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HISTORY

The 9 Mar 1988 LAHExam and 14 Mar 1988 People announced that Matthew Broderick would star in the picture, but he did not remain with the project. The 14 Mar 1988 DV reported that the $16 million production was set to shoot for three weeks in Washington, D.C., before filming interiors in Culver City and Los Angeles, CA.
       Principal photography began on 23 May 1988, according to the 7 Jun 1988 HR, which referred to the film as Life After Life.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files list the following Washington, D.C.-area locations: the Smithsonian Institution, the Jefferson Memorial, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, and inside and outside the Washington Post building. Screenwriting sisters Perry and Randy Howze were able to secure the use of the Washington Post, along with editor Ben Bradlee’s permission to use him as a character, because they grew up in Washington and were childhood friends of Bradlee’s daughters. Scenes were allowed to be filmed inside the pressroom, the printing press room, and the lobby, as well as in front of the building. All the President’s Men (1976, see entry), the Academy Award-winning film in which Bradlee was also a leading character, had been denied such access.
       The First Ladies’ Gown Exhibit, which Shepherd’s character curates, had been a part of the Smithsonian’s collection since 1912, according to the 26 Feb 1989 Washington Post. The Howze sisters recalled being dazzled by the exhibit as children. Although “once the most popular display at the National Museum of American History,” it had been dismantled in 1987 because many gowns ...

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The 9 Mar 1988 LAHExam and 14 Mar 1988 People announced that Matthew Broderick would star in the picture, but he did not remain with the project. The 14 Mar 1988 DV reported that the $16 million production was set to shoot for three weeks in Washington, D.C., before filming interiors in Culver City and Los Angeles, CA.
       Principal photography began on 23 May 1988, according to the 7 Jun 1988 HR, which referred to the film as Life After Life.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files list the following Washington, D.C.-area locations: the Smithsonian Institution, the Jefferson Memorial, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, and inside and outside the Washington Post building. Screenwriting sisters Perry and Randy Howze were able to secure the use of the Washington Post, along with editor Ben Bradlee’s permission to use him as a character, because they grew up in Washington and were childhood friends of Bradlee’s daughters. Scenes were allowed to be filmed inside the pressroom, the printing press room, and the lobby, as well as in front of the building. All the President’s Men (1976, see entry), the Academy Award-winning film in which Bradlee was also a leading character, had been denied such access.
       The First Ladies’ Gown Exhibit, which Shepherd’s character curates, had been a part of the Smithsonian’s collection since 1912, according to the 26 Feb 1989 Washington Post. The Howze sisters recalled being dazzled by the exhibit as children. Although “once the most popular display at the National Museum of American History,” it had been dismantled in 1987 because many gowns were disintegrating, so production designer Dennis Washington and costumer designer Albert Wolsky built a new one. For the film’s fictional fundraising ball to restore the exhibit, the production hired Washington bandleader Lester Lanin, whose orchestra was a fixture at presidential inaugural balls. In real life, the Smithsonian was trying to raise $1.8 million to restore the First Ladies’ Gown Exhibit, so Tri-Star tied the 6 Mar 1989 Washington premiere of Chances Are to a fundraiser, the 7 Mar 1989 Washington Post noted.
       The scene of the afterlife, dubbed “Limbodrome,” was built on a soundstage at Culver City Studios, the 15 Aug 1988 DV reported. Director Emile Ardolino stated he did not want to make it “a foreboding place,” but rather “a triumph of love over death.” Director of photography William A. Fraker told the Apr 1989 American Cinematographer that he created clouds using “tons of dry ice costing $2500 an hour” and lit them from beneath, because the “way station on the road to heaven” was supposed to be “above the sun.” However, the Limbodrome scene was the last to be filmed, and Ardolino and Fraker reportedly regretted they did not have time to design or shoot it properly.
       The 7 Aug 1988 LAT reported that Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. renamed the project Unforgettable, before settling on the final title, Chances Are, and the 7 Dec 1987 People listed lead actress Cybill Shepherd’s salary as $1.25 million.
       Tri-Star informed the 27 Feb 1989 HR that after a series of mid-Feb 1989 previews around the country, Chances Are would open on 10 Mar 1988 in 800 theaters, and expand to 1,200 theaters two weeks later.
