The Lonely Guy (1984)

R | 90 mins | Comedy | 27 January 1984

Director:

Arthur Hiller

Producer:

Arthur Hiller

Cinematographer:

Victor J. Kemper

Production Designer:

James D. Vance

Production Companies:

Universal Pictures , Aspen Film Society
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HISTORY


       The story begins with voiceover narration, dedicating the film to “lonely guys everywhere” and presenting various examples of lonely men throughout history: a caveman, an astronaut, a Chinese revolutionary, and an African tribal member. Character “Larry Hubbard” takes over the narration and introduces himself as a Manhattan novelist, who took a job as a greeting card writer.
       As reported in a 23 Feb 1983 Var brief, Robert Moore was originally attached to direct and worked on the project with writer Neil Simon, who is credited with the adaptation of Bruce Jay Friedman’s 1978 novel The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life. Simon had previous written the screenplay for The Heartbreak Kid (1972, see entry), also based on a Friedman story. After being afflicted with shingles, Moore was replaced by director-producer Arthur Hiller. When Simon left to work on other projects, noted television writers Ed Weinberger and Stan Daniels completed The Lonely Guy screenplay. Production notes in AMPAS library files mention that the project represented their debut feature film script.
       The film also marked the motion picture debut for actress Judith Ivey. Hiller noted in a 1 Jul 1983 NYT column that his daughter, Erica Hiller, played the role of the “girl in bank, Carol Zall.” Actress Loni Anderson appeared in an uncredited cameo as herself.
       Twelve weeks of principal photography began during spring 1983 at Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. The production utilized the studio’s New York City street and Stage 28 where the apartment sets and a life-size model of the Manhattan Bridge were constructed. Cast and ... More Less


       The story begins with voiceover narration, dedicating the film to “lonely guys everywhere” and presenting various examples of lonely men throughout history: a caveman, an astronaut, a Chinese revolutionary, and an African tribal member. Character “Larry Hubbard” takes over the narration and introduces himself as a Manhattan novelist, who took a job as a greeting card writer.
       As reported in a 23 Feb 1983 Var brief, Robert Moore was originally attached to direct and worked on the project with writer Neil Simon, who is credited with the adaptation of Bruce Jay Friedman’s 1978 novel The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life. Simon had previous written the screenplay for The Heartbreak Kid (1972, see entry), also based on a Friedman story. After being afflicted with shingles, Moore was replaced by director-producer Arthur Hiller. When Simon left to work on other projects, noted television writers Ed Weinberger and Stan Daniels completed The Lonely Guy screenplay. Production notes in AMPAS library files mention that the project represented their debut feature film script.
       The film also marked the motion picture debut for actress Judith Ivey. Hiller noted in a 1 Jul 1983 NYT column that his daughter, Erica Hiller, played the role of the “girl in bank, Carol Zall.” Actress Loni Anderson appeared in an uncredited cameo as herself.
       Twelve weeks of principal photography began during spring 1983 at Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. The production utilized the studio’s New York City street and Stage 28 where the apartment sets and a life-size model of the Manhattan Bridge were constructed. Cast and crew relocated to New York City for three weeks of location filming, which included the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, the 59th Street Bridge, and Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
       In an interview in the Winter 1983/1984 edition of The Movie Magazine, Steve Martin estimated that thirty percent of the scenes involving him and Charles Grodin were improvised.
       The original release date of 16 Dec 1983 was postponed to 17 Feb 1984. As announced in HR articles from 24 Oct 1983 and 20 Jan 1984, distributor Universal Studios wanted to give the favorable holiday slot to D.C. Cab (1983, see entry), and capitalize on the popularity of its star Mr. T, demonstrated by the high ratings of his television series, The A-Team (NBC, 23 Jan 1983 – 14 Jun 1987). Steve Martin, on the other hand, had not had a significant hit since The Jerk (1979, see entry). The studio also admitted that The Lonely Guy required further work and was “slow in coming together.” Later, the picture’s launch was rescheduled again and moved earlier to 27 Jan 1984.
       The Apr 1984 Box reported that box-office results were disappointing, earning $2 million at 717 theaters on opening weekend and $4.8 million after seventeen days.
      End credits state: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of Holland America Cruises, Inc.; New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting; New York City Police Department, Movie/TV Unit.”

