The Hot Spot (1990)

R | 120 mins | Film noir | 12 October 1990

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HISTORY

       Principal photography began 14 Aug 1989, the 5 Sep 1989 HR announced, and ended roughly six weeks later, the 22 Oct 1989 Austin American Statesman reported. According to studio notes in AMPAS library files, filming took place over ten weeks of sweltering temperatures in “sleepy” Taylor, TX, a town of roughly 10,000 people. The production company refurbished several old buildings, including the location of the “Landers State Bank” at the corner of Main and Second streets, and prepared another building across the street for a fire by installing “burn box windows.” The crew built “Harshaw Motors,” the car dealership, on an empty parking lot, with full windows to create a “fishbowl” effect, so that the characters could always see each other. Six hundred local residents were used as extras. The last few weeks of filming were done in LaGrange, TX, where an abandoned shack was turned into the home of “Frank Sutton” and another shack became the abandoned sawmill where “Harry Madox” and “Dolly Harshaw” made love. A swimming scene with Madox and “Gloria Harper” was shot at Hamilton Pool, a mineral spring near Dripping Springs, TX, within a state park. The exterior of Gloria’s boardinghouse was filmed at 3402 Cedar Street in Austin, TX. Also in Austin, the interior of a topless club called the Red Rose was transformed into the “Yellow Rose,” according to the 25 Sep 1989 and 29 Sep 1989 editions of the Austin American Statesman. (The exterior of the Yellow Rose was a barbecue restaurant in Taylor, according to the 15 Aug 1989 Austin American Statesman. )
       The 5 Sep 1989 HR noted that ... More Less

       Principal photography began 14 Aug 1989, the 5 Sep 1989 HR announced, and ended roughly six weeks later, the 22 Oct 1989 Austin American Statesman reported. According to studio notes in AMPAS library files, filming took place over ten weeks of sweltering temperatures in “sleepy” Taylor, TX, a town of roughly 10,000 people. The production company refurbished several old buildings, including the location of the “Landers State Bank” at the corner of Main and Second streets, and prepared another building across the street for a fire by installing “burn box windows.” The crew built “Harshaw Motors,” the car dealership, on an empty parking lot, with full windows to create a “fishbowl” effect, so that the characters could always see each other. Six hundred local residents were used as extras. The last few weeks of filming were done in LaGrange, TX, where an abandoned shack was turned into the home of “Frank Sutton” and another shack became the abandoned sawmill where “Harry Madox” and “Dolly Harshaw” made love. A swimming scene with Madox and “Gloria Harper” was shot at Hamilton Pool, a mineral spring near Dripping Springs, TX, within a state park. The exterior of Gloria’s boardinghouse was filmed at 3402 Cedar Street in Austin, TX. Also in Austin, the interior of a topless club called the Red Rose was transformed into the “Yellow Rose,” according to the 25 Sep 1989 and 29 Sep 1989 editions of the Austin American Statesman. (The exterior of the Yellow Rose was a barbecue restaurant in Taylor, according to the 15 Aug 1989 Austin American Statesman. )
       The 5 Sep 1989 HR noted that Orion Pictures acquired theatrical distribution rights to The Hot Spot during the fourth week of production. Budgeted at over $10 million, the film was based on the late Charles Williams’ own 1959 screen adaptation of his 1953 novel, Hell Hath No Fury, but Mike Figgis and director Dennis Hopper “revised and updated” it. Neither Figgis nor Hopper was credited as a screenwriter. Producer Paul Lewis told the 30 Aug 1989 Austin American Statesman that he first tried to adapt Hell Hath No Fury in the late 1970s, with actor Robert Mitchum as “Harry Madox” and a different script. By the time Hopper joined the project, actors Sam Shepard, Anne Archer, and Uma Thurman were scheduled to star. However, none of these actors appeared in the final film.
       The Hot Spot premiered at the Toronto Festival of Festivals in Canada on 5 Sep 1990, the 28 Aug 1990 DV reported.
       The 31 Oct 1990 DV reported that the film’s opening week’s box office in fourteen cities and towns was “cold.”

