Goin' South (1978)

PG | 101 mins | Western, Comedy | 6 October 1978

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HISTORY

       According to an interview with Mary Steenburgen in the 1 Oct 1981 issue of American Film, the actress met actor-director Jack Nicholson by chance when she went for a general meeting with casting director Juliet Taylor in New York City. Although Nicholson did not plan to see any more actresses for the role of “Julia Tate,” he auditioned Steenburgen the next day and flew her to Los Angeles, CA, for a screen test. As stated in a 4 Jul 1977 LAT “Film Clips” column, seven other actresses shot screen tests, some of whom were “very well known.”
       Principal photography was slated to begin late Jul 1977 in Durango, Mexico, according to the 4 Jul 1997 LAT, which incorrectly referred to the film as Goin’ Home but issued a correction on 6 Jul 1977.
       Critical reception was mixed. In a largely negative 4 Oct 1978 review, Var predicted the film would be a commercial failure despite Nicholson’s involvement. On 2 Dec 1978, Screen International reported the film’s Los Angeles, CA, box-office earnings as $90,886 after eight weeks of release.
       In his 1 Oct 1978 LAT review, Charles Champlin called Mary Steenburgen “a genuine discovery.” For her role as Julia Tate, Steenburgen was nominated for the “New Star of the Year – Actress” Golden Globe award.
       Goin’ South marked Steenburgen’s feature film acting debut as well as John Belushi’s, although Belushi’s second feature, National Lampoon’s Animal House was released late Jul 1978, prior to Goin’ South. Steenburgen and actor Christopher Lloyd, who played Julia’s spurned admirer ... More Less

       According to an interview with Mary Steenburgen in the 1 Oct 1981 issue of American Film, the actress met actor-director Jack Nicholson by chance when she went for a general meeting with casting director Juliet Taylor in New York City. Although Nicholson did not plan to see any more actresses for the role of “Julia Tate,” he auditioned Steenburgen the next day and flew her to Los Angeles, CA, for a screen test. As stated in a 4 Jul 1977 LAT “Film Clips” column, seven other actresses shot screen tests, some of whom were “very well known.”
       Principal photography was slated to begin late Jul 1977 in Durango, Mexico, according to the 4 Jul 1997 LAT, which incorrectly referred to the film as Goin’ Home but issued a correction on 6 Jul 1977.
       Critical reception was mixed. In a largely negative 4 Oct 1978 review, Var predicted the film would be a commercial failure despite Nicholson’s involvement. On 2 Dec 1978, Screen International reported the film’s Los Angeles, CA, box-office earnings as $90,886 after eight weeks of release.
       In his 1 Oct 1978 LAT review, Charles Champlin called Mary Steenburgen “a genuine discovery.” For her role as Julia Tate, Steenburgen was nominated for the “New Star of the Year – Actress” Golden Globe award.
       Goin’ South marked Steenburgen’s feature film acting debut as well as John Belushi’s, although Belushi’s second feature, National Lampoon’s Animal House was released late Jul 1978, prior to Goin’ South. Steenburgen and actor Christopher Lloyd, who played Julia’s spurned admirer “Deputy Towfield,” reunited in Robert Zemeckis’s Back to the Future Part III (1990, see entry), also a Western in which the two played a couple. Nicholson’s friend, musician Van Dyke Parks, made his feature film composing debut with Goin’ South.

