The Prince of Tides (1991)

R | 131 mins | Drama, Romance | 25 December 1991

Director:

Barbra Streisand

Cinematographer:

Stephen Goldblatt

Editor:

Don Zimmerman

Production Designer:

Paul Sylbert

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
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HISTORY

Prior to the publication of his 1986 novel, The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy sold film rights and a “first-draft screenplay” to CBS, according to 25 Apr and 1 Aug 1986 Publisher’s Weekly articles. When the broadcast television network decided not to venture into making feature films, United Artists (UA) acquired the property. Conroy formed KCR Productions with his manager, James Roe, and producer Andrew Karsch, then began writing a second draft of the script in anticipation of an imminent co-production with UA. Conroy reportedly earned $250,000 for writing the screenplay, in addition to receiving $600,000 in the screen rights deal. Screenwriter Jay Presson Allen was brought in to polish the script, and a 30 Sep 1986 DV advertisement indicated that Robert Mandel was set to direct the picture. Seven months later, a 3 Jun 1987 HR news item stated that Robert Redford had agreed to produce the film for United Artists through his independent company, Wildwood Enterprises. HR speculated that Redford might cast himself in the role of “Tom Wingo.”
       Over the next two years, sporadic news items revealed Barbra Streisand’s interest in the project. A 14 Mar 1989 HR news brief suggested that director Luis Mandoki had, “at one point,” considered helming the project, but that he was no longer in negotiations with producers. On 9 Apr 1989, LAT announced that Streisand would direct and star in the film, with production anticipated for “late summer” 1989. However, a 25 Nov 1989 Screen International news brief clarified that production was scheduled for 1990, and that screenwriter Becky Johnston was preparing a fresh ... More Less

