Star 80 (1983)

R | 109 mins | Biography | 10 November 1983

Director:

Bob Fosse

Writer:

Bob Fosse

Cinematographer:

Sven Nykvist

Editor:

Alan Heim

Production Designers:

Jack G. Taylor Jr., Michael Bolton

Production Company:

The Ladd Company
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HISTORY

The film opens in the aftermath of Paul Snider's murder of Dorothy Stratten. The story unfolds through recollections of the people who knew the couple, and through statements by Stratten during her rise to fame.
       End credits include the following statements: "This film is dedicated to Paddy Chayefsky"; "This motion picture is, in part, a fictionalization of certain events and people involved in the lives of Dorothy Stratten and Paul Snider"; "Special thanks to: Giorgios, Mr. Guy, La Scala."
       A news item in the 5 May 1981 HR announced that writer-director Bob Fosse was developing a screenplay based on the life of the late model and actress, Dorothy Stratten. A television film about Stratten’s life was already in production. Seven months later, the 7 Dec 1981 HR reported Fosse’s plans to begin principal photography in Feb 1982, and his consideration of actress Mariel Hemingway for the lead role. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Hemingway believed she was best suited to play Dorothy Stratten and campaigned heavily for the part, stating her case with letters, telephone messages, and visits to Fosse’s home. She was given the role following her fourth reading. Although Hemingway underwent breast augmentation surgery prior to the start of production, Fosse told the 26 Jan-1 Feb 1984 Hollywood Drama Logue that portraying Stratten was not her sole motivation for having the procedure. He went on to say that actor Eric Roberts had to be convinced to accept the role of Paul Snider, whom he considered unlikeable. The 18 Mar 1982 Rolling Stone confirmed Hemingway as the star, ...

