Pacific Heights (1990)

R | 103 mins | Drama | 28 September 1990

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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 23 Jan 1990 in San Francisco, CA, at a Victorian mansion at 1243 19th Street, on the corner of Texas Street, atop Potrero Hill, several miles from the city’s Pacific Heights section. (In the film, the house’s address is 170 Pacific Street.) Before shooting began, San Francisco art director Michael Marcus made the house look like “an aged and weathered monstrosity” by covering it with adhesive paper that could be treated with chemicals. After the first day of filming, the crew moved elsewhere for a couple of days while the house was “restored” to its previous splendor. (The house was reportedly used several years later in the CBS television series Nash Bridges, produced by and starring Don Johnson, the husband of Pacific Heights actress Melanie Griffith.) Other San Francisco locations in Pacific Heights included Chinatown, Golden Gate Park Stables, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, and the Financial and Tenderloin districts of downtown. After nearly four weeks, the production wrapped on 16 Feb 1990, the 2 Mar 1990 HR reported, and moved for another ten weeks to the Culver Studios in Culver City, CA, where interiors for the Victorian house were built on two sound stages. To capture the look and feel of the San Francisco skyline outside the rooms, production designer Neil Spisak constructed huge translucent photographs shot from the real Victorian’s first- and second-floor windows.
       Despite her pivotal role as “Ann Miller,” actress Beverly D’Angelo is not listed in credits. According to the 4 Nov 1990 Milwaukee Journal, D’Angelo appeared as a favor to director John ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 23 Jan 1990 in San Francisco, CA, at a Victorian mansion at 1243 19th Street, on the corner of Texas Street, atop Potrero Hill, several miles from the city’s Pacific Heights section. (In the film, the house’s address is 170 Pacific Street.) Before shooting began, San Francisco art director Michael Marcus made the house look like “an aged and weathered monstrosity” by covering it with adhesive paper that could be treated with chemicals. After the first day of filming, the crew moved elsewhere for a couple of days while the house was “restored” to its previous splendor. (The house was reportedly used several years later in the CBS television series Nash Bridges, produced by and starring Don Johnson, the husband of Pacific Heights actress Melanie Griffith.) Other San Francisco locations in Pacific Heights included Chinatown, Golden Gate Park Stables, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, and the Financial and Tenderloin districts of downtown. After nearly four weeks, the production wrapped on 16 Feb 1990, the 2 Mar 1990 HR reported, and moved for another ten weeks to the Culver Studios in Culver City, CA, where interiors for the Victorian house were built on two sound stages. To capture the look and feel of the San Francisco skyline outside the rooms, production designer Neil Spisak constructed huge translucent photographs shot from the real Victorian’s first- and second-floor windows.
       Despite her pivotal role as “Ann Miller,” actress Beverly D’Angelo is not listed in credits. According to the 4 Nov 1990 Milwaukee Journal, D’Angelo appeared as a favor to director John Schlesinger, but asked that she not be credited. Schlesinger himself also made an uncredited cameo in Pacific Heights as a man sharing an elevator with Melanie Griffith’s character at the JW Marriot Hotel, the 26 Sep 1990 USA Today noted. Actress Tippi Hedren, who is credited as “Florence Peters,” is Melanie Griffith’s mother.
       Although Griffith’s character is listed in credits as “Patty Parker,” two other characters call her “Mrs. Palmer,” and her name appears as “Patricia Palmer” on a financial document. The location of the condominium where Patty finds Ann Miller is given as “Desert Springs,” but a model in the condo lobby identifies the development as “Sun Hill Estates” in Palm Desert, California.
       On the set, Pacific Heights was jokingly referred to as Fatal Tenant, a reference to the popular Fatal Attraction (1987, see entry), executive producer James G. Robinson told the 27 Sep 1990 LAT.
       Pacific Heights opened on 1,278 screens on 28 Sep 1990 and became the week’s top-grossing film, taking in $6.9 million, the 2 Oct 1990 LAT reported. A later, undated HR item noted that the film made $30 million.
