Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Reiner|
|Produced by||Rob Reiner
|Screenplay by||William Goldman|
|Music by||Marc Shaiman|
|Editing by||Robert Leighton|
|Studio||Castle Rock Entertainment
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||107 minutes|
Misery is a 1990 American psychological horror film based on Stephen King's 1987 novel and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances Sternhagen. Directed by Rob Reiner, the film received critical acclaim for Bates' performance as the psychopathic Annie Wilkes, and Bates won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role, making Misery, as of 2013, the only Stephen King adaptation to be an Oscar winning film. The film was ranked #12 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. The film was remade in India as a Malayalam & Tamil film titled Julie Ganapathi.
Famed novelist Paul Sheldon is the author of a successful series of novels featuring a character named Misery Chastain. Wanting to focus on more serious novels, he writes a manuscript for a new unrelated novel. He departs from Silver Creek, Colorado to head to his home in New York City, but is caught in a blizzard and his car goes off the road, and he is rendered unconscious. Paul is rescued by a nurse named Annie Wilkes who brings him to her remote home. When Paul regains consciousness, he finds himself bedridden, with both his legs broken as well as a dislocated shoulder. Annie claims she is his "number one fan" and talks a lot about him and his novels. As a reward for saving him, Paul gives Annie his new manuscript which she had saved from the wreckage. Annie enjoys his new novel, but later admits she disliked the use of excessive profanity. While feeding him, she is angered and spills soup on him but regains control and apologizes. She buys a copy of Paul's latest published book, Misery's Child, giving glowing praise to Paul as she progresses through the book. However, near the end of the book when Annie discovers that Misery had died, she flies into a rage, almost smashing a table on Paul's head. She reveals that she lied about calling his agent and the authorities; nobody knows where he is. Annie leaves and Paul tries to escape from his room, but she has locked the door.
The next morning, Annie makes Paul burn his latest manuscript. When he is well enough to get out of bed, she insists he write a new novel entitled Misery's Return, in which he brings the character back to life. Paul complies (retconning in the new book that Misery was not dead and was merely in a coma), believing Annie might kill him otherwise. He also tells her he will use Annie's name in the book as payback for her nursing him back to health. However, having found a way of escaping his room, he sneaks out when Annie is away and begins to stockpile his painkillers. He tries to poison Annie during a candlelit dinner, but fails when she accidentally spills her drugged wine. During another venture out of his room, Paul finds a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about Annie's past. He discovers that she was suspected and tried for the deaths of several infants, but the trial crumbled due to lack of evidence. Paul is also shocked and surprised that Annie quoted lines he had written in his Misery novels during her trial. Later, Annie drugs Paul and straps him to the bed. When he wakes, she tells him that she knows he's been out of his room and breaks his ankles.
Meanwhile, the local sheriff, Buster, is investigating Paul's disappearance, which is interspersed throughout the plot with him gathering intelligence and reading Misery novels. When a shopkeeper informs the sheriff he has sold Annie considerable quantities of typing paper, Buster surmises Paul must be at the Wilkes farm. Buster pays Annie a visit, who is nonchalant at first and permits the sheriff to inspect the residence. However, when Buster finds that Paul has been drugged and hidden in the basement, Annie fatally shoots Buster and tells Paul that they must die together. He agrees, but on the condition that he must finish the novel in order to "give Misery back to the world". While she gets his chair, Paul conceals a can of lighter fluid in his pocket.
When the book is done, he reminds Annie it is his practice to have a single cigarette and a glass of champagne after finishing a novel. When Annie gives these things to Paul, he tells her that this time, he will need a second glass, for her. As Annie goes to get a second glass, Paul soaks the manuscript in the lighter fluid, and as Annie returns with the glass he sets it on fire, much as she made him do to his earlier post-Misery novel. Paul and Annie fight, and Annie is killed.
