Ghostbusters II is a 1989 science fiction comedy film and is the sequel to Ghostbusters. Produced and directed by Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters II follows the further adventures of a group of parapsychologists and their organization which combats paranormal activities (“ghostbusting”). The sequel was originally to be called Ghostbusters II: River Of Slime.
The sequel had what was, at the time, the biggest three-day opening weekend gross in history ($29,472,894, which is equivalent to $50,864,510 in 2009), a record that was broken one week later by Batman ($40,505,884). Despite the record-breaking opening, the film has received mixed reviews from both critics and viewers.
In the scene when Egon looks up information about Vigo in the database, Vigo’s full name is listed as Vigo Von Homburg Deutschendorf. The actor who plays Vigo is Wilhelm von Homburg and the twins who play Oscar are William T. Deutschendorf and Henry J. Deutschendorf II. The twins are the nephews of singer John Denver whose real name was ‘Henry J. Deutschendorf I.
Several pieces of material from the trailers did not appear in the film: – Egon uses a PKE meter to read a piece of floating crystal. – When someone says the Titanic just arrived, Venkman replies “Better late than never.” In the film, this is said by Cheech Marin.
Dialogue including “There’s always room for Jello” was re-recorded for the finished film.
Cameo: [Chloe Webb] guest on “World of the Psychic”.
The kid who tells Ray that, according to his dad, the Ghostbusters are “full of crap” is played by Jason Reitman, the son of director Ivan Reitman. Reitman’s daughter plays the girl with the puppy in Egon’s lab.
Originally, the producers planned on having the crashed Hindenburg appear as a ghostly blimp. They dumped this in favor of the apparitions coming off the Titanic.
The scene involving a woman’s mink coat coming to life was originally written & storyboarded to be in Ghost Busters (1984).
When Peter arrives at Ray’s Occult book-store, pretending to be a strange customer looking for a particular book, the gag was originally intended to be that Peter had previously made a prank phone call to Ray asking for the book, and Ray realizing it was Peter who made the call when he arrives at the store repeating the act. The prank call was not used in the final edit of the film, resulting in it seeming that Peter is just fooling around as he enters the shop.
A scene of Egon and Ray experimenting on the bowl of slime, with them wearing head devices with multiple wires connecting to the bowl (which would have gone before the scene with the ‘dancing toaster’), was filmed but not used in the final edit, but a shot from the scene was a commonly used publicity still for the film.
The shot of the Ecto-1 on the verge of breaking down at the start of the film is fitting in that while filming the bridge scene that’s seen in the montage, the car finally did break down.
A scene featuring Ray driving Ecto-1A recklessly at speed, as a result of being possessed while examining Vigo’s painting, was filmed but not used in the final edit of the movie. However, some shots of the sequence (Ray running a red light; Peter, sitting in the back, pulling a surprised face) were used in the montage as the Ghostbusters go back into business. (This continued a trend of unused scenes being used in a montage. In the first film, a scene of Ray and Winston investigating a haunted fort, where Ray encounters a beautiful ghost, was filmed and not used, but instead used as a ‘dream’ in that movie’s montage sequence.)
200 visual effects shots were used in the entire film.
In the German dub of the movie Dana’s child Oscar is renamed to ‘Donald’.
The original VHS (and laserdisc) release of this movie (and The Karate Kid, Part III (1989)) was in letterbox, causing complaints to video stores prompting them to call RCA/Columbia to find out if there was a problem in the printing. To make matters worse, it was not letterboxed in the film’s original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but rather letterboxed AND panned-and-scanned into a 1.66:1 frame. So viewers who liked ‘full frame’ movies had to put up with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, and those who want films in their OAR had to deal with a picture that was cropped on the sides and panned-and-scanned in some shots. Neither type of viewer was satisfied with the original home video release. The DVD release in 1999 was the first time that the film was presented in it’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio on home video.
The joystick the team uses is an NES Advantage joystick with most of the body removed.
The phone number on the side of Ecto-1 is JL5-2020. (555-2020)
The cameo appearance of Slimer the green ghost of Ghost Busters (1984) was prompted by the fact that in the years in between the two films, the cartoon series “The Real Ghost Busters” (1986) introduced the idea that Slimer was living at the firehouse as the Ghostbusters’ pet. Because the original film and the cartoon series were so popular with children, they put Slimer in the film.
During the montage sequence after the courthouse scene, when the Ghostbusters sign is being put up, the sign-maker’s phone number, (516) 374-2340, is visible. This was and still is the phone number for Five Town Neon Service Inc., also known as “Johnny’s Signs”.
In the courtroom scene, the prosecuting lawyer is carried out of the room upside-down by her leg by one of the ghosts. In the trailer, you see the prosecuting lawyer floating out of the room upside-down as the ghost SFX have not yet been added.
The pneumatic subway line that Ray finds when they lower him below the street actually exists under part of Manhattan. The line was built prior to any other subways in the area and was actually built without any City approval. It operated using compressed air and pushed Victorian New Yorkers a number of blocks in “elegant comfort”. When the City of New York found out about the subway line, they shut it down and the line was buried, including two beautifully appointed stations with extensive tile work and even full-size chandeliers above the tracks! Several decades later, when digging for the modern subway system, workers punched into the then unknown subway tunnel and found the station and the subway car completely intact and in remarkably good condition. It’s still there today.
Bill Murray told Entertainment Weekly he was very disappointed with the way the film turned out. He commented “it was a whole lot of slime, and not much of us.”
This film is the final theatrical appearance for actress Janet Margolin, (prosecution lawyer) who died three years later from ovarian cancer.
In Peter’s apartment you can see the newspaper front pages from the first Ghost Busters (1984) movie, including the “USA Today” front page. Each one is framed on his wall. They are most visible when Dana (Sigourney Weaver) is still wrapped in a towel after getting out of the shower and Peter is telling her about finding slime residue in her apartment.
Dr. Venkman teases Dr. Spengler about his lab assistant and Dr. Spengler responds “I think she’s more interested in my epididymis”. The Epididymis are the small tubes that connect the vas deferens to the testes.
The Vigo character was based on Vlad III The Impaler and Grigory Rasputin.
The term “proton pack”, was never officially used on screen until the Ghostbusters are in the subway tunnel and Egon says, “Before we go any further, I think we should get our proton packs.”
The Ghostbusters TV Commercial, in which Louis and Janine are in bed when a ghost attacks is a rehash of scene from the first movie that was filmed but not used. Originally, before the Ghostbusters go on their first call at the Sedgwick Hotel, there was a scene with a honeymooning couple in the hotel who encounter Slimer in their bedroom and call the manager, who in turn calls the Ghostbusters.
After the release of this film, Louis Tully, who has become the Ghostbusters’ accountant, was added into “The Real Ghost Busters” (1986) cartoon series. Also, there was an episode in which the “mood slime” was used.
Prophecy is a 1979 horror film starring Robert Foxworth, Talia Shire and Armand Assante. It was directed by John Frankenheimer and written by David Seltzer. A novelization of the film, written by Seltzer as well, was also published, with the tagline ‘A Novel of Unrelenting Terror.
Not to be confused with the 1995 film The Prophecy, this is an ecological fable about the evils of industrial pollution.
Filmed in British Columbia in 1978, this movie marked the beginning of “Hollywood North”, the major start to the development of a massive film production business in Vancouver and other parts of the province of British Columbia, in Canada. Since then hundreds of “American” movies have been filmed in the Canadian province.
Horror author Stephen King is particularly fond of this film.
Battle for the Planet of the Apes is a 1973 science fiction film and is the fifth and final entry in the Planet of the Apes series. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson.
The scenes of Ape City in this film were filmed at the Fox Ranch, now Malibu State Park.
Colleen Camp’s film debut.
Roddy McDowall and Natalie Trundy are the only cast members to appear in 4 of the 5 original “Planet of the Apes” movies. Roddy McDowall appeared all except the first sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970). Natalie Trundy did not appear in the original Planet of the Apes (1968) movie, but appeared in all 4 sequels. ‘Roddy McDowall’ also starred in the “Planet of the Apes” (1974) TV series. It’s also noted that Roddy is the only actor to voice three different apes, Cornelius, his son, Caesar and Galen in the TV series.
