World View Chart Assignments Afi

The film opens with an empty jury box and the following voice-over narration by “Rusty Sabich”: “I am a prosecutor. I am a part of the business of accusing, judging, and punishing. I explore the evidence of a crime and determine who is charged, who is brought to this room to be tried before his peers. I present my evidence to the jury, and they deliberate upon it. They must determine what really happened. If they cannot, we will not know if the accused deserves to be freed or should be punished. If they cannot find the truth, what is our hope of justice?” The film concludes with the same image of an empty jury box and voice-over narration in which Rusty Sabich states: “The murder of Carolyn Polhemus remains unsolved. It is a practical impossibility to try two people for the same crime. Even if it wasn’t, I couldn’t take his mother from my son. I am a prosecutor. I have spent my life in the assignment of blame. With all deliberation and intent, I reached for Carolyn. I cannot pretend it was an accident. I reached for Carolyn and set off that insane mix of rage and lunacy that led one human being to kill another. There was a crime. There was a victim. And there is punishment.”
       End credits include the following statements: “Westlaw © and West Books by West Publishing Company”; “Filmed in New York at Kaufman Astoria Studios”; and, “Special Thanks To: The New York City Mayor’s Office for Film, Television, Theatre and Broadcasting; New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and TV Development; City of Newark, New Jersey, Sharpe James, Mayor, Pamela E. Goldstein, Communications Manager; New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission; City of Detroit, Michigan, Coleman A. Young, Mayor, Nadyne G. Edison, Ph.D., Executive Assistant to the Mayor; City of Windsor, Ontario, John Millson, Mayor; New York County District Attorney’s Office, Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, Robert H. Silbering, Chief Assistant District Attorney, Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, Linda A. Fairstein, Chief, Sex Crimes Unit; Wayne County (Michigan) Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, John D. O’Hair, Chief Prosecuting Attorney, George E. Ward, Chief Assistant Prosecutor.”
       As announced in a 19 Dec 1986 Publishers Weekly brief, Farrar, Straus & Giroux paid $200,000, its highest advance to date, for Scott Turow’s debut novel, Presumed Innocent. The novel was released 15 Jul 1987 and spent forty-four weeks on the NYT bestseller list, according to a 22 Jul 1990 NYT article. In Aug 1987, paperback rights were sold at auction to Warner Books for $3 million, the highest sum “ever paid for reprint rights to a first novel,” as stated in a 6 Aug 1987 NYT article. The paperback went on to spend five months at the top of paperback sales charts.
       According to an 8 Feb 1987 NYT article, a bidding war for film rights arose between the following producers: David Brown and Richard Zanuck, who made the first bid of $75,000 against a total of $300,000; Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, who initially offered $300,000, backed by Paramount Pictures, but dropped out when bids exceeded $750,000; Peter Guber and Jon Peters, who made a $1 million offer with their own money; director Sydney Pollack, who also bid $1 million of his own money; producer Irwin Winkler at United Artists (UA); and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Scott Turow chose Sydney Pollack’s offer, stating, “Nobody had [Pollack’s] credentials, so it was kind of a no-brainer.” UA negotiated to back the film after Pollack acquired the rights, but Pollack, who was announced as director in an 18 Feb 1987 Var brief, warned the studio that he might hire another director to replace him. A 20 May 1987 HR brief announced that Frank Pierson had been brought on to adapt the screenplay. Although the LAT erroneously attributed the screenplay to Kurt Luedtke in a 3 Jun 1990 item, the newspaper acknowledged its error in a correction on 17 Jun 1990, and no further mention of Luedtke’s name was found in AMPAS library files.
