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HISTORY

As stated in a 16 Jan 1991 Time Out (London) feature, the film was inspired by a recurring nightmare that writer/director Steve De Jarnatt had in which he was the first to hear of an approaching nuclear apocalypse. He wrote the screenplay in 1978 for Warner Bros., then optioned it for himself. A year later, Jarnatt was offered $400,000 for the script, to be directed by someone else. Instead, Jarnatt bought the script for $25,000. He raised the money by writing the screenplay for Strange Brew (1983, see entry). However, it was not until 13 Apr 1988 that principal photography got underway. Shooting concluded on 4 Jun 1988 as stated in production notes.
       According to a 21 Oct 1988 L. A. Weekly article, Orion Pictures Corporation was thinking of making the film with actor Kurt Russell in the starring role. They eventually passed on the project because Orion chairman, Arthur Krim, served as a negotiator at the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks and insisted the U.S. would never strike first with nuclear weapons.
       Filming took place mostly at night on Wilshire Boulevard and adjacent areas, including: Pan-Pacific Bank, Paige Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Carnation Building, the Park La Brea Apartments, the Mutual Benefit Life Building and Johnnie’s Coffee Shop at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.
       The production budget was $4 million, as stated in L. A. Weekly.
       The picture had not yet secured a national release when De Jarnatt paid to take it to the Toronto Festival of Festivals in Toronto, Canada.
       The following statements appear in end credits: “The ... More Less

As stated in a 16 Jan 1991 Time Out (London) feature, the film was inspired by a recurring nightmare that writer/director Steve De Jarnatt had in which he was the first to hear of an approaching nuclear apocalypse. He wrote the screenplay in 1978 for Warner Bros., then optioned it for himself. A year later, Jarnatt was offered $400,000 for the script, to be directed by someone else. Instead, Jarnatt bought the script for $25,000. He raised the money by writing the screenplay for Strange Brew (1983, see entry). However, it was not until 13 Apr 1988 that principal photography got underway. Shooting concluded on 4 Jun 1988 as stated in production notes.
       According to a 21 Oct 1988 L. A. Weekly article, Orion Pictures Corporation was thinking of making the film with actor Kurt Russell in the starring role. They eventually passed on the project because Orion chairman, Arthur Krim, served as a negotiator at the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks and insisted the U.S. would never strike first with nuclear weapons.
       Filming took place mostly at night on Wilshire Boulevard and adjacent areas, including: Pan-Pacific Bank, Paige Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Carnation Building, the Park La Brea Apartments, the Mutual Benefit Life Building and Johnnie’s Coffee Shop at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.
       The production budget was $4 million, as stated in L. A. Weekly.
       The picture had not yet secured a national release when De Jarnatt paid to take it to the Toronto Festival of Festivals in Toronto, Canada.
       The following statements appear in end credits: “The producers & director wish to thank: Kate Sibley, the Page Museum - a unit of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, California Federal Savings & Loan, May Company, the Milton Meyer Company, Yvonne Davi, Kelly DaMota, Dorian Langdon, Monica Froese, Toni Obee, Pacific Busing, Anna St. Johns, Dynamation Company, Kornwasser and Friedman Propeties, Hang Ten Sportswear and Swimwear, the Miracle Mile Civic Coalition, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Yamaha, Robert Davi, David Eidenberg, Toni Harris, Peter Turner, Sherman Labby, Danna Ruscha, Maureen Duffy, Ellie Pecha, Larry Wayne, Karen Agee, Wendy Kurtzman, Jon Leddy, Michael Zelazo, Gilbert Costa Nunes, Dave Hewitt, Sharon Bernhardt, Kelly Zirbes, Alvah Chisholm Halle, Scott Kramer, David Snyder, Stephen Dane, David Nichols, Sean Haworth, Steve Rubello, Mark Rosenberg, Jim Berkus, David Blocker, Andy Rigrod, Shelly Surpin, Ian Fuller, Jessica Cohen, Jennifer Mayo, Stephen Goldblatt, Amy Ness, Arlie and Donna Dejarnatt, Marilyn Ritner, Leslie Leitner, Alexandra Shaftel, Abe Pearlstein, Yurig Walther, Jeff Rosen, Catherine Roehl, Beth Tate, Elissa Bello, “The Vol,” Craig Boyajian, Sheri Hooper, Kenny Husted, Sync Lock Video”; “This film is dedicated to Doctor Biobrain”; and “Filmed entirely on location in Los Angeles, California by Miracle Mile Productions, Inc.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 1989
p. 4, 10.
LA Weekly
21 Oct 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 May 1989
p. 13.
New York Times
19 May 1989
p. 16.
Time Out (London)
16 Jan 1991.
pg. 7
Variety
3 Jun 1987.
---
Variety
7 Sep 1988
p. 34, 40.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
John Daly and Derek Gibson present for
Hemdale Film Corporation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Video playback
Addl cam asst
Best boy elec
Elec
Elec
Key grip
Dolly grip
Best boy grip
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam ast
Dir of photog, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Addl photog by, 2d unit
Addl photog by, 2d unit
Addl photog by, 2d unit
Spec eff cam op, 2d unit
Addl cam asst, 2d unit
Addl cam asst, 2d unit
Loc lighting and grip equip supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Prod illustrator
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Art dir, 2d unit
Art dir, 2d unit
Asst art dir, 2d unit
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Addl const
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Leadman
Lead person, Ohrbach's
Swing gang
Swing gang
On set dresser
On set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
2nd asst to prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Const elec
Standby const
Set const
Set const
Set const
Set const
Set const
Set const
Addl const
Addl const
Const welder
Prop maker
Prop maker
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Addl scenic artist
Addl scenic artist
Painter
Set dec, 2d unit
Set dec, 2d unit
Leadman, 2d unit
Props, 2d unit
Scenic artist, 2d unit
Set dresser, 2d unit
Set dresser, 2d unit
Set dresser, 2d unit
Set dresser, 2d unit
Set dresser, 2d unit
Set dresser, 2d unit
Set dresser, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Assoc cost des
Set costumer
MUSIC
Mus mixer
Addl mus courtesy
Mus ed
Tangerine Dream are
Tangerine Dream are
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
ADR supv
Foley ed
Sd mixer, 2d unit
Sd mixer, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Visual eff supv
Visual eff supv
Process projection
Process coord
Title des
Titles and opticals
Titles and opticals
Titles and opticals
Spec eff, 2d unit
MAKEUP
Makeup des
Key hairdresser
Hair and Makeup asst
Hair and Makeup asst
Hair and Makeup asst
Completion bond by
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod supv
Prod accountant
Loc mgrs
Asst prod coord
Asst prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Cottle
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Video prod supv
Helicopter pilot
Aerial coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Transportation driver
Extra casting
Animal wrangler
Craft service
First aid
2d unit supv
2d unit supv
Pub consultant
Prod attorney
Insurance provided by
Completion bond by
Cosmos footage courtesy by
Motion picture banking by
Motion picture banking by, Credit Lyonnais Bank Ne
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
ANIMATION
Addl anim supplied by
Addl anim supplied by, Available Light
COLOR PERSONNEL
Process projection
Process coord
Col by
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 May 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 19 May 1989
Production Date:
13 April--4 June 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Hemdale Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
26 October 1989
Copyright Number:
PA435919
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Lenses
Camera and lenses supplied by Max Penner with Moviecam Super Rental
Duration(in mins):
88
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28880
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

