Biloxi Blues


1h 44m 1988
Biloxi Blues

Brief Synopsis

A young soldier training for World War II service tries to score his first romantic conquest.

Film Details

Also Known As
Desventuras de un recluta inocente, Polarna på camp Biloxi
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
War
Music
Adaptation
Release Date
1988
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Location
Fort Chaffee, Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA; Charleston, Arkansas, USA; Barling, Arkansas, USA; Van Buren, Arkansas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m

Synopsis

World War II comedy about the struggles of Eugene Morris Jerome and his fellow recruits to survive the rigors of basic training at an Army boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Crew

Emanuel Azenberg

Production

Paul Barbarin

Song Performer

Paul Barbarin

Song

Irving Berlin

Song

Frank Bianco

Hair

Bj Bjorkman

Script Supervisor

Stan Bochner

Sound Editor

Robert Boyer

Technical Advisor

Kevin Brink

Special Effects

Rolland M. Brooks

Other

Norman Buck

Key Grip

William Buck

Liaison

David L Butler

Photography

Wilmer Butler

Dp/Cinematographer

Wilmer Butler

Director Of Photography

Allan Byer

Sound Mixer

Joseph M Caracciolo

Unit Production Manager

Kirschner Caroff

Other

Jerry Caron

Assistant

Joseph M Carraciolo

Executive Producer

Bill Coe

Assistant Camera Operator

Kris Cole

Assistant Editor

Bailey Coleman

Production Assistant

Carla Corwin

Assistant Director

Eddie De Lange

Song

Georges Delerue

Music

Michael Dennison

Wardrobe Supervisor

Lee Dichter

Sound

Tommy Dorsey

Song Performer

Duke Ellington

Song

Bruce Ericksen

Wardrobe Supervisor

Michael Fabiano

Grip

James Flatto

Music Editor

Adam Fredericks

Sound Editor

Dean Garvin

Production Assistant

Peter Gerling

Assistant Camera Operator

Ralph Gerling

Camera Operator

Don Geyra

Other

Wendi Haas

Production Coordinator

Michael Haley

Assistant Director

Nancy Hamilton

Song

Holly Hamrock

Assistant Location Manager

William Hansard Jr.