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The film opens in the aftermath of Paul Snider's murder of Dorothy Stratten. The story unfolds through recollections of the people who knew the couple, and through statements by Stratten during her rise to fame.
       End credits include the following statements: "This film is dedicated to Paddy Chayefsky"; "This motion picture is, in part, a fictionalization of certain events and people involved in the lives of Dorothy Stratten and Paul Snider"; "Special thanks to: Giorgios, Mr. Guy, La Scala."
       A news item in the 5 May 1981 HR announced that writer-director Bob Fosse was developing a screenplay based on the life of the late model and actress, Dorothy Stratten. A television film about Stratten’s life was already in production. Seven months later, the 7 Dec 1981 HR reported Fosse’s plans to begin principal photography in Feb 1982, and his consideration of actress Mariel Hemingway for the lead role. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Hemingway believed she was best suited to play Dorothy Stratten and campaigned heavily for the part, stating her case with letters, telephone messages, and visits to Fosse’s home. She was given the role following her fourth reading. Although Hemingway underwent breast augmentation surgery prior to the start of production, Fosse told the 26 Jan-1 Feb 1984 Hollywood Drama Logue that portraying Stratten was not her sole motivation for having the procedure. He went on to say that actor Eric Roberts had to be convinced to accept the role of Paul Snider, whom he considered unlikeable. The 18 Mar 1982 Rolling Stone confirmed Hemingway as the star, referring to the film as The Dorothy Stratten Story.
       Fosse told the 13 Nov 1983 LAT that his friend, writer Paddy Chayefsky, recommended the article, “Death of a Playmate” by Teresa Carpenter, as promising foundation for a film. After reading the first draft of Fosse’s screenplay, Chayefsky advised his friend to complete the script without the help of a collaborator. Director Peter Bogdanovich, who intended to marry Stratten at the time of her murder, was opposed to the project, saying Fosse “didn’t know the true story.” Fosse agreed with Bogdanovich’s premise, but argued that the film was actually about Stratten’s estranged husband, Paul Snider.
       A news item in the 30 Apr 1982 DV speculated that actor Harry Dean Stanton would be cast as Playboy magazine publisher Hugh Hefner. Six weeks later, however, the 15 Jun 1982 HR noted that actor Cliff Robertson was researching the role during visits to Hefner’s mansion in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles, CA.
       Production notes state that preproduction began in Stratten’s hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in Jan 1982. Under the guidance of visual consultant Tony Walton, the film’s construction crew recreated Stratten’s bedroom, her high school gymnasium, and the Dairy Queen restaurant where she met her future husband. When Hefner refused to allow filming at his estate, due to the months required for completion of photography, Walton chose an unoccupied mansion in nearby Pasadena, CA, and built a faithful recreation over a three-months period. Actual Playboy models, known as “Playmates,” were hired for party sequences to add authenticity.
       A Warner Bros. press release, dated 1 Jul 1982, announced the start of principal photography on 6 Jul 1982 in Vancouver. Nearly four months later, a 27 Oct 1982 press release reported the completion of photography, which comprised four weeks in Vancouver and twelve weeks in Los Angeles. Sound stages were provided by Zoetrope Studios. The 26 Oct 1982 DV noted that filming ended three days ahead of schedule, with final scenes shot at Harry Langdon’s Photography & Studio in Los Angeles. Photographer Harry Langdon, Jr., was the son of vaudeville and screen comedian Harry Langdon. Peter Bogdanovich, who was in the process of writing a biography of Dorothy Stratten’s, refused to lend his name to the project and threatened a lawsuit if he found his onscreen counterpart, “Aram Nicholas,” to be objectionable.
       According to the 15 Nov 1983 LAHExam, Warner Bros. chose a “’platform’ release for Star 80, with openings in major cities, starting with sixteen theaters across the U.S. More openings were planned for the Christmas season, followed by a wide release in early 1984 to coincide with the announcement of Academy Award nominations. Opening weekend receipts totaled $233,313, with an average of $14,582 per screen. However, critical response was lukewarm.
       The 27 Oct 1983 LAHExam reported Hugh Hefner’s disappointment with the completed film, which he described as “too shallow.” Nude photographs of Mariel Hemingway, portraying Dorothy Stratten, appeared in the Jan 1984 Playboy.
       Peter Bogdanovich told the 13 Nov 1983 LAT that his opinions of the film would appear in his upcoming book, The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten, 1960-1980, due for publication in 1984. No legal action against the production has been determined.
       Star 80 marked actress Carroll Baker’s first appearance in a Hollywood film since relocating to Europe in 1967.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1984
---
Daily Variety
16 Apr 1982
---
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1982
---
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1982
---
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1983
---
Hollywood Drama Logue
26 Jan-1 Feb 1984
p. 1, 18
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1981
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 1981
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1981
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 1983
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1983
p. 3, 12
LAHExam
27 Oct 1983
p. A2
LAHExam
15 Nov 1983
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Nov 1983
p. 1
Los Angeles Times
13 Nov 1983
p. 21
New York Times
10 Nov 1983
p. 26
Playboy
Dec 1983
p. 32
Rolling Stone
18 Mar 1982
---
Variety
14 Jul 1982
---
Variety
3 Nov 1982
---
Variety
2 Nov 1983
p. 17
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Getaway-prom band:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Bob Fosse film
A Ladd Company Release thru Warner Bros., A Warner Communications Company
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
Still photog
Richmond Aguilar
Gaffer
Spec Playboy photog by
ART DIRECTORS
Visual consultant
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed asst
Ed asst
Ed asst
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Prop master
Const coord
Const coord
Set dresser
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Asst mus ed
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer, Sound One
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des, Movie Titles, Inc.
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Loc mgr
DGA trainee
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation coord
Prod controller
Asst auditor
Asst auditor
Casting Vancouver
Casting Los Angeles
Casting Los Angeles
Casting New York
Dance asst to Mr. Fosse
Asst to producers
Asst to Mr. Fosse
Orthodontic consultant
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based in part on Death of a Playmate by Teresa Carpenter, published in The Village Voice.
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
“Overkill,” music and lyrics by Ralph Burns; “Off Ramp,” music by Ralph Burns, lyrics by Michael Tronick; “Improvise,” music by Ralph Burns, lyrics by Michael Tronick; “Funky,” music and lyrics by Ralph Burns; “Just The Way You Are,” music and lyrics by Billy Joel; “YMCA,” performed by The Village People, courtesy of Polygram Records, Inc./Can’t Stop Productions, Inc.; “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” performed by Rod Stewart, courtesy of Warner Bros Records, Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products; “Let The Good Times Roll,” performed by Shirley and Lee, courtesy of Liberty Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.; “Sookie Sookie,” performed by Steppenwolf, courtesy MCA Records, Inc.; “Up On Cripple Creek,” performed by The Band, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.; “Big Shot,” performed by Billy Joel, courtesy of Columbia Records; “Sing Sing Sing,” performed by Benny Goodman, courtesy of CBS Records
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Dorothy Stratten Story
Release Date:
10 November 1983
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 Nov 1983; Los Angeles opening: 11 Nov 1983
Production Date:
6 Jul--late Oct 1982
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
The Ladd Company
20 January 1984
PA201451
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26722
SYNOPSIS

In 1978 Vancouver, Canada, promoter Paul Snider gazes into a mirror as he practices introducing himself. He is known among local nightclub owners for his exploitation of women, his relentless ambition, and his remarkable talent for remembering people’s names. One evening, upon entering a Dairy Queen restaurant, Paul is transfixed by a beautiful young clerk named Dorothy Stratten. A romance develops, and after several dates, Paul meets Dorothy’s family on the night of her senior prom. Both Dorothy’s brother, George, and her mother dislike Paul, but he succeeds in endearing himself to Dorothy’s youngest sibling, Eileen. At the prom, Dorothy identifies the “jock” to whom she lost her virginity under the influence of alcohol, and Paul furtively jabs him with a penknife. Afterward, Paul takes Dorothy to his apartment and convinces her to pose for semi-nude photographs. He hires a professional photographer, promising him a $1,000 “finder’s fee” if she is offered a contract by Playboy magazine. Paul also hires a second photographer, offering the same terms, and awards him the fee. Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner invites Dorothy to audition in Los Angeles, California, but when her mother refuses to sign the parental consent form, Paul forges her signature. After passing the audition, Dorothy is told that she will be featured as the “centerfold” in the magazine’s August 1979 issue. ...