              The surname of draftsman Les Gobruegge is misspelled in end credits as “Grobruegge.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Apr 1984
Section R, p. 54.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 1984
p. 3, 89.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jan 1984
Section H, p. 6.
Movie Magazine
Winter 1983/1984
pp. 6-7.
New York Times
1 Jul 1983
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
28 Jan 1984
p. 11.
Variety
23 Feb 1983.
---
Variety
1 Feb 1984
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Arthur Hiller Film
In Association with Aspen Film Society
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
Unit prod mgr, New York crew
2d asst dir, New York crew
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec assoc prod
Co-exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Adpt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Cam op
Asst cam op
Asst cam op
Dolly grip
Still photog
Rigging gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
Best boy
Best boy
Gaffer, New York crew
Key grip, New York crew
Cam op, New York crew
Still photog, New York crew
Cam asst, New York crew
Cam asst, New York crew
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Standby painter
Asst prop master
Leadman
Draftsman
Prop master, New York crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Steve Martin's costumer
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd eff ed
Dial replacement ed
Boom op
Utility sd eng
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd mixer, New York crew
Boom op, New York crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff by
Spec eff
Matte photog
Titles & opt eff
Titles des by
Titles des by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
Steve Martin's makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Loc mgr
Casting assoc
Extra casting
Animal trainer
Prod coord
Unit pub
Asst to Mr. Hiller
Loc mgr, New York crew
Casting, New York crew
Prod coord, New York crew
Asst loc mgr, New York crew
Videotape facilities by
Video fireplace and video aquarium courtesy of
Digital synthesizer by
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based upon the book entitled The Lonely Guy's Book of Life by Bruce Jay Friedman (New York, 1978).
SONGS
“Love Comes Without Warning,” performed by America, music by Jerry Goldsmith, lyrics by John Bettis, produced by Matt McCauley, courtesy of Capital Records
“The Lonely Guy,” sung by Max Carl, music by Glenn Frey, lyrics by Jack Tempchin, produced by Glenn Frey and Allan Blazek
“Oughta Know Love By Now,” performed by Winston Ford, written by Gerard McMahon, produced by Gerard McMahon
+
SONGS
“Love Comes Without Warning,” performed by America, music by Jerry Goldsmith, lyrics by John Bettis, produced by Matt McCauley, courtesy of Capital Records
“The Lonely Guy,” sung by Max Carl, music by Glenn Frey, lyrics by Jack Tempchin, produced by Glenn Frey and Allan Blazek
“Oughta Know Love By Now,” performed by Winston Ford, written by Gerard McMahon, produced by Gerard McMahon
“Don’t Call Me Lonely,” performed by Gerard McMahon, written by Gerard McMahon, produced by Gerard McMahon.
+
PERFORMERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 January 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 27 January 1984
Production Date:
began spring 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 February 1984
Copyright Number:
PA212986
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, aspiring novelist Larry Hubbard works as a greeting card writer and is promoted after impressing his supervisor with a new sympathy card. Feeling optimistic, Larry arrives home to find his girl friend, Danielle, in bed with another man. He is slow to realize that the relationship is over and Danielle wants him to move out immediately. While wandering the streets wondering where he is going to live, Larry encounters an acquaintance, Jack Bedwood, who is accompanied by his wife, Verna, and his lover, Frieda. A self-assured philanderer, Jack admits that he also had an affair with Danielle. On a park bench, Larry meets an “experienced lonely guy,” Warren Evans, whose latest girl friend just left him. Larry takes Warren’s advice and buys ferns to keep him company in his new apartment. Hoping for a date, Larry finds the one name listed in his address book, Carol Zall, and telephones her at the bank where she works. He is unaware that the bank is in the middle of a hold-up and Carol is being held hostage. The robber, who answers the phone, informs Larry that Carol would “love” to speak with him, but she is “tied-up” at the moment. Encouraged, Larry leaves a message and waits by the phone, only to be disappointed when she does not return his call. He practices card tricks, telling Warren Evans that woman are impressed by magicians. He also flirts with fellow donors at the blood bank, but is unable to meet anyone. Warren hosts a party, but Larry is the only guest among an apartment filled ... +