The final of five Planet of the Apes movies starring Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (which has the onscreen title Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein) is a 1948 American comedy horror film directed by Charles Barton and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. It is the first of several films where the comedy duo meets classic characters from Universal’s horror film stable. In this film, they encounter Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and the Wolf Man, while subsequent films pair the duo with the Mummy, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man. On a TV special in the early 1950s, the two did a sketch where they interacted with the latest original Universal Studios monster being promoted at the time, the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). The film is considered the swan song for the “Big Three” Universal horror monsters – Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s monster – although it does not appear to fit within the loose continuity of the earlier films.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
The film was re-released in 1956 along with Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed this film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in September 2007, Readers Digest selected the movie as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time.
Originally titled “The Brain of Frankenstein”.
Ian Keith, the original choice for Count Dracula in Dracula (1931), was originally considered for Dracula in this film. Bela Lugosi wasn’t considered at first because the studio thought he was dead. When they learned Lugosi was alive, Lugosi’s agent shamed the head of the studio into getting him the role by saying, “He is Dracula! You owe this role to Lugosi!”
Boris Karloff was approached to play the Monster but he thought it was insulting to the character and it would not do well at the box-office. But as a favor to Universal, he did publicity work for this film. In several photos taken by Universal’s publicity department, he is seen standing in line purchasing a ticket at a theater in New York City where the film is playing, and in other stills, he is shown admiring the poster art for the film outside the theater lobby. Karloff later starred with Abbott & Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949).
The animation sequences of Dracula-as-a-bat and Dracula-changing-from-bat-to-Dracula were done by Universal-International’s animator, Walter Lantz (of Woody Woodpecker fame).
This film was such a hit that it was reportedly Universal-International’s second highest grossing film of the year.
Although he would play similar vampires in other films since Dracula (1931), this would be only the second, and last, time that Bela Lugosi would play Dracula in a feature film.
This was the final Universal film to feature Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula and the Wolfman, until Van Helsing (2004).
This film has been the subject of controversy for decades over whether it should be considered part of the official Universal Horror series (thus making it a sequel to House of Dracula (1945)) or a non-canon, standalone film.
Glenn Strange speaks for the first time as The Monster. This film marks the first time since The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) that the character has spoken, though it does not explain how The Monster has regained his voice.
The opening scene of “London”, then “Big Ben” is followed by a constable on patrol. This shot was lifted from Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) in the scene a constable finds the unconscious Lawrence Talbot after his “resurrection”, that same constable is murdered by the Wolf Man the following night. A filter was used to darken the shot for inclusion in this film.
Glenn Strange was playing the Frankenstein monster, but during shooting one day he tripped over a camera cable and broke his ankle. Lon Chaney Jr. (playing the Wolf Man) wasn’t working that day, so he put on the Frankenstein makeup/outfit and filled in for Strange in one scene where Dr. Mornay gets thrown through the window. So Chaney wound up playing two monsters in this movie.
Lou Costello did not want to film the movie, declaring, “No way I’ll do that crap. My little girl could write something better than this.” A $50,000 advance in salary and the signing of director Charles Barton, the team’s good friend and the man whom some call their best director, convinced him otherwise.
During the final chase scene, when Wilbur and Chick are standing in front of a door and the Frankenstein monster punches through it, Lou Costello deliberately went off his mark and got hit on the jaw. The director liked his reaction, so he decided to keep it in the film.
Marks the first time Universal-International stopped using the effective but lengthy application time of make-up artist Jack P. Pierce for the monster make-up, using Bud Westmore and Jack Kevan’s more cost-effective rubber appliances. The rubber head appliance that Glenn Strange wore to play the Frankenstein monster fitted him so tightly that, after a few hours under the hot lights, he could shake his head and hear the sweat rattling around inside it.
The scene in which Wilbur (Lou Costello) is unknowingly sitting on the Frankenstein Monster’s (Glenn Strange) lap required multiple takes. The scene allowed Costello to improvise wildly, which caused Strange to constantly break up laughing during the takes.
Jane Randolph replaced Ella Raines, who backed out at the last minute.
Three actors in this film had previously played the Frankenstein Monster. Aside from Glenn Strange who actually plays the role again, both Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. had experience under the flat top as well. Boris Karloff was the original Monster.
Despite the title, nobody in the film ever meets Frankenstein. All the interaction involved is with the Frankenstein monster.
The Monster That Challenged the World (1957) is a science-fiction, monster movie, about an army of giant mollusks that emerge from the Salton Sea, California. Directed by Arnold Laven, the film starred Tim Holt and Audrey Dalton.
It was produced by Gramercy Pictures (not related to the former PolyGram division) and released by United Artists. The film is currently available on DVD as part of UA sister Metro-Goldwyn Mayer’s Midnight Movies collection.
In the laboratory, above the filing cabinets on the right was a aerial picture of the K-25 Plant, it was the largest building in the Manhattan Project and was authorized in late 1942, it was 11 miles from the WWII Secret City of Oak Ridge, Tenn. The plant was intended to produce enriched uranium. The photo on the left looks like it is a close up of K-25 but that has not been proven at this time.
The majority of the underwater scenes were shot at Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. The close-ups were later filmed in a tank filled with water and plastic sea-weed.
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a 1953 science fiction film directed by Eugène Lourié and stars Paul Christian, Paula Raymond and Cecil Kellaway with visual effects by Ray Harryhausen. The film is about an atomic bomb test in the Arctic Circle that unfreezes a hibernating fictional dinosaur, a Rhedosaurus, that begins to wreak havoc in New York City. It was one of the first monster movies that helped inspire the following generation of creature features, coining it with the atomic age.
Vera Miles and Paul Picerni appear in the trailer for this film, but not in the film itself.
While visiting his friend Ray Harryhausen on the set, Ray Bradbury was given a copy of the script (which was going under the working title “Monster From the Sea”) and was asked if he could possibly do some rewriting on it. After reading the script, Bradbury remarked about a scene in the story (which featured the monster destroying a lighthouse) that seemed very similar to a short story that he had published in “The Saturday Evening Post” several years earlier called “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”. Bradbury’s story was about a dinosaur that destroys a lighthouse. The next day Bradbury received a telegram offering to buy the film rights to the story. After the sale, the films title was changed to “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”. Years later when Bradbury had his story reprinted he changed the title to “The Fog Horn”.
The dinosaur skeleton in the museum sequence is artificial. It was obtained from storage at RKO where it had been constructed for Bringing Up Baby (1938).
The “Coney Island Amusement Park” in the film is actually The Long Beach Amusement Park in Long Beach, California. The production was able to film at the park from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
The film is based on a short story by Ray Bradbury.
This film (which was inspired by the successful 1952 re-release of KING KONG) was the first film to feature a giant creature awakened or mutated by a Nuclear Bomb.
Deleted Scene: The 2003 DVD release reveals one shot of the Rhedasaurus that was omitted from the final film. That shot can be found in the trailer for “The Black Scorpion” (in special features) about 1/2 through the preview. (Spoiler: The Beast is walking, breast high, toward screen right. The background shows 2 buildings; one of them with fire escapes. Superimposed title card states, “You’ve thrilled to the terror of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.”
When the radio announcer is reading the news about the monster’s rampage through New York, various shots of the city are shown, mostly with panicked citizens in the street. When the announcer mentions the situation at Times Square, the accompanying footage shows the Palace Theater, whose marquee reads “Judy Garland – Live and in Person.”
Warner Brothers bought the film from producers Hal E. Chester and ‘Jack Deitz’ for $450,000.
Before the film was sold to Warner Brothers, it contained an original music score composed by Michel Michelet. Execs at Warners felt Michelet’s score wasn’t powerful enough so they replaced it with an original score by David Buttolph.
Some film aficionados might recognize Alvin Greenman, the first character to speak after the narrator, and the first to notice the beast on on the radar. Six years earlier he played Alfred, the Macys Janitor in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). TV aficionados though might recognize the second character to speak. Playing the part of Charlie is actor James Best, best remembered for his role as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane from “The Dukes of Hazzard” (1979).
This was said to have been one of the inspirations for Tomoyuki Tanaka to go ahead and film Gojira (1954).
When the streets are being cleared once the beast comes ashore in NYC, films appearing on various theater marquees are “Detective Story”, “Come Fill The Cup” and “Across The Wide Missouri”.
During the octopus/shark sequence, some of the footage was obviously shot in an aquarium, because some of the octopus’ suckers are gripping the glass.
