Lost in Yonkers


1h 54m 1993
Lost in Yonkers

Brief Synopsis

Two motherless boys go to live with their stern grandmother and crazy aunt.

Film Details

Also Known As
Neil Simon's Lost In Yonkers
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1993
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; Indiana, USA; Kentucky, USA; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m

Synopsis

Set in Yonkers, New York, in the summer of 1942, a story about two boys who live with their austere grandmother after their mother dies and their father is forced to become a travelling salesman to earn a living.

Crew

Nicholas Allen

Boom Operator

Anica Alvarez

Assistant

Janice Arrington

Dga Trainee

Christopher Aud

Sound Editor

Emanuel Azenberg

Coproducer

Randall Badger

Assistant Director

Jason Bedig

Assistant Property Master

Elmer Bernstein

Music

Kathy Binns

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Steve Borne

Assistant Sound Editor

Edwin Bowden

Transportation Co-Captain

Irene Brafstein

Other

Marilyn Brands

Costumes

Chris Brookshire

Apprentice

Otie Brown

Assistant Director

Daniel Burns

Production Assistant

Joseph M Caracciolo

Executive Producer

Joseph M Caracciolo

Unit Production Manager

Chris Carpenter

Rerecording

Aryn Chapman

Art Department Coordinator

David Chapman

Production Designer

Steven Cohen

Editor

David B Cohn

Adr Editor

Beth Cooper-koenig

Extras Agent/Coordinator

David Cunningham

Foreman

Carlos Delarios

Rerecording

Douglas B Dick

Construction Coordinator

Don Duffield Iii

Assistant Camera Operator

Kathy Durning

Music Editor

Alan Forbes

Location Manager

Ellen Gannon

Other

Mark Garner

Set Designer

Susan Germaine

Hair Stylist

David J. Grant

Assistant

Mark Haack

Art Director

Wendi Haas

Production Coordinator

Chris Holt

Production Assistant

Gary H Holt

Lighting Technician

Greg Hyman

Production Assistant

Robert J Iannaccone

Wardrobe

James Jensen

Assistant Camera Operator

Johnny Jensen

Director Of Photography

Roxanne Jones

Sound Editor

Sandy B Jordon

Wardrobe

Susan V Kalinowski

Hair Stylist

Barry S Kirschner

Production Assistant

Shelley Komarov

Costume Designer

Robert E Krattiger

Lighting

Kurt Kulhanek

Production Assistant

Hugh Langtry

Dolly Grip

Timothy Lonsdale

Assistant Director

Mark L. Mangino

Sound Editor

Marvin March

Set Decorator

Tom Mccarthy

Sound Editor

Kate Mcgowan

Assistant Editor

Thomas R Miller

Dolly Grip

Margaret A Mitchell

Production Accountant

Richard Moran

Key Grip

Bill Myatt

Special Effects

John Orlebeck

Transportation Captain

Lee Orloff

Sound

Daniel Ottesen

Special Effects

Thomas H Paul

Set Designer

Jack E Pelissier

Assistant Art Director

Sanford Ponder

Sound Editor

Phil Poulos

Casting Associate

Jimmy Raitt

Property Master

Aaron Rochin

Rerecording

Zade Rosenthal

Photography

Stacy Saravo

Assistant Sound Editor

Suzie Sax

Script Supervisor

Carol Schwartz

Makeup

Alexis Seymour

Assistant Editor

Jennifer Shull

Casting

Neil Simon

Play As Source Material

Neil Simon

Screenplay

Ray Stark

Producer

Max Steiner

Song

Daniel C Striepeke

Makeup

Simone Study

Assistant

Mark Van Loon

Camera Operator

Teddy Yonenaka

Craft Service

Maurice Zuberano

Production

Film Details

Also Known As
Neil Simon's Lost In Yonkers
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1993
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; Indiana, USA; Kentucky, USA; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m

Articles

Lost in Yonkers


Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers is the playwright's most celebrated play in a career of acclaim and success. The story of two brothers who are left in the care of a domineering Grandmother in the summer of 1942, while their widowed father hits the road to make enough money to pay off the family debts, it was written after Simon completed his autobiographical "Eugene Trilogy" (Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and Broadway Bound). It premiered on Broadway in 1991 and won a Pulitzer Prize and four Tony Awards, including Best Play. New York Times film critic Janet Maslin described it as "the serious Neil Simon play, the heartbreaking family comedy, the nostalgia piece with the strangely contemporary air," and proclaimed it his most idiosyncratic work. A feature film adaptation was inevitable and production began in 1992, with Cincinnati, Ohio, standing in for World War II-era Yonkers and interiors shot on Hollywood soundstages.