Visual Effects

Lorenz Hart

Song

Thomas Hasselwander

Music Supervisor

Robert Hein

Sound Editor

John Alan Hicks

Set Decorator

Ronnie Hisaw

Production Assistant

John E. Horton

Other

Joe Hughes

Location Assistant

Whitey Hughes

Stunt Coordinator

Michael Jacobi

Adr Supervisor

David Jones

Helicopter Pilot

Gary Jones

Assistant

Mack Kay

Song

Richard King

Adr

Lori Kornspun

Assistant Editor

Hank Larsen

Assistant

Rick Lefevour

Stunt Coordinator

Rick Lefevour

Stunts

Ellen Lewis

Casting Associate

William Lewis

Song

James Malone

Best Boy

Jennie Maresca

Auditor

Sara A Margoshes

Production Assistant

Tony Martinez

Sound Editor

Francis J Mcbride

Electrician

Kathleen Mcgill

Production Auditor

Jim Mcgrath

Dolly Grip

Irving Mills

Song

Herbert Mulligan

On-Set Dresser

Patrick J Mullins

Music Editor

Richard Nord

Associate Editor

Sam O'steen

Editor

Daniel Ottesen

Special Effects

John Ottesen

Special Effects

Bruce Pearson

Color Timer

Marykay Powell

Executive Producer

Don Primi

Other

Carlos Qules

Construction Coordinator

Tommy Robinson

Technical Advisor

Richard Rodgers

Song

Amy T Roth

Wardrobe Assistant

Ann Roth

Costume Designer

Linda Rubottom

Assistant

Edward Sexton

Carpenter

Gail Showalter

Sound Editor

Neil Simon

Play As Source Material

Neil Simon

Screenplay

James Skotchdopole

Assistant Director

Don Smetzer

Photography

Twana Sockey

Assistant

Jo Stafford

Song Performer

Ray Stark

Producer

Daniel M Stillman

Production Assistant

Pat Suzuki

Song Performer

Jeanette D'ambrosio Sylbert

Production Assistant

Paul Sylbert

Production Designer

Sarah Tackett

Casting

Juliet Taylor

Casting

Marilyn Teeters

Other

Bill Tobin

Camera Assistant

Kelvin R. Trahan

Hair

Kelvin R. Trahan

Makeup

Glen Trotiner

Assistant Director

Robert K Ulland

Steadicam Operator

Matilde Valera

Assistant

William Ward

Gaffer

Beth Welshans

Production Assistant

Brian Williams

Assistant

Joseph P Williams

Grip

Kevin P Williams

Grip

Kelly Wood

Production Assistant

Bobby Worth

Song

Roy B Yokelson

Sound

Film Details

Also Known As
Desventuras de un recluta inocente, Polarna på camp Biloxi
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
War
Music
Adaptation
Release Date
1988
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Location
Fort Chaffee, Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA; Charleston, Arkansas, USA; Barling, Arkansas, USA; Van Buren, Arkansas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m

Articles

Biloxi Blues (1988) -


Biloxi Blues opened on Broadway in 1985 as the second play in Neil Simon's autobiographical trilogy that had begun with Brighton Beach Memoirs and would conclude with Broadway Bound. Brighton Beach Memoirs had been such an unqualified hit that it was still playing, six blocks away. It had also won a Tony Award for Matthew Broderick, in the role of Simon's alter ego Eugene Jerome. Broderick was now reprising the character for Biloxi Blues, another tremendous hit that ran for 524 performances and won three Tonys including Best Play.

Meanwhile, Brighton Beach Memoirs was being turned into a feature film that would be released in December 1986, with Jonathan Silverman cast in the role of Eugene because Broderick was busy with Biloxi Blues on stage. But when the time came to make a movie out of Biloxi Blues, Broderick was available to play the part, and the resulting 1988 film is widely considered the best of the bunch. (The third play in the trilogy, Broadway Bound, starred Silverman on stage and Corey Parker in a TV movie adaptation.)

Certainly a big reason for Biloxi Blues' success on screen, aside from Broderick's presence, was the involvement of acclaimed director Mike Nichols. Nichols had directed five of Neil Simon's plays on Broadway but had never directed a film version of any of them, reasoning that there would be no sense of artistic discovery for him in adapting a work he'd already mined for the stage. But he had not directed the stage version of Biloxi Blues and so took this opportunity to finally translate Neil Simon to the screen.

The story follows the character of Eugene as he heads from Brooklyn to an Army boot camp in Biloxi, Miss., during the waning days of World War II. Eugene is an aspiring writer, and much comedy is derived from his being totally out of place in the military. He's also a virgin, and very concerned about losing his virginity before being shipped off to potentially die in combat. As the film's advertising line proclaimed: "The army made Eugene a man. But Daisy gave him basic training!"

Daisy, played by Penelope Ann Miller (also reprising her Broadway performance), is the Catholic girl who gets Eugene's heart fluttering. And making an impression by underplaying his role is Christopher Walken as drill sergeant Merwin Toomey. "I have a nutcracker that crunches the testicles of men that take me on," Toomey proclaims. At another point, he berates his recruits: "You're not fighting men yet, but I'd put any one of you up against a Nazi cocktail waitress."

Biloxi Blues filmed on location at Fort Chaffee, Ark., and neighboring towns during the spring of 1987. The camp in the real Biloxi, Miss., was no good because it had been refurbished many times since World War II and looked too modern. But Fort Chaffee was nearly pristine, with many buildings untouched since the 1940s. Director Nichols wanted a look and style for the film that evoked the innocence and romance of Norman Rockwell, and the period's music, clothes, and popular culture all figure on screen. There's even a scene where the characters watch the Abbot and Costello service comedy Buck Privates (1941).

