Shirley Valentine (1989)

R | 108 mins | Romantic comedy | 24 August 1989

Director:

Lewis Gilbert

Writer:

Willy Russell

Producer:

Lewis Gilbert

Cinematographer:

Alan Hume

Editor:

Lesley Walker

Production Designer:

John Stoll

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures
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HISTORY

       The film’s theme song was not credited onscreen, but according to an item in the 26 Jul 1989 DV, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch wrote the song. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) verifies those credits for “The Girl Who Used to Be Me” which is alternately referred to as “Shirley Valentine.”
       According to production notes from AMPAS library and the 30 Aug 1989 LAT review, Willy Russell’s one-woman play Shirley Valentine also starred Pauline Collins. According to Russell, the play was not a monologue but a complete play with only one character. The play won the Society of West End Theatre’s Olivier Awards for Comedy of the Year and Collins won the Olivier for Actress of the Year in a New Play. In New York, Collins also won the Tony award for Best Actress. An item in the 27 Aug 1989 NYT reported that the movie was filmed between the London and New York stage productions, and the film would not be a one-woman show.
       Production began 20 Sep 1988 on the Greek island of Mykonos then moved to London and Liverpool, according to production notes.
       An item in the 11 Aug 1989 DV and an article in the 17 Aug 1989 Dramalogue reported the film would open on 30 Aug 1989 in New York City, Los Angeles, CA, and Montreal and Toronto, Canada. The 28 Aug 1989 DV noted that the movie was shown on the opening night of the 13th Montreal Film Festival the previous week. ... More Less

