Farewell to the King (1989)

PG-13 | 114 mins | Adventure, Drama | 3 March 1989

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HISTORY

The 30 Sep 1971 HR reported that producer Robert Dorfman had signed actor Donald Sutherland to star in the movie version of Pierre Schoendoerffer’s 1969 novel, L'adieu au roi. which Schoendoerffer would direct. Dorfman and Sutherland did not remain with the project, and Schoendoerferr was replaced by John Milus.
       The 4 Feb 1987 DV reported that the film’s $16-million budget was financed by two European banks, Holland’s Pierson, Heldring, and Person and Hill Samuel from the United Kingdom as well as a group of investors from the Far East.
       A 1 Sep 1987 HR production chart reported that principal photography began 24 Aug 1987 in Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia. The shooting schedule was between twelve and fourteen weeks long, according to an 18 Aug 1987 HR item.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that Malaysian locations included the 1878 Fort Margherita and the Sarawak Museum in the state capital of Kuching.
       The script called for a Westland Lysander, a World War II British monoplane, but when none could be found, art director Bernard Hides used a book on classic aircraft to build one. He and his crew took fourteen weeks to complete it, and though the airplane was unable to fly, it could taxi.
       The 278-foot longhouse set was built by native tribesmen. When excessive rain collapsed it, a replacement was built at another location for $200,000.
       The Malaysian Air Commandos doubled for Haver’s men when they parachuted into the jungle.
       During filming, actor Nick Nolte, who had already lost weight to play the role of “Learoyd,” dropped another thirty pounds after contracting dysentery, food poisoning, and a ... More Less

