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Director: Barry Levinson (Dir)
Release Date:   2 Apr 1982
Premiere Information:   Baltimore premiere: 2 Mar 1982; New York opening: 2 Apr 1982; Los Angeles opening: 7 May 1982
Production Date:   2 Mar--18 Apr 1981 in Baltimore, MD
Duration (in mins):   110
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Cast: Starring: Steve Guttenberg (Edward "Eddie" Simmons) as
    Daniel Stern (Laurence "Shrevie" Schreiber) as
    Mickey Rourke (Robert "Boogie" Sheftell) as
    Kevin Bacon (Timothy Fenwick, Jr.) as
    Timothy Daly (William "Billy" Howard) as
    Ellen Barkin (Beth) as
  [and] Paul Reiser (Modell) as
  Featuring: Kathryn Dowling (Barbara)  
    Michael Tucker (Bagel)  
    Colette Blonigan (Carol Heathrow)  
    Jessica James (Mrs. Simmons)  
    Clement Fowler (Eddie's father)  
  [and] Kelle Kipp (Diane)  
    John Aquino (Tank)  
    Richard Pierson (David Frazer)  
    Claudia Cron (Jane Chisholm)  
    Tait Ruppert (Methan)  
    Tom V. V. Tammi (Howard [Fenwick])  
    Pam Gail (First stripper)  
    Lauren Zaganas (Second stripper)  
    Sharon Ziman (Bride [Elyse])  
    Mark Margolis (Earl Maget)  
    Ralph Tabakin (TV customer)  
    Frank Stoegerer (TV director)  
    Nat Benchley (Technical director)  
    Frank Hennessy (Audio man)  
    Marvin Hunter (Newscaster)  
    Steve Smith (Announcer)  
    Lee Case (Billy's father)  
    Howard "Chip" Silverman (Clothing hustler)  
    Ted Bafaloukos (George)  
    Barney Cohen (Knocko)  
    Bruce Kluger (Guy at pool hall)  
    Bruce Elliot (Soap opera man)  
    Carole Copeland (Soap opera woman)  
    Aryeh Cooperstock (Rabbi)  
    Brian Costantini (Drunk at wedding)  
    Lorraine D. Glick (Woman at wedding)  
    Florence L. Moody (Waitress)  
    Mary Lou Vukov (Waitress)  
    Alan Kaplan (Bagel's friend)  
    Donald Saiontz (Bagel's friend)  
    Chief Gordon (Man in jail)  
    Beverly Sheehan (Beautician)  
    Dusty Clare (Salon woman)  

Summary: On Christmas night in 1959 Baltimore, Maryland, Eddie Simmons speaks to his friend, Robert “Boogie” Sheftell, at a party. Boogie descends to the dance hall’s kitchen, where he finds Timothy Fenwick, Jr., breaking the glass windows with his fists. Fenwick reports that he exchanged his date, Diane, with another boy for $5. Returning upstairs, Boogie convinces Diane to go home with Fenwick and reveals that he must also go home and study for law school, which he attends in addition to his job at a beauty salon. After the dance, Fenwick intentionally flips his car over, then covers himself with ketchup, pretending to be injured. When Boogie, Eddie, Laurence “Shrevie” Schreiber, and Shrevie’s wife, Beth, find Fenwick and Diane on the side of the road, they laugh about the prank and Fenwick drives Diane home. Afterward, he meets Eddie, Shrevie, and another friend, Modell, at Fells Point Diner. On the other side of the diner, a man named “Bagel” offers to call off a $2,000 bet that Boogie placed on a basketball game, since he knows Boogie will be unable to pay if he loses. However, Boogie declines and joins his friends at their table, where he convinces Modell to put money on the game. Boogie later reveals that he has a date with Carol Heathrow the following evening, and bets the boys $20 that Carol will touch his penis on the first date. Later that morning, Shrevie, Boogie, and David Frazer go to the train station to meet their friend William “Billy” Howard, who has come home from graduate school to attend Eddie’s upcoming wedding. The boys report that Eddie plans to test his fiancée, Elyse, about football trivia before he marries her. They return to the diner for breakfast and discuss Boogie’s college career at University of Baltimore. When Billy visits Eddie at home, the two friends discuss their relationships with women and Billy denies a romantic involvement with his longtime friend, Barbara Culler. During Shrevie’s shift working at the appliance store, a slightly-intoxicated Fenwick stops by to tell him that more people have bet money on Boogie’s date with Carol. That night, during a screening of A Summer Place at the movie theater, Boogie pokes his penis through the bottom of the popcorn carton in an attempt to get Carol to touch it, as Eddie and Fenwick sit nearby. When she notices, she