Sea of Love (1989)

R | 113 mins | Drama | 15 September 1989

Director:

Harold Becker

Writer:

Richard Price

Cinematographer:

Ron Taylor

Production Designer:

John Jay Moore
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HISTORY

According to a HR news brief, actresses Beverly D’Angelo, Amy Madigan and Kim Greist all auditioned for the role of “Helen Cruger.”
       An 11 May 1988 Var news item stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin on 23 May 1988 in Toronto, Canada. Locations included The Masonic Temple, the Horseshoe Tavern, Crook’s Bar, and the 53rd Division’s abandoned police station, with interiors shot at Toronto International Studios. The 29 Jun 1988 LAHExam indicated that production would move to New York City on 26 Jul 1988. The total shooting schedule was nineteen weeks, as stated in an 11 Sep 1989 DV brief.
       The 7 Jun 1991 HR announced that Pamela Preston had sued the producers for including nine seconds of footage of her working as a prostitute without her permission. The suit was thrown out by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Louis Stanton, who ruled that the footage was “of a fleeting and incidental nature.”
       In his 20 Sep 1989 "Hollywood Report" column, HR contributor Martin A. Grove noted the film earned a "spectacular" opening weekend gross of $10 million.
       The 22 Feb 1995 edition of The Times (London) reported that the opening scene in Sea of Love inspired police in Sheffield, England, to run their own sting operation in which they invited criminals with outstanding warrants to pick up prizes at a bogus marketing research office. The police apprehended thirty-one suspects.
       The following written statements appears in end credits: “Special thanks to Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, Inc.," and, "Shoe store courtesy of Maud Frizon ... More Less