Predator is a 1987 science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Kevin Peter Hall. The story follows an elite team on a mission to rescue hostages from a guerrilla group in Central America. Unknowingly, the group is hunted by an extraterrestrial life form. Reaction to the film was generally favorable, and the film grossed $60 million in the United States. The film also generated a sequel, Predator 2 (1990) with another, titled Predators in development, and two crossover films with the Alien franchise: Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007).
According to an interview with director John McTiernan, the “hole in the jungle” appearance of the Predator was played by Jean-Claude Van Damme in a “blue screen” (actually red) suit. Van Damme quit after two days, unhappy with being cast as an uncredited special effect, but can be seen as the Predator in If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: The Making of ‘Predator’ (2001) (V). The alien was scrapped, redesigned and was eventually played by Kevin Peter Hall who was 7’2″ tall.
An attempt was made to get shots of the Predator swinging from tree to tree using a monkey in a red special-effects suit. However, the monkey kept removing the suit and the idea was abandoned.
The mandibles of the predator were the idea of James Cameron.
Most of film was shot under the original title “Hunter”, it was only later when the creature design was changed that the movie became “Predator”. The clapperboards showing the original title can be seen in the outtakes on the special edition DVD.
The original “Hunter” model was a large creature with a long neck, a head shaped like a dog and one big eye in the middle. This can be seen on the camouflage demo’s on the DVD. It was only when Stan Winston moved in that the complete design of the now “Predator” changed, along with the title.
Two waterfalls are used in the climax of the movie, both near Palenque in Mexico. The first is Misol Ha, just outside the village (beginning and end of the sequence), and the other is Agua Azul about an hour’s drive away (the middle part of the sequence).
The original concept for this film originated as a joke. Someone said that the only person Rocky Balboa of the Rocky (1976) series of films had yet to fight was E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
Two of the actors portraying commandos besieged by the Predator have been elected to state governorships: Jesse Ventura (Independent) was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1998, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican) was elected Governor of California in a hotly-contested recall election in 2003. In addition, Sonny Landham (Republican) ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Kentucky in 2003.
The weapon that Blain (Jesse Ventura) is using is a minigun. This is a weapon most commonly mounted on the side of a helicopter (or an aircraft carrier) and many, many modifications had to be made to make it usable in the film. It was powered via an electrical cable hidden down the front of Blain’s trousers. The firing rate was slowed down to approximately 1/3rd the normal rate of fire, both to reduce consumption of blanks, and to make the spinning of the barrels visible on film. It is rumored that Ventura had to wear a bulletproof vest because of the forceful ejection of spent cartridges, but this is false. Unmodified miniguns eject out of the bottom, with the cases essentially falling out due to the force of gravity. Close examination of the film (especially the scene in which Mac fires the minigun at the fleeing predator, along with the other commandos) show that the ejection of the minigun was not changed.
The studio would not allow John McTiernan to shoot this film in anamorphic widescreen due to the complexities of the optical effects. As a sly sort of retaliation, the director added an anamorphic version of the film’s opening 20th Century Fox logo, which looks noticeably stretched on screen.
Sonny Landham was hired to work on this film, but on one condition: the insurance company insisted on a round-the-clock bodyguard for Landham, not to protect the actor, but to protect everyone else from the actor (who was prone to bar fights, etc.).
Shane Black, who plays commando Hawkins, is actually a writer. The producer wanted Black, who was writing Lethal Weapon (1987), close to him to review the script.
John McTiernan broke his wrist while on location, but kept working.
John McTiernan admitted that actor R.G. Armstrong was too old for his part, but kept Armstrong simply because he liked him. Added to this, the actor wore “too much” tanning makeup to hide his age somewhat.
The predator’s blood – a goopy substance with the color of Mountain Dew – was made on-set using a mixture of the liquid from inside glow sticks, and KY jelly.
Due to health and safety regulations, Arnold Schwarzenegger was not allowed to light his cigar inside the helicopter near the beginning of the film. As a result the glow was added optically in post-production.
Jesse Ventura was delighted to find out from the wardrobe department that his arms were 1″ bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. He suggested to Schwarzenegger that they measure arms, with the winner getting a bottle of champagne. Ventura lost because Schwarzenegger had told the wardrobe department to tell Ventura that his arms were bigger.
During the closing credits, Shane Black is seen prominently displaying a copy of Sgt. Rock #408 (Feb. 1986). In the DVD commentary, John McTiernan notes that at the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger had an adaptation of Sgt. Rock in production, and that’s why the comics were on set, so he could read them. He described the scene where Dutch (Schwarzenegger) walks up to Billy (Sonny Landham), who senses the Predator’s presence out in the bush, as a “Sgt. Rock moment”.
Shane Black spent his free time on the set writing the screenplay for The Last Boy Scout (1991).
Arnold Schwarzenegger lost over 25 pounds before filming began in order to better fit the role of a special warfare operative, who would be lean as well as muscular.
All of the actors are wearing Vietnam surplus canvas load bearing gear, not the more modern (i.e. post 1967) nylon gear.
The sidearms carried by the troopers are Desert Eagle handguns.
Cameo: [Sven-Ole Thorsen] Arnold Schwarzenegger’s friend and frequent collaborator appears as the Russian Officer.
Acting debut for both Jesse Ventura and Shane Black.
Third film in which Arnold Schwarzenegger wears a Seiko model H558-5009 diver’s watch. Since nicknamed “The Arnold”, it is highly sought-after by collectors and regularly trades for values in excess of its original retail cost. Its distinctive black collar and stainless steel fittings suitably complements Schwarzenegger’s exaggerated arm muscles in his early films.
Supposedly, Jerry Goldsmith was originally approached to score the film, but was unavailable.
The map General Phillips uses to brief Dutch is a map of Brazil. The map show a geographic feature called Chapada das Mangabeiras.
The sound editors called the Predator’s shoulder gun the ‘Parrot Gun’, because when it moved independent of the Predator while aiming, it reminded them of “Peter Sellers with a rubber parrot on his shoulder.”
One of the elements in the sound of the ‘snap’ to Predator-vision is a whip crack.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison and starring Henry Thomas, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Dee Wallace. It tells the story of Elliott (played by Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends a friendly extraterrestrial, dubbed “E.T.”, who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.
The concept for E.T. was based on an imaginary friend Spielberg created after his parents’ divorce in 1960. In 1980, Spielberg met Mathison and developed a new story from the stalled science fiction/horror film project Night Skies. The film was shot from September to December 1981 in California on a budget of US$10.5 million. Unlike most motion pictures, the film was shot in roughly chronological order, to facilitate convincing emotional performances from the young cast.
Released by Universal Pictures, E.T. was a blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars to become the most financially successful film released to that point. Critics acclaimed it as a timeless story of friendship, and it ranks as the greatest science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey. The film was re-released in 1985, and then again in 2002 with altered special effects and additional scenes. Spielberg believes E.T. epitomizes his work.
At the auditions, Henry Thomas thought about the day his dog died to express sadness. Director Steven Spielberg cried, and hired him on the spot.
ET’s face was modeled after poet Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein and a pug dog.
ET’s communicator actually worked, and was constructed by Henry Feinberg, an expert in science and technology interpretation for the public.
Steven Spielberg shot most of the film from the eye-level of a child to further connect with Elliot and E.T.
Steven Spielberg personally screened his film at the White House for Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis.
When the film was released on video in the U.S., the cassette was made from green plastic as a measure to confound video pirates. By December 31st 1988, it had sold 15 million.
When it was test-screened at the Cannes Film Festival as an unofficial entry, it brought the house down, receiving a standing ovation that had eluded most of the official entries.
E.T. riding in the basket on Elliot’s bicycle flying in front of the moon has become the trademark image of Amblin Entertainment.
The late Michael Jackson owned one of the E.T. puppets.
The script was largely written whilst on location filming for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) during filming breaks. Steven Spielberg dictated the story to screenwriter Melissa Mathison who was there with her then-boyfriend and future husband Harrison Ford.
Steven Spielberg is reported to have spent $100,000 digitally removing guns from the 20th Anniversary re-release of the movie in 2002. He regretted using the scene and said he would remove it if he ever re-issued the film.
Almost 10% of the $10.5 million budget went on the alien creature puppets and related animatronics.
