Prince of the City


2h 47m 1981

Brief Synopsis

A narcotics cop investigating police corruption gets in over his head.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Crime
Adaptation
Release Date
1981
Location
New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 47m

Synopsis

New York City detective Daniel Ciello agrees to help the United States Department of Justice help eliminate corruption in the police department, as long as he will not have to turn in any close friends. In doing so, Ciello uncovers a conspiracy within the force to smuggle drugs to street informants to get their cooperation, and also learns that many of the officers are using drugs and open to taking bribes. Ciello is successful at rooting out the problem cops, but from then on is seen as a traitor by his fellow officers.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Crime
Adaptation
Release Date
1981
Location
New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 47m

Award Nominations

Best Adapted Screenplay

1981

Articles

Prince of the City


Prince of the City (1981), Sidney Lumet's multilayered portrait of police corruption in New York and one cop's decision to inform against his colleagues, depicts, by Lumet's own admission, the corrosive influence of drugs on society. In a 1982 interview with Michel Ciment for the French magazine Positif, Lumet further stated that he was attracted to the project partly because he wanted to explore a more complex portrayal of police than he had done in Serpico (1973), where the focus was mainly on the hero's protest. On a deeper personal level, working on Prince of the City also spurred Lumet to revisit his experience working in the entertainment industry of the 1950s under the blacklist, as he commented in the Ciment interview: "For me, having been raised in a working class environment, my family was poor, my attitude toward a stool pigeon was automatic, going beyond any logical distinction between the criminal and the political. An informer was an informer; it was that simple. I needed to make this film in order for my attitude to change, however."

The source material for Prince of the City was a 1978 nonfiction book of the same title by Robert Daley, the former New York City Police Commissioner for Public Affairs. In a widely publicized case, Robert Leuci, a member of the NYPD's Special Investigation Unit, turned whistleblower. His testimony ultimately led to 52 indictments, primarily within the Special Investigation Unit; most of the cases resulted in conviction.

Orion Pictures, a film distribution company founded in 1978 by former United Artists executives, purchased the rights to the story for $500,000. Ultimately, the film became a co-production between Orion and Warner Brothers. According to Jay Boyer, John Travolta, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino all declined offers to star in the film. David Rabe and Brian De Palma were among the scriptwriters who had attempted adaptations. When Erik Pleskow approached Sidney Lumet to direct, Lumet stipulated that he wanted to cast unknowns and that he must be allowed a three-hour running time. He and his collaborator, the screenwriter and executive producer Jay Presson Allen, produced a 240 page script within a month. Today Jay Presson Allen (1922-2006) is probably best known for her scripts written during the 1960s and early 1970s, among them Marnie (1964), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and Cabaret (1972). In 1980 she produced Lumet's Just Tell Me What You Want; she subsequently served as executive producer for Prince of the City and Deathtrap (1982). Even though the script for Prince of the City condensed many characters and events from the book, it nonetheless contained over a hundred speaking parts. It also required dozens of shooting locations in Long Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. For legal reasons, the script changed the names of the characters, including the protagonist Robert Leuci, who became "Danny Ciello."

Lumet's other main collaborator on the film was the Polish-born cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak, who made his feature film debut with this project. Only thirty years old at the time, he had photographed a number of television commercials; his sole large-scale projects were the low-budget crime thriller Deadly Hero (1976) and a made-for-television adaptation of a John Cheever story, The Five Forty-Eight (1979). Lumet said of the film's look: "I decided to shoot the entire film at an aperture of 2.8 in order to give it a certain visual style. I told Andrzej Bartkowiak [...] that I did not want any normal lenses. [...] In order to create an atmosphere of deceit, and false appearances, we only used wide angle and zoom lenses. The lighting in the first half was never on the actors but rather on the background. In the middle of the film, the lighting had to alternate between the foreground and the background, and at the end, on the contrary, the lighting was aimed on the foreground only."

Prince of the City opened in August 1981 with a gradual, "platformed" release to allow it time to develop word-of-mouth business. Initially the movie premiered on three screens in the Cinemas 1, 2 and 3 in New York; Orion also purchased a multi-page advertising spread in the New York Times and TV spots on local cable. Orion followed this with single screen engagements in Los Angeles and Toronto, then the film opened in limited release in a small number of cities before going into wide release in October of that year. The film grossed $8.1 million during its initial release, against an estimated budget of $8.6 million.