       The 22 Feb 1989 HR review complained the film “clanks with contrivance and jars with a level of implausibility that stretches the limits of the genre,” while the 8 Mar 1989 Var predicted that few filmmakers would be “willing to suspend disbelief and buy into this silliness.” Nevertheless, the film grossed over $3.6 million from its opening weekend, the 14 Mar 1989 DV reported.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Special thanks to Montgomery County, Maryland; City of Rockville, Maryland; State of Maryland; Mayor’s Office of Film & TV Development, District of Columbia; National Capitol Region; National Park Service; Department of the Interior; United State Park Police; Paolo’s Restaurant, Washington, D.C.; San-Martin Bridals; After Six; Yamaha Music Corporation, USA; Saab-Scania of America, Inc.; Life magazines courtesy of Mark Kauffman, Life Magazine, Howell Conant, Life Magazine © 1964 Time, Inc. All rights reserved.” Also stated: “Filmed in part at The Enid A Haupt Garden, Smithsonian Institution and The Culver Studios.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Apr 1989
p. 43, 44.
Daily Variety
14 Mar 1988
p. 1, 26.
Daily Variety
9 May 1988
p. 5.
Daily Variety
15 Aug 1988
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1989
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 1989
p. 4, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 1989.
---
LAHExam
9 Mar 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Aug 1988
Calendar, p. x.
Los Angeles Times
10 Mar 1989
p. 15.
New York Times
10 Mar 1989
p. 13.
People
7 Dec 1987.
---
People
14 Mar 1988.
---
Seattle Times
5 Mar 1989
Section L, p. 4.
Variety
8 Mar 1989
p. 20.
Wall Street Journal
9 Mar 1989
p. 1.
Wall Street Journal
7 Mar 1989
Section D, p. 9.
Washington Post
26 Feb 1989
Section F, p. 3.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Tri-Star Pictures Presents
A Lobell/Bergman Production
An Emile Ardolino Film
A Tri-Star Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
1st asst dir, Washington, D.C. unit
2d asst dir, Washington, D.C. unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
William A. Fraker
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Elec best boy
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, Washington, D.C. unit
Cam op, Washington, D.C. unit
1st asst cam, Washington, D.C. unit
2d asst cam, Washington, D.C. unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed by
1st asst ed
Apprentice ed
2d asst ed, Washington, D.C. unit
SET DECORATORS
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Set des
Const coord
Paint foreman
Standby painter
Daniel Ondrejko
Greensman
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost supv
Women's cost supv
Costumer
Ms. Shepherd's ward asst
Asst cost des, Washington, D.C. unit
MUSIC
Orig mus comp and cond by
Mus ed by
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Mus rec by
Mus rec by
Asst scoring eng
Asst scoring eng
Lester Lanin Orchestra cond by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Paul Timothy Carden
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Processed eff
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley mixer
ADR mixer
Dubbing rec
Bill Nelson
Prod sd mixer
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opticals by
Main and end title des by
Main title cine by
DANCE
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Ms. Shepherd's make-up
Ms. Shepherd's body make-up
Hairstylist
Ms. Shepherd's hairstylist
Hairstylist, Washington, D.C. unit
Make-up artist, Washington, D.C. unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Ardolino
Asst to Mr. Lobell
Asst to Mr Downey
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Unit pub
Extras casting
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc catering by
Product placement by
Prod services and equip provided in part by
Loc mgr, Washington, D.C. unit
Transportation capt, Washington, D.C. unit
Dispatcher, Washington, D.C. unit
Prod asst, Washington, D.C. unit
Prod asst, Washington, D.C. unit
Legal tech adv, Washington, D.C. unit
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts/Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Chances Are," music by Robert Allen, lyrics by Al Stillman; "After All (Love Theme From Chances Are )," performed by Cher and Peter Cetera, produced by Peter Asher, written by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, Peter Cetera appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., Cher appears courtesy of Geffen Records; "After All (Love Theme From Chances Are )" - Instrumental, music by Tom Snow; "Chances Are," performed by Johnny Mathis, courtesy of CBS Records; "Wonderful, Wonderful," written by Sherman Edwards and Ben Raleigh, performed by Johnny Mathis, courtesy of CBS Records; "Forever Young," written by Rod Stewart, James Cregan and Kevin Savigar, performed by Rod Stewart, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products; "Can't Get Over You," written by Billy Burnette and David Malloy, performed by Gregg Allman, courtesy of CBS Records; "Nuestro Adiỏs," written by Rubén Blades, performed by Rubén Blades, courtesy of Elektra Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products; "If You Wanna Be Happy," written by Frank J. Guida, Carmela Guida and Joseph Royster, performed by Jimmy Soul, courtesy of Rock Masters, Inc.; "Happy Couple," written by Michael Hedges, performed by Michael Hedges, courtesy of Windham Hill Records; "It's Impossible," written by Sid Wayne and Armando Manzanero, [performed by the Lester Lanin Orchestra]; "Strangers In The Night," written by Charles Singleton, Eddie Snyder and Burt Kaempfert, [performed by the Lester Lanin Orchestra]; "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," written by Curly Williams and Sonny David, [performed by the Lester Lanin Orchestra]; "Fascination," written by F. D. Marchett, [performed by the Lester Lanin Orchestra]; ["Wedding March," composed by Felix Mendelssohn].