       Pollack eventually backed out as director, and writer-director Alan J. Pakula was hired in his place. Warner Bros. also replaced UA as the studio, as noted in a 27 Jul 1988 HR item. According to Roger Birnbaum, UA’s president of worldwide feature production, the project was “just too expensive” for UA. Pakula claimed the script needed a lot of work when he came on board and spent roughly one year rewriting it with Frank Pierson before production began, as stated in a 2 Aug 1990 HR “Hollywood Report” column. To address the main difficulties in adapting the book, including its first-person perspective and flashback time sequence, Pakula and Pierson added dialogue not in the book, eliminated some of Rusty’s “broodings,” and changed the way the ending was revealed, as noted in the 22 Jul 1990 LAT. Although previously estimated at $25 million, the film’s budget was cited as $20 million in the 22 Jul 1990 NYT.
       Pakula’s first choice for Rusty Sabich was Harrison Ford, whose casting was announced in a 12 Mar 1989 LAT brief. Ford prepared for the role by observing murder trials at the Recorder’s Court in Detroit, MI. Starting in Apr 1989, the actor also viewed training films from the Michigan Prosecutors’ Association, according to a 4 Jun 1989 LAHExam brief. Greta Scacchi, who was cast as “Carolyn Pohlemus,” spent time observing Linda Fairstein, the head of Manhattan District Attorney’s sex-crimes unit, while Raul Julia, who plays “Sandy Stern,” researched his role by speaking with high-powered lawyer Michael Kennedy, whose clients included Ivanka Trump. Novelist Scott Turow, also an attorney, was available for consultation during filming, as was legal technical consultant William N. Fordes.
       Three weeks of rehearsal preceded principal photography, which began 31 Jul 1989, as noted in a 15 Aug 1989 HR production chart. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that filming began in Detroit, which was picked for the story’s unnamed Midwestern locale because it would go unrecognized by most viewers. One day of shooting took place in Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River, where a ferry landing with views of the Detroit skyline were shot. The 1 Sep 1989 HR announced filming in Detroit ended 9 Aug 1989, at which point the company moved to Kaufman-Astoria Studios in Queens, NY, where sets included a courtroom modeled after a Cleveland, OH, courtroom that was not available for filming. A photocopy of a 1910 mural in the Cleveland courtroom was placed behind “Judge Larren Lyttle’s” bench, according to a 12 Oct 1989 LAT article. Location shooting followed in Newark, NJ, at a housing project, City Hall, and Essex County Courthouse; and Allendale, NJ, where Rusty Sabich’s residence was filmed. For the final three weeks of shooting, cast and crew returned to Kaufman-Astoria Studios for Sabich’s trial scenes.
       A Los Angeles, CA, premiere took place 25 Jul 1990 at the Bruin Theater in Westwood, with an after-party at Chasen’s Restaurant, as noted in a 27 Jul 1990 LAT item.
       Warner Bros. made a special request to critics not to discuss the ending of the film. However, Time’s Richard Schickel disregarded the request and acknowledged Rusty Sabich’s innocence in his review, the week of 26 Jul 1990, as stated in a 26 Jul 1990 LAT brief.
       The film was a critical and box-office success, taking in $59.6 million in five weeks of release, as noted in the Oct 1990 Box review. It went on to become the tenth highest-grossing film of 1990, with box-office earnings of $86.3 million.
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Austin American Statesman