       Reviews of Pacific Heights uniformly referred to the leading characters as “yuppies,” a then-common, pejorative term for “young urban professionals,” and some critics tacitly blamed the protagonists, Patty Parker and “Drake Goodman,” for their own misfortune. The 28 Sep 1990 LAT declared, “According to the yuppie ethos, you are what you acquire,” and called the couple “stick-figure yuppies.” The 21 Sep 1990 HR began its review with: “Here is the ultimate yuppie horror film.” The 28 Sep 1990 NYT referred to the couple and their psycho tenant as “yuppie landlord[s]” and “a fellow white yuppie,” while the 28 Sep 1990 Austin American Statesman dubbed Matthew Modine’s character “the perfect naïve and dumb yuppie.” On 28 Sep 1990, National Public Radio headlined its review: “ Pacific Heights Is a Yuppie Nightmare," while the headline of the 14 Oct 1990 Boston Globe began: “Trouble Moves in on Yuppies.” The Boston Globe review of both Pacific Heights and Ghost (1990, see entry) used the term yuppie and its variants fifteen times, as its critic excoriated Hollywood’s use of the stereotype—spoiled, shallow, and self-entitled—as a stock character requiring no other back story.
       Orkin Exterminating Company paid $20,000 under a “product placement” agreement to show its services in a “non-disparaging, non-denigrative” manner in Pacific Heights. However, when actor Tracey Walter, wearing an Orkin uniform, was depicted as being “unwilling or unable to perform competent extermination services,” the company sued Fox, Morgan Creek Films, director John Schlesinger, and others for libel and breach of contract.
       End credits give the following information: “This film was re-recorded in a THX Sound System theatre,” and “Filmed on location in San Francisco and Los Angeles and at Culver Studiosdios.” End credits contain these acknowledgments: “The producers would like to thank the following: Nomura Babcock & Brown Film Partners; Lemaire & Faunce Law Offices; Lexington Scenery and Props; Magic Chef; J. W. Marriott Hotel in Century City; Michele B. Rosen and JEM Associates, Inc.; Waverly and Schumacher Wallcoverings and Fabrics; Zenith Data System--P.M. Promotions.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Austin American Statesman
28 Sep 1990
p. 7
Boston Globe
14 Oct 1990
Section B, p. 33
Box Office
Nov 1990.
---
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1990
p. 6, 27
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1990
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 1990
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1990
p. 6, 20
Los Angeles Times
27 Sep 1990
Calendar, p. 5
Los Angeles Times
28 Sep 1990
Calendar, p. 4
Los Angeles Times
2 Oct 1990
Calendar, p. 2
Milwaukee (WI) Journal
4 Nov 1990
Section E, p. 2
National Public Radio, "All Things Considered"
28 Sep 1990.
---
New York Times
28 Sep 1990
p. 8
San Francisco: The Magazine of Design & Style
July 1990.
---
USA Today
26 Sep 1990
Section D, p. 2
Variety
1 Oct 1990
p. 82
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
James G. Robinson presents
a Morgan Creek production
a John Schlesinger film
Released through Twentieth Century Fox
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, San Francisco crew
2d asst dir, San Francisco crew
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-exec prod
Co-exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Best boy
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company grip
Rigging key grip
Still photog
Dir of photog--2d unit
1st asst cam--2d unit
Arriflex cam and lenses provided by
Cranes and dollys by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Visual consultant
Art dir
Art dept coord
Art dir, San Francisco crew
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Post prod supv
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Lead person
On-set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
On set scenic painter
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Lead scenic painter
On set carpenter
Key carpenter, San Francisco crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Cost supv
Asst cost des
Asst costumer
Stylist for Mr. Keaton
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus rec eng
Cond & orch by
Mus contractor
SOUND
Supv sd ed
ADR supv
Rerec mixer
Sd mixer
Boom man
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec mechanical eff
Titles des by
MAKEUP
Key makeup
Asst makeup
Key hair stylist
Asst hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Voice casting by
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Police tech adv
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Prod controller
Prod auditor
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Post prod accountant
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Cook/driver
Craft service
Unit pub
Video research
Casting assoc
Extras casting--LA
Asst to Mr. Robinson
Asst to Mr. Nicksay
Asst to Mr. Barber
Asst to Mr. Schlesinger
Asst to Mr. Schlesinger
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Sackheim
Asst to Mr. Pyne
Asst to Ms. Griffith
Asst to Mr. Keaton
Morgan Creek admin
Chauffeur to Mr. Robinson
Asst prod coord, San Francisco crew
Loc mgr, San Francisco crew
Asst loc mgr, San Francisco crew
Loc liaison, San Francisco crew
Extra casting - SF, San Francisco crew
Loc prod equip provided by
Travel arrangements by
Insurance provided by
Completion guarantee provided by
Payroll services provided by
Product placement services
Cats supplied by
Roaches supplied by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Vivaldi: Summer--The Four Seasons,” performed by Pinchas Zuckerman and The Israeli Philharmonic, courtesy of Deutsche Gramaphon, a division of Polygram Classics, Inc.
