Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

PG-13 | 120 mins | Comedy-drama | 1993

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HISTORY

Mrs. Doubtfire is based on the 1988 novel by Anne Fine, titled Alias Madame Doubtfire . According to a filmed interview in a DVD special feature for the film, actor-producer Robin Williams, who portrayed "Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire," stated that his wife and fellow producer, Marsha Garces Williams, read the book and saw the comedy potential for Williams; and director Chris Columbus stated that in an early version of the script before he became involved with the project, Miranda and Daniel get back together. Columbus was uncomfortable with this and during three months of rewrites in which Columbus was involved, the ending was revised to end with the couple's divorce.
       Artist-director-producer Chuck Jones, who directed several animated films, among them, Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes shorts for Warner Bros., designed, directed and produced a short cartoon, Pudgie The Parrot , which is seen at the beginning of Mrs. Doubtfire . According to a DVD extra, Jones created two versions of the cartoon, the version included in the feature film, and a version with more "cartoony" backgrounds that reflect his personal style.
       The character makeup created by Mrs. Doubtfire 's Academy Award winning makeup team consisted of eight overlapping foam latex appliances. The design was based on a 1940s-era photograph of a woman. The makeup took three to four-and-a-half hours to apply, and one hour to remove. Because producers wanted Williams to shoot for ten hours a day with makeup on, it was not unusual for him to work fifteen-hour days while filming. All the latex makeup appliances were made fresh weekly to avoid shrinkage. In ... More Less

Mrs. Doubtfire is based on the 1988 novel by Anne Fine, titled Alias Madame Doubtfire . According to a filmed interview in a DVD special feature for the film, actor-producer Robin Williams, who portrayed "Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire," stated that his wife and fellow producer, Marsha Garces Williams, read the book and saw the comedy potential for Williams; and director Chris Columbus stated that in an early version of the script before he became involved with the project, Miranda and Daniel get back together. Columbus was uncomfortable with this and during three months of rewrites in which Columbus was involved, the ending was revised to end with the couple's divorce.
       Artist-director-producer Chuck Jones, who directed several animated films, among them, Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes shorts for Warner Bros., designed, directed and produced a short cartoon, Pudgie The Parrot , which is seen at the beginning of Mrs. Doubtfire . According to a DVD extra, Jones created two versions of the cartoon, the version included in the feature film, and a version with more "cartoony" backgrounds that reflect his personal style.
       The character makeup created by Mrs. Doubtfire 's Academy Award winning makeup team consisted of eight overlapping foam latex appliances. The design was based on a 1940s-era photograph of a woman. The makeup took three to four-and-a-half hours to apply, and one hour to remove. Because producers wanted Williams to shoot for ten hours a day with makeup on, it was not unusual for him to work fifteen-hour days while filming. All the latex makeup appliances were made fresh weekly to avoid shrinkage. In a Jan 1994 Us interview, costume designer, Marit Allen, reported that Mrs. Doubtfire's dress size was the largest possible, 44 or 46, and when in costume, the crew would call Williams, "Mrs. D," because he was so realistic.
       According to Columbus, he encouraged the cast to improvise as a way to heighten the comedy in the film. Approximately forty minutes of these alternate takes were included in the DVD Combo pack release.
       Portions of the film were shot in San Francisco, CA, according to a 6 Apr 1993 HR news item. A 7 Apr 1994 HR article states that the owner of the San Francisco Victorian home used as the location site for the Hillards' family home sued the film's producers, claiming that the "crews spoiled the home and allowed children and animals to 'run wild.'" The outcome of the suit has not been determined.
       By 11 Apr 1994, an HR news item noted that the film had grossed nearly $212 million domestically in its nineteen weeks of release, making it the fourteenth highest grossing picture in history at that time. A 31 May 1994 Var article reported that Mrs. Doubtfire broke the $200 million gross marker after twenty-three weeks release overseas, making it Fox's biggest film in foreign release to that time.
       Mrs. Doubtfire won an Academy Award for Best Makeup, and Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -Comedy/Musical (Williams). A 22 Nov 1999 Var news item reported that Mrs. Doubtfire was adapted into the play, Thank Goodness for Maria , by Italian stage impresario Pietro Garinei.