Prior to the publication of his 1986 novel, The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy sold film rights and a “first-draft screenplay” to CBS, according to 25 Apr and 1 Aug 1986 Publisher’s Weekly articles. When the broadcast television network decided not to venture into making feature films, United Artists (UA) acquired the property. Conroy formed KCR Productions with his manager, James Roe, and producer Andrew Karsch, then began writing a second draft of the script in anticipation of an imminent co-production with UA. Conroy reportedly earned $250,000 for writing the screenplay, in addition to receiving $600,000 in the screen rights deal. Screenwriter Jay Presson Allen was brought in to polish the script, and a 30 Sep 1986 DV advertisement indicated that Robert Mandel was set to direct the picture. Seven months later, a 3 Jun 1987 HR news item stated that Robert Redford had agreed to produce the film for United Artists through his independent company, Wildwood Enterprises. HR speculated that Redford might cast himself in the role of “Tom Wingo.”
       Over the next two years, sporadic news items revealed Barbra Streisand’s interest in the project. A 14 Mar 1989 HR news brief suggested that director Luis Mandoki had, “at one point,” considered helming the project, but that he was no longer in negotiations with producers. On 9 Apr 1989, LAT announced that Streisand would direct and star in the film, with production anticipated for “late summer” 1989. However, a 25 Nov 1989 Screen International news brief clarified that production was scheduled for 1990, and that screenwriter Becky Johnston was preparing a fresh screenplay. An 11 Dec 1991 HR news item noted that actress Irene Worth had been considered for the role of the elder “Lila Wingo Newbury,” but that Streisand decided to "age" Kate Nelligan with heavy makeup, as actress had been cast as “young mother” Lila. On 25 Jan 1990, HR indicated that Columbia Pictures was working to acquire the property from MGM/UA. Columbia was apparently more willing than MGM/UA to take on the proposed $25 million project, according to a 31 Jan 1990 Var news brief.
       Robert Osborne’s “Rambling Reporter” column in the 9 Apr 1990 HR stated that Barbra Streisand, dissatisfied with the various script revisions, had written her own screenplay. Streisand is not credited as a writer, but Pat Conroy acknowledged in a 26 Dec 1991 interview in LAT that she was very involved in helping him polish a version of the script. “Barbra … wrote a lot of the stuff, a ton of stuff. We talked a great deal. I’d say, ‘I like the way this line sounds,’ and she’d say she liked the way that line sounds. She was a complete pleasure to work with.” Although Conroy received co-screenwriting credit with Becky Johnston, he told the LAT that he never met the screenwriter, and that ultimately, his version of the screenplay was not the one used during production.
       Principal photography began 18 Jun 1990 in Beaufort, S.C., according to the 25 Jun 1990 DV. The three-month shoot also included location filming in New York and rural New Jersey, according to production notes in AMPAS library files. Filmmakers studied tide charts to maximize the effect of “magic hour” as the sun set over the region’s marsh wetlands. On 16 Aug 1990, DV reported that Streisand and Nick Nolte had filmed a scene in the dining room of the Regency Hotel, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In a 22 Dec 1991 interview, Streisand told the NYT that the film was made for $27 million.
       According to a 4 Feb 1991 Var article, composer John Barry was signed to write the music for The Prince of Tides. However, he bowed out “by mutual agreement” with filmmakers, and was replaced by composer James Newton Howard, who received his first Academy Award nomination for the sweeping, romantic score. Contrary to most assessments, the 26 Dec 1991 WSJ review criticized Howard’s melodramatic music as “overwhelming.”
       Various contemporary sources, including a 19 Dec 1991 HR article, noted that the film was originally slated for release in September. However, research and industry screenings generated such “buzz” about the picture that Columbia decided to go for a more lucrative holiday release. Benefit premieres were held 9 and 11 Dec 1991 in New York and Los Angeles, as indicated by a 9 Dec 1991 DV news item. Opening nationwide on Christmas Day, the picture took in approximately $2.7 million at the box office, according to Martin A. Grove’s 27 Dec 1991 “Hollywood Report” column in HR. Two weeks after the film’s release, an 8 Jan 1992 DV advertisement announced that the film had garnered $31 million in box office receipts. On 30 Apr 1992, DV congratulated the picture on a worldwide box office total of $121 million.
       Critical reception was generally favorable, though a few reviews faulted Streisand for casting herself as “Dr. Susan Lowenstein” and playing the role with such severe restraint. The film also elicited negative responses from the psychiatric community, who found the romance between Dr. Lowenstein and Tom Wingo unethical. Streisand addressed the concerns in a 29 Jun 1992 Newsweek article, dismissing remarks about her shapely legs and overlong fingernails as “harmless,” but admonishing the psychiatric community for failing to recognize that the movie, like the novel, was a work of fiction.
       The Prince of Tides was nominated for Academy Awards in seven categories: Best Picture; Best Actor (Nick Nolte); Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kate Nelligan); Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published); Cinematography; Art Direction; and Music (Original Score). Barbra Streisand did not receive a nomination as director, which the 2 Mar 1992 issue of Newsweek considered a “snub.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Special thanks to: Regency Hotel, New York; the City of Beaufort, South Carolina; Isabel Hill and the South Carolina Film Commission; the South Street Seaport Museum; the City of New York, New York; Jayne Keyes and The New York City Film Commission.” End credits also state: “The cooperation of the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense is gratefully acknowledged.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Sep 1986.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1990.
---
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1990.
---
Daily Variety
9 Dec 1991.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jan 1992.
---
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1990
p. 1, 36.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 1991
p. 5, 44.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 1991.
---
LAHExam
6 Jun 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Apr 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Dec 1991
Calendar, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
26 Dec 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Apr 1992.
---
New York
16 Dec 1991.
---
New York Times
22 Dec 1991
p. 9, 18.
New York Times
22 Dec 1991
pp. 9, 24-25.
New York Times
25 Dec 1991
p. 13.
New York Times
19 Jan 1992.
---
Newsweek
2 Mar 1992
p. 60.
Newsweek
29 Jun 1992
p. 14.
Publisher's Weekly
25 Apr 1986.
---
Publisher's Weekly
1 Aug 1986.
---
Screen International
25 Nov 1989.
---
Variety
31 Jan 1990.
---
Variety
4 Feb 1991.
---
Variety
9 Dec 1991
p. 73.
WSJ
26 Dec 1991.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT

PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Barwood/Longfellow Production
A Film by Barbra Streisand
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst unit prod mgr
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
and
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Video playback
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Chargeman scenic artist
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord-S.C.
Const coord-N.Y.
Set des
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
COSTUMES
Men`s ward
Women's ward
Cost asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Orch cond by
Scoring mixer
Asst to Mr. Howard
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR ed
Foley by
Foley ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Key makeup
Key hair stylist
Hair stylist to Ms. Streisand
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Prod coord-South Carolina
Prod coord-New York
Prod accountant
Asst to Ms. Streisand
Secy to Ms. Streisand-S.C.
Secy to Ms. Streisand-N.Y.
Secy to Ms. Streisand-L.A.
Personal asst to Ms. Streisand
Asst to Ms. Corman
Coord for Barwood
Asst to Mr. Sylbert
Asst to Mr. Schrager-S.C.
Asst to Mr. Schrager-N.Y.
Casting asst to Ms. Finnegan
Extra & day player casting-S.C.
Extra & day player casting-S.C.
Extra coord-N.Y.
Voice casting
Transportation coord-S.C.
Transportation coord-N.Y.
Transportation capt-S.C.
Transportation capt-N.Y.
Craft service-S.C.
Craft service-N.Y.
Caterer
Shrimpboat adv
Shrimpboat adv
New York stage facilities
Post prod services by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
ANIMATION
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Timing consultant
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (Boston, 1986).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Cavatina, Opus 13," written by Howard Brockway, violin performance by Pinchas Zukerman
"Praeludium and Allegro," written by Fritz Kreisler, violin performance by Pinchas Zukerman
"Dixie," violin performance by Pinchas Zukerman.
SONGS
"Fui Tu Caceria," written by Margarita Pinillos, performed by Arabella, courtesy of Kubaney Records
"Monkey," written and performed by George Michael, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Keep On Movin'," written by Beresford Romeo, performed by Soul II Soul, courtesy of 10 Records
+
SONGS
"Fui Tu Caceria," written by Margarita Pinillos, performed by Arabella, courtesy of Kubaney Records
"Monkey," written and performed by George Michael, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Keep On Movin'," written by Beresford Romeo, performed by Soul II Soul, courtesy of 10 Records
"The Very Thought of You," written by Ray Noble, performed by Red Garland, courtesy of Fantasy Inc.
"Happy Birthday To You," written by Mildred Hill & Patty Hill
"Honey Don't," written and performed by Carl Perkins, courtesy of Sun Entertainment/Rhino Records
"That's What I Like About The South," written by Andy Razaf
"For All We Know," written by Sam Lewis & J. Alfred Coots.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 December 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 December 1991
Production Date:
18 June--mid September 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 January 1992
Copyright Number:
PA550523
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
131
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30770
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

From the porch of his house on the South Carolina shore, Tom Wingo reminisces about his childhood, recalling how he, his twin sister, Savannah, and older brother, Luke, cultivated a tight-knit bond to defend against their parents’ stormy temperaments. Tom’s wife, Sally, informs him that his mother is on her way over. Tom is displeased. When Lila Wingo Newbury arrives, she announces that Tom’s sister, Savannah, attempted suicide. She suggests that Tom go to New York City to speak to Savannah’s psychiatrist, who is at a loss for how to help her patient. Tom accuses his mother of avoiding responsibility. That night, Tom and Sally walk on the beach, and Sally expresses frustration with their marriage, but Tom refuses to discuss the topic. A few days later, he travels to New York to meet Savannah’s psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein. The doctor tries to verify biographical information gleaned from Savannah’s poetry, but Tom keeps changing the subject. Exasperated, Dr. Lowenstein tells Tom that she needs someone willing to fill in Savannah’s blocked childhood memories, and if he does not want to help, he should return to South Carolina. Tom reluctantly agrees to continue meeting with Dr. Lowenstein. The next day, he visits Savannah in the hospital, and is shocked to see her in restraints. Over lunch, Dr. Lowenstein asks Tom if he knows what “Callanwolde” means, indicating that Savannah repeated the term when she awoke from her coma. Tom is startled, but declares he does not know the word. Later, Tom tells Dr. Lowenstein about the antagonistic relationship between his mother, Lila, and father, Henry, and how Lila never wanted anyone to know about their family troubles. After a few ... +