“Mozart: Piano Concerto #19 In F, K. 459,” performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy and The Philharmonic Orchestra, courtesy of London Records, a division of Polygram Classics, Inc.
“Lethal Tendencies,” written by Stacy Anderson, performed by Hallows Eve, courtesy of Metal Blade Records, publisher: Bloody Skull Music, BMI, administered by Bug Music
+
SONGS
“Vivaldi: Summer--The Four Seasons,” performed by Pinchas Zuckerman and The Israeli Philharmonic, courtesy of Deutsche Gramaphon, a division of Polygram Classics, Inc.
“Mozart: Piano Concerto #19 In F, K. 459,” performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy and The Philharmonic Orchestra, courtesy of London Records, a division of Polygram Classics, Inc.
“Lethal Tendencies,” written by Stacy Anderson, performed by Hallows Eve, courtesy of Metal Blade Records, publisher: Bloody Skull Music, BMI, administered by Bug Music
“Hands All Over,” written by Ken Thayli and Christopher Cornell, performed by Soundgarden, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc., © 1989 Loud Love Music (ASCAP).
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 September 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 28 September 1990
Production Date:
23 June--late April or early May 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Morgan Creek Film Partners I
Copyright Date:
2 October 1990
Copyright Number:
PA480846
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
103
Length(in feet):
9,237
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30737
SYNOPSIS

Two thugs drive to the Sun Hill Estates in Desert Springs, California, where Ann Miller and a man, soon to be known as “Carter Hayes,” are having sex. After the thugs beat him with a baseball bat and leave, the bloody Hayes tells Ann the worst is over. In San Francisco, California, a realtor shows a Victorian house to a young, unmarried couple, Drake Goodman and Patty Parker. There are two apartments downstairs whose rentals can help pay for the $749,000 mortgage. Friend Dennis Reed tries to dissuade them, but the couple is certain they can afford the house because they are self-employed, he as a boutique kite manufacturer and she as an equestrian instructor. Drake and Patty buy the house, begin renovation, and adopt a friendly white cat. Carter Hayes parks across the street in his Porsche, flipping through a realtor’s list of apartments. Over the next few days, Drake and Patty separately interview prospective tenants, including Toshio and Mira Watanabe, a Japanese-American couple who want the larger apartment, and Lou Baker, an African American divorcee who wants the studio apartment. Baker insists his credit is good, but he can only pay half the deposit at the moment. Early the next morning, Lou Baker leaves his rental application on the front porch, but as the Watanabes move in, the document sticks to a workman’s shoe and is discarded. After Patty goes to work, Carter Hayes arrives and tells Drake he spoke to her a week earlier and would like to see the studio apartment. During the walk-through, Hayes asks when he can move in. Flashing $100 bills, he offers to pay six months’ rent in advance, because he ... +


Two thugs drive to the Sun Hill Estates in Desert Springs, California, where Ann Miller and a man, soon to be known as “Carter Hayes,” are having sex. After the thugs beat him with a baseball bat and leave, the bloody Hayes tells Ann the worst is over. In San Francisco, California, a realtor shows a Victorian house to a young, unmarried couple, Drake Goodman and Patty Parker. There are two apartments downstairs whose rentals can help pay for the $749,000 mortgage. Friend Dennis Reed tries to dissuade them, but the couple is certain they can afford the house because they are self-employed, he as a boutique kite manufacturer and she as an equestrian instructor. Drake and Patty buy the house, begin renovation, and adopt a friendly white cat. Carter Hayes parks across the street in his Porsche, flipping through a realtor’s list of apartments. Over the next few days, Drake and Patty separately interview prospective tenants, including Toshio and Mira Watanabe, a Japanese-American couple who