Still of the Night (1982)

PG | 91 mins | Drama | 17 December 1982

Director:

Robert Benton

Producer:

Arlene Donovan

Cinematographer:

Nestor Almendros

Editor:

Bill Pankow

Production Designer:

Mel Bourne

Production Company:

United Artists Pictures Inc.
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HISTORY

       Gaffer John DeBlau’s surname is spelled onscreen as “Deblau.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, screenwriter-director Robert Benton and then-writing partner David Newman were approached to remake Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 film, The Lodger. Although they declined, the two conceived the story for a film about a female killer similar to Jack the Ripper, which was temporarily shelved in development while Benton wrote and directed Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, see entry). On 19 Apr 1978, Var announced that Benton returned to the project with United Artists (UA) after rewriting the script and changing the working title from Terror to Stab. Production was scheduled to begin early 1979 with a “medium budget,” but a 30 Jan 1980 DV item stated that principal photography would start summer 1980. The 25 Mar 1980 HR reported that production of the $6 million film was delayed until fall 1980, and the 27 Jan 1981 HR listed an early Mar 1981 start date initiating a planned fourteen-week schedule.
       A 20 Oct 1980 HR item stated that International Creative Management's (ICM) Arlene Donovan took a leave of absence as the agency’s New York City motion picture library department head in order to produce the film. The 25 Mar 1981 Var listed Eugene Anthony among the principal cast, although he is not credited onscreen. The production marked the reunion of Benton with Kramer vs. Kramer director of photography Nestor Almendros and actress Meryl Streep.
       10 Apr 1981 HR production charts, listing the title as STAB, confirmed that ... More Less

       Gaffer John DeBlau’s surname is spelled onscreen as “Deblau.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, screenwriter-director Robert Benton and then-writing partner David Newman were approached to remake Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 film, The Lodger. Although they declined, the two conceived the story for a film about a female killer similar to Jack the Ripper, which was temporarily shelved in development while Benton wrote and directed Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, see entry). On 19 Apr 1978, Var announced that Benton returned to the project with United Artists (UA) after rewriting the script and changing the working title from Terror to Stab. Production was scheduled to begin early 1979 with a “medium budget,” but a 30 Jan 1980 DV item stated that principal photography would start summer 1980. The 25 Mar 1980 HR reported that production of the $6 million film was delayed until fall 1980, and the 27 Jan 1981 HR listed an early Mar 1981 start date initiating a planned fourteen-week schedule.
       A 20 Oct 1980 HR item stated that International Creative Management's (ICM) Arlene Donovan took a leave of absence as the agency’s New York City motion picture library department head in order to produce the film. The 25 Mar 1981 Var listed Eugene Anthony among the principal cast, although he is not credited onscreen. The production marked the reunion of Benton with Kramer vs. Kramer director of photography Nestor Almendros and actress Meryl Streep.
       10 Apr 1981 HR production charts, listing the title as STAB, confirmed that principal photography began 18 Mar 1981 in New York City. Production notes indicated that Benton frequented the city’s Sotheby Parke-Bernet auction gallery, and hired its senior manager, Thomas E. Norton, as a technical advisor for the picture. Interior filming for the scenes in the onscreen auction house, “Crispin’s,” “Sam Rice’s” office, and the apartments of “Gail Phillips” and “Brooke Reynolds” took place at Camera Mart Studios on West 54th Street. Sotheby’s interior was replicated using photographs, with the addition of a staircase. Scenes in Sam’s apartment were filmed at Phoenix Studios on West 59th Street. Other locations included the International House on 123rd Street and Riverside Drive, Apthorp apartment house on 79th Street and Broadway, the Museum of the City of New York, and a Glen Cove, Long Island, NY, home owned by Dorothy Hirshon. Set decoration consisted of furniture and valuables rented from New York City’s Newel and Kentshire Galleries and private collections, including a Duane Hanson sculpture specially shipped by its owner from Milwaukee, WI. Unable to find satisfactory furniture for Sam’s psychiatry office, a custom-made teak wood couch was built for the set. In addition, Nestor Almendros claimed to have used inspiration from artists Piero della Francesca and Edward Hopper, as well as filmmaker Fritz Lang, when coloring, lighting, and framing the picture.
       On 1 Nov 1982, a UA press release announced that the film, re-titled Still of the Night, would be screened as part of a three-day press event 5-7 Nov 1982 in Dallas, TX, which included interview sessions with cast and crew. The 12 Nov 1982 HR reported that the feature was scheduled to open 19 Nov 1982 in Los Angeles, CA, New York City, and Toronto, Canada, before its nationwide 17 Dec 1982 release. According to a 29 Nov 1982 UA statement, Still of the Night earned $296,480 after ten days of release in those three cities. The film received mixed reviews, with many critics citing similarities and references to the works of Alfred Hitchcock.
       An apology published in the 28 Jun 1983 HR from Sallyjohn Productions, Inc., to the Writers Guild of America corrected an onscreen error, in which the screenplay and “story by” credits were misplaced. The print viewed for this record featured the corrected sequence, with the writing credits immediately preceding the producers’.
      End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producer wishes to thank the New York City Mayor’s office for motion picture production. Our thanks to the following for their cooperation: Museum of the City of New York, Leo Castelli Gallery, Christie’s, Davis and Langdale Company Inc., Sidney Janis Gallery, Pace Gallery of New York Inc., Ronin Gallery, Sotheby’s, Weintraub Gallery.” In addition, credits note that “stage facilities and equipment” were provided by Camera Mart.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 1980
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1980
p. 26.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 1982
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Nov 1982
p. 1, 6.
New York Times
19 Nov 1982
p. 8.
Variety
19 Apr 1978
p. 3, 34.
Variety
25 Mar 1981.
---
Variety
3 Nov 1982
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
from MGM/UA Entertainment Co.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Collaborating dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Stills
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Ed room asst
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const grip
Chief carpenter
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Cond
Mus coord
Electronic mus
Electronic mus
NYC
SOUND
Prod mixer
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles des
Titles des
Opt eff
EFX Unlimited
MAKEUP
Makeup and hair supv
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Asst unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Video tech
Transportation capt
Casting of extras
Prod office coord
Asst to Mr. Benton & Ms. Donovan
Unit pub
Tech adv
Ten Arts
Tech adv
Auditor
Asst auditor
Stage mgr
Loc coord
Loc coord
Stage facilities and equip by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Terror
Stab
STAB
Release Date:
17 December 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto, Canada openings: 19 November 1982
Production Date:
began 18 March 1981 in New York City
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
25 January 1983
Copyright Number:
PA161861
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26701
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