Nichols' cinematographer Bill Butler shot the picture in Super-35mm for greater depth of field. Interviewed by Ron Magid in 1988 for American Cinematographer magazine, Butler recalled that he gave the film "a subtly comedic look, ...an easy-to-look-at appearance that lets what happens to the characters make you laugh or cry. The look is tender, not tough... We're not trying to show people the grimy, dirty, terrible thing that war is -- it's not Vietnam."

Butler also explained how he and Nichols achieved a realistic "moving train" effect at the beginning of the film. Because they were shooting on a mock-up (so as to obtain the maximum possible performance from the actors), injecting the right amount of jiggle into the shots was key to furthering the illusion of being on a moving train. Ultimately, Nichols came up with the idea of suspending the camera on an intricate system of bungee cords. Butler laughed at the memory because this was a high-budget film on which he could have used any equipment he wanted, including complicated cranes. But for these shots, simple, low-tech bungee cords proved perfect.

Reviews were moderately positive, though many critics found the picture a bit too mild and lacking in drama. The New York Times' Vincent Canby, however, gave the film a rave, calling it "a first-rate service comedy... a very classy movie, directed and toned up by Mike Nichols so there's not an ounce of fat in it... The pleasure comes in witnessing Mr. Simon and Mr. Nichols as they discover surprises in situations that one might have thought beyond comic salvation." Canby added: "Mr. Walken gets his best role in a very long time, possibly since Pennies From Heaven... He underplays dramatically and to pointed effect; by starting so coolly, his subsequent aberrations seem all the more shocking."