      End credits include the written statements: "Union of Motion Picture Workers of the Republic of Mexico" and “Filmed in Durango, Mexico.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Film
1 Apr 1981
pp. 30-34, 69-71.
American Film
1 Oct 1981
p. 12, 14, 16-17, 20, 22.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 1978
p. 3, 16.
Los Angeles Times
4 Jul 1977
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jul 1977
Section H, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
7 Sep 1977
p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
6 Nov 1977
Section O, pp. 31-33.
Los Angeles Times
1 Oct 1978
Section O, p. 1, 32.
New Musical Express
12 Jan 1980
p. 19.
New York Times
6 Oct 1978.
---
Screen International
2 Dec 1978
p. 27.
Screen International
5 Jan 1980
p. 21.
Variety
4 Oct 1978
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Paramount Pictures presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Key grip
Gaffer
Crane grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const coord
Head prop man
Set dresser asst
COSTUMES
Men`s cost
Ward man
Ward asst
Dressmaker
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Hair stylist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Wrangler
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Paylow
Asst to Mr. Gittes and Mr. Schneider
Asst to Mr. Nicholson
Prod accountant
Prod assoc
Extra casting
Actors' delegate
Wrangler
STAND INS
Stuntwoman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Scarf Dance," written by Cécile Louise Stephanie Chaminade and Tony Lane.
SONGS
"Available Space," written by Ryland Peter Cooder, performed by Ry Cooder, courtesy Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 October 1978
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 6 October 1978
New York opening: week of 6 October 1978
Production Date:
began late July 1977 in Durango, Mexico
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
5 March 1979
Copyright Number:
PA25629
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
101
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25105
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1866 Texas, outlaw Henry Lloyd Moon flees from a posse led by Deputies Towfield and Hector. After crossing the Rio Grande river into Mexico, Henry rejoices that he is now free. However, the posse comes after him regardless, and he is arrested and taken to Longhorn, Texas, to be hanged. Although he receives a visit from his former gang in jail, Henry is disappointed to find they did not plan a jailbreak. After Henry’s old girlfriend, Hermine, and fellow gang members, Hog and Coogan, bid Henry goodbye, Big Abe, the leader of the gang, promises to take care of Hermine. While being led to the gallows, Henry insults two homely women who stare at him. Sheriff Kyle admonishes Henry for his rude behavior and informs him that a local ordinance enacted after the Civil War states that any property-holding female can take an outlaw as a husband, thereby saving him from execution, as long as he did not commit murder. Immediately, Henry tries to make amends with the women who were sizing him up, but to no avail. As Henry stands on the gallows platform, an elderly woman named Florence speaks up to claim him for her husband. Overjoyed, Henry runs to her, but Florence is overcome by excitement and dies. Henry is once again ushered to the gallows, but just as the noose is placed around his neck, Julia Tate, a quiet young woman, calls out to claim him. The crowd is shocked -- especially Deputy Towfield, who had been rejected by Julia in the past. An expedited wedding ensues. Making it clear the marriage is for business purposes only, Julia explains that she has a potential ... +


