Courage Mountain (1990)

PG | 98 mins | Adventure, Drama | 16 February 1990

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HISTORY

       Courage Mountain is based on characters introduced in Swiss writer Johanna Spyri’s 1879 novel, Heidi, the Girl from the Alps. In the book, no last names were given, but Heidi’s first name was “Adelheid,” her hermit grandfather was called “Alm-Uncle,” and “Peter” was a simple goatherd.
       Principal photography began 17 Oct 1988, the 21 Oct 1988 Business Wire and 26 Oct 1988 Var reported, and ended a month and half later, in early Dec, according to the 12 Dec 1988 DV. Courage Mountain was the first of three films in a production agreement between Epic Pictures and The Stone Group Ltd.--France, a European subsidiary of Stonebridge Entertainment, Inc. Stonebridge was co-owned by Courage Mountain producer Joel A. Douglas’s brother, actor-producer Michael Douglas. The aggregate budget of the three films was $30 million. Though Robin Swicord and Julie Brown were listed among the screenwriters in the 24 Oct 1988 DV and 30 Oct 1988 LAT, neither was credited in the film.
       According to studio notes in AMPAS library files, Heidi’s grandfather’s Alpine cottage and the tiny village of Dorfli were built for the film. The mountain scenes were filmed on a glacier on the 10,000-foot-high Hoher Dachstein. The Italian scenes were filmed in Nice, France, including its Gare du Sud train station. The crew built “Signor Borelli’s” orphanage at Nice’s Victorine Studios. Over a million dollars’ worth of vintage cars were leased from Nice’s Musee d’Automobiles. Fourteen-year-old British actress Juliet Caton, who played Heidi, was chosen from 4,000 European and American actresses.
       The 24 Aug 1989 Globe and Mail ... More Less