By chance, musician Harry Washello meets waitress Julie Peters at the La Brea Tar Pits museum. After a day of romance that includes taking Julie’s grandfather, Ivan, to listen to Harry play an outdoor jazz concert, they arrive at the La Brea apartment complex to find Lucy, Julie’s grandmother, waiting. Upon seeing Ivan, Lucy walks away. Julie explains that they have not talked to each other after an argument fifteen years earlier. Since Harry is leaving the next day, he and Julie make plans to meet after her shift as a waitress at Johnnie’s Diner. They share a kiss, and Julie promises sex on the third date. Harry goes to his hotel, lights a cigarette, takes one puff and throws it off his balcony, where a crow retrieves it and takes it to her nest on the hotel’s high voltage lines. The nest bursts into flames, knocking out the hotel’s electrical power. Unaware of this development, Harry takes a nap and oversleeps. Julie waits for an hour before deciding Harry is a no-show. When Harry wakes up and realizes he is late, he rushes to Johnnie’s and begs a waitress to give him Julie’s telephone number. As he enters a telephone booth, the telephone rings. He answers it to hear a panicking man screaming that the U.S. is launching nuclear missiles in one hour. The man identifies himself as Chip and explains that he is calling form a North Dakota missile silo, trying to reach his father. However, he got the wrong area code. Harry hears gunshots and Chip screams. Another voice comes on ... +


