The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

PG | 81 mins | Comedy-drama, Fantasy, Romance | 1 March 1985

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen

Producer:

Robert Greenhut

Cinematographer:

Gordon Willis

Editor:

Susan E. Morse

Production Designer:

Stuart Wurtzel
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HISTORY

On 19 Oct 1983, HR announced that writer-director Woody Allen was set to begin production on The Purple Rose of Cairo in two weeks, on 5 Nov 1983, even though a script had not yet been received by distributor Orion Pictures. At that time, release was scheduled for late 1984, and actor Michael Keaton was cast in the leading role of “Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd.” Just over one month later, a 23 Nov 1983 Var brief confirmed that filming was underway in New York City, but Keaton left the production earlier that week due to a mutual agreement that he was not right for the part. While Kevin Kline and Dennis Quaid were considered as replacements, a 29 Nov 1983 LAHExam article stated that Woody Allen was casting himself in the picture. However, Jeff Daniels took over the role.
       According to a 9 Jun 1984 LAHExam column, Allen wanted to hire casting director Lionel Larner the play the part of the British producer, “Jason,” but Larner declined due to work obligations. Around the same time, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) created a new regulation, prohibiting agents from accepting work as actors due to conflict of interest.
       A 15 Apr 1984 NYT article reported that filming had recently taken place in South Salem, a small town in Westchester County, NY, and in the village of Piermont in Rockland County, NY. Shooting also occurred in and around New York City. On 22 May 1984, HR announced that interior filming was completed at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, NY.
       ... More Less

On 19 Oct 1983, HR announced that writer-director Woody Allen was set to begin production on The Purple Rose of Cairo in two weeks, on 5 Nov 1983, even though a script had not yet been received by distributor Orion Pictures. At that time, release was scheduled for late 1984, and actor Michael Keaton was cast in the leading role of “Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd.” Just over one month later, a 23 Nov 1983 Var brief confirmed that filming was underway in New York City, but Keaton left the production earlier that week due to a mutual agreement that he was not right for the part. While Kevin Kline and Dennis Quaid were considered as replacements, a 29 Nov 1983 LAHExam article stated that Woody Allen was casting himself in the picture. However, Jeff Daniels took over the role.
       According to a 9 Jun 1984 LAHExam column, Allen wanted to hire casting director Lionel Larner the play the part of the British producer, “Jason,” but Larner declined due to work obligations. Around the same time, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) created a new regulation, prohibiting agents from accepting work as actors due to conflict of interest.
       A 15 Apr 1984 NYT article reported that filming had recently taken place in South Salem, a small town in Westchester County, NY, and in the village of Piermont in Rockland County, NY. Shooting also occurred in and around New York City. On 22 May 1984, HR announced that interior filming was completed at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, NY.
       The picture marked the final Woody Allen film shot by director of photography Gordon Willis.
       The Purple Rose of Cairo made its world premiere at the U.S. Film Festival in Park City, UT, on 26 Jan 1985, and was received with critical acclaim. It was nominated for one Academy Award in the category of Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen).
       End credits include: “The producers gratefully acknowledge and wish to thank the following for their assistance: The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting; The New York State Office of Motion Picture and Television Development; the village of Piermont, New York; the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission; Conrail; Parks and Recreation Department of New York City, Lenses and Panaflex® cameras by Panavision®.” Credits continue: “And also thank: General Camera Corp.; Prints by DeLuxe®
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Jan 1985
p. 3, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 1985
p. 4, 13.
LAHExam
29 Nov 1983.
---
LAHExam
9 Jun 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Mar 1985
Section I, p. 1, 14.
New York Times
15 Apr 1984
p. 1, 20.
New York Times
1 Mar 1985
p. 8.
Variety
23 Nov 1983.
---
Variety
30 Jan 1985
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Jack Rollins-Charles H. Joffe Production
An Orion Pictures Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Master scenic artist
Chief carptenter
Set dec
Addl set dec
Chief set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Prop man
Const grip
Standby scen artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
Cost asst
MUSIC
Orig mus by
Mus coord
Mus rec supv
Mus rec eng
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom man
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
MAKEUP
Makeup des
Hair des
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. Allen
Prod auditor
Assoc to Mr. Kurland
Loc mgr
Asst prod auditor
Loc scout
Loc scout
Loc scout
Loc scout
Casting asst
Addl casting
Asst to Mr. Wurtzel
Studio mgr
Transportation capt
Dailies processing
Negative matching
Projectionist
Process coord
Process projectionist
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
SOURCES
SONGS
“Cheek To Cheek,” written by Irving Berlin, vocal by Fred Astaire
“I Love My Baby, My Baby Loves Me,” by Bud Green and Harry Warren
“Alabamy Bound,” by Ray Henderson, B. G. De Sylva and Bud Green.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 March 1985
Premiere Information:
World premiere at U.S. Film Festival: 26 January 1985
Los Angeles and New York openings: 1 March 1985
Production Date:
began 5 November 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
7 August 1985
Copyright Number:
PA265463
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Black and White
Prints
DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
81
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27334
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1930s, a housewife named Cecilia escapes the drudgery of her waitress job, and abuse from her adulterous, gambler husband, “Monk,” at the Jewel movie theater, where she fantasizes about the lives of Hollywood actors and the characters they play onscreen. When Cecilia finds Monk with a prostitute and loses her job, she frequents screenings of The Purple Rose of Cairo, a story about a wide-eyed, handsome explorer named Tom Baxter, who is searching Egyptian tombs for a mythical purple rose. Befriending American tourists, Tom explains an ancient pharaoh once painted a purple rose for his wife, and the flowers now grow at her burial site. Delighted by the tale, the tourists invite Tom to their home in New York City and introduce him to high society. As Cecilia returns to The Purple Rose of Cairo one afternoon, Tom Baxter deviates from the script and takes on a life of his own, announcing his desire to break free from the movie. Stepping out of the screen and into the theater, Tom tells Cecilia that he has fallen in love with her and leads her outside, astonished by his newfound freedom. However, Tom’s fellow actors remain onscreen and are displeased by the rupture in the film’s narrative. The movie action comes to a standstill, and the audience is outraged. When news of Tom’s escape reaches Hollywood, the film’s producers are incensed by Tom’s insurgency and send out a search party. Meanwhile, Tom explores the “real” world. ... +