Elliot’s last name is never mentioned.
With the exception of Elliot’s mom, no adults’ faces are shown until the last half of the film.
Peter Coyote’s character’s name is never revealed, and is referred to as “Keys” in the novelization and end credits because he is identified by wearing a key-chain in the first half of the movie.
This script was being developed at Columbia at the same time as another script about an alien visitation. The studio did not want to make both, so the head of the studio had to choose which film to make; he decided to let ET go and make Starman (1984). ET was then made by Universal Pictures.
Steven Spielberg stated in an interview that E.T. was a plant-like creature, and neither male or female.
Debra Winger not only provided the temp voice for E.T. but also played one of the ghouls in the Halloween sequence. She is wearing a monster mask and a lab coat and carries a poodle.
Was voted the 20th Greatest Film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
The gag where the mother looks in the closet and sees the alien surrounded by toys was dreamed up by Robert Zemeckis.
Steven Spielberg’s original concept was for a much darker movie in which a family was terrorized in their house by aliens. When Spielberg decided to go with a more benevolent alien, the family-in-jeopardy concept was recycled as Poltergeist (1982).
At the 20th anniversary re-release premier, John Williams conducted a live orchestra as the film played, much like an orchestra would do for a stage musical.
James Taylor wrote a song intended for use in the movie called “Song For You”. The song was ultimately not used in the movie. However, it was eventually recorded in the mid 1980’s for release on his ‘That’s Why I’m Here’ album.
Was the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide until Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) was released.
Voted number 1 in Channel 4’s (UK) “Greatest Family Films”
Director Trademark: [Steven Spielberg] [music] The music is composed by John Williams.
Though many have suggested that the film contains elements of Christian allegory, director Steven Spielberg says any parallels are strictly coincidental. Furthermore, Spielberg adds that if he ever made a Christian allegory, his mother, a devout Jew would probably never forgive him.
The role of Mary, the children’s mother, was first offered to Shelley Long but she had already signed to film Night Shift (1982) and was forced to decline.
Foley Artist John Roesch said he used a wet T-shirt crammed with jello to simulate the noise of E.T.’s waddling walk.
Steven Spielberg asked Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones to contribute a song for the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Story Book Album. Spielberg was so pleased with their song “Someone in the Dark” that he asked them to make the entire album, which, in spite of the size of the task, they agreed to do. This boxed set included an LP, a book to read along with it and a poster of E.T. and Jackson. Epic Records allowed Jackson to record the album for MCA Records on the conditions that it not be released until after Christmas of 1982 so as to not compete with Thriller and that “Someone in the Dark” not be released as a single. Both of the conditions were breached by MCA Records; they released the storybook in November 1982 and gave promo copies of “Someone In the Dark” to radio stations. MCA Records were forced to withdraw the album and were prohibited from releasing “Someone In the Dark” as a single after court action was taken by Epic against them in a $2 million lawsuit, which MCA settled by paying Epic chief Walter Yetnikoff $500,000. Jones claims neither he nor Jackson received a dime for making the record, in spite of the large cash settlement involved and its considerable success: The audio book earned Jackson a Grammy Award in 1984 for Best Recording for Children. Upon collecting the award, and taking home a record eight Grammys from an unprecedented twelve nominations, the singer stated that of all the awards had gotten that night, he was “most proud of this one”.
Steven Spielberg worked simultaneously on both this film and Poltergeist (1982) in 1982 (which was directed by Tobe Hooper but produced by Spielberg), and both were made to complement each other. “E.T.” represented suburban dreams, and “Poltergeist” represented suburban nightmares.
The working title for the film was “A Boy’s Life”. It was changed during production.
This film is ranked as #6 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Cheers, and as #3 on the AFI’s top 10 science fiction films.
The origin of E.T. lies within Steven Spielberg’s abandoned science-fiction horror thriller “Night Skies”, which was to be directed by cartoonist ‘Ron Cobb (I)’ and written by John Sayles, with special effects by Rick Baker. Spielberg eventually dropped the evil aliens and had only a good alien in the final film.
The end of the film was one of the most significant musical experiences for composer ‘John Williams (I)’. After several attempts were made to match the score to the film, Steven Spielberg took the film off the screen and encouraged Williams to conduct the orchestra the way he would at a concert. He did, and Spielberg slightly re-edited the film to match the music, which is unusual since normally the music would be edited to match the film. The result was Williams winning the 1982 Academy Award for Best Original Score.
E.T.’s voice was provided by Pat Welsh, an elderly woman who lived in Marin County, California. Welsh smoked two packets of cigarettes a day, which gave her voice a quality that sound effects creator Ben Burtt liked. She spent nine-and-a-half hours recording her part, and was paid $380 by Burtt for her services. Burtt also recorded 16 other people and various animals to create E.T.’s “voice”. These included Spielberg; Debra Winger; Burtt’s sleeping wife, who had a cold; a burp from his USC film professor; as well as raccoons, sea otters and horses.
The young actors (Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton) found the ET puppet’s eyes too far apart to comfortably look ET in the eye when they had to act with it. The actors solved the problem themselves by selecting a single eye to look at for every scene.
In 1967 Satyajit Ray wrote a script for a movie entitled “The Alien”. Columbia Pictures was in talks to produce this movie. Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando were rumored to play the leading parts. However, Ray was surprised to find that the script he had written had already been copyrighted as a co-written work and the fee appropriated. The other ‘writer’ credited for the script was Mike Wilson – a friend of Sci-Fi author Arthur C. Clarke and it was credited as “Mike Wilson and Satyajit Ray”, in that order. According to Ray, Wilson’s only contribution to the script was his suggestion of the word “broad” instead of “chick” at one place in the script. Wilson had initially approached Ray as a promoter for the film in Hollywood and negotiated with Columbia. Later Brando dropped out of the project and, though an attempt was made to bring James Coburn in his place, Ray was disillusioned, had enough of Hollywood machinations and returned to Calcutta. Columbia was interested in reviving the project in the 1970s and 1980s but nothing came of it. When E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) was released in 1982, many, including Arthur C. Clarke, saw striking similarities in the film to Ray’s earlier script. Ray believed that Steven Spielberg’s movie “would not have been possible without my script of ‘The Alien’ being available throughout America in mimeographed copies.” Spielberg denied this by saying, “I was a kid in high school when this script was circulating in Hollywood”.
Most of the full-body puppetry was performed by a 2′ 10 tall stuntman, but the scenes in the kitchen were done using a 10-year old boy who was born without legs but was an expert on walking on his hands.
ET’s plants included some made from inflated condoms with polyester blooms.
John Sayles wrote a semi-sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) called ‘Night Skies’, about a group of hostile aliens that come to Earth and lay siege to an isolated farmhouse where a terrified family has barricaded itself inside. Spielberg decided not to go ahead with the rather dark project, but a subplot about the relationship between the lone good alien and an autistic boy inspired him to redevelop the concept as ‘E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial”.
E.T. provided the inspiration for Neil Diamond’s song “Heartlight” but no mention is ever made of the movie in the lyrics.
C. Thomas Howell’s film debut.
Juliette Lewis auditioned for the role of Gertie, but her father reportedly made her turn it down.
The filmmakers had requested that M&M’s be used to lure E.T., instead of Reese’s Pieces. The Mars company had denied their request and so Reese’s Pieces were used instead. As a direct result, Reese’s Pieces sales skyrocketed. Because of this, more and more companies began requesting that their products be used in movies. Thus, product placement was born.
Elvis Costello was asked by Q music magazine March 2008 if he was paid handsomely for the use of Accidents Will Happen of which two lines were sung by Michael (Robert MacNaughton) when he is looking in the fridge. He replied: “No, I don’t think they offered any money. We had no way of knowing it was going to be so huge so there was the chance we’d given it for nothing and they’d use it for some big production number. Haha! But you really have to paying attention to notice.”
In mid 2009, the home featured in the film, located in the Tujunga Canyon was saved from immolation in the treacherous Station Fire. The owner of the residence said the scorched hill behind the house “looks like the surface of the moon,” but that the structure itself incurred no damage in the wildfire, which up to that time had burned over 127,000 acres and claimed 62 homes.
In the doorway conversation between Keys, played by Peter Coyote, and Gertie, played by Drew Barrymore, Keys asks Gertie if there are any “Coyotes” in the neighborhood.