In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin particularly admired the performances Lumet drew from the large ensemble cast: "Mr. Lumet's film offers such a sharply detailed landscape, such a rich and crowded portrait, that his characters reveal themselves fully by the ways they move, eat, speak, listen or lie." She added, "[...] the brief characterizations are so keenly drawn that dozens of them stand out with the forcefulness of major performances." Maslin's appraisal of Treat Williams in the lead was more mixed; she argued that the lead actor "does his best work in the early part of the story, when his effort is mostly collaborative with Mr. Lumet and with the other actors. [...] Prince of the City begins with the strength and confidence of a great film and ends merely as a good one." Ultimately, Lumet was awarded Best Director by the New York Film Critics Circle, and the film received Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture, Best Director and Best Actor; Lumet and Allen also received an Oscar® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Producer: Burtt Harris
Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen, Sidney Lumet, from the book by Robert Daley
Director of Photography: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Film Editor: John J. Fitzstephens
Production Design: Tony Walton
Cast: Treat Williams (Danny Ciello); Lindsay Crouse (Carla Ciello); Matthew Laurance (Ronnie); Norman Parker (Richard Capallino); Paul Roebling (Brooks Paige); Jerry Orbach (Gus Levy); Carmine Foresta (Ernie Fallaci); Tony Turco (Danny's father); E. D. Miller (Edelmann).
C-167m.

by James Steffen

Sources:
Boyer, Jay. Sidney Lumet. New York: Twayne, 1993.
Harmetz, Aljean. "How 'Prince of the City' Is Being Platformed." New York Times, July 18, 1981, p.9.
Lombardi, John. "Lumet: the City is his Sound Stage" New York Times Magazine, June 6 1982.
Maslin, Janet. "Screen: Lumet's 'Prince of the City.'" New York Times, August 19, 1981, p.C17.
Rapf, Joanna. Sidney Lumet: Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006.
Wolf, William. "Director With A Conscience." New York Magazine, August 10, 1981, pp.54-55.
Prince Of The City

