The Osterman Weekend (1983)

R | 102 mins | Drama | 4 November 1983

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HISTORY

End credits conclude with the following acknowledgments: “Special thanks to: Andrew Wald, Pioneer Electronics, Trans World Airlines, Mattel Electronics, Dakotah, Inc., Andrea Rabb, JVC Corporation, Dan River, GYYR, Inc., Pelco Corporate Offices, Odetics, Inc., The Winsted Corporation, Toshiba, Bristol-Myers, Ferrero, U.S.A., Inc., Associated Film Promotions, Bell and Howell Corporation, National Tele-Systems and Mitel; Inter Meccanica Roadster provided by ACG, Inc.”
       The 22 Mar 1972 DV announced the planned collaboration by filmmakers William Castle and Walter Seltzer to produce The Osterman Weekend, based on the upcoming novel by Robert Ludlum. The film was to be Castle’s first production for Warner Bros. He and Seltzer’s previous association had been at Columbia Pictures years earlier, when Castle was a dialogue director and Seltzer was a publicist. Veteran writer-director Dalton Trumbo was hired to write the screenplay, according to the 3 Nov 1972 HR.
       The project remained in limbo for six years until the 7 Feb 1979 DV reported that producer Alan Belkin of American Cinema Productions (ACP) hired Paul Aaron as director. The Osterman Weekend was to be ACP’s second production, as stated in the 22 Feb 1979 HR. The 28 Mar 1979 DV announced Alan Trustman as screenwriter, Marc W. Zavat and Larry Jones as producers, and Alan Belkin and Michael Leone of ACP as executive producers. A news item in the 12 Apr 1979 HR stated that a Christmas 1979 release was anticipated. On 5 May 1980, DV reported that Aaron was replaced by Lewis Gilbert, who would produce and direct the $9.5 million picture, ... More Less