By Jeremy Arnold
Biloxi Blues (1988) -

Biloxi Blues (1988) -

Biloxi Blues opened on Broadway in 1985 as the second play in Neil Simon's autobiographical trilogy that had begun with Brighton Beach Memoirs and would conclude with Broadway Bound. Brighton Beach Memoirs had been such an unqualified hit that it was still playing, six blocks away. It had also won a Tony Award for Matthew Broderick, in the role of Simon's alter ego Eugene Jerome. Broderick was now reprising the character for Biloxi Blues, another tremendous hit that ran for 524 performances and won three Tonys including Best Play. Meanwhile, Brighton Beach Memoirs was being turned into a feature film that would be released in December 1986, with Jonathan Silverman cast in the role of Eugene because Broderick was busy with Biloxi Blues on stage. But when the time came to make a movie out of Biloxi Blues, Broderick was available to play the part, and the resulting 1988 film is widely considered the best of the bunch. (The third play in the trilogy, Broadway Bound, starred Silverman on stage and Corey Parker in a TV movie adaptation.) Certainly a big reason for Biloxi Blues' success on screen, aside from Broderick's presence, was the involvement of acclaimed director Mike Nichols. Nichols had directed five of Neil Simon's plays on Broadway but had never directed a film version of any of them, reasoning that there would be no sense of artistic discovery for him in adapting a work he'd already mined for the stage. But he had not directed the stage version of Biloxi Blues and so took this opportunity to finally translate Neil Simon to the screen. The story follows the character of Eugene as he heads from Brooklyn to an Army boot camp in Biloxi, Miss., during the waning days of World War II. Eugene is an aspiring writer, and much comedy is derived from his being totally out of place in the military. He's also a virgin, and very concerned about losing his virginity before being shipped off to potentially die in combat. As the film's advertising line proclaimed: "The army made Eugene a man. But Daisy gave him basic training!" Daisy, played by Penelope Ann Miller (also reprising her Broadway performance), is the Catholic girl who gets Eugene's heart fluttering. And making an impression by underplaying his role is Christopher Walken as drill sergeant Merwin Toomey. "I have a nutcracker that crunches the testicles of men that take me on," Toomey proclaims. At another point, he berates his recruits: "You're not fighting men yet, but I'd put any one of you up against a Nazi cocktail waitress." Biloxi Blues filmed on location at Fort Chaffee, Ark., and neighboring towns during the spring of 1987. The camp in the real Biloxi, Miss., was no good because it had been refurbished many times since World War II and looked too modern. But Fort Chaffee was nearly pristine, with many buildings untouched since the 1940s. Director Nichols wanted a look and style for the film that evoked the innocence and romance of Norman Rockwell, and the period's music, clothes, and popular culture all figure on screen. There's even a scene where the characters watch the Abbot and Costello service comedy Buck Privates (1941). Nichols' cinematographer Bill Butler shot the picture in Super-35mm for greater depth of field. Interviewed by Ron Magid in 1988 for American Cinematographer magazine, Butler recalled that he gave the film "a subtly comedic look, ...an easy-to-look-at appearance that lets what happens to the characters make you laugh or cry. The look is tender, not tough... We're not trying to show people the grimy, dirty, terrible thing that war is -- it's not Vietnam." Butler also explained how he and Nichols achieved a realistic "moving train" effect at the beginning of the film. Because they were shooting on a mock-up (so as to obtain the maximum possible performance from the actors), injecting the right amount of jiggle into the shots was key to furthering the illusion of being on a moving train. Ultimately, Nichols came up with the idea of suspending the camera on an intricate system of bungee cords. Butler laughed at the memory because this was a high-budget film on which he could have used any equipment he wanted, including complicated cranes. But for these shots, simple, low-tech bungee cords proved perfect. Reviews were moderately positive, though many critics found the picture a bit too mild and lacking in drama. The New York Times' Vincent Canby, however, gave the film a rave, calling it "a first-rate service comedy... a very classy movie, directed and toned up by Mike Nichols so there's not an ounce of fat in it... The pleasure comes in witnessing Mr. Simon and Mr. Nichols as they discover surprises in situations that one might have thought beyond comic salvation." Canby added: "Mr. Walken gets his best role in a very long time, possibly since Pennies From Heaven... He underplays dramatically and to pointed effect; by starting so coolly, his subsequent aberrations seem all the more shocking." By Jeremy Arnold

Ray Stark (1915-2004)


Ray Stark, the celebrated Hollywood producer who opened the world for Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (1968), and was a recipient of the distinguished Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Arts and Sciences for his services to the movie industry, died of natural causes on January 17th in Los Angeles. He was 88.

Born on October 3, 1915 in New York City, Stark was educated at Rutgers University and New York University Law School. After graduation, he started his entertainment career selling radio scripts before he became a literary agent for such notable writers as Ben Hecht, Thomas P. Costain, and Raymond Chandler. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Stark - who had show-business connections through his mother-in-law, Broadway legend Fanny Brice - eventually became a top Hollywood agent at Famous Artists, where he represented such stars as Marilyn Monroe, William Holden, Kirk Douglas, and Lana Turner.

By 1957, Stark was hungry to develop more of a taste in the film business, so he formed a partnership with fellow producer Elliott Hyman to create the independent movie firm, Seven Arts Productions. Stark's first film production credit was the popular drama The World of Suzie Wong (1960) starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan; and he followed that up with an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' superb Night of the Iguana (1964) with Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner.

Around this time, Stark had the ambition to produce a musical based on the life of his late mother-in-law, and produced his first Broadway musical - Funny Girl. The musical opened on March 24, 1964 and made Barbra Streisand the toast of the Great White Way. Eventually, Stark would make the film adaptation four years later, and Streisand would win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Stark would also arrange a contract with Streisand to do three more movies for him within the next 10 years that still prove to be the most interesting of her career: the hilarious sex farce The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) with George Segal; the romantic drama The Way We Were (1973) with Robert Redford; and the sequel to her film debut Funny Lady (1975) co-starring Omar Sharif.