       The film’s theme song was not credited onscreen, but according to an item in the 26 Jul 1989 DV, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch wrote the song. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) verifies those credits for “The Girl Who Used to Be Me” which is alternately referred to as “Shirley Valentine.”
       According to production notes from AMPAS library and the 30 Aug 1989 LAT review, Willy Russell’s one-woman play Shirley Valentine also starred Pauline Collins. According to Russell, the play was not a monologue but a complete play with only one character. The play won the Society of West End Theatre’s Olivier Awards for Comedy of the Year and Collins won the Olivier for Actress of the Year in a New Play. In New York, Collins also won the Tony award for Best Actress. An item in the 27 Aug 1989 NYT reported that the movie was filmed between the London and New York stage productions, and the film would not be a one-woman show.
       Production began 20 Sep 1988 on the Greek island of Mykonos then moved to London and Liverpool, according to production notes.
       An item in the 11 Aug 1989 DV and an article in the 17 Aug 1989 Dramalogue reported the film would open on 30 Aug 1989 in New York City, Los Angeles, CA, and Montreal and Toronto, Canada. The 28 Aug 1989 DV noted that the movie was shown on the opening night of the 13th Montreal Film Festival the previous week. Although the festival’s films were usually shown with subtitles, Shirley Valentine was shown without French subtitles. Paramount Motion Pictures Group President Barry London stated that Paramount was asked to provide an upbeat film for the festival on short notice; Shirley Valentine was completed only four days before the festival and therefore there was not enough time to add subtitles. Collins helped ease any tension by addressing the opening night crowd in French and in English, and London stated he was happy with the crowd’s reaction to the film.
       A 7 Sep 1989 DV advertisement noted the film made $299,967 in its first six days in eight theaters. According to the 5 Dec 1989 HR, the film was a modest success in the United States, taking in $5,608,656 in its first thirteen weeks. An item in the 23 Sep 1989 Screen International reported the film was scheduled to open in London on 13 Oct 1989, and the Princess of Wales would attend the royal charity premiere at the Empire Leicester Square theater on 10 Oct 1989. According to the 5 Dec 1989 HR, the film took in $8,054,621 in its first seven weeks in the United Kingdom, and an article in the 8 Feb 1990 DV reported the film had grossed approximately $12 million in its United Kingdom run. An item in the 10 Feb 1990 Screen International noted the film would open in Belgium, Greece, New Zealand, Denmark, Israel, Thailand, Germany, Norway and Switzerland during the month. The 8 Feb 1990 DV, added that the film’s success in the United Kingdom was a sign it might do well as it opened across Europe and Australia during the next couple of months.
       The film received the following 1989 Academy Award nominations: Actress in a Leading Role – Pauline Collins, and Music (Original Song) – “The Girl Who Used To Be Me,” music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyric by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. Pauline Collins won the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) award for Film Actress in a Leading Role and the film was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Film.
       Production notes reported that Shirley Valentine was the feature motion picture debut of Gillian Kearney, Catharine Duncan and Gareth Jefferson.
       End credits include the following statement: “The Producer’s (sic) would like to thank: Manoula’s Beach Hotel, Mykonos Greece; The Sunset Taverna, Mykonos Greece; Waldegrave Girl’s School, Twickenham; Littlewoods Organisation, Liverpool; BBC Radio Merseyside and Olympic Airways.”
      End credits include the following information: “Made on location on the island of Mykonos Greece, in London and Liverpool, and at Twickenham Studios, London, England.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1989.
---
Daily Variety
11 Aug 1989.
---
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1989.
---
Daily Variety
7 Sep 1989.
---
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1989.
---
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1990.
---
Dramalogue
17 Aug 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Aug 1989
p. 1.
New York Times
27 Aug 1989.
---
New York Times
30 Aug 1989
p. 15.
Screen International
23 Sep 1989.
---
Screen International
10 Feb 1990.
---
Variety
23 Aug 1989
p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Lewis Gilbert Willy Russell Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Greek prod mgr
Asst dir
2d unit dir
Greek asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam
Cam op
Gaffer elec
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Greek poster
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress
MUSIC
Willy Russell's mus orch
Willy Russell's mus orch
Greek mus comp
SOUND
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Title sketches
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Chief hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Scr ed
Casting
Prod accountant
Scr supv
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Greek unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell (New York, 16 Feb 1989).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Firebird," Ballet by Igor Stravinsky, Schott.
SONGS
"Jerusalem," by Charles Hubert Parry and William Blake, Roberton Publications
"Spread a Little Happiness," by Vivian Ellis, Clifford Grey and Greatrex Newman, Chappell Music Limited
"She," by Charles Aznavour and Herbert Kretzmer, Standard Music Limited
+
SONGS
"Jerusalem," by Charles Hubert Parry and William Blake, Roberton Publications
"Spread a Little Happiness," by Vivian Ellis, Clifford Grey and Greatrex Newman, Chappell Music Limited
"She," by Charles Aznavour and Herbert Kretzmer, Standard Music Limited
"Feelings," by Maurice Albert, Bucks Music Limited/Editoria Augusta Ltda.
"The Very Thought of You," by Ray Noble, Campbell Connelly & Co. Ltd.
"The Girl Who Used To Be Me," music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, performed by Patti Austin.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 August 1989
Premiere Information:
Montreal Film Festival screening: 24 August 1989
Los Angeles and New York openings: 30 August 1989
Production Date:
Began 20 September 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
28 November 1989
Copyright Number:
PA436657
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Color by Technicolor
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29575
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Shirley Valentine Bradshaw has a wide-ranging conversation with her kitchen wall while preparing chips and egg for her husband Joe’s dinner. She knows Joe will be upset that they are not having steak. Earlier in the day, her neighbor Gillian asked Shirley to feed their bloodhound and informed Shirley they were vegans, including the dog. Shirley realized the unhappy dog was starved for meat, so she fed him the steak she had purchased for dinner. Joe will not find it amusing. Shirley and Joe laughed a lot when first married, but that was a long time ago. Somewhere in their marriage, Shirley lost her own identity and, now that their two grown children have moved out, she wants to leave but fears there is no place to go. Joe comes home to find her telling the wall that she longs to drink a glass of wine sitting by the sea at sunset. Joe is frustrated that his dinner is not ready. Shirley tells him to watch television and she resumes her conversation with the wall. Her divorced friend Jane recently won a two-week trip for two to Greece and invited Shirley. Shirley protested that she could not go, but Jane insisted. Shirley looks longingly at the Greek travel poster hidden inside her pantry and wonders how to tell Joe. Shirley remembers that during her school years, she wanted to travel as a flight attendant, but was not as clever as the beautiful, blond Marjorie. Shirley was a rebel who wore short skirts, smoked and pretended to hate everything. She taunted Marjorie but really ... +


