More American Graffiti (1979)

PG | 111 mins | Comedy-drama | 3 August 1979

Director:

B. W. L. Norton

Writer:

B. W. L. Norton

Producer:

Howard Kazanjian

Cinematographer:

Caleb Deschanel

Editor:

Tina Hirsch

Production Designer:

Ray Storey

Production Companies:

Lucasfilm Ltd., Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

The film interweaves between four different stories set in 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967, but for the purposes of this record, the plot of each year or story was summarized as a continuous narrative.
       At the end of the film, an onscreen epilogue appears: “John Milner was killed by a drunk driver in December 1964; Terry Fields was reported missing in action near An Loc in December 1965; Steve Bolander is an insurance agent. Laurie is head of a consumer group; Debbie Dunham is a Country Western singer.”
       End credits also include the following acknowledgement: “Our special thanks to Marcia Lucas and Fred Roos,” and the following statement: “More American Graffiti filmed in Marin County, California.”
       A Nov 1978 article in Los Angeles magazine explained that Universal Pictures was eager to capitalize on the success of American Graffiti (1973, see entry) and approached that film’s director-writer, George Lucas, about making a sequel. As copyright holder, the studio could proceed without him, but Lucas was willing to guide the project, as executive producer, provided he could create an entirely new theme and style around the same characters, and thus experiment with the notion of a sequel. Except for Richard Dreyfuss, Lucas convinced the main cast of Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Charles Martin Smith, Mackenzie Phillips, and Bo Hopkins to reprise their roles. Clark mentioned, in a 31 Jul 1979 LAT item, that everyone agreed before the script was ready. Harrison Ford returned in an uncredited cameo appearance as a motorcycle police officer named “Falfa.” The film also introduced new characters played ...