In the 1930s, a housewife named Cecilia escapes the drudgery of her waitress job, and abuse from her adulterous, gambler husband, “Monk,” at the Jewel movie theater, where she fantasizes about the lives of Hollywood actors and the characters they play onscreen. When Cecilia finds Monk with a prostitute and loses her job, she frequents screenings of The Purple Rose of Cairo, a story about a wide-eyed, handsome explorer named Tom Baxter, who is searching Egyptian tombs for a mythical purple rose. Befriending American tourists, Tom explains an ancient pharaoh once painted a purple rose for his wife, and the flowers now grow at her burial site. Delighted by the tale, the tourists invite Tom to their home in New York City and introduce him to high society. As Cecilia returns to The Purple Rose of Cairo one afternoon, Tom Baxter deviates from the script and takes on a life of his own, announcing his desire to break free from the movie. Stepping out of the screen and into the theater, Tom tells Cecilia that he has fallen in love with her and leads her outside, astonished by his newfound freedom. However, Tom’s fellow actors remain onscreen and are displeased by the rupture in the film’s narrative. The movie action comes to a standstill, and the audience is outraged. When news of Tom’s escape reaches Hollywood, the film’s producers are incensed by Tom’s insurgency and send out a search party. Meanwhile, Tom explores the “real” world. Although he asks Cecilia to teach him about humanity, he remains blissfully ignorant of poverty, violence, and disappointment. At a nightclub, Tom treats Cecilia to her first champagne and is surprised when his movie prop money is not an acceptable payment. Darting out of the club before paying the bill, Tom is further confused when his getaway car does not start without a key, and the couple run away to hide at a deserted carnival. When Tom kisses his new love, he is startled by the absence of a “fade out” and explains that in movies, couples disappear to a mysterious, invisible place to make love. Enchanted, Cecilia reminds Tom that he is not “real” and returns to the brutality of her home life, believing true love to be a fantasy. However, Cecilia is eager to reunite with Tom the following morning, and when she goes to a dime store to buy him donuts, she runs into Gil Shepherd, the actor who plays the role of “Tom” in The Purple Rose of Cairo. Although Cecilia initially mistakes the actor for Tom, he explains that Tom is his onscreen persona and begs her to divulge the character’s whereabouts. Astonished to meet a real-life movie star, Cecilia gushes that she is one of Gil’s biggest fans, but she is hesitant to reveal Tom’s hiding place, and Gil promises the encounter will be amicable. When Gil and Tom meet, however, Gil is furious at his character’s insurrection and orders him back into the movie, claiming the incident will ruin his chances of becoming a more established actor. Tom refuses and reaffirms his commitment to live like a real man, so he can pursue his relationship with Cecilia. Gil leaves the couple in a rage to telephone his agent and warns that Tom will be captured by police. Unfazed, Tom resumes his introduction to Depression-era, small-town life and is confronted by Cecilia’s husband, Monk, in a church. As the men fist fight at the altar, Cecilia stands up to Monk for the first time and credits Tom for inspiring her newfound confidence, but she returns home later that afternoon and finds Gil at her doorstep. When the actor confides his insecurities, Cecilia assures him of his talents and guides him to a music store, where he buys her a ukulele and recreates a love scene from one of his movies, in which he kisses the leading lady. Meanwhile, Tom meets a prostitute named Emma, who takes him to her brothel. There, Tom delights the ladies with his fresh, joyful perceptions of religion, philosophy, and the miracle of childbirth, and they offer to give him his first sexual experience free of charge, but he declines because he is committed to Cecilia. Back at the Jewel Theater, The Purple Rose of Cairo characters are increasingly irritated by the delay in their film, and in Hollywood, studio executives learn that “Tom Baxter” characters in other theaters have also attempted to leave the screen. The men plan to lure Tom back on screen and burn all prints of the film, including the negative. Elsewhere, Tom reunites with Cecilia and wants to take her to dinner, but she points out they are penniless and he remembers his opulent life in The Purple Rose of Cairo. Tom takes Cecilia back to the theater, introduces her to the cast as his fiancée, and hoists her into the screen. Inside the movie, Tom thrills Cecilia with a tour of New York City nightclubs and after a magical evening, they kiss. However, the moment of passion is interrupted by Gil, who is watching the movie from the theater, and he declares his love for Cecilia. As Tom and Cecilia step out of the film, the cast of The Purple Rose of Cairo gather onscreen, begging Cecilia to align herself with Gil because the show must go on. Although Cecilia does not wish to hurt Tom, she believes she has an honest future with Gil in the “real” world, and Tom returns to the movie once and for all. Cecilia goes home to pack for her journey to Hollywood and Monk promises to be a better husband, but she leaves anyway, claiming that “love at first sight” is not just a cinematic trope. When she returns to the theater, however, Gil is nowhere to be found, and the manager explains the actor went back to Hollywood alone. With The Purple Rose of Cairo stricken from theaters, Cecilia settles into the audience to watch Top Hat, as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers perform their sweeping romantic dance number, “Cheek To Cheek.” +

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

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