Sitting Ducks (1980)

R | 90 mins | Comedy | 4 April 1980

Full page view
HISTORY

       A 3 Dec 1980 DV article reported that revenue for the film’s $750,000 budget was raised from presales to Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, according to writer-director Henry Jaglom.
       A 27 Apr 1980 LAT article stated that Jaglom used a variety of cost-cutting methods during production, given his modest resources. Whenever possible, he used real people in cameo roles or as background actors. During the Holiday Inn sequence, the head waitress that appeared was the real-life waitress at the Holiday Inn. In another bar scene, non-professionals served as background actors that filled in the action. When film permits were cost-prohibitive, a cameraman sat in a wheelchair with a camera hidden under a blanket. For exterior scenes, the blanket was removed, and the cameraman’s assistant pulled the wheelchair backwards so that the action could be recorded. When the police arrived, the production left, so Jaglom was only able to shoot the sequence once. For scenes that were filmed inside the limousine, there was no money for camera platforms mounted outside, so the cameraman sat inside the vehicle with the actors. At one point, a police car followed the filmmaker and watched as people popped up and then disappeared inside. In one instance, Richard Romanus, as “Moose,” would be filmed playing guitar in the front seat of the limousine. Then, he would disappear from camera range, and a cameraman would pop up to record reaction shots from the other actors or surrounding scenery. The same held true for back seat action. Jaglom reportedly directed on the floor of the limousine. Jaglom filmed in natural light, worked without sets, costumes, or props. His wife, actress Patrice ...

More Less

       A 3 Dec 1980 DV article reported that revenue for the film’s $750,000 budget was raised from presales to Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, according to writer-director Henry Jaglom.
       A 27 Apr 1980 LAT article stated that Jaglom used a variety of cost-cutting methods during production, given his modest resources. Whenever possible, he used real people in cameo roles or as background actors. During the Holiday Inn sequence, the head waitress that appeared was the real-life waitress at the Holiday Inn. In another bar scene, non-professionals served as background actors that filled in the action. When film permits were cost-prohibitive, a cameraman sat in a wheelchair with a camera hidden under a blanket. For exterior scenes, the blanket was removed, and the cameraman’s assistant pulled the wheelchair backwards so that the action could be recorded. When the police arrived, the production left, so Jaglom was only able to shoot the sequence once. For scenes that were filmed inside the limousine, there was no money for camera platforms mounted outside, so the cameraman sat inside the vehicle with the actors. At one point, a police car followed the filmmaker and watched as people popped up and then disappeared inside. In one instance, Richard Romanus, as “Moose,” would be filmed playing guitar in the front seat of the limousine. Then, he would disappear from camera range, and a cameraman would pop up to record reaction shots from the other actors or surrounding scenery. The same held true for back seat action. Jaglom reportedly directed on the floor of the limousine. Jaglom filmed in natural light, worked without sets, costumes, or props. His wife, actress Patrice Townsend, as “Jenny,” styled her own hair and wore no makeup.

      In end credits, the names of primary cast members are superimposed on a filmed sequence in which the actors are swimming underwater. Actress Irene Forrest’s credit reads: “Irene Forrest (who doesn’t swim).” The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “With Thanks to: Holiday Inn, Howard Johnson’s, The Star Confectionary (Riverhead, New York),” and “With Special Thanks to: Brother Theodore, Jay Spilo, Barbara Flood, Sheila Ochs, Joe Shotland, and Robert Lipton.”

Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1980
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1980
p. 24
Los Angeles Times
17 Apr 1980
p. 1
Los Angeles Times
27 Apr 1980
---
New York Times
4 Apr 1980
p. 12
Variety
21 Nov 1979
p. 24
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
International Rainbow Pictures presents
a film by Henry Jaglom
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
New York unit mgr
Miami unit mgr
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Addl still photog
Lab processing by
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Ed consultant
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting by
(Ron Vitello)
SET DECORATORS
New York interiors
Miami interiors
MUSIC
Mus comp
Clarinet, New York Dixieland street musician
Saxophone, New York Dixieland street musician
Banjo, New York Dixieland street musician
Washboard, New York Dixieland street musician
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & opticals by
MAKEUP
Zack Norman's hairpiece by
Of Bergdorf-Goodman
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Prod asst
Scr supv
Seaplane courtesy
(Al Gabriel pilot)
Michael Emil's smoke-away fan by
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Theme From Sitting Ducks," music & lyrics by Richard Romanus, arrangement by Richard Romanus & Grant Onnie, music & lyric copyright © 1978 by Sunny Side Up Corp. (all rights reserved);"Tea For Two," motion picture & title music courtesy Warner Bros., Inc., lyric by Irving Caesar, music by Vincent Youmans.
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 April 1980
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 4 Apr 1980; Los Angeles opening: 18 Apr 1980
Production Date:

Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by DeLuxe®
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

On a Wednesday in New York City, Sidney Becker persuades a bookkeeper named Simon to help embezzle money from Simon’s company, a gambling syndicate. At his office, Simon tells various collectors to take the day off, as the district attorney’s office staff will be out investigating the following day, but they will not be able to make arrests. They are to resume collections one day later than usual to avoid suspicion. The next day, Sidney steals the money as planned. In a parking garage, the men divide the cash into ninety-six packets, wrapped in tinfoil and hidden in their limousine’s car tires. As they leave town, Simon pretends to be a chauffeur, and Sidney informs Simon that their plane to Costa Rica is delayed until Monday. Simon panics and thinks that they will get caught, but Sidney is giddy from committing the crime. At a gas station, Simon announces he is tired of driving, and switches places with Sidney. To Simon’s dismay, Sidney pays Moose, an aspiring songwriter, to be the chauffeur. Simon thinks it is crazy to involve a third person in their crime. After arguing, Sidney agrees to pay the chauffeur with his share of the money. Simon warns Sidney to keep his mouth shut. The men check into a Holiday Inn, where Sidney and Simon join Moose, jamming on his guitar by the pool. Another guest named Jenny shows Simon some yoga positions. Later, Jenny and “the bad guy,” her traveling companion, join the men for dinner. When Sidney asks about the nature of Jenny’s relationship, she explains her partner is just “a friend.” As Jenny and Sidney flirt, the bad guy abruptly ...