In New York City, aspiring novelist Larry Hubbard works as a greeting card writer and is promoted after impressing his supervisor with a new sympathy card. Feeling optimistic, Larry arrives home to find his girl friend, Danielle, in bed with another man. He is slow to realize that the relationship is over and Danielle wants him to move out immediately. While wandering the streets wondering where he is going to live, Larry encounters an acquaintance, Jack Bedwood, who is accompanied by his wife, Verna, and his lover, Frieda. A self-assured philanderer, Jack admits that he also had an affair with Danielle. On a park bench, Larry meets an “experienced lonely guy,” Warren Evans, whose latest girl friend just left him. Larry takes Warren’s advice and buys ferns to keep him company in his new apartment. Hoping for a date, Larry finds the one name listed in his address book, Carol Zall, and telephones her at the bank where she works. He is unaware that the bank is in the middle of a hold-up and Carol is being held hostage. The robber, who answers the phone, informs Larry that Carol would “love” to speak with him, but she is “tied-up” at the moment. Encouraged, Larry leaves a message and waits by the phone, only to be disappointed when she does not return his call. He practices card tricks, telling Warren Evans that woman are impressed by magicians. He also flirts with fellow donors at the blood bank, but is unable to meet anyone. Warren hosts a party, but Larry is the only guest among an apartment filled with cardboard cutouts of famous people that Warren purchased at the Lonely Guy Store. Taking Warren’s advice again, Larry searches for a suitable dog, but abandons the idea as women fawn over the cute canine and ignore him. Next, he pretends to be an athletic jogger. Spraying on fake sweat after a fifty-yard run, Larry approaches a pretty woman in a café, but she recognizes the prank and asks how long he has been “a lonely guy.” Nevertheless, she is sympathetic to his predicament and writes her phone number on a napkin. The next morning, Larry discovers he accidently smudged the numbers and her name, and spends the entire day trying to telephone various combinations. When Larry arrives at a restaurant and announces to the maitre d’ that he is dining alone, all the customers stop eating and stare at him. Followed by a spotlight, Larry is seated at a center table and pretends to be a restaurant critic to convince everyone he is alone on purpose. The pretty woman from the café is also there, and Larry is relieved to finally learn her name is Iris. Once again, she gives him her phone number, writing it on his restaurant tab. After she departs, however, the maitre d’ burns the check, telling Larry there is no charge for an esteemed critic. Larry proceeds to call every Iris in the phone book and returns to the café where they met, but does not find her. Warren Evans leaves a telephone message about killing himself, and Larry rushes to the Manhattan Bridge, a well-known hangout for suicidal lonely guys. On the way, he spots Iris on another subway train and borrows a gang’s graffiti spray-paint to instruct her to meet him at the bridge. Confronted by both Larry and Iris and the thought they might introduce him to a woman one day, Warren decides not to jump. During their first date, Iris tells Larry about the six ex-husbands who left her. She recalls one of them abandoned her at a restaurant when she went to the restroom, so Larry proves his devotion by accompanying her to the ladies’ room and occupying the adjacent stall. That night, Iris is afraid to have sex with Larry because he is “so right” for her and believes she would never survive if he ever left her. Therefore, Iris ends the relationship before becoming further attached. In the wake of the breakup, Larry is fired from his job for submitting a series of depressing greeting cards and concentrates on finishing his novel. While struggling to convey love scenes, he decides instead to write A Guide for the Lonely Guy. The book is an instant bestseller, and Larry becomes an “ex-lonely guy,” appearing on television talk shows, magazine covers and in gossip columns, which report on his love affair with celebrity Loni Anderson. Although surrounded by attention from women, Larry is preoccupied with thoughts of Iris. He invites her to a party, and the two spend the night together. Despite having a wonderful time, Iris remains afraid Larry will eventually abandon her, and she leaves him again. In an effort to forget, Larry takes a cruise, but during the voyage, he learns Iris is on the same ship and they meet at the Masquerade Ball. Playboy Jack Bedwood is also aboard and interrupts their conversation, enticing Iris to dance. Yielding to her pattern of choosing unsuitable husbands, Iris makes plans to marry Jack, and Larry returns to watering ferns in his apartment and spending time with Warren. While watching a television program about an elderly lonely guy, who dies surrounded by cardboard cutouts, Larry suddenly realizes he must stop Iris’s wedding, scheduled for that afternoon. With traffic at a standstill and trains running behind, Larry runs to the church. However, he is too late as Iris and Jack depart as man and wife. The couple celebrates their honeymoon on the ship where they met, but Iris is preoccupied with thoughts of Larry. On the Manhattan Bridge, Larry prepares to commit suicide, and Warren arrives to tell him that he has met someone, so there is hope. Suddenly, Iris, who has jumped from a higher level of the bridge, falls into Larry's arms. They declare their love and join Warren and his new girl friend, noted psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers, on a date. +

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

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