Fatal Beauty (1987)

R | 105 mins | Comedy, Mystery | 30 October 1987

Director:

Tom Holland

Producer:

Leonard Kroll

Cinematographer:

David M. Walsh

Editor:

Don Zimmerman

Production Designer:

James William Newport

Production Companies:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Inc., CST Communications Co.
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HISTORY

       Conceived as a female Dirty Harry style (1971, see entry) cop drama with comic elements, John Milius was set to write and direct Fatal Beauty, according to the 28 May 1986 HR. However, Milius did not stay with the project and received no onscreen writing credit.
       Tom Holland, whose only other big-screen directing credit was for the horror flick Fright Night (1985, see entry), which he also wrote, assumed the reigns as Fatal Beauty’s director in Nov 1986. According to the 11 Nov 1986 HR, Holland was also writing the script, but he does not receive writing credit onscreen.
       Fatal Beauty was originally intended to be a vehicle for Cher, according to the 28 May 1986 HR. However, the singer-actress opted instead to star in Moonstruck (1987, see entry), a film for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award. Holland told the 31 May 1987 Long Beach Press-Telegram that singer-actress Tina Turner was also considered for the lead. Ultimately, Whoopi Goldberg was signed to star, her casting officially announced in the 22 Dec 1986 HR. However, that casting met with some resistance from studio officials who felt Goldberg was not pretty or glamorous enough for the lead. Holland pushed for Goldberg, saying she brought the street credibility needed to play the part of “Rita Rizzoli.” The 7 Jan 1987 HR reported Goldberg was earning a $2 million salary for the film. Actor Billy Dee Williams was a contender for the male lead role of “Mike Marshak,” a part that ultimately ... More Less

       Conceived as a female Dirty Harry style (1971, see entry) cop drama with comic elements, John Milius was set to write and direct Fatal Beauty, according to the 28 May 1986 HR. However, Milius did not stay with the project and received no onscreen writing credit.
       Tom Holland, whose only other big-screen directing credit was for the horror flick Fright Night (1985, see entry), which he also wrote, assumed the reigns as Fatal Beauty’s director in Nov 1986. According to the 11 Nov 1986 HR, Holland was also writing the script, but he does not receive writing credit onscreen.
       Fatal Beauty was originally intended to be a vehicle for Cher, according to the 28 May 1986 HR. However, the singer-actress opted instead to star in Moonstruck (1987, see entry), a film for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award. Holland told the 31 May 1987 Long Beach Press-Telegram that singer-actress Tina Turner was also considered for the lead. Ultimately, Whoopi Goldberg was signed to star, her casting officially announced in the 22 Dec 1986 HR. However, that casting met with some resistance from studio officials who felt Goldberg was not pretty or glamorous enough for the lead. Holland pushed for Goldberg, saying she brought the street credibility needed to play the part of “Rita Rizzoli.” The 7 Jan 1987 HR reported Goldberg was earning a $2 million salary for the film. Actor Billy Dee Williams was a contender for the male lead role of “Mike Marshak,” a part that ultimately went to actor Sam Elliott.
       Principal photography began on 23 Feb 1987 in Los Angeles, CA, according to the 25 Feb 1987 DV production chart. During filming of a scene in downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department stormed the set after being called by United States Secret Service agents who saw actors armed with automatic weapons and shotguns and thought a real robbery was in progress, according to a 2 May 1987 LAT report.
       Goldberg and Elliot filmed a “sizzling” and “explicit” sex scene, but that scene was cut after it fared poorly with test audiences, according the 15 Sep 1987 NYDN. Sam Elliott told the 16 Nov 1987 Us magazine that eliminating the scene was racially motivated. He believed that audiences were uncomfortable with the interracial love scene between a white man and an African-American woman. Elliot also pointed out that when Cher was set to star in Fatal Beauty, there was a full-fledged romance between the two characters. Goldberg told the 16 Nov 1987 Jet magazine that she was unhappy the scene was removed and that she believed race was the reason it was clipped. However, MGM spokesperson Ron Pennington told the 12 Nov 1987 LAHExam the scene was cut solely because it slowed the action down, not because of race. Pennington also said the scene was not a torrid sex scene, but instead a tame, post-coital moment.
       Fatal Beauty initially received an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), but that classification was changed to an R rating upon appeal, according to the 5 Oct 1987 DV. No explanation was offered for the initial X rating, but critics speculated it was due to the intensity of violence.
       The film opened nationwide on 30 Oct 1987 on 1,117 screens, earning $2.7 million in its first three days of release, according to 3 Nov 1987 DV box office charts.