Harrison Ford was initially intended to have a cameo role in the film as Elliot’s school headmaster, but the scene was cut.
For the re-release Steven Spielberg had all the guns removed from the film because he did not like having guns around kids, and believed that there was already too much gun violence in the world.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a 1982 American motion picture released by Paramount Pictures. The film is the second feature based on the Star Trek science fiction franchise. The plot features James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the starship USS Enterprise facing off against the genetically-engineered tyrant Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán), a character who first appeared in the 1967 Star Trek television series episode “Space Seed”. When Khan escapes from a 15-year exile to exact revenge on Kirk, the crew of the Enterprise must stop him from acquiring a powerful terraforming device named Genesis. The film concludes with the death of Enterprise crewmember Spock (Leonard Nimoy), beginning a story arc that continues through 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
After the lackluster critical and commercial response to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, series creator Gene Roddenberry was forced out of the sequel’s production. Executive producer Harve Bennett wrote the film’s original outline, which Jack B. Sowards developed into a full script. Director Nicholas Meyer completed the final script in 12 days, without accepting a writing credit. Meyer’s approach evoked the swashbuckling atmosphere of the original series, and the theme was reinforced by James Horner’s musical score. Leonard Nimoy only reprised his role as Spock because the character’s death was intended to be irrevocable. Negative test audience reaction to Spock’s death led to significant revisions of the ending without Meyer’s consent. The production used various cost-cutting techniques to keep within budget, including utilizing miniatures from past projects and re-using effects footage from the previous movie. Among the film’s technical achievements is the first complete feature film sequence created entirely with computer-generated graphics.
The Wrath of Khan was released in North America on June 4, 1982. It was a box office success, earning US$97 million worldwide and setting a world record for first-day box office gross. Critical reaction to the film was positive; reviewers highlighted Khan, the film’s pacing and the character interactions as strong elements. Negative reaction focused on weak special effects and some of the acting. The Wrath of Khan is generally considered one of the best films of the Star Trek series and is credited with creating renewed interest in the franchise.
Director Nicholas Meyer envisioned the film as the ultimate extension of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s idea of “Horatio Hornblower in space”. Therefore, prior to filming he had the cast watch Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951) for inspiration.
Producer Harve Bennett viewed all the original “Star Trek” (1966) episodes and chose “Star Trek: Space Seed (#1.22)” (1967) as the best candidate for a sequel. Spock even remarks in the script that it would be interesting to return in a hundred years or so to see what type of civilization had grown there. This is the first time a movie was made as a sequel to a specific television show episode.
In “Star Trek: Space Seed (#1.22)” (1967) approximately 80 genetically-engineered supermen were left behind on Ceti Alpha V by the Enterprise. By the time of this film, only 15 (including Khan) are left. 20 were killed by Ceti Eels, the rest through other means (presumably as a result of the explosion of Ceti Alpha VI).
This is the only Star Trek film that features no appearances by Klingon characters.
The Enterprise Torpedo Room and Spacelab transporter sets were originally parts of the Klingon bridge built for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). In order to save money, shots of the Enterprise departing from dock, and in space, were taken from the first Star Trek movie. The Spacelab model is that of the orbiting space office turned upside down and with some cosmetic changes from the first Star Trek movie. This movie was produced by the Paramount Television division and released by the feature film division, in order to avoid the then-astronomical $43 million cost of the first feature film.
In a Starlog interview titled “The Man Who Killed Spock”, after the movie was released, Harve Bennett said that: – 1. He wrote a scene where Chekov, on the Reliant, calls up data for the Ceti Alpha system, and remembers Khan and tells Terrell. That was written out and became the “you never told your captain the tale” sequence on the planet. – 2. The Ceti system was always a binary star system, hence the Alpha. The idea was for planets V and VI to have varying orbits similar to Neptune and Pluto where they would cross in and out of each other’s orbits. Thus the confusion. “You thought this was Ceti Alpha VI.” The unstable orbits caused the explosion of Ceti Alpha VI. Again, written out. – 3. Khan and Kirk were to have fought in the Genesis cave foyer. Khan and his supermen were to have had PSI powers similar to the Talosians, and Kirk beats them by simply not believing in it. Khan then beams out with the Genesis torpedo. – 4. Radiation causes blood vessels to burst and Spock was written to be covered in green blood. Leonard Nimoy objected, and the result was what you see.
Due to budget limitations, sets and props were re-used wherever possible. Space Station Regula 1 was the space station from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)… turned upside-down. Terrell and Chekov’s environmental suits were also originally used in ST: TMP.
For this film Gene Roddenberry was given a consultant position and replaced as executive producer by Harve Bennett. Apparently, Paramount blamed the constant production delays and budget overruns for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) on Roddenberry’s constant meddling and demanding script re-writes.
The shot of the three Klingon ships in the Simulator room is from the opening sequence of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
The Enterprise bridge set from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) was redressed for use as the Kobayashi Maru simulator, the Enterprise bridge, and the Reliant bridge. The circular set was built as a set of modular “wedges”, which allowed them to be rearranged for a similar, but distinctive, look. Also, for the Reliant, the seat covers were changed, and the turbolift door was painted blue. In one shot, when the turbolift doors are open, a ship diagram for the Enterprise can be seen inside the lift.
The “Genesis” sequence called for a long and massive explosion. ILM rented the Cow Palace in San Francisco for the effect. They covered the ceiling with a black cloth and placed the camera on the floor looking up at it. The explosion would occur directly above the camera so the fall-out would appear to rush directly towards the point of view. A special high-speed camera was constructed which ran at 2,500 frames per second. One of its components was a spinning prism, which bent the image onto the film as it rushed past, which increased exposure time without having to slow the frame rate.
The software that generated the computer image of the Genesis probe approaching the planet placed mountains on the planet at random, and one of these happened to be right in the probe’s path. Each frame took so long to create with the systems then available that when the problem was spotted, it was not considered reasonable to discard the seconds of footage already made. Hence a canyon was introduced: see the goofs entry.
When Spock and Saavik speak to each other in Vulcan, Leonard Nimoy and Kirstie Alley actually spoke in English and then the sound people – Including Marc Okrand, in his first association with Star Trek – created the Vulcan words to match the movements of the actors’ mouths, which Nimoy and Alley later overdubbed.
There are several books in the container that shelters Khan’s followers on Ceti Alpha V. Two of the titles are “Moby Dick” and “King Lear”, and a lot of Khan’s lines are directly taken from those books. In particular, the final monologue of Khan is identical to the last words of Captain Ahab from Melville’s book. Other titles visible are “The Inferno” by Dante, an anthology of “Paradise Lost” and Paradise Regained” by Milton, a single copy of “Paradise Lost,” the Holy Bible, and one where the title is partially obscured called “Statute Regulating… Commerce”.
The word SNAVE appears under NCC 1864 RELIANT in the final computer generated tactical display around Regula. Snave is the nickname of the CG star field programmer, Stephen McAllister.
The main viewer display during the opening sequence indicates that the Kobayashi Maru’s captain is Kojiro Vance and that the ship is registered out of the planet Amber (Tau Ceti IV).
Film debut of Kirstie Alley.
The original subtitle was to be “The Revenge of Khan”, but this was changed because of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), then subtitled “Revenge of the Jedi”, was to be released near the same time. In the end both films titles were changed.
All of Khan’s men were Chippendale dancers at the time.
An early draft of the script had Dr. Janet Wallace (Sarah Marshall) from the original series episode “The Deadly Years” as Kirk’s long-lost lover in the role that eventually became Dr. Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch).
Star Trek fans have speculated that Dr. Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch) could have been the “little blonde technician” Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood) admitted to collaborating with to distract Kirk with a romance in the second pilot episode, “Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (#1.3)” (1966)
Originally subtitled “The Undiscovered Country”, but that subtitle eventually went to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
Kim Cattrall was Nicholas Meyer’s first choice for the role of Saavik, but eventually proved unavailable. She did, however, get the role of Vulcan officer Lieutenant Valeris in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
Judson Earney Scott’s lack of screen credit for his very large part as Joachim (Khan’s right-hand man) was the fault of his then-agent, who mistakenly opted to waive Scott’s credit believing that that would allow them to negotiate better credit placement later.
65% of the film was shot on the same set.