want the larger apartment, and Lou Baker, an African American divorcee who wants the studio apartment. Baker insists his credit is good, but he can only pay half the deposit at the moment. Early the next morning, Lou Baker leaves his rental application on the front porch, but as the Watanabes move in, the document sticks to a workman’s shoe and is discarded. After Patty goes to work, Carter Hayes arrives and tells Drake he spoke to her a week earlier and would like to see the studio apartment. During the walk-through, Hayes asks when he can move in. Flashing $100 bills, he offers to pay six months’ rent in advance, because he is sometimes out of the country. Hayes claims he has no “traditional” credit because he works for a trust, but promises to wire $7500—rent plus security deposit—from his account in San Antonio, Texas. He gives out-of-town personal references, including Mr. Bennett Fidlow at the trust. However, when Drake tries to contact Mr. Fidlow, he gets the runaround from a secretary. One of the names is “former landlady” Ann Miller, who gives a glowing report, and then requests Hayes’s new address. Later, Patty tells Drake that Lou Baker had first choice on the studio apartment, but Drake claims he never left his application. He rented it to Carter Hayes instead, but when he mentions that Patty met him a week earlier, she has no recollection. Soon after, Patty comes home and finds Hayes inside the apartment. He tells her the door was open so he let himself in to wait for the telephone installer. When she informs Drake that Hayes has already moved it, he is surprised, because he told Hayes they first had to receive his deposit. Drake goes downstairs and knocks, but nobody answers. As he leaves the house, the apartment window curtains move. At his bank, Drake discovers that the money has not been wired into his account. When he returns home, he hears hammering inside the apartment. Another man, Greg, responds to Drake’s knock and tells him Hayes is in Seattle, Washington, until Friday. The Watanabes knock out the lights while pounding a nail in the wall, and when Patty goes into the garage to check the circuit breaker, she sees Hayes sitting in his Porsche, watching her. She runs upstairs to tell Drake, but Hayes drives away. Drake again telephones Mr. Fidlow in Texas, but is told the trust has no record of Carter Hayes. Later that day, Patty tells Drake she is pregnant. That night, Drake awakens to a pounding inside the studio apartment and goes downstairs, but again nobody answers his knock. His duplicate key is useless because the lock has been changed. In retaliation, he turns off heat and electricity to the apartment. The next morning, two policemen answer Hayes’s complaint and inform the enraged landlord that it is unlawful to turn off a tenant’s electricity. One cop suggests Drake telephone a lawyer, because Hayes can sue him. When Drake and Patty hire lawyer Stephanie MacDonald, she explains that, regardless whether he paid rent, the moment Hayes moved into the apartment, he legally “took possession” and became their legal tenant. MacDonald sends a process server, but Greg slams the door in his face. Later, Patty finds a Victorian dollhouse Hayes left as a peace offering, but Drake sets it in front of Hayes’s door. The next morning, Mrs. Watanabe screams when she finds cockroaches in her apartment. An exterminator tells them the roaches are coming from Hayes’s apartment next door. Drake puts a “30 Days Notice to Pay Rent or Quit” on the door. As Patty leaves the house, Ann Miller arrives and demands to see Hayes. Greg claims Hayes is not home, but to silence her in front of Patty, he pulls Ann inside and shuts the door. Later, Drake climbs into a crawl space beneath Hayes’s apartment and hears him arguing with Greg through a floor grate. Greg recounts that Ann Miller told him she never got any money from helping Hayes with his last rental scam. When Greg threatens trouble if Hayes tries to do the same with him, they get into a fight. A jar of cockroaches falls on the grate and breaks, sending insects and glass shards down on Drake. When Patty gets home, a drunken Drake tells her Hayes and Greg are breeding roaches, and that