      End credits include “special thanks” to: “Sportmart, Inc.; Century City Shopping Center and Marketplace; Judy’s-Century City; Bakers® Shoe Stores (East of the Rockies); Leeds® Shoe Stores (West of the Rockies); Burts® Shoe Stores.” End credits also indicate the Hitchcock drawing is copyright 1983 by Al Hirschfield, courtesy of The Margo Peiden Galleries, New York; the James Brown original painting by Richard Duardo, courtesy of Whoopi Goldberg.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1987.
---
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1987.
---
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1987
p. 3, 25.
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 1986
p. 1, 26.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 1987
p. 3, 14.
Jet
16 Nov 1987
p. 58-60.
LAHExam
12 Nov 1987.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
31 May 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 May 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1987
p. 16.
New York Daily News
15 Sep 1987.
---
New York Times
30 Oct 1987
p. 8.
Us
16 Nov 1987
p. 34
Variety
28 Oct 1987
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents
A Tom Holland Film
From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
in Association with CST Communications Co.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Chief lighting tech asst
Key grip
Key grip asst
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Illustrator
Prop master
Prop master asst
Prop master/Weapons
Construction coord
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Key costumer
Costumer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Voice casting
Asst to Mr. Kroll
Asst to Mr. Holland
Asst to Ms. Goldberg
Prod coord
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod accountant
Prod accountant asst
Prod accountant asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-captain
Loc mgr
Loc mgr asst
Unit pub
Craft service
Extras casting
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Processing by
Color timing
SOURCES
SONGS
“Sin City,” performed by War, written by Harold Faltermeyer, Scott Wilk, Linder Never
“Criminal,” performed by Shannon, written by Sylvester Levay and Tom Whitlock
On The Edge Of Love,” performed by Miki Howard, written by Cynthia Weil and Scott Cutler
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SONGS
“Sin City,” performed by War, written by Harold Faltermeyer, Scott Wilk, Linder Never
“Criminal,” performed by Shannon, written by Sylvester Levay and Tom Whitlock
On The Edge Of Love,” performed by Miki Howard, written by Cynthia Weil and Scott Cutler
“Make It My Night,” performed by Donna Allen, written by Danny Sembello and Tony Haynes
“Casanova,” performed by Levert, written by Reggie Calloway
“Red Hot,” performed by Debbie Gibson, written by Debbie Gibson
“Didn’t I Blow Your Mind,” performed by the System, written by Mic Murphy and David Frank
“Just That Type Of Girl,” performed by Madam X, written by Bernadette Cooper, Cornelius Mimms and John Bokowski.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
30 October 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 30 October 1987
Production Date:
began 23 February 1987 in Los Angeles, CA.
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by De Luxe®
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28798
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, California, narcotics officer Rita Rizzoli dresses as a prostitute for an undercover sting operation in a seedy bar. She tells drug dealer Delgadillo she has the money and asks where the cocaine is, but he says she will have to wait a few hours. Just then, a man begins beating up a prostitute named Charlene, who is one of Rita’s regular informants. He drags Charlene outside, but Rita goes to her rescue, pulls out a gun and announces she is a police officer. As she shoots the man in the chest, Delgadillo grabs the money from her purse and flees. Shortly after that, at a Chinese supermarket, workers are in the back room putting cocaine into small plastic bags stamped with the label “Fatal Beauty,” when a rival gang storms in, killing all the workers and stealing the product. Rita is sent to join the investigation and finds Delgadillo dead, shot in the face multiple times. Outside, she spots a van marked “Kroll Enterprises” parked nearby. She notices blood dripping from the van and finds a dead body. Rita tells her commanding officer, Lieutenant Kellerman, she wants to investigate businessman Conrad Kroll, who just a few years ago was almost broke, but now is buying real estate. Kellerman tells her to stay away from Kroll as he is friendly with several politicians, helping finance their reelection campaigns. Later, Charlene calls Rita to thank her, but begs her for drugs, saying she can’t work until her face heals. Charlene says word on the street is the massacre at the Chinese market was ordered by a man who drives a Rolls Royce. Rita sneaks onto the ... +


