Nickelodeon (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the movie. For the American cable/satellite TV channel, see Nickelodeon. For other uses, see Nickelodeon (disambiguation).
Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon film poster.jpg
Original Theatrical poster
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Produced by Robert Chartoff
Frank Marshall
Irwin Winkler
Written by Peter Bogdanovich
W. D. Richter
Starring Ryan O'Neal
Burt Reynolds
Tatum O'Neal
Brian Keith
Stella Stevens
John Ritter
Music by Richard Hazard
Cinematography László Kovács
Edited by William C. Carruth
Production
company
Release dates December 21, 1976
Running time 121 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $9 million

Nickelodeon is a 1976 comedy film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Ryan O'Neal, Burt Reynolds, and Tatum O'Neal. According to Bogdanovich, the film was based on true stories told to him by silent movie directors Alan Dwan and Raoul Walsh. It was entered into the 27th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

Plot[edit]

Going from a lawyer to a writer, and then to a film director, is the career path on which we find Leo Harrigan (Ryan O'Neal). But Leo has problems as well, such as being hopelessly smitten with his leading lady, who chooses to grab his attentions by getting herself engaged to his vulgar and ignorant leading man, Buck Greenaway (Burt Reynolds).

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film started as a script by W.D. Richter called Stardust Memories which was purchased by Irwin Winkler. Winkler took the project to David Begelman at Columbia, who pursued Bogdanovich as director. Winkler later stated:

He made David come to his office and wait until the receptionist said, 'Mr. Bogdanovich will see you now.' As soon as we came inside, we were very haughtily told that he thought the script was a piece of [garbage]. I'd been around long enough to know that I should take that as a bad sign. I remember coming out of the meeting, saying, 'David, why should we make the movie with someone who hates our script?' And all David said was, 'Hey, he's a genius.'... What he filmed had nothing to do with the original script. I know it meant a lot to Peter to have all of the authentic stories about the silent period in the film, but Rick's script, authentic or not, was terrific. It was just a great drama. By the time Peter was done with it, it was authentic, but it wasn't dramatic anymore. Peter hadn't really experienced any failure yet -- we hired him before 'At Long Last Love' had come out -- so he was easily the most arrogant person I'd ever met in the business, before or since. When we shot the picture, he actually directed some of the scenes on horseback. When I asked him why he was on horseback, he said, "Because that's the way John Ford did it.'"[2]

Bogdanovich has an alternative version:

I should have never gotten involved, I should have done it myself. I'd been planning to do a big picture about the silent era, largely based on the interviews with Dwan, Walsh and McCarey. I was preparing it and I got a call from my agent and she said they're preparing a movie called Starlight Parade, there's another director involved but they want you. I said, "Well, I don't really want to do their script, I'll have to rewrite it completely." "They'll let you rewrite it, whatever you want." Basically I rewrote the whole damn thing and never used any of Starlight Parade. The trouble was, again, the picture had a balance between comedy and drama and it was a comedy-drama, no question about it, and I had wanted to do it in black and white. It was very important to do it in black and white and Columbia, the studio, wouldn't let me. I had a big fight about that and they cancelled the picture. Then Barry Spikings at British-Lion came in and funded some of the picture, threw in a few million dollars. It ended up being a Columbia-British Lion picture and but when it was all done it was a difficult picture.[2]

Columbia provided $6 million, British Lion $2 million. The director's fee was $700,000 - $500,000 of which was held as a completion guarantee.[3]

Bogdanovich said that his original choices for the lead roles were Jeff Bridges, John Ritter, Cybill Shepherd and Orson Welles. However Columbia Pictures head David Begelman refused. "I just had a smaller picture in mind," said the director later. Both Burt Reynolds and Ryan were good in it, and Jane Hitchcock was good but she didn't have any threat about her."[4]

"The whole idea was to capture the era, since obviously the original films were shot in black and white," Bogdanovich says. "My cinematographer, Laszlo Kovacs, carefully lit everything to accommodate black-and-white, which is why the lighting looks so good. We used a lot of the techniques of the silent era, irising in and out of scenes. There are no opticals at all in the film. But all the studio wanted was another broad comedy like What's Up, Doc? "[2]

During filming, Burt Reynolds collapsed on set one day. Doctors could not figure out what was wrong with him and the film had to be postponed for two weeks while he recovered.[5] The film went over schedule and over budget and Bogdanovich had to forfeit his $500,000.[3]

Winkler says when he saw a rough cut of the final film he thought it was "atrocious... for Peter to blame the movie's failure on the casting and not being in black-and-white is a really terrible excuse for a guy who simply screwed up a really terrific script."[2]

Bogdanovich reminisced in 2004:

The previews were edgy and the studio wanted me to take most of the drama out, play it more comedy and turn it more into a What's Up Doc?, which it really wasn't. So that threw it off and it got fucked up. Again, the picture came out not at all the way I wanted. I tried to recut that one and I couldn't get back to it.There's about five minutes I'd like to put back that really makes a difference, some heavy stuff where you find out that Ryan O'Neal has an affair with Stella Stevens, it becomes very clear, and you see that John Ritter knows it, all that stuff. It was just much heavier and darker. So the picture got screwed up and that's why I took three years off and went away."[2]

Reception[edit]

For the Los Angeles premiere, all guests (and some critics) paid five cents to see the movie in honor of the film and early Hollywood ticket prices. However, the movie was unsuccessful at the box office, and was Bogdanovich's third flop in a row after Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love (the latter of which was also an attempt to revive an older style of film making). However, as for Richter;

After it became clear the picture was a failure, the most amazing thing happened: I got more job offers than ever before in my life. People seemed so mad at Peter that they were eager to make excuses for me and help me out. And they all wanted to hear about working with him. [6]

After making the film, Bogdanovich felt he had compromised so much he took several years off directing before returning with Saint Jack (1979).

Alternative versions[edit]

The 2009 DVD release includes a 125 minute "Director's Cut" in black and white.[7] "There's nothing to distract you," said Bogdanovich, "Ryan's blond hair and blue eyes don't distract you, and you focus on the action in an easier way. That's why the funniest movies ever made were silent comedies -- Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin. It focuses the attention in a different way, and color is distracting for that sort of thing."[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IMDB.com: Awards for Nickelodeon". imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e John Gallagher, "Between Action and Cut", August 2004 accessed 3 June 2013
  3. ^ a b Bogdanovich--Will 'Nickelodeon' Be His Last Picture Show?: Bogdanovich--What Went Wrong? Peter Bogdanovich-- What Went Wrong? By DAVID DENBY. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 30 Jan 1977: D1
  4. ^ Interview with Peter Bogdanovich at Hollywood Flashback Interview accessed 3 June 2013
  5. ^ Article on film at Turner Classic Movies accessed 3 June 2013
  6. ^ Bogdanovich--Will 'Nickelodeon' Be His Last Picture Show?: Bogdanovich--What Went Wrong? Peter Bogdanovich-- What Went Wrong? By DAVID DENBY. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 30 Jan 1977: D1
  7. ^ "One Director Looks Backward, While Another Peers Underwater" By DAVE KEHR New York Times April 15, 2009 accessde 3 June 2013
  8. ^ "Q&A - Director Peter Bogdanovich Finally Gets Five Minutes of His Movie Back", AMCTV accessed 3 June 2013

External links[edit]