Prince of the City

Prince of the City (1981), Sidney Lumet's multilayered portrait of police corruption in New York and one cop's decision to inform against his colleagues, depicts, by Lumet's own admission, the corrosive influence of drugs on society. In a 1982 interview with Michel Ciment for the French magazine Positif, Lumet further stated that he was attracted to the project partly because he wanted to explore a more complex portrayal of police than he had done in Serpico (1973), where the focus was mainly on the hero's protest. On a deeper personal level, working on Prince of the City also spurred Lumet to revisit his experience working in the entertainment industry of the 1950s under the blacklist, as he commented in the Ciment interview: "For me, having been raised in a working class environment, my family was poor, my attitude toward a stool pigeon was automatic, going beyond any logical distinction between the criminal and the political. An informer was an informer; it was that simple. I needed to make this film in order for my attitude to change, however." The source material for Prince of the City was a 1978 nonfiction book of the same title by Robert Daley, the former New York City Police Commissioner for Public Affairs. In a widely publicized case, Robert Leuci, a member of the NYPD's Special Investigation Unit, turned whistleblower. His testimony ultimately led to 52 indictments, primarily within the Special Investigation Unit; most of the cases resulted in conviction. Orion Pictures, a film distribution company founded in 1978 by former United Artists executives, purchased the rights to the story for $500,000. Ultimately, the film became a co-production between Orion and Warner Brothers. According to Jay Boyer, John Travolta, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino all declined offers to star in the film. David Rabe and Brian De Palma were among the scriptwriters who had attempted adaptations. When Erik Pleskow approached Sidney Lumet to direct, Lumet stipulated that he wanted to cast unknowns and that he must be allowed a three-hour running time. He and his collaborator, the screenwriter and executive producer Jay Presson Allen, produced a 240 page script within a month. Today Jay Presson Allen (1922-2006) is probably best known for her scripts written during the 1960s and early 1970s, among them Marnie (1964), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and Cabaret (1972). In 1980 she produced Lumet's Just Tell Me What You Want; she subsequently served as executive producer for Prince of the City and Deathtrap (1982). Even though the script for Prince of the City condensed many characters and events from the book, it nonetheless contained over a hundred speaking parts. It also required dozens of shooting locations in Long Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. For legal reasons, the script changed the names of the characters, including the protagonist Robert Leuci, who became "Danny Ciello." Lumet's other main collaborator on the film was the Polish-born cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak, who made his feature film debut with this project. Only thirty years old at the time, he had photographed a number of television commercials; his sole large-scale projects were the low-budget crime thriller Deadly Hero (1976) and a made-for-television adaptation of a John Cheever story, The Five Forty-Eight (1979). Lumet said of the film's look: "I decided to shoot the entire film at an aperture of 2.8 in order to give it a certain visual style. I told Andrzej Bartkowiak [...] that I did not want any normal lenses. [...] In order to create an atmosphere of deceit, and false appearances, we only used wide angle and zoom lenses. The lighting in the first half was never on the actors but rather on the background. In the middle of the film, the lighting had to alternate between the foreground and the background, and at the end, on the contrary, the lighting was aimed on the foreground only." Prince of the City opened in August 1981 with a gradual, "platformed" release to allow it time to develop word-of-mouth business. Initially the movie premiered on three screens in the Cinemas 1, 2 and 3 in New York; Orion also purchased a multi-page advertising spread in the New York Times and TV spots on local cable. Orion followed this with single screen engagements in Los Angeles and Toronto, then the film opened in limited release in a small number of cities before going into wide release in October of that year. The film grossed $8.1 million during its initial release, against an estimated budget of $8.6 million. In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin particularly admired the performances Lumet drew from the large ensemble cast: "Mr. Lumet's film offers such a sharply detailed landscape, such a rich and crowded portrait, that his characters reveal themselves fully by the ways they move, eat, speak, listen or lie." She added, "[...] the brief characterizations are so keenly drawn that dozens of them stand out with the forcefulness of major performances." Maslin's appraisal of Treat Williams in the lead was more mixed; she argued that the lead actor "does his best work in the early part of the story, when his effort is mostly collaborative with Mr. Lumet and with the other actors. [...] Prince of the City begins with the strength and confidence of a great film and ends merely as a good one." Ultimately, Lumet was awarded Best Director by the New York Film Critics Circle, and the film received Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture, Best Director and Best Actor; Lumet and Allen also received an Oscar® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Producer: Burtt Harris Director: Sidney Lumet Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen, Sidney Lumet, from the book by Robert Daley Director of Photography: Andrzej Bartkowiak Film Editor: John J. Fitzstephens Production Design: Tony Walton Cast: Treat Williams (Danny Ciello); Lindsay Crouse (Carla Ciello); Matthew Laurance (Ronnie); Norman Parker (Richard Capallino); Paul Roebling (Brooks Paige); Jerry Orbach (Gus Levy); Carmine Foresta (Ernie Fallaci); Tony Turco (Danny's father); E. D. Miller (Edelmann). C-167m. by James Steffen Sources: Boyer, Jay. Sidney Lumet. New York: Twayne, 1993. Harmetz, Aljean. "How 'Prince of the City' Is Being Platformed." New York Times, July 18, 1981, p.9. Lombardi, John. "Lumet: the City is his Sound Stage" New York Times Magazine, June 6 1982. Maslin, Janet. "Screen: Lumet's 'Prince of the City.'" New York Times, August 19, 1981, p.C17. Rapf, Joanna. Sidney Lumet: Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006. Wolf, William. "Director With A Conscience." New York Magazine, August 10, 1981, pp.54-55.

Prince of the City (2-disc Edition) - Treat Williams Stars in Sidney Lumet's PRINCE OF THE CITY on DVD


Sidney Lumet started his career in live television during the 1950s, made his feature debut in 1957 with Twelve Angry Men, and has worked at a furious pace ever since, turning out landmark pictures like Network and Long Day's Journey Into Night along the way. His movies are set in many different places, but like Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee, he's a New York director at heart, often coupling New York settings with crime-based stories. The best-known examples are Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon from the 1970s, plus the 2001-2002 television series 100 Centre Street, which he created and sometimes directed.