End credits conclude with the following acknowledgments: “Special thanks to: Andrew Wald, Pioneer Electronics, Trans World Airlines, Mattel Electronics, Dakotah, Inc., Andrea Rabb, JVC Corporation, Dan River, GYYR, Inc., Pelco Corporate Offices, Odetics, Inc., The Winsted Corporation, Toshiba, Bristol-Myers, Ferrero, U.S.A., Inc., Associated Film Promotions, Bell and Howell Corporation, National Tele-Systems and Mitel; Inter Meccanica Roadster provided by ACG, Inc.”
       The 22 Mar 1972 DV announced the planned collaboration by filmmakers William Castle and Walter Seltzer to produce The Osterman Weekend, based on the upcoming novel by Robert Ludlum. The film was to be Castle’s first production for Warner Bros. He and Seltzer’s previous association had been at Columbia Pictures years earlier, when Castle was a dialogue director and Seltzer was a publicist. Veteran writer-director Dalton Trumbo was hired to write the screenplay, according to the 3 Nov 1972 HR.
       The project remained in limbo for six years until the 7 Feb 1979 DV reported that producer Alan Belkin of American Cinema Productions (ACP) hired Paul Aaron as director. The Osterman Weekend was to be ACP’s second production, as stated in the 22 Feb 1979 HR. The 28 Mar 1979 DV announced Alan Trustman as screenwriter, Marc W. Zavat and Larry Jones as producers, and Alan Belkin and Michael Leone of ACP as executive producers. A news item in the 12 Apr 1979 HR stated that a Christmas 1979 release was anticipated. On 5 May 1980, DV reported that Aaron was replaced by Lewis Gilbert, who would produce and direct the $9.5 million picture, with a screenplay by Tracy Keenan Wynn, who replaced Trustman. Gilbert was scouting locations at the time of the article. According to the 17 Jun 1980 HR, Gilbert began pre-production and casting in Los Angeles, CA. Principal photography was scheduled for late summer 1980 in Toronto, Canada, and New York City.
       Eighteen months later, the 24 Dec 1981 DV reported that ACP brought a $1,668,778 lawsuit against producers Zavat and Jones for failing to produce The Osterman Weekend. Other plaintiffs included ACP affiliates American Cinema Group, Inc., and Motion Picture Investment Fund 1978. According to the suit, the producers sold film rights for the novel in 1978, and agreed to reimburse ACP if the project was either made by another company or if production wasn’t underway by “a certain date.” On 25 Sep 1980, ACP “exercised its option,” and in Nov 1981 billed the producers for more than $1.6 million, to be paid within the next five days. The bill enumerated ACP’s expenses for the aborted production, including $500,000 for development of the screenplay, production costs of more than $109,000, $719,000 in directors’ salaries, and the remainder for office staff and expenses. ACP had reportedly gone out of business, following a series of commercially unsuccessful releases. The outcome of the suit has not been determined.
       On 30 Mar 1982, HR reported that Zavat and Jones hired Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer as the film’s new producers, with Sam Peckinpah as director. The $10 million production was represented worldwide by J&M Film Sales Ltd, which announced 27 Sep 1982 as the start of principal photography, in the 11 May 1982 HR. The 21 Jul 1982 Var stated that J&M accumulated $6 million, approximately eighty-five percent of the production budget, through advance sales to foreign markets in Europe, South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Principal photography finally got underway 14 Oct 1982, as reported that day in HR. The film was Peckinpah’s first “full-scale directorial effort” in over six years, although he had recently served as second-unit director on Jinxed (1982, see entry).
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that The Osterman Weekend was the first successful film adaptation of a Ludlum novel, although screenwriter Alan Sharp admitted that, unlike the original story, the finished product was “more of a satire on the media,” with its focus on surveillance and television. Actress Cassie Yates complimented Peckinpah for allowing her and co-star Helen Shaver to develop their supporting roles beyond the confines of the screenplay through improvisation. Peckinpah worked closely with director of photography John Coquillon and stunt coordinator Thomas J. Huff to develop elaborate stunt sequences, some of which required as many as five cameras. However, Peckinpah complained to the 13 Nov 1983 SFChron that he had “literally no creative control.” Though he claimed to be satisfied with the final edit, he lamented the removal of a humorous sequence he intended to counterbalance the violent content.