4 Jan 1991

Weekend, p. 4.

Hollywood Reporter

20 May 1987.

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Hollywood Reporter

27 Jul 1988.

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Hollywood Reporter

15 Aug 1989.

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Hollywood Reporter

1 Sep 1989.

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Hollywood Reporter

23 Jul 1990

p. 5, 19.

Hollywood Reporter

2 Aug 1990.

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Hollywood Reporter

3 Aug 1990.

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Los Angeles Times

12 Mar 1989

Calendar, p. 36.

Los Angeles Times

12 Oct 1989

Calendar, p. 1.

Los Angeles Times

3 Jun 1990

Calendar, p. 21.

Los Angeles Times

17 Jun 1990.

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Los Angeles Times

22 Jul 1990

Calendar, p. 5.

Los Angeles Times

26 Jul 1990.

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Los Angeles Times

27 Jul 1990

Calendar, p. 1.

Los Angeles Times

27 Jul 1990

Section E, p. 3.

New York Times

8 Feb 1987

Section A, p. 1.

New York Times

6 Aug 1987

Section C, p. 17.

New York Times

22 Jul 1990

Section A, p. 9.

New York Times

27 Jul 1990

p. 14.

Publishers Weekly

19 Dec 1986.

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Variety

25 Jul 1990

p. 22.

A NYT news item of 3 Mar 1952 reported that director Fred Zinnemann was about to option the film rights for the best-seller The Young Lions , which he intended to produce and direct independently. The item also stated that Zinnemann had made overtures to Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, with whom he had previously worked, to play two of the leading roles. However, on 23 Jan 1954, NYT announced that producers Jacques Braunstein and Robert Lord had purchased the film rights for a sum in excess of $100,000. On 25 Jan 1954, FD reported that Irwin Shaw was to receive a percentage of the profits and would write the screenplay. An 11 Sep 1955 NYT news item indicated that Braunstein and Lord would produce Shaw's screenplay for United Artists release.
       According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, in Dec 1956, the studio acquired the rights to the novel from Braunstein for $50,000, plus 15% of the net profits. Additionally, Shaw was to receive $65,000 spread over ten years. The Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, contains a copy of Shaw's undated screenplay. All of the Twentieth Century-Fox drafts were written by Edward Anhalt. A Sep 1957 HR news item adds that Joanne Woodward was intially cast as "Hope Plowman," but left the production to appear in The Long Hot Summer (see above). An early Jun 1957 HR production chart that preceded the start of production places Tony Randall in the cast, but he ...MoreLess