The computer ship diagram when the shields are being raised are actually from the aborted 1978 Star Trek: Phase II TV show.
The “No Smoking Is Permitted On Bridge” sign from the first scene was removed in later bridge scenes when Gene Roddenberry complained that smoking would not exist in the future.
One of Admiral Kirk’s antiques is a Commodore PET computer.
The silver container with the pressure tanks was actually a spaceship model from Conquest of Space (1955).
The huge background painting of San Francisco seen through the window of Admiral Kirk’s apartment was initially used for The Towering Inferno (1974).
One of the Reliant’s crew, Commander Kyle, played by John Winston, was a recurring member of the Enterprise crew in the original TV series.
The famous “Space, the final frontier” monologue is heard for the first time since the original TV series, now narrated by Leonard Nimoy, however it has been changed slightly. Instead of saying, “…its five-year mission…” and “to seek out new life,” it now says, “her ongoing mission…” and “to seek out new life forms”.
The vector-based computer graphics used on the Tactical displays and viewing screens, and also starfield effects in the Control Rooms of both the Reliant and the Enterprise and the Bridge Simulator, were rendered using computers by Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation.
In the beginning when Kirk and Spock are talking in the hallway, the black building directory in background lists key Starfleet Command personnel including Admiral Gene Roddenberry (Also Joseph R. Jennings, Michael Minor, Lee Cole and other art department members).
The different colored turtlenecks worn by Starfleet officers indicate what division they belong to. White – Command; Gold – Engineering; Gray – Science; Light Green – Medical; Red – Cadets and Trainees; and Black – Enlisted.
Kirk and Khan never meet face to face during the movie. All of their interaction is through viewscreens or communicators. In the director’s commentary on the special edition DVD, mention was made of the difficulties both William Shatner and Ricardo Montalban had in displaying proper emotions to lines being fed to them by a script girl, so it might be assumed that Shatner and Montalban did not interact face-to-face during the production of the film either.
Cameo: [James Horner] running down a corridor during the preparation for the final battle, just before the torpedoes are loaded into the launch bay.
Star Trek “technobabble” seen on walls throughout the Regula space station includes: Geoplastics, Gravitronics, Thermowave Multiplexer, JBK Sensors Synthostasis, Thermonics, Wave Matrix ETM Storage, and Bellus.
It has been widely debated that Ricardo Montalban’s chest was actually a prosthetic piece that he wore during the film. In the director’s commentary in the special edition DVD, Nicholas Meyer is quoted as saying that it was, in fact, Montalban’s actual chest and that he was a very muscular man who worked out. During publicity for the movie, during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1962), Montalban explained that he was able to achieve the look seen in the film by doing push-ups. “A lot of push-ups.”
The battle of wits between Kirk and Khan in the Mutara Nebula sequence was inspired by the battle between destroyer captain Robert Mitchum and U-boat commander Curd Jürgens in The Enemy Below (1957), which was was also the inspiration for the “Star Trek” (1966) episode ‘Balance of Terror.’
This film marks the first appearance of the Miranda class starship, namely the USS Reliant. The model was reused several times in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987) and in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993), as other vessels of the same class, or Soyuz class.
First Star Trek movie to feature the “red tunic” uniforms, used in every Original Series-based movie thereafter, and used on several occasions on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987).
This movie officially establishes the 23rd-century time line as the time period for “Star Trek” (1966) and for its movies. Prior to this movie, it had never been officially established which century the original series took place. According to Gene Roddenberry, the original series could’ve easily taken place between the 21st and 31st centuries, and Stardates were used to allow for this ambiguity in the time line.
The model of the USS Reliant was purposely designed so that the warp engines hung below the fuselage so that audiences would not accidentally confuse it with the Enterprise. As the fundamental components of both ships are the same (saucer, warp engines, etc) it was seen as being an effective way to visually differentiate the two vessels, particularly during action sequences when both ships are in the same scene.
It is revealed in the Director’s Edition DVD, Special Features disk 2 “Designing Khan” feature that the USS Reliant design sketch was sent to Harve Bennett for review. He signed off on it while looking at it upside-down, and calls it the upside-down Enterprise. This was not corrected because it gave some distinction for both ships that already looked so much alike belonging to the same fleet.
Saavik was originally intended to be a male Vulcan, but was changed later on to a female Vulcan/Romulan hybrid. Nicholas Meyer’s rewrite wasn’t thorough enough, though, and Saavik is referred to as “Mr.” Saavik throughout the movie, especially during the launch sequence of the Enterprise. Although “Trek” fans and Naval buffs have pointed out in actual, nautical jargon: women are addressed as such. Being that the “true” lady is the vessel “herself”.
Nicholas Meyer and Bibi Besch collaborated again on The Day After (1983) (TV), a film about nuclear war. After completing that film, Besch, having learned a great deal about nuclear warfare, stated that she should have approached the character of Dr. Carol Marcus very differently, as a scientist more wary of the Genesis Device’s destructive power.
Nicholas Meyer has always insisted that the books in Khan’s library were just titles he selected at random from a bookshelf. However, given the titles, plots, and the analogies in regards to Khan, this seems extremely unlikely. Two of the titles are “Moby Dick” and “Paradise Lost”, both of which center on vengeance for someone harmed by a higher power. “King Lear” is the story of a man having to live with bad decisions.
When Paramount Video released its 1986 VHS set of the “Trek” trilogy franchise, one publicity shot on the box is of Kirk and Spock behind bars. Nowhere in the film is this scene shown.
Lt. Saavik ends her radio transmissions saying “Saavik out,” instead of the more commonly heard “Over and out.” In the armed services, “over” calls for a response for the listener, while “out” officially ends communication. So Saavik’s usage is actually correct.
In addition to the footage of the Klingon vessels in the simulator scenes, other footage was lifted directly from ST:TMP primarily to keep costs down. These include: Kirk’s shuttle docking with the Enterprise in advance of his inspection, scenes of the ship first being lighted before Saavik is told to clear all moorings, the ship pulling out of space dock, and the few seconds of footage of the saucer of Enterprise just before the scene cuts to Kirk in his quarters, about to read his book.
Both Star Trek films “The Wrath of Khan” and “First Contact” include characters quoting Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick”. Khan quotes it in “Wrath” during his death scene, and Picard quotes it in “Contact” when realizing his own obsessive hatred for the Borg, referring to Ahab’s obsessive hatred for the whale. Also, John Masefield’s poetry was mistook by McCoy for Melville (and corrected by Spock) in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989).
Star Trek “technobabble” seen on a Regula space station wall: Kmrt. (“K-Mart”)
There is a background prop in the Regula 1 Space Station; a machine that has a pair of red fluorescent tubes firing back and forth at each other. This machine reappears in the movie Airplane 2, in which William Shatner makes a cameo saying that his staff must work out what it does, since to think that its purpose is just to sit there blinking is absurd and infuriating. The light prop makes its way again on various occasions in “Star Trek: TNG” (1987) , such as “DataLore”.
In the Genesis cave, two containers are labeled “Bellus” and “Zyra”. Bellus and Zyra were the planetary system that destroyed Earth in When Worlds Collide (1951).
Sulu’s backstory of being promotable to Captain (leading to his eventual command of USS Excelsior by Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)) is edited from George Takei’s line, “I’m delighted! Any chance to go aboard Enterprise…”
When Sci Fi Channel aired this movie on television, Leonard Nimoy appeared on-screen during commercial breaks, explaining various memories and trivia about the film. One of the items was the character backstory of Lt. Saavik (Kirstie Alley), who was intended to have Romulan/Vulcan heritage, which would have made her more emotional than a pureblood Vulcan. Three hints at this remain in the final film: during the Kobayashi Maru simulation, she says to herself, “Damn!”; she gasps in shock when Scotty appears on the bridge with midshipman Peters’ injured body; and she is emotionally moved by Kirk’s eulogy.
There was no comic book adaptation of this movie because at the time, nobody had a license to do a Star Trek comic; Marvel’s license had expired before it went into production, and DC Comics didn’t pick up the license until after this movie was released. An adaptation has been released now, though.
On the back wall of the Reliant’s bridge (and presumably the Enterprise’s as well, since it was a slightly redecorated version of the same set), on either side of the turbolift doors, are some rectangular shapes with smaller rectangular impressions in them. These are shells for storing audio cassette tapes, painted white and attached to the wall. They are very visible during several scenes when Khan is talking and plotting.
