Happy New Year


1h 26m 1987

Brief Synopsis

Two crooks don a variety of disguises to rob a jewelry store.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Action
Crime
Release Date
1987
Location
France; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m

Synopsis

Two crooks don a variety of disguises to rob a jewelry store.

Crew

Deborah Aquila

Casting Associate

John Balling

Scenic Artist

Jean Bass

Other

Mark Bass

Production Assistant

Jerry Bertolami

Dolly Grip

Frank Bianco

Hair

Will Brantley

Electrician

Gene Bright

Carpenter

Jim Bright

Carpenter

Jim Bright

Electrician

Michael Bright

Carpenter

Mary Lou Byrd

Wardrobe

William J Cassidy

Production Designer

William J Cassidy

Associate Producer

Jim Chory

Assistant Director

Clifford Coleman

Assistant Director

Harold Collins

Construction Coordinator

Bill Comp

Carpenter

Bill Conti

Music

Bill Conti

Music Conductor

Jack Cowden

Script Supervisor

James A. Crabe

Director Of Photography

James P Crapser

Carpenter

Robert Cuevas

Carpenter

Bob Destolfe

Photography

Nancy Dowd

Screenplay

Daniel Duarte

Other

Jose Duarte

Scenic Artist

Fran Dunning

Security

Tom Elmore

Rigging Gaffer

Jan Foreman

Accounting Assistant

Peter Garofalo

Makeup

Luke Halpin

Other

Luke Halpin

Stunts

Joel Hatch

Production Assistant

Robbie Heine

Other

Robert Heine

Assistant Camera Operator

Enid Howell

Casting

Don Ivey

Set Decorator

Jay Ivey

Carpenter

Scott Jacobson

Other

J B Jones

Special Effects

Bob Kellow

Carpenter

Herbert Kerhlehut

Driver

Eddie Knott

Grip

Eddie Knott

Key Grip

Jane Kurson

Editor

Huey Labored

Transportation Co-Captain

Robert Laden

Special Makeup Effects

Kip Langello

Other

Jim Latham

Foreman

Steve Latham

Carpenter

Claude Lelouch

Story By

Ross Maehl

Gaffer

William F Matthews

Art Director

William M. Mcconnell

Assistant Camera Operator

Jonathan Mcgowan

Assistant Camera Operator

Michael P. Mcgowan

Camera Operator

Michael Metzel

Carpenter

Margaret A Mitchell

Production Accountant

Gary Mottern

Projectionist

Rafael Ordoniz

Caterer

Chuck Poreto

Production Assistant

Rusty Pouch

Electrician

Verdelle Reed

Driver

James Robinson Ii

Props

Bill Rogers

Transportation Captain

Nick Romanac

Property Master

Peter Roseman

Electrician

Al Ruban

Unit Production Manager

Allan Ruban

Executive Producer

Charlie Ruban

Location Assistant

James Sabat

Sound Mixer

Louis Sabat

Boom Operator

Ken Sandberg

Scenic Artist

Jonathan P Shaw

Assistant Editor

Gil Soule

Craft Service

Jeff Stacey

Location Manager

Alex Stasko

Carpenter

Cynthia Streit

Production Coordinator

Gene Sullivan

Driver

Sherry Thorup

Location Assistant

Jodie Tillen

Costumes

Cindy Tiller

Driver

Bonnie Timmermann

Casting

Freddie Turett

Driver

Robert K Ulland

Camera Operator

Jerry Weintraub

Producer

O C Whiddon

Carpenter

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Action
Crime
Release Date
1987
Location
France; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m

Award Nominations

Best Makeup

1987

Articles

Happy New Year (1987)


Nearly unreleased in the course of the turmoil that marked the late '80s at Columbia Pictures, and barely acknowledged when it finally did hit a handful of screens, the caper comedy/romance Happy New Year (1987) hasn't enjoyed an appreciable rediscovery in the generation since. It's unfortunate, as this remake of a '70s French farce benefits from a disarming central performance courtesy of Peter Falk, able work from the other principals in the cast, and crisp direction from John G. Avildsen (Rocky, 1976).