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Life After Life
Unforgettable
Release Date:
10 March 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 10 Mar 1989
Production Date:
began 23 May 1988
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Draco Film Enterprises
10 July 1990
PA470451
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29429
SYNOPSIS

On 18 May 1963, in Middleburg, Virginia, Corinne Randolph marries Louie Jeffries. As she walks down the aisle, Philip Train, Louie’s best man, confides that he also loves her. A year later, in Washington, D.C., Louie is an assistant district attorney and Philip a reporter for The Washington Post. Corinne announces she is pregnant, and Philip arrives with wine and a cherry tree sapling to celebrate his friends’ first anniversary. Louie plays a tune on the piano, while Corrine plants the cherry tree in the garden. On his way to work, Louie buys a set of anniversary diamond earrings. At the courthouse, his case against gangster Anthony “Tony” Bonino is undermined when Judge Harrison Fenwick denies key evidence. Meanwhile, Philip gets an anonymous tip at the newspaper and telephones Louie that he should be at the beach on Theodore Roosevelt Island at 6:30 that evening. Hiding with a camera, Louie photographs Bonino giving Judge Fenwick an envelope. Afterward, he hurries to meet Corinne at a restaurant to give her the earrings, but a car runs him down, killing him. Louie finds himself in a cloudy “limbodrome,” where souls stand in lines awaiting their next assignment. When he insists that he needs to get back to his wife. He is taken to Omar, an angel who inoculates souls against prior memories before they return to earth to inhabit other bodies. Given a choice of babies, Louie picks one in Cleveland, Ohio, being born to Roger and Marlene Finch, but he has to hurry because Marlene has gone into labor. However, Louie runs off before Omar can inoculate him. Twenty-three years later, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, ...

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On 18 May 1963, in Middleburg, Virginia, Corinne Randolph marries Louie Jeffries. As she walks down the aisle, Philip Train, Louie’s best man, confides that he also loves her. A year later, in Washington, D.C., Louie is an assistant district attorney and Philip a reporter for The Washington Post. Corinne announces she is pregnant, and Philip arrives with wine and a cherry tree sapling to celebrate his friends’ first anniversary. Louie plays a tune on the piano, while Corrine plants the cherry tree in the garden. On his way to work, Louie buys a set of anniversary diamond earrings. At the courthouse, his case against gangster Anthony “Tony” Bonino is undermined when Judge Harrison Fenwick denies key evidence. Meanwhile, Philip gets an anonymous tip at the newspaper and telephones Louie that he should be at the beach on Theodore Roosevelt Island at 6:30 that evening. Hiding with a camera, Louie photographs Bonino giving Judge Fenwick an envelope. Afterward, he hurries to meet Corinne at a restaurant to give her the earrings, but a car runs him down, killing him. Louie finds himself in a cloudy “limbodrome,” where souls stand in lines awaiting their next assignment. When he insists that he needs to get back to his wife. He is taken to Omar, an angel who inoculates souls against prior memories before they return to earth to inhabit other bodies. Given a choice of babies, Louie picks one in Cleveland, Ohio, being born to Roger and Marlene Finch, but he has to hurry because Marlene has gone into labor. However, Louie runs off before Omar can inoculate him. Twenty-three years later, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, graduating journalism student Alex Finch helps law student Miranda Jeffries avoid a library book fine. Meanwhile, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Miranda’s mother, Corinne Jeffries, curates a “First Ladies’ Gowns” exhibit. Miranda telephones to tell her she is coming home for the summer. Later, Corinne admits to Dr. Bailey, her psychiatrist, that she still carries her dead husband’s photograph, dreams about him, and cooks a meal for his birthday each year. Dr. Bailey suggests it is time she find a new relationship. Elsewhere, Alex Finch arrives in Washington and sleeps in his car. In the morning, he tricks his way into the Washington Post building to talk to editor Ben Bradlee about a job, and meets Philip Train, who helps him gain access. When the editor informs Alex he needs experience at smaller newspapers before he thinks about writing for the Washington Post. the young man thanks Philip and offers him a ride