Blue Sky


1h 41m 1994

Brief Synopsis

A military family is forced to transfer to a new military base where they become the victims of a nuclear bomb testing cover-up.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Period
Romance
Release Date
1994
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/ORION PICTURES; Orion Pictures
Location
Selma, Alabama, USA; Florida, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m

Synopsis

After his wife's scandalous behavior forces them to transfer to a new military base in Alabama, a conscientious scientist and his family become the victims of a coverup involving nuclear bomb testing.

Crew

Lee County (florida)

Special Thanks To

Michael Alexonis

Grip

Timian Alsaker

Production Designer

Lynn Arost

Coproducer

Gandhi Bob Arrollo

Makeup Artist

Teresa Austin

Makeup Assistant

Joni Avery

Stunts

Anthony Avilsden

Lighting Technician

Paul Barth

Helicopter Pilot

David Behle

Other

Pamela Bentkowski

Sound

Randi Berez

Assistant

Robert L Berry

Other

James Mack Blair

Other

David Bradford

Assistant

Rick Canelli

Adr

Michael Casey

Production Associate

Mack Chapman

Special Effects

Michael Charske

Other

Sharal Churchill

Music

Gary Constable

Art Director

Cydney Cornell

Hair Stylist

Marguerite Costin

Sound

Doug Cowden

Grip

Pud Cusack

Boom Operator

Daniel Dayton

Assistant Camera Operator

Richard Dimmler

Assistant Set Dresser

Suzanne Dimmler

Assistant Set Dresser

Dean Drabin

Foley Artist

Genny Elliott

Driver

Star Fields

Construction Coordinator

Gail Foreman

Production Auditor

Steve Franklin

Other

Damian Ganczewski

Assistant Production Coordinator

Albert Gasser

Sound

Greg Gault

Stunts

Thomas F Gleason

Props Assistant

Jacob Goldstein

Sound Mixer

Denise Whiting Gontz

Adr Editor

Candy Gonzales

Camera Operator

Karen Anne Gower

Scenic Artist

Shari D. Gray

Costumes

Joel S Griffith

Scenic Artist

Peter B Gulick

Carpenter

William Brett Haas

Other

David Lee Hagberg

Assistant Sound Editor

Michael J Harker

Post-Production Supervisor

Harry Haus

Helicopter Pilot

John Hayden

Helicopter Pilot

Charlie R Hillard

Other

Michael Hoenig

Music

Tonya Holly

Casting

Marshall Hovies

Driver

Sarah Jacobs

Foley Artist

Carl Johnson

Lighting Technician

Constance A Kazmer

Sound

Frank Keever

Key Grip

Jack Keller

Other

David Kelley

Assistant Director

Richard King

Sound

Frances Knight

Other

Stephanie Krivacek

Adr Editor

Jackie Krost

Music Supervisor

Bruce Kuehn

Assistant Camera Operator

Joann Lam

Wardrobe

Robert K. Lambert

Editor

Kimberly Lannaghan

On-Set Dresser

Scott Leftridge

Dolly Grip

Jerry Leichtling

Screenplay

Kate Lewis

Script Supervisor

Cliff Lipson

Photography

Robert J Litt

Rerecording

Jennifer E Lumpkin

Production Assistant

Thomas J Mack

Assistant Director

Eric Maehl

Lighting Technician

Ross Maehl

Gaffer

Tim Magaraci

Lighting Technician

Sean Mannion

Property Master

Matt A Marich

On-Set Dresser

Vincent D Marra

Carpenter

John P Mcauliffe

Transportation Coordinator

Brian Mckinsey

Carpenter

Marila Meggett

Production Auditor

Patti Miller

Stand-In

Mike Milliken

Color Timer

Erskine Minor

Other

Helen Monaghan

Wardrobe Assistant

James P Monaghan

Advisor

Stefanie A Moore

Assistant Director

P Kay Morris

Wardrobe Supervisor

Pamela Neal

Other

Terence Nightingall

Assistant Camera Operator

Jack Nitzsche

Music

Eugene Nock

Helicopter Pilot

Eric Norris

Stunts

Thomas J. O'connell

Adr Mixer

Ben Oliver

Helicopter Pilot

Eric Orlow

Apprentice

Star Orr

Hair Assistant

Dorothy Pearl

Makeup Artist

Mark Peltier

Carpenter

Abram S Perlstein

Photography

Alice Walker Persons

Other

Diane Peterson

Stunts

Don Pike

Other

Don Pike

Stunts

Gary Pike

Stunts

Joseph Ponticelle

Assistant Camera Operator

Joe Pat Price

Driver

Cynthia Quan

Production Auditor

Jose Ruben Quintero

Caterer

Lyndell Quiyou

Hair Stylist

Joel Racheff

Boom Operator

Bruce Richardson

Sound Editor

Jane Robinson

Costume Designer

Leslie Rollins

Set Decorator

Sara Romilly

Post-Production Supervisor

Greg Rosatti

Choreographer

Susan Rubin

Production Assistant

Greg P. Russell

Rerecording

Richard Russell

Stand-In

James Rutledge

Other

Arlene Sarner

Screenplay

Roger Sassen

Best Boy

Robert E Schick

Production Assistant

Linda B Sedlak

Other

Louise Shaw

