Mrs. Doubtfire

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Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs Doubtfire.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by Marsha Garces Williams
Robin Williams
Mark Radcliffe
Screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer
Leslie Dixon
Based on Alias Madame Doubtfire 
by Anne Fine
Starring Robin Williams
Sally Field
Lisa Jakub
Matthew Lawrence
Mara Wilson
Pierce Brosnan
Harvey Fierstein
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Raja Gosnell
Production
company
Blue Wolf Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • November 24, 1993 (1993-11-24)
Running time 125 minutes
Country
  • United States
Language English
Budget $25,000,000[1]
Box office $441,286,195[1]

Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy film starring Robin Williams (who also served as co-producer) and Sally Field and based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. It was directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup.[2] Although the film received mixed reviews during its original theatrical run, subsequent reevaluation has been more positive: the film was placed 67th in the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century, and was also rated No. 40 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies of All Time. The original music score was composed by Howard Shore. Mrs. Doubtfire 2 was in production but then cancelled due to the death of Robin Williams on August 11, 2014.

Plot[edit]

Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a talented voice actor living in San Francisco who quits his job at an animation studio following a argument over a questionable script. Daniel is devoted to his three children Lydia (Lisa Jakub), Chris (Matthew Lawrence), and Natalie (Mara Wilson), but he is not a good disciplinarian. His wife, Miranda (Sally Field), considers him irresponsible and immature, and their marriage is on the rocks. The last straw comes when Daniel throws Chris a birthday party despite his bad report card; Miranda loses her temper and asks for a divorce. At their first custody hearing, the judge provisionally grants Miranda custody of the children as Daniel has neither a suitable residence nor a steady job.

Daniel learns that Miranda intends to hire a housekeeper to care for the children. With Miranda unwilling to let him watch the kids, Daniel surreptitiously alters her classifieds form and calls her a few times, using his voice acting skills to pose as several disturbing applicants. He then calls her posing as a pleasant and kind elderly English nanny (albeit with a Scottish accent), whom he dubs "Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire" after seeing a newspaper headline that reads "Police Doubt Fire was Accidental". Impressed by her supposed credentials, Miranda invites "Mrs. Doubtfire" for an interview. Daniel enlists his gay brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein), a makeup artist, and Frank's partner Jack (Scott Capurro) to transform him into Mrs. Doubtfire.

Neither Miranda nor the children recognize Daniel when he goes to the interview as Mrs. Doubtfire, and Miranda hires her. The children initially struggle to adjust to Mrs. Doubtfire's strict methods, but she soon makes herself an indispensable part of the family, and Miranda is able to heal her rocky relationship with her children. Daniel, who has had to learn several skills, also steadily rebuilds his life; he gets a menial job at a television station while learning to be a better parent and improving his apartment. However, he is riven with jealousy when he notices Miranda's new love interest Stuart Dunmeyer (Pierce Brosnan) spending more time with his family. Daniel also realizes he has created another barrier when he asks Miranda if he can look after the children one night. She refuses, explaining that although Daniel has improved himself greatly, she could never dismiss Mrs. Doubtfire, as she has made their lives so much better.

One day, Chris accidentally walks into the bathroom and uncovers Daniel's disguise. Daniel explains that the Mrs. Doubtfire idea was a way for him to see the kids everyday. Chris and Lydia forgive him and Daniel tells them that they are not to tell Miranda, because she'd have him thrown in jail. They are not to tell Natalie either, since she's only 5 years old and would most likely tell Miranda. Both kids agree to make it a secret between the three of them, and are happy to have their father back in their lives.