And then there's Prince of the City, his police drama of 1981. Its plot harkens back to Serpico territory, taking another look at the idea that an honest cop is an awful threat to business as usual in the law-enforcement system. The subject is compelling, but the casting is less so. Whatever you think of Treat Williams, who plays the ubiquitous main character, you have to admit he's no Al Pacino.

The hero of the story is Daniel Ciello, a New York City narcotics cop who has all the necessary skills and knows all the streetwise tricks, including the use of free drugs to buy the loyalty of useful informers. Ciello has fed large quantities of dope to the junkies he relies on for tips, and so have the other narcs he works with every day. They've also learned how to siphon off some of the drug-bust cash that comes their way-easy to do, since their special narcotics detail gets to work on its own schedule and according to its own rules. The way Ciello sees it, he's neither a saint nor a villain, just an average cop doing a dirty, difficult job the best he can.

Since everything he's doing is common practice in his unit, Ciello is surprised when he gets a visit from an internal-affairs officer tracking down police corruption. His first reaction is to brush the whole thing off, remembering the code of silence that street cops honor among themselves. But his conscience has been bothering him lately. If he prowls the city looking for drugs to pay informants and cash to cushion his own hard life, what separates him from the bad guys he's supposed to be against? So he decides to cooperate, on the condition that he won't accuse or implicate any of his partners. "You sleep with your wife," he says, "but you live with your partners."

Before long Ciello is wearing a wire and collecting huge amounts of tape-recorded evidence for use in future prosecutions. He's also discovering how hard it is to draw solid lines between good cops and bad ones, friends and enemies, actual partners and casual companions. And then another problem starts to shadow him. When he agreed to participate in the investigation, he had to reveal any crookedness he'd been personally involved in, and the department promised to shield him against punishment for these crimes. But he didn't tell the whole truth, and if his hidden misdeeds come to light, the revelation will ruin the cases he's been helping with, and shipwreck his own future too.

The screenplay of Prince of the City, written by Lumet and Jay Presson Allen, is based on a 1978 book by Robert Daley about Robert Leuci, a real New York detective who assisted a corruption probe in 1971 and then left police work to become a crime novelist and ethicist. The filmmakers wanted Pacino to play him, but Pacino said no, apparently because the character was too much like Frank Serpico, the crusading cop he'd portrayed in 1973. In the end Williams snagged the role, and that's one of the picture's problems. Ciello appears in nearly every scene-in nearly every shot, for that matter-and Williams isn't a strong enough actor to handle such constant exposure in such an emotional story. In the action scenes he's a little too self-assured, and in the psychological scenes his lack of subtlety makes Ciello seem annoyingly overwrought. At two hours and forty-seven minutes, the film's overlong running time aggravates this by making Williams's performance into something of an endurance contest-although viewers of the DVD edition can count their blessings, since it presents the theatrical cut, not the TV version that ran a whopping four hours.

Back on the plus side, Williams's disappointing work is partly offset by the kind of praiseworthy supporting cast that Lumet has a particular talent for assembling. It includes Bob Balaban and Paul Roebling as self-satisfied officials, Lindsay Crouse as Ciello's wife, Jerry Orbach as a corrupt colleague, Lane Smith as a cop guarding Ciello's family, and Cynthia Nixon in the small part of an addict's girlfriend. The impressive roster of secondary actors is one of several areas where Prince of the City prefigures TV's great series The Wire, which also paints an ambivalent portrait of urban cops who work in dismal surroundings and rely heavily on electronic eavesdropping; even Lumet's use of printed on-screen words anticipates the later drama, which apparently drew much inspiration from him.

The picture's most impressive element is Andrzej Bartkowiak's moody cinematography, especially the rich blue tones that dominate many scenes and come across beautifully in the DVD transfer. In other respects the DVD from Warner Bros. is less than ideal. The movie is spread over two discs, even though the only extras are a theatrical trailer and a half-hour documentary about the film's background with comments by director Lumet, co-screenwriter Allen, star Williams, original author Daley, and former detective Leuci, whose exploits set the whole project off. Parts of the short are as interesting as the feature, and a lot more concise as well.