Shirley Valentine Bradshaw has a wide-ranging conversation with her kitchen wall while preparing chips and egg for her husband Joe’s dinner. She knows Joe will be upset that they are not having steak. Earlier in the day, her neighbor Gillian asked Shirley to feed their bloodhound and informed Shirley they were vegans, including the dog. Shirley realized the unhappy dog was starved for meat, so she fed him the steak she had purchased for dinner. Joe will not find it amusing. Shirley and Joe laughed a lot when first married, but that was a long time ago. Somewhere in their marriage, Shirley lost her own identity and, now that their two grown children have moved out, she wants to leave but fears there is no place to go. Joe comes home to find her telling the wall that she longs to drink a glass of wine sitting by the sea at sunset. Joe is frustrated that his dinner is not ready. Shirley tells him to watch television and she resumes her conversation with the wall. Her divorced friend Jane recently won a two-week trip for two to Greece and invited Shirley. Shirley protested that she could not go, but Jane insisted. Shirley looks longingly at the Greek travel poster hidden inside her pantry and wonders how to tell Joe. Shirley remembers that during her school years, she wanted to travel as a flight attendant, but was not as clever as the beautiful, blond Marjorie. Shirley was a rebel who wore short skirts, smoked and pretended to hate everything. She taunted Marjorie but really wanted to be her. After leaving school, Shirley had not seen Marjorie until recently when she was caught in a storm and splashed by a limo arriving at a hotel. Marjorie dashed out of the limo to apologize, recognized her and invited Shirley up to her suite. Wet and bedraggled, Shirley knew Marjorie, who must be a flight attendant, would use this opportunity to exact revenge, but as they drank champagne, Marjorie revealed that she is a high-class hooker. They bonded as they realized each wanted to be like the other in school. Shirley’s reminiscing is interrupted when Joe returns to the kitchen. Furious about not having steak for dinner, Joe shoves his plate across the table and the food lands in Shirley’s lap. She opens the pantry door, smears egg on the poster and tells him she is going there. He believes she is secretly saving for a holiday, insists he is not going to Greece and storms out. While shopping for her trip, Shirley runs into Gillian in the lingerie department and shocks Gillian by confiding that she is buying sexy lingerie to wear for her lover on their trip to Greece. The day of the trip, Shirley’s doorbell unexpectedly rings. Her daughter, Millandra, had a fight with her roommate and is moving back home. Leaving her suitcases for Shirley to lug inside, Millandra goes to her room and demands a cup of cocoa, but when she learns that her mother is going to Greece, she becomes upset and storms out. Shirley is distraught and ready to stay home, but Gillian, who believed Shirley’s story about having an affair, sneaks over with a silk robe for the trip. Reinvigorated, Shirley slaps a note for Joe on the poster of Greece and leaves. On the plane, Jane meets a man and, upon their arrival in Greece, Jane leaves with him to have dinner at his villa. Although the other English tourists complain constantly as they travel to their hotel, Shirley loves the beautiful island. Jane does not return for days, but Shirley finds a secluded corner of the beach and makes friends with a Greek rock. In the hotel dining room one day, everyone is silent as Shirley walks through alone, but Jeanette and Dougie, two obnoxious tourists, quickly insist that she join them. They rudely joke about Greece and its people, so Shirley lectures them on Greece’s historical contributions. After dinner, she walks along the beach to a local taverna and asks the proprietor, Costas, if he will move a table and chair to the edge of the water so she can fulfill her dream of having wine by the sea at sunset. He happily complies but it is not what she imagined; she sadly reflects that she has allowed herself to live a small life. Costas escorts her back to the hotel and offers to take her sailing the next day, promising the offer is about sailing, not sex. Shirley agrees, but the next morning Jane finally arrives, begs to be forgiven for her selfishness and says she is ready to start their vacation. Shocked when Costas arrives, Jane insists that Shirley is naive and should not go, but Shirley ignores her. That day, Costas and Shirley sail around the island, stopping in a small bay for lunch. Shirley wants to swim but has no suit, so they skinny dip. She knows Costas will keep his promise, but she wants to make love to him. As they sail back, Shirley realizes she has fallen in love with Greece and the idea of living there. At home in England, Joe tells the kitchen wall that he really does love Shirley. In Greece, Costas’ niece’s wedding procession passes through town. Costas sees Shirley at a café and invites her to join them. She has fun but leaves early to take a walk and contemplate the idea of not returning home. The next day, Shirley tells Jane that she is going to stay but Jane ridicules her plans. Eventually, Shirley realizes she must go back. However, the next day at the airport Shirley cannot get on the plane. She rushes back to the taverna and finds Costas seducing another woman. Costas is stunned to see Shirley, but she has not come back for him. She wants a job and says she can run the taverna while Costas romances women on the sailboat. As Shirley enjoys her new life, Joe repeatedly calls for her to come home, but she refuses, so their son, Brian, convinces Joe to go to Greece. Preparing for his arrival, Shirley sets up a table by the ocean and waits for Joe, who does not immediately recognize her. Joe joins Shirley Valentine at her table by the sea and they sip wine as the sun sets. +

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

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