The Money Pit (1986)

PG | 91 mins | Comedy | 26 March 1986

Director:

Richard Benjamin

Writer:

David Giler

Cinematographer:

Gordon Willis

Production Designer:

Patrizia Von Brandenstein

Production Companies:

Amblin Entertainment , Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

A 21 Apr 1986 HR reported that writer David Giler’s screenplay was originally submitted as a writing sample to Amblin Entertainment in 1980. The script was subsequently purchased, and Richard Benjamin was signed to direct. According to a 12 Nov 1984 People brief, Giler’s screenplay was a reworking of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948, see entry).
       A 5 Jul 1985 HR article stated that actor Tom Hanks was the first choice for the lead role. Filmmakers wanted actress Shelley Long to co-star with Hanks but conflicts arose over her pregnancy, and her schedule on the television series Cheers (NBC, 30 Sep 1982--20 May 1993). Instead, actress Kathleen Turner was cast, but dropped out to film The Jewel of the Nile (1985, see entry). When filmmakers could not find a replacement after auditioning approximately fifty actresses, Long suggested that if the production schedule could be postponed a few weeks, she would have her baby, and be ready to film. A 16 Apr 1985 HR news item stated that Long took music lessons to be more convincing in her role as a first-chair viola player. According to a 21 Aug 1985 HR brief, actress Eva Marie Saint was cast in the picture, but does not appear in onscreen credits.
       A 30 Apr 1985 HR production chart announced that principal photography began the previous day in New York City. As stated in articles in the Jan 1986 Moviegoer and 27 Mar 1986 NYT, the film’s budget was $18.4 million, and shot for fourteen weeks. Articles ... More Less