For more information about Prince of the City, visit Warner Video. To order Prince of the City, go to TCM Shopping.

by David Sterritt

Prince of the City (2-disc Edition) - Treat Williams Stars in Sidney Lumet's PRINCE OF THE CITY on DVD

Sidney Lumet started his career in live television during the 1950s, made his feature debut in 1957 with Twelve Angry Men, and has worked at a furious pace ever since, turning out landmark pictures like Network and Long Day's Journey Into Night along the way. His movies are set in many different places, but like Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee, he's a New York director at heart, often coupling New York settings with crime-based stories. The best-known examples are Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon from the 1970s, plus the 2001-2002 television series 100 Centre Street, which he created and sometimes directed. And then there's Prince of the City, his police drama of 1981. Its plot harkens back to Serpico territory, taking another look at the idea that an honest cop is an awful threat to business as usual in the law-enforcement system. The subject is compelling, but the casting is less so. Whatever you think of Treat Williams, who plays the ubiquitous main character, you have to admit he's no Al Pacino. The hero of the story is Daniel Ciello, a New York City narcotics cop who has all the necessary skills and knows all the streetwise tricks, including the use of free drugs to buy the loyalty of useful informers. Ciello has fed large quantities of dope to the junkies he relies on for tips, and so have the other narcs he works with every day. They've also learned how to siphon off some of the drug-bust cash that comes their way-easy to do, since their special narcotics detail gets to work on its own schedule and according to its own rules. The way Ciello sees it, he's neither a saint nor a villain, just an average cop doing a dirty, difficult job the best he can. Since everything he's doing is common practice in his unit, Ciello is surprised when he gets a visit from an internal-affairs officer tracking down police corruption. His first reaction is to brush the whole thing off, remembering the code of silence that street cops honor among themselves. But his conscience has been bothering him lately. If he prowls the city looking for drugs to pay informants and cash to cushion his own hard life, what separates him from the bad guys he's supposed to be against? So he decides to cooperate, on the condition that he won't accuse or implicate any of his partners. "You sleep with your wife," he says, "but you live with your partners." Before long Ciello is wearing a wire and collecting huge amounts of tape-recorded evidence for use in future prosecutions. He's also discovering how hard it is to draw solid lines between good cops and bad ones, friends and enemies, actual partners and casual companions. And then another problem starts to shadow him. When he agreed to participate in the investigation, he had to reveal any crookedness he'd been personally involved in, and the department promised to shield him against punishment for these crimes. But he didn't tell the whole truth, and if his hidden misdeeds come to light, the revelation will ruin the cases he's been helping with, and shipwreck his own future too. The screenplay of Prince of the City, written by Lumet and Jay Presson Allen, is based on a 1978 book by Robert Daley about Robert Leuci, a real New York detective who assisted a corruption probe in 1971 and then left police work to become a crime novelist and ethicist. The filmmakers wanted Pacino to play him, but Pacino said no, apparently because the character was too much like Frank Serpico, the crusading cop he'd portrayed in 1973. In the end Williams snagged the role, and that's one of the picture's problems. Ciello appears in nearly every scene-in nearly every shot, for that matter-and Williams isn't a strong enough actor to handle such constant exposure in such an emotional story. In the action scenes he's a little too self-assured, and in the psychological scenes his lack of subtlety makes Ciello seem annoyingly overwrought. At two hours and forty-seven minutes, the film's overlong running time aggravates this by making Williams's performance into something of an endurance contest-although viewers of the DVD edition can count their blessings, since it presents the theatrical cut, not the TV version that ran a whopping four hours. Back on the plus side, Williams's disappointing work is partly offset by the kind of praiseworthy supporting cast that Lumet has a particular talent for assembling. It includes Bob Balaban and Paul Roebling as self-satisfied officials, Lindsay Crouse as Ciello's wife, Jerry Orbach as a corrupt colleague, Lane Smith as a cop guarding Ciello's family, and Cynthia Nixon in the small part of an addict's girlfriend. The impressive roster of secondary actors is one of several areas where Prince of the City prefigures TV's great series The Wire, which also paints an ambivalent portrait of urban cops who work in dismal surroundings and rely heavily on electronic eavesdropping; even Lumet's use of printed on-screen words anticipates the later drama, which apparently drew much inspiration from him. The picture's most impressive element is Andrzej Bartkowiak's moody cinematography, especially the rich blue tones that dominate many scenes and come across beautifully in the DVD transfer. In other respects the DVD from Warner Bros. is less than ideal. The movie is spread over two discs, even though the only extras are a theatrical trailer and a half-hour documentary about the film's background with comments by director Lumet, co-screenwriter Allen, star Williams, original author Daley, and former detective Leuci, whose exploits set the whole project off. Parts of the short are as interesting as the feature, and a lot more concise as well. For more information about Prince of the City, visit Warner Video. To order Prince of the City, go to TCM Shopping. by David Sterritt