Eighteen months later, Paul, now walking with a cane, meets his publishing agent Marcia in a restaurant at New York City. The two discuss his first non-'Misery' novel, titled "The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone." Marcia tells him about the positive early buzz which Paul doesn't care about, saying he wrote the novel for himself (that Annie inspired him in a way). Marcia asks if he would consider a non-fiction book about his captivity, but Paul declines. While at the restaurant, he sees Annie, only to be a figment of his imagination as it turns out to be a waitress. The waitress says she is his "number one fan", to which Paul uncomfortably responds "That's very sweet of you."
- James Caan as Paul Sheldon
- Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes
- Richard Farnsworth as Buster
- Frances Sternhagen as Virginia
- Lauren Bacall as Marcia Sindell
- Graham Jarvis as Libby
- Jerry Potter as Pete
- Rob Reiner as Helicopter pilot
- J. T. Walsh (uncredited) as State Trooper Sherman Douglas
Producer Andrew Scheinman read Stephen King's novel Misery on an airplane, and later recommended it to his director partner at Castle Rock Entertainment, Rob Reiner. Reiner eventually invited famed writer William Goldman to write the film's screenplay Given that Reiner was a director with a career of comedies, once he read the novel he identified with the theme of a "a guy who needed a new challenge, who needs to push himself and grow". King had refused to sell the novel's adaptation rights because of how other works of his were mishandled in film translations, but eventually let Reiner do Misery after his 1986's adaptation of Stand by Me.
Reiner worked closely with Goldman on the screenplay, with the director explaining that "We got rid of the most gory and horrific parts. I wanted to concentrate on the idea of this chess match between the artist and his fan."
In the original novel, Annie Wilkes lops off one of Paul Sheldon's feet with an axe. Goldman loved the scene and argued for it to be included, but Reiner insisted that it be changed to that she only breaks his ankles. Goldman subsequently wrote this was the correct decision as amputation would have been too severe.
The part of Paul Sheldon was originally offered to William Hurt (twice), then Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman and Robert Redford, but they all turned it down. Warren Beatty was interested in the role, wanting to turn him into a less passive character, but eventually had to drop out as post-production of Dick Tracy extended. Eventually someone suggested James Caan, who agreed to play the part. Caan commented that he was attracted by how Sheldon was a role unlike any other of his, and that "being a totally reactionary character is really much tougher."
- American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills—(Nominated)
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains—Annie Wilkes—#17 Villain
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes—"I am your number one fan." - (Nominated)
Misery received almost universally positive reviews; on the critic website Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a 88% "fresh" rating; the consensus states, "Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, this taut and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date."
|Film score by Marc Shaiman|
|Released||July 1, 1999|
The film's score was composed by Marc Shaiman.
All music composed by Marc Shaiman.
|1.||"Number One Fan"|
|2.||"She Can't Be Dead"|
|4.||"Go to Your Room"|
|5.||"Buster's Last Stand"|
- Box Office Information for Misery. The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "Awards for Kathy Bates". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
- Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments
- Julie Ganapathi, Tamil Movies Cinema
- Goldman, William. Which Lie Did I Tell?, p. 37
- Goldman p 40
- Goldman p 42-44
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills Nominees". American Film Institute. 2002. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes Nominees". American Film Institute. 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- Misery at Rotten Tomatoes
- Ebert, Roger. "Misery :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- A Look at the Top 10 Claustrophobic Horror Movies!
- Stephen King, Stephen King Goes To The Movies, page 579 (Hodder & Stoughton, 2009). ISBN 978-0-340-98030-9
- "Exclusive InDepth InterView: William Goldman & Will Frears Discuss MISERY Onstage - Is Broadway Next?" Broadway World 26 November 2012 accessed 2 June 2013
- "William Goldman Adapts Stephen King's Misery for the Stage; Bucks County Playhouse Will Premiere Thriller" By Kenneth Jones Playbill20 Sep 2012 accessed 2 June 2013
- Ted Otten, "Bucks County Playhouse presents stage version of Stephen King's 'Misery'", NJ.com November 23, 2012 accessed 2 June 2013
- Misery at the Internet Movie Database
- Misery at allmovie
- Misery at Box Office Mojo
- Misery at Rotten Tomatoes
- Misery at Metacritic