home. Seeing that Alex is living in his car, Philip invites him to have dinner with his friends, Corinne and Miranda Jeffries. As Alex approaches Corinne’s townhouse, he experiences déjà vu, and is shocked to discover that Miranda is the girl he met a few days earlier at the Yale library. Miranda tells Philip she is starting her summer job the the next day, as an intern for Judge Fenwick. When Corinne arrives home, Alex senses he knows her. He is curious about Philip’s relationship with the mother and daughter, and Philip explains that he is Miranda’s godfather, and that her real father died before she was born. In the kitchen, Miranda shows Alex her father’s photograph which Corinne keeps inside the refrigerator. Realizing their mutual attraction, Miranda and Alex kiss. When Alex watches Corrine in the garden, he recalls her planting the cherry tree, and also remembers her wedding. After drinking wine at dinner, Alex looks at himself in the mirror and sees Louie’s face. He runs from the house, but Miranda brings him back and allows him to sleep in a spare bedroom. As she tells him about her father, Alex breaks off their kiss, realizing she is his daughter. In the morning, Corinne hurries to work because Alex’s conversation makes her uneasy. Alex goes into Corinne’s bedroom, smells her pillow, and reads her journal. Learning that she she still loves Louie, he goes to the Smithsonian to see her. He overhears Corinne’s boss telling her that the First Ladies Exhibit cannot open without funding, and instructs her to “squeeze” Mavis Talmadge for a donation during that evening’s fund-raising ball. Corinne sees Alex and angrily orders him to leave. Later, Alex asks Philip why he has never expressed his true feelings toward Corinne, and Philip explains that he still respects her relationship with Louie. Alex sees a window display at a bookstore featuring books about past lives. He goes inside and meets a woman who claims she used to be Cleopatra and recognizes that he is similarly reincarnated. At her home, Corinne is shocked to hear Alex play one of Louie’s original compositions on the piano. That night at the ball, Alex woos Mavis Talmadge, and the dowager gives him a check for $2 million. He later visits Corinne’s bedroom and recites a litany of things he knows about her that nobody else could know, and Corinne allows him to kiss her. However, Alex gives her Mavis Talmadge’s check and abruptly leaves. Corinne reviews her treasure box of Louie’s belongings, including the anniversary earrings and small camera that were in his pocket when he died. Hearing Alex at the piano, she rushes to his side and they kiss. Afterward, she retreats to her bedroom alone. Alex finds Miranda waiting in his bed, and orders her to leave. When Corrine tells her psychiatrist, Dr. Bailey, about the new man she met, the doctor is concerned that he is half her age. Driving home, Corinne tosses Louie’s photograph out the window. Alex and Corinne revisit their favorite places together, and Alex proclaims that he wants to start a new family with her. Corinne is overjoyed, until a hot dog vendor mistakes Alex for her son. Meanwhile, Miranda tells Philip that she is in love with Alex. Returning home, Alex and Corinne hurry Philip out the door so they can make love, but Philip returns as they undress, and attacks Alex, calling him a scoundrel. When the younger man knocks Philip unconscious and places him on a couch, Corinne becomes angry and sends Alex to his room. However, she slips a note under his door announcing her plans to come to him at midnight. To set things right, Alex carries Philip to his bed and leaves to sleep at the Lincoln Memorial. When Corinne slips into Alex’s bed, she awakens a surprised Philip, who confesses his love for her. In the morning, Miranda is overjoyed to see her mother and Philip together. She starts her internship for Judge Fenwick, and after realizing he is in love with her, Alex arrives to see Miranda at the courthouse, but seeing the crowded courtroom, Alex shouts that he has photographs of the judge being paid off by Tony Bonino. Federal marshals give chase, and Alex trips and is knocked unconscious. Omar, the limbodrome angel, arrives at his hospital bed to inject him with the overdue memory eraser, and Alex awakens with no recollection of being Louie. In time, Judge Fenwick is indicted, and Ben Bradlee congratulates Alex on breaking the story. Corinne walks down the aisle to marry Philip, and Alex stands beside him as his best man. Later, Alex professes his love for Miranda, and Omar smiles among the guests.

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

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