In 1866 Texas, outlaw Henry Lloyd Moon flees from a posse led by Deputies Towfield and Hector. After crossing the Rio Grande river into Mexico, Henry rejoices that he is now free. However, the posse comes after him regardless, and he is arrested and taken to Longhorn, Texas, to be hanged. Although he receives a visit from his former gang in jail, Henry is disappointed to find they did not plan a jailbreak. After Henry’s old girlfriend, Hermine, and fellow gang members, Hog and Coogan, bid Henry goodbye, Big Abe, the leader of the gang, promises to take care of Hermine. While being led to the gallows, Henry insults two homely women who stare at him. Sheriff Kyle admonishes Henry for his rude behavior and informs him that a local ordinance enacted after the Civil War states that any property-holding female can take an outlaw as a husband, thereby saving him from execution, as long as he did not commit murder. Immediately, Henry tries to make amends with the women who were sizing him up, but to no avail. As Henry stands on the gallows platform, an elderly woman named Florence speaks up to claim him for her husband. Overjoyed, Henry runs to her, but Florence is overcome by excitement and dies. Henry is once again ushered to the gallows, but just as the noose is placed around his neck, Julia Tate, a quiet young woman, calls out to claim him. The crowd is shocked -- especially Deputy Towfield, who had been rejected by Julia in the past. An expedited wedding ensues. Making it clear the marriage is for business purposes only, Julia explains that she has a potential gold mine but her land will soon be taken by eminent domain for a railroad right of way. Skeptical they will find gold, Henry has no choice but to help Julia as the law states he is now bound to her. After a long day working together in the mine, the newlyweds share their first meal together. While Julia is unaccustomed to company, Henry complains about the dinner of boiled chicken but gobbles it down. Disgusted by Henry's lack of manners, Julia ignores his advances and remains mum when he accuses her of being a virgin. Henry sleeps in the barn and, the next morning, greets Julia with enthusiasm. The two spend the day working in the mine, and that evening, discuss Julia’s dream of moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Henry’s plans to relocate to Mexico. A surprise visit from three local women and their outlaw husbands interrupts the conversation. The couples offer Julia a figurine as a wedding present, and the women and men separate to talk about marriage, sex, and duties. One woman, Lorette, advises Julia to think about canning apricots during sex if she does not enjoy it. Henry overhears this and later teases Julia about canning apricots, but she resists his advances once again. The next day in town, Julia talks with Polty, the railroad manager, while Henry complains about his unsatisfactory marriage to Towfield at a saloon. Outside, Henry contemplates stealing a horse and running away but discovers the animal is blind. Meanwhile, Towfield tries to trap Henry in the act of escaping, but Henry dumps a bucket of horse urine on the deputy. Henry returns to overhear Polty telling Julia that she has thirty days to vacate her property. Soon after, Polty surveys Julia’s land and finds her bathing in a pond. Hiding behind a bush, he ogles her until she notices him and screams. Henry comes to Julia’s defense and scares Polty away. Suddenly, it starts to hail and the couple ends up in the mine. In a moment of tenderness, they kiss. The next morning, Julia awakens to find Henry in her bed and accuses him of getting her drunk the night before. Furious, she orders him out of her room, but Henry tears down the curtains and ties Julia down, threatening to rape her. In town, Towfield and Hector serve eviction notices on behalf of the railroad. One family, the Standards, laments the short notice but admits that the strange black liquid bubbling all over their land has thwarted all farming efforts. Soon after, Towfield and Hector see Henry fall off a wagon as he attempts to escape town. They take him into custody and return him to Julia's house. However, to Henry’s surprise, Julia is now untied and provides a false story, telling the deputies that she sent her husband to fetch the doctor. Back in the mine, Julia and Henry work until they both are exhausted. Although Julia is close to giving up, Henry notices gold specks in her hair and, ecstatic, they find a wall glimmering in gold. That night, Henry begs Julia to share the profits with him, asking for fifty percent. Although she initially offers ten percent, she finally agrees to fifty, and the two establish a mutual trust. They deposit a trunk of gold into the bank but pretend that the trunk is full of figurines. Hog sees them leaving and informs Big Abe and the gang, who later pay the couple a surprise visit under the pretext of a friendly calling. The group gets drunk, and Julia accidentally mentions gold, prompting Henry to panic and quiet her down. Suspecting that Julia and Henry struck gold, Big Abe pretends to relieve himself outdoors and finds mining tools covered in sparkly dust. As the party winds down, Julia and Henry argue and he storms off. Outside, Henry runs into Hermine, who attempts to seduce him. Julia spies on them and, thinking Henry is cheating on her, breaks their agreement. Henry then betrays Julia by informing the gang that her gold is in the bank, and they join forces with plans to rob it. The next day, while disposing of rocks outside the mine, Henry hears a crash and runs in to save Julia. Although they both become trapped, he reassures her and finds an opening after punching through to a flower patch on the ground above them. He returns to Julia with flowers in hand, but, believing they are going to die, she re-establishes their partnership and suggests they make love. The next morning, Julia awakens to find Henry leaving on horseback. She spies through the window as Hermine intercepts him and they talk. Although Julia assumes he is betraying her, Henry has actually left early to rob the bank before his gang gets there, which he admits to Hermine. He returns to Julia’s house with the stolen gold, but finds her gone. He shoots open the chest and discovers that it is full of rocks and paper. Realizing that Julia fooled him, Henry chases after her as she rides out of town in a stagecoach. Henry stops the coach, confesses his love and devotion, and encourages Julia to join him on his trip to Mexico. Loading the gold onto his horse, Julia and Henry walk into the distance together. Although Julia worries that she may never get used to Mexico, Henry assures her she will and suggests they get used to being rich first. +

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

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