The scenario (adapted by Nancy Dowd under a pseudonym) finds New York City career criminals Nick (Falk) and Charlie (Charles Durning) on a Florida-bound train, planning that one last big score that will set up their retirement. Their ultimate destination is the ritzier part of Palm Beach, and their target is a Harry Winston jewelry store. In order to study and ultimately pierce the shop's security, Nick devises a most unusual angle; donning elaborate makeup and posing as a wealthy, dotty octogenarian, he starts frequenting the establishment, buying ever more pricy pieces as purported presents to a dying wife. The store's officious manager (Tom Courtenay) comes to welcome the profitable visits of this affable oldster; Nick even proceeds to broaden the ruse by putting in appearances in old-lady drag as the counterfeit codger's sister.

In the course of casing the joint, however, Nick begins taking appreciative notice of Carolyn Benedict (Wendy Hughes), the elegant and attractive owner of a neighboring antique store. After espying her failed efforts to get a local restaurateur to part with a coveted Louis XVI table, Nick finagles the purchase of the piece, and shows up on her doorstep looking to bargain. Though Carolyn proves a hard negotiator, Nick's intrigue is unbowed, and she soon finds herself in the unlikely position of reciprocating his attentions. Even as their relationship deepens, Nick reluctantly accepts the inevitability that the heist must come off as planned--and the unexpected hitches pile up as the story moves to its end.

The screenplay of Happy New Year hewed very close to that of its inspiration, director Claude Lelouch's La Bonne Annee (1973) (Avildsen worked in a cameo for Lelouch as a train passenger in the opening). The most significant deviance from Lelouch's original scenario came with the introduction of the elderly sister pose, an idea attributed to Falk. With a lesser actor, it could have become overdone quickly; in his hands, it only made for a larger canvas for him to render very charming work. Falk purportedly based the old lady characterization on his mother. Though Happy New Year was in the can by mid-1985, Avildsen was contractually forbidden to cut it until his directing obligations on The Karate Kid (1984) were completed. After that, the project became an emblematic victim of the ensuing power struggles at Columbia's front office that culminated with the studio's 1989 acquisition by Sony; it took until the late summer of 1987 for its release, and after minimal promotion, it quickly disappeared.

Thanks to the late '70s emergence of the filmmakers dubbed the "Australian New Wave," the antipodean film industry enjoyed unprecedented cache with American art house crowds over the course of the Reagan Era. One of the biggest beneficiaries was the talented and versatile Hughes, as showcased in remarkable efforts like Phillip Noyce's Newsfront (1978), Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career (1979), Paul Cox's Lonely Hearts (1982) and Carl Schultz's Careful, He Might Hear You (1983). Happy New Year's troubled production history, however, would make for an inauspicious U.S. debut, and gaining traction in Hollywood proved difficult afterwards; after a handful of TV assignments in the early '90s, she returned home for good, continuing to grace Australian film, television and stage through the late 2000s. Happy New Year was noted by the AMPAS, at least, as Robert Laden's age effects secured him a Best Makeup Oscar® nomination.

Producer: Jerry Weintraub
Director: John G. Avildsen
Screenplay: Warren Lane (screenplay); Claude Lelouch (film "La bonne annee")
Cinematography: James Crabe
Art Direction: William F. Matthews
Music: Bill Conti
Film Editing: Jane Kurson
Cast: Peter Falk (Nick), Charles Durning (Charlie), Claude Lelouch (Man on Train), Gary Maas (Fence), Jack Hrkach (Bellboy), Tom Courtenay (Edward Saunders), Earleen Carey (Winston Sales Girl), Debra Garrett (as Debbie Garrett (Winston Sales Girl), Karina Etcheverry (Winston Sales Girl), Ted Bartsch (Doorman).
C-85m.

by Jay S. Steinberg
Happy New Year (1987)

Happy New Year (1987)