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The film interweaves between four different stories set in 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967, but for the purposes of this record, the plot of each year or story was summarized as a continuous narrative.
       At the end of the film, an onscreen epilogue appears: “John Milner was killed by a drunk driver in December 1964; Terry Fields was reported missing in action near An Loc in December 1965; Steve Bolander is an insurance agent. Laurie is head of a consumer group; Debbie Dunham is a Country Western singer.”
       End credits also include the following acknowledgement: “Our special thanks to Marcia Lucas and Fred Roos,” and the following statement: “More American Graffiti filmed in Marin County, California.”
       A Nov 1978 article in Los Angeles magazine explained that Universal Pictures was eager to capitalize on the success of American Graffiti (1973, see entry) and approached that film’s director-writer, George Lucas, about making a sequel. As copyright holder, the studio could proceed without him, but Lucas was willing to guide the project, as executive producer, provided he could create an entirely new theme and style around the same characters, and thus experiment with the notion of a sequel. Except for Richard Dreyfuss, Lucas convinced the main cast of Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Charles Martin Smith, Mackenzie Phillips, and Bo Hopkins to reprise their roles. Clark mentioned, in a 31 Jul 1979 LAT item, that everyone agreed before the script was ready. Harrison Ford returned in an uncredited cameo appearance as a motorcycle police officer named “Falfa.” The film also introduced new characters played by Scott Glenn, Will Seltzer, Carol-Ann Williams, Ken Place and Anna Bjorn. More American Graffiti represented Place’s first appearance in a feature film, while an Oct 1979 Films and Filming article stated that Bjorn, an Icelandic fashion model, was making her acting debut.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Lucas and Kazanjian, conceived the idea of dividing the film into four separate stories of 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967, and setting each story on the last day of the year, culminating in New Year’s Eve. The filmmakers planned to shoot the time periods in four distinct styles, reflecting changing cinematographic trends of the 1960s. The 1964 drag racing segment was captured in Panavision wide-screen, with an emphasis on simple compositions. To convey newsreel or documentary photography for the 1965 Vietnam sequences, multiple hand held 16mm cameras were used. The 1966 “hippie” story employed split screen and other experimental devices to represent psychedelic cinema, and the 1967 period was photographed with long lenses in a “television commercial style.” Furthermore, each story was divided into twelve scenes lasting approximately two minutes, based on the idea that the average duration of a 45 rpm record is two minutes. Therefore, a single song was planned for each scene. Screenwriter-director B. W. L. Norton wrote the script using this mathematical and musical structure.
       Norton mentioned in a 1 Aug 1979 LAT column that he had to prove himself with the screenplay before Lucas and Kazanjian would hire him as director. Norton had directed one other feature film eight years earlier, titled Cisco Pike (1972, see entry), for which he also wrote the screenplay.
       According to a 29 Mar 1978 LAT news item, principal photography was scheduled to begin Jun 1978 in the San Francisco, CA, area. The Vietnam sequences were shot in Stockton, CA, and other location work was based in Marin County, CA. The production timetable was approximately forty-five days.
       During filming, the picture was temporarily known as Purple Haze, in honor of the 1967 Jimi Hendrix song. As described in a 9 Sep 1978 LAT item, the marketing department at Universal preferred the release title, More American Graffiti, in order to benefit from the name recognition of the original film. Yet, during the theatrical release, a 12 Sep 1979 Var article reported that, in an effort to improve box-office performance, the studio modified the title in selected print advertising. A line was struck through “More” and the word “After” was inserted to indicate that the sequel was a new concept rather than a continuation. A 24 Sep 1979 Village Voice article predicted that the film would earn between $10 and $15 million.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Films and Filming
Oct 1979
pp. 20-24.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1979
p. 3, 10.
Los Angeles
Nov 1978
pp. 173-175.
Los Angeles Times
29 Mar 1978
Section F, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
9 Sep 1978
Section B, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jul 1979
Section L, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1979
Section H, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
1 Aug 1979
Section G, p. 6.
New York Times
17 Aug 1979
Section C, p. 14.
Variety
25 Jul 1979
p. 16.
Variety
12 Sep 1979.
---
Village Voice
24 Sep 1979.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
With Special Appearance by
[and]
Country Joe and the Fish:
And the Voice of
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Lucasfilm Limited Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Montage des
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt coord
Opt coord
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Tech asst
Tech asst
Tech asst
Scr supv
Vietnam adv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod secy
Asst to the prod
Unit pub
Transportation supv
Loc coord
Auditor
Helicopter cam pilot
Helicopters furnished by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by George Lucas, Gloria Katz, and Willard Huyck.
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
SONGS
“Fixin’ To Die Rag,” performed by Country Joe and the Fish
“I’m A Man,” performed by Doug Sahm and Electric Haze
“The Race Is On,” performed by Doug Sahm and Electric Haze
+
SONGS
“Fixin’ To Die Rag,” performed by Country Joe and the Fish
“I’m A Man,” performed by Doug Sahm and Electric Haze
“The Race Is On,” performed by Doug Sahm and Electric Haze
“Baby Love,” performed by Cindy Williams and girls in bus
“Stop In the Name of Love,” performed by The Supremes, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“Where Did Our Love Go,” performed by The Supremes, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“Reflections,” performed by The Supremes, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“Beachwood 4-5789,” performed by The Marvellettes, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me,” performed by The Miracles, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“Fingertips Part II,” performed by Stevie Wonder, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“Your Precious Love,” performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“My Guy,” performed by Mary Wells, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave,” performed by Martha and the Vandellas, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“Moon River,” performed by Andy Williams, courtesy of Columbia Records
“Since I Fell For You,” performed by Lenny Welch, courtesy of Columbia Records
“May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose,” performed by Little Jimmy Dickens, courtesy of Columbia Records
“Mr. Tambourine Man,” performed by The Byrds, courtesy of Columbia Records
“Turn, Turn, Turn,” performed by The Byrds, courtesy of Columbia Records
“Sounds Of Silence,” performed by Simon and Garfunkel, courtesy of Columbia Records
“Like A Rolling Stone,” performed by Bob Dylan, courtesy of Columbia Records
“Just Like A Woman,” performed by Bob Dylan, courtesy of Columbia Records
“When A Man Loves A Woman,” performed by Percy Sledge, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation
“Good Loving,” performed by The Young Rascals, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation
“Respect,” performed by Aretha Franklin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation
“Cool Jerk,” performed by The Capitols, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation
“Season Of The Witch,” performed by Donovan, courtesy of Epic Records
“Mr. Lonely,” performed by Bobby Vinton, courtesy of Epic Records
“Our Day Will Come,” performed by Ruby and the Romantics, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Incense And Peppermints,” performed by Strawberry Alarm Clock, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Tighten Your Wig,” performed by Steppenwolf, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Pipeline,” performed by The Chantays, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am,” performed by The Tams, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.: “My Boyfriend’s Back,” performed by The Angels, courtesy of Phonogram, Inc.
“Wooly Bully,” performed by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, courtesy of MGM Records
“Ballad Of The Green Berets,” performed by Barry Sandler, courtesy of RCA Records
“Strange Brew,” performed by Cream, courtesy of RSO Records
“You Were On My Mind,” performed by The We Five, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
“She’s Not There,” performed by The Zombies, courtesy of The Decca Record Company, Ltd. and Marquis Enterprises, Ltd.
“96 Tears,” performed by ? and the Mysterians, courtesy of ABKCO Films, Inc.
“Cream Puff War,” performed by The Grateful Dead, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
“Light My Fire,” performed by The Doors, courtesy of Elektra/Asylum Records
“Dead Man’s Curve,” performed by Jan and Dean, courtesy of Liberty/United Records, Inc.
“Lumpy Gravy,” performed by Frank Zappa, courtesy of Bizarre Records
“Hang On Sloopy,” performed by The McCoys, courtesy of Bang Records
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Purple Haze
Release Date:
3 August 1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 3 Aug 1979; New York opening: 17 Aug 1979
Production Date:
began Jun 1978
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Universal City Studios, Inc.
14 September 1979
PA43845
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo
Color
Lenses/Prints
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
111
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25622
SYNOPSIS