Other

Victor Shelehov

Best Boy Grip

Larry Shephard

Driver

Sean Slattery

Grip

Denise M Smith

Other

Robert Smith

Helicopter Pilot

Roger Lee Smith

Camera Operator

Michael Solinger

Assistant Editor

Robert H. Solo

Producer

Robin Solo

On-Set Dresser

Antoinette Squeo

Costumes

Daniel Ssteinberg

Production Assistant

Rama Laurie Stagner

From Story

Rama Laurie Stagner

Screenplay

Rama Laurie Stagner

Associate Producer

Clyde H Stagnew

Advisor

Lynn Stalmaster

Casting

Scott Taylor

Assistant Editor

Jack Teetor

Assistant

Susumu Tokunow

Sound Mixer

Elliot Tyson

Rerecording

Tony Valdes

Carpenter

Tony Velasco

Costumes

Nicholas Viorst

Assistant

Robert Voss

Transportation Captain

Geoi Lynn Welch

Scenic Artist

Cliff Wenger

Special Effects

Richard Whitfield

Music Editor

Thomas Whiting

Adr Editor

Lloyd R Whittaker

On-Set Dresser

Jim Wikert

Helicopter Pilot

John G. Wilson

Producer

John G. Wilson

Unit Production Manager

P Jean Wilson

Caterer

G Ron Wright Jr.

Carpenter

Gary Wright

Sound

Steve Yaconelli

Director Of Photography

George Yarbrough

Driver

Linda Yeaney

Adr Editor

Anna Zappia

Production Coordinator

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Period
Romance
Release Date
1994
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/ORION PICTURES; Orion Pictures
Location
Selma, Alabama, USA; Florida, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m

Award Wins

Best Actress

1994
Jessica Lange

Articles

Blue Sky


A title like Blue Sky suggests a movie stocked with nature, sunshine and contentment. Adding to that expectation, the 1994 release called Blue Sky was directed by Tony Richardson, whose most famous film is Tom Jones, the rollicking 1963 comedy that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Richardson made many downbeat movies, though, including such classics as A Taste of Honey (1961) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), and while Blue Sky has several scenes of lighthearted fun, it explores a thoroughly serious theme in a fundamentally serious way.

It also gives Jessica Lange one of her most memorable roles, for which she earned an Oscar for best actress - a highly impressive achievement, since her character has to share the screen with the attention-grabbing topic of nuclear testing amid the cold-war tensions of the early 1960s. She plays Carly Marshall, the psychologically unstable wife of Hank Marshall, played by Tommy Lee Jones in a performance of equal power.

Hank is an army officer and nuclear engineer who studies the effects of atomic energy in connection with Blue Sky, a secret testing program that makes him increasingly uncomfortable as he realizes how carelessly it's managed by authorities higher up the chain of command. His steadiness and good humor contrast vividly with the flightiness and fantasy that surge through Carly's personality, making her sweet and charming one moment, bitter and irrational the next. Her self-control problems complicate life for Hank and their two young daughters, and they often spill over to the military community outside.

The story begins in Hawaii, where the Marshalls have palm trees around them and truly blue skies overhead. Carly's erratic behavior gets Hank transferred to Alabama, where they have to make new friends and handle the strain of living in a rundown house. The only bright spot for Carly is a show being prepared by the wives of the other officers - a welcome activity for a woman who believes she could have been another Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot if life had given her a chance.

Hank copes with Carly while juggling the pressures of his job and dealing with his commanding officer, Vince Johnson, a calculating and controlling man whose wife is involved with the upcoming show. Vince himself gets involved with Carly, bringing about a hugely embarrassing moment for her older daughter, who has started dating Vince's son. The movie's climax arrives when Hank grows alarmed about two men disastrously affected by a nuclear test he monitored. Staging a hasty cover-up, his superiors send him to a military hospital where drugs and confinement keep him silent about the incident, and also about how Vince took advantage of his mentally troubled wife. The only person who can rescue Hank is Carly, who may or may not be up to the task.