       Courage Mountain is based on characters introduced in Swiss writer Johanna Spyri’s 1879 novel, Heidi, the Girl from the Alps. In the book, no last names were given, but Heidi’s first name was “Adelheid,” her hermit grandfather was called “Alm-Uncle,” and “Peter” was a simple goatherd.
       Principal photography began 17 Oct 1988, the 21 Oct 1988 Business Wire and 26 Oct 1988 Var reported, and ended a month and half later, in early Dec, according to the 12 Dec 1988 DV. Courage Mountain was the first of three films in a production agreement between Epic Pictures and The Stone Group Ltd.--France, a European subsidiary of Stonebridge Entertainment, Inc. Stonebridge was co-owned by Courage Mountain producer Joel A. Douglas’s brother, actor-producer Michael Douglas. The aggregate budget of the three films was $30 million. Though Robin Swicord and Julie Brown were listed among the screenwriters in the 24 Oct 1988 DV and 30 Oct 1988 LAT, neither was credited in the film.
       According to studio notes in AMPAS library files, Heidi’s grandfather’s Alpine cottage and the tiny village of Dorfli were built for the film. The mountain scenes were filmed on a glacier on the 10,000-foot-high Hoher Dachstein. The Italian scenes were filmed in Nice, France, including its Gare du Sud train station. The crew built “Signor Borelli’s” orphanage at Nice’s Victorine Studios. Over a million dollars’ worth of vintage cars were leased from Nice’s Musee d’Automobiles. Fourteen-year-old British actress Juliet Caton, who played Heidi, was chosen from 4,000 European and American actresses.
       The 24 Aug 1989 Globe and Mail of Toronto, Canada, announced that Courage Mountain would be screened, along with four other international children’s movies, at Toronto’s Sep 1989 Festival of Festivals.
       The Film Advisory Board, a promoter of wholesome family films, bestowed its Award of Excellence on Courage Mountain, the 7 Feb 1990 HR noted.
      Opening credits begin with the following information: “Switzerland 1916.” End credits identify locations as “Filmed at Studios, La Victorine Cote D’Azur—Nice and the Styrian Alps—Austria,” and give “Special thanks to the City of Nice and the Chemins de fer de Provence.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Business Wire
21 Oct 1988
p. 1.
Daily Variety
24 Oct 1988
p. 1, 10.
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 1990
p. 4, 25.
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1988
Section K, p. 33.
Los Angeles Times
2 Jan 1990
Section P, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
11 Feb 1990
Section H, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
16 Feb 1990
Section F, p. 8.
New York Times
16 Feb 1990
p. 16.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
24 Aug 1989
Section C, p. 13.
Toronto Star
26 Nov 1988
Section F, p. 6.
Variety
26 Oct 1988.
---
Variety
4 Oct 1989
p. 38.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Epic Productions, Inc. Presents
A Stone Group Ltd.--France Production
A Christopher Leitch Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d unit dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr, Austrian crew
2d asst dir, Austrian crew
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc producer, Austrian crew
WRITERS
From a story by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Clapper-Loader
2d focus puller
Best boy
Generator op
Key grip
Dolly grip
Cam op, Austrian crew
Focus puller, Austrian crew
Grip, Austrian crew
Lighting by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, Austrian crew
Asst art dir, Austrian crew
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed--Europe
2d asst ed--Europe
Asst ed--U.S.
Apprentice ed--U.S.
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Prop buyer, Austrian crew
Const mgr, Austrian crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress
Ward
Ward asst, Austrian crew
MUSIC
Mus eng
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
SOUND
Boom op
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
ADR/Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Rec at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Asst spec eff
Titles and opt eff
Opt lineup
Opt timer
Title des
Spec eff, Austrian crew
MAKEUP
Chief make-up
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod secy
Casting--U.K.
Casting--U.K.
Casting--Italy
Casting--U.S.
Casting--Austria
Casting--France
Asst casting--France
Prod comptroller
Prod comptroller--U.S.
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Prod asst
Asst to Mr. Douglas
Asst to Mr. Ujlaki
Chaperone
Mountain guide
Company doctor
Loc mgr, Austrian crew
Accountant, Austrian crew
Prod coord, Austrian crew
Prod secy, Austrian crew
Post prod facilities provided by
Exec in charge of post prod, Epic Productions
Post prod supv, Epic Productions
Post prod supv, Epic Productions
Film traffic coord, Epic Productions
Projectionist, Epic Productions
Projectionist, Epic Productions
Completion guaranty provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunts, Austrian crew
COLOR PERSONNEL
Processing by
Col by
SOURCES
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 February 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 February 1990
New York opening: week of 16 February 1990
Production Date:
17 October--early December 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Epic Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 September 1990
Copyright Number:
PA483581
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Lenses
Camera by Arriflex®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
France, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29824
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During 1915, in the Swiss Alps, sixteen-year-old Heidi receives a letter of acceptance from Jane Hillary, headmistress of the Brookings Academy for Girls in Tivorno, Italy. Heidi shouts a mountain call to Peter, a neighboring boy two years older than she, and rushes to tell him to take the goats out to pasture. She also tells Peter of her imminent departure, and he informs her that he has joined the Swiss army and leaves for camp tomorrow. The next day, Grandfather walks Heidi to a hilltop trail, where Peter meets her for the walk into Dorfli, the nearest village. After a train trip through the Alps to northern Italy, Heidi arrives at the Tivorno station and meets two scruffy younger children, who tell her they have come to live at St. Mary’s orphanage. When headmaster Signor Borelli arrives to get the children, he asks if Heidi wants to accompany them. Miss Hillary suddenly shows up with several other girls and tells Heidi not to talk with strangers, especially Signor Borelli. The headmaster hands Heidi a piece of chocolate as she gets into Miss Hillary’s car. At the Brookings Academy estate, Miss Hillary turns Heidi over to Ursula, a slightly older girl, who over the next few days leads the other girls in making fun of Heidi’s country ways. When Ursula later admonishes Heidi for bathing in the nude, another student, Ilsa, defends the newcomer and befriends her. One day, Miss Hillary reads a newspaper headline announcing that Austrian soldiers are amassing on the Italian border. Soon afterward, Italian soldiers commandeer Brookings as a headquarters, and order Miss Hillary to evacuate her students. She contacts some of the children’s parents ... +