The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Taylor Miller, a student at University of Texas at Austin, with Janet Staiger as academic advisor.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 1994.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 1994.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Nov 1993
p.1.
New York Times
24 Nov 1993
p. 11.
Us
Jan 1994.
---
Variety
29 Nov 1993
p. 30.
Variety
31 May 1994.
---
Variety
22 Nov 1999.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Chris Columbus Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Co-prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
"A" cam op
"B" cam op
"A" cam 1st asst
"B" cam 1st asst
"A" cam 2d asst
"B" cam 2d asst
Loader
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Rigging elec best boy
Rigging elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip "B" cam
Rigging grip best boy
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Crane op
Addl cable
Video asst
Video playback
Still photog
Cranes and dollies provided by
Filmed in
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Lightworks asst
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Projectionist
Post prod services provided by
Ed prod asst
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Asst props
Asst props
Asst props
Set des
Set des
Set des
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Drapery
Constr coord
Asst constr coord/Shop foreman
Constr shop gen
Lead scenic
Paint foreman
Standby painter
Constr shop liaison
Greensman
Asst greensman
Kitchen cabinets by
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv for Mr. Williams
Cost supv
On set cost
On set cost
Seamstress
"Mrs. Doubtfire" body suits
MUSIC
Cartoon mus comp and cond
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
Mus preparation
Musicians contractor
Opera coach for Mr. Williams
Italian diction coach for Mr. Williams
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Post-prod sd services provided by
A division of Lucas Digital Ltd., Marin County, California
Sound des/Rerec mixer
Asst sd des
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd eff ed
ADR ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Effectsman
Effectsman
Effectsman
Title des by
Titles & Opt by
MAKEUP
Spec makeup created by
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup asst
Key hairstylist
Hairstylist
Cannom Creations crew
Cannom Creations crew
Cannom Creations crew
Cannom Creations crew
Cannom Creations crew
Cannom Creations crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Extra casting
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Columbus
Asst to Mrs. Garces Williams
Asst to Mr. Williams
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Accounting asst
Payroll
Const accounting
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Co-capt
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Paramedic coord
Catering
On set caterer
On set caterer
On set caterer
On set caterer
On set caterer
Craft service
Animal handler
Studio teacher
Studio teacher
Loc security
Animal action supv by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
ANIMATION
Anim by
Anim prod by
Assoc prod
Anim
Anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Anim backgrounds
Checker
Checker
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine (Boston, 1988).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Babalu," written by Margarita Lecuona
"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," written by Steve Tyler, Joe Perry and Desmond Childs, performed by Aerosmith, courtesy of Geffen Records
"Walk Like a Man," written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, performed by The Four Seasons, courtesy of The Four Seasons Partnership, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
"Babalu," written by Margarita Lecuona
"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," written by Steve Tyler, Joe Perry and Desmond Childs, performed by Aerosmith, courtesy of Geffen Records
"Walk Like a Man," written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, performed by The Four Seasons, courtesy of The Four Seasons Partnership, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Luck Be a Lady," written by Frank Loesser, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Jump Around," written by Erik Schrody and Larry Muggerud, performed by House of Pain, courtesy of Tommy Boy Records
"Dragon" from "Outer Limits," written by Dominic Frontiere
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," written and performed by James Brown, courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets, a division of PolyGram Group Distribution
"Stormy Monday Blues," written by Aaron Walker, performed by B. B. King and Albert Collins, courtesy of MCA Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 24 November 1993
New York opening: week of 24 November 1993
Production Date:
began 22 March 1993
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
22 November 1993
Copyright Number:
PA659812
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby stereo in selected theatres
Color
Deluxe
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32710
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In San Francisco, frequently unemployed actor Daniel Hillard has a job dubbing animated characters in a children’s cartoon. When, onscreen, a villainous cartoon cat offers a cigarette to a little green parakeet called Pudgie the Parrot, Daniel goes off script, improvising dialogue that warns children about the hazards of smoking. The cartoon’s director, a smoker, is infuriated, but Daniel insists that it is unethical to promote smoking to children. Unable to convince the director of his viewpoint, Daniel quits. He then surprises his children, Lydia, Chris, and Natalie, by picking them up from school. Because today is Chris’ twelfth birthday, Daniel throws a boisterous party with hip-hop music, dozens of children, and a hired petting zoo. His wife Miranda, a co-owner in a successful interior design firm, is the family’s breadwinner and used to Daniel’s whimsical antics. However, when she arrives home from work with a couple of small gifts in hand, she finds the house in shambles, children screaming, trash everywhere, and a goat eating her begonias. Inside, she sees her husband and children dancing on the dining room table, while other children swing from a chandelier in the next room, and a pony eats the birthday cake. Angry, Miranda unplugs the stereo and orders the guests out of the house. Miranda and Daniel scream at each other while cleaning up, and during the fighting, Miranda realizes she wants a divorce. Assuming Miranda’s anger will subside, Daniel moves in with his gay brother, Frank, and his partner Jack, both makeup artists. Later, during divorce proceedings, Miranda is given sole custody of the children because Daniel has no place to live and no employment. ... +


