Baby It's You (1983)

R | 105 mins | Romance | 1983

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles

Cinematographer:

Michael Ballhaus

Editor:

Sonya Polonsky

Production Designer:

Jeffrey Townsend

Production Company:

Double Play
Full page view
HISTORY

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Will Kuhn, a student at Oregon State University, with Jon Lewis as academic advisor.

End credits acknowledge excerpts used in the film from the play The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan, and include a “special thanks” to the following organizations and individuals: Neon N.Y.; The Grace Borgenicht Gallery; Master Lock Company; Gene London Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Marks; and Rand MacNally and Company. The producers also thank “The New Jersey Film Commission, The City of Hoboken, and the people of the state of New Jersey for their cooperation.” End credits conclude with the acknowledgement, “For Dominique," referring to producer Griffin Dunne's sister, Dominique Dunne, who was killed Nov 1982.
       A 28 Nov 1980 HR news item announced that Twentieth Century-Fox signed a development deal with Triple Play Productions for two motion pictures: Baby, It’s You, to be written and directed by John Sayles, and a project entitled Vegas, to be written by John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion. According to a 12 May 1983 Rolling Stone article, actors Griffin Dunne, nephew of John Gregory Dunne, and Amy Robinson first began producing under the name, Double Play Productions; however, Mark Metcalf, also an actor, later joined their production company, which was re-named Triple Play Productions. Robinson, who wrote the story for Baby, It’s You, modeled the character “Jill” partly after herself.
       According to a 3 Jun 1983 BAM article, the budget was $3 million, ten times more than ...

More Less

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Will Kuhn, a student at Oregon State University, with Jon Lewis as academic advisor.

End credits acknowledge excerpts used in the film from the play The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan, and include a “special thanks” to the following organizations and individuals: Neon N.Y.; The Grace Borgenicht Gallery; Master Lock Company; Gene London Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Marks; and Rand MacNally and Company. The producers also thank “The New Jersey Film Commission, The City of Hoboken, and the people of the state of New Jersey for their cooperation.” End credits conclude with the acknowledgement, “For Dominique," referring to producer Griffin Dunne's sister, Dominique Dunne, who was killed Nov 1982.
       A 28 Nov 1980 HR news item announced that Twentieth Century-Fox signed a development deal with Triple Play Productions for two motion pictures: Baby, It’s You, to be written and directed by John Sayles, and a project entitled Vegas, to be written by John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion. According to a 12 May 1983 Rolling Stone article, actors Griffin Dunne, nephew of John Gregory Dunne, and Amy Robinson first began producing under the name, Double Play Productions; however, Mark Metcalf, also an actor, later joined their production company, which was re-named Triple Play Productions. Robinson, who wrote the story for Baby, It’s You, modeled the character “Jill” partly after herself.
       According to a 3 Jun 1983 BAM article, the budget was $3 million, ten times more than Sayles’s previous feature motion picture, Lianna (1983, see entry). Disagreements with Twentieth Century-Fox led filmmakers to withdraw Baby, It’s You from the studio and complete it with independent financing, as stated in an 11 Mar 1983 DV article.
       The 35mm film and music rights proved to be the most costly aspects of the film, as stated in BAM. Dunne worked on securing rights to twenty-seven songs, including four by Bruce Springsteen, whose music was reputedly difficult to attain. The producer made contact with Jon Landau, Springsteen’s manager, who read the script, liked it, and made a deal with Dunne. Some reviewers later criticized the inclusion of Springsteen’s songs as inappropriate for the 1960s era depicted in the film, but Sayles defended the choice, saying that Springsteen’s music was chosen because it matched “the spirit of the movie.”
       Two weeks after editing began, Paramount executive Jeffrey Katzenberg acquired the film for distribution; however, Paramount, which lacked a “classics division” at the time, was not accustomed to releasing smaller films, as stated in the 11 Mar 1983 DV. A test run took place in Seattle, WA, where the film opened 4 Mar 1983. By gauging the response of Seattle’s moviegoers, Paramount hoped to ascertain what kind of audience the film would draw and whether it should be marketed as a “summer youth entry” or “an art house specialized release.” Sayles, who had “final cut” on the film, viewed the test run as a marketing tool only. Regardless of the film’s box-office potential, Paramount planned to profit, as the pick-up costs were “so low that Paramount will make money from the ancillary markets alone.” A $40,000 advertising budget was employed, and Sayles helped design print ads, aimed at the 28-40 demographic. Television ads were used to attract younger moviegoers, aged 13-20. Sayles described the television ads as “a bit too rock ‘n rolley,” concerned they would create false expectations for the film.
       Though the film was originally set to open 1 Oct 1982, Paramount postponed release for several months, as stated in an 18 Sep 1982 Var article. The 12 May 1983 Rolling Stone reported that the New York opening took place in Mar 1983, one month before the studio had planned. Paramount released the film with a “gradual, modified-art-film distribution pattern,” championed by the classics divisions of United Artists and Twentieth Century-Fox. In addition to an Apr 1983 release in Los Angeles, CA, the film was scheduled to screen at Los Angeles’ Filmex film festival.
       Critical reception was mixed, though Rosanna Arquette’s performance was widely praised. In a 4 Mar 1983 HR review, Robert Osborne called it “one of those plotless, slice-of-adolescent-life marshmallows that…fails to charm, captivate or – more’s the pity – hold interest despite a relatively short running time.” A 9 Mar 1983 Var review stated, “Baby, It’s You remains an essentially unfulfilled romantic drama,” adding, “Because the humor surfaces so infrequently, and the characters have been explored in less depth than possible, feeling persists that Sayles, the director, has not fully served Sayles, the writer.” In the 3 Jun 1983 BAM article, Chris Willman described the film as having “the most effective melding of a pop music soundtrack with film since American Graffiti."

Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
BAM
3 Jun 1983
pp. 21-22
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1983
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 1980
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 1983
p. 3, 12
Los Angeles Times
22 Apr 1983
p. 1
New York Times
25 Mar 1983
p. 6
Rolling Stone
12 May 1983
---
Variety
18 Sep 1982
---
Variety
9 Mar 1983
p. 18
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Steadicam op
1st asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Best boy
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Head set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Outside prop
Prop asst
Prop asst
Carpenter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus coord
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting extras
Casting asst/Principals
Casting asst/Extras
Loc mgr
Prod office coord
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Production Services Ltd.
Loc auditor
D.G.A. trainee
Transportation capt
Cinemobile op
Asst prod office coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Res asst
Res asst
Locations equipped by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Theme from The Hotel Play," written by Richard Weinstock.
SONGS
"Wooly Bully," written by D. Samudio, performed by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, courtesy of PolyGram Records, Inc.; "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," written by Wickham, Napier-Bell, Donaggio and Pallavicini, performed by Dusty Springfield, courtesy of PolyGram Records, Inc.; "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City," written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, courtesy of CBS Records; "Shout," written by Isley, O. Isley and Isley, performed by The Isley Brothers, courtesy of RCA Records; "Stop! In the Name of Love," written by Holland, Dozier and Holland, performed by The Supremes, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation; "The E Street Shuffle," written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, courtesy of CBS Records; "TV Trauma," written by Michael Karp; "Unchained Melody," written by H. Zaret and North, performed by The Righteous Brothers, courtesy of PolyGram Records; "Chapel of Love," written by Barry, Spector and Greenwich; "Baby It's You," written by Bacharach, David and Williams, performed by The Shirelles, courtesy of Koala Record Company, under license from Columbia Special Products, a Division of CBS Inc.; "Ooh Baby Baby," written by Robinson and Moore, performed by The Miracles, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation; "Stand By Me," by King, Leiber and Stoller, performed by Ben E. King, courtesy of Atlantic Records; "Strangers in the Night," written by Bert Kaempfert, Singleton and Snyder, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records; "A Lovers Concerto," written by Linzer and Randell, performed by The Toys, courtesy of Roulette Records, Inc.; "Cherish," written by Kirkman; "She's the One," written and performed by Bruce Springsteen; "Please Love Me Forever," written by Malone and Blanchard, performed by Bobby Vinton, courtesy of CBS Records; "Stay," written by Williams, performed by The Four Seasons, courtesy of Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli, D.B.A. The Four Seasons Partnership; "A Whiter Shade of Pale," written by Reid and Brooker, performed by Procol Harum, courtesy of Noeland Productions Limited, "(First I Heard Her Say) Wake Me Shake Me," by A. Kooper, performed by The Art Halperin Band; "Mr. Success," written by Greines, Sanicola and Sinatra, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.; "Wives and Lovers," written by Bacharach and David, performed by Jack Jones, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.; "Venus in Furs," written by Reed, performed by The Velvet Underground, courtesy of PolyGram Records, Inc.; "A Hazy Shade of Winter," written by Simon, performed by Simon and Garfunkel, courtesy of CBS Records; "At the Zoo," written by Paul Simon, performed by Simon and Garfunkel, courtesy of CBS Records; "Adam Raised a Cain," written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, courtesy of CBS Records.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1983
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 25 Mar 1983; Los Angeles opening: 22 Apr 1983
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Pictures Corporation
10 August 1983
PA205522
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Movielab
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26934
SYNOPSIS

In 1966, Trenton, New Jersey, Jill Rosen, an upper middle class Jewish girl, runs into Sheik Capadilupo, an Italian-American teenager who was recently transferred to her high school after being kicked out of another. Instantly attracted to her, Sheik pursues Jill, but she rejects him when he asks her on a date. One day after school, Jill learns that she won the lead role in the school play, and finds Sheik waiting for her in the parking lot. He congratulates her on the role and convinces her to take a ride in a car borrowed from his friend, Rat. He later calls her at home, and she agrees to meet him for a date. At home, Sheik’s mother presses a suit and Sheik greases his hair in preparation for the date, while his father disapproves of Sheik’s fancy clothes and suspects he did something illegal to afford them. Outside Joey D’s, a local bar, Jill meets Sheik in the parking lot. Inside, they join Rat and his girlfriend, Joann, who reminds Jill they used to go to school together. At the end of the date, Sheik asks Jill if she will go out with him again, but Jill complains that he didn’t speak to her all night. Sheik defends himself, saying he wanted Jill to get used to him, and they kiss. The next day, Jill’s friends tease her about her new boyfriend, and Sheik interrupts one of her classes to tell Jill he’ll wait for her in the parking lot after school. As Jill practices for her play, Miss Vernon, the drama teacher, warns Jill that boyfriends provide distractions and encourages her to stay focused on acting. At ...

More Less

In 1966, Trenton, New Jersey, Jill Rosen, an upper middle class Jewish girl, runs into Sheik Capadilupo, an Italian-American teenager who was recently transferred to her high school after being kicked out of another. Instantly attracted to her, Sheik pursues Jill, but she rejects him when he asks her on a date. One day after school, Jill learns that she won the lead role in the school play, and finds Sheik waiting for her in the parking lot. He congratulates her on the role and convinces her to take a ride in a car borrowed from his friend, Rat. He later calls her at home, and she agrees to meet him for a date. At home, Sheik’s mother presses a suit and Sheik greases his hair in preparation for the date, while his father disapproves of Sheik’s fancy clothes and suspects he did something illegal to afford them. Outside Joey D’s, a local bar, Jill meets Sheik in the parking lot. Inside, they join Rat and his girlfriend, Joann, who reminds Jill they used to go to school together. At the end of the date, Sheik asks Jill if she will go out with him again, but Jill complains that he didn’t speak to her all night. Sheik defends himself, saying he wanted Jill to get used to him, and they kiss. The next day, Jill’s friends tease her about her new boyfriend, and Sheik interrupts one of her classes to tell Jill he’ll wait for her in the parking lot after school. As Jill practices for her play, Miss Vernon, the drama teacher, warns Jill that boyfriends provide distractions and encourages her to stay focused on acting. At Jill’s rehearsal the next day, Sheik shows up unannounced and watches from the audience. Afterward, Jill tells Sheik that she doesn’t want him to wait for her after school. Sheik throws her books on the floor and accuses Jill of acting superior. In the next days, Jill ignores Sheik’s attempts at reconciliation. On the opening night of the school play, Sheik meets Jody, one of Jill’s friends, backstage. Feeling ignored by Jill after the show, Sheik accepts Jody’s flirtatious advances and they leave together. Later, he and Jody have sex in a room behind Joey D’s. When Jill’s parents question her about Sheik, having heard about him from Miss Vernon, Jill becomes defensive and storms away. In town, Sheik and Rat spot Jill and her friend, Beth, and force the girls into their car. Sheik demands that Jill take him seriously, and they make up. One day, he convinces her to skip school and they go to the boardwalk together. That evening, at a diner, they dance to “Strangers in the Night,” a song performed by Sheik’s idol, Frank Sinatra. Later, they kiss and Sheik walks home singing. The next day, Jill and Jody talk about Jill’s plans to go to the school prom with Sheik, who later drops into Jill’s lunch period to discuss the limousine he wants to arrange for them. Mr. McManus, a teacher who has previously caught Sheik in the cafeteria without a hall pass, orders him to leave, but Sheik refuses. McManus then attacks Sheik and expels him from school. Jill goes to Joey D’s to find Sheik, but leaves after she sees him sitting with another girl. Returning home, Jill opens a letter of acceptance from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Days later, she attends the prom with another date, but as they walk into the dance, she spots Sheik outside and he kisses her goodbye. Later, he and Rat rob a store; when the police pursue them, Rat is caught but Sheik escapes and runs to the bus station where he buys a one-way ticket to Miami, Florida. After the prom, Jill and her friends go to Joey D’s, and Jill finds Jody in the bathroom, bleeding from self-inflicted cuts to her hands. Jody complains that Jill gets everything she wants, and confesses to sleeping with Sheik. In the fall, Jill attends school at Sarah Lawrence and struggles to fit in with other students. On a double date with her friend Leslie, Jill drinks too much while her date, Steve, speaks negatively about lower class people from New Jersey. Jill responds by telling stories about Rat, then vomits at the table. After she recovers, Jill calls Sheik and tells him that she plans to come to Miami, where he is now performing at a nightclub. There, Jill watches as Sheik lip-synchs to Frank Sinatra songs for an audience of senior citizens. After they have dinner at a fancy restaurant, Jill returns with Sheik to his dingy apartment and they make love. The next day, before she heads back to school, Sheik tells Jill that he loves her, and Jill only replies that she knows. Sometime later, Jill smokes marijuana with friends and makes fun of Sheik. One day, Steve shows up at her dorm and they have sex. When Sheik is replaced by a real singer at his nightclub job, he steals a car and drives to Jill’s college for a visit. Arriving angry, he tears Jill’s room apart, awaiting her return. Meanwhile, Jill contemplates whether she will attend a school dance that evening after Steve calls to say he cannot go. That night, Jill finds Sheik in her room and they argue. Jill tells Sheik she is not in love with him and sees no future in their relationship; however, she promises that she loves him in a different way, and convinces him to go to the dance with her. At the dance, the band plays “Strangers in the Night” by request, and Sheik and Jill dance closely, staring into each other’s eyes.

Less

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

TOP SEARCHES

The Twonky

The opening title credits read "Arch Oboler's Production of The Twonky ." Contemporary news items in MPH and HR reported that the release ... >>

Gone with the Wind

[Note from the Editors : the following information is based on contemporary news items, feature articles, reviews, interviews, memoranda and corporate records. Information obtained from modern sources is ... >>

To Each His Own

The foreword to the film states: "The most mysterious mysteries are people, and usually people who don't seem mysterious at all. Take Miss Norris, for instance. Here ... >>

The Breaking Point

Credits were obtained from copyright records and reviews. "Wesley's" child "Joseph" was played by Juano Hernandez' real-life son, Juan. News items in HR add the following information ... >>

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.