Lane Smith (1936-2005)


Lane Smith, a veteran character actor of stage, screen and television, and who was best known to modern viewers as Perry White on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, died on June 13 at his Los Angeles home of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is more commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 69.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee on April 29, 1936, Smith had a desire to act from a very young age. After a brief stint in the Army, he moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio and made his debut on off-Broadway debut in 1959. For the next 20 years, Smith was a staple of the New York stage before sinking his teeth into television: Kojak, The Rockford Files, Dallas; and small parts in big films: Rooster Cogburn (1975), Network (1976).

In 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to focus on better film roles, and his toothy grin and southern drawl found him a niche in backwoods dramas: Resurrection (1980), Honeysuckle Rose (1980); and a prominent role as the feisty Mayor in the dated Cold War political yarn Red Dawn (1984).

Smith returned to New York in 1984 and scored a hit on Broadway when he received a starring role in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross and earned a drama desk award in the process. His breakthrough role for many critics and colleagues was his powerful turn as Richard Nixon in The Final Days (1989); a docudrama based on the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his spot-on portrayal of the fallen President, and his career picked up from there as parts in prominent Hollywood films came his way: Air America (1990), My Cousin Vinny, The Mighty Ducks (both 1992), and the Pauly Shore comedy Son in Law (1993).

For all his dependable performances over the years, Smith wasn't a familiar presence to millions of viewers until he landed the plump role of Perry White, the editor of the Daily Planet in Superman: Lois and Clark which co-starred Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (1993-1997). After that run, he gave a scorching performance as Reverend Jeremiah Brown in the teleplay Inherit the Wind (1999); and he appeared last in the miniseries Out of Order (2003). He is survived by his wife Debbie; and son, Rob.

by Michael T. Toole

Lane Smith (1936-2005)

Lane Smith, a veteran character actor of stage, screen and television, and who was best known to modern viewers as Perry White on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, died on June 13 at his Los Angeles home of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is more commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 69. Born in Memphis, Tennessee on April 29, 1936, Smith had a desire to act from a very young age. After a brief stint in the Army, he moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio and made his debut on off-Broadway debut in 1959. For the next 20 years, Smith was a staple of the New York stage before sinking his teeth into television: Kojak, The Rockford Files, Dallas; and small parts in big films: Rooster Cogburn (1975), Network (1976). In 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to focus on better film roles, and his toothy grin and southern drawl found him a niche in backwoods dramas: Resurrection (1980), Honeysuckle Rose (1980); and a prominent role as the feisty Mayor in the dated Cold War political yarn Red Dawn (1984). Smith returned to New York in 1984 and scored a hit on Broadway when he received a starring role in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross and earned a drama desk award in the process. His breakthrough role for many critics and colleagues was his powerful turn as Richard Nixon in The Final Days (1989); a docudrama based on the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his spot-on portrayal of the fallen President, and his career picked up from there as parts in prominent Hollywood films came his way: Air America (1990), My Cousin Vinny, The Mighty Ducks (both 1992), and the Pauly Shore comedy Son in Law (1993). For all his dependable performances over the years, Smith wasn't a familiar presence to millions of viewers until he landed the plump role of Perry White, the editor of the Daily Planet in Superman: Lois and Clark which co-starred Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (1993-1997). After that run, he gave a scorching performance as Reverend Jeremiah Brown in the teleplay Inherit the Wind (1999); and he appeared last in the miniseries Out of Order (2003). He is survived by his wife Debbie; and son, Rob. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 1, 1981

Released in United States June 1999

Shown at Nantucket Film Festival (Special Tribute Screening) June 14-19, 1999.

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States August 1981

Released in United States Fall October 1, 1981

Released in United States June 1999 (Shown at Nantucket Film Festival (Special Tribute Screening) June 14-19, 1999.)

Released in United States August 1981