I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can (1982)

R | 106-107 mins | Drama, Biography | 5 March 1982

Director:

Jack Hofsiss

Writer:

David Rabe

Cinematographer:

Jan de Bont

Production Designer:

David Jenkins

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures
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HISTORY

       Although not listed onscreen, musical excerpts from the George Bizet opera, Carmen, can be heard during one of the apartment scenes. The Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz song, "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plans" is titled in end credits as "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan."
       On 31 Jul 1978, Publishers Weekly reported that literary agent Lucianne Goldberg convinced lawyer-agent Morton L. Janklow to represent the film rights to Barbara Gordon’s upcoming autobiography, I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can, to be published in 1979. Paramount Pictures acquired the property, and offered Gordon a co-producing credit, although she is not credited as such onscreen. According to the 28 Apr 1980 HR, production company Edgar J. Scherick and Associates originally hired William Blinn to write the screenplay, and expected to begin filming later that year. The following year, the 16 Feb 1981 New York magazine stated that the pharmaceutical makers of Valium, Hoffman-La Roche, threatened to sue Paramount if the studio continued production on the film.
       Although a 15 Apr 1981 HR brief listed Ann-Margret as director Jack Hofsiss’ first choice to play “Barbara Gordon,” a 29 Mar 1982 New York article claimed that Jill Clayburgh had been interested in the project, but was unsatisfied with the initial script and had prior commitments to another picture. When Clayburgh’s previous commitment fell through, however, she renewed her interest in the role. While debut director Jack Hofsiss reportedly reworked the script with Nancy Dowd and four other writers, Clayburgh’s husband, David Rabe, wrote a draft containing seventy-five new pages. Because Rabe’s script ...