A 21 Apr 1986 HR reported that writer David Giler’s screenplay was originally submitted as a writing sample to Amblin Entertainment in 1980. The script was subsequently purchased, and Richard Benjamin was signed to direct. According to a 12 Nov 1984 People brief, Giler’s screenplay was a reworking of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948, see entry).
       A 5 Jul 1985 HR article stated that actor Tom Hanks was the first choice for the lead role. Filmmakers wanted actress Shelley Long to co-star with Hanks but conflicts arose over her pregnancy, and her schedule on the television series Cheers (NBC, 30 Sep 1982--20 May 1993). Instead, actress Kathleen Turner was cast, but dropped out to film The Jewel of the Nile (1985, see entry). When filmmakers could not find a replacement after auditioning approximately fifty actresses, Long suggested that if the production schedule could be postponed a few weeks, she would have her baby, and be ready to film. A 16 Apr 1985 HR news item stated that Long took music lessons to be more convincing in her role as a first-chair viola player. According to a 21 Aug 1985 HR brief, actress Eva Marie Saint was cast in the picture, but does not appear in onscreen credits.
       A 30 Apr 1985 HR production chart announced that principal photography began the previous day in New York City. As stated in articles in the Jan 1986 Moviegoer and 27 Mar 1986 NYT, the film’s budget was $18.4 million, and shot for fourteen weeks. Articles in the 17 May 1985 NYT and 27 Mar 1986 NYT reported that locations included he North Shore of Long Island, NY. Interiors were shot at the Kaufman Astoria Studios, in which rooms were designed to represent different stages of destruction. The collapse of the main staircase was achieved by building three separate sets of stairs: One version was built with unpainted wood to show the renovation in progress, one version was constructed to give way when Hanks climbed it, and a third version was designed for closing shots. Although a test of the collapsing staircase worked beautifully, its individual pieces littered the floor and had to be reassembled like a jigsaw puzzle. Instead of taking a few hours, the crew spent the better part of the day painstakingly reconstructing the curved stairway by fitting together custom pieces of varying sizes. Five bathtubs were needed for the scene of the antique bathtub falling through the rotting floor. One was a real antique, while the others were fiberglass and plaster replicas. When the copies were first dropped, the plaster was not completely dry, and did not shatter on impact.
       Production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein described how the sets of the house had to be built twice to show it intact and demolished. The nature of the action dictated that the scenes be shot in order. The house sets were also built as modules that could easily be disassembled. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the house exterior was shot at the Long Island estate of Eric Ridder, of the Knight-Ridder newspaper syndicate. His wife, Madeleine Graham, appeared as a background actor in some of the picture’s final scenes. Other exterior locations included New York City streets in SoHo, Park Avenue, Central Park West, and an apartment building on West End Avenue at 78th Street, and Café Des Artists close to Lincoln Center. The scene in which actor Alexander Godunov conducts an orchestra was filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House.
       A 27 Nov 1985 Var news item noted that once principal photography was completed, the cast and crew returned to shoot a new opening sequence on newly-built sets at Universal City Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
       The 21 Apr 1986 HR stated that at the time of release, the movie had earned more than $18 million.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special Thanks: Julia Child courtesy of WGBH/Boston and Julia Child Productions, Inc.; Old Master Paintings in house furnished by Richard L. Feigen & Co.; Lightmobile by Eric Staller"; and, “Filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1986
p. 3, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1986
p. 1, 8.
Moviegoer
Jan 1986
pp. 6-7.
New York Times
17 Mar 1985.
---
New York Times
26 Mar 1986
p. 19.
New York Times
27 Mar 1986
Section C, p. 1, 12.
People
12 Nov 1984.
---
Variety
27 Nov 1985.
---
Variety
19 Mar 1986
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Steven Spielberg Presents
A Richard Benjamin Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Cam trainee
Key grip
Grip
Grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Assoc film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Dresser
Dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const des coord
Const foreman
Head const grip
Scenic chargeman
Standby scenic
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
Asst costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Foley by
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title and opt des
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Asst unit mgr