According to a HR news brief, actresses Beverly D’Angelo, Amy Madigan and Kim Greist all auditioned for the role of “Helen Cruger.”
       An 11 May 1988 Var news item stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin on 23 May 1988 in Toronto, Canada. Locations included The Masonic Temple, the Horseshoe Tavern, Crook’s Bar, and the 53rd Division’s abandoned police station, with interiors shot at Toronto International Studios. The 29 Jun 1988 LAHExam indicated that production would move to New York City on 26 Jul 1988. The total shooting schedule was nineteen weeks, as stated in an 11 Sep 1989 DV brief.
       The 7 Jun 1991 HR announced that Pamela Preston had sued the producers for including nine seconds of footage of her working as a prostitute without her permission. The suit was thrown out by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Louis Stanton, who ruled that the footage was “of a fleeting and incidental nature.”
       In his 20 Sep 1989 "Hollywood Report" column, HR contributor Martin A. Grove noted the film earned a "spectacular" opening weekend gross of $10 million.
       The 22 Feb 1995 edition of The Times (London) reported that the opening scene in Sea of Love inspired police in Sheffield, England, to run their own sting operation in which they invited criminals with outstanding warrants to pick up prizes at a bogus marketing research office. The police apprehended thirty-one suspects.
       The following written statements appears in end credits: “Special thanks to Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, Inc.," and, "Shoe store courtesy of Maud Frizon N.Y.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
11 Sep 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 1991.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
29 Jun 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1989
p. 8.
New York Times
15 Sep 1989
p. 12.
The Times (London)
22 Feb 1995.
---
Variety
11 May 1988.
---
Variety
13 Sep 1989
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Martin Bregman production
A Harold Becker film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
1st asst dir, New York crew
2d 2d asst dir, New York crew
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Dolly grip
2d asst cam
Stills photog
Cam op, New York crew
Cam op, New York crew
1st asst cam, New York crew
1st asst cam, New York crew
1st asst cam, New York crew
2d asst cam, New York crew
2d asst cam, New York crew
2d asst cam, New York crew
Steadicam op, New York crew
Steadicam op, New York crew
Gaffer, New York crew
Best boy, New York crew
Key grip, New York crew
Key grip, New York crew
Best boy, New York crew
Still photog, New York crew
Still photog, New York crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
1st asst art dir
Art dept trainee
Art dept trainee
Storyboard illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Buyer
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst set dec
Asst prop master
Head carpenter
Head loc carpenter
Scenic artist
Prod painter
Set dec, New York crew
Set dec, New York crew
Prop master, New York crew
Prop master, New York crew
Scenic chargeman, New York crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward, New York crew
Ward, New York crew
Ward, New York crew
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Mus copyist
Scoring mixer
Scoring mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Sd asst
Sd asst
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer, New York crew
Sd mixer, New York crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opt eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
Makeup, New York crew
Hairstylist, New York crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Asst loc
Asst accountant
Prod secy
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Unit pub
Asst to Mr. Becker
Asst to producers (Toronto)
Asst to prods (L.A.)
Asst to prods (N.Y.)
Canadian casting
Extras casting
NYC prod head, New York crew
Loc mgr, New York crew
Prod office coord, New York crew
Scr supv, New York crew
Scr supv, New York crew
Loc asst, New York crew
Transportation capt, New York crew
Transportation capt, New York crew
Extras casting, New York crew
Extras casting, New York crew
Craft service, New York crew
Prod assoc, New York crew
Prod assoc, New York crew
Prod assoc, New York crew
Prod assoc, New York crew
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Sea Of Love (End Title Version),” performed by Tom Waits, Tom Waits appears courtesy of Island Records
“Sea Of Love,” written by George Khoury and Phillip Baptiste, performed by Phil Phillips with the Twilights, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records Inc.
“Lament,” written by J. J. Johnson, performed by Branford Marsalis, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
+
SONGS
“Sea Of Love (End Title Version),” performed by Tom Waits, Tom Waits appears courtesy of Island Records
“Sea Of Love,” written by George Khoury and Phillip Baptiste, performed by Phil Phillips with the Twilights, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records Inc.
“Lament,” written by J. J. Johnson, performed by Branford Marsalis, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
“Siempre Hay Esperanza,” written by Stuart Matthewman, Sade Adu, and Leroy Oscourne, performed by Sade, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
“Beyond The Sea,” written by Charles Trenet and Jack Lawrence, performed by Bobby Darin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 September 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 September 1989
Production Date:
23 May--September 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 February 1990
Copyright Number:
PA503604
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
113
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29645
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a New York City apartment, a man is forced to simulate sex while lying facedown and naked in his bed while someone holds a gun to his head. As a recording of Phil Phillips’s “Sea Of Love” begins to play, the man is shot dead. The next day, alcoholic police detective Frank Keller pours orange juice for men who have “won” a breakfast with the New York Yankees. He takes the stage to inform the assembled men that the breakfast is a scam and they are all under arrest for outstanding warrants. Outside, Frank is accosted by a man and his young son bearing an “invitation” to the Yankees breakfast. Although the man is wanted for grand theft auto, Frank lets him go, preventing the little boy from witnessing his father being arrested. That night, Frank gets drunk and harasses his ex-wife, Denise, on the telephone. Across town, an elderly lady is fed up with her neighbor continuously playing “Sea of Love” and discovers the male victim dead in his bedroom. As they arrive at the crime scene, Frank is unable to hide his contempt for his partner, Gruber, who married Denise after their divorce. Inspecting the body, Frank theorizes that the victim was killed by a lover, insisting that people only play old records when are trying to impress a date. They receive a tip from the doorman that a television cable operator was in the building before the murder, so Frank goes to the cable company and questions Terry, a large, muscular repairman, who claims not to have seen anything. When a second man is killed ... +