The 30 Sep 1971 HR reported that producer Robert Dorfman had signed actor Donald Sutherland to star in the movie version of Pierre Schoendoerffer’s 1969 novel, L'adieu au roi. which Schoendoerffer would direct. Dorfman and Sutherland did not remain with the project, and Schoendoerferr was replaced by John Milus.
       The 4 Feb 1987 DV reported that the film’s $16-million budget was financed by two European banks, Holland’s Pierson, Heldring, and Person and Hill Samuel from the United Kingdom as well as a group of investors from the Far East.
       A 1 Sep 1987 HR production chart reported that principal photography began 24 Aug 1987 in Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia. The shooting schedule was between twelve and fourteen weeks long, according to an 18 Aug 1987 HR item.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that Malaysian locations included the 1878 Fort Margherita and the Sarawak Museum in the state capital of Kuching.
       The script called for a Westland Lysander, a World War II British monoplane, but when none could be found, art director Bernard Hides used a book on classic aircraft to build one. He and his crew took fourteen weeks to complete it, and though the airplane was unable to fly, it could taxi.
       The 278-foot longhouse set was built by native tribesmen. When excessive rain collapsed it, a replacement was built at another location for $200,000.
       The Malaysian Air Commandos doubled for Haver’s men when they parachuted into the jungle.
       During filming, actor Nick Nolte, who had already lost weight to play the role of “Learoyd,” dropped another thirty pounds after contracting dysentery, food poisoning, and a parasitic infection. Fearing principal photography would not be completed before the annual monsoon rains, Nolte refused to go to the hospital and continued acting for ten days while undergoing a heavy antibiotic regime.
       A 4 Jan 1988 DV brief reported that due to the dropping value of the U. S. dollar in relation to the British pound, plans to edit the film in England were canceled.
       A 29 Feb 1989 DV column announced that producers André Morgan and Al Ruddy had filed a federal lawsuit against Interaccess Film Distribution (IFD) for injunctive relief and undefined monetary damages. The producers had attempted to cancel their contract with IFD and its parent company, Vestron, when IFD’s Gregory Cascante, who a key clause in the contract guaranteed would personally to oversee distribution for Farewell to the King, left the company. At that time, Vestron informed Morgan and Ruddy that it would take over distribution in foreign markets. However, Vestron was not a distribution company, and the producers did want then handling the film. Also, they claimed that IFD delayed video distribution rights to steer the deal to Vestron. The 2 Nov 1988 Var reported that an out-of-court settlement was reached with Vestron retaining foreign distribution rights.
       The following prologue appears before opening credits: “The Coast of Borneo - April 1942. Shortly after the fall of the Philippines the Japanese are triumphant in the Pacific.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers, cast and crew wish to thank the people of Sarawak and all those who made this film possible. With Special thanks to: Malaysian Airlines; The Tourist Development Corporation of Malaysia; Chief Minister’s Office (Sarawak), YAR Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, YB. Datuk Amar Jahi Bujang Mohb Nor, YB. Datuk Haji Safri Awang Zaidell; Ministry of Environment and Tourism, YB. Datuk Amar James Wong, Dennis Hon, Dr. Paul Chai; Royal Malaysian Customs and Excise, Madehi Hjkolek; Department of Agriculture, Joseph Kong; Kuching Port Authority, Tan Seleong (Chairman), Duke Shim (Gen. Manager); Department of Civil Aviation, Noel Tan; Syarikat Telekom Malaysia BHD, Christopher Sim, Maggie Ong; Public Works Department, Michael Parker; Haram District Office, David Kalla; Sarawak Museum, Lucas Chin, Peter Kedit; Royal Malaysian Police, YB. Datuk Mohd Yassin Jafaar, Jamil Mohamed (DCP), Charles Chin (Supt.) Abang Idris Bin Suhai (Supt.); Marine Department, Bernard Jiggy, Alwie Wabie; Department of Forest, Leo Chai; Royal Malaysian Air Force, Brig. Gen (Udara) Huang Chiew Siong, Maj. Benjamin Young; Immigration Department (Sarawak), Ramli Adros Yahya, Charles De Rozario; Kuching Municipal Council, Mayor Song Swee Guan; The Malaysian Army, Maj. Gen. Dato’ Haji Mustaffa Awang, Brig. Gen. Ron Mahendran, Lt. Col. Wee Cheye Tuan; Kuching Rural District Council, Lim Thian Seng (Chairman); Royal Malaysian Marine Police, Supt. Abang Hussaini Bin Tan Sri, Datuk Amar Haji Ekhwan; Sarawak Tourist Assocition, En. Mohd Effendi Norwawi, Caroline Goh; Telecommunications Department (Sarawak), Jerat Hujang.” There is also a “Thanks to Hui O He’e Nalu.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 Feb 1987.
---
Daily Variety
4 Jan 1988.
---
Daily Variety
29 Feb 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 1989
p. 4, 81.
Los Angeles Times
3 Mar 1989
p. 8.
New York Times
3 Mar 1989
p. 23.
Variety
2 Nov 1988.
---
Variety
15 Feb 1989
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Orion Pictures Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
"A" cam op
"A" cam first asst
"A" cam clapper/loader
"B" cam op
"B" cam first asst
"B" cam clapper/loader
Cable man
Gaffer
Best boy
Generator op
Grip
Still photog
Dir photog, 2d unit
Cam 1st asst, 2d unit
Cam clapper/loader, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Dir of photog, Spec water unit Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Addl cam equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept runner
Art dept runner
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Asst set dresser
Standby prop man
Asst prop man
Asst standby prop
Asst standby prop
Const mgr
Const supv
Asst prop maker
Asst prop maker
Armourer
Asst armourer
Asst armourer
Asst armourer
Asst armourer
Scenic artist
Asst scenic artist
Painter
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Standby ward
Standby ward
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus rec eng
Mus mixer
Mus supv, for Buttermilk Sky Associates, Inc.
Mus supv, for Buttermilk Sky Associates, Inc.
SOUND
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Foley walker
Foley walker
Dial mixer
Eff mixer
Re-rec at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Model aircraft supv/Eng
Titles and optical eff by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Mr. Nolte's makeup
Makeup artist
Mr. Nolte's hair stylist
Hair dresser
Asst makeup & hair dresser
Asst makeup & hair dresser
Asst makeup & hair dresser
Asst makeup & hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod mgr
Loc prod mgr
Exec in charge of prod
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
Prod coord
Continuity
Model aircraft pilot
Unit pub
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Asst auditor
Loc mgr
Loc mgr, Spec water unit Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Loc mgr, Spec water unit Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Cine loc secy
Cine loc secy
Loc liaison
Loc liaison
Asst to Andre Morgan & Al Roddy
Asst to John Milius
Asst to John Milius
Asst to Nick Nolte
Asst to Elliot Schick
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Sydney liaison
Office runner
Office runner
Office runner
Crew doctor
Set nurse
Set nurse
Caterer
Extras casting
Extras casting asst
Extras casting asst
Japanese military adv
Dyak customs adv
Dyak customs adv
Security adv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Los Angeles runner
Prod services in Malaysia supplied by
Prod services in Australia supplied by
Australian freight coord
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunts, Spec water unit Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Stunts, Spec water unit Waimea Bay, Hawaii
COLOR PERSONNEL
Timer
Laboratory processing by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel L'adieu au roi by Pierre Schoendoerffer (Paris, 1969).
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 March 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 March 1989
Production Date:
24 August - 15 November 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Film Plan Financing Number I, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 May 1989
Copyright Number:
PA470698
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® in selected theaters
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Cameras by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
114
Length(in feet):
10,524
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1942, Learoyd and four other American soldiers flee from the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, and their lifeboat washes up on the coast of Borneo. One of them has died on the voyage, and three survivors surrender to the Japanese, but Learoyd runs into the jungle. He watches as Japanese soldiers execute his friends. Learoyd tries to shoot an officer, Colonel Mitamura, but his hands shake too hard for him to aim and fire. He retreats into the bush. Two years later, a British officer, Special Operations Captain Nigel Fairborn, and his assistant, Sergeant Lawrence Tenga, parachute into Borneo and are shocked to be greeted by Gwai, a Dayak headhunter, who speaks English and claims to be a “Comanche.” Gwai takes the soldiers to his village and presents them to Learoyd, now king of the Dayaks. Fairborn tells Learoyd that his mission is to recruit tribes to fight a guerrilla campaign against the Japanese, but Learoyd refuses to get involved. He explains to Fairborn that after he fled into the rain forest, he was captured by Gwai, who took him to Lian, the tribal leader. Lian wanted to sell him to the Japanese, but Learoyd’s blues eyes and dragon tattoo so fascinated the tribe’s women that they insisted he be spared. Lian’s sister, Yoo, nursed him back to health and they fell in love. After a year of learning the tribe’s language and customs, the American challenged Lian to a fight to the death, and won. As the new Dayak king, Learoyd united forty-five warring tribes and married Yoo. He rebuffs Captain Fairborn because he fears that any contact with the outside world will taint the natives’ purity ... +