One night in New York City, a carjacker opens an automobile door and finds a dead body inside. In the morning, psychiatrist Sam Rice dismisses a patient and listens to a telephone message, informing him that his divorce has been finalized. A woman enters his office and introduces herself as Brooke Reynolds, the mistress of the murdered man and Sam’s former patient, George Bynum. Brooke presents Sam with George’s watch, asking him to discreetly return it to George’s widow. When Sam receives a visit from homicide detective Joseph Vitucci, Brooke becomes flustered, accidentally breaks Sam’s desktop figurine, and leaves through a back door. Vitucci questions Sam about George’s therapeutic treatment, searching for possible motives. That evening, Sam reads his notes from George’s patient file and recalls various sessions in which George describes meeting Brooke Reynolds, who worked as his secretary. Sam’s psychiatrist mother Grace arrives and chastises her son for forgetting to attend a family party. Sam apologizes, confessing that George’s death and the end of his eight-year marriage has shaken his confidence, as he is trying to avoid confronting his emotions. Later, while doing laundry, Sam rereads George’s file and remembers his patient speaking about a hypothetical killer. Sam hears a noise in the basement and creeps through the dark hallway to investigate, but finds Brooke standing in the elevator. She presents him with a replacement figurine and confesses that she never loved George despite what he may have said during therapy. After Brooke leaves, Sam recalls another session in which George suggested that the “uptight” Brooke would make a good romantic match for the doctor. In addition, he revealed that she lived in a neighboring apartment, and ... +