In a New York City apartment, a man is forced to simulate sex while lying facedown and naked in his bed while someone holds a gun to his head. As a recording of Phil Phillips’s “Sea Of Love” begins to play, the man is shot dead. The next day, alcoholic police detective Frank Keller pours orange juice for men who have “won” a breakfast with the New York Yankees. He takes the stage to inform the assembled men that the breakfast is a scam and they are all under arrest for outstanding warrants. Outside, Frank is accosted by a man and his young son bearing an “invitation” to the Yankees breakfast. Although the man is wanted for grand theft auto, Frank lets him go, preventing the little boy from witnessing his father being arrested. That night, Frank gets drunk and harasses his ex-wife, Denise, on the telephone. Across town, an elderly lady is fed up with her neighbor continuously playing “Sea of Love” and discovers the male victim dead in his bedroom. As they arrive at the crime scene, Frank is unable to hide his contempt for his partner, Gruber, who married Denise after their divorce. Inspecting the body, Frank theorizes that the victim was killed by a lover, insisting that people only play old records when are trying to impress a date. They receive a tip from the doorman that a television cable operator was in the building before the murder, so Frank goes to the cable company and questions Terry, a large, muscular repairman, who claims not to have seen anything. When a second man is killed in a similar manner, Frank is paired with Detective Sherman from another precinct. Sherman refers to the victim as a “Casanova” who sought out women by placing personal advertisements in the newspaper. After a drunken brawl with Gruber, Frank returns to the second victim’s apartment and passes out on the bed. Hearing the doorbell, he is greeted by a woman named Gina Gallagher, holding balloons, who has arrived in response to the victim’s ad in the New York Weekly. The next morning, a hung-over Frank discovers he and Sherman are working together because fingerprints at both crime scenes prove it was the same killer. Frank gets the idea to capture the killer by running his own dating advertisement, stating that the murderer responded to two of the three notices that included poetry. He explains they can take any women who answer the ad out for drinks to collect fingerprints. Sherman agrees, but suggests they first hunt down the third poet, Raymond Brown. They discover Brown is married with children, and has never followed through with any of the women who wrote him. The next day, however, Frank and Sherman find Brown dead in a hotel in the same position as the first two victims. The police detectives set up their sting operation in a restaurant, with Frank posing as the bachelor and Sherman disguised as a waiter. Several women arrive for a drink, and Sherman confiscates their glasses. Only one woman, Helen Cruger, leaves without touching her wine glass. The next day, Terry the cable man comes to precinct headquarters claiming he saw a black boy delivering groceries to the apartment house the day of the shooting. Frank hunts down the grocery store, only to discover it was a false lead. As Frank is buying fruit, he runs into Helen, who accuses him of plagiarizing his poem. He admits that his mother wrote the poem fifty years earlier to woo his father. Charmed, she accepts his invitation to a bar and later agrees to go back to his apartment. As she uses the bathroom, Frank glimpses a handgun in her purse. When she comes out, Frank defensively pushes her into the closet, but discovers the gun is only a starter pistol. Frank explains he panicked, and he and Helen make love. Once she leaves, Frank takes a coffee cup Helen touched and wraps it in plastic, but changes his mind. Later, Frank goes to the shoe store where Helen works as a manager. As they make another date, two young mobsters enter, and one of them identifies Frank as a cop. Frank apologizes for lying to Helen about his identity, and promises to be honest with her going forward. That night, Sherman plays the date role when Gina Gallagher arrives and recognizes Frank, who is playing the waiter. Frank explains what is going on, and Sherman and Gina share a drink. Later, Frank calls Helen to meet him at the grocery store wearing only a trench coat. After pretending not to know each other, Frank “picks her up,” and they go back to her place. Frank wakes up first and discovers Helen’s extensive record collection, including a copy of “Sea Of Love.” As she makes them drinks, Frank steals her social security card. Before he leaves, Helen shows him her sleeping daughter. At the police station, Frank runs Helen’s social security number to discover she does not have a criminal record. After another night of meeting suspects, Sherman announces he is too drunk to go home. Frank gives him the keys to his place before secretly meeting Helen at a fancy restaurant. As they walk back to her apartment, Frank accidentally reveals she was part of the sting operation. She curses Frank and runs off. After drowning his sorrows in alcohol, Frank stumbles back to Helen’s apartment, claiming he made up a story about the sting operation to push her away. He asks her to come home with him because he cannot sleep without her. She leaves to ask her mother to babysit, and Frank notices copies of the other three victims’ newspaper ads on the refrigerator with their names and telephone numbers. Helen returns, and tells him she needs time alone to think everything through. At home, Frank finds Sherman in bed with Gina Gallagher. After they leave, Helen stops by and plays his “Sea Of Love” record, remarking how she caught him admiring her copy. Frank accuses her of murder, but ultimately lets her go, aware that their fraternization would void any evidence he collected for the case. Helen bolts out the door, and a few moments later, the doorbell rings. When Frank answers, Terry the cable man attacks, revealing that he was once married to Helen and has been jealously stalking her and killing her new lovers. He forces Frank facedown on the bed and orders him to simulate sex. Frank grabs a trophy that has fallen on the floor and smashes it in Terry’s face, and the two men struggle for Terry’s gun until Frank pushes him out the window to his death. Weeks later, Frank joins Sherman at a bar, but only orders a club soda. Despondent about their estrangement, he begs Helen for another chance, and she invites him out for coffee. +

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

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