Reversal of Fortune


2h 1990

Brief Synopsis

Claus Von Bulow fights to prove himself innocent of drugging his high society wife.

Film Details

Also Known As
Affare der Sunny Von Bulow, Die Affare der Sunny Von Bulow, El misterio Von Bulow, Il Mistero Von Bulow, Le Mystere Von Bulow, Mistero Von Bulow, Mystere Von Bulow, Mysteriet von Bülow
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Legal
Release Date
1990
Production Company
Bulgari; Cinema Research Corporation; General Camera; Panavision, Ltd.; Pressman Film; Shochiku-Fuji Company Ltd; Sovereign Pictures; Sovereign Pictures
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD); 20th Century Fox; 20th Century Fox Distribution; Finnkino Oy; Kommunenes Filmcentral; PathT International; Rank Film Distributors Ltd; Shochiku Company, Ltd.; Village Roadshow Limited; Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group; Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution; Warner Bros. Pictures International
Location
Newport, Rhode Island, USA; New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Synopsis

A first-hand account of the Claus Von Bulow case, based on a book by Claus Von Bulow's former lawyer, Alan M. Dershowitz.

Crew

Ike Behar

Other

Catherine Benedek

Sound Editor Assistant

Mel Bourne

Production Designer

Sharon Boyle

Music Supervisor

Susan Buchman

Music Editor

Milena Canonero

Costume Consultant

Kam Chan

Sound Editor Assistant

Algric Leo Chaplin

Dga Trainee

Jack Cooley

Sound Rerecording Engineer

Alan D'angerio

Hairstyles (Glenn Close)

Daniel R Davis

Art Direction

David Declerque

Location Manager

Alan Dershowitz

Book As Source Material

Elon Dershowitz

Co-Producer

Steven Felder

Unit Production Manager

Howard Feuer

Casting

Michael Flynn

Associate Producer

Jennifer Freed

Production Accountant

Alan Gershenfeld

Production Assistant (Los Angeles)

John Gilroy

Sound Editor Assistant

Mark Ginsberg

Color Timer

Gary Goetzman

Music Supervisor

Dorian Harris

Adr Editor

Ellen Hillers

Production Coordinator

Roberta Holinko

Art Department Coordinator

David Howell

Property Master Assistant

Diana Hrabowecki

Production Assistant (Los Angeles)

Haddon Hufford

Dolly Grip

Mark Isham

Music

Kevin Janicelli

Gaffer

Miguel Jiminez

Bestboy Electrician

Eddie Joe

Other

Larry Kaplan

Unit Publicist

Nicholas Kazan

Co-Producer

Nicholas Kazan

Screenwriter

Laura Kelly

Craft Services

Beth Kushnick

Set Decorator

Myra Lebo

Assistant (To Edward R Pressman)

Cabrini Lepis

Office Coordinator

Michael Levine

Production Assistant

Margot Lulick

Location Manager Assistant

Judianna Makovsky

Costume Designer

Constantine Makris

Camera Operator

David Meeks

Animal Trainer (Tiger)

Anastas Michos

Steadicam Operator

Jane Myers

Wardrobe Assistant

Tom Nelson

Sound Mixer

Louis Nichole

Selected Set Dressings

Tom O'donnell

Other

Bitty O'sullivan-smith

Sound Editor

Jean Marie Offenbacher

Assistant Editor

Kerry Orent

Post-Production Supervisor

Lee Percy

Editor

Edward Pressman

Producer

Mark Pressman

Production Assistant

Ingrid Price

Key Wardrobe

Kia B Puriefoy

Production Assistant

Michael Rauch

Executive Producer

John Riggio

Location Manager Assistant

Marie-ange Ripka

Hairstyles

Cornelia Rogan

Script Supervisor

Cornelia Rogan

Script Supervisor

Drew Ann Rosenberg

2nd Assistant Director

Scott Rosenstock

Key Set Dresser

Nancy Roth

Production Assistant

Nancy L Roth

Production Coordinator Assistant

Kay Rouse

Assistant (To Glenn Close)