On the last day of 1964, at a Fremont, California, speedway, popular drag racer John Milner loses his first heat to rival Roger Beckwith. Four of John’s friends arrive to cheer him, Steve and Laurie Bolander, a young married couple expecting twins; Terry, nicknamed “the Toad,” who is preparing to leave for duty in Vietnam; and Terry’s girl friend, Debbie Dunham. After welcoming the gang, John meets with the owner of Hunt Brothers, a professional racing team that has recently signed him. When John realizes that Mr. Hunt only wants to use John's name for an advertisement and not employ him as an actual driver, he rejects the contract. Later in the day at the racetrack, John is introduced to Eva, a beautiful Icelandic exchange student who does not speak English, and he is immediately attracted to her. In John's camper, the twosome flirt despite the language barrier, but as John tries to seduce Eva, she runs away. Although he attempts to apologize, Eva does not understand. When he races a second time against the upstart Beckwith, John easily wins. However, John's parachute fails to open, and he crashes at the end of the strip, damaging his front wheels. Although John advances to the finals, his dragster appears too damaged to continue. To John’s surprise, Beckwith compliments him and offers the necessary parts to repair the vehicle. In the finals, John wins the tournament by upsetting one of the sleek Hunt Brothers’ cars and enjoys the trophy presentation with Eva. Thanks to the translation skills of Ole, a Norwegian friend at the track, the couple arranges a ...

