|The Goodbye Girl|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Herbert Ross|
|Produced by||Ray Stark|
|Written by||Neil Simon|
|Starring|| Richard Dreyfuss |
|Music by||Dave Grusin|
|Cinematography||David M. Walsh|
|Edited by||John F. Burnett|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$102 million|
The Goodbye Girl is a 1977 American romantic comedy-drama film produced by Ray Stark, directed by Herbert Ross and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings and Paul Benedict. The original screenplay by Neil Simon centers on an odd trio: a struggling actor who has sublet a Manhattan apartment from a friend, the current occupant (his friend's ex-girlfriend, who has just been abandoned), and her precocious young daughter.
Richard Dreyfuss won the 1977 Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Elliot Garfield. At the time, he became the youngest man to win an Oscar for Best Actor.
The film became the first romantic comedy to earn $100 million in box-office grosses.
Dancer Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) and her ten-year-old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings) live in a Manhattan apartment with her married boyfriend, Tony DeForrest, until one day, he deserts her to go and act in a film in Italy. Before he left and unknown to Paula, Tony subleased the apartment to Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss), a neurotic but sweet aspiring actor from Chicago, who shows up in the middle of the night expecting to move in. Though Paula is demanding and also neurotic, and makes clear from the start that she doesn't like Elliot, he allows her and Lucy to stay.
Paula struggles to get back into shape to resume her career as a dancer. Meanwhile, Elliot has landed the title role in an off-off-Broadway production of Richard III , but the director, Mark (Paul Benedict), wants him to play the character as an exaggerated stereotype of a homosexual, in Mark's words, "the queen who wanted to be king." Reluctantly, Elliot agrees to play the role, despite full knowledge that it may mean the end of his career as an actor. Many theater critics from television stations and newspapers in New York City attend the opening night, and they all savage the production, especially Elliot's performance. The play quickly closes, much to his relief.
Despite their frequent clashes and Paula's lack of gratitude for Elliot's help, the two fall in love and sleep together. However, Lucy, although she likes Elliot, sees the affair as a repeat of what happened with Tony. Elliot convinces Paula that he will not be like that and later picks up Lucy from school and takes her on a carriage ride, during which Lucy admits that she likes Elliot, and he admits that he likes her and Paula and will not do anything to hurt them.
Elliot gets a job at an improvisational theatre, and is soon seen by a film producer. He is offered an opportunity for a role in a film that he cannot turn down, the only catch being that the job is in Seattle and Elliot will be gone for four weeks. Paula is informed of this and is scared that Elliot is leaving her, never to return, like all the other men in her life. Later, Elliot calls Paula from the phone booth across the street from the apartment, telling her that the flight was delayed, and at the last minute, Elliot invites Paula to go with him while he is filming the picture and suggests Lucy stay with a friend until they return. Paula declines but is happy because she knows that Elliot's invitation is evidence that he loves her and will come back. Before hanging up, Elliot asks Paula to have his prized guitar restrung, which he had deliberately left at the apartment, and she realizes this as proof that he will indeed return and that he really does love her.
The film began as a screenplay called Bogart Slept Here (essentially the story of what happened to Dustin Hoffman after he became a star), that was to star Robert De Niro and Mason for Warner Bros.It would have been the film De Niro would have made immediately after Taxi Driver . Mike Nichols was hired to direct.
Simon recalled the original idea for the film:
The basic idea of the story was that Marsha, an ex-dancer, was married to a very promising but struggling off-Broadway actor who gets discovered in a small play and is whisked out to Hollywood, where he reluctantly moves with his family. He feels very out of place there...and they have trouble adjusting, especially after his first film makes him an international star...and it creates chaos in their marriage. The story was coming out a little darker than I had imagined, but I envisioned the character of the wife as a very good role for Marsha.
Filming began on Bogart Slept Here when it became apparent that De Niro wasn't right for the role. Simon recalled: "...it was clear that any of the humor I had written was going to get lost. It's not that De Niro is not funny, but his humor comes mostly from his nuances, a bemused expression on his face or the way he would look at a character, smile and then look up at the ceiling." Nichols insisted on recasting De Niro. Soon after, Nichols left the project.
Dreyfuss was brought in to try out with Mason. At the end of the reading, Neil Simon decided that the chemistry was there, but the script needed work. He rewrote the screenplay in six weeks.
[The screenplay] had to be funnier, more romantic, the way Marsha and I first imagined the picture would be. What I wanted to do was a prequel. In other words, instead of an off-Broadway actor, married with a child, why don't I start from the beginning? I'd start when they first meet. Not liking each other at first and then falling in love.