screams and runs out of the theater; however, Boogie explains what happened, and charms her into returning back inside. Outside the theater, Billy punches a former high school bully as revenge for getting beaten up by his baseball team in eleventh grade. He then visits Barbara while she works at the local television station, but she asks to meet him in the morning after church. At the diner, Shrevie tells Eddie about his struggle to talk to Beth since their marriage. The men rest assured knowing that their friendship and the diner will always remain consistent. Boogie discovers that he lost his basketball bet, and meets the boys inside. They argue about his mishap with Carol, but Boogie raises the stakes by claiming that she will have sex with him on the next date. The friends leave the diner at dawn and agree to meet back there that afternoon. While driving home, Boogie stops to flirt with a girl, Jane Chisholm, who is riding horseback in a field. Billy meets Barbara inside the church, and she admits that she is pregnant with his child after they recently ended their six-year platonic friendship by having sex. He tells her that he loves her and would be willing to marry her, but she accuses him of confusing friendship for love. Elsewhere, Fenwick watches a university challenge tournament on television and correctly answers the questions, while Boogie phones Shrevie and convinces the boy to lend him $200 for his gambling debts. As Boogie drives over to Shrevie’s house to collect the money, Shrevie yells at Beth for misfiling his music records, and leaves. Boogie arrives to find Beth in tears. Meanwhile, Fenwick laments his position as a college dropout who refuses to work in the family business, and asks his brother, Howard, for money. As Billy and Eddie watch Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal at the movie theater, Shrevie pulls them away to retrieve Fenwick, who has drunkenly seated himself in the church’s nativity manger wearing only his underwear. When Fenwick knocks over the display, police officers arrest the boys. In prison, Billy tells them that Barbara does not want to marry him because she is devoted to her job. Billy, Shrevie, and Eddie are released from jail, but Fenwick’s parents refuse to post bail and he is forced to stay overnight. At the diner, Eddie confesses to Boogie that he is nervous to get married because he is still a virgin. Later, at the television station, Barbara again refuses to marry Billy out of convenience. Beth stops by the beauty salon to inquire about the bridesmaids’ appointments to get their hair styled for Eddie’s wedding. Outside, a man named Tank demands that Boogie settle his gambling debts by that night. However, his chances of repaying the debt are thwarted when Carol telephones Boogie to cancel their date because she has fallen ill. In the salon, Boogie and Beth reflect on their past relationship as a couple, and Beth feels that her marriage to Shrevie has caused her to lose her personal identity. When he assures her that she is beautiful, Beth suggests that they go out together that night. Later, Elyse fails her football quiz by two points and Eddie attempts to call off the marriage. Boogie takes Beth to Fenwick’s apartment and asks her to wear a blonde wig so that Fenwick will mistake her for Carol, thereby ensuring that he will win the bet. Shrevie and Fenwick hide in the closet to act as witnesses, but outside the apartment, Boogie has second thoughts and admits the scheme to Beth, who thanks him for his honesty. Meanwhile, Billy and Eddie visit a strip club and laugh about their past relationships with girls. Later, at the diner, Tank tells Boogie that Bagel paid off Boogie’s debt. Bagel says he helped out of respect for Boogie’s father, and offers him a job so that he can work off the money. At the strip club, Billy plays the piano and leads the jazz band in rock and roll music as Eddie and the stripper dance onstage. Just after dawn, Boogie reintroduces himself to Jane Chisholm and goes horseback riding with her. At Eddie’s wedding reception, Fenwick tells Diane that he plans to travel around Europe, and Boogie enjoys Jane’s company. After Modell gives a speech toasting Eddie’s friendship, the boys watch in disbelief as Elyse throws her bouquet and it lands on the table in front of them.  