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On the last day of 1964, at a Fremont, California, speedway, popular drag racer John Milner loses his first heat to rival Roger Beckwith. Four of John’s friends arrive to cheer him, Steve and Laurie Bolander, a young married couple expecting twins; Terry, nicknamed “the Toad,” who is preparing to leave for duty in Vietnam; and Terry’s girl friend, Debbie Dunham. After welcoming the gang, John meets with the owner of Hunt Brothers, a professional racing team that has recently signed him. When John realizes that Mr. Hunt only wants to use John's name for an advertisement and not employ him as an actual driver, he rejects the contract. Later in the day at the racetrack, John is introduced to Eva, a beautiful Icelandic exchange student who does not speak English, and he is immediately attracted to her. In John's camper, the twosome flirt despite the language barrier, but as John tries to seduce Eva, she runs away. Although he attempts to apologize, Eva does not understand. When he races a second time against the upstart Beckwith, John easily wins. However, John's parachute fails to open, and he crashes at the end of the strip, damaging his front wheels. Although John advances to the finals, his dragster appears too damaged to continue. To John’s surprise, Beckwith compliments him and offers the necessary parts to repair the vehicle. In the finals, John wins the tournament by upsetting one of the sleek Hunt Brothers’ cars and enjoys the trophy presentation with Eva. Thanks to the translation skills of Ole, a Norwegian friend at the track, the couple arranges a date for the following day. At sunset on New Year’s Eve, John leaves the speedway, listening to “Auld Lang Syne” on the car radio. In the Vietnam jungle, on the last day of 1965, helicopter co-pilot, Terry “the Toad” Fields, attempts to shoot himself in the arm, so he will be relieved of combat duty and sent home, but his rifle jams. As Terry bangs the weapon in frustration, the gun unexpectedly fires in the direction of the army base, and Terry’s fellow soldiers assume an enemy sniper is nearby. Despite Terry screaming “hold fire,” the base launches a wave of ammunition towards his position in the jungle. When the attack finally ceases, Terry emerges from the trees waving a white flag and explains to the base commander, Major Creech, that he was cleaning his rifle when the weapon accidently discharged. For the benefit of a visiting Congressman, Creech prompts Terry to invent a story about the enemy in the jungle, so the unit will not appear foolish. Upon overhearing that Terry actually tried to injure himself with the gun, Creech punishes him with a month of latrine duty. Later that day, Terry and his good friend, Little Joe, who is a gunner on the same helicopter crew, are dismayed when their eager new pilot, Lieutenant Bob Sinclair, volunteers them for medevac duty. During a mission, Little Joe is shot dead, and the helicopter crashes near a river. Terry and Sinclair survive, but are surrounded by enemy gunfire. As Sinclair becomes paralyzed by fear, Terry helps the lieutenant summon the courage to run toward the rescue helicopter. Back at the base, Creech hosts a New Year’s Eve party for the visiting Congressman but, in the wake of Joe’s death, Terry is disgusted by the celebration. He rigs an explosion of the latrine, causing debris to fall on the partygoers. While everyone assumes that Terry died in the blast, he deserts the base wearing a Hawaiian shirt and singing “Auld Lang Syne.” On the last day of 1966 in San Francisco, CA, Debbie Dunham’s boy friend, Lance, a struggling musician she wants to marry, is jailed for marijuana possession. Debbie’s roommates are unwilling to help with bail money, while her best friend, Carol, known as “Rainbow,” warns Debbie to stop supporting the foolish Lance. At the topless bar where she works, Debbie bargains with her boss until he gives her the cash. When Lance is released, Debbie is disappointed that he plans to work that night, instead of taking her to a New Year’s Eve concert. Accompanied by Rainbow, Debbie sneaks backstage at the Fillmore concert hall and meets Newt and Felix, members of the band, Electric Haze. While the musicians pack their equipment and prepare to leave, Debbie recommends they give Lance an audition. When she climbs inside the group’s van to continue the conversation, the doors suddenly close and she finds herself traveling with the band to their next performance. During the wild ride, the vehicle strikes a fire hydrant, releasing a gush of water, but Debbie saves the moment by convincing the police that another driver was responsible. At a country and western bar, the band sets up equipment, while Debbie tries to avoid a flirtatious customer. Newt, who is attracted to Debbie, comes to her aid and suggests she join the group on stage. During the performance, Debbie dances and enjoys herself, until she sees Lance in the audience flirting with a strange woman. As Debbie becomes distraught, Newt advises her to be an “adult” and speak with Lance before overreacting. Instead Debbie punches Lance, and a bar fight ensues. Afterward, Newt consoles the heartbroken Debbie and invites her to watch the New Year’s sunrise. In the van, Newt and Debbie snuggle as the band sings “Auld Lang Syne.” On the last day of 1967, Laurie and Steve Bollander argue, while their four-year-old twins, Teddy and Kevin, watch television in the next room. Laurie wants to get a part-time job, but Steve is adamant that she remain at home with the children. Although the couple is scheduled to host a New Year’s party that evening, Laurie angrily walks out, declaring that she is going to her younger brother Andy’s place. At an off-campus apartment, Andy, a college student and political activist, tries to convince his sister to return home. As Andy leaves for an anti-war demonstration, Laurie stays behind and cleans the messy apartment. Meanwhile, Steve is overwhelmed looking after the kids and preparing for the party. Later, Andy telephones Laurie and asks her to bring his wallet to the demonstration. When Laurie arrives, she tries to persuade her brother not to burn his draft card, and is not afraid to express her conservative political opinion among the radical students. Before Laurie can leave the protest, police in riot gear arrive and attempt to crush the demonstration. Trapped in the mayhem, Laurie flees with the rest of the crowd and hides inside a classroom, along with Andy and his girl friend, Vikki. Elsewhere on campus, Steve arrives looking for Laurie and convinces police to allow him past the barricades. Upon reuniting with his wife, the Bolanders are relieved to see each other and embrace, but then resume their argument. Suddenly, Laurie and Steve are mistaken for demonstrators and arrested. Locked in a police van with female protestors, Laurie witnesses the injustice of the situation and joins in as the women defiantly sing. As the male prisoners walk by the van, Steve reassures his wife that she can have any career that makes her happy. When a police officer breaks up the couple’s conversation and hits Steve, he fights back, along with the other detainees. The students cheer as Steve, an unlikely hero, confiscates the van and drives the vehicle off-campus, liberating the demonstrators on board. Afterward, Steve, Laurie, Andy, and Vikki stroll along a quiet street and are reminded of New Year’s Eve as they watch a celebration on a storefront television set. The couples kiss and sing “Auld Lang Syne.”

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

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