Nearly unreleased in the course of the turmoil that marked the late '80s at Columbia Pictures, and barely acknowledged when it finally did hit a handful of screens, the caper comedy/romance Happy New Year (1987) hasn't enjoyed an appreciable rediscovery in the generation since. It's unfortunate, as this remake of a '70s French farce benefits from a disarming central performance courtesy of Peter Falk, able work from the other principals in the cast, and crisp direction from John G. Avildsen (Rocky, 1976). The scenario (adapted by Nancy Dowd under a pseudonym) finds New York City career criminals Nick (Falk) and Charlie (Charles Durning) on a Florida-bound train, planning that one last big score that will set up their retirement. Their ultimate destination is the ritzier part of Palm Beach, and their target is a Harry Winston jewelry store. In order to study and ultimately pierce the shop's security, Nick devises a most unusual angle; donning elaborate makeup and posing as a wealthy, dotty octogenarian, he starts frequenting the establishment, buying ever more pricy pieces as purported presents to a dying wife. The store's officious manager (Tom Courtenay) comes to welcome the profitable visits of this affable oldster; Nick even proceeds to broaden the ruse by putting in appearances in old-lady drag as the counterfeit codger's sister. In the course of casing the joint, however, Nick begins taking appreciative notice of Carolyn Benedict (Wendy Hughes), the elegant and attractive owner of a neighboring antique store. After espying her failed efforts to get a local restaurateur to part with a coveted Louis XVI table, Nick finagles the purchase of the piece, and shows up on her doorstep looking to bargain. Though Carolyn proves a hard negotiator, Nick's intrigue is unbowed, and she soon finds herself in the unlikely position of reciprocating his attentions. Even as their relationship deepens, Nick reluctantly accepts the inevitability that the heist must come off as planned--and the unexpected hitches pile up as the story moves to its end. The screenplay of Happy New Year hewed very close to that of its inspiration, director Claude Lelouch's La Bonne Annee (1973) (Avildsen worked in a cameo for Lelouch as a train passenger in the opening). The most significant deviance from Lelouch's original scenario came with the introduction of the elderly sister pose, an idea attributed to Falk. With a lesser actor, it could have become overdone quickly; in his hands, it only made for a larger canvas for him to render very charming work. Falk purportedly based the old lady characterization on his mother. Though Happy New Year was in the can by mid-1985, Avildsen was contractually forbidden to cut it until his directing obligations on The Karate Kid (1984) were completed. After that, the project became an emblematic victim of the ensuing power struggles at Columbia's front office that culminated with the studio's 1989 acquisition by Sony; it took until the late summer of 1987 for its release, and after minimal promotion, it quickly disappeared. Thanks to the late '70s emergence of the filmmakers dubbed the "Australian New Wave," the antipodean film industry enjoyed unprecedented cache with American art house crowds over the course of the Reagan Era. One of the biggest beneficiaries was the talented and versatile Hughes, as showcased in remarkable efforts like Phillip Noyce's Newsfront (1978), Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career (1979), Paul Cox's Lonely Hearts (1982) and Carl Schultz's Careful, He Might Hear You (1983). Happy New Year's troubled production history, however, would make for an inauspicious U.S. debut, and gaining traction in Hollywood proved difficult afterwards; after a handful of TV assignments in the early '90s, she returned home for good, continuing to grace Australian film, television and stage through the late 2000s. Happy New Year was noted by the AMPAS, at least, as Robert Laden's age effects secured him a Best Makeup Oscar® nomination. Producer: Jerry Weintraub Director: John G. Avildsen Screenplay: Warren Lane (screenplay); Claude Lelouch (film "La bonne annee") Cinematography: James Crabe Art Direction: William F. Matthews Music: Bill Conti Film Editing: Jane Kurson Cast: Peter Falk (Nick), Charles Durning (Charlie), Claude Lelouch (Man on Train), Gary Maas (Fence), Jack Hrkach (Bellboy), Tom Courtenay (Edward Saunders), Earleen Carey (Winston Sales Girl), Debra Garrett (as Debbie Garrett (Winston Sales Girl), Karina Etcheverry (Winston Sales Girl), Ted Bartsch (Doorman). C-85m. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer August 7, 1987

Remake of "La bonne annee" (1973) directed by Claude Lelouch.

Began shooting May 13, 1985.

Remade as "Happy New Year" (1987) directed by John Avildsen.

Released in United States Summer August 7, 1987