Dec 1976
---
Playboy
Mar 1977
---
Time
31 Jan 1977
---
Variety
3 Nov 1976
p. 26
Variety
16 Mar 1977
p. 21
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
L. G. N. Productions & Stephen F. Verona present
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Asst exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Dolly grip
Key grip
Best boy
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Spec ward consultant to Ms. Knight
MUSIC
Mus arr and cond by
Mus consultant
Mus ed
Sd track prod by
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom man
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Prod sd rec
Sd mixing
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod consultant
Prod consultant
Asst casting consultant
Transportation capt
Jackie L. Crane
Driver
Driver
Loc auditor
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod asst
Consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"So Sad The Song," written by Michael Masser and Jerry Goffin, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips; "Pipe Dreams," written by Tony Camillo, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips; "Alaskan Pipe Line," written by Ivory Joe Hunter, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips; "I'll Miss You," written by Rev. James Cleveland, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips; "Everybody's Got To Find A Way," written by Jerry and Mildred Spikes, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips; "Ties That Bind," written by Clyde Otis and Vin Corso, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips; "Nobody But You," written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips; "Lady I Love You," written by Bobby Arvon, performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1976
Premiere Information:
Premiere: 31 Oct 1976 in Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles opening: 1 Dec 1976; New York opening: 23 Dec 1976
Production Date:
Dec 1975 -- Mar 1976
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
L. G. N. Productions, Ltd.
14 December 1978
PA21559
Physical Properties:
Sound
Lenses
Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Radio operator Maria Wilson is transferred from Atlanta, Georgia, to the pipeline terminal in Valdez, Alaska. Her infant daughter, Joy, is left in the care of Maria’s parents. On the final leg of the trip, she meets a laborer known as “the Duke.” Maria is attempting to reunite with her estranged husband, Rob, who operates a small airline out of Valdez. Upon her arrival, Maria discovers that her position was filled two days earlier at the request of Mike Thompson, an oligarch who controls Valdez’s business community. At the Duke’s urging, Maria gets a bartending job at Thompson’s Klondike Club for $700 per week. The Duke also arranges for her lodgings and buys her dinner. The next evening at the Klondike Club, Maria meets Loretta, the new radio operator at the terminal. Loretta, a former prostitute, explains that Thompson, her lover, compelled her to accept the job, and she invites Maria to share her mobile home until she can find a permanent residence. When Rob enters the bar, Maria is happy to see him, but Rob disapproves of her employment in a saloon. Later, Rob is cold and unresponsive toward his girl friend, Lydia, when they are in bed together. The next day, when Maria moves into the trailer, she learns that Loretta has to supplement her income by prostituting herself, although her lover, Mike Thompson, is unaware of her “moonlighting.” Maria meets Rob at the airport, and while both regret their divorce, Maria does not believe that Rob is ready to resume the marriage. Her doubts are allayed after Rob takes her on a romantic ...