Lost in Yonkers isn't autobiographical though personal notes work their way in, notably in the evocation of wartime New York and the personalities of the smart-talking brothers. And while the film is ostensibly about the boys, it is just as much about their Aunt Bella, a learning disabled adult with a childlike innocence and a grown woman's feelings, and her relationship with the controlling Grandma Kurnitz, a strict German widow from the old country who seems unaccountably cold and judgmental. Simon adapted his play to the screen, opening the insular stage play from the two-room upstairs apartment to include scenes in the candy store below and in the neighborhood beyond, and expanding some of the supporting roles.

Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth both won Tony Awards for their original stage performances as Aunt Bella and Grandma Kurnitz, respectively. They reprised the roles they created on Broadway for the big screen while Richard Dreyfus took the showcase role of Uncle Louie, which was originally played on Broadway by Kevin Spacey. The role was expanded for the film and Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar starring in the film version of Simon's The Goodbye Girl, plays the would-be wise-guy with a mix of tough-guy preening and ineffectual bluster. The character of Johnny, the usher who tentatively dates Bella, was an offstage presence in the play, spoken of but never seen. Simon wrote him into the screenplay and David Strathairn, then a regular in John Sayles' company, played the role. As for the brothers, two newcomers were cast in their respective screen debuts. Brad Stoll, who played the elder brother Jay, never made another film, though he did appear in the 1993 TV series CityKids. He passed away in 1997, at the age of 20, from cancer. Mike Damus, who played younger brother Arty, went on to a busy TV career, including major roles in four short-lived series.

Martha Coolidge broke into feature films making contemporary, youth oriented comedies but displayed a real affinity for period pieces and character drama in Rambling Rose, starring Laura Dern and Diane Ladd. That was the film that convinced Simon she was the right director for the film version. "When I saw Rambling Rose, I knew she knew how to tell a woman's story," said Simon in 1993. "I've had more compatible conversations with her than I've had with some men [directors], who don't understand the material at all."

Coolidge had a more personal connection to the material than even Simon knew. While she was growing up, she was left with her grandmother when her father was dying of cancer. She was "not good with children particularly," explained Coolidge in a 1993 interview. "My grandmother was pretty severe, but I think you can be severe and be human at the same time. And I think this movie allows the audience to see the character of Grandma Kurnitz as a very damaged person. You can see the pain in her eyes and see inside her soul."

The low-key film was well received by critics and audiences. "[T]he film of Simon's Broadway play has a special quality to it," wrote Roger Ebert. "All of the performances are good, but one of them, by Mercedes Ruehl, casts a glow over the entire film." And Janet Maslin in The New York Times praised the power of the drama behind the comedy: "Before it is over, the story has traded in its more whimsical touches for moments of real anguish."

By Sean Axmaker

Sources:
Lost in Yonkers, Neil Simon. Random House, 1991.
"Lost in Yonkers" film review, Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun-Times, May 14, 1993.
"Tale of Two Cities: Yonkers and 'Yonkers'," Roberta Hershenson. New York Times, December 13, 1992.
"'Lost in Yonkers': Simon's Serious Comedy of Contemporary Nostalgia," Janet Maslin. New York Times, May 14, 1993.
"Found in Yonkers: Simon, Coolidge and Cast Discover Mutual Respect," Terry Pristin. Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1993.
"'Lost in Yonkers' Rings Familiar to its Director, Martha Coolidge," Frank Rizzo. Hartford Courant, May 14, 1993.
Lost In Yonkers