More Less

On a Wednesday in New York City, Sidney Becker persuades a bookkeeper named Simon to help embezzle money from Simon’s company, a gambling syndicate. At his office, Simon tells various collectors to take the day off, as the district attorney’s office staff will be out investigating the following day, but they will not be able to make arrests. They are to resume collections one day later than usual to avoid suspicion. The next day, Sidney steals the money as planned. In a parking garage, the men divide the cash into ninety-six packets, wrapped in tinfoil and hidden in their limousine’s car tires. As they leave town, Simon pretends to be a chauffeur, and Sidney informs Simon that their plane to Costa Rica is delayed until Monday. Simon panics and thinks that they will get caught, but Sidney is giddy from committing the crime. At a gas station, Simon announces he is tired of driving, and switches places with Sidney. To Simon’s dismay, Sidney pays Moose, an aspiring songwriter, to be the chauffeur. Simon thinks it is crazy to involve a third person in their crime. After arguing, Sidney agrees to pay the chauffeur with his share of the money. Simon warns Sidney to keep his mouth shut. The men check into a Holiday Inn, where Sidney and Simon join Moose, jamming on his guitar by the pool. Another guest named Jenny shows Simon some yoga positions. Later, Jenny and “the bad guy,” her traveling companion, join the men for dinner. When Sidney asks about the nature of Jenny’s relationship, she explains her partner is just “a friend.” As Jenny and Sidney flirt, the bad guy abruptly leaves. Sidney later finds Jenny in the bar, where the bad guy has left her stranded without money to pay for the room. Sidney brags that he has a lot of money and tells her about his plans to travel to Miami, Florida. He showers Jenny with compliments and confesses how much he wants to make love to her. Meanwhile, Simon invites Leona, the hotel waitress who has just quit her job, to watch television in his room. She is confused about her future, and Simon invites her to join him on his trip. When she hesitates, he tells her he is more interested in companionship, and offers to share his large supply of multivitamins. Later, Simon discovers an intoxicated Sidney by their limousine, trying to access the hidden cash. Simon convinces Sidney to use his credit cards, and save the cash for Costa Rica. On Friday, the men resume their trip with Jenny, Leona, and Moose at the wheel. When Sidney takes over the driving, Moose serenades everyone with his original compositions. At the Weeping Willow Motel, Jenny tells Sidney she would be more comfortable staying with him if she knew more about him. As Sidney tells her one lie after another, Jenny resists his advances. Soon, Simon wanders over to Leona’s room, and discovers the door is unlocked. He wakes her, but fails to persuade Leona that he is a great lover, and seeks comfort in a hot bath. Suddenly, Sidney climbs into the tub. Simon is horrified and insists he leave but Sidney is angry that they are rich but have no women to enjoy. When Sidney suggests they hire prostitutes, Simon calls him a deviant. Simon is content to do hand exercises with a muscle gripper, while Sidney claims that he prefers sex. Meanwhile, Jenny makes love with Moose. Sidney and Simon stop arguing to discover the limousine has been vandalized. Although the car is ransacked, the thieves did not find money. As the trip continues, Jenny confesses to Leona that there is something weird going on. Meanwhile, Leona is attracted to Simon, but Jenny warns her not to trust him. Away from the limousine, Simon blames Sidney for revealing too much about their plans. When Sidney swears that he has been careful, Simon fears that his mobster employers are following them. Nevertheless, Jenny tells Sidney he is a very sweet man and invites him to make love at the next stop. In the hotel restaurant, Leona continues to air her neuroses to Simon, and becomes so distraught that she insists on leaving. Meanwhile, Jenny finds Simon at the restaurant, and propositions him with the same pickup lines she told Sidney. Leona later steals Simon’s limousine key when she finds him in bed with Jenny. Simon jumps in the vehicle with Leona behind the wheel. He diffuses her humiliation, and cuddles Leona once they are back in the hotel room. The travelers reach Miami, and Moose talks about meeting a powerful executive who will give him a record contract. When the group stops at a stand for tropical drinks, Jenny admits that she was still aroused after Sidney fell asleep, and is curious to see if Simon was as great a lover as he claimed. When she confesses that Simon was true to his word, Sidney tells her that she is disgusting. Jenny responds by pouring her drink over Sidney’s head. At a posh Miami hotel, Sidney and Simon plan to be unobtrusive, and then slip away to Costa Rica. Meanwhile, the bad guy returns, and reminds Jenny that she is an assassin and has a job to finish. His remark makes Jenny cry, and he promises it will be her last job. He tells her to find out where the money is hidden, and where the seaplane is going to land. Once she has her information, she must kill all her companions, even Leona. Later, Jenny tells Sidney she has a premonition, and suggests he return to New York City. Instead, Sidney promises her anything if Jenny will go overseas with him. Later, Sidney brags about becoming a world power, but Jenny tells him she does not plan to accompany him. On Monday, Sidney drives the limousine to the dock, Leona reveals that she and Jenny are hired killers, who work as a team. The only way she can be free from her job is to leave the country to hide from her organization. At the dock, the men are unable to dislodge the tires, and Jenny and the bad guy appear. Jenny kills her associate with a machine gun, and hustles her friends into a seaplane. Sidney does not want to leave without his money, but the others drag him on to the aircraft. There, Simon lifts his shirt to reveal the cash is taped to his torso. Sidney is ecstatic until Simon explains he only saved his portion of the money because he would not dream of touching Sidney’s half. However, Sidney quickly recovers, and spouts plans to make a bigger fortune once they are in Costa Rica.

Less

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

TOP SEARCHES

I Love Trouble

The working title of this film was The Double Take ... >>

Gone with the Wind

[ Note from the Editors : the following information is based on contemporary news items, feature articles, reviews, interviews, memoranda and corporate records. Information obtained from modern sources ... >>

The Wild Party

In addition to being one of Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.'s first all-dialogue films, The Wild Party marked the sound film debut of director Dorothy Arzner and actress ... >>

The Freshman

A print of The Freshman was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive in 2002. At that time, a new score was written for the ... >>

Casablanca

In the onscreen credits, actor S. Z. Sakall's name is incorrectly spelled "S. K. Sakall." HR news items add the following information about the production: Warner ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.