In the DVD bonus feature “The Captain’s Log”, Ricardo Montalban says that once he committed to this film, he realized that he had trouble getting back into the character of Khan. After years of playing Mr Roarke on “Fantasy Island” (1978), he found that he was “stuck” in that character. He requested a tape of the original “Space Seed” episode from Paramount, and proceeded to watch it repeatedly. By the third or fourth watching, he had recaptured the essence of Khan’s character.
Many of the wall panels and equipment on Regula I and in the Genesis underground space have a ridged texture to them. According to the “Designing Khan” DVD bonus, these were molded from the cardboard packing materials for fluorescent lighting tubes used in various areas of Paramount studios.
In the atrium scene at the beginning, where Spock gives Kirk a copy of “A Tale of Two Cities”, a wide shot shows several plants in the room around them. This was accomplished with a foreground miniature — a miniature set placed between the camera and the actors, making the space look larger and more decorated than it actually is.
The scenic view of San Francisco through Kirk’s apartment window is a painting, originally created for The Towering Inferno (1974). In front of the backdrop were placed a couple of models of futuristic skyscrapers, with working lights and elevators.
The exterior scenes on Ceti Alpha V were filmed on the same part of Paramount stage 8 where the set for Kirk’s apartment was later built (the apartment set, however, was saved for re-use in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)). This part of the stage was later home to the Ten-Forward set on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987) and sickbay on “Enterprise” (2001).
The interior set for Khan’s cargo container home was built on the same part of Paramount stage 8 where bridge sets for the Enterprise-D on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987) and Voyager on “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995) were later housed.
An oft-noted discrepancy in this film is that Chekov was not a member of the crew during the first season of “Star Trek” (1966) when Khan was first encountered in “Star Trek: Space Seed (#1.22)” (1967), yet Chekov and Khan recognize each other. Walter Koenig has surmised that perhaps Chekov was a member of the crew, but just happened to never be shown in the first season; he jokes that maybe an off-duty Chekov accidentally caused Khan to wait uncomfortably long to get to the men’s room, leaving a particularly indelible impression.
The propulsion module from the spaceship model used in Conquest of Space (1955) is part of the set decoration in Khan’s cargo container home. It’s a cagelike structure with four silver cylindrical tanks.
In Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Chekov was burned on the hand; in this film, he has a Ceti eel crawl in his ear. Walter Koenig joked that this film should be called “Star Trek II: Chekov Screams Again”.
The baby Ceti eels were pulled along the actors’ cheeks using a piece of string. They were made out of a stretchy rubber, allowing them to seem to crawl along, and covered with raspberry jelly to give them a slimy appearance.
The closeups of the Ceti eels entering and exiting Chekov’s ear were done using a huge rubber replica of Walter Koenig’s ear. One morning, the effects crew discovered that the art department had left a true-to-scale Q-tip next to the giant ear.
In the atrium scene at the beginning, there is a black building directory on the wall by the turbolift, which includes listings for Starfleet personnel such as “Admiral Gene Roddenberry” and several members of the art department.
George Takei initially declined to appear in this film. William Shatner called Takei and convinced him to reconsider.
More Regula station gag technobabble: one console bears the legend “R XM”, a reference to the sci-fi classic Rocketship X-M (1950).
In the scene with Kirk and Saavik in the turbolift, when the doors reopen (and McCoy gets in), the corridor outside appears shorter, giving the appearance that the lift really has moved to someplace else. In reality, a wall was moved into place while the doors were closed.
Another cost-saving measure on this film is that many of the “computer” consoles and other high-tech set dressings were rented from a Hollywood company called Modern Props. The more common approach would have been to have set designers create these by hand, for limited use, at a much higher cost.
The moving starfield during the title sequence was filmed by putting the camera in the center of the floor of a local planetarium, aimed up.
In Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), all of the on-set displays were operated by looped film projectors behind the walls, because normal video monitors’ refresh rate was different from the film frame rate, causing a visible flicker. Sets like the bridge had dozens of these projectors operating simultaneously, which were very noisy, and had to be manually synchronized with the camera. For this film, a new system was developed with monitors and videotape that ran at the same 24fps rate as the film, allowing quieter (and brighter) displays to be used on-set. This technology subsequently became a standard for Hollywood film production.
Although Gene Roddenberry created Starfleet in the original “Star Trek” (1966) with a military structure, he deliberately avoided getting very detailed on the nature of that structure (what he called “excessive militarism”). Director Nicholas Meyer, however, decided to further expand this part of the Star Trek mythos, making the uniforms and insignias more military in style, adding a ship’s bell and boatswain’s whistle, and writing the dialogue to be more accurate to actual naval protocol. These details have greatly influenced the films and spin-off series that followed.
The stars seen in the background of the Genesis simulation sequence are based on a 3-D model of the Milky Way, as seen from the perspective of a fictitious moon. In other words, if you were to travel to the point in space where the simulation programmers chose to place the moon, that is what the actual star configuration in the sky would look like.
Nicholas Meyer admits that Kahn’s familiarity with Chekov is a mistake, but defends this citing Arthur Conan Doyle who frequently had trivial errors in his Sherlock Holmes stories, but made no apologies for them.
Just before the scene where Genesis is explained, there is a scene where Spock crosses the bridge and tells Kirk, “There are two explanations: they are unable to respond; they are unwilling to respond.” As he crosses the bridge, he walks directly in front of the main viewscreen, where the stars are visible. On most films (even Star Trek films), this would require a chromakey (bluescreen or greenscreen) matte effect, so that the moving starfield could be added to the screen in post-production. However, in another of the cost-cutting measures on this film, the scene was done without any FX work: the “viewscreen” in this scene is actually a black cloth with miniature lights draped behind the screen opening. Unlike most bridge shots when the Enterprise is underway, the stars are quite motionless in this scene.
Khan’s right-hand man in “Star Trek: Space Seed (#1.22)” (1967) was named “Joaquin” (Mark Tobin), but in this film, he is named “Joachim” (Judson Earney Scott). Director Nicholas Meyer attributes the change to a clerical error during script development.
When Spock advises Kirk that Kahn’s moves “indicate two dimensional thinking”, Spock is commenting that Kahn is using tactics learned from playing two-dimensional chess. Kahn, as a Sikh, was likely familiar with 2 D chess – which originated from his homeland. Kirk and Spock routinely played three-dimensional chess during The Original Series (1966-69), The key to 3-D chess was using an “attack board” to come up from below or above your opponent. Hence, Kirk commands “all stop” and requests the photon torpedoes be preloaded for a 3 dimensional attack vector at close range: “Z-minus 10,000 meters.” In the Cartesian coordinate system, the Z-axis measures above or below the horizontal plane. A vector in this sense implies a solution like firing a torpedo in 3D space – underwater or in deep space.
During filming of some of Khan’s scenes, the prop guys decided to have a little fun at Ricardo Montalban’s expense. They created a small robot and attached to its head a cardboard cutout of the head of Hervé Villechaize – Montalban’s pint-sized co-star from the TV series “Fantasy Island” (1978). Montalban was quite amused when he saw the prop on the set.
Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, and Rachel Ticotin. It is based on the Philip K. Dick story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”. Directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Jon Povill, and Gary Goldman, it won a Special Achievement Academy Award for its visual effects. The soundtrack composed by Jerry Goldsmith won the BMI Film Music Award.
The plot concerns an apparently unsophisticated construction worker, Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger), who turns out to be a freedom fighter from Mars who has been relocated to Earth, and his attempts to restore order, and reverse the corrupt influence of commercial powers.
As many as seven directors were considered for and even hired to direct the movie, including Richard Rush, Bruce Beresford and David Cronenberg. Cronenberg had even written a few drafts of the script before Paul Verhoeven took over the Total Recall (1990) project.
Over 40 drafts of the script were written, some of which depicted Quaid as a mild-mannered accountant (instead of a construction worker). According to Paul Verhoeven, although there were many changes made to each of the scripts, the final draft of the script was very similar to the first draft.
Johnnycab whistles the Norwegian national anthem.
Robert Picardo was voice of and facial model for the “Johnnycab” robot.
When Quaid is dressed up as the fat lady, the passport he hands the guard is the actual passport of Priscilla Allen (who played the fat lady).