Lost in Yonkers

Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers is the playwright's most celebrated play in a career of acclaim and success. The story of two brothers who are left in the care of a domineering Grandmother in the summer of 1942, while their widowed father hits the road to make enough money to pay off the family debts, it was written after Simon completed his autobiographical "Eugene Trilogy" (Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and Broadway Bound). It premiered on Broadway in 1991 and won a Pulitzer Prize and four Tony Awards, including Best Play. New York Times film critic Janet Maslin described it as "the serious Neil Simon play, the heartbreaking family comedy, the nostalgia piece with the strangely contemporary air," and proclaimed it his most idiosyncratic work. A feature film adaptation was inevitable and production began in 1992, with Cincinnati, Ohio, standing in for World War II-era Yonkers and interiors shot on Hollywood soundstages. Lost in Yonkers isn't autobiographical though personal notes work their way in, notably in the evocation of wartime New York and the personalities of the smart-talking brothers. And while the film is ostensibly about the boys, it is just as much about their Aunt Bella, a learning disabled adult with a childlike innocence and a grown woman's feelings, and her relationship with the controlling Grandma Kurnitz, a strict German widow from the old country who seems unaccountably cold and judgmental. Simon adapted his play to the screen, opening the insular stage play from the two-room upstairs apartment to include scenes in the candy store below and in the neighborhood beyond, and expanding some of the supporting roles. Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth both won Tony Awards for their original stage performances as Aunt Bella and Grandma Kurnitz, respectively. They reprised the roles they created on Broadway for the big screen while Richard Dreyfus took the showcase role of Uncle Louie, which was originally played on Broadway by Kevin Spacey. The role was expanded for the film and Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar starring in the film version of Simon's The Goodbye Girl, plays the would-be wise-guy with a mix of tough-guy preening and ineffectual bluster. The character of Johnny, the usher who tentatively dates Bella, was an offstage presence in the play, spoken of but never seen. Simon wrote him into the screenplay and David Strathairn, then a regular in John Sayles' company, played the role. As for the brothers, two newcomers were cast in their respective screen debuts. Brad Stoll, who played the elder brother Jay, never made another film, though he did appear in the 1993 TV series CityKids. He passed away in 1997, at the age of 20, from cancer. Mike Damus, who played younger brother Arty, went on to a busy TV career, including major roles in four short-lived series. Martha Coolidge broke into feature films making contemporary, youth oriented comedies but displayed a real affinity for period pieces and character drama in Rambling Rose, starring Laura Dern and Diane Ladd. That was the film that convinced Simon she was the right director for the film version. "When I saw Rambling Rose, I knew she knew how to tell a woman's story," said Simon in 1993. "I've had more compatible conversations with her than I've had with some men [directors], who don't understand the material at all." Coolidge had a more personal connection to the material than even Simon knew. While she was growing up, she was left with her grandmother when her father was dying of cancer. She was "not good with children particularly," explained Coolidge in a 1993 interview. "My grandmother was pretty severe, but I think you can be severe and be human at the same time. And I think this movie allows the audience to see the character of Grandma Kurnitz as a very damaged person. You can see the pain in her eyes and see inside her soul." The low-key film was well received by critics and audiences. "[T]he film of Simon's Broadway play has a special quality to it," wrote Roger Ebert. "All of the performances are good, but one of them, by Mercedes Ruehl, casts a glow over the entire film." And Janet Maslin in The New York Times praised the power of the drama behind the comedy: "Before it is over, the story has traded in its more whimsical touches for moments of real anguish." By Sean Axmaker Sources: Lost in Yonkers, Neil Simon. Random House, 1991. "Lost in Yonkers" film review, Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun-Times, May 14, 1993. "Tale of Two Cities: Yonkers and 'Yonkers'," Roberta Hershenson. New York Times, December 13, 1992. "'Lost in Yonkers': Simon's Serious Comedy of Contemporary Nostalgia," Janet Maslin. New York Times, May 14, 1993. "Found in Yonkers: Simon, Coolidge and Cast Discover Mutual Respect," Terry Pristin. Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1993. "'Lost in Yonkers' Rings Familiar to its Director, Martha Coolidge," Frank Rizzo. Hartford Courant, May 14, 1993.

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 April 1994

Released in United States on Video November 17, 1993

Released in United States Spring May 14, 1993

Shown at USA Film Festival in Dallas April 21-28, 1994.

Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" opened on Broadway on February 21, 1991 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and received the Pulitzer and the Tony Award for Best Play. Both Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth reprised their Tony Award-winning stage roles for this film version.

Began shooting August 10, 1992.

Completed shooting October 16, 1992.

Released in United States April 1994 (Shown at USA Film Festival in Dallas April 21-28, 1994.)

Released in United States Spring May 14, 1993

Released in United States on Video November 17, 1993