The film's exteriors were shot in New York City and the interiors were shot on sets in Los Angeles. Warner Bros. was less enthused about Simon's script, and considered selling the project to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, while others at the studio preferred to partner MGM on the film, so this option was chosen.With the 1996 acquisition of Turner Entertainment Company, which owned the pre-May 1986 MGM film library by Time Warner, Warner Bros. now controls the rights and distribution of the movie.
The title song, "Goodbye Girl," was written and performed by David Gates in 1978, and was a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that same year, peaking at #15.
Roger Ebert gave the film a mostly favorable review, awarding three stars out of four. He was unimpressed with Mason's performance and the character as written, calling it "hardly ever sympathetic."However, he praised Dreyfuss and cited his Richard III scenes as "the funniest in a movie since Mel Brooks staged Springtime for Hitler ." Ebert criticized the beginning as "awkward at times and never quite involving," but "enjoyed its conclusion so much that we almost forgot our earlier reservations." Gene Siskel awarded an identical three-star grade and said, "Make no mistake about it, the very best thing about 'The Goodbye Girl' is the character of Elliot Garfield as played by Dreyfuss, a character that comes very close to Dreyfuss' own self-and-profession centered lifestyle. But like Dreyfuss himself, Elliott Garfield, who initially comes off as [a] pushy, prickly type, ultimately wins you over." Vincent Canby of The New York Times found the film to be "exhausting without being much fun" and "relentlessly wisecracked." Charles Champlin of The Los Angeles Times lauded it as "the best and most blissfully satisfying romantic comedy of the year and then some." Arthur D. Murphy of Variety called the film "another feather in Herbert Ross' directorial cap," with Dreyfuss giving "his best screen performance to date." Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote that the film "evolves into the most satisfying comedy Simon has written directly for the movies. One tolerates the plot mechanics for the sake of the genuinely amusing aspects of his script, the bright remarks and the distinctive or appealing character traits that provide good performers with live ammunition." Pauline Kael of The New Yorker was negative, commenting "It's not Neil Simon's one-liners that get you down in The Goodbye Girl, it's his two-liners. The snappiness of the exchanges is so forced it's almost macabre." David Ansen of Newsweek wrote "It's pure formula, and Simon plays it straight, all cards on the table, with the conservative professionalism of a gambler used to winning. As directed by the ubiquitous Herbert Ross, The Goodbye Girl is a modest, bittersweet comedy that will delight Simon fans and leave his critics staunchly unconverted."
The film holds a score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 19 reviews.
|Academy Awards||Best Picture||Ray Stark||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Richard Dreyfuss||Won|
|Best Actress||Marsha Mason||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Quinn Cummings||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen||Neil Simon||Nominated|
|British Academy Film Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Richard Dreyfuss||Won|
|Best Actress in a Leading Role||Marsha Mason||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Neil Simon||Nominated|
|David di Donatello Awards||Best Foreign Director||Herbert Ross||Won|
|Best Foreign Actor||Richard Dreyfuss||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||The Goodbye Girl||Won|
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Richard Dreyfuss||Won|
|Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Marsha Mason||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||Quinn Cummings||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay – Motion Picture||Neil Simon||Won|
|Japan Academy Prize||Outstanding Foreign Language Film||The Goodbye Girl||Nominated|
|Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Actor||Richard Dreyfuss||Won|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actor||Won|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screenplay||Neil Simon||Nominated|
Richard Dreyfuss was 30 years-old when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the youngest actor to ever to win the category. This record stood for 25 years until Adrien Brody won it in 2002 for The Pianist (who was just one month shy of his 30th birthday when he won).
American Film Institute
There were three failed attempts to turn The Goodbye Girl into a half-hour, television sitcom, according to Lee Goldberg's book Unsold Television Pilots. The first pilot aired on NBC in May 1982 and was titled Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever,starred Karen Valentine and Michael Lembeck, and was directed by James Burrows from a script by Allan Katz. The second, unaired pilot was produced a year later starring Jobeth Williams and was directed by Charlotte Brown from a script by Brown and Pat Nardo. The third pilot, which never aired, again starred Valentine and was directed by Jay Sandrich.
The Goodbye Girl was developed into a 1993 Broadway musical of the same name starring Martin Short and Bernadette Peters.
A 2004 remakewith Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton keeps the screenplay from the original version.