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Radio operator Maria Wilson is transferred from Atlanta, Georgia, to the pipeline terminal in Valdez, Alaska. Her infant daughter, Joy, is left in the care of Maria’s parents. On the final leg of the trip, she meets a laborer known as “the Duke.” Maria is attempting to reunite with her estranged husband, Rob, who operates a small airline out of Valdez. Upon her arrival, Maria discovers that her position was filled two days earlier at the request of Mike Thompson, an oligarch who controls Valdez’s business community. At the Duke’s urging, Maria gets a bartending job at Thompson’s Klondike Club for $700 per week. The Duke also arranges for her lodgings and buys her dinner. The next evening at the Klondike Club, Maria meets Loretta, the new radio operator at the terminal. Loretta, a former prostitute, explains that Thompson, her lover, compelled her to accept the job, and she invites Maria to share her mobile home until she can find a permanent residence. When Rob enters the bar, Maria is happy to see him, but Rob disapproves of her employment in a saloon. Later, Rob is cold and unresponsive toward his girl friend, Lydia, when they are in bed together. The next day, when Maria moves into the trailer, she learns that Loretta has to supplement her income by prostituting herself, although her lover, Mike Thompson, is unaware of her “moonlighting.” Maria meets Rob at the airport, and while both regret their divorce, Maria does not believe that Rob is ready to resume the marriage. Her doubts are allayed after Rob takes her on a romantic flight over the Alaskan tundra. However, when Maria discovers Lydia in Rob’s home, she is hurt and disappointed, even though Rob has chosen her over Lydia. Maria tells Loretta that she wants to return to Atlanta and raise her infant daughter alone. Loretta advises her to be patient with Rob, and to inform him that he is a father. Maria and the Duke take a day trip to the Columbia Glacier, and are joined by alcoholic evangelist Johnny Monday. When Maria returns to the trailer, she finds Rob waiting for her, but they are still unable to reconcile. While Maria is at work, Loretta admits to Thompson that she is pregnant and demands that he marry her or she will leave Valdez. However, Thompson, reminds her of the sparse opportunities available to an aging prostitute and tells her to get an abortion. After he leaves, Loretta is despondent and performs the abortion herself, using a coat hanger. Later, Rob walks Maria home from work, and she begins to respond to his efforts to win her back, but when she enters the trailer, she is horrified by the sight of Loretta’s bloodied body in the trailer. After an ambulance removes the body, Rob and the Duke offer Maria comfort. Waiting outside the trailer is the Duke’s girl friend, a prostitute named Slimey Sue, who feels unworthy to be in the presence of a decent woman. Sometime later, Maria and Rob invite Sue and the Duke to dinner, where they learn that Sue is a former schoolteacher who came to Alaska in search of work to pay off her late father’s debts. Meanwhile, Thompson accepts a large sum of money to slow the progress of the pipeline. The next day, he threatens Maria with eviction, noting that he owns the trailer and everything in it, but Maria is not intimidated and freely expresses her low opinion of him. Thompson responds by slapping her, but Maria slaps him back. That night at the Klondike Club, Maria is panicked when she learns that Rob and a planeload of prostitutes are stranded in the wilderness, but a rescue party returns them to safety. Maria visits the hospital where Rob and his passengers are examined. When he presents Maria with an engagement ring, she accepts his proposal and tells him that he is the father of six-month-old daughter named Joy. Their outdoor wedding is attended by pipeline workers and prostitutes, and officiated by Johnny Monday. The Duke loans the couple his car for the honeymoon, and Maria, comparing the pipeline to historical monuments like the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China, coerces Rob to consummate their marriage inside a pipe segment. They continue their celebration that night at the Klondike Club. Meanwhile, the Duke is injured in an explosion at the terminal, which a pipeline worker, named “Mini-Guinea,” blames on Thompson. Later, Maria quits her job after seeing Thompson humiliate an elderly alcoholic woman. Maria meets Rob at a makeshift movie theater, where she admonishes him for wanting to maintain a business relationship with anyone as evil as Thompson. That night in bed, Maria tells Rob that she is having second thoughts about staying with him. The next day, when she visits the Duke in the hospital, he offers her the radio operator position at the terminal. Meanwhile, at the airport, Thompson tries to undermine Rob’s business by hijacking a freight shipment. Maria is called back to Atlanta upon learning of her father’s sudden demise. With no plans of returning to Valdez, she tells Rob that she came to Alaska in pursuit of a dream, but cannot sell her soul to achieve it. Rob argues that the survival of his business depends on compromise, but he will join Maria as soon as he can. After Maria’s departure, Rob learns that the Duke has left his hospital room in an attempt to thwart Thompson’s next act of sabotage. Rob arrives at the terminal to find the Duke facedown in the snow, and Thompson attempting to escape. Thompson is defeated in the ensuing fistfight, and Rob invites the Duke to deal the final blow. Later, Rob, Maria and Joy are reunited in Atlanta.

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

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