A NYT news item of 3 Mar 1952 reported that director Fred Zinnemann was about to option the film rights for the best-seller The Young Lions , which he intended to produce and direct independently. The item also stated that Zinnemann had made overtures to Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, with whom he had previously worked, to play two of the leading roles. However, on 23 Jan 1954, NYT announced that producers Jacques Braunstein and Robert Lord had purchased the film rights for a sum in excess of $100,000. On 25 Jan 1954, FD reported that Irwin Shaw was to receive a percentage of the profits and would write the screenplay. An 11 Sep 1955 NYT news item indicated that Braunstein and Lord would produce Shaw's screenplay for United Artists release.
       According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, in Dec 1956, the studio acquired the rights to the novel from Braunstein for $50,000, plus 15% of the net profits. Additionally, Shaw was to receive $65,000 spread over ten years. The Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, contains a copy of Shaw's undated screenplay. All of the Twentieth Century-Fox drafts were written by Edward Anhalt. A Sep 1957 HR news item adds that Joanne Woodward was intially cast as "Hope Plowman," but left the production to appear in The Long Hot Summer (see above). An early Jun 1957 HR production chart that preceded the start of production places Tony Randall in the cast, but he does not appear in the released film. An early Nov 1957 HR production chart adds Ken Scott, John Gabriel and Gil Lasky to the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Filming began in France and Germany in Jun 1957 on a budget of $2,625,700. According to a studio press release, the Struthof concentration camp near Strasbourg, which the French had preserved just as they found it, was used as a location. When the studio ran advertisements in Strasbourg newspapers for "200 very thin, emaciated men," it found that 28 of the applicants were former inmates of Struthof. The North African desert scenes were shot at Borrego Springs, CA, supplemented by footage from the 1943 British documentary Desert Victory . The final confrontation, the only scene including the three principals, was filmed near Mt. Wilson, CA. By the time filming was completed in late Oct, the cost had risen to $3,553,245. Two sequences paralleling that between "Christian" and "Margaret" on New Year's Eve 1938, were shot but deleted in editing: The sequence with "Michael" was set in a New York nightclub, while the sequence in which "Noah" watched the father he had neither known nor liked very much, die, took place in a cheap hotel in Santa Monica, CA. "Noah's" father was played by noted Jewish stage actor Jacob Ben-Ami, making what would have been his Hollywood debut at the urging of Montgomery Clift, an old friend and admirer.
       When the film opened, a good deal of criticism was leveled at the change from novel to film in the Christian character. In Shaw's novel, he was a hard-core, unregenerate Nazi, but the film presents him as a misguided "idealist" who eventually realizes the evil of the cause to which he has dedicated himself. In a 15 May 1957 memo to the producer, director and screenwriter, executive producer Buddy Adler wrote, "We need one good strong German character to speak for the German people as a whole, and to cast the guilt on the Nazis as opposed to the entire German population. A good picture today can take a million dollars out of Germany, and I am sure that unless we do something as suggested in the foregoing, this picture will not be sympathetically received in Germany."
       In a 14 Apr 1958 Life feature on the film, it was reported that Brando delivered a fifteen-hour lecture to Dmytryk, Lichtman and Anhalt in which he gave a detailed analysis of Christian Diestl's character to convince them to make changes. Dmytryk, in a 17 Mar 1978 interview, stated, "I never spent 15 hours with Marlon.... The writer, Anhalt, and I already had these ideas about the character, and explained them to Marlon." The changes in Diestl's character enraged Shaw, who, quoted in a biography of Shaw, said that Brando "played him in a sympathetic way because he wants to be sympathetic on screen." The issue of anti-Semitism, which loomed large in the novel, was diminished in the film. Adler, in the 15 May 1957 memo, in which he reacted to a draft in which the anti-Semitism was considerably less subtle, wrote, "I also recommend that in the scene in the barracks in which Noah is called 'Jew-boy,' the connotation here should not be that the bullies and the captain dislike Noah because he is a Jew, but because he is sensitive etc.... The bullies are angry with Noah not because he is Jewish, but because the whole company is being punished because Noah failed in his duty to keep the windows clean." Critics also complained about loose ends and structural problems in the screenplay. However, Dmytryk has stated that he considers the film to be one of the best he made.
       Producer Al Lichtman, longtime executive producer at MGM and former head of distribution for Twentieth Century-Fox, returned from a retirement due to health problems to produce the film, but died before it opened. This was Dean Martin's first dramatic role; his character's surname in the novel is "Whitacre," but was changed to "Whiteacre" for the film. Studio records indicate that Peter Brocco appeared in a deleted sequence. The CBCS lists Wade Cagle, Kendall Scott, Anne Stebbins and Ann Paige as cast members but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film received Academy Award nominations in the Cinematography (Black-and-White), Sound Recording, and Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) categories. MoreLess

Box Office

17 Mar 1958.

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Box Office

24 Mar 58

p. 3.

Daily Variety

23 Sep 57

p. 16

Daily Variety

14 Mar 58

p. 3.

Film Daily

25 Jan 1954.

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Film Daily

17 Mar 58

p. 8.

Harrison's Reports

15 Mar 58

p. 44.

Hollywood Reporter

7 Jun 57

p. 13.

Hollywood Reporter

3 Sep 57

p. 1.

Hollywood Reporter

1 Nov 57

p. 10.

Hollywood Reporter

14 Mar 58

p. 3.

Hollywood Reporter

29 Oct 1958.

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Life

14 Apr 58

pp. 65-68.

Look

15 Apr 58

pp. 50-55.

Los Angeles Times

11 Apr 1958.

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Motion Picture Herald Product Digest

15 Mar 58

p. 757.

New Republic

28 Apr 58

pp. 21-22.

New York Times

3 Mar 1952.

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New York Times

23 Jan 1954.

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New York Times

11 Sep 1955.

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New York Times

2 Apr 58

p. 37.

New York Times

3 Apr 58.

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The Exhibitor

19 Mar 58

pp. 4446-47.

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