       The 17 Jan 1983 HR announced completion of principal photography, which took place in Los Angeles. Twentieth Century-Fox Pictures acquired domestic distribution rights, according to a studio press release dated 1 Jul 1983. As stated in a 24 Oct 1983 studio press release, the film opened 4 Nov 1983 at the Avco Westwood and Hollywood Pacific theaters, as well as other locations throughout Southern California. Reviews were mixed. An article in the 7 Sep 2010 DV revealed that, due to Peckinpah’s uncompromising nature, the producers re-edited the film prior to release without the director’s cooperation. The Osterman Weekend was Peckinpah's last feature film.
       Davis began work on a proposed remake for Summit Entertainment and executive producer Henry Morrison, with a screenplay by Jesse Wigutow. Also involved were Simon Kinberg of Genre Films, Jeffrey Weiner of Ludlum Entertainment, and Doug Liman. Production was to begin in 2007 with Kinburg as director, but he was later replaced by Robert Schwentke. The remake has not been produced as of 2014. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1972.
---
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1979.
---
Daily Variety
28 Mar 1979.
---
Daily Variety
5 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
24 Dec 1981.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1982.
---
Daily Variety
7 Sep 2010.
---
Entertainment World
31 Mar 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1983
p. 3, 30.
Los Angeles Times
4 Aug 1982
p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 1983
p. 14.
New York Times
4 Nov 1983
p. 11.
San Francisco Chronicle
13 Nov 1983.
---
Variety
14 Feb 1979.
---
Variety
23 Jul 1980.
---
Variety
30 Dec 1981.
---
Variety
21 Jul 1982.
---
Variety
26 Jan 1983.
---
Variety
1 Jun 1983.
---
Variety
5 Oct 1983
p. 20, 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Michael Timothy Murphy and Guy Collins present
A Davis-Panzer Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Dir, 2nd unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Video coord
Best boy
Key grip
Spec photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Asst to the art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Visual consultant
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Key cost
Asst cost
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus mixer
Elec mus asst
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Titles by
Opt eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Public relations
Unit pub
International dist consultant
Prod's representative
International dist
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc mgr
Asst to the prods
Asst to Mr. Peckinpah
Asst to Mr. Peckinpah
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Welfare worker
Animal trainer
Cine Guarantors representative
Asst to Patricia Roedig
Promotional services by
Promotional services by
Computerized accounting system by
Computer programmer
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Osterman Weekend by Robert Ludlum (New York, 1972).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 November 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 November 1983
Production Date:
14 October 1982--mid January 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Osterman Weekend Associates
Copyright Date:
19 December 1983
Copyright Number:
PA203871
Physical Properties:
Sound
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In Washington, D.C., Maxwell Danforth, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and his associate, Walter Stennings, discuss agent Lawrence Fassett, whose wife, a Polish spy, was recently murdered by the organization. In his search for the killers, Fassett discovered a Russian chemical weapons project, code named “Omega,” to be unleashed on the United States by agent Andrei Mikalovich, with the help of three Americans: stock manipulator Joseph Cardone, plastic surgeon Richard Tremayne, and television writer Bernard Osterman. Fassett intends to recruit political commentator John Tanner, a close friend of the three, to convince one of them to betray the Russians. While Danforth endorses Fassett’s plan, Stennings worries that the agent’s unstable behavior may reflect badly on both the CIA and Danforth, who plans to run for the presidency. Danforth arranges to meet John Tanner in a warehouse, but sends Fassett in his place. The agent shows Tanner surveillance footage of Joseph, Richard, and Bernard speaking to Russian agents Mikalovich and Petrov. Fassett knows of the weekend reunion Tanner is hosting for his friends, and suggests he use the opportunity to serve his country. This will be the seventh such reunion, known among the group as “Ostermans.” Although Tanner believes his friends may be traitors, he is unwilling to cooperate, until Danforth appears and coerces him to accept the assignment, on condition that Danforth submit to a hostile interview on Tanner’s television show. Meanwhile, Richard, Bernard, and Joseph receive mysterious messages, indicating that an outsider is aware of their covert activities. They meet with Mikalovich, who suggests John Tanner is the culprit. As the weekend approaches, John arranges a ... +