The original story for Blue Sky was created by co-screenwriter Rama Laurie Stagner, who based Carly and Hank on the emotionally fraught relationship she observed between her own parents when she was growing up. She also took cues from an unpublished memoir by her father, who was indeed a safety officer for an underground atomic test in Nevada in 1962. "The explosion wasn't supposed to come out of the ground," he recalled for an Arizona newspaper when Blue Sky was released, "but it did. It blew out the side of a mesa, and I knew it was my duty to fly in there in a helicopter and check the extent of what happened." As in the movie, he spoke up about what went wrong and the terrible impact it had on people near the blast, but ran into indifference and resistance from higher officers.

Stagner used herself as the model for Alex Marshall, the older daughter in the film, and gave this character some of the snappiest dialogue. "He's blind and she's crazy. They're perfect for each other," Amy says, describing her parents' stubborn inability to get their wobbly relationship in order. Hank is also quite articulate at times, as when he tries to explain Carly's volatility by saying she's kind of like water, which changes from liquid to solid to gas without altering its basic properties. Carly and younger daughter Becky get off some zingers too.

Blue Sky was the last movie Richardson completed before his death in 1991. Shortly after the film wrapped, however, its production company partially shut down and then went bankrupt. This was an odd fate for Orion Pictures, which had just finished raking in Oscars for Kevin Costner's 1990 western Dances with Wolves and Jonathan Demme's 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs. But a string of recent flops had fatally weighed the studio down, and its bankruptcy delayed the release of Blue Sky and several other movies until the company reemerged in a different form three years later. Reviews of Blue Sky were mostly good, and reviews of Lange, who had scored an earlier Oscar nomination for playing the psychologically challenged actress Frances Farmer in Graeme Clifford's 1982 biopic Frances, were mostly ecstatic.

The solid supporting cast of Blue Sky includes Powers Boothe as Vince and Carrie Snodgress as Vera Johnson, his snide and condescending wife; also present are Chris O'Donnell as their son and Amy Locane and Anna Klemp as the Marshall girls. But top acting honors go to Lange and Jones, who turn in some of their finest work as the struggling couple at the center of the story.

Director: Tony Richardson
Producer: Robert H. Solo
Screenplay: Rama Laurie Stagner, Arlene Sarner, Jerry Leichtling
Cinematographer: Steve Yaconelli
Film Editing: Robert K. Lambert
Art Direction: Gary John Constable
Music: Jack Nitzsche
With: Jessica Lange (Carly Marshall), Tommy Lee Jones (Hank Marshall), Powers Boothe (Vince Johnson), Carrie Snodgress (Vera Johnson), Amy Locane (Alex Marshall), Chris O'Donnell (Glenn Johnson), Mitchell Ryan (Ray Stevens), Dale Dye (Col. Mike Anwalt), Tim Scott (Ned Owens), Annie Ross (Lydia), Anna Klemp (Becky Marshall)
Color-101m.