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Transportation capt
Loc mgr
Loc scout
Prod controller
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Benjamin
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Ms. Kennedy
Asst to Mr. Spielberg
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Extras casting
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt double for Tom Hanks
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“The Heart Is So Willing,” performed by Stephen Bishop, written by Michel Colombier and Kathleen Wakefield, produce by Robbie Buchanan
“Web Of Desire,” written by White Lion, performed by White Lion and Robey
“Gavotte (Sonata VI For Violin, E Major Partita),” from the album “Christopher Parkening Plays J. S. Bach,” written by Johann Sebastian Bach, arranged by Segovia, performed by Christopher Parkening, courtesy of Angel Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
“The Heart Is So Willing,” performed by Stephen Bishop, written by Michel Colombier and Kathleen Wakefield, produce by Robbie Buchanan
“Web Of Desire,” written by White Lion, performed by White Lion and Robey
“Gavotte (Sonata VI For Violin, E Major Partita),” from the album “Christopher Parkening Plays J. S. Bach,” written by Johann Sebastian Bach, arranged by Segovia, performed by Christopher Parkening, courtesy of Angel Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
“Sittin' On A Dream,” written by Michel Colombier and Kathleen Wakefield
“I Gotta Be Me,” written by Walter Marks, performed by Sammy Davis, Jr., courtesy of Transamerican Entertainment Corporation
“Skin Tight,” written by Michel Colombier and Kathleen Wakefield
“Cowboy Paradise,” written by Michel Colombier and Kathleen Wakefield
“Niene Geiht’s So Schon U Lustig,” from the album “A Visit to Switzerland,” actually recorded in the Swiss Alps, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc./EMI Records (Switzerland)
“Mi Orquestra,” written by Julian Bargas, performed by Los Tupamaros, courtesy of Taurus Sound Distributors
“Rush Rush,” written by Giorgio Moroder and Deborah Harry, performed by Deborah Harry, courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.
“Candy Gal,” written by Bill Monroe, performed by Bill Monroe, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“The Wedding Contract,” from “Lucia Di Lammermoor,” by Gaetano Donizetti, text by Salvadore Cammanrano, Act II – Scene 6
Act III – Scene 6, performed by Beverly Sills, Soprano
Carlo Bergonzi, Tenor (Act II, Scene 6)
Piero Cappuccilli, Baritone
Justino Diaz, Bass
Patricia Kern, Mezzo Soprano (Act II, Scene 6)
Adolf Dallapozza, Tenor (Act II, Scene 6)
London Symphony Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, conducted by Thomas Schippers, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“I Am A Pizza” (The Pizza Man), written by Peter Alsop, performed by Peter Alsop, courtesy of Flying Fish Records, Inc.
“La Bamba,” arranged by Ritchie Valens, performed by Ritchie Valens, courtesy of Rhino Records Inc.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 March 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 March 1986
Production Date:
began 29 April 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc., and U-Drive, Inc.
Copyright Date:
4 August 1986
Copyright Number:
PA297656
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Deluxe®
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28114
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After receiving wedding pictures from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, entertainment attorney Walter Fielding complains to his girl friend, concert musician Anna Crowley, about his newly married scofflaw father, Walter, Sr. His father might be starting a new life, but he stole the firm’s money, and left him in debt. The next morning, Walter comments that his father’s new wife, Florinda, looks underage. When Anna tells him not to be so conventional, he admits he wants a house in the suburbs, and a wife. When he asks Anna to marry him, she asks for more time to make her decision. Her first marriage to music conductor, Max Beissart, was a disaster, and she is not in a rush to marry again. Suddenly, her former husband’s associate, Shatov, barges into the bedroom and informs Anna that “Maestro” is returning home, and reclaiming his luxury apartment. Walter and Anna are both broke, and cannot afford to relocate elsewhere in New York City. They decide to contact their friend, real estate broker Jack Schnittman, for help. Meanwhile, Max conducts his first rehearsal back in town, and criticizes the orchestra for their mediocre performance. While jogging, Jack Schnittman proposes that Walter gather $200,000 in cash by the end of business Friday because the owners of a $1 million property are willing to sell for less. Walter is suspicious, but feels pressured, and agrees to consider the deal. At dinner, Max tells Anna his life is meaningless without her, and he wants to get back together. Anna insists she loves Walter, and Max only loves himself. Anna goes with Walter to inspect the house Jack recommended. The owner, Estelle, shows them the ... +