From the porch of his house on the South Carolina shore, Tom Wingo reminisces about his childhood, recalling how he, his twin sister, Savannah, and older brother, Luke, cultivated a tight-knit bond to defend against their parents’ stormy temperaments. Tom’s wife, Sally, informs him that his mother is on her way over. Tom is displeased. When Lila Wingo Newbury arrives, she announces that Tom’s sister, Savannah, attempted suicide. She suggests that Tom go to New York City to speak to Savannah’s psychiatrist, who is at a loss for how to help her patient. Tom accuses his mother of avoiding responsibility. That night, Tom and Sally walk on the beach, and Sally expresses frustration with their marriage, but Tom refuses to discuss the topic. A few days later, he travels to New York to meet Savannah’s psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein. The doctor tries to verify biographical information gleaned from Savannah’s poetry, but Tom keeps changing the subject. Exasperated, Dr. Lowenstein tells Tom that she needs someone willing to fill in Savannah’s blocked childhood memories, and if he does not want to help, he should return to South Carolina. Tom reluctantly agrees to continue meeting with Dr. Lowenstein. The next day, he visits Savannah in the hospital, and is shocked to see her in restraints. Over lunch, Dr. Lowenstein asks Tom if he knows what “Callanwolde” means, indicating that Savannah repeated the term when she awoke from her coma. Tom is startled, but declares he does not know the word. Later, Tom tells Dr. Lowenstein about the antagonistic relationship between his mother, Lila, and father, Henry, and how Lila never wanted anyone to know about their family troubles. After a few weeks in New York, Tom receives a call from Sally, who informs him that she has been having an affair. The next day, Tom confides in Dr. Lowenstein, accusing women of being devious. Later, at a party, Tom asks the psychiatrist about her marriage. Dr. Lowenstein reveals that she is married to Herbert Woodruff, a famous concert violinist. When Tom asks if the marriage is a happy one, the doctor evades the question, and introduces Tom to her teenage son, Bernard, who wants to play football but lacks skills. Tom, a football coach, agrees to mentor the sullen boy. Sometime later, Tom discovers that his sister wrote a children’s book under a pseudonym. Furious, he confronts Dr. Lowenstein, who asks why he is so upset. Tom indicates that the book is a confessional exposé of the Wingo family. The doctor asks him to interpret the story’s symbolic elements, but instead, Tom recounts a dream of dancing with Dr. Lowenstein. In time, Tom invites the psychiatrist to watch old home movies of the Wingo children. Dr. Lowenstein asks about Luke Wingo, whom Tom seems to revere. Tom acknowledges his admiration for his courageous brother, before explaining that Luke was killed by FBI agents in an altercation over a land development project. A few days later, Tom travels to South Carolina to celebrate the birthday of Chandler, one of his three daughters. As he and Sally discuss their struggling marriage, Sally confesses that her lover wants to marry her. Tom spends time with his aging father, Henry, and is still haunted by memories of his abuse. However, he begins to view his father with newfound sympathy. Before returning to New York, Tom visits his mother and informs her that he intends to tell Dr. Lowenstein about “Callanwolde.” Lila Wingo accuses her son of breaking a family confidence. In a session with the doctor, Tom recounts a rainy night from his adolescence, when three escapees from Callanwolde prison broke into the Wingo house and raped his mother and sister. Struggling to continue, Tom admits that he, too, was raped. Dr. Lowenstein asks how they survived the ordeal, and Tom explains that his brother, Luke, killed two of the men with a shotgun, while his mother stabbed the third with a kitchen knife. Lila ordered the children to carry the bodies outside, bury them, and help clean the house. They made a secret pact not to tell the police or Henry, and three days later, Savannah made her first suicide attempt. Tom breaks down crying, and Dr. Lowenstein embraces him. As Tom continues to coach Dr. Lowenstein’s son, Bernard, Herbert Woodruff puts an end to their training sessions, insisting that his son focus on his music studies. At a dinner party, Herbert ridicules Tom in front of the other guests, provoking the Southerner to hold the violinist’s Stradivarius over the balcony. After Herbert apologizes, Tom leaves in anger. Dr. Lowenstein follows, and the two return to Savannah’s apartment where they make love. Sometime later, Tom and Dr. Lowenstein spend a romantic weekend together at her country house. They reflect on their troubled marriages, amazed at how sincere their love for each other is by comparison. On returning to New York, Tom visits Savannah, whose condition has improved. He confides his marital problems to her, uncertain of what his future holds. After Savannah reminds her brother of his love for South Carolina and “the Southern way,” he decides to end his romantic relationship with the psychiatrist. Tom and Dr. Lowenstein share a final date at the Rainbow Room, dancing together against the sparkling city skyline. Committed to mending his marriage, Tom returns to South Carolina, where Sally and his daughters welcome him home. +

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

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