Jean-luc Russier

Makeup (Glenn Close)

Dan Sable

Sound Editor

Lynn Sable

Sound Editor Assistant

Raymond Samitz

Construction Coordinator

Diane Schaub

Sound Editor Assistant

Diane Schneier

Associate Producer

Steve Shapiro

Other

Anthony Sherin

1st Assistant Editor

Dirk Standen

Production Assistant

Michael Steinfeld

Sound Editor

Oliver Stone

Producer

Ron Stone

Property Master

Eric Swanek

1st Assistant Camera

Sylvia Fay Casting

Casting (Extras)

Lorraine Taylor

Animal Trainer (Dog)

Thomas J Taylor

Project Consultant

Camilla Toniolo

Adr Editor

Luciano Tovoli

Dp/Cinematographer

Luciano Tovoli

Director Of Photography

Toni Trimble

Makeup

Amy Tucker

Location Assistant

David Tuttman

2nd Assistant Camera

Joe Violante

Dailies Adviser

Jerome Vitucci

Boom Operator

Lou Volpe

Other

Christian Von Tippelskirch

Location Assistant

Paul Wachter

Bestboy Grip

Andrea Wallace

Costume Designer Assistant

Bobby Warren

1st Assistant Director

Joel Warren

Stills

Allen Weisinger

Makeup (Jeremy Irons)

Neal Weisman

Publicity Coordinator

Tony Whitman

Key Grip

Mary Kate Willett

Assistant (To Barbet Schroeder)

Michael Zansky

Scenic Artist

Film Details

Also Known As
Affare der Sunny Von Bulow, Die Affare der Sunny Von Bulow, El misterio Von Bulow, Il Mistero Von Bulow, Le Mystere Von Bulow, Mistero Von Bulow, Mystere Von Bulow, Mysteriet von Bülow
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Legal
Release Date
1990
Production Company
Bulgari; Cinema Research Corporation; General Camera; Panavision, Ltd.; Pressman Film; Shochiku-Fuji Company Ltd; Sovereign Pictures; Sovereign Pictures
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD); 20th Century Fox; 20th Century Fox Distribution; Finnkino Oy; Kommunenes Filmcentral; PathT International; Rank Film Distributors Ltd; Shochiku Company, Ltd.; Village Roadshow Limited; Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group; Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution; Warner Bros. Pictures International
Location
Newport, Rhode Island, USA; New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Award Wins

Best Actor

1990
Jeremy Irons

Award Nominations

Best Adapted Screenplay

1990
Nicholas Kazan

Best Director

1990
Barbet Schroeder

Articles

Reversal Of Fortune


Reminiscent of the opening of Sunset Boulevard (1950) which was narrated by a corpse (William Holden), Reversal of Fortune (1990) opens with the comatose Sunny von Bulow (Glenn Close) describing her present unfortunate circumstance. Sunny lies in an elegantly decorated hospital room in a terminal coma after what some see as a murder attempt by her husband, socialite and ladies man Claus von Bulow (Jeremy Irons). Director Barbet Schroeder periodically narrates this dark comedy/thriller through Sunny's jaded eyes.

Claus von Bulow, who may or may not have given his wife a lethal insulin injection, had nothing to gain in the event of a divorce from his troubled marriage. But a jury decided he had everything to gain if his wife died -- a $14 million dollar inheritance -- and convicted him of Sunny's murder.

A legal thriller about the elaborate, uphill attempt made by Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver), to appeal von Bulow's conviction, Reversal of Fortune is also a moral thriller about all the possibilities for guilt and innocence that arise as the case is dissected piece by piece. A lawyer attracted to impossible and hopeless cases, Dershowitz is inspired to take on the appeal after meeting the icy, dispassionate Claus.

