Author! Author! (film)

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Author! Author!
Author author.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Produced by Irwin Winkler
Written by Israel Horovitz
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 18, 1982 (1982-06-18)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $13.1 million (US)[1]

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


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), moves out, leaving him with custody of their five children: four from her previous marriage and his own son. His lead actress, Alice Detroit (Dyan Cannon), wants to move in with him. He did not want to send his step children back to their biological fathers. He feels that eventually he and Gloria will reunite. However he has no legal rights. However, they return and when he travels to Massachusetts to retrieve Gloria he realises how selfish she is after an argument where he tells her some home truths and orders her to stay where she is before returning to New York City alone and tells the kids that as long as he has a home, they will have a home too. They attend the opening night of the play and the film ends with reading a positive review of the play in The New York Times.



Screenwriter Israel Horovitz first worked with Al Pacino in 1968, when Pacino starred in his play The Indian Wants the Bronx, for which they both received Obie Awards.[2] 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."[2] 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."[3] 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."[2]


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.[2] 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".[2] Alan King also enjoyed filming, and said that his character was a cross between Hal Prince and Zero Mostel.[2]

Pacino did not get along with Hiller while filming. Pacino 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."[4] Pacino told that he made the film, 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."[4] Pacino said that he enjoyed working with the actors, who spend time with his children.[4]


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."[5] 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."[6] 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."[7] The film was nominated for a Razzie Awards for Worst Original Song for "Comin' Home to You".[8][page needed] Critic Leonard Maltin, however, did give the film a warm review, awarding it 3 out of 4 stars, calling it a "slight but winning comedy", and Pacino received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.


  1. ^ "Author! Author!". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-05-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bennetts, Leslie (1982-01-24). "Author! Author! Shoots in N.Y., N.Y." The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  3. ^ Chase, Chris (1982-07-02). "The author of Author! Author!". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  4. ^ a b c Grobe l, Lawrence (2006). Al Pacino. Simon and Schuster. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-4169-4879-7. 
  5. ^ Scott, Jay (1982-06-19). "Author! Author! Just a Mish-Mash of Mush". Globe and Mail. The Woodbridge Company. 
  6. ^ Kroll, Jack (1982-07-05). "Kingdom of Cute". Newsweek. Newsweek LLC. 
  7. ^ Arnold, Gary (1982-06-19). "Al Pacino on the Writer's Block". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. 
  8. ^ John Wilson (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Warner Books. ISBN 978-0-446-69334-9. 

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