By chance, musician Harry Washello meets waitress Julie Peters at the La Brea Tar Pits museum. After a day of romance that includes taking Julie’s grandfather, Ivan, to listen to Harry play an outdoor jazz concert, they arrive at the La Brea apartment complex to find Lucy, Julie’s grandmother, waiting. Upon seeing Ivan, Lucy walks away. Julie explains that they have not talked to each other after an argument fifteen years earlier. Since Harry is leaving the next day, he and Julie make plans to meet after her shift as a waitress at Johnnie’s Diner. They share a kiss, and Julie promises sex on the third date. Harry goes to his hotel, lights a cigarette, takes one puff and throws it off his balcony, where a crow retrieves it and takes it to her nest on the hotel’s high voltage lines. The nest bursts into flames, knocking out the hotel’s electrical power. Unaware of this development, Harry takes a nap and oversleeps. Julie waits for an hour before deciding Harry is a no-show. When Harry wakes up and realizes he is late, he rushes to Johnnie’s and begs a waitress to give him Julie’s telephone number. As he enters a telephone booth, the telephone rings. He answers it to hear a panicking man screaming that the U.S. is launching nuclear missiles in one hour. The man identifies himself as Chip and explains that he is calling form a North Dakota missile silo, trying to reach his father. However, he got the wrong area code. Harry hears gunshots and Chip screams. Another voice comes on the line and orders Harry to forget what he just heard, then hangs up. Stunned, Harry walks into the restaurant’s glass door and gets a nosebleed. He looks around the diner and sees two street maintenance workers, Harlan and Mike, sexually harassing Landa, a stock broker, while a stewardess practices hand gestures for an airline’s safety speech. Harry screams for everyone to shut up, and repeats what Chip said about nuclear war. No one believes him until Landa telephones a governmental official and learns that the military is on high alert. Pandemonium breaks out as patrons argue over what to do. Frank, the short-order cook, pulls a revolver and fires a shot into the air, demanding that Harry admit he is joking. When Harry sticks to his story, Frank runs into the back room to gather supplies. Landa has Harry repeat verbatim Chip’s telephone call and declares the numbers Harry heard are launch codes. After making a few more calls, Landa learns that the four highest executives of the Rand Corporation are flying to the southern hemisphere. Only Harlan disbelieves war is imminent. He curses the patrons as they leap into Frank’s catering truck to rush to the airport. Landa explains there is a valley in Antarctica that will shelter them from a nuclear blast. The busboy steals Harry’s car, so Harry leaps into the catering truck and orders Frank to drive to Julie’s. Frank refuses to comply. Landa informs Harry she has just arranged a helicopter to collect food, clothing and weapons at the nearby Manhattan Building. If he can retrieve Julie and be there in fifty minutes, the pilot will take them to the airport. Refusing to stop, Frank slows down so Harry can leap out. Harry flags down a car and uses Frank’s gun to force Wilson, the driver, to take him to Julie’s. They stop for gas on the way. As Harry calls Julie's grandfather, Ivan, to explain what is happening, a station attendant appears with a shotgun and accuses Wilson of stealing gas. A police cruiser arrives and orders the attendant to drop his gun. Wilson, who has stolen electronics in his trunk, sprays the police with gasoline. One of the officers discharges her firearm, causing the sparks that set her and her partner on fire. Harry and Wilson leap into the squad car as the flames reach the pumps and blow up the station. At Julie’s apartment complex, Harry tells Wilson about the helicopter and asks him to wait four minutes. When no one answers the door, Harry kicks it down and is almost shot by Lucy. Quickly explaining the situation, Harry rushes in to find Julie passed out from a Valium. Hearing honking, he looks out the window and sees Wilson drive off in the police car. Carrying Julie to the lobby, Harry and Lucy find Ivan. The old couple bursts into tears and rush to get their car while Harry takes Julie outside. He places her into a shopping cart and starts running toward the Manhattan Building. Julie wakes up, but in her groggy state, thinks she and Harry are on their way to ride in a hot air balloon. Ivan and Lucy appear outside the meeting point, but tell Harry they want to die together and drive off to Canter’s Delicatessen. Still addled by the Valium, Julie wants to go with the elderly couple, but Harry rushes into the building and takes the elevator to the roof. He discovers the helicopter and the supplies, but Landa’s assistant, Gerstead, informs Harry the pilot has yet to arrive. Gerstead accuses Landa of perpetrating an elaborate prank. Harry grabs a wad of cash from Gerstead. Leaving Julie with the helicopter, he goes to a gym in search of a helicopter pilot. No one can hear him over the music, so Harry shoots out the speakers. A powerlifter asks what the emergency is. Harry claims a toxic fire has erupted, sending poisonous gases their way, and the lifter admits he can fly a helicopter. As they leave the gym, Harry hears Julie shouting for a pilot. Harry tells the powerlifter to go to the heliport and runs after Julie. Just as he reaches her, a police cruiser speeds by, loses control and smashes into a department store. Wilson steps out of the car, carrying his dead sister, and collapses. Realizing he is too wounded to go on, Wilson begs Harry to shoot him, but dies before Harry can pull the trigger. Police surround the building, and Harry realizes an hour has passed with no bombs falling. He runs to a telephone booth and calls the phone number Chip was trying to reach. The voice on the other end confirms he is Chip’s father. As people flood the streets and loot shops, Harry hands his gun to Julie, and tells her to get up to the roof. Air raid sirens blare, and a man panics and starts shooting at Harry, who crawls into a storm drain to get away. He crawls through the sewers to reach the Manhattan Building, and finds Julie waiting in the lobby. Upon reaching the roof, they find a drugged Gerstead but no helicopter. As a missile flies overhead, they hear the helicopter approach. It is the powerlifter returning for them. Gerstead still refuses to board. The helicopter lifts off just as a missile explodes in the San Fernando Valley. The helicopter crashes into the tar pit, killing the pilot. While the helicopter sinks, Harry and Julie profess their love. Another missile explodes, vaporizing them. +

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

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