Public opinion seems united against von Bulow and even Dershowitz's students have their doubts, like one who tells him ╥I'm really shocked with your record defending the poor and oppressed that you'd take this case.╙ But the lawyer sees the case as a unique challenge, and as a way, he tells von Bulow, to help finance a more noble cause: his effort to take two black brothers in Alabama off of death row.

Dershowitz assembles a team of his top Harvard students and legal experts, including his estranged wife Sarah (Annabella Sciorra) to work morning, noon and night to free von Bulow. In the meantime director Barbet Schroeder interweaves flashbacks to Sunny and Claus's at first storybook and then nightmarish life together that paint a dark picture of their privileged world. In a picture of society worthy of a Vanity Fair expose, Schroeder shows a Fifth Avenue apartment and a ten-acre Newport estate, Clarendon Court, where great wealth hid drug addiction, suicide, infidelity and depression. "From what I've seen of the rich, you can have them," Dershowitz snorts to von Bulow.

Some of the best moments in Reversal of Fortune are not the legal subtleties hashed out by Dershowitz and his students, or even the moral quandary the crusading lawyer feels about the appropriateness of representing von Bulow. Instead, it is Irons' steely, droll and chilling portrayal of a man with the demeanor of Bela Lugosi and Glenn Close's performance as a suicidal, depressed former society beauty turned drug addict that makes the film mesmerizing.

Nicholas Kazan, who wrote the screenplay (and is the son of famed On the Waterfront [1954] director Elia Kazan) and Schroeder make Claus von Bulow's true guilt or innocence the ambiguous linchpin of this labyrinthine story. Kazan had treated moral and legal uncertainty -- as well as the complicating factor of great wealth -- before in his script for Paul Schrader's Patty Hearst (1988).

Alan Dershowitz, whose appeal eventually led to a retrial and acquittal of Claus von Bulow in 1985, has represented such high-profile clients as Leona Helmsley and O.J. Simpson. He appears briefly and in profile in Reversal of Fortune as one of the Rhode Island appellate judges. Reversal was based on Dershowitz's book, which at the time of its release after von Bulow's acquittal was widely criticized for offering opinion as fact in the case. The film version of Reversal of Fortune, however, was critically revered for its open-ended treatment of the von Bulow case, garnering Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and winning Jeremy Irons a richly deserved Best Actor Oscar.

Director: Barbet Schroeder
Producer: Edward R. Pressman and Oliver Stone
Screenplay: Nicholas Kazan based upon the book by Alan M. Dershowitz
Cinematography: Luciano Tovoli
Production Design: Mel Bourne
Music: Mark Isham
Cast: Glenn Close (Sunny von Bulow), Jeremy Irons (Claus von Bulow), Ron Silver (Alan Dershowitz), Annabella Sciorra (Sarah), Uta Hagen (Maria), Fisher Stevens (David Marriott), Jack Gilpin (Peter MacIntosh), Christine Baranski (Andrea Reynolds), Stephen Mailer (Elon Dershowitz).
C-111m. Letterboxed.