In Los Angeles, California, narcotics officer Rita Rizzoli dresses as a prostitute for an undercover sting operation in a seedy bar. She tells drug dealer Delgadillo she has the money and asks where the cocaine is, but he says she will have to wait a few hours. Just then, a man begins beating up a prostitute named Charlene, who is one of Rita’s regular informants. He drags Charlene outside, but Rita goes to her rescue, pulls out a gun and announces she is a police officer. As she shoots the man in the chest, Delgadillo grabs the money from her purse and flees. Shortly after that, at a Chinese supermarket, workers are in the back room putting cocaine into small plastic bags stamped with the label “Fatal Beauty,” when a rival gang storms in, killing all the workers and stealing the product. Rita is sent to join the investigation and finds Delgadillo dead, shot in the face multiple times. Outside, she spots a van marked “Kroll Enterprises” parked nearby. She notices blood dripping from the van and finds a dead body. Rita tells her commanding officer, Lieutenant Kellerman, she wants to investigate businessman Conrad Kroll, who just a few years ago was almost broke, but now is buying real estate. Kellerman tells her to stay away from Kroll as he is friendly with several politicians, helping finance their reelection campaigns. Later, Charlene calls Rita to thank her, but begs her for drugs, saying she can’t work until her face heals. Charlene says word on the street is the massacre at the Chinese market was ordered by a man who drives a Rolls Royce. Rita sneaks onto the Conrad Kroll’s Beverly Hills estate and accuses him of drug dealing. He responds by calling Lieutenant Kellerman, who orders Rita to leave. As she gets into her vintage yellow Ford Mustang convertible, Rita hears a report of a police standoff at a house in Hollywood. Recognizing it as Charlene’s address, she rushes there to witness a man walk out of the house and start shooting at police. The officers return fire, hitting the man in the chest a dozen times, yet he does not fall to the ground. When he finally collapses and dies, police wonder what kind of drug can make him keep going after being shot so many times. Rita rushes inside to find Charlene dead from drugs. Charlene’s eight-year-old son says her new pimp, Jimmy Silver, gave her drugs. He says Jimmy hangs out at “fern bars” on Melrose Avenue. Back at police headquarters, lab technician Jerry Murphy tells Rita and her partner, Carl Jimenez, that this new “Fatal Beauty” drug is fifty percent pure cocaine, whereas most cocaine on the street is only about ten percent pure. Jerry says that Fatal Beauty is cut with Phencyclidine, more commonly known as “PCP,” and that it will “kill you and drive you insane in less than thirty seconds.” That night, as Rita leaves her house, she finds Kroll’s man, Mike Marshak, waiting for her, saying Kroll sent him to check up on her. He follows her to Melrose Avenue, offering to act as a body guard, but she declines. Rita finds the pimp, Jimmy Silver, who offers her some “blow that will set you free.” After she arrests him, Jimmy tells Rita he got the drugs from a man named Raphael at 13th and Rampart streets. Dressed to go undercover, Rita finds Raphael. Throwing a wad of money on the table, she declares that she wants to discuss selling in quantity. When Raphael locks the door so they can talk business, Rita arrests him. He tells her he is working for “a couple of crazies who just got out of prison.” One of the men on the street recognizes Rita as a cop and tells Raphael’s men, who begin shooting at the locked door with machine guns. While others in the building flee the gunfire, Marshak helps Rita escape. However, before they can get out, the ceiling collapses on Rita, but Marshak pulls her out of the debris. At Vista Verde Hospital, Marshak visits the recovering Rita, giving her an expensive dress she admired in a Melrose Avenue shop. She declines the gift, saying it would be like taking a bribe from Kroll. However, she does accept a ride home. Once there, they find Rita’s young acquaintance, Zack Jaeger, waiting. An upset Zack takes them to a house where ten of his friends are dead after taking Fatal Beauty. He says they all died in seconds and that the drugs came from his mother, Cecile Jaeger. Rita confronts Cecile, who dismisses her son’s claims. Cecile hits Rita who tries to arrest her. The two get into a fistfight, but Marshak breaks up the fight. Marshak takes Rita home, where she receives a phone call informing her that four grammar school kids, ages eight to twelve, are dead due to drugs. Rita feels it is her responsibility to get drugs off the streets. She explains that at age fourteen, she had a baby, but later got hooked on drugs. The baby was loving, but Rita was too “high” to appreciate it. However, one day, the baby got into her drug stash and died. Later, Cecile Jaeger telephones Rita to tell her that her son, Zack, cut his wrists while at a detox center. Cecile reports her drug dealer is Denny Miflin and he will be at the Kroll Plaza shopping center at 7 p.m. to do a deal with his drug suppliers. That night, Marshak is at Kroll Plaza with Conrad Kroll. Miflin goes into a dress shop and starts counting money in the back. Rita is about to arrest Miflin, when Marshak stops her. Their commotion alerts Miflin to their presence and his men open fire. Miflin and his men dash out of the store and into a sporting goods store. Rita follows, exchanging gunfire. When she is out of bullets, she breaks the glass on a gun case and takes a shotgun and shells. Miflin’s suppliers, Leo Nova and Earl Skinner, fire at Rita. A man climbs on the shelves to shoot Rita, but she kills him first. He falls to the floor, but the shelves collapse on Rita. Another man is about to shoot Rita at point blank range when Marshak shoots him. Rita gets up just as another man shoots Marshak, who collapses to the floor. Rita follows the man to the parking garage. He shoots and she returns fire, hitting him in the chest several times. He opens his shirt to reveal a Kevlar bulletproof vest. Rita shoots him in the groin and he falls to the ground. As an ambulance is about to take Marshak to the hospital, he tells Rita he knows that he will be going to prison. She says she will be waiting for him when he gets out of prison and kisses him.




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

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