At the television station, CEO Jonathan Lundy (Robert Prosky) is amused when he sees Daniel clowning around with toy dinosaurs on the set of an outdated children's program. He invites him to dinner at Bridges Restaurant on the coming Friday evening to pitch new ideas. Meanwhile, Miranda expects Mrs. Doubtfire to attend a birthday dinner with Stuart and the children at the same time and place. Unable to turn down the invitation and unable to reschedule his meeting with Lundy, Daniel goes to the restaurant and has to rotate between both dinners by changing in and out of the Mrs. Doubtfire costume in the restroom. Because alcoholic beverages have been ordered at both tables, Daniel's behavior becomes more erratic. He dumps cayenne pepper (which Stuart is allergic to) on Stuart's order and then forgets to change out of the Mrs. Doubtfire costume before returning to Lundy's table. Daniel covers for his mistake by explaining to a confused Lundy that his alter ego is his idea for a new television persona, which impresses his supervisor.

Back at the other table, Stuart starts choking on the pepper. While still in the Mrs. Doubtfire costume, Daniel administers the Heimlich maneuver to Stuart. During the struggle, Daniel's mask is torn off, revealing his identity. Horrified and furious at discovering who her beloved housekeeper is, Miranda storms out of the restaurant with the children as Stu looks on confusedly, but he still thanks Daniel for saving him.

At their next custody hearing, Daniel pleads his case, but despite holding a job and a suitable home, and despite his personal explanation for the ruse, the judge believes Daniel is insane, and grants Miranda full custody of the children, with Daniel limited to supervised visitation once a week. The ruling devastates Daniel. Without Mrs. Doubtfire, the children are again withdrawn and depressed; even Miranda admits that their lives were so much better with her. Later, they are delighted to see Daniel dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire hosting his own television program, Euphegenia's House, which has become a hit.

Miranda visits Daniel at the studio, telling him that she and the kids were happier with him involved, and she realises that the children's happiness is what matters most. She forgives him and successfully appeals the custody ruling, allowing them to share custody, and they reconcile with each other. Later, she introduces the kids to their new "babysitter": Daniel, now undisguised and without supervision, who is allowed to see them anytime he wants. Daniel and the kids head out for the day while Miranda happily watches an episode of Euphegenia's House, where Mrs. Doubtfire answers a letter from a little girl whose parents are divorcing. Mrs. Doubtfire responds with the advice that no matter what the setup or circumstances, wherever there is love anyone will have a "family in your heart."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming[edit]

The San Francisco house used for exterior shots of the film, taken a few days after Williams's death. A fan-made tribute to the actor can be seen at its front steps.

Chicago was the studio's first choice for filming. However, two new television shows (ER and Chicago Hope) had a lease with the city around the same time period, and the production team eventually went with San Francisco. Various locations in the city were used for filming. Parts were shot at the studios of television station KTVU in Oakland. The street signs for the intersection near the "Painted Lady" home, Steiner and Broadway, were visible on-screen. The exact address, 2640 Steiner Street 37°47′38.07″N 122°26′10.78″W / 37.7939083°N 122.4363278°W / 37.7939083; -122.4363278, became a tourist attraction for some time after the film's release.[3] Following Williams's death on August 11, 2014, the house became an impromptu memorial.[4] Though the film's home exteriors were impressive, its interiors were all shot in a warehouse in the Bay Area that was turned into a soundstage. Robin Williams' divorced father character Daniel lived upstairs from Danilo Bakery at 516 Green St., and his children attended a school at Filbert and Taylor.

The make-up for Mrs. Doubtfire's appearance took four hours to apply.[5] Since the film was released, Williams has recounted on several occasions how he used to walk through San Francisco dressed in full Doubtfire make-up and costume, and visiting a sex shop on one occasion to buy a large dildo.[6]

The restaurant scene was filmed in an actual upscale restaurant, Bridges Restaurant & Bar, in downtown Danville, California, which is still in operation as of November 2014.