In 1942, Learoyd and four other American soldiers flee from the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, and their lifeboat washes up on the coast of Borneo. One of them has died on the voyage, and three survivors surrender to the Japanese, but Learoyd runs into the jungle. He watches as Japanese soldiers execute his friends. Learoyd tries to shoot an officer, Colonel Mitamura, but his hands shake too hard for him to aim and fire. He retreats into the bush. Two years later, a British officer, Special Operations Captain Nigel Fairborn, and his assistant, Sergeant Lawrence Tenga, parachute into Borneo and are shocked to be greeted by Gwai, a Dayak headhunter, who speaks English and claims to be a “Comanche.” Gwai takes the soldiers to his village and presents them to Learoyd, now king of the Dayaks. Fairborn tells Learoyd that his mission is to recruit tribes to fight a guerrilla campaign against the Japanese, but Learoyd refuses to get involved. He explains to Fairborn that after he fled into the rain forest, he was captured by Gwai, who took him to Lian, the tribal leader. Lian wanted to sell him to the Japanese, but Learoyd’s blues eyes and dragon tattoo so fascinated the tribe’s women that they insisted he be spared. Lian’s sister, Yoo, nursed him back to health and they fell in love. After a year of learning the tribe’s language and customs, the American challenged Lian to a fight to the death, and won. As the new Dayak king, Learoyd united forty-five warring tribes and married Yoo. He rebuffs Captain Fairborn because he fears that any contact with the outside world will taint the natives’ purity of spirit. When Fairborn radios his supervisors, they order him to exploit Learoyd until soldiers arrive to arrest him for desertion. Yoo overhears Fairborn’s call. The next day, a Japanese airplane bombs the village, killing a dozen people. Learoyd agrees to help Fairborn if he arranges a treaty with the Allies that guarantees the tribe’s autonomy. British airplanes drop weapons, along with four commandos, and the tribesmen become proficient in modern warfare. Weeks into training, a disagreement arises over a woman dying in childbirth. It is traditional to sacrifice the child for the mother, but when the father, Gwai, refuses, the mother’s tribe threatens to start a war. Learoyd decrees that, being from neither tribe, he will kill the child himself, thus preventing any tribal blood vengeance, but when the infant is brought to him, he declares it as his own. Impressed, Fairborn compliments Learoyd as being a true king. Days later, Fairborn leads a scouting party that stumbles into a group of Japanese soldiers. In the chaos, Fairborn, suffering malaria, gets lost and passes out on a road. Learoyd rescues him and, as Colonel Mitamura charges on horseback brandishing a sword, Learoyd carries Fairborn into the jungle and back to camp. When a small airplane arrives to pick up the captain, he promises Learoyd he will negotiate a treaty between the British and the Dayaks. Flown to the Dutch Indies, Fairborn is greeted by his fiancée, Vivienne, who asks about the fabled “White King.” Fairborn declares that Learoyd is in fact a “real king.” Although his superior, Colonel Ferguson, refuses to negotiate with savages, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific, agrees to the treaty. When Fairborn returns to Borneo, and with Learoyd’s guidance, the confederation of tribes overcomes most of the Japanese forces, but Colonel Mitamura and his men escape. In the ensuing guerrilla war, Mitamura’s soldiers burn villages and resort to cannibalism to stay alive. When they attack Learoyd’s village, Yoo tries to fend them off with old men who were left to protect women and children, but despite the toll they take on the Japanese, they are killed and their bodies piled in Learoyd’s throne room. When he finds Yoo dead, Learoyd declares that blood must be answered with blood. He and the remaining tribesmen massacre a group of Japanese, but Learoyd is so stunned by the enormity of the slaughter, he vows never again to raise a hand against another man. Later, Fairborn hears a radio broadcast announcing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Moments later, Japanese survivors attack. Fairborn is wounded, and as he staggers into the jungle crying for Learoyd, he loses consciousness. Three weeks later, Fairborn awakens in an Army hospital with Vivienne by his side. She informs him the war is over. In the jungle, the bedraggled Colonel Mitamura surrenders his few remaining men to Learoyd, who treats them with respect. The British refuse to honor their treaty with the Dayaks, and Ferguson is ordered to bomb the tribesmen into submission. However, Fairborn arranges with Learoyd to exchange his freedom for a British promise to leave the tribesmen alone. Weeks later, when Fairborn discovers that the American prisoner is being taken to the Philippines for a court martial, he allows him to escape into another jungle. +

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

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