      Final credits contain the following information: “The producers wish to thank: Robert Stulberg; The Red Rose/Yellow Rose, Austin, TX; Coe Kennedy; John Schrimpf; Austin Marriott at the Capitol: Brian Griffith; Texas Film Commission: Joe Dial, Ellen Sandaloski; City of Taylor, TX; Debra Gore, Taylor Chamber of Commerce; Lucille Gooch, La Grange Chamber of Commerce; Connor Vernon; Curtis Nichols; Curtis Weeks; Mike Gaylor, Hercules Wire, Rope & Sling Co.; Travis County Parks Dept., Hamilton Pool Park: Terri Siegenthaler, Superintendent; Meredith Long & Co., Houston, TX; Amado Pena; Cowboy Artists Institute of America; Phillip Wade; Gary Posnell, Power Graphics Corp.; Mike & Charlie’s.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Austin American Statesman
14 Aug 1989
Section C, p. 1
Austin American Statesman
15 Aug 1989.
Section A, p. 1
Austin American Statesman
30 Aug 1989
Section C, p. 9
Austin American Statesman
25 Sep 1989
Section B., p. 6
Austin American Statesman
29 Sep 1989
Section D, p. 1
Austin American Statesman
22 Oct 1989
Show World, p.4
Box Office
Dec 1990.
---
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1990
p. 3
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1990
p. 3, 10
Daily Variety
31 Oct 1990
p. 3
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1990
pp. 10, 27
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1989
1, 128
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 1990
p. 6, 14
LAHExam
15 Aug 1989.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
15 Aug 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1989
Calendar, p. 3
Los Angeles Times
12 Oct 1990
Calendar, p. 10
Los Angeles Times
14 Oct 1990
Calendar, p. 61
New York Times
12 Oct 1990
p. 8
Variety
17 Sep 1990
p. 98
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion Pictures Release
A Dennis Hopper Film
A Hopper/Lewis Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Panaglide op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Aerial cam
Addl cam op
Addl cam asst
Addl cam asst
Addl cam asst
Aerial cam asst
Loader/Clapper
Loader/Clapper
Video assist op
Chief lighting tech
Elec best boy
Musco Light op
Key grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
Armadillo artist
Coca Cola artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Addl asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Leadperson
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Greensman
Prop master
Asst prop
Asst prop
Const coord
Head carpenter
Head carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Scenic artist
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Women's costumer
Men's costumer
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Mus score prod by
Scoring eng
Scoring asst
Electronic keyboards by
Featured score player [trumpet]
Featured score player [guitar, vocals]
Featured score player [guitar]
Featured score player [guitar]
Addl score player [bass]
Addl score player [drums]
Mus coord
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd des/Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
ADR ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd asst
Foley artist
Foley artist
ADR rec
Foley rec
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Head spec eff
Asst spec eff
Eff op
Eff op
Eff op
Title des & Opticals
DANCE
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
Yellow Rose dancer
MAKEUP
Head makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Head hair stylist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Scr supv
Dialect coach
Helicopter pilot
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Hopper
Secy to Mr. Hopper
Asst to Mr. Johnson
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Texas casting
Texas casting, 3d Coast Casting
Texas casting asst
Casting asst
ADR casting
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Chief mechanic
Cam truck driver
Shotmaker driver
Shotmaker driver
Prod van driver
Titan crane driver
Honeywagon driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Unit pub
Financial representative
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc projectionist
2d unit loc mgr
Animal handler
Animal handler
Animal handler
Security
Don Johnson security
Catering
Catering
Craft service
Craft service
First aid
Post prod accounting
Completion guarantor
Travel arrangements
STAND INS
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
ADR performer
Stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Lab
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Hell Hath No Fury by Charles Williams (New York, 1953).
SONGS
"The Stroke," written and performed by Billy Squier, courtesy of Capitol Records, by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii," performed by The New Hawaiian Band, written by Bill Cogswell, Tommy Harrison, Johnny Noble, courtesy of MCA Records
"Chopin's Love Theme," performed by "101 Strings" Orchestra, arranged by R. W. Lowder, courtesy of Alshire International, Inc.
+
SONGS
"The Stroke," written and performed by Billy Squier, courtesy of Capitol Records, by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii," performed by The New Hawaiian Band, written by Bill Cogswell, Tommy Harrison, Johnny Noble, courtesy of MCA Records
"Chopin's Love Theme," performed by "101 Strings" Orchestra, arranged by R. W. Lowder, courtesy of Alshire International, Inc.
"Aura Lee," performed by "101 Strings" Orchestra, arranged by Al Sherman, courtesy of Alshire International, Inc. c/o Original Sound Entertainment
"I'm Thinking," written and performed by Terry De Rouen
"Love MD," performed by Hank Williams, Jr., written by Tony Joe White and Deanne White, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"The Want To," written and performed Scott Wilk
"Wall Flower Waltz," performed by k. d. lang and the reclines, written by k. d. lang and Benjamin Mink, courtesy of Sire Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Angel With A Lariat," performed by k. d. lang and the reclines, written by k. d. lang, courtesy of Sire Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You," performed by Roosevelt Williams, The Grey Ghost, written by R. Morgan, L. Stock, J. Cavanaugh, courtesy of Catfish Records
"Lonesome Traveler," performed by Roosevelt Williams, The Grey Ghost, written by Roosevelt Williams, courtesy of Catfish Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Hell Hath No Fury
Release Date:
12 October 1990
Premiere Information:
Toronto Festival of Festivals premiere: 5 September 1990
Los Angeles opening: 12 October 1990
New York opening: week of 12 October 1990
Production Date:
14 August - mid October 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
13 November 1990
Copyright Number:
PA490131
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® at Selected Theatres
Color
Eastman Kodak
Lenses
Lenses and Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
120
Length(in feet):
11,673
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30298
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Drifter Harry Madox stops for gas in tiny Landers, Texas. He drinks a beer at the “Yellow Rose” and watches a man in a cowboy hat tuck money under a dancer’s g-string. Harry walks across the street to Harshaw Motors, a car dealership, and talks a browsing customer into buying a car. Owner George Harshaw admires Harry’s sales ability and hires him. The next day, when Harry reports to work, Harshaw wants him to drive Gloria Harper, the dealership’s bookkeeper, to repossess a car from Frank Sutton. Harry turns down the job because there is no commission, but when he sees beautiful young Gloria, he changes his mind. As Harry waits at Sutton’s empty farmhouse, Gloria walks to a nearby spring to find Sutton and returns ostensibly with his monthly payment, but Harry doubts her story. Moments later, Sutton returns home in a dune buggy and whispers to Gloria as he appears to pay her. Driving back to town, Harry stops, kisses Gloria, and asks if Sutton is a relative. Gloria says no. They drive past a burning hamburger shack. Harry goes to the Landers State Bank to open an account, but the place appears empty until the owner, Julian Ward, comes out of the bathroom and apologizes that his male employees are volunteer firemen who had to run to the fire. Harry recognizes Ward as the man with the cowboy hat in the strip bar. When Harry returns to work, George Harshaw’s wife, Dolly Harshaw, drives onto the lot in a 1959 pink Cadillac and asks Harry to unload some things in the car trunk at a nearby charity office. As Harry carries the material upstairs in an ... +