Music[edit]

Mrs. Doubtfire
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released December 7, 1993
Genre Soundtrack
Length 41:07
Label Fox Music
Producer Howard Shore
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 1.5/5 stars[7]

Tracklisting

  1. "Mrs. Doubtfire" – 2:58
  2. "Divorce" – 2:56
  3. "My Name Is Else Immelman" – 2:55
  4. "Meeting Mrs. Doubtfire;– 2:14
  5. "Tea Time With Mrs. Sellner" – 3:58
  6. "Dinner Is Served" – 2:18
  7. "Daniel and the Kids" – 2:29
  8. "Cable Cars" – 4:56
  9. "Bridges Restaurant" – 6:13
  10. "Show's Over" – 3:26
  11. "The Kids Need You" – 3:21
  12. "Figaro/Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" - 3:23


The score was composed, orchestrated, and conducted by Howard Shore. The song Robin Williams sings at the cartoon voiceover in the beginning is "Largo al factotum". Other songs featured often were chosen referencing the identity of Mrs. Doubtfire. These songs include:

Additionally, these songs were featured:

Reaction[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film earned $219,195,243 in the United States, along with $222,090,952 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $441,286,195.[1] It became the second highest grossing film of 1993, behind only Jurassic Park.[8][9]

Critical reception[edit]

The movie received mixed to positive reviews. At the time of its release, several critics compared Mrs. Doubtfire unfavorably with Some Like It Hot (1959), and others who viewed the movie favorably noted its similarity to Tootsie (1982).[10]

Mrs. Doubtfire has a "Fresh" rating of 71% with an average score of 5.8 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 49 reviews.[11][12] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 53/100, indicating "mixed or average" review, based on 16 critics.[13]

Accolades[edit]

BAFTA Awards

American Film Institute Lists

Cancelled sequel[edit]

Mrs. Doubtfire 2, began in 2001 by Bonnie Hunt. Robin Williams was set to return in disguise as an old nanny. Due to problems with the script, re-writing began in 2006 as Robin Williams was unhappy with the plot, the sequel was again "scrapped" in 2006.[15] The sequel's story involved Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire moving close to his daughter's college so he could keep an eye on her. Williams said the movie's sequel was scrapped. Stating his reasons, he said, "The script didn't work."[16] As of April 17, 2014, a sequel was in development at 20th Century Fox. Columbus and Williams were expected to return, and Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum was writing the script.[17]

However, following Williams' death on August 11, 2014 any potential sequel won't happen, unless it's remade.[18]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Awards for Mrs. Doubtfire. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  3. ^ Shot on This Site, William A. Gordon, Citadel, 1995, p.39.
  4. ^ "Robin Williams memorial grows outside 'Mrs. Doubtfire' house"
  5. ^ Jessica Probus. "The Actual Makeup From "Mrs. Doubtfire" Was Even More Intense Than You Realized". Buzzfeed.com. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  6. ^ Christopher Hooton (2014-08-12). "Robin Williams, dressed as Mrs Doubtfire, walks into a sex shop… - News - Films". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  7. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Mrs. Doubtfire (Original Soundtrack Album) - Howard Shore". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  8. ^ Fox, David J. (1994-02-01). "Mrs. Doubtfire' Still the Champ". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  9. ^ Fox, David J. (1994-01-04). "Mrs. Doubtfire Takes the Holiday". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  10. ^ "Papa's Got A Brand New Drag". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  11. ^ "Review at Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  12. ^ "Go behind the scenes with 'Mrs. Doubtfire'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  13. ^ "Mrs. Doubtfire—Metacritic". Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  15. ^ "Williams Rejects Mrs. Doubtfire Sequel". WorstPreviews.com. 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  16. ^ Brunton, Richard (2006-12-05). "Williams says no Mrs Doubtfire 2". Filmstalker. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (April 16, 2014). "'Mrs. Doubtfire' Sequel in the Works at Fox 2000 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  18. ^ Sperling, Nicole (August 11, 2014). "Robin Williams leaves behind four upcoming films". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  19. ^ The Robin Williams Fansite: Aladdin and the King of Thieves - "Fun Facts". Retrieved 12-01-2013.
  20. ^ Anthony's Film Review: Aladdin and the King of Thieves. Retrieved 12-01-2013.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
The Player
Golden Globe: Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
1993
Succeeded by
The Lion King