True Romance (1993)

R | 117 mins | Drama, Romance, Film noir | 10 September 1993

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HISTORY

The film begins and ends with a voice-over narration by actress Patricia Arquette in the role of “Alabama Whitman.”
       According to a 15 Mar 1993 Var news item, a ratings board screening determined that True Romance would be rated NC-17 due to its violent content. The report noted, however, that Warner Bros. was unwilling to release an NC-17 film and intended to edit the violence in order to receive an R rating. On 19 Apr 1993, Var reported that the film had secured an R rating.
       HR production charts on 20 Oct 1992 reported that production began on 21 Sep 1992 in Los Angeles, CA, and Detroit, MI.
       The LAT review on 10 Sep 1993 noted that True Romance was the first script writer Quentin Tarantino sold, even though his debut film Reservoir Dogs (1992, see entry) had been released previously.
       A Screen International news item on 5 Jun 1992 reported that Val Kilmer and Jennifer Jason Leigh were initially set to star in the film, but the casting changed before production.
       The Safari Inn, which appeared to be on Hollywood Boulevard in the film, is located at 1911 Olive Boulevard in Burbank, California.



The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Ellis Fiori, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor. ... More Less

The film begins and ends with a voice-over narration by actress Patricia Arquette in the role of “Alabama Whitman.”
       According to a 15 Mar 1993 Var news item, a ratings board screening determined that True Romance would be rated NC-17 due to its violent content. The report noted, however, that Warner Bros. was unwilling to release an NC-17 film and intended to edit the violence in order to receive an R rating. On 19 Apr 1993, Var reported that the film had secured an R rating.
       HR production charts on 20 Oct 1992 reported that production began on 21 Sep 1992 in Los Angeles, CA, and Detroit, MI.
       The LAT review on 10 Sep 1993 noted that True Romance was the first script writer Quentin Tarantino sold, even though his debut film Reservoir Dogs (1992, see entry) had been released previously.
       A Screen International news item on 5 Jun 1992 reported that Val Kilmer and Jennifer Jason Leigh were initially set to star in the film, but the casting changed before production.
       The Safari Inn, which appeared to be on Hollywood Boulevard in the film, is located at 1911 Olive Boulevard in Burbank, California.



The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Ellis Fiori, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 1993
p. 5, 14.
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1993
p. 1, 8.
New York Times
10 Sep 1993
p. 5.
Screen International
5 Jun 1992.
---
Variety
15 Mar 1993.
---
Variety
19 Apr 1993.
---
Variety
6 Sep 1993
p. 27.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Tony Scott film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Prod in assoc with
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op/Steadicam
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam loader
Cam intern
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Best boy
Dolly grip
24 frame video playback
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutting
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Drapery foreman
Set dresser
Swing gang
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Propmaker
Const coord
Gen foreman
Labor foreman
Gang boss
Gang boss
Gang boss
Gang boss
Const painter
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Key cost
Cost
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus supv
Mus coord
Mus coord
Score mixed and rec by
Addl mus
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley rec
Foley walker
Foley walker
Supv ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
ADR rec
Stage rec
Stage loader
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Prod sd mixer
Boom person
Cable person
Re-rec at
A Division of Lucas Film Limited
Mixed and rec in
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Process compositing
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Make-up
Prosthetic make-up des
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Casting assoc
Voice casting
Post prod supv
Weapons specialist
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Accounting asst
Prod assoc
Asst to Tony Scott
Asst to Bill Unger
Asst to Christian Slater
On-set coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Motorcycle officer
Motorcycle officer
Motorcycle officer
Craft service
Unit pub
Animal trainer
Tattoo des
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"Graceland," written by Steven M. Krikorian and Charlie Sexton, performed by Charlie Sexton, courtesy of MCA Records
"In Dreams," written by Markus Spiro and John Waite, performed by John Waite, courtesy of Emerald Forest Entertainment and Sony Music
"Wounded Bird," written by Eddie Chacon, Joshua Deutsch and Charles Pettigrew, performed by Charles & Eddie, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Graceland," written by Steven M. Krikorian and Charlie Sexton, performed by Charlie Sexton, courtesy of MCA Records
"In Dreams," written by Markus Spiro and John Waite, performed by John Waite, courtesy of Emerald Forest Entertainment and Sony Music
"Wounded Bird," written by Eddie Chacon, Joshua Deutsch and Charles Pettigrew, performed by Charles & Eddie, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
"White Wedding," written and performed by Billy Idol, courtesy of EMI Records Group/Chrysalis Records, under license from CEMA Special Markets
"Skinny (They Can't Get Enough)," written by Rhonda Dawn Bush, performed by The Skinny Boys, courtesy of Jive Records
"Heartbreak Hotel," written by Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden and Elvis Presley, performed by Val Kilmer
"I Want Your Body," written by John O. C. W. Ewbank and Michiel van der Kuy, performed by Nymphomania, courtesy of Come Again Music
"Outshined," written by Chris Cornell, performed by Soundgarden, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
"I Need a Heart To Come Home To," written by John Barlow Jarvis and Howard Russell Smith, performed by Shelby Lynne, courtesy of Morgan Creek Records
"Chantilly Lace," written and performed by Big Bopper, courtesy of Polygram Special Markets, a division of Polygram Group Distribution, Inc.
"Viens Mallika Sous le Dome Edais from Lakme," from the motion picture "The Hunger," courtesy of Turner Entertainment Co.
"The Other Side," written by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland, Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance, performed by Aerosmith, courtesy of Geffen Records
"Everybody Loves Somebody," written by Sam Coslow, Kermit Lane and Taylor Irving, performed by Jerry Delmonico, courtesy of Associated Production Music
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow," written by Gerald Goffin and Carole King, performed by The Shirelles, courtesy of Original Sound Record Co., Inc., by arrangement with Celebrity Licensing Inc.
"Raga Yaman," written and performed by Clem Alford, courtesy of Associated Production Music
"(Love Is) The Tender Trap," written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, performed by Robert Palmer, courtesy of EMI Records, under license from CEMA Special Markets
"A Little Bitty Tear," written by Hank Cochran, performed by Burl Ives, courtesy of MCA Records
"Learnin' the Blues," performed by Jerry Delmonico, courtesy of Associated Production Music
"All the Way," performed by Jerry Delmonico, courtesy of Associated Production Music
"Two Hearts," performed by Chris Isaak, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 September 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 10 September 1993
Production Date:
began 21 September 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Morgan Creek Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 September 1993
Copyright Number:
PA665213
Physical Properties:
Sound
Lucasfilm Ltd. THX Sound System; Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Eastman Color Film
Duration(in mins):
117
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32461
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a Detroit, Michigan, bar, Clarence Worley extols the importance of Elvis Presley to a young woman and is turned down for a date to a Kung Fu film triple feature. Later, at the theater, Clarence meets Alabama Whitman when she spills popcorn on him and, afterwards, she takes him to a diner for pie. Clarence shows Alabama the comic book store where he works and they make love at his apartment. Awaking to find Alabama crying outside on a nearby billboard platform, Clarence learns that she is a call girl who was hired by his boss as a birthday gift. When Clarence says how much he enjoyed her company, Alabama confesses her love for him and promises never to lie again. The next morning, they get married and commemorate the occasion with matching tattoos. Alabama tells Clarence that during her four-day employment as a prostitute, her pimp, Drexl Spivey, was violent toward her friend and Clarence becomes incensed. Later, at a hotel room, Drexl gains control over a suitcase of cocaine by murdering the dealer. Clarence is visited by the ghost of Elvis Presley, who tells him to kill Drexl. At the brothel, Clarence provokes Drexl by saying he is Alabama’s husband and giving him an empty envelope as a “payoff.” When Drexl attacks Clarence and takes his wallet, discovering Clarence’s address on his driver’s license, he orders his associate, Marty, to collect Alabama. Clarence draws his gun, shoots Drexl in the groin and kills Marty. Demanding that a prostitute give him Alabama’s clothes in a suitcase, Clarence shoots Drexl again and returns home to tell ... +


In a Detroit, Michigan, bar, Clarence Worley extols the importance of Elvis Presley to a young woman and is turned down for a date to a Kung Fu film triple feature. Later, at the theater, Clarence meets Alabama Whitman when she spills popcorn on him and, afterwards, she takes him to a diner for pie. Clarence shows Alabama the comic book store where he works and they make love at his apartment. Awaking to find Alabama crying outside on a nearby billboard platform, Clarence learns that she is a call girl who was hired by his boss as a birthday gift. When Clarence says how much he enjoyed her company, Alabama confesses her love for him and promises never to lie again. The next morning, they get married and commemorate the occasion with matching tattoos. Alabama tells Clarence that during her four-day employment as a prostitute, her pimp, Drexl Spivey, was violent toward her friend and Clarence becomes incensed. Later, at a hotel room, Drexl gains control over a suitcase of cocaine by murdering the dealer. Clarence is visited by the ghost of Elvis Presley, who tells him to kill Drexl. At the brothel, Clarence provokes Drexl by saying he is Alabama’s husband and giving him an empty envelope as a “payoff.” When Drexl attacks Clarence and takes his wallet, discovering Clarence’s address on his driver’s license, he orders his associate, Marty, to collect Alabama. Clarence draws his gun, shoots Drexl in the groin and kills Marty. Demanding that a prostitute give him Alabama’s clothes in a suitcase, Clarence shoots Drexl again and returns home to tell Alabama the pimp is dead. As she cries, Alabama tells Clarence that his actions were romantic, and when she opens the suitcase, she finds cocaine instead of her clothes. Before leaving town the next morning, Clarence visits his father, security guard Clifford Worley, and asks for help. Clifford contacts friends from his career as a police officer and learns that Clarence is not a suspect and the murder is being investigated as drug-related. Clifford warns Clarence about Drexl’s drug lord associate Blue Lou Boyle and tells him that he loves him. Clarence gives Clifford the contact information for his friend, Dick Ritchie, who they will be staying with in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Dick auditions for a small part on a TV show starring William Shatner. As he drives west with Alabama, Clarence calls Dick and tells him his money problems will soon be over and Clarence and Alabama make love in the phone booth. Back in Detroit, Clifford is violently interrogated by Boyle’s counselor, Vincenzo “Vincent” Coccotti. Coccotti tells him that Clarence and Alabama killed Drexl and his associates to steal Boyle’s cocaine and Clarence left his driver’s license behind. When Clifford says he does not believe the story and doesn’t know where Clarence and Alabama went on their honeymoon, his hand is sliced with a knife and doused with alcohol. Clifford insults Coccotti by saying that Sicilians descend from Moor “niggers” and Coccotti shoots him dead while his associate discovers Dick’s address on Clifford’s refrigerator. Arriving in Los Angeles, Clarence and Alabama pick up Dick and check into the Safari Inn. Clarence assumes that since Dick is an actor, he will know how to unload the cocaine, but Dick is skeptical, even though Clarence is willing to sell at a reduced rate of $200,000. Dick offers his one connection to a wealthy Hollywood producer, Lee Donowitz. He arranges for Lee’s assistant, Elliot Blitzer, to meet Clarence at an amusement park. When Elliot asks about the source of the cocaine as they board a roller coaster, Clarence concocts a story about a corrupt police officer that stole the drugs from an evidence room. Sickened by the ride, Elliot calls Lee and passes the phone to Clarence, who convinces Lee to meet them. Meanwhile, Coccotti’s associate, Virgil, arrives at Dick’s apartment and learns from his marijuana-smoking roommate, Floyd, that they are staying at the Safari. When Clarence drops Alabama back at the motel and goes to get food, she finds Virgil in their room with a shotgun. He beats her to get information about the cocaine, but she refuses to give in. As Virgil discovers the suitcase under the bed and aims his gun at Alabama, she wields a Swiss Army Knife corkscrew and shoves it in his foot. After he retaliates, she sets fire to his face with hairspray and a lighter, then shoots him repeatedly with his own gun, and, after he dies, uses it to beat him. Arriving at the scene, Clarence grabs Alabama and the suitcase and races away from the motel. Meanwhile, Elliot is caught speeding in Lee’s Porsche after his escort spills cocaine on his face and is interrogated by the police. Eager to get credit for busting a Hollywood mogul, the two officers report to their chief that Elliot confessed the cocaine is being sold by a corrupt police officer and that he agreed to wear a wire at the meeting with Lee. At the airport, Clarence tends to Alabama's wounds and promises that after the deal they will have a better life in Mexico. Back at Dick’s apartment, as the team prepares for their meeting at the Beverly Ambassador Hotel, Dick finds out that he got the part on the television show. While Coccotti’s hit men load their guns, the police hook Elliot up with a wire in a Ambassador Hotel room and assure him that they will cover his back. After meeting Clarence, Alabama, and Dick in the lobby, Elliot leads them to an elevator, where Clarence threatens him with a gun and demands to know if they are being set up. As the police listen, Elliot cries and begs to be rescued, but Clarence does not understand to whom he is speaking and backs away, saying that he was just testing Elliot’s dependability. At the same time, the hit men show up at Dick’s apartment with guns drawn and Floyd directs them to the Ambassador. During the drug deal in Elliot’s suite, the cops wait with anticipation for enough evidence to instigate a bust, but Lee leads Clarence out of range of Elliot’s wire, and Elliot disturbs the connection by adjusting his groin. Finally convincing Lee to trust him, Clarence is given approval for the deal. Just before the police break into the room, Clarence goes to the bathroom, where he is again visited by a vision of Elvis Presley who compliments him on his smooth operation. When Lee's bodyguards refuse to surrender to the police, the hit men arrive. Elliot asks the officers if he can leave, revealing himself as a traitor, and as Lee throws coffee in Elliot’s face, the police shoot him and the room erupts into a gun battle. As Clarence leaves the bathroom, he is shot by an officer and Alabama crawls toward him. Dick throws the suitcase of cocaine into the air and it is hit by bullets, filling the room with powder. Dick escapes as the gunfire dies down, and the battle ends with a standoff between two officers and a hit man, who tricks them by giving up one gun and then shooting them with another. Meanwhile, another hit man holds a woman hostage in the hotel lobby as the police arrive. When Alabama kills the last surviving officer, Clarence regains consciousness. They grab the suitcase of cash and pass through the lobby undetected because the police are preoccupied with the hostage crisis. Clarence and Alabama escape to Mexico, where they raise their son, Elvis.
+

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

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