Simon (1980)

PG | 100 mins | Comedy, Science fiction | 29 February 1980

Director:

Marshall Brickman

Producer:

Martin Bregman

Cinematographer:

Adam Holender

Editor:

Nina Feinberg

Production Designer:

Stuart Wurtzel

Production Company:

A Martin Bregman Production
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HISTORY

       A 12 Jan 1979 HR news item announced that principal photography would begin 26 Feb 1979 in New York City. According to a brief in the 4 Apr 1979 Var, the production spent five weeks filming there. A 6 Jun 1979 Var news brief reported that eight days of filming were also completed in Warren, NJ.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the picture had a ten-week shooting schedule. The film’s climax, involving a rocket launch, took a week to shoot at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, FL. The relatively new Space Shuttle was featured in exterior sequences. Back in New York City, production designer Stuart Wurtzel built sets to use as the spaceship interior.
       Due to director Marshall Brickman’s admiration of architect Richard Meier’s work, the exterior of the Bronx Development Center, a Meier-designed building, became the film’s Institute for Advanced Concepts. Brickman also used exteriors and interiors from three private residences, two of which were Meier designs, to show different views of The Institute.
       The palette of the movie changed depending on the action. Sequences with Simon in New York City focused on the use of primary colors. Once the action moved to The Institute, the color scheme switched to white-on-white. At the film’s end, warm colors were used to compliment the countryside.
       The 12 Jan 1979 HR stated that the picture marked the theatrical directorial debut of Marshall Brickman, best known for his writing collaboration with Woody Allen. A 22 Aug 1979 Warner Bros. Pictures press release announced that actress Judy Graubart would make her theatrical film debut. ...

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       A 12 Jan 1979 HR news item announced that principal photography would begin 26 Feb 1979 in New York City. According to a brief in the 4 Apr 1979 Var, the production spent five weeks filming there. A 6 Jun 1979 Var news brief reported that eight days of filming were also completed in Warren, NJ.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the picture had a ten-week shooting schedule. The film’s climax, involving a rocket launch, took a week to shoot at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, FL. The relatively new Space Shuttle was featured in exterior sequences. Back in New York City, production designer Stuart Wurtzel built sets to use as the spaceship interior.
       Due to director Marshall Brickman’s admiration of architect Richard Meier’s work, the exterior of the Bronx Development Center, a Meier-designed building, became the film’s Institute for Advanced Concepts. Brickman also used exteriors and interiors from three private residences, two of which were Meier designs, to show different views of The Institute.
       The palette of the movie changed depending on the action. Sequences with Simon in New York City focused on the use of primary colors. Once the action moved to The Institute, the color scheme switched to white-on-white. At the film’s end, warm colors were used to compliment the countryside.
       The 12 Jan 1979 HR stated that the picture marked the theatrical directorial debut of Marshall Brickman, best known for his writing collaboration with Woody Allen. A 22 Aug 1979 Warner Bros. Pictures press release announced that actress Judy Graubart would make her theatrical film debut.

      The following acknowledgment appears in end credits: ”We would like to express our appreciation to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Motion Pictures & Television.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 1979
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 1980
p. 3
Los Angeles Times
14 Mar 1980
p. 1
New York Times
29 Feb 1980
p. 5
Variety
4 Apr 1979
---
Variety
6 Jun 1979
---
Variety
27 Feb 1980
p. 20
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Martin Bregman Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Video
Addl photog
Addl photog
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Addl art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Carpenter
Prop master
Asst prop master
Propman
Set dec
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Scenic artist
Sculpture
Milliken, Inc.
COSTUMES
Cost asst
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus coord
Mus asst
Rec eng for mus
Hawaiian elevator mus arr and orch
Saxophone soloist
Choir dir and organist in the commune
All other selections adapt, orch, and cond
SOUND
Boom man
Sd mixer
Addl sd
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Dick Vorisek
Sd re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec vis eff
Miniatures
MAKEUP
Bob Jiras
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Post prod supv
Teamster capt
Prod office coord
Auditor
Asst auditor
Pub
Loc coord
Asst to Mr. Brickman
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Equip
STAND INS
Vic Magnotta
Stunt coord
Vic Magnotta
Stunt
Stunt
Stunt
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant for Technicolor
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Aria from 'Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5'," by Heitor Villa-Lobos; "Premier tableau from 'Orpheus'," by Igor Stravinsky; “Mister Sandman,” by Pat Ballard, performed by The Four Amigos, courtesy of Capitol Records; "Excerpts from 'Missa Brevis in F, k. 192'," by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; "Presto from 'Octet in E Flat Major, Op. 20'," by Felix Mendelssohn; "'Pavane De La Belle Au Bois Dormant' from 'Ma Mere L’Oye'," by Maurice Ravel; “Far Away Places,” by Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer, arranged and orchestrated by Gary Anderson.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 February 1980
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 29 Feb 1980: Los Angeles opening: 14 Mar 1980
Production Date:
began 26 Feb 1979 in New York City, New Jersey, and Florida
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Orion Pictures Company
24 April 1980
PA71854
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25950
SYNOPSIS

