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Story

Here's a classic Hollywood star vehicle. Up Close and Personal--the story of Tally Atwater (Michelle Pfeiffer), an inexperienced but ambitious TV news personality, and her well-weathered journalistic mentor, Warren Justice (Robert Redford)--was carefully tailored to fit its stars. What began as a screenplay based on the biography of troubled TV anchorwoman Jessica Savitch (Golden Girl, by Alanna Nash) took more than eight years to reach the screen, written and rewritten, on and off, over the years by husband-and-wife team John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion, mainly because they needed the work to qualify for the splendid Writers' Guild health-insurance plan. Although the considerable charisma of Pfeiffer and Redford go a long way, in many respects Nash's original nonfiction book (and even Dunne's peculiarly disingenuous "insider" account of the writing of the screenplay, Monster: Living Off the Big Screen) offers tales more compelling than the one that eventually made it to the screen. But, all things considered, that's a little like comparing apples and oranges, since the slick Up Close and Personal bears about as much resemblance to its gritty original source material as...well, an apple does to an orange. Critic Roger Ebert, who awarded the movie three stars, nevertheless said he was reminded of the time producer Samuel Goldwyn commissioned a screenplay about the Lindbergh kidnapping. Only, to quote Goldwyn, "it can't be about kidnapping, which is against the Code. For legal reasons, we have to change the name from Lindbergh. And the kid's father shouldn't fly." Read the book, see the movie, read the book about writing the movie. Anyone interested in how movies are made will learn an entertaining lesson about the studio system by devouring all three. --Jim Emerson

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Robert RedfordWarren Justice
Michelle PfeifferSally 'Tally' Atwater
Stockard ChanningMarcia McGrath
Joe MantegnaBucky Terranova
Kate NelliganJoanna Kennelly
Glenn PlummerNed Jackson
James RebhornJohn Merino
Scott BryceRob Sullivan
Raymond CruzFernando Buttanda
Dedee PfeifferLuanne Atwater
Miguel SandovalDan Duarte
Noble WillinghamBuford Sells
James KarenTom Orr
Brian MarkinsonVic Nash
Heidi SwedbergSheila

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Jon Avnet
  • Producer: Buena Vista
  • Length: 124 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaMar 1, 1996
  • Ratings
    North AmericaPG-13
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaJan 13, 2004
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