they “professionally” steal property from landlords. The Watanabes move out. Drake and Patty’s case against Hayes goes to court, but the judge awards the tenant a rent reduction because Drake’s earlier attempt to evict him reduced the apartment's habitability. Drake and Patty must also pay Hayes’s legal fees. When they arrive home and find Hayes’s Porsche blocking the garage, Drake goes crazy and Patty barely restrains him from smashing the car. The next morning, Patty has a miscarriage and is rushed to the hospital. Later, Hayes telephones police, then knocks on Drake’s door, delivers flowers, and offers condolences. Enraged, Drake attacks him, and they fall down the stairs and crash through a window. When police arrive to find Hayes bleeding on the sidewalk, they arrest Drake. Stephanie MacDonald informs Patty that Hayes has filed for a restraining order, which means Drake cannot come within 500 feet of the house. After posting bail, Drake stays at Dennis Reed’s apartment. Patty finds the Victorian dollhouse on her bed, along with an affectionate note from Hayes, and throws it out the window. When she telephones Drake, he drives to the house and tries to sneak upstairs, but Hayes shoots him in the arm. Drake awakens in the hospital. The district attorney tells Stephanie MacDonald that Hayes can claim he was defending himself. However, she has good news: thanks to a default judgment in Drake and Patty’s lawsuit, Hayes will be evicted tomorrow. Men from the sheriff’s department arrive to evict Hayes, but when a locksmith opens the door, the apartment is empty and completely ripped apart. At the sheriff’s office, Lou Baker reintroduces himself as a member of the department. He warns Patty that Carter Hayes is a dangerous individual, and she should forget about him. Later, as she cleans the apartment, Patty finds a childhood photograph of Hayes with his real name, “James Danforth," and "age 10,” written on the back. When she telephones Mr. Fidlow’s office regarding James Danforth, Fidlow takes the call and informs her that he is the executor of the Danforth family trust, which cannot be touched regardless of what Danforth has done. Fidlow gives her Danforth’s last address in Palm Desert. Patty drives to the Sun Hill Estates and talks with Ann Miller, who lives in the condominium that the real Carter Hayes owned before Danforth scammed him out of it. Hayes was the one who hired thugs to beat Danforth. When Ann shows a postcard Danforth sent from the JW Marriott Hotel in Century City, California, Patty flies to Los Angeles and discovers that Danforth is staying at the hotel under the name Drake Goodman. She follows Danforth to a Beverly Hills mansion, where a woman accepts him as “Mr. Goodman,” and learns that he is courting socialite Florence Peters. Returning to the Marriott, Patty cons a maid into letting her into “Goodman’s” room. Along with research on Florence Peters, whose net worth is $20 million, she discovers copies of her own financial records, along with a California driver’s license and passport issued to Drake Goodman, but with Danforth’s photograph. She orders thousands of dollars of food and champagne from room service, cancels all the bank accounts and credit cards, and reports Danforth to everyone. The hotel manager stops him at the desk when he returns, and when Danforth goes upstairs, Patty steps into the elevator as he gets out. Realizing what happened, he tries to catch Patty downstairs, but she escapes. When Danforth is arrested, he tries to explain himself to Florence Peters and get her to post his bail. Back in San Francisco, Patty renovates the studio apartment, while Drake recuperates. She hears the cat in the basement and sees a broken window. Upstairs, Danforth hits Drake with a steel rod, then threatens Patty in the studio apartment with a nail gun. Unable to get through the locked door, Drake crawls under the house, reaches up through the floor grate, and grabs Danforth’s ankle. Danforth falls on vertical steel rods and is killed. Later, Drake and Patty show the house to a young couple. The price is steep, but the wife convinces her husband they can afford it. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.