At the Institute for Advanced Concepts, five brilliant, twisted geniuses have been hired to save the world, but become more interested in other pursuits. One day, Institute director Dr. Carl Becker shows his colleagues a newspaper article that says sixty percent of Americans believe that extraterrestrials exist. The scientists decide to perpetrate a hoax by “introducing” an alien into American society. They choose Simon Mendelssohn, an assistant psychology professor and an orphan, to become their extraterrestrial. Becker invites Simon to become an Institute staff member. Soon, Simon spends his days immersed in a sensory deprivation tank. The Institute scientists expect the experience will make Simon more receptive to the implantation of a new birth memory. Simon is removed after one hundred and ninety hours of immersion, during which he has regressed thousands of years. After Simon regains his full faculties, he collapses. The scientists operate, and implant Simon with other memories that give him a new identity as an alien. Simon remembers that his mother was an alien spaceship, who sent him to Earth to save the world. Soon, the Institute scientists leak a story to the press that they are investigating Simon’s claims to be an extraterrestrial. Later, Simon drafts a statement contending that Earth’s population suffers from boring jobs, bland food, polluted water, and unsuccessful relationships, and that it is time to throw out everything that does not work. His ideas earn much media attention. When Simon tells Becker he is ready to release another statement, Becker wants to review the material, but Simon refuses. Instead, Simon wants Becker to arrange a meeting with the president, the Chinese premier, the pope, and television news anchorman Walter ...

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At the Institute for Advanced Concepts, five brilliant, twisted geniuses have been hired to save the world, but become more interested in other pursuits. One day, Institute director Dr. Carl Becker shows his colleagues a newspaper article that says sixty percent of Americans believe that extraterrestrials exist. The scientists decide to perpetrate a hoax by “introducing” an alien into American society. They choose Simon Mendelssohn, an assistant psychology professor and an orphan, to become their extraterrestrial. Becker invites Simon to become an Institute staff member. Soon, Simon spends his days immersed in a sensory deprivation tank. The Institute scientists expect the experience will make Simon more receptive to the implantation of a new birth memory. Simon is removed after one hundred and ninety hours of immersion, during which he has regressed thousands of years. After Simon regains his full faculties, he collapses. The scientists operate, and implant Simon with other memories that give him a new identity as an alien. Simon remembers that his mother was an alien spaceship, who sent him to Earth to save the world. Soon, the Institute scientists leak a story to the press that they are investigating Simon’s claims to be an extraterrestrial. Later, Simon drafts a statement contending that Earth’s population suffers from boring jobs, bland food, polluted water, and unsuccessful relationships, and that it is time to throw out everything that does not work. His ideas earn much media attention. When Simon tells Becker he is ready to release another statement, Becker wants to review the material, but Simon refuses. Instead, Simon wants Becker to arrange a meeting with the president, the Chinese premier, the pope, and television news anchorman Walter Cronkite. Simon’s demands make Becker tell the other scientists that it is time to terminate Simon, but they ask for more time to enjoy Simon’s effect on the public. Becker relents on the condition they take control of Simon’s growing ego. Meanwhile, Lisa, the assistant from Simon’s former university laboratory, visits the Institute to convince Simon that he is not an extraterrestrial. When Simon becomes overwrought, she changes her tack and asks him to make love because she has never had sex with an extraterrestrial. The scientists soon realize that their experiment has spun out of control. Becker likes the idea of an undetectable gas that will cut Simon’s intellect in half. However, the equipment malfunctions, and the gas drifts throughout the Institute. Becker escapes in time to speak with Doris, the Institute supercomputer. While the machine reassures him that the effects of the gas will wear off within weeks, she has also alerted the Pentagon to the problem. By morning, National Guard troops arrive. Lisa overhears General Korey’s assumption that Simon is responsible for releasing “the stupid-making gas.” When Korey orders his men to find and kill Simon, Lisa warns Simon that he is being blamed for the accident. Lisa and Simon steal a van, and escape Institute grounds. They meet members of a commune, whose leader recognizes Simon from watching television news. The commune members discover a portable television station that can broadcast simultaneously on all the major networks from inside Simon’s stolen van. Soon Simon broadcasts about his general wellbeing and his philosophies, leading to a more rewarding way of American life. As the gas cloud drifts toward the nation’s capitol, Simon continues his broadcasts, denouncing corrupt politicians, traffic gridlock, and pretentious, silly names given to children, among other things. Becker broadcasts a message of his own, asking Simon to contact him. While Lisa argues that Simon’s influence has caused chaos, Simon responds that it takes time to change bad habits. Then it dawns on Simon that his message is not getting through to a majority of the public. People still listen to bad elevator music, and eat thin, gray hamburgers with imitation sauce. Lisa argues that some people might just like their life the way it is. She then interrupts his criticism to tell him that she is pregnant. Simon denies that he is the father because interplanetary species cannot mate. Lisa responds that he does not want to admit he is the father because he would no longer be special. Later, Simon contacts Becker, and admits he is depressed and wants to return to his planet of origin. Becker and Korey arrange for a NASA rocket ship that will transport Simon home. However, Simon takes Becker hostage, and the rocket launches into space with Becker in Simon’s place. Together, Simon and Lisa have a son, and are believed to be living in seclusion in Canada. While Simon plays with his child, Lisa hears over the radio that Simon has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for calling attention to the many annoyances that have eroded American life.

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

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