Stark also delivered another Broadway luminary to the movie going masses when he brought a string of well-acted, Neil Simon comedies to the silver screen, most notably: The Goodbye Girl (1977) with Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss (Oscar winner, Best Actor); The Sunshine Boys (1975) with Walter Matthau and George Burns (Oscar winner, Best Supporting Actor); California Suite (1978) with Alan Alda, Michael Caine, and Dame Maggie Smith (Oscar winner, Best Supporting Actress); the nostalgic Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) with Blythe Danner; and Biloxi Blues (1988) with Matthew Broderick. He also produced Steel Magnolias (1989), with an ensemble cast that introduced audiences to a radiantly young Julia Roberts. In television, Stark won an Emmy award for the HBO's telefilm Barbarians at the Gate (1993). His last credit as a producer (at age 84) was the Harrison Ford picture Random Hearts (1999).

Although he never won an Academy Award, Stark earned the most prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1980 and the David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America in 1999. He is survived by his daughter, Wendy, and granddaughter, Allison.

by Michael T. Toole

Ray Stark (1915-2004)

Ray Stark, the celebrated Hollywood producer who opened the world for Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (1968), and was a recipient of the distinguished Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Arts and Sciences for his services to the movie industry, died of natural causes on January 17th in Los Angeles. He was 88. Born on October 3, 1915 in New York City, Stark was educated at Rutgers University and New York University Law School. After graduation, he started his entertainment career selling radio scripts before he became a literary agent for such notable writers as Ben Hecht, Thomas P. Costain, and Raymond Chandler. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Stark - who had show-business connections through his mother-in-law, Broadway legend Fanny Brice - eventually became a top Hollywood agent at Famous Artists, where he represented such stars as Marilyn Monroe, William Holden, Kirk Douglas, and Lana Turner. By 1957, Stark was hungry to develop more of a taste in the film business, so he formed a partnership with fellow producer Elliott Hyman to create the independent movie firm, Seven Arts Productions. Stark's first film production credit was the popular drama The World of Suzie Wong (1960) starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan; and he followed that up with an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' superb Night of the Iguana (1964) with Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner. Around this time, Stark had the ambition to produce a musical based on the life of his late mother-in-law, and produced his first Broadway musical - Funny Girl. The musical opened on March 24, 1964 and made Barbra Streisand the toast of the Great White Way. Eventually, Stark would make the film adaptation four years later, and Streisand would win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Stark would also arrange a contract with Streisand to do three more movies for him within the next 10 years that still prove to be the most interesting of her career: the hilarious sex farce The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) with George Segal; the romantic drama The Way We Were (1973) with Robert Redford; and the sequel to her film debut Funny Lady (1975) co-starring Omar Sharif. Stark also delivered another Broadway luminary to the movie going masses when he brought a string of well-acted, Neil Simon comedies to the silver screen, most notably: The Goodbye Girl (1977) with Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss (Oscar winner, Best Actor); The Sunshine Boys (1975) with Walter Matthau and George Burns (Oscar winner, Best Supporting Actor); California Suite (1978) with Alan Alda, Michael Caine, and Dame Maggie Smith (Oscar winner, Best Supporting Actress); the nostalgic Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) with Blythe Danner; and Biloxi Blues (1988) with Matthew Broderick. He also produced Steel Magnolias (1989), with an ensemble cast that introduced audiences to a radiantly young Julia Roberts. In television, Stark won an Emmy award for the HBO's telefilm Barbarians at the Gate (1993). His last credit as a producer (at age 84) was the Harrison Ford picture Random Hearts (1999). Although he never won an Academy Award, Stark earned the most prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1980 and the David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America in 1999. He is survived by his daughter, Wendy, and granddaughter, Allison. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video November 10, 1988

Released in United States Spring March 25, 1988

Began shooting April 18, 1987.

Completed shooting June 24, 1987.

Todd-AO

Released in United States Spring March 25, 1988

Released in United States on Video November 10, 1988