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All of Me (1984) was the fourth film project for Carl Reiner and Steve Martin. Having found success with Martin's breakthrough movie The Jerk (1979), and continuing with Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) and The Man with Two Brains (1983), the pair tried their hand with an in-and-out-of-body experience co-starring Lily Tomlin. Based on the novel Me Two by Edwin Davis, All of Me stars Martin as attorney/jazz musician Roger Cobb, who - due to a swami's mix-up - unwittingly becomes the bodily host to the spirit of recently deceased heiress Edwina Cutwater, played by Tomlin. The film was a golden opportunity to showcase Martin's physical comedy gifts as his character struggles with two drivers behind the wheel.
The screenplay was written by Phil Alden Robinson, who would go on to write and direct Field of Dreams (1989). Robinson recently reminisced in a 2002 interview about his experience working with Reiner: "Carl is a lovely guy, very non-competitive?he knew how important a screenwriter could be on the set. Carl is a master at creating an atmosphere on a set in which people can do their best work. He's calm and confident, he knows what he wants to do and keeps things light. He's very funny and he has this boyish enthusiasm that's infectious." With a comedy career spanning over 50 years, Reiner is an indisputable industry legend: from Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows in the fifties to The Dick Van Dyke Show in the sixties to recent work in the hit remake Ocean's Eleven (2001) and its sequel Ocean's Twelve (2004), small wonder that film critic Leonard Maltin referred to him as "a veritable Renaissance man of comedy."
Reiner's All of Me co-stars demonstrated similar levels of dynamic activity - Tomlin honed her gift for comic characterizations on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in, made her film debut with an Oscar®-nominated dramatic performance in Robert Altman's Nashville (1975), authored bestsellers, and produced her work on Broadway. Martin is just as multi-dimensional: his credits include actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, visual artist, stand-up comedian, and banjo player (the last two have won him a combined three Grammy awards). Both Tomlin and Martin were nominated for Golden Globes for their All of Me performances, but Martin came away with a richer prize: a wife.
English actress Victoria Tennant was cast as Martin's tantalizing love interest and the intended bodily receptacle for Tomlin's spirit. The goddaughter of Laurence Olivier, Tennant first gained notice in the television mini-series The Winds of War, starring Robert Mitchum. Reportedly, the actress was so smitten with Martin that on the first day of production she rushed home to tell her male roommate he had three days to move out. The couple began dating and eloped to Rome in 1986. They starred together in L.A. Story (1991) and divorced in 1994.
Jazz aficionados will spot legendary tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards as leading the Dixieland Band in the funeral scene. Edwards was one of the most famous musicians from the Los Angeles Central Avenue jazz scene in the 1940s and collaborated over the years with artists like Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Tom Waits. The distinctive gravel voice of Selma Diamond as Martin's secretary may prompt some viewers to either recall her work as the voice of Spencer Tracy's wife in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) or her memorable one-season stint on the popular television series Night Court, ending prematurely with her death. Richard Libertini, playing the easily-fascinated mystic Prahka Lasa, went on to play Chevy Chase's editor in Fletch (1985) and its sequel four years later.
The location of the Cutwater Mansion was Greystone Manor, the largest private residence built in Beverly Hills. Commissioned by scandal-ridden oil tycoon Edward Doheny for his son in 1928, the manor has been featured in several films in addition to All of Me including Indecent Proposal (1993), The Big Lebowski (1998), and?coincidentally?The Winds of War! The estate was willed to the city of Beverly Hills in the mid-fifties and the grounds are now a public park. After the film ends, be sure to stick around for All of Me's closing credits: Martin and Tomlin have a dance-off that ends with the pair falling down off screen.
Producer: Stephen J. Friedman, Phil Alden Robinson
Director: Carl Reiner
Screenplay: Edwin Davis (novel), Henry Olek, Phil Alden Robinson
Cinematography: Richard H. Kline
Film Editing: Bud Molin
Music: Patrick Williams
Cast: Steve Martin (Roger Cobb), Lily Tomlin (Edwina Cutwater), Victoria Tennant (Terry Hoskins), Madolyn Smith-Osborne (Peggy Schuyler), Richard Libertini (Prahka Lasa), Dana Elcar (Burton Schuyler).