In Washington, D.C., Maxwell Danforth, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and his associate, Walter Stennings, discuss agent Lawrence Fassett, whose wife, a Polish spy, was recently murdered by the organization. In his search for the killers, Fassett discovered a Russian chemical weapons project, code named “Omega,” to be unleashed on the United States by agent Andrei Mikalovich, with the help of three Americans: stock manipulator Joseph Cardone, plastic surgeon Richard Tremayne, and television writer Bernard Osterman. Fassett intends to recruit political commentator John Tanner, a close friend of the three, to convince one of them to betray the Russians. While Danforth endorses Fassett’s plan, Stennings worries that the agent’s unstable behavior may reflect badly on both the CIA and Danforth, who plans to run for the presidency. Danforth arranges to meet John Tanner in a warehouse, but sends Fassett in his place. The agent shows Tanner surveillance footage of Joseph, Richard, and Bernard speaking to Russian agents Mikalovich and Petrov. Fassett knows of the weekend reunion Tanner is hosting for his friends, and suggests he use the opportunity to serve his country. This will be the seventh such reunion, known among the group as “Ostermans.” Although Tanner believes his friends may be traitors, he is unwilling to cooperate, until Danforth appears and coerces him to accept the assignment, on condition that Danforth submit to a hostile interview on Tanner’s television show. Meanwhile, Richard, Bernard, and Joseph receive mysterious messages, indicating that an outsider is aware of their covert activities. They meet with Mikalovich, who suggests John Tanner is the culprit. As the weekend approaches, John arranges a vacation for his wife, Ali, and son, Steve, hoping to keep them out of danger. However, when an attempt is made to kidnap them, Tanner cancels the trip, entrusting Fassett with their safety. Fassett, accompanied by a team of CIA agents, installs an elaborate surveillance and communications system in the Tanner home, controlled from a trailer in a remote location adjacent to the property. Despite their distrust of Tanner, the three friends proceed with their weekend plans. Bernard arrives Friday evening, as do Joseph and Richard, with their wives, Betty and Virginia. After dinner, Tanner speaks to Fassett via closed-circuit television in the kitchen, while the others watch a videotape of previous reunion parties. The videotape concludes with the word “Omega,” prompting the men to confront Tanner, who claims no responsibility for the title. All accept his explanation, although Joseph remains suspicious. The next day, Joseph kicks the Tanners’ dog, then tries to drown John Tanner during a game of water polo. Betty begs her husband to stop, while Virginia encourages him. The mood remains tense during dinner, as Virginia Tremayne inhales cocaine and accuses Tanner of interrogating his friends, just as he does the guests on his television program. Fassett adds to the tension by activating a television set and broadcasting a short documentary about Swiss banks and money laundering. When Virginia urges the men to physically attack John Tanner, Ali strikes her with a dinner plate. Joseph and Richard break up the fight and the two couples retire to their rooms, while Bernard admonishes Tanner for his perceived cruelty. Ali Tanner is furious with her husband and demands to know the purpose of his “mind games.” Meanwhile, Steve Tanner enters the kitchen and opens the refrigerator to find the severed head of a dog. His screams attract his parents, as well as the guests. All are horrified until Bernard Osterman realizes the head is a reproduction. John Tanner orders his guests out of the house by morning, then goes outside, purportedly to search for the dog, with Bernard secretly following at a distance. Joseph and Richard decide to question Ali Tanner on John’s intentions, but she senses danger and escapes with Steve through a window. John makes his way to Fassett’s trailer and begs the agent to release him from his obligation. When Bernard dispatches a CIA agent using martial arts, Fassett orders his men to kill the intruder on sight. Meanwhile, the other guests try to leave but find the garage locked. In desperation, they steal the Tanners’ camper van. John Tanner returns to the empty house, followed by Bernard, and a fistfight ensues. Bernard subdues Tanner, expressing outrage at his friend’s accusation of treason, but admits to being involved in a money-laundering scheme. Fassett appears on television and reveals the Omega project to be a fabrication. He taunts Bernard and Tanner with a broadcast from the interior of the van while threatening to kill their friends. On a two-way television monitor inside the van, Virginia Tremayne and Betty Cardone observe Tanner holding a sign, which reads, “Get out now.” Before the passengers reach the exit, the van explodes. John and Bernard escape to the pool house as agents descend on the property. Tanner arms himself with a crossbow, and he and Bernard dive into the pool to evade detection. Agents fire on the pool, then gasoline is poured over the water and set ablaze by Mikalovich, who is in league with Fassett. Tanner and Bernard escape the flames, and Mikalovich is killed with a crossbow arrow. When the men return to the house, Lawrence Fassett appears on the television, informing them that he has abducted Ali and Steve Tanner. He promises to release them if John Tanner exposes Maxwell Danforth as a murderer. On the set of his television show, Tanner videotapes the opening and closing of the show, as well as the questions intended for his guests. Later, Danforth responds to the questions on camera from his office, unaware that he is speaking to a prerecorded image. Fassett joins the broadcast from his trailer, and shows the surveillance video of his wife’s murder. John Tanner bursts into the trailer and demands the return of his family. Fassett refuses and draws his pistol, but Tanner shoots first and kills the agent, then rescues his wife and son, who are imprisoned in a shipping container. At the studio, Tanner describes what the audience has seen as a “life-size” video game. He challenges the viewers to turn off their televisions, though he doubts they will comply. +

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

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