Continental Divide (film)
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|Directed by||Michael Apted|
|Produced by||Robert E. Larson|
|Written by||Lawrence Kasdan|
|Music by||Michael Small|
|Edited by||Dennis Virkler|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Continental Divide is a 1981 American romantic comedy, starring John Belushi and Blair Brown. It was directed by Michael Apted from an original screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Bernie Brillstein. Brown was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.
An attempt was made during the promotional phase of the film's release to sell Belushi and Brown as "the new Hepburn and Tracy", calling to mind the gutsy creative chemistry and double-act performances of those yesteryear actors. This impression was not successfully carried off and Belushi's death less than six months after the film's release ensured that potential would never be.
This was the first film from Spielberg's production company Amblin Entertainment.
A Chicago newspaper reporter, Ernie Souchak (Belushi), is investigating a corrupt city councilman. After doing an expose on some corrupt land dealings by the councilman, he is assaulted by two crooked police officers sent by the councilman and ends up in the hospital.
Souchak's editor decides to send him out of town for his own safety. A city boy, Souchak reluctantly travels to the Rockies to interview the reclusive Dr. Nell Porter (Brown), who has been conducting research on bald eagles for several years.
The two are at odds at first. After finding out he is a reporter, she is reluctant to let him stay, but realizes he is not able to survive in the mountains without his guide, who is not scheduled to return for two weeks. He is skeptical about her work, but comes to admire Porter for her strong character and dedication. Eventually, they fall in love. At first she lets him stay as long as he doesn't write his story. As they learn to respect each other, she agrees to let him write about her. In his adventures, he sprains his back in an accident, is mauled by a mountain lion and meets an All-American football player who has left civilization and become a mountain man.
Souchak returns to Chicago with her still very much on his mind. When he finds out that one of his sources has been "accidentally" killed, he once again pursues the investigation until the day the councilman flees the country.
The same day, Souchak finds out that Porter is coming to Chicago to do a presentation at a symposium. With some uncertainly, Souchak decides to attend the presentation. They rekindle their relationship. Happy as they are together, they cannot reconcile the different paths each has taken in life, and so they reluctantly decide to part again.
Souchak, seeing her off on the train, ends up traveling with her all the way back to Wyoming. After getting off at her stop, they decide that they cannot do without each other, and decide to marry. The movie ends with him catching the train back to Chicago, and the newlyweds promising to meet again very soon.
- John Belushi as Ernie Souchak
- Blair Brown as Nell Porter
- Allen Garfield as Howard McDermott (billed as Allen Goorwitz)
- Val Avery as Yablonowitz
- Tony Ganios as Max Bernbaum
Singer Helen Reddy performed the ending theme, "Never Say Goodbye".
The Ernie Souchak character was loosely based on longtime Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko.
Many of the scenes were filmed around Chicago:
- Belushi's character works for the Chicago Sun-Times with many scenes filmed in and around the now demolished Sun-Times building on the Chicago River (now the site of the Trump International Hotel and Tower).
- Belushi and Brown's characters meet in Chicago while she is giving a lecture at the Field Museum of Natural History next to Lake Michigan.
Other scenes were filmed at:
- Railroad station in Chicago was NOT Union Station but the old Chicago & Northwestern Terminal made up to look like an Amtrak station. Amtrak does not operate out of this terminal.
- The train depot where Belushi's character says goodbye to Blair's character, but later gets back on the train is the Michigan Central Railroad Niles Depot in Niles, Michigan about 90 miles east of Chicago. It's a large sandstone building built in 1892. The depot appeared in Midnight Run with Robert De Niro and Only the Lonely with Maureen O'Hara and John Candy.
- Glacier National Park, Montana.
- Crystal Mountain, Washington, a ski area near Mount Rainier, 40 miles (64 km) south of Enumclaw,
- All tent scenes were filmed in the Cascades at Crystal Mountain, with Mt. Rainier nearby. It was at 6,872 feet (2,095 m) in elevation and the snow was real, but behind the cameras was the Summit House restaurant, at the top of the chairlift.
- The final scenes of the movie were filmed in an old train station in Snoqualmie Falls, Washington, south of North Bend, with an added Amtrak station sign (a movie prop) that read "Victor, WY". Landmark Mount Si is recognizable in the background
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