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       Although not listed onscreen, musical excerpts from the George Bizet opera, Carmen, can be heard during one of the apartment scenes. The Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz song, "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plans" is titled in end credits as "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan."
       On 31 Jul 1978, Publishers Weekly reported that literary agent Lucianne Goldberg convinced lawyer-agent Morton L. Janklow to represent the film rights to Barbara Gordon’s upcoming autobiography, I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can, to be published in 1979. Paramount Pictures acquired the property, and offered Gordon a co-producing credit, although she is not credited as such onscreen. According to the 28 Apr 1980 HR, production company Edgar J. Scherick and Associates originally hired William Blinn to write the screenplay, and expected to begin filming later that year. The following year, the 16 Feb 1981 New York magazine stated that the pharmaceutical makers of Valium, Hoffman-La Roche, threatened to sue Paramount if the studio continued production on the film.
       Although a 15 Apr 1981 HR brief listed Ann-Margret as director Jack Hofsiss’ first choice to play “Barbara Gordon,” a 29 Mar 1982 New York article claimed that Jill Clayburgh had been interested in the project, but was unsatisfied with the initial script and had prior commitments to another picture. When Clayburgh’s previous commitment fell through, however, she renewed her interest in the role. While debut director Jack Hofsiss reportedly reworked the script with Nancy Dowd and four other writers, Clayburgh’s husband, David Rabe, wrote a draft containing seventy-five new pages. Because Rabe’s script most resembled Gordon’s autobiographical source material, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) granted him sole screenwriting credit. Preproduction took place over four weeks; Clayburgh did not obtain the shooting script until three weeks before the start date, and locations were still being scouted two days prior to filming. According to the 1 Apr 1981 Var, Paramount tentatively scheduled the project to begin principal photography between 14 Apr 1981 and 20 Apr 1981, hoping to avoid a potential Directors Guild of America (DGA) strike planned to begin 1 Jul 1981. The 8 May 1981 HR production charts confirmed a 4 May 1981 start date in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City. The brief also cited the name of the production company as “The Fast Dancing Co,” but this title is not credited onscreen.
       Following an 11 May 1981 Var story suggesting that Geraldine Page had replaced Cordis Heard in the film, the 14 May 1981 DV clarified that Page joined the cast in a separate role. On 8 Jun 1981, DV stated that Belita Moreno had been cast, although she does not appear onscreen.
       A 22 Jun 1981 Var reported that Clayburgh had been filming six days a week in order to complete the picture before the possible DGA strike. The 29 Mar 1982 New York noted that principal photography was completed in eight weeks, with eighteen consecutive eighteen-hour days. Although Hofsiss and Rabe were still completing the screenplay, Hofsiss decided to film a longer draft that would later be edited. Conflicting statements in the 1 Apr 1981 Var and the 29 Mar 1982 New York estimated the budget at $4 million and $5 million, respectively.
       On 25 May 1981, New York reported that Hoffman-La Roche and Gordon’s live-in boyfriend, Anton Holden, disputed the presentation of Gordon’s drug abuse in her autobiography; as a result, an executive at Edgar J. Sherick and Associates claimed that the film would “steer clear of the dispute” and would not be “‘blaming Valium.’”
       The 10 Feb 1982 DV announced that I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can would premiere 4 Mar 1982 at the Loews Tower East theater in New York City. The event benefitted the Imagination Workshop, which, according to the 15 Mar 1982 DV, raised $50,000 for the organization and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. A Paramount press release dated 18 Feb 1982 stated that the film would open 5 Mar 1982 at the Plaza Theatre in Westwood, CA, with Paramount Pictures serving as domestic distributor.
       Legal disputes arose again following the film’s release: the Apr 1982 Saturday Review stated that although Paramount hired a drug expert to consult with filmmakers and help revise the script, Hoffman-La Roche “publicly questioned the accuracy of the film” and were considering the possibility of bringing a lawsuit against the studio. In addition, Gordon was dissatisfied with various changes made to the onscreen depiction of her drug use. The pharmaceutical company’s pursuit of legal action against Paramount remains undetermined.
      End credits indicate that portions of the Marsha Rabe poem, “Dinner Conversations,” were used in the film “by permission of the author.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 May 1981
---
Daily Variety
8 Jun 1981
---
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1982
---
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1980
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1981
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1981
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 1982
p. 3, 17
Los Angeles Times
4 Mar 1982
p. 1
New York
16 Feb 1981
---
New York
25 May 1981
---
New York
29 Mar 1982
pp. 82-83
New York Times
5 Mar 1982
Section C, p. 10
Publishers Weekly
31 Jul 1978
---
Saturday Review
Apr 1982
---
Variety
1 Apr 1981
p. 3
Variety
11 May 1981
---
Variety
22 Jun 1981
---
Variety
3 Mar 1982
p. 16
Variety
14 Apr 1982
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
an Edgar J. Scherick/Scott Rudin production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, New York unit
Prod mgr, New York unit
D.G.A. trainee, New York unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Best boy
Key grip
Grip
Asst cam, New York unit
Cam loader, New York unit
Gaffer, New York unit
Key grip, New York unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop supv
Prop master
Lead person
Prop master, New York unit
COSTUMES
Women's cost supv
Men's cost supv
Asst cost des
Costumer
Costumer, New York unit
Select fashions from
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst to Stanley Silverman
Mus contractor
Orig mus performed by
Orig mus performed by
Piano soloist
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post prod services
Bob Ewing
Boom op
Sd mixer, New York unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Jill Clayburgh's makeup
Jill Clayburgh's hair
Make-up hair, New York unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Consultant to David Rabe
Prod staff supv
Loc mgr
Extra casting
Asst to David Nicksay
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Transportation coord
Auditor
Auditor
Extra casting, New York unit
Loc coord, New York unit
Prod office coord, New York unit
Transportation capt, New York unit
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can by Barbara Gordon (New York, 1979).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan," by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, recorded by Tony Bennett and Count Basie, courtesy of Roulette Records, Inc.; "Do The Dog," words and music by Rufus Thomas, recorded by The Specials, courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.; "Our Love Is Insane," written by Desmond Child, recorded by Desmond Child and Rouge, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 March 1982
Premiere Information:
New York City premiere: 4 Mar 1982; Los Angeles and New York openings: 5 Mar 1982
Production Date:
began 4 May 1981 in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Pictures Corporation
20 January 1983
PA167857
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
106-107
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26623
SYNOPSIS

Television documentarian Barbara Gordon argues with her co-workers over the ending of her latest film about a cancer patient named Jean Scott Martin. During lunch, Barbara takes the sedative medication Valium and later films more footage of Jean at the hospital. That evening, she meets her boyfriend, lawyer Derek Bauer, at a restaurant, and he reads aloud a glowing review of her latest documentary. When Derek, already slightly intoxicated, spills his drink, he blames the bartender. As Derek mentions the possibility of marriage, Barbara discreetly removes two Valium from her purse. The next morning, Barbara’s friend, Karen Mulligan, expresses her dislike of Derek and scolds Barbara for not having a dress to wear to the upcoming television Emmy Awards. While preparing for the award ceremony, Barbara wraps two Valium pills in plastic and pins them into the waistline of her skirt before swallowing another tablet with wine. Although she arrives in a hazy state, Barbara wins the Emmy and competently accepts the award. The next day, Barbara meets with her psychiatrist, admitting that she believes she takes too much Valium and does not want to take more medication. The doctor, however, urges her to continue medicating in order to control her anxiety symptoms. When Barbara finishes the documentary about Jean, her colleagues urge her to take time off work. Barbara shows the film to Jean in the hospital, but Jean hates the movie and accuses Barbara of being desensitized by her Valium habit. The next morning, a co-worker telephones Barbara to inform her that her producers loved the film, despite Barbara’s expressed demand that no one see it. Upon hearing this, Barbara considers taking a Valium, but instead telephones ...