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  
Production Text: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
A Jerry Weintraub Production
Distribution Company: MGM/UA Entertainment Company  
Director: Barry Levinson (Dir)
  Ken Swor (Unit prod mgr)
  D. Scott Easton (1st asst dir)
  Win Phelps (1st asst dir)
  Robert Rooy (2d asst dir)
Producer: Jerry Weintraub (Prod)
  Mark Johnson (Exec prod)
Writer: Barry Levinson (Wrt)
Photography: Peter Sova (Dir of photog)
  Don Sweeney (Cam op)
  Ted Churchill (Cam op)
  George Berrios (Asst cam)
  Tom Weston (Asst cam)
  John M. Gilgar (Gaffer)
  Richard Falk, Sr. (Lighting consultant)
  Catharine Bushnell (Still photog)
  Technicolor® (Processing by)
  Don Bolger (Boom man)
  Charles Bond (Cable man)
  Bill Reinhardt (Grip consultant)
  Peter Papanickolas (Key grip)
  Rich Redlin (Grip)
  Dave Wells (Grip)
  Lloyd Barcroft (Dolly grip)
  John Degen (Best boy)
  Augustus Horton (Elec)
  Forrest Howerton (Elec)
Art Direction: Leon Harris (Art dir)
Film Editor: Stu Linder (Ed)
  Andy Blumenthal (Asst ed)
Set Decoration: R. Chris Westlund (Set dec)
  Larry Bird (Prop master)
  Vinnie Vecchio (Prop master)
  Ken Zimmerman (Asst prop master)
  Billy Gay (Leadman)
  Steven Franciotti (Const coord)
  Bob Evans (Painter)
  Paul Campanella (Painter)
Costumes: Gloria Gresham (Cost des)
  Mary Vogt (Asst cost des)
  Tony Scarano (Men`s cost)
  Deahdra Scarano (Women`s cost)
Music: Harry V. Lojewski (Mus supv)
  Joe Tuley (Mus ed)
  Bruce Brody (Orig mus comp by)
  Ivan Kral (Orig mus comp by)
Sound: Darin Knight (Sd mixer)
  Chris Jenkins (Rerec mixer)
  Larry Stensvold (Rerec mixer)
  Gary Alexander (Rerec mixer)
  Paul Hochman (Sd ed)
Special Effects: Charles R. Schulthies (Spec eff)
  MGM (Titles and opticals)
Make Up: Irving Buchman (Make-up artist)
  Christine George (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Ellen Chenoweth (Casting)
  Taylor Royall Casting (Extras casting)
  Gene Rudolf (Visual consultant)
  Ted Bafaloukos (Creative consultant)
  Nancy Hackerman (Loc mgr)
  Betsy Norton (Scr supv)
  Judith Rheiner (Pub)
  Anna Zappia (Prod office coord)
  Paul Roedl (Prod accountant)
  Leanne Moore (Asst to prod accountant)
  Mike Padovich (Transportation coord)
  Paul Gongaware (Prod asst)
  Bill Sanders (Prod asst)
  Robert Roe (Prod asst)
  Susan Moore (Asst to the prod)
  Petko Kadiev (Illustrator)
  Mary Cahill (Res)
  Ron Welch (Caterer)
  Bill Swanke (Transportation capt)
  Ike Mizen (Ten-ton truck driver)
  Gary Cruise (Forty-foot creative truck)
  John Moore (Car carrier)