by David Sterritt
Blue Sky

Blue Sky

A title like Blue Sky suggests a movie stocked with nature, sunshine and contentment. Adding to that expectation, the 1994 release called Blue Sky was directed by Tony Richardson, whose most famous film is Tom Jones, the rollicking 1963 comedy that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Richardson made many downbeat movies, though, including such classics as A Taste of Honey (1961) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), and while Blue Sky has several scenes of lighthearted fun, it explores a thoroughly serious theme in a fundamentally serious way. It also gives Jessica Lange one of her most memorable roles, for which she earned an Oscar for best actress - a highly impressive achievement, since her character has to share the screen with the attention-grabbing topic of nuclear testing amid the cold-war tensions of the early 1960s. She plays Carly Marshall, the psychologically unstable wife of Hank Marshall, played by Tommy Lee Jones in a performance of equal power. Hank is an army officer and nuclear engineer who studies the effects of atomic energy in connection with Blue Sky, a secret testing program that makes him increasingly uncomfortable as he realizes how carelessly it's managed by authorities higher up the chain of command. His steadiness and good humor contrast vividly with the flightiness and fantasy that surge through Carly's personality, making her sweet and charming one moment, bitter and irrational the next. Her self-control problems complicate life for Hank and their two young daughters, and they often spill over to the military community outside. The story begins in Hawaii, where the Marshalls have palm trees around them and truly blue skies overhead. Carly's erratic behavior gets Hank transferred to Alabama, where they have to make new friends and handle the strain of living in a rundown house. The only bright spot for Carly is a show being prepared by the wives of the other officers - a welcome activity for a woman who believes she could have been another Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot if life had given her a chance. Hank copes with Carly while juggling the pressures of his job and dealing with his commanding officer, Vince Johnson, a calculating and controlling man whose wife is involved with the upcoming show. Vince himself gets involved with Carly, bringing about a hugely embarrassing moment for her older daughter, who has started dating Vince's son. The movie's climax arrives when Hank grows alarmed about two men disastrously affected by a nuclear test he monitored. Staging a hasty cover-up, his superiors send him to a military hospital where drugs and confinement keep him silent about the incident, and also about how Vince took advantage of his mentally troubled wife. The only person who can rescue Hank is Carly, who may or may not be up to the task. The original story for Blue Sky was created by co-screenwriter Rama Laurie Stagner, who based Carly and Hank on the emotionally fraught relationship she observed between her own parents when she was growing up. She also took cues from an unpublished memoir by her father, who was indeed a safety officer for an underground atomic test in Nevada in 1962. "The explosion wasn't supposed to come out of the ground," he recalled for an Arizona newspaper when Blue Sky was released, "but it did. It blew out the side of a mesa, and I knew it was my duty to fly in there in a helicopter and check the extent of what happened." As in the movie, he spoke up about what went wrong and the terrible impact it had on people near the blast, but ran into indifference and resistance from higher officers. Stagner used herself as the model for Alex Marshall, the older daughter in the film, and gave this character some of the snappiest dialogue. "He's blind and she's crazy. They're perfect for each other," Amy says, describing her parents' stubborn inability to get their wobbly relationship in order. Hank is also quite articulate at times, as when he tries to explain Carly's volatility by saying she's kind of like water, which changes from liquid to solid to gas without altering its basic properties. Carly and younger daughter Becky get off some zingers too. Blue Sky was the last movie Richardson completed before his death in 1991. Shortly after the film wrapped, however, its production company partially shut down and then went bankrupt. This was an odd fate for Orion Pictures, which had just finished raking in Oscars for Kevin Costner's 1990 western Dances with Wolves and Jonathan Demme's 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs. But a string of recent flops had fatally weighed the studio down, and its bankruptcy delayed the release of Blue Sky and several other movies until the company reemerged in a different form three years later. Reviews of Blue Sky were mostly good, and reviews of Lange, who had scored an earlier Oscar nomination for playing the psychologically challenged actress Frances Farmer in Graeme Clifford's 1982 biopic Frances, were mostly ecstatic. The solid supporting cast of Blue Sky includes Powers Boothe as Vince and Carrie Snodgress as Vera Johnson, his snide and condescending wife; also present are Chris O'Donnell as their son and Amy Locane and Anna Klemp as the Marshall girls. But top acting honors go to Lange and Jones, who turn in some of their finest work as the struggling couple at the center of the story. Director: Tony Richardson Producer: Robert H. Solo Screenplay: Rama Laurie Stagner, Arlene Sarner, Jerry Leichtling Cinematographer: Steve Yaconelli Film Editing: Robert K. Lambert Art Direction: Gary John Constable Music: Jack Nitzsche With: Jessica Lange (Carly Marshall), Tommy Lee Jones (Hank Marshall), Powers Boothe (Vince Johnson), Carrie Snodgress (Vera Johnson), Amy Locane (Alex Marshall), Chris O'Donnell (Glenn Johnson), Mitchell Ryan (Ray Stevens), Dale Dye (Col. Mike Anwalt), Tim Scott (Ned Owens), Annie Ross (Lydia), Anna Klemp (Becky Marshall) Color-101m. by David Sterritt

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the 1994 award for Best Actress (Jessica Lange) from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Released in United States Fall September 16, 1994

Re-released in United States February 17, 1995

Expanded re-release in United States March 31, 1995

Expanded re-release in United States April 7, 1995

Released in United States on Video April 18, 1995

Released in United States 1994

Released in United States August 24, 1994

Released in United States March 1995

Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (A Salute to Jessica Lange) March 3-12, 1995.

Last film for director Tony Richardson who died November 14, 1991 from complications related to AIDS. Richardson, who marked his feature directorial debut with "Look Back in Anger" (Great Britain/1959), was the father of actresses Natasha and Joely Richardson.

Began shooting May 14, 1990.

Completed shooting July 16, 1990.

Released in United States Fall September 16, 1994

Re-released in United States February 17, 1995

Expanded re-release in United States March 31, 1995

Released in United States on Video April 18, 1995

Released in United States 1994 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade) as part of program "Laughter in the Dark: Tony Richardson" August 26 - September 13, 1994.)

Released in United States August 24, 1994 (World premiere at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City as benefit for AmFar August 24, 1994.)

Released in United States March 1995 (Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (A Salute to Jessica Lange) March 3-12, 1995.)

Expanded re-release in United States April 7, 1995