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Television documentarian Barbara Gordon argues with her co-workers over the ending of her latest film about a cancer patient named Jean Scott Martin. During lunch, Barbara takes the sedative medication Valium and later films more footage of Jean at the hospital. That evening, she meets her boyfriend, lawyer Derek Bauer, at a restaurant, and he reads aloud a glowing review of her latest documentary. When Derek, already slightly intoxicated, spills his drink, he blames the bartender. As Derek mentions the possibility of marriage, Barbara discreetly removes two Valium from her purse. The next morning, Barbara’s friend, Karen Mulligan, expresses her dislike of Derek and scolds Barbara for not having a dress to wear to the upcoming television Emmy Awards. While preparing for the award ceremony, Barbara wraps two Valium pills in plastic and pins them into the waistline of her skirt before swallowing another tablet with wine. Although she arrives in a hazy state, Barbara wins the Emmy and competently accepts the award. The next day, Barbara meets with her psychiatrist, admitting that she believes she takes too much Valium and does not want to take more medication. The doctor, however, urges her to continue medicating in order to control her anxiety symptoms. When Barbara finishes the documentary about Jean, her colleagues urge her to take time off work. Barbara shows the film to Jean in the hospital, but Jean hates the movie and accuses Barbara of being desensitized by her Valium habit. The next morning, a co-worker telephones Barbara to inform her that her producers loved the film, despite Barbara’s expressed demand that no one see it. Upon hearing this, Barbara considers taking a Valium, but instead telephones her psychiatrist to end their appointments and to announce that she is quitting the medicine. She uncovers the pills hidden inside her drawers, closets, shoes, books, and bathroom, and flushes them down the toilet. When she tells Derek that she plans to quit medicating, he is overjoyed. At a club that evening, Barbara receives word that Jean checked out of the hospital and attempts to telephone the cancer patient; meanwhile, Karen urges Derek to take Barbara to a doctor, but Derek insists that Barbara needs to stop listening to doctors. Early the next morning, Barbara becomes anxious and nearly takes Valium, but washes the pills down the sink. She and Derek picnic on the beach, but she has a seizure. Derek takes her home, where they discuss Barbara’s troubled relationship with her father and Derek urges Barbara to drink alcohol. Later, Barbara turns on the shower and furiously rubs water over her body, scratching at her skin and scalp. Before dawn, she drags Derek out of bed to show him a diagram she made out of triangles, which she believes explains how individual lives are interconnected. Derek assures her that he thinks the theory is interesting and insists she is not crazy. Although he agrees to stay home with her that day, he gets drunk. Regretting her decision to stop therapy, Barbara attempts to leave to see a doctor, but Derek warns her that a psychiatrist would likely institutionalize her in her present state. The next day, Barbara has her Valium prescription refilled and delivered to the house, which angers Derek. He disposes of the pills before answering a telephone call from Barbara’s doctor, who expresses his relief that Barbara agreed to resume her medication. When Derek catches Barbara attempting to sneak away, she screams wildly, and he punches her. Later, he ties her to a chair and feeds her soup. Barbara tells Derek that Karen and her husband are expected to visit that afternoon, and convinces him to telephone them and cancel. When Karen answers, Barbara screams loudly for help. The Mulligans arrive and, finding Barbara bruised and restrained, have her hospitalized. A doctor prescribes her an anti-depressant and assures her that her Valium withdrawal is over. She speaks about her desire to go to Italy, and urges the doctor not to drink his coffee, since she suspects Derek poisoned it. In the hospital cafeteria, Barbara befriends a patient named Roger. During her session with Dr. Julie Addison, Barbara insists that she is smart enough to fake her recovery in order to be released; Julie believes that deep down, Barbara knows she needs professional help. After some time in the hospital, Julie urges Barbara to venture outside of her room, but Barbara says she hates Julie and her non-medicinal treatments. Eventually, Barbara participates in activities with fellow patients in the occupational therapy room. One day, Barbara receives a visit from Jean, who apologizes for her reaction to Barbara’s film. Barbara asks her to help reconstruct the film’s ending when she gets out of the hospital, and they embrace. Julie releases Barbara from the institution, and Barbara returns to her apartment. At work, she argues with a new film executive, Mr. Brunner, who has hired another editor to finish Barbara’s documentary. Later, Barbara visits Jean, who has been hospitalized again, and shares stories about the patients she met at the institution. Jean suggests she end the film with a shot of Barbara on the beach. After Jean dies, Barbara completes the movie using footage of herself walking among the waves at night.

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

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