V.I. Warshawski (film)
|Directed by||Jeff Kanew|
|Produced by||Penney Finkelman Cox
|Screenplay by||Edward Taylor
David Aaron Cohen
|Based on||Deadlock by Sara Paretsky|
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Edited by||Debra Neil-Fisher
Carroll Timothy O'Meara
Chestnut Hill Productions
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$11,128,309 (USA)|
V.I. Warshawski is a 1991 film directed by Jeff Kanew. It was intended to be a film franchise starring Kathleen Turner, but no sequels were ever produced following the film's critical and commercial failure.
Victoria "V.I" Warshawski is a Chicago-based freelance private investigator who lives the part of the hard-boiled detective. But in her heart of hearts, she is a softy. One night, while she is drinking at her favorite bar, she meets an ex-Blackhawks hockey player named Boom-Boom Grafalk (Stephen Meadows). The two connect and a romance appears to be in the making. But Warshawski is nevertheless surprised when Boom-Boom appears at her doorstep later that night with his 13-year-old daughter, Kat (Angela Goethals) in tow.
He asks Warshawski if she could watch her and Warshawski agrees. Later that night, Boom-Boom is killed in a boat explosion and Kat hires Warshawski to track down her father's killer. In doing so she befriends the victim's daughter; together they set out to crack the case.
|Kathleen Turner||V.I. Warshawski|
|Jay O. Sanders||Murray Ryerson|
|Charles Durning||Det. Lt. Bobby Mallory|
|Angela Goethals||Kat Grafalk, Bernard's Daughter|
|Nancy Paul||Paige Wilson Grafalk|
|Stephen Meadows||Bernard 'Boom-Boom' Grafalk|
- The film was based on a series of books by Sara Paretsky. Screenwriters Edward Taylor, David Aaron Cohen, and Nick Thiel adapted only one of Sara Paretsky's novels, Deadlock, for the script, which took at least one liberty with the story. Whereas Paretsky had written the novel as a serious mystery, the screenwriters took an almost comedic approach. Paretsky was especially angry over the original script that had the independent female detective subordinate to a male counterpart for fear that a female character could not hold the lead role.
- Initially, the producers wanted to set the film in Baltimore and cast either Amy Madigan, Bette Midler or Jane Fonda as Warshawski.
- Kathleen Turner reprised her character V.I. Warshawski in a series of radio plays on BBC Radio 4.
- Principal production began in Chicago in November 1990. Scenes were filmed at Wrigley Field, Chicago; Green Mill - 4802 N. Broadway Avenue, Chicago, (used as the Golden Glow Cocktail Lounge); San Pedro, California, Long Beach, California; Fire Station 23 - 225 E. 5th Street, Los Angeles, and Warner Bros Studios. Completed shooting February 27, 1991.
- The film was released on VHS on November 13, 1991; it was released on Laserdisc (4:3 ratio) the following year and on DVD on June 4, 2002 (in a 1.85:1 ratio). It was released on Blu-ray in May 2011.
|“||It's too bad that V.I. Warshawski is itself a lot less glamorous than Ms. Turner's performance, since the character could easily be the centerpiece of a more appealing film.... V.I. Warshawski has a breezy style and a serviceable, even surprising detective plot. And it has Ms. Turner, who makes the most of V. I. Warshawski's sardonic humor.||”|
|“||Kathleen Turner fits the character more closely than I would have imagined. Her laugh seems aged by whiskey, her smile is brave in the face of trouble, she kisses guys as if she'll never see them again, and she's usually right.||”|
Turner's performance as the title character was the one detail Sara Paretsky, who had created the character and written the film's source novel, Deadlock, found fit to praise, criticizing most of the other elements.
The movie debuted poorly at the box office.
Ian Frazier's book Travels in Siberia recounts an instance where Frazier, visiting the city of Irkutsk in the early 1990s, sees a young girl dancing alone to Randy Edelman's theme song played during the closing credits of the film. At the time, and again in his later reflections upon Russia, Frazier sees this episode as emblematic not only of the sensuality of Russian culture ("Russians can really dance") but of the spirit of the entire nation.
Relation with the original book
The film's plot is very different from that of the original Sara Paretsky novel Deadlock. In the book the ex-Blakhawks player Boom-Boom was the protagonist detective's cousin and lifelong companion, rather than a chance-met stranger; he had no daughter; and "Grafalk" was the family name of another character altogether, a devious shipping magnate who had a major role in the book but was dropped from the film.
- Maslin, Janet (July 26, 1991). "V.I. Warshawski". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- "V.I. Warshawski". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. July 26, 1991. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Weekend Box Office : 'Mobsters' Is the Only Solid Opener - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1991-07-30. Retrieved 2012-07-09.