Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scrooged (1988)

[Frank notices a picture of Santa and Mrs. Claus on the wall]
Frank Cross: Grace, what in the hell is this?
Grace: Oh, it's a painting, one of my kids did.  See, there's Santa Claus and there's Mrs. Claus.
Frank Cross: Honey, how many fingers does Mrs. Santa Claus have here?
Grace: Eleven.
Frank Cross: Eleven.  Right.
[rips it down]
Frank Cross: It's crap.  Lose it.  I don't want it on the wall.
[tosses it in the wastebasket]

A cynically selfish TV executive gets haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

"Scrooged" made its premiere on November 23, 1988 appearing on 1,262 screens across the US (movie-going audiences in the UK would get their opportunity to see it two days later).  Its only competition that weekend at the Box Office was "Cocoon: The Return".  A sequel to its greater hit, "Cocoon: The Return" ended up being weak at the Box Office.  Thanksgiving was upon American audiences.  They didn't want to see a sequel.  They wanted to see a film that would help get them in the holiday spirit.  Bill Murray as a Scrooge-like character wouldn't disappoint in the least.  Costing an estimated $32 million to make, Paramount Pictures' "Scrooged" ended up earning almost twice that as it brought in over $60.3 million, making it the 13th biggest Box Office hit of the year.

Director Richard Donner had already given movie-goers memorable films such as "The Omen" (1976), "Superman" (1978), "Ladyhawke" (1985), "The Goonies" (1985), and "Lethal Weapon" (1987).  Though not as high-ranked as some of those titles, Richard gave us his one and only holiday-themed film to date.  Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup, "Scrooged" was also nominated for three Saturn Awards (awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films): Best Special Effects, Best Actor (Bill Murray), and Best Film.  Unfortunately, the only award this film did win was for Best Music from the BMI Film & TV Awards.

"Scrooged" starred Bill Murray as Frank Cross, Karen Allen as Claire Phillips, and co-starred John Glover as Brice, David Johansen as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Bobcat Goldthwaite as Eliot, Alfre Woodard as Grace, and legendary Hollywood actors Robert Mitchum as Preston Rhinelander and John Forsythe as Lew Hayward (in this movie, you have to really look for him... think "golf" and "booze").

Filmed in New York City and Toronto, Ontario, Canada, here are some other fun tidbits of info you might appreciate regarding the making of this holiday favorite...

1.  The leader of the street carolers insulted by "Frank Cross" is Paul Shaffer.  The others are Miles Davis, David Sanborn and Larry Carlton.

2.  The Ghost of Christmas Past's cab belongs to the Belle Cab Company.  Belle is the name of Scrooge's first love in the Dickens novel the story is loosely taken from.

3.  Sam Kinison was originally slated to play the part of The Ghost of Christmas Past.  The part eventually went to David Johansen due to his friendship with Bill Murray.

4.  On the "Frisbee" show (when Frank is in the dog suit), there is a tree on the set with a heart engraving and "Dick Loves Lauren".  Director Richard Donner is married to producer Lauren Shuler Donner.

5.  Carol Kane would get upset at having to "rough up" Bill Murray in their scenes together.

6.  When the Ghost Of Christmas Present (Carol Kane) grabbed Bill Murray's lip, she tore his lip so badly that filming was halted for several days.

7.  There is a trivia game played by Frank's brother in one of the scenes where the question asked is "What's the name of the boat on 'Gilligan's Island' (1964)?"  Director Richard Donner was one of the original directors on the show.

8.  At the end of the movie, when everybody is singing "Put a little love in your heart", Frank (Bill Murray) says (among many other things): "Feed me, Seymour!" This is a reference to "Little Shop of Horrors" (1986), in which Murray has a small part.

9.  Playing the Scroogettes were the Solid Gold Dancers whose American TV show had been canceled by the time the picture debuted stateside.

10.  All of Bill Murray's actor brothers - John Murray, Joel Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray - make appearances in this film.

11.  The following received a 'Special Appearance' credit: Lee Majors, Mary Lou Retton, Jamie Farr, Robert Goulet, John Houseman, Buddy Hackett, Pat McCormick and Brian Doyle-Murray.  Sadly, it was the final feature film for John Houseman who died on October 31st, 1988 - less than one month before "Scrooged" was released.

And now you know.

According to Wikipedia, "Although the DVD had been available for some time, Paramount decided upon a special edition release titled the 'Yule Love It! Edition'.  Announced for an October 31, 2006 release, it was recalled for unknown reasons".  (And now you know even more!)

If you're tired of the same old "Scrooge" or "A Christmas Carol" stories seen year after year, I encourage you to see "Scrooged".  It will change things up a bit.

Below are pictures showing the key characters in the film followed by over 50 picture stills, giving glimpses of the storyline without giving away the story itself.


And now the picture stills...


Frank Cross: It's Christmas Eve!  It's... it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we... we... we smile a little easier, we... w-w-we... we... we cheer a little more.  For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!

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