During 1915, in the Swiss Alps, sixteen-year-old Heidi receives a letter of acceptance from Jane Hillary, headmistress of the Brookings Academy for Girls in Tivorno, Italy. Heidi shouts a mountain call to Peter, a neighboring boy two years older than she, and rushes to tell him to take the goats out to pasture. She also tells Peter of her imminent departure, and he informs her that he has joined the Swiss army and leaves for camp tomorrow. The next day, Grandfather walks Heidi to a hilltop trail, where Peter meets her for the walk into Dorfli, the nearest village. After a train trip through the Alps to northern Italy, Heidi arrives at the Tivorno station and meets two scruffy younger children, who tell her they have come to live at St. Mary’s orphanage. When headmaster Signor Borelli arrives to get the children, he asks if Heidi wants to accompany them. Miss Hillary suddenly shows up with several other girls and tells Heidi not to talk with strangers, especially Signor Borelli. The headmaster hands Heidi a piece of chocolate as she gets into Miss Hillary’s car. At the Brookings Academy estate, Miss Hillary turns Heidi over to Ursula, a slightly older girl, who over the next few days leads the other girls in making fun of Heidi’s country ways. When Ursula later admonishes Heidi for bathing in the nude, another student, Ilsa, defends the newcomer and befriends her. One day, Miss Hillary reads a newspaper headline announcing that Austrian soldiers are amassing on the Italian border. Soon afterward, Italian soldiers commandeer Brookings as a headquarters, and order Miss Hillary to evacuate her students. She contacts some of the children’s parents to arrange for their journey home, but is unable to reach Heidi’s grandfather or the parents of Ursula, Ilsa, and Gudrun. Signor Borelli and a policeman arrive with orders from the governor to take the girls to his orphanage. Despite Miss Hillary’s resistance, Signor Borelli transports the girls to St. Mary’s. Orphanage headmistress Signora Borelli gives the girls blankets and orders them to avoid the boys and refrain from talking among themselves. At breakfast, the girls eat gruel with other orphans, and when Heidi goes to Signor and Signora Borelli’s more sumptuous table to demand she be allowed to go home, the headmaster orders her to go without meals for the rest of the day. Miss Hillary arrives at St. Mary’s to get her girls, but Signor Borelli informs her that the local governor has given them to him, then orders his manservant, Adolfo, to escort her from the property. Meanwhile, Heidi and the other girls join the orphans in the sweatshop, making St. Mary’s soap, a product that sustains the orphanage and the Borellis’ lifestyle. An orphan girl tells Heidi that Signor Borelli pays the city governor for each child there. Meanwhile, Grandfather receives a visit from Peter, who reports that Heidi is being kept at an Italian orphanage and says he wants to bring her home, but since the Italian army has taken over the railroad, he will have to hike over the mountains. Later, Clarissa, one of the orphan girls, wakes Heidi, Ursula, Ilsa, and Gudrun early in the morning and shows them how to escape into the sewers. Beneath the orphanage, they find skeletons of children, along with rats. A boy named Giovanni joins them on the street and guides them into a wagon for their escape. Later, Signor Borelli lines up the remaining children, learns of the escape, and leaves in pursuit. When the wagon driver stops at a farmhouse to romance a maid, Heidi and the others take refuge in a barn. She tells them she has a sweetheart, but Ursula accuses her of lying. Soon afterward, as Signor Borelli arrives, the children run and the headmaster is only able to catch Giovanni. When Signor Borelli returns to the orphanage, his wife reminds him they will be in trouble if the girls reveal what goes on in their sweatshop, and therefore he must find and kill them, but make it look like an accident. Wandering through a forest, the runaways are overtaken by Italian soldiers rushing into combat. The girls hide out until the sounds of artillery cease, then walk through the smoking aftermath of battle, grabbing blankets, knives, and packs from dead soldiers. Heidi tells the others their only escape is over the mountains into Switzerland. In Tivorno, when an Italian army officer tells Miss Hillary the children have been seen walking toward the border, she asks permission to telegraph Heidi’s grandfather and for safe conduct to Dorfri, Switzerland. After sleeping in the woods, Heidi and the girls begin walking north, but Ursula resists, claiming she does not want to follow “a goat trail” over the mountains. She relents when the others remind her that officials will send them back to St. Mary’s if they are caught. Meanwhile, Signor Borelli, equipped with binoculars and heavy clothes, follows them. In Switzerland, Grandfather hikes to Peter’s military camp to inform him that a telegram from Miss Hillary reported Heidi and other girls were walking north into the mountains. Heidi knows the mountains, Grandfather says, but there are storms and glaciers she is not prepared for. Meanwhile, when Miss Hillary arrives at Grandfather’s house to see if the girls showed up, he tells her Peter is searching for them. Through binoculars, Signor Borelli sees the children hiking up a mountain. Later, as a storm hits, Heidi and the girls find haven in a cave. They build a fire, and as Heidi plays a panpipe, Peter arrives with food and embraces her. He tells the girls they cannot go forward without a sled, so he will ski back across the glacier and get one. As he climbs back up the mountain, the girls eat and recite “Advent, Advent,” because they realize it is Christmas Eve. Suddenly, Signor Borelli enters the cave with a pistol, tethers the girls together with a rope, and leads them out. Seeing he is leading them up and not down the mountain, Heidi realizes he is going to kill them. She cups her hands to her mouth and shouts a mountain call that echoes up to Peter. Looking down the mountain with binoculars, Peter sees Signor Borelli leading the girls, and watches as Heidi breaks away. Skiiing down the mountain, Peter slams into Signor Borelli and they slide toward a crevasse. The Italian falls to his death, but Peter hangs on at the top until Heidi and the girls pull him to safety. At Grandfather’s house, he and Miss Hillary light candles for Advent and recite “Advent, Advent.” They hear Heidi’s voice and hurry outside, as the girl runs to embrace him. Grandfather tells all the children they can stay with him. Peter must return to camp, but Heidi chases after him. They kiss, and walk into the village of Dorfli, arm in arm. +

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

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