by Felicia Feaster
Reversal Of Fortune

Reversal Of Fortune

Reminiscent of the opening of Sunset Boulevard (1950) which was narrated by a corpse (William Holden), Reversal of Fortune (1990) opens with the comatose Sunny von Bulow (Glenn Close) describing her present unfortunate circumstance. Sunny lies in an elegantly decorated hospital room in a terminal coma after what some see as a murder attempt by her husband, socialite and ladies man Claus von Bulow (Jeremy Irons). Director Barbet Schroeder periodically narrates this dark comedy/thriller through Sunny's jaded eyes. Claus von Bulow, who may or may not have given his wife a lethal insulin injection, had nothing to gain in the event of a divorce from his troubled marriage. But a jury decided he had everything to gain if his wife died -- a $14 million dollar inheritance -- and convicted him of Sunny's murder. A legal thriller about the elaborate, uphill attempt made by Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver), to appeal von Bulow's conviction, Reversal of Fortune is also a moral thriller about all the possibilities for guilt and innocence that arise as the case is dissected piece by piece. A lawyer attracted to impossible and hopeless cases, Dershowitz is inspired to take on the appeal after meeting the icy, dispassionate Claus. Public opinion seems united against von Bulow and even Dershowitz's students have their doubts, like one who tells him ╥I'm really shocked with your record defending the poor and oppressed that you'd take this case.╙ But the lawyer sees the case as a unique challenge, and as a way, he tells von Bulow, to help finance a more noble cause: his effort to take two black brothers in Alabama off of death row. Dershowitz assembles a team of his top Harvard students and legal experts, including his estranged wife Sarah (Annabella Sciorra) to work morning, noon and night to free von Bulow. In the meantime director Barbet Schroeder interweaves flashbacks to Sunny and Claus's at first storybook and then nightmarish life together that paint a dark picture of their privileged world. In a picture of society worthy of a Vanity Fair expose, Schroeder shows a Fifth Avenue apartment and a ten-acre Newport estate, Clarendon Court, where great wealth hid drug addiction, suicide, infidelity and depression. "From what I've seen of the rich, you can have them," Dershowitz snorts to von Bulow. Some of the best moments in Reversal of Fortune are not the legal subtleties hashed out by Dershowitz and his students, or even the moral quandary the crusading lawyer feels about the appropriateness of representing von Bulow. Instead, it is Irons' steely, droll and chilling portrayal of a man with the demeanor of Bela Lugosi and Glenn Close's performance as a suicidal, depressed former society beauty turned drug addict that makes the film mesmerizing. Nicholas Kazan, who wrote the screenplay (and is the son of famed On the Waterfront [1954] director Elia Kazan) and Schroeder make Claus von Bulow's true guilt or innocence the ambiguous linchpin of this labyrinthine story. Kazan had treated moral and legal uncertainty -- as well as the complicating factor of great wealth -- before in his script for Paul Schrader's Patty Hearst (1988). Alan Dershowitz, whose appeal eventually led to a retrial and acquittal of Claus von Bulow in 1985, has represented such high-profile clients as Leona Helmsley and O.J. Simpson. He appears briefly and in profile in Reversal of Fortune as one of the Rhode Island appellate judges. Reversal was based on Dershowitz's book, which at the time of its release after von Bulow's acquittal was widely criticized for offering opinion as fact in the case. The film version of Reversal of Fortune, however, was critically revered for its open-ended treatment of the von Bulow case, garnering Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and winning Jeremy Irons a richly deserved Best Actor Oscar. Director: Barbet Schroeder Producer: Edward R. Pressman and Oliver Stone Screenplay: Nicholas Kazan based upon the book by Alan M. Dershowitz Cinematography: Luciano Tovoli Production Design: Mel Bourne Music: Mark Isham Cast: Glenn Close (Sunny von Bulow), Jeremy Irons (Claus von Bulow), Ron Silver (Alan Dershowitz), Annabella Sciorra (Sarah), Uta Hagen (Maria), Fisher Stevens (David Marriott), Jack Gilpin (Peter MacIntosh), Christine Baranski (Andrea Reynolds), Stephen Mailer (Elon Dershowitz). C-111m. Letterboxed. by Felicia Feaster

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Jeromy Irons was named best actor of 1990 by both the National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Released in United States 1990

Released in United States Fall October 17, 1990

Released in United States October 1990

Released in United States on Video June 26, 1991

Released in United States September 1990

Wide Release in United States November 2, 1990

Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival October 4-11, 1990.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 6-15, 1990.

Began shooting August 15, 1989.

Completed shooting October 17, 1989.

Released in United States 1990 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival August 31-September 3, 1990.)

Released in United States on Video June 26, 1991

Released in United States October 1990 (Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival October 4-11, 1990.)

Released in United States Fall October 17, 1990

Wide Release in United States November 2, 1990

Released in United States September 1990 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 6-15, 1990.)