After receiving wedding pictures from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, entertainment attorney Walter Fielding complains to his girl friend, concert musician Anna Crowley, about his newly married scofflaw father, Walter, Sr. His father might be starting a new life, but he stole the firm’s money, and left him in debt. The next morning, Walter comments that his father’s new wife, Florinda, looks underage. When Anna tells him not to be so conventional, he admits he wants a house in the suburbs, and a wife. When he asks Anna to marry him, she asks for more time to make her decision. Her first marriage to music conductor, Max Beissart, was a disaster, and she is not in a rush to marry again. Suddenly, her former husband’s associate, Shatov, barges into the bedroom and informs Anna that “Maestro” is returning home, and reclaiming his luxury apartment. Walter and Anna are both broke, and cannot afford to relocate elsewhere in New York City. They decide to contact their friend, real estate broker Jack Schnittman, for help. Meanwhile, Max conducts his first rehearsal back in town, and criticizes the orchestra for their mediocre performance. While jogging, Jack Schnittman proposes that Walter gather $200,000 in cash by the end of business Friday because the owners of a $1 million property are willing to sell for less. Walter is suspicious, but feels pressured, and agrees to consider the deal. At dinner, Max tells Anna his life is meaningless without her, and he wants to get back together. Anna insists she loves Walter, and Max only loves himself. Anna goes with Walter to inspect the house Jack recommended. The owner, Estelle, shows them the property, and explains that Israeli Intelligence arrested her longtime husband, Carlos, for being Hitler’s “pool man.” If Estelle can sell the property and the furnishings, she might raise enough money to pay the lawyers. Walter and Anna want time to make a decision, but Estelle claims that Carlos is facing extradition, and she must sell immediately. She offers to include an antique Lincoln car in the deal. Walter cannot resist a bargain and convinces Anna to buy the house. She sells valuables from her divorce to raise her share of the money. Walter persuades his client, a successful boy singer named Benny, to loan him the $200,000 in cash. As soon as Walter and Anna move in, their house falls apart. When the front door is stuck shut, Walter receives an electrical shock as he rings the doorbell. Upstairs, Anna tries out the four-poster bed they acquired with the house, and becomes trapped when the mattress collapses around her. When Walter knocks to get Anna’s attention, the front door falls down. He turns his attention to repairing the staircase, but his hammering loosens the ceiling plaster upstairs. In the bathroom, Anna is revolted when she turns on the bathtub faucet, and gooey, rusty water spurts out. Walter assures her that all houses need maintenance, and encourages her to be more positive. As Anna hangs her clothes in the bedroom closet, the rod and shelving collapse. Outside, Walter repairs the front door. He tests it three times and goes inside, but within seconds, the doorframe separates from the structure, falling to the ground. Upstairs, when Anna pulls the dumbwaiter ropes, a raccoon emerges and attacks. Walter hears Anna’s screams, but as he races up the staircase, it collapses around him. Walter is convinced the house is “a lemon,” but Anna will not let him quit. However, a rainstorm reveals that there are several leaks in the roof. The next morning, a carpenter named Art Shirk arrives to do an estimate on a new staircase, and declares that the front door has dry rot. Art's plumber brother, Brad, arrives, and insists on a $5,000 upfront check without even inspecting the house. He claims to have seen the house several years earlier, and does not expect the plumbing problems have been resolved. Later, electrical fires occur when too many appliances are used. The blender and the popcorn popper explode, and the stove doors burst open. The turkey is propelled out one window and bursts through a second floor bathroom window. As Anna and Walter pour buckets of lukewarm water in the bathtub, the rotting floor gives way, and it crashes onto the floor below. The next day, Brad Shirk’s foreman, Curly, arrives with a crew that looks like a gang of Hell’s Angels. Curly encourages Walter and Anna to leave while they work. Walter returns to find piles of debris everywhere. Since Walter was not available to sign building permits, Curly and his crew went as far as they could. He promises to return when Walter has his permits approved. The “permit man,” Mr. Shrapp, agrees to return if Walter pays a cash bribe. Soon, Walter falls into a hole in the floor concealed by a throw rug. Mr. Shrapp arrives, and believes he hears Walter laughing instead of answering the door. Angered by Walter’s rudeness, Mr. Shrapp rips up the permits and leaves. Anna calls Walter to be picked up at the train station, but he cannot answer the phone. She hitches a ride with a truck driver, and finds Walter stuck. When she attempts to rescue him he plummets to the floor below. That evening, when Walter puts another log in the fireplace, the chimney comes crashing down, and snuffs out the fire. Four months later, the house is still under repair. Walter complains that Curly estimated the job would be done in two weeks. However, things are looking up. A new staircase and running water in the kitchen are the latest improvements, but accidents continue to occur. At an orchestra rehearsal, Max persuades Anna to have dinner at his apartment. Although she claims she will not sleep with him, they drink too much, and in the morning, Max tells her they made love, and she is consumed with guilt. Later, Anna tells Walter that Max took orchestra members to dinner after a brilliant rehearsal. When Walter wants to know if she spent the night with Max, Anna insists he will have to trust her. They argue as Anna lies about her indiscretion. When she finally confesses, Walter spends the night downstairs. In the morning, the fight continues. Walter want to kick her out of the house and refund her money. The workers listen in as she claims the house belongs to her just as much as it belongs to him. Finally, they agree to stay together until the repairs are done, sell the house, divide the money, and split. Anna retreats to the bedroom and sobs. Later, Max makes a surprise visit, and learns that Anna and Walter have decided to break up. He suggests that Anna should rekindle their relationship, but that is not part of her plan. Max confesses they did not sleep together, but lied to sabotage her relationship with Walter. When he sees how much she actually cares for Walter, Max decides to play matchmaker. He warns that it would be a mistake for Walter to throw away his relationship with Anna. When the house is finally renovated, Walter and Anna are confused about where to take their relationship. Walter confesses he will get over Anna’s one-night stand with Max. Anna tears up as she reveals she never slept with Max. They fall into each other’s arms and kiss. Anna and Walter throw a wedding in their new home and Max conducts a full orchestra as part of the entertainment. In Rio de Janeiro, Estelle and Carlos sell a house to Walter, Sr. and insist it must be a cash deal.
+

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

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