  Jackie Crane (Honey-wagon)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "It's All In The Game," written by Charles Gates Dawes and Carl Sigman, performed by Tommy Edwards, courtesy of PolyGram Records, Inc.; "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," written by David Curlee Williams, performed by Jerry Lee Lewis, courtesy of Sun International Corp.; "A Teenager In Love," written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, performed by Dion & The Belmonts, courtesy of Laurie Records, Inc.; "Dream Lover," written and performed by Bobby Darin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation; "I Wonder Why," written by Ade Olayinka and Ricardo D. Weeks, performed by Dion & The Belmonts, courtesy of Laurie Records, Inc.; "I've Got You Under My Skin," written by Cole Porter, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.; "Come Go With Me," written by Clarence E. Quick, performed by The Dell-Vikings, couresy of MCA Records, Inc.; "Beyond The Sea," written by Albert Abraham Lasry, Jack Lawrence, Charles Louis Augustin Trenet and J. Zeino, performed by Bobby Darin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation; "Honey Don't," written and performed by Carl Perkins, courtesy of Sun International Corp.; "Merry Christmas Baby," written and performed by Chuck Berry, courtesy of All Platinum Records, Inc.; "Run Rudolph Run," performed by Chuck Berry, courtesy of All Platinum Records, Inc.; "Ubangi Stomp," written by Charles Underwood, performed by Warren Smith, courtesy of Sun International Corp.; "Take Out Some Insurance," performed by Jimmy Reed, courtesy of Vee-Jay International Records; "Havin' Fun," written by Peter Chatman, performed by Memphis Slim, courtesy of All Platinum Records, Inc.; "Ain't Got No Home," written and performed by Clarence Henry, courtesy of All Platinum Records, Inc.; "Smokestack Lightning," written by Charles Burnett, performed by Howlin' Wolf, courtesy of All Platinum Records, Inc.; "Whole Lotta Loving," written by Dave Bartholomew and Antoine Domino, performed by Fats Domino, courtesy of Liberty Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.; "Mr. Blue," written by Dewayne Blackwell, performed by The Fleetwoods, courtesy of Liberty Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.; "Fascination," written by Maurice Dominique de Feraudy, Dick Manning and Dante Marchetti, performed by Jane Morgan, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.; "Where Or When," written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, performed by Dick Haymes, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.; "Reconsider Baby," written and performed by Lowell Fulson, courtesy of All Platinum Records, Inc.; "Somethin' Else," written by Bob Cochran and Shari K. Sheeley, performed by Eddie Cochran, courtesy of Liberty Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.; "A Thousand Miles Away," written by William Henry Miller and James Sheppard, performed by The Heartbeats, courtesy of Roulette Records, Inc.; "Don't Be Cruel," written by Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley, performed by Elvis Presley, courtesy of RCA Records; "Why Don't You Do Right?," written by Joe McCoy, performed by Lillian "Lil" Green, courtesy of RCA Records; "Goodbye Baby," written and performed by Jack Scott, courtesy of Jack Scott.