One night in New York City, a carjacker opens an automobile door and finds a dead body inside. In the morning, psychiatrist Sam Rice dismisses a patient and listens to a telephone message, informing him that his divorce has been finalized. A woman enters his office and introduces herself as Brooke Reynolds, the mistress of the murdered man and Sam’s former patient, George Bynum. Brooke presents Sam with George’s watch, asking him to discreetly return it to George’s widow. When Sam receives a visit from homicide detective Joseph Vitucci, Brooke becomes flustered, accidentally breaks Sam’s desktop figurine, and leaves through a back door. Vitucci questions Sam about George’s therapeutic treatment, searching for possible motives. That evening, Sam reads his notes from George’s patient file and recalls various sessions in which George describes meeting Brooke Reynolds, who worked as his secretary. Sam’s psychiatrist mother Grace arrives and chastises her son for forgetting to attend a family party. Sam apologizes, confessing that George’s death and the end of his eight-year marriage has shaken his confidence, as he is trying to avoid confronting his emotions. Later, while doing laundry, Sam rereads George’s file and remembers his patient speaking about a hypothetical killer. Sam hears a noise in the basement and creeps through the dark hallway to investigate, but finds Brooke standing in the elevator. She presents him with a replacement figurine and confesses that she never loved George despite what he may have said during therapy. After Brooke leaves, Sam recalls another session in which George suggested that the “uptight” Brooke would make a good romantic match for the doctor. In addition, he revealed that she lived in a neighboring apartment, and he looked out his window to see her have sex with another man. During additional sessions, George suspected Sam of becoming secretly fixated on Brooke, and described a recurring dream: Inside a darkened house, he encounters a young blonde girl holding a teddy bear with one bleeding eye. While trying to escape, he finds a green box in his pocket, and the back doors burst open to reveal the girl standing behind him. Back in the present, Sam meets detective Vitucci at the auction house where George worked. According to discrepancies in his calendar, George used his frequent therapy appointments as a cover to meet with multiple mistresses. The detective’s evidence suggests that George was murdered by a woman whom he suspects will kill again. On his way out, Sam bumps into Brooke, and recalls George detailing their first sexual encounter. Brooke later shows up at Sam’s apartment, worried that he revealed her affair with George to the police. She confesses that she attempted to end their relationship the night of the murder, and felt relieved to learn of his death the next morning. Sam consoles her, and they kiss, but are interrupted by his mother, Grace’s arrival. Later, mother and son dissect the meaning of George’s dream, hoping to find clues that will determine the killer’s identity. That night, Sam believes he sees Brooke walking through Central Park and follows her, but a mugger stops him and steals his coat. The next morning, the thief is found dead with wounds similar to George, and Vitucci assumes that the killer intended to kill Sam. Sam visits Brooke’s apartment while she is receiving a back massage, and she invites him to an important auction she is working at that evening. There, Sam finds Brooke in a back room tearing up a newspaper, then accompanies her to the main hall. When she drops her keys, Sam pockets them and sneaks upstairs once the auction begins. He finds the shredded newspaper, which contains an old headline, reporting a man’s tragic, accidental death. When the auction concludes, Brooke finds him upstairs and coldly dismisses him. On his way out, he runs into Vitucci, accompanied by a witness who hopes to identify a potential suspect. Instead of leaving, Sam watches the next auction and writes Brooke a note advising her to get out before the police recognize her. Afterward, Sam asks another auctioneer, Gail Phillips, where he can find Brooke, and she tells him the location of Brooke’s family seaside cottage. Once Sam leaves, Vitucci approaches Gail to question her about Brooke. At the cottage, Sam warns Brooke that the police consider her a strong suspect. She recounts her struggle with her parents’ separation, her mother’s death from alcoholism, and later finding a letter from her mother. The note revealed that Brooke’s father never loved her and only married her mother for money. After Brooke showed her father the letter, he became violent and she pushed him over the cottage’s cliffside balcony in self-defense. Because she was always close with her father, Brooke was never involved in an inquest. Brooke explains that George somehow knew of the circumstances surrounding her father’s death, and threatened to blackmail her if she ended their affair. Sam realizes that Brooke’s cabin is the house in George’s dream, and walks through the various rooms while visualizing the scenario George described to him. Brooke corrects Sam’s interpretation of the “green box,” claiming that George meant “greenbacks,” a nickname he had given to his colleague, Gail Phillips. Figuring that Gail and George had a previous affair, Sam insists that Gail jealously murdered him, then framed Brooke. He telephones Vitucci, but is unable to reach him because he is lying dead in Gail’s apartment. Upon remembering that Gail knows Brooke and Sam are at the cottage, the two turn off the lights and leave, but Brooke runs back inside to retrieve her keys. While Sam waits in the car, Gail stabs him in the shoulder and follows Brooke into the house. Brooke hides in a closet before sneaking to the upstairs balcony where her father died. Gail swings her knife, but loses her balance when Sam cries out from the doorway. Brooke grabs Gail’s sleeve to keep her from falling, but the fabric tears and the killer topples over the banister and onto the rocky cliffs below. +

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

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