The subway scenes were filmed in the Mexico City subway system, specifically, the Insurgentes station of the Line 1: Constituyentes-Pantitlan.
Some of the large ads seen after Quaid gets off the subway were real signs featured above the Insurgentes subway station in Mexico City, most noticeable the Fuji Film and Coca Cola signs, the Coca Cola sign still stands today
The original cut of the movie was given an X-rating by the MPAA for excessive violence. Some violence was trimmed and different camera angles were used in some of the more over the top scenes and the movie was then re-rated R.
On the graph that Quaid is shown at Rekall, it appears that traveling by space shuttle has been getting more and more dangerous as time goes on!
The short story on which it was based was first optioned in 1974, 16 years before the film finally was released.
Patrick Swayze was signed to play Quaid when the movie began preproduction in Australia with Bruce Beresford as the director. However, early in preproduction, Dino De Laurentiis’ company went bankrupt. After Arnold Schwarzenegger heard about this, he persuaded Carolco to buy the script for him.
The concept of Quaid being a physically-buffed construction worker was suggested by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. In the earlier drafts of the script, Quaid (originally named Quail) was originally described as an average-looking accountant-type person. Because of this detail, when the movie was originally going to be produced by Dino De Laurentiis, he was adamant about not letting Schwarzenegger audition for the role of Quaid. It was only after Schwarzenegger convinced Mario Kassar to buy the script rights from De Laurentiis (whose production company went bankrupt) that the later drafts were re-written to change Quaid’s character into one more suitable for Schwarzenegger to play. Schwarzenegger said that he felt this helped the story even more, giving a much stronger contrast to it by turning a character who is otherwise powerful physically into a character that becomes vulnerable after having his mind stolen.
Quaid’s metal briefcase contains a worker’s ID for the Pyramid Mines on Mars.
All of the crew fell ill due to food poisoning during production, with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Shusett. Schwarzenegger escaped because he always had his food catered from the US. This was because three years earlier, he had fallen ill due to drinking tap water in Mexico during production of Predator (1987). As for Shusett, he took extreme health precautions, such as only brushing his teeth with boiled or bottled water and insisting on getting a weekly vitamin B12 shot. Shusett was even mocked by the crew until they all got sick themselves.
The miniatures used for shots showing Martian geography were based on Martian photographs.
One of the early versions of digital rendering of real-life objects was used in the scene where Quaid removes the fat lady mask.
One of the heavily re-edited scenes to get an R-rating was the escalator shootout where Quaid uses a human body to shield himself from bullets.
Body count: 77
Kurtwood Smith was offered the role of Richter, but he turned it down because he felt the role was too similar to his character in RoboCop (1987).
Christopher Reeve was offered, but turned down, the role of Douglas Quaid.
Both the adaptation of the screenplay (written by Piers Anthony) and early drafts of the script had the main character’s name as Douglas Quail. The original Philip K. Dick story has the name Quail as well. The film was being made during the Bush administration, with Dan Quayle as Vice President and it is presumed that this was the reason for the change.
During Quaid’s Rekall orientation, a monitor momentarily shows an illustration of a green Martian from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian novels.
Richard Rush was initially hired by Dino De Laurentiis to direct the project, but he left when they couldn’t agree on the script. Rush was replaced by Bruce Beresford. Lewis Teague was also under consideration to direct around this time.
The escalator chase scene was filmed in Mexico City’s “Chabacano” Subway Station (Intersection for Lines 2, 9 and 8, though 8 wasn’t operating at the time). The only changes made are direction signs in English, and the station names replaced.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally going to play the title role in RoboCop (1987) but problems with the costume caused producers to drop the idea. After Schwarzenegger saw Robocop, he expressed that he loved the movie and wanted to work with director Paul Verhoeven. When he and Verhoeven heard about Total Recall, they decided to work on that.
Originally to be directed by David Cronenberg, who turned down the chance to direct The Fly (1986) in order to work on this film. Cronenberg was replaced on The Fly by Robert Bierman, but Bierman later pulled out of that project due to the death of his daughter. Around the same time, Cronenberg left Total Recall when it was placed into turnaround, which left him free to return to direct The Fly.
As it is often done in futuristic movies, this one also uses contemporary design objects to depict future settings – among other things, the small cups with the black plastic ring, used by Quaid while preparing his breakfast smoothie, are Bodum Bistro coffee mugs from Denmark, and a desk lamp at Rekall is the Tolomeo from Italian manufacturer Artemide.
Although never mentioned in the film, the cover of the VHS-edition of the movie mentions that the movie takes place in the year 2084 AD.
The Spanish title for this movie is “Desafío Total”, which translated to English means “Total challenge”. This movie was also released under another Spanish title, “El Vengador del Futuro”, which translates to “Future Avenger”
It took 15 puppeteers to control Kuato, whose name is from the Spanish word: cuate (twin). In Imagining ‘Total Recall’ (2001) (V), Director Paul Verhoeven said that special makeup effects designer Rob Bottin had made the Kuato puppet look so real, that he was approached by 2 people on the street asking if he (Marshall Bell) was a “real freak” or possibly a semi-born Siamese twin.
In the featurette Imagining ‘Total Recall’ (2001) (V), production designer William Sandell tells about the brutal conditions the cast and crew experienced while shooting in Mexico. Aside from most of the cast and crew suffering from food poisoning, Sandell also talks about the poor air quality in Mexico City, comparing the breathing conditions to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. He also mentions that at one point, the air quality had gotten so bad that associate producer Elliot Schick had to be transported via MEDEVAC copter to a nearby hospital.
Jeff Bridges, Matthew Broderick and Richard Dreyfuss were each considered for the role of Quaid.
The portable locator used by Michael Champion (Helm) was built by Casio.
In the featurette Imagining ‘Total Recall’ (2001) (V), editor Frank J. Urioste said that most of the external shots of Mars almost didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie, much to his dismay. The producers felt that those shots would be too expensive and would make the movie go over-budget. Urioste then addressed his concerns about those shots with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was able to influence the producers to not cut the external shots from the final film.
When shooting the scene where Doug Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) smashes the window of the train, Schwarzenegger badly cut his hand for real. There was a tiny explosive in the glass that was supposed to go off a fraction of a second before Schwarzenegger hit the glass, but the explosive didn’t go off and Schwarzenegger broke the glass for real, thus cutting himself.
Robert Davi turned down the part of Richter.
When Quaid is going through the items in the silver suitcase, he picks up a stack of fake ID cards. The name on the first ID is Steve Lionetti, who was a production assistant for the movie.
Approximately 3 weeks before the movie’s scheduled theatrical release, it only had 43% public awareness of the movie, which Arnold Schwarzenegger described as being “absolutely disastrous”. Arnold was able to convince Mario Kassar and the rest of Carolco to pump in more money for advertising, and as a result, the movie ended up opening with 99% public awareness.
In the DVD commentary, Paul Verhoeven said that for the love scene after Quaid wakes from his nightmare, he wanted Sharon Stone to show off more skin for the scene, but Stone had refused to do so. He settled for shooting the scene as it is shown, but mentions that he “got her back” while shooting the movie Basic Instinct (1992).
Towards the end of filming in Mexico, Paul Verhoeven got so sick from food poisoning that he would have an ambulance nearby on set at all times, and in between takes, they would administer fluids and medication, so that Verhoeven could keep directing in spite of his illness.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was so impressed by how much dedication Sharon Stone had in training for her character role, that he even referred to her as the “Female Terminator”. Stone was even inducted into the Stunt Woman Association as an honorary member.
Total Recall (1990) was one of the last major Hollywood blockbusters to make large-scale use of miniature effects as opposed to CGI, and at the same time, it was also one of the first major Hollywood blockbusters to use CGI (mainly for the scenes involving the X-Ray scanner) and have it look “photo-real”.
Though the location of the city in which Quaid lives and works is not revealed, the phone number featured in the Rekall ad he sees in the subway shows an area code of 915, which suggests the movie is set somewhere in western Texas, possibly El Paso.
David Cronenberg was set to direct and even wrote a few drafts of the script before Paul Verhoeven took over. Cronenberg stated that he wanted to cast William Hurt as the lead, and was displeased by the producers’ decision to reimagine the lead for an action star such as Schwarzenegger.
In the fight scene after he visits Rekall, the sound of breaking bones is actually celery being twisted and broken.