Composer: Dave Bartholomew
  Chuck Berry
  Dewayne Blackwell
  Otis Blackwell
  Marvin Brodie
  Charles Burnett
  Chester Burnett
  Peter Chatman
  Bob Cochran
  Bobby Darin
  Charles Gates Dawes
  Maurice Dominique de Feraudy
  Antoine Domino
  Lowell Fulson
  Lorenz Hart
  Clarence Henry
  Albert Abraham Lasry
  Jack Lawrence
  Dick Manning
  Dante Marchetti
  Joe McCoy
  William Henry Miller
  Ade Olayinka
  Carl Perkins
  Doc Pomus
  Cole Porter
  Elvis Presley
  Clarence E. Quick
  Richard Rodgers
  Jack Scott
  Shari K. Sheeley
  James Sheppard
  Mort Shuman
  Carl Sigman
  Charles Louis Augustin Trenet
  Charles Underwood
  Ricardo D. Weeks
  David Curlee Williams
  J. Zeino
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Company 25/3/1982 dd/mm/yyyy PA134992
S L M Entertainment, Ltd. 25/3/1982 dd/mm/yyyy PA134992

PCA NO: 26376
Physical Properties: Sd:
  Prints: Prints in Metrocolor®
  Lenses/Prints: Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®; Prints in Metrocolor®

Genre: Comedy-drama
Subjects (Major): College students
  Diners (Restaurants)
Subjects (Minor): Alcoholics
  Baltimore (MD)
  Law students
  Motion picture theaters
  Rock and roll music
  Specific types of relationships

Note: End credits include the following statements: “Diner provided by PMC Diners Oakland, New Jersey; College Bowl is the copyrighted format of the College Bowl Company, Inc. College Bowl was created by Don Reid.; A Summer Place courtesy of Warner Bros. Inc.; Vehicles supplied by Antique Motor Club of Greater Baltimore, Inc. and Steel Wheel’n Ol’ Trucks, Inc.” Filmmakers also extend thanks to the following: Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer, Maryland Governor Harry Hughes, Ms. Fontaine Sullivan of the Office of the Mayor, Mr. Jack Smith of the Maryland Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, and “especially” the People of the City of Baltimore “for their generosity and assistance in the making of this motion picture.”
       The character referred to offscreen as “Elyse” is listed as “Bride” in the end credits. The actress’s sole appearance occurs in the final wedding scene, during which she has no lines. However, a preceding scene features the character’s voice speaking offscreen, and it remains undetermined if the actress credited as “Bride” is the same actress who provides Elyse’s voice.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, writer-director Barry Levinson began writing Diner in mid-1980 at the suggestion of Mel Brooks, with whom he had previously worked as a writer on Silent Movie (1976, see entry) and High Anxiety (1977, see entry). Diner’s executive producer, Mark Johnson, was the assistant director of High Anxiety and went on to work with Jerry Weintraub at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M), where the two men decided to produce the film. Diner marked Levinson’s theatrically released feature film debut. Production notes indicated that Levinson auditioned more than 600 actors from New York City, Los Angeles, CA, and MD for the five lead roles, and thirty to forty actors for the remaining minor characters. The film marked the motion picture debut of actors Timothy Daly, Ellen Barkin, and Paul Reiser.
       Less than four months after M-G-M committed to the project, Diner began principal photography 2 Mar 1981 in Baltimore, MD, as confirmed by the 13 Mar 1981 HR production chart. A news brief in the 20 Mar 1981 HR indicated that Richard Pierson, Collette Blonigan, Claudia Cron, John Aquino, and Arnie Mazer had been added to the cast, although Mazer is not credited onscreen. A 9 Apr 1981 M-G-M press release stated that photography began that day in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, in a fully functional eighteen by forty-eight foot diner restaurant that had been transported from NJ. On 11 Jun 1982, LAT reported that Mickey Rourke had observed his personal hair stylist, Lorraine Watson, in order to prepare for his role as a part-time beautician in the film. A 29 Sep 1981 M-G-M memo in AMPAS library files indicated that principal photography was completed 18 Apr 1981, and that the film was being prepared for a May 1982 domestic release.
       On 26 Feb 1982, M-G-M issued a press release announcing that the world premiere was scheduled to take place 2 Mar 1982 at the Baltimore Senator Theatre, as a benefit for the Mayor’s Fund to Save Lives From Smoke and Fire. The event would include a block of wet cement, in which stars Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Timothy Daly, and Ellen Barkin would sign their names. In addition, a 1982 M-G-M press release stated that Levinson would present the film at Judith Crist’s Tarrytown Film Weekend 12 Mar 1982 in Tarrytown, NY, while a 20 Apr 1982 M-G-M statement disclosed that Diner would premiere at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, TX, 5 May 1982.