In San Francisco, frequently unemployed actor Daniel Hillard has a job dubbing animated characters in a children’s cartoon. When, onscreen, a villainous cartoon cat offers a cigarette to a little green parakeet called Pudgie the Parrot, Daniel goes off script, improvising dialogue that warns children about the hazards of smoking. The cartoon’s director, a smoker, is infuriated, but Daniel insists that it is unethical to promote smoking to children. Unable to convince the director of his viewpoint, Daniel quits. He then surprises his children, Lydia, Chris, and Natalie, by picking them up from school. Because today is Chris’ twelfth birthday, Daniel throws a boisterous party with hip-hop music, dozens of children, and a hired petting zoo. His wife Miranda, a co-owner in a successful interior design firm, is the family’s breadwinner and used to Daniel’s whimsical antics. However, when she arrives home from work with a couple of small gifts in hand, she finds the house in shambles, children screaming, trash everywhere, and a goat eating her begonias. Inside, she sees her husband and children dancing on the dining room table, while other children swing from a chandelier in the next room, and a pony eats the birthday cake. Angry, Miranda unplugs the stereo and orders the guests out of the house. Miranda and Daniel scream at each other while cleaning up, and during the fighting, Miranda realizes she wants a divorce. Assuming Miranda’s anger will subside, Daniel moves in with his gay brother, Frank, and his partner Jack, both makeup artists. Later, during divorce proceedings, Miranda is given sole custody of the children because Daniel has no place to live and no employment. Though he has visitation rights every Saturday, Daniel makes a final, desperate plea to the judge, saying he can’t live without his children, and that he’s never been away from them for more than a day. The judge agrees to reassess the case, giving Daniel three months to get a job, keep it, and create a suitable home for his children. The judge assigns a court liaison, Mrs. Sellner, to oversee his progress. Unimpressed with Daniel’s ability to “do voices” and his lack of other marketable skills, Mrs. Sellner finds him a job in the shipping department at a television studio. During his breaks Daniel is able to watch the production of a long-running children’s program. Thinking it boring, Daniel asks a man standing beside him what “idiot” would keep such a show on the air for twenty-five years. The man introduces himself as the “idiot,” Jonathan Lundy, owner and general manager of the station. Luckily for Daniel, he agrees and wants to cancel the show. Meanwhile, Miranda receives a commission from her college sweetheart, Stuart Dunmeyer, to redecorate his mansion. Because of her new project, Miranda decides to hire a nanny to take care of the kids. When she shows Daniel the classified ad she’s placing in the newspaper, Daniel surreptitiously changes the telephone numbers, ensuring that no one will be able to apply for the position. Using his ability to “do voices,” Daniel calls Miranda several times posing as various dysfunctional, undesirable nannies. He then calls in the guise of Mrs. Doubtfire, a prim and proper older English woman who claims to have worked the past fifteen years for the Smythe Family of Elbourne, England. Unaware that Mrs. Doubtfire is really Daniel, Miranda hires “her,” which creates a problem for Daniel because “she” is still a “he.” Daniel enlists the aid of Frank and Jack, who, using wigs, makeup and latex masks, transform him into a woman. Although Mrs. Doubtfire impresses Miranda, the children are skeptical about having a nanny and miss their father. Claiming to run a tight ship, Mrs. Doubtfire makes the children turn off the television to do their homework and punishes them with house chores when they don’t obey, but ultimately wins them over individually by reading stories with Natalie, playing soccer with Chris, and helping Lydia with her homework. After a few household mishaps, Daniel learns to care for his home and his children. Because the children are doing better in school and her house is clean when she comes home, Miranda is happier and spends more time with Stu and the children. When Mrs. Doubtfire first meets Stu, she is very passive aggressive and suggests that the large size of his car is a compensation for “smaller genitals.” One evening, after excusing herself for “a call of nature,” Mrs. Doubtfire fails to lock the bathroom door, and Chris accidentally sees Mrs. Doubtfire standing to relieve him/herself. Chris runs, screaming, into Lydia’s room, barely able to exclaim that Mrs. Doubtfire is “half man and half woman.” When Mrs. Doubtfire comes into the room, Lydia and Chris threaten her with a tennis racket, but the nanny reveals that she is really their dad and that “Uncle Frank and Aunt Jack” created the disguise. He then swears them to secrecy. Back at work, Daniel returns to the set of the dinosaur show during a break and improvises a skit, not realizing that Lundy is listening in. Impressed, Lundy invites Daniel to dinner to discuss the potential of a new show for children that is neither boring nor dumbed-down. The meeting is set for Bridges Restaurant, Friday, 7 o’clock sharp, but Mrs. Doubtfire learns that Stu is taking the family to celebrate Miranda’s birthday at the same restaurant on Friday at 7 and Miranda insists that Mrs. Doubtfire come along. That evening, with the Hillard family on one side of the restaurant, and Lundy on the other, Daniel goes back and forth from the ladies’ room, changing in and out of his disguise. With a glass of wine at one table, and several scotches at the other, Daniel becomes intoxicated, until at last, he unintentionally sits down with Lundy dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire. Improvising, Daniel says that his concept for a new show features a “hip old granny” who can teach and entertain children. Mr. Lundy loves the idea. Also during the evening, Mrs. Doubtfire learns that Stu is allergic to pepper, and sneaks into the kitchen to powder his dish with crushed cayenne. After his first bite, Stu begins choking. Mrs. Doubtfire performs the Heimlich maneuver that saves his life, but accidentally rips off her disguise, revealing that she is really Daniel. When the custody trial is revisited, the judge reprimands Daniel for his stunt, saying that he refuses to further subject the three innocent children to his peculiar and harmful behavior. He allows Daniel only supervised visitation on Saturdays. Miranda advertises for a new nanny, but when none work out, the family laments the loss of “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Just then, on the television, Mrs. Doubtfire calls out, “Hello, my dears!” Miranda and the children see that Mrs. Doubtfire lives on. Realizing the children were happier when Mrs. Doubtfire was a part of their lives, Miranda invites Daniel to care for the kids again every day after school. Daniel also continues to appear as Mrs. Doubtfire on his television show. In one episode, Daniel, as Mrs. Doubtfire, explains to her young viewers that there all kinds of families, and whether they live in the same house or not, love binds them together. +

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

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