The VHS format has been released several times over the years. MGM released the 1993 and 1996 while Warner Home video released the 2000 version in addition to releasing the DVD version. A manufacture-on-demand Blu-ray format was released through Warner Archive Collection on November 8, 2016.
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The Apartment is a 1960 American romantic comedy-drama film produced and directed by Billy Wilder from a screenplay he co-wrote with I. A. L. Diamond, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, alongside Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, David Lewis, Willard Waterman, David White, Hope Holiday and Edie Adams.
Four Daughters is a 1938 American musical drama film that tells the story of a happy musical family whose lives and loves are disrupted by the arrival of a cynical young composer who interjects himself into the daughters' romantic lives. The movie stars the Lane Sisters and Gale Page, and features Claude Rains, Jeffrey Lynn, John Garfield, and Dick Foran. The three Lanes were sisters and members of a family singing trio.
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Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film based on Oliver Sacks's 1973 memoir of the same title. It tells the story of a fictional character, Dr. Malcolm Sayer, which is based on a real life experience of the author, who, in 1969, discovers beneficial effects of the drug L-Dopa. He administers it to catatonic patients who survived the 1917–28 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica. Leonard Lowe and the rest of the patients are awakened after decades and have to deal with a new life in a new time. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Richard Stephen Dreyfuss is an American actor best known for starring in popular films between the 1970s and 1990s, including American Graffiti, Jaws, Stand by Me, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, The Goodbye Girl, Tin Men, Stakeout, Always, What About Bob? and Mr. Holland's Opus.
Marsha Mason is an American actress and director. She was nominated four times for the Academy Award for Best Actress: for her performances in Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Goodbye Girl (1977), Chapter Two (1979), and Only When I Laugh (1981). The first two films also won her Golden Globe Awards. She was married for ten years (1973–1983) to the playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon, who was the writer of three of her four Oscar-nominated roles.
Ray Stark was one of the most successful and prolific independent film producers in postwar Hollywood. Stark's background as a literary and theatrical agent prepared him to produce some of the most profitable films of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, such as The World of Suzie Wong (1960), West Side Story (1961), The Misfits (1961), Lolita (1962), The Night of The Iguana (1964), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), Funny Girl (1968), The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), The Goodbye Girl (1977), The Toy (1982), Annie (1982), and Steel Magnolias (1989).
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Where the Boys Are is a 1960 Metrocolor and CinemaScope American comedy film directed by Henry Levin and starring Connie Francis, Dolores Hart, Paula Prentiss, George Hamilton, Yvette Mimieux, Jim Hutton, and Frank Gorshin. It was written by George Wells based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout. The screenplay concerns four college co-eds who spend spring break in Fort Lauderdale. The title song "Where the Boys Are" was sung by Connie Francis, who also co-starred in a supporting role.
Dinner at Eight is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy-drama film directed by George Cukor. Adapted to the screen by Frances Marion and Herman J. Mankiewicz from George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's play of the same name, it features an ensemble cast of Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Lee Tracy, Edmund Lowe and Billie Burke.
Paul Benedict was an American actor who made numerous appearances in television and movies beginning in 1965. He was known for his roles as The Number Painter on the PBS children's show Sesame Street and as the English neighbor Harry Bentley on the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons.
The Goodbye Girl is a 1977 film starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason.
The Goodbye Girl is a musical with a book by Neil Simon, lyrics by David Zippel, and music by Marvin Hamlisch, based on Simon's original screenplay for the 1977 film of the same name.
Max Dugan Returns is a 1983 American comedy-drama film starring Jason Robards as Max Dugan, Marsha Mason as his daughter Nora, Matthew Broderick as Nora’s son Michael, and Donald Sutherland. Both Matthew Broderick and Kiefer Sutherland (cameo) are featuring in their first film appearance. This would be the last of seven Neil Simon-based films to be directed by Herbert Ross, as well as the last of his films starring Mason.
Sweet Charity is a 1969 American musical comedy-drama film directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, written by Peter Stone, and featuring music by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields.
Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. is an American actor, producer, and director. He is particularly known for his work in crime films, thrillers and collaborations with filmmaker Martin Scorsese. De Niro is the recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In 2009, he received the Kennedy Center Honor. In 2016, he received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
American director Martin Scorsese and American actor Robert De Niro have made nine feature films and one short film together since 1973. Many of them are often ranked among the greatest films of all time.
The Goodbye Girl is a 2004 television film starring Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels. It aired on TNT on January 16, 2004. Following the plot of the original, it follows an actor who lives in an apartment along with his friend's ex-girlfriend, whom the friend has just abandoned, and her preteen daughter.
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