       A 5 May 1982 LAT story stated that the film received poor feedback from test engagements in St. Louis, MO, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix, AZ. According to an article in the 2 Apr 1982 NYT, an East Coast publicist spent six weeks convincing M-G-M to screen the film for New York City critics. When the studio relented, multiple critics claimed they planned to publish their positive reviews despite there being no scheduled NY release date. As a result, the studio reconsidered the movie’s potential and Diner opened at the Festival Theater in New York City 2 Apr 1982. Another 1982 M-G-M press release reported that following two weeks of “record-breaking” business at the Festival Theater, Diner moved to the Coronet Theatre before it was expected to return to the Festival, beginning 18 Jun 1982. On 11 May 1982, LAHExam reported that the movie had grossed $816,635 since its 7 May 1982 opening in limited theaters in Los Angeles, CA, Miami, FL, and Berkeley, CA, and was scheduled to return to St. Louis the following week. The M-G-M press release, which also included San Francisco, CA, among the 7 May 1982 opening cities, stated that after the 14 May 1982 engagements in eight other cities, the film collected a box office gross of $1,184,350. Additional openings were anticipated for 28 May 1982 in Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, Pittsburgh, PA, Portland, OR, San Diego, CA, Sacramento, CA, Salt Lake City, UT, and in Chicago, IL and Cincinnati, OH, in Jun 1982.
       Diner was nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical, as well as the Academy Award for Best Writing for a Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. According to 6 Feb 2012 Var article, the script was also nominated for a Writers Guild of America (WGA) award.
       On 31 Jan 1984, NYT reported that the Westbury Grill, the diner used in the film, had originated in Long Island, NY, before being moved to Oakland, NJ, and again to Baltimore for filming. Following principal photography on Diner, the restaurant was purchased for $34,000 by the local WBAL radio station and re-opened as a training facility for culinary students.
       The 22 Mar 1984 HR announced that actor Richard Egan had filed a lawsuit against M-G-M for neglecting to pay him for using scenes from his 1959 Warner Bros. film, A Summer Place (see entry), in Diner. Egan requested $12,844.56 in compensation for the footage, in addition to $100,000 exemplary damages. The outcome of the lawsuit could not be determined as of the writing of this Note.
       A news item in the 2 Dec 1994 DV reported that Barry Levinson, Jerry Weintraub, Mark Johnson, and actors Kevin Bacon, Daniel Stern, Tim Daly, Paul Reiser, and Michael Tucker would present the film at the AFI Third Decade Council Favorite Film Series, on 5 Dec 1994.
       The 21 Sep 2011 LAT announced that production company Base Entertainment planned to adapt Diner into a stage musical, with Levinson writing the book, Sheryl Crow writing the music and lyrics, and Kathleen Marshall directing. The production was expected to open on Broadway, following a limited road engagement in an unannounced city. On 6 Feb 2012, Var reported that set design had begun and casting would conclude that spring before a test engagement in summer 2012. Var also stated that following the film’s success, CBS had developed a television pilot in 1983, with Reiser reprising his role as “Modell,” and featuring James Spader, Michael Madsen, Mike Binder, and Alison La Placa. Production on the series, however, did not move ahead.
       According to the same article, Diner accumulated a total gross of $14 million throughout its original theatrical release. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   11 Mar 1981.   
Daily Variety   2 Dec 1994.   
Hollywood Reporter   13 Mar 1981.   
Hollywood Reporter   20 Mar 1981.   
Hollywood Reporter   3 Mar 1982   p. 3, 13.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Mar 1984.   
LAHExam   11 May 1982.   
Los Angeles Times   5 May 1982.   
Los Angeles Times   7 May 1982   p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   11 Jun 1982.   
Los Angeles Times   21 Sep 2011.   
M-G-M   9 Apr 1981.   
M-G-M   26 Feb 1982.   
M-G-M   20 Apr 1982.   
New York Times   2 Apr 1982.   
New York Times   2 Apr 1982   p. 3.
New York Times   31 Jan 1984.   
Variety   3 Mar 1982   p. 16, 32.
Variety   6 Feb 2012   p. 10, 20.

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