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In 1978 Vancouver, Canada, promoter Paul Snider gazes into a mirror as he practices introducing himself. He is known among local nightclub owners for his exploitation of women, his relentless ambition, and his remarkable talent for remembering people’s names. One evening, upon entering a Dairy Queen restaurant, Paul is transfixed by a beautiful young clerk named Dorothy Stratten. A romance develops, and after several dates, Paul meets Dorothy’s family on the night of her senior prom. Both Dorothy’s brother, George, and her mother dislike Paul, but he succeeds in endearing himself to Dorothy’s youngest sibling, Eileen. At the prom, Dorothy identifies the “jock” to whom she lost her virginity under the influence of alcohol, and Paul furtively jabs him with a penknife. Afterward, Paul takes Dorothy to his apartment and convinces her to pose for semi-nude photographs. He hires a professional photographer, promising him a $1,000 “finder’s fee” if she is offered a contract by Playboy magazine. Paul also hires a second photographer, offering the same terms, and awards him the fee. Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner invites Dorothy to audition in Los Angeles, California, but when her mother refuses to sign the parental consent form, Paul forges her signature. After passing the audition, Dorothy is told that she will be featured as the “centerfold” in the magazine’s August 1979 issue. With Hugh Hefner’s help, Dorothy secures a job at the local Playboy Club and moves into her own apartment. In Vancouver, Paul has a tryst with an exotic dancer, who suggests that Dorothy may also be having affairs. Fearful of losing her, Paul telephones Dorothy and proposes marriage. He flies to Los Angeles and accompanies her to a party at the Playboy mansion, where he alienates Hugh Hefner with his sycophantic behavior. Dorothy is introduced to film producer Phil Wass, who offers her a small role in the low-budget production, Ball Bearings. When Dorothy informs Hefner of her impending marriage, he advises against it, saying Paul has “the personality of a pimp.” Although Dorothy proceeds with the marriage, Hefner keeps her under contract and sends her on a personal appearance tour. Paul earns a modest living producing a nightclub act comprised of male exotic dancers, while Dorothy appears in another low-budget film, Wednesday’s Child. Paul interrupts the production with a telephone call, and convinces Dorothy to finance his purchases of a Mercedes-Benz sedan, promising to adorn it with a custom license plate that reads, “Star 80.” Unable to afford a home of their own, Paul and Dorothy share a rented house with a young doctor named Geb, who notices Dorothy’s growing disillusionment with Paul. Certain that Dorothy has a bright future as an actress, Hefner convinces acclaimed director Aram Nicholas to cast her in his next picture, to be filmed in New York City. Dorothy worries that Paul will resent her extended absence, but Paul is more concerned with maintaining Dorothy’s celebrity status and gives his consent. Once production is underway, however, Paul suspects Dorothy of sleeping with Aram Nicholas, and hires a private detective to spy on her. Meanwhile, Paul continues to have affairs with other women, such as Billie Joan Worth, whom he seduces with the promise of an audition for Hugh Hefner. Exasperated by Paul’s nightly telephone calls, Dorothy complains to Aram about her husband’s controlling behavior and constant need for validation. The director convinces her to end the marriage, and then seduces her. In Los Angeles, the private detective informs Paul of the affair, advising him to sue Aram for alienation of affection. Paul purchases a shotgun, and wallpapers his bedroom with photographs of him and Dorothy. Geb and his girl friend, Robin, notice Paul’s increasingly erratic behavior, and worry that he may attempt suicide. Upon her return to Los Angeles, Dorothy admits her affair with Aram, but promises Paul continued financial support, while ignoring his pleas to save their marriage. Dorothy agrees to a second meeting with Paul, despite Aram’s advice to avoid him. The private detective equips Paul with a transmitter to wear during the meeting, enabling them to gather evidence for a lawsuit. When the transmitter fails to work, Paul decides to keep his appointment with Dorothy, confident that he and his estranged wife will reconcile. The following afternoon, Dorothy arrives at Paul’s house and promises him $7,000, half of her savings. Paul is insulted by the offer, and threatens to shoot himself after Dorothy refuses to continue their business relationship. When she tries to comfort him, Paul alternately becomes enraged and apologetic. Dorothy offers herself to Paul and they make love, even though he resents her pity. Afterward, Paul places the shotgun to Dorothy’s head and fires. Meanwhile, the private detective attempts to reach Paul by telephone, Aram edits his film, and Hugh Hefner considers Billie Joan Worth as a candidate for a Playboy centerfold. Paul places the gun to his own head, and says, “They won’t forget Paul Snider,” before pulling the trigger.

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

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