Drifter Harry Madox stops for gas in tiny Landers, Texas. He drinks a beer at the “Yellow Rose” and watches a man in a cowboy hat tuck money under a dancer’s g-string. Harry walks across the street to Harshaw Motors, a car dealership, and talks a browsing customer into buying a car. Owner George Harshaw admires Harry’s sales ability and hires him. The next day, when Harry reports to work, Harshaw wants him to drive Gloria Harper, the dealership’s bookkeeper, to repossess a car from Frank Sutton. Harry turns down the job because there is no commission, but when he sees beautiful young Gloria, he changes his mind. As Harry waits at Sutton’s empty farmhouse, Gloria walks to a nearby spring to find Sutton and returns ostensibly with his monthly payment, but Harry doubts her story. Moments later, Sutton returns home in a dune buggy and whispers to Gloria as he appears to pay her. Driving back to town, Harry stops, kisses Gloria, and asks if Sutton is a relative. Gloria says no. They drive past a burning hamburger shack. Harry goes to the Landers State Bank to open an account, but the place appears empty until the owner, Julian Ward, comes out of the bathroom and apologizes that his male employees are volunteer firemen who had to run to the fire. Harry recognizes Ward as the man with the cowboy hat in the strip bar. When Harry returns to work, George Harshaw’s wife, Dolly Harshaw, drives onto the lot in a 1959 pink Cadillac and asks Harry to unload some things in the car trunk at a nearby charity office. As Harry carries the material upstairs in an old, mostly empty building, Dolly tells him there are only two things to do in town, and one is watching television. Harry looks out the window at Landers State Bank on the opposite corner. Later, fellow car salesman Lon Gulik tells Harry that George Harshaw has gone hunting for the weekend. Gulik explains that George met the much younger Dolly on a hunting trip and “she just sorta happened.” Harry remarks that George should have let her “happen” to someone else. Dolly telephones and asks Harry to bring George’s hunting cap to the Harshaw house. As he parks in front of the mansion, a lady across the street glares at him though a window. Dolly invites Harry in and shows him George’s hunting trophies, which includes a stuffed mountain lion that, she muses, thought it was stalking George until he killed it. She fixes Harry a drink, but when he kisses her, Dolly tells him to leave, because the lady across the street will be expecting his departure. Harry runs into Gloria Harper at a convenience store, buys her a soda, and walks her to her boardinghouse. He compliments her on being very pretty. That evening, Harry returns to the Harshaw house, slips inside, and finds Dolly in bed. She pulls a gun, puts the barrel to Harry’s head, and slides on her knees to pleasure him. Later, they lie in bed, drink liquor, and talk, but Harry insults her and leaves. Later, in his room at the Landmark Inn, Harry experiments with an alarm clock and an ignition device. The next day, on the lot, Dolly coaxes Harry into the back of a car, and he pleasures her. As soon as Dolly leaves, Frank Sutton appears and asks for a light for his cigarette, but clearly wants Harry to know he saw what he did with Dolly. Later, Harry sets his alarm-clock bomb in the empty building across from the bank and piles old newspapers on top. When it bursts into flames and sets the building on fire, he waits for Julian Ward and his employees to leave the bank. Harry slips inside and creates a flood in the bathroom. As Ward comes inside at the sight of water, Harry throws a blanket over his head and ties him up. After the frightened banker gives him the combination to the vault, Harry stuffs money in a bag and carries it to the trunk of his car. Then, as he watches the fire with other townspeople, he sees an old drunk in an upper window, trapped by flames. Harry runs upstairs and rescues him. Later, he buries the money outside town. The next day, Harry swims with Gloria in a secluded spring. She confides that she is only nineteen, and hopes Harry is not disappointed by her youth. As he walks her home, they kiss. When Harry returns to Harshaw Motors, the sheriff and a deputy arrest him. During interrogation, the sheriff tells Harry he knows he scouted the bank a couple of days earlier. A blind black man, the only one in the bank during the robbery, identifies Harry by sound only, even though Harry never spoke. Harry is jailed, but George Harshaw telephones to tell the sheriff that Dolly saw Harry at the fire just after it started. Harry is freed, but when he walks to his car outside Gloria’s house, a deputy follows. Harry offers to drive Gloria to work, but Sutton arrives and convinces her to leave with him. At the car lot, Harry notices Gloria has not yet arrived for work, and asks Lon Gulik about Sutton. The salesman says Sutton used to work for George Harshaw. Dolly telephones Harry for a date that night, and when he balks, she threatens to recant her eyewitness report. Later, Dolly takes Harry to an abandoned sawmill, where they make love. She tells him her husband needs an operation and that another heart attack would kill him. The next day, as Harry swims with Gloria, he asks why Frank Sutton has such power over her. She explains that Sutton originally blackmailed her best friend, Irene Davey, after discovering she had a lesbian relationship with a schoolteacher. He had photographs to prove it. After Irene killed herself, Sutton blackmailed Gloria, because he had photos of her and Irene swimming nude together. That night, Harry drives to Frank Sutton’s house, tells him to leave Gloria alone, and beats him. Afterward, when Harry goes for a drink at the strip bar, Dolly confronts him about his relationship with Gloria. When Dolly goes home, George Harshaw is drinking. She lures him upstairs and ties him down in bed during a bondage session, then tells him she did the same thing to Harry Madox. As she exerts George during sex, he has a heart attack. The next day, Frank Sutton, his face puffy and bruised, tells Harry he wants a free Lincoln automobile and enough money to leave town, or else he will tell the sheriff he saw him at the bank during the fire. After Sutton leaves, Harry implores Gloria not to pay Frank any more money. That night, in heavy rain, Harry digs up the bank money and drives to Frank Sutton’s place. Hearing a woman having sex inside, Harry enters the house, but Sutton fires a gun at him, and a woman runs out of the room and drives away, leaving behind a pair of open-toed shoes common to both Gloria and Dolly. Harry beats Sutton into submission and finds an envelope on the table with $500 inside. When Sutton pulls a gun, Harry wrestles it away and shoots him. He stages a suicide by pouring liquor down Sutton’s throat, putting the gun in Sutton’s hand, and shooting him in the mouth. He leaves the bank money on a table, and disposes of the open-toed shoes. The next day, the sheriff stops at the car lot to apologize to Harry for accusing him of the bank robbery. Dolly telephones both Harry and Gloria to inform them that George Harshaw has died, and Harry relays the news to Lon Gulik. When Gloria tells Harry that Dolly has summoned her, he drives her to the house. Harry notices that Gloria still has her distinctive open-toed shoes, which means Dolly was at Sutton’s house. At the mansion, Dolly shows them a signed letter, a last testament from George, that she wants Harry to read. George, or someone, has written that Harry robbed the bank and staged Frank Sutton’s suicide, and Gloria robbed Harshaw Motors to pay blackmail money to Sutton. Dolly tells Gloria she forgives her for stealing and will give her time to pay it back. She lies that she learned about her thievery from Harry. Devastated by Harry’s supposed betrayal, Gloria leaves and refuses Harry’s offer to drive. Alone with Dolly, Harry knocks her down and chokes her, but relents. Dolly tells him to kiss her, and Harry laughs at his situation. The two go for a drive in Dolly’s pink Cadillac, with Dolly driving. +

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

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