Fletch


1h 36m 1985

Brief Synopsis

A crusading reporter dons a variety of disguises to get the story on a drug ring.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Thriller
Release Date
1985
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m

Synopsis

An undercover newspaper columnist with a penchant for donning various diguises and identities to get a story is on the trail of drug ring.

Crew

Greg Agalsoff

Boom Operator

James Alexander

Sound Mixer

Louis Barlia

Camera Operator

David Bergad

Sound Editor

Andrew Bergman

Screenplay

Joe Bernard

Craft Service

Karen A Brocco

Assistant Sound Editor

Clyde E Bryan

Assistant Camera Operator

Jonathan Burrows

Song Performer

Cheryl Burton

Assistant

Paul Calabria

Animal Trainer

Jeff Carson

Music Editor

Pamela Cederquist

Production Assistant

Ken Chase

Makeup Artist

Stephen Clark

Grip

Michael Dale

Props Assistant

Vince Deadrick

Stunts

Karin Dew

Animal Trainer

Peter Douglas

Producer

Richard Duran

Stunts

Leonard Early

Foreman

Pamela Easley

Apprentice Editor

Jeannie Epper

Stunts

Richard Epper

Stunts

Harold Faltermeyer

Music

Harold Faltermeyer

Song

Joe Finnegan

Stunts

George Fisher

Stunts

Mark Fitzgerald

Production Assistant

Chip Fowler

Production Coordinator

Jack Garsha

Color Timer

Earl Gilbert

Chief Lighting Technician

Tim Gilbert

Stunts

Vivien Hillgrove Gilliam

Adr/Dialogue Editor

Wolfgang Glattes

Assistant Director

Wolfgang Glattes

Consultant

Roz Glazer

Assistant

Franie Golde

Song

Jeff Goldenberg

Assistant Camera Operator

Warren Gray

Assistant Director

Alan Greisman

Producer

Gloria Gresham

Costume Designer

Rhio Haessig

Chief Lighting Technician

Todd Hallowell

Art Director

Richard A Harris

Editor

Dan Hartman

Song

Dan Hartman

Song Performer

Ronald A Jacobs

Supervising Sound Editor

Francine Jamison-tanchuck

Costumer

Dean Jeffries

Stunt Coordinator

Neal Kaz

Stunts

Judd Kehl

Assistant Camera Operator

Bill Kenney

Grip

Gary B Kibbe

Director Of Photography

Ray Whitehead Kuhn

Assistant

Gene Lebell

Stunts

Hank Lebo

Camera Operator

Carol Lefko

Casting Assistant

Boris Leven

Production Designer

William Carey Loftin

Stunts

Ken Lubin

Transportation Captain

Michael Magill

Assistant Sound Editor

Henry Mancini

Song

Mike Mandel

Grip

Louis Mann

Set Designer

Marvin March

Set Decorator

Ray Marek

Stunts

Jim Maull

Auditor

Gregory Mcdonald

Source Material (From Novel)

George Mcdowell

Production

John P Mcgroarty

Stunts

Johnny Mercer

Song

Charlie Midnight

Song

Paul Miller

Sound Recordist

Stephanie Mills

Song Performer

Patricia Mock

Casting

Toni Morgan

Assistant Editor

Peter R Norman

Unit Director

Pat O'connor

Property Master

Rick Overton

Stunts

Bunny Parker

Hair Stylist

Craig Pinkard

Transportation Coordinator

John S Platt

Stunts

Richard Portman

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Larry Rapaport

Assistant Director

Dick Reseigne

Construction Coordinator

J. N. Roberts

Stunts

Walter Robles

Stunts

Ira Stanley Rosenstein

Location Manager

Chuck Sanford

Assistant Director

Fred Scheiwiller

Stunts

Marshall Schlom

Script Supervisor

Fred Schuler

Director Of Photography

Gaylin Schultz

Key Grip

Robert Shoup

Sound Editor

Karen Spangenberg

Sound Editor

Raymond Stella

Camera Operator

Carlos Tappin

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Randy Tepper

Photography

Bob Terhune

Stunts

Dennie Thorpe

Foley

James W. Tyson

Costumer

Dick Warlock

Stunts

Gordon A Webb

Unit Production Manager

Gordon Webb

Associate Producer

Wally Weber

Negative Cutter

Cliff Wenger

Special Effects

George Wilbur

Stunts

Arvel Youngblood

Chief Lighting Technician

Kenneth D Zunder

Assistant Camera Operator

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Thriller
Release Date
1985
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m

Articles

TCM Remembers - Michael Ritchie


Director Michael Ritchie died April 16th at the age of 62. A Wisconsin native, Ritchie studied at Harvard before succumbing to the attractions of the theatre. He started working in television during the 1960s where he directed episodes of The Big Valley and The Man from UNCLE among others. He moved into feature films with Downhill Racer (1969) at star Robert Redford's invitation and later directed Redford again in The Candidate (1972). The latter is a classic look at American political life that hasn't lost any of its power or insights over the years. This was the start of Ritchie's most productive period when he made several films that were both popular and critically acclaimed. You can find his sly wit and sense of critical drama in Smile (1975), The Bad News Bears (1976) and Semi-Tough (1978). By the 1980s, though, Ritchie's films focused less on social criticism and more on stars. The Survivors (1983) with Robin Williams remains under-rated but Ritchie-directed vehicles for Eddie Murphy (1986's The Golden Child), Bette Midler (1980's Divine Madness) and Chevy Chase (two Fletch films) didn't quite achieve their potential. Some of the old Ritchie spark and intelligence appeared in the made-for-cable The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (1993) which earned him a Directors Guild Award. One of his final films was the long-awaited screen adaptation of The Fantasticks (1995) which partly brought Ritchie back to his theatrical roots.

ANN SOTHERN: 1909 - 2001
Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.

Tcm Remembers - Michael Ritchie

TCM Remembers - Michael Ritchie

Director Michael Ritchie died April 16th at the age of 62. A Wisconsin native, Ritchie studied at Harvard before succumbing to the attractions of the theatre. He started working in television during the 1960s where he directed episodes of The Big Valley and The Man from UNCLE among others. He moved into feature films with Downhill Racer (1969) at star Robert Redford's invitation and later directed Redford again in The Candidate (1972). The latter is a classic look at American political life that hasn't lost any of its power or insights over the years. This was the start of Ritchie's most productive period when he made several films that were both popular and critically acclaimed. You can find his sly wit and sense of critical drama in Smile (1975), The Bad News Bears (1976) and Semi-Tough (1978). By the 1980s, though, Ritchie's films focused less on social criticism and more on stars. The Survivors (1983) with Robin Williams remains under-rated but Ritchie-directed vehicles for Eddie Murphy (1986's The Golden Child), Bette Midler (1980's Divine Madness) and Chevy Chase (two Fletch films) didn't quite achieve their potential. Some of the old Ritchie spark and intelligence appeared in the made-for-cable The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (1993) which earned him a Directors Guild Award. One of his final films was the long-awaited screen adaptation of The Fantasticks (1995) which partly brought Ritchie back to his theatrical roots. ANN SOTHERN: 1909 - 2001 Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.

Fletch


Chevy Chase added yet another popular comedic character to his repertoire when he took on the title role in Fletch (1985), a comedy mystery about an elusive investigative reporter. First seen posing as a bum on the beach, Fletch is soon approached by a wealthy businessman with an intriguing proposition. The executive, Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson), claims to be suffering from a terminal illness and offers Fletch $50,000 to murder him so that his wife will be able to collect on his life insurance policy. The scheme seems suspicious to Fletch so he decides to investigate further. As the story unfolds, Fletch uses various aliases and fake identities reminiscent of Cary Grant in Charade (1963) to unravel the mystery.

Fletch is based on the highly popular novel written by Gregory McDonald. When asked how he came up with such a fun character that inspired eight book sequels, McDonald explained in an interview with James Kanowitz from www.fletchwon.net, "I would hear from other people in the newsroom about reporters doing these things for stories, and that gave me an idea. He was running around in my head for quite some time before I actually wrote the book. I never intended to write a sequel to Fletch. If I did, I never would have put him in Rio with 3 million dollars. But the response was so overwhelming, I had to write more. I was going to pick up the story in Rio, but I didn't have the money to go there. So, I wrote Confess, Fletch with the setting of Boston, where I was living at the time. And it was the first time that a book and its sequel both won the Edgar Award for best mystery." The disguises in the stories came from his real-life experiences as well. According to McDonald, "I would change a lot when I was working for the newspaper. I would be on the streets during the day, and at night, I would change into a black tie for dinner. So I had all of my clothes in my car."

When the time came to adapt the book series to the screen, Michael Ritchie took over as director but casting the lead character became something of an obstacle. "Everybody from 12 to 72 in Hollywood wanted to play Fletch," McDonald explained. "But I kept throwing a monkey wrench into their plans. I never really wanted Chevy on "Saturday Night Live", and when his name came up for Fletch, I didn't throw the monkey wrench. And I watched it recently, and I think Chevy and Michael Ritchie did a good job with it."

One thing Chevy had in common with his onscreen persona was his love for basketball, especially the L.A. Lakers. According to Paul Myerberg, the lead set dresser on the film, "Chevy was great to work with and, of course, a big basketball fan even then. We also put basketball stuff in [Fletch's] apartment - a huge cut out as I remember" (Kanowitz).

Fletch also gleams with a first rate supporting cast, including Joe Don Baker, as the chief of police; Richard Libertini, as Fletch's editor; Geena Davis, as Fletch's research assistant; and Tim Matheson, as the suspicious businessman Alan Stanwyk. Matheson later told Kanowitz that working with Chevy Chase on Fletch was "great fun. [Chevy] likes to improv and so do I. [He] liked me to try to break him up on his close ups. I succeeded several times"

The extremely popular first film inspired a less impressive sequel, Fletch Lives, released five years later in 1989. Its poor performance at the box-office killed the possibility of a continuing franchise until recently. Kevin Smith - director of such popular films as Clerks (1994), Chasing Amy (1997), and Dogma (1999) - purchased the rights to all of the Fletch books and is currently in pre-production on Fletch Won due to begin shooting in 2004. It is based on an earlier book in the series and chronicles Fletch on his first case. According to Smith in an interview with Kanowitz, "We've taken an early novel where the author told the origin of how Fletch got his job on a newspaper. It will stick much closer to McDonald's brilliant dialogue and characters. Though these actors know nothing about this, I've worked down to a short list of Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon and Adam Sandler for the role of Fletch."

Though Chevy Chase and Michael Ritchie have been criticized for not remaining completely faithful to the Fletch novels, the film proved to be a box office hit and gave Chase one of his best comedic roles.

Producer: Peter Douglas, Alan Greisman, Gordon A. Webb
Director: Michael Ritchie
Screenplay: Andrew Bergman, Gregory McDonald (novel)
Cinematography: Fred Schuler
Film Editing: Richard A. Harris
Art Direction: Todd Hallowell
Music: Harold Faltermeyer
Cast: Chevy Chase (Irwin 'Fletch' Fletcher), Joe Don Baker (Chief Karlin), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Gail Stanwyk), Richard Libertini ('Frank' Walker), Tim Matheson (Alan Stanwyk), M. Emmet Walsh (Doctor Dolan).
C-98m. Closed captioning.

by Emily R. Rice

Fletch

Chevy Chase added yet another popular comedic character to his repertoire when he took on the title role in Fletch (1985), a comedy mystery about an elusive investigative reporter. First seen posing as a bum on the beach, Fletch is soon approached by a wealthy businessman with an intriguing proposition. The executive, Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson), claims to be suffering from a terminal illness and offers Fletch $50,000 to murder him so that his wife will be able to collect on his life insurance policy. The scheme seems suspicious to Fletch so he decides to investigate further. As the story unfolds, Fletch uses various aliases and fake identities reminiscent of Cary Grant in Charade (1963) to unravel the mystery. Fletch is based on the highly popular novel written by Gregory McDonald. When asked how he came up with such a fun character that inspired eight book sequels, McDonald explained in an interview with James Kanowitz from www.fletchwon.net, "I would hear from other people in the newsroom about reporters doing these things for stories, and that gave me an idea. He was running around in my head for quite some time before I actually wrote the book. I never intended to write a sequel to Fletch. If I did, I never would have put him in Rio with 3 million dollars. But the response was so overwhelming, I had to write more. I was going to pick up the story in Rio, but I didn't have the money to go there. So, I wrote Confess, Fletch with the setting of Boston, where I was living at the time. And it was the first time that a book and its sequel both won the Edgar Award for best mystery." The disguises in the stories came from his real-life experiences as well. According to McDonald, "I would change a lot when I was working for the newspaper. I would be on the streets during the day, and at night, I would change into a black tie for dinner. So I had all of my clothes in my car." When the time came to adapt the book series to the screen, Michael Ritchie took over as director but casting the lead character became something of an obstacle. "Everybody from 12 to 72 in Hollywood wanted to play Fletch," McDonald explained. "But I kept throwing a monkey wrench into their plans. I never really wanted Chevy on "Saturday Night Live", and when his name came up for Fletch, I didn't throw the monkey wrench. And I watched it recently, and I think Chevy and Michael Ritchie did a good job with it." One thing Chevy had in common with his onscreen persona was his love for basketball, especially the L.A. Lakers. According to Paul Myerberg, the lead set dresser on the film, "Chevy was great to work with and, of course, a big basketball fan even then. We also put basketball stuff in [Fletch's] apartment - a huge cut out as I remember" (Kanowitz). Fletch also gleams with a first rate supporting cast, including Joe Don Baker, as the chief of police; Richard Libertini, as Fletch's editor; Geena Davis, as Fletch's research assistant; and Tim Matheson, as the suspicious businessman Alan Stanwyk. Matheson later told Kanowitz that working with Chevy Chase on Fletch was "great fun. [Chevy] likes to improv and so do I. [He] liked me to try to break him up on his close ups. I succeeded several times" The extremely popular first film inspired a less impressive sequel, Fletch Lives, released five years later in 1989. Its poor performance at the box-office killed the possibility of a continuing franchise until recently. Kevin Smith - director of such popular films as Clerks (1994), Chasing Amy (1997), and Dogma (1999) - purchased the rights to all of the Fletch books and is currently in pre-production on Fletch Won due to begin shooting in 2004. It is based on an earlier book in the series and chronicles Fletch on his first case. According to Smith in an interview with Kanowitz, "We've taken an early novel where the author told the origin of how Fletch got his job on a newspaper. It will stick much closer to McDonald's brilliant dialogue and characters. Though these actors know nothing about this, I've worked down to a short list of Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon and Adam Sandler for the role of Fletch." Though Chevy Chase and Michael Ritchie have been criticized for not remaining completely faithful to the Fletch novels, the film proved to be a box office hit and gave Chase one of his best comedic roles. