Author! Author! (film)

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Author! Author!
Author author.jpg
film poster
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Produced by Irwin Winkler
Written by Israel Horovitz
Starring
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 18, 1982 (1982-06-18)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $10,576,604 (USA)

Author! Author! is a 1982 comedy film directed by Arthur Hiller and written by Israel Horovitz, starring Al Pacino, Dyan Cannon, and Tuesday Weld. The plot, which is loosely autobiographical, concerns a Broadway playwright who has family and relationship troubles while trying to get a new play into production.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Playwright Ivan Travalian (Al Pacino) has a new Broadway play (English with Tears) in rehearsal and the backers want rewrites. His wife Gloria (Tuesday Weld) is leaving him. Gloria has moved out, leaving him with custody of their five children: four from her previous marriages and his own son. And his lead actress Alice Detroit (Dyan Cannon) wants to move in with him but isn't used to kids.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Screenwriter Israel Horovitz first worked with actor Al Pacino in 1968, when Pacino starred in his play The Indian Wants the Bronx, for which they both received Obie Awards.[1] They remained friends over the years and jumped at the chance to work again on Author! Author! The film was based on Horovitz's own personal experiences as a divorced father responsible for looking after two of his three children. "I felt there was a lot of room to explore the ease with which people get married in this country, the way kids come along in huge bunches and the irresponsibility of parents in taking care of those children."[1] He also talked to his three children for inspiration. He said, "The film had to be written in a comic mode, because otherwise it's too painful to deal with."[2] Horovitz made the protagonist Armenian American to give him a strong ethnic identity parallel to his own Jewish background. Director Arthur Hiller was drawn to the project because it was about an extended family and that it showed "that love is what makes a family strong, not necessarily who's the natural parent."[1]

Casting[edit]

Dyan Cannon was originally asked to play Gloria, but turned it down because she found the character "bitchy" and had played that kind of role before.[1] She was then asked to play Alice and agreed because she loved the character. Cannon enjoyed making the film and compared the experience to "being on a cruise".[1] Alan King also enjoyed filming and said that his character was a cross between Hal Prince and Zero Mostel.[1]

During filming, Pacino did not get along with Hiller. The actor said, "sometimes people who are not really meant to be together get together in this business for a short time. It's very unfortunate for all parties concerned."[3] Pacino has said that he made Author! Author! because he thought he would enjoy making a film "about a guy with his kids, dealing with New York and show business. I thought it would be fun."[3] Nevertheless, Pacino said he enjoyed working with the actors who played his children.[3]

Reaction[edit]

Author! Author! received negative reviews from critics. In his review for the Globe and Mail, Jay Scott criticized the performances of the child actors: "The brood is composed of the most appalling set of exhibitionistic child actors this side of Eight is Enough", and felt "that this comedy is not funny is bad enough; that it is resolutely and maliciously anti-female is unforgivable."[4] Newsweek magazine's Jack Kroll wrote, "there's nothing sadder than a movie that tries to be adorable and isn't. Author! Author! tries so hard that the screen seems to sweat."[5] In his review for the Washington Post, Gary Arnold criticized Pacino's performance: "Pacino's maddening articulation would seem to argue against further flings at comedy. Line after line is obscured by his whispery mumble, and this mangled speech seems particularly inappropriate in a character who's supposed to be a playwright."[6] The film was nominated for a Razzie Awards for Worst Original Song for Comin' Home to You.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Bennetts, Leslie (1982-01-24). "Author! Author! Shoots in N.Y., N.Y.". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Chase, Chris (1982-07-02). "The author of Author! Author!". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  3. ^ a b c Grobel, Lawrence (2006). "Al Pacino". Simon Spotlight Entertainment. 
  4. ^ Scott, Jay (1982-06-19). "Author! Author! Just a Mish-Mash of Mush". Globe and Mail. 
  5. ^ Kroll, Jack (1982-07-05). "Kingdom of Cute". Newsweek. 
  6. ^ Arnold, Gary (1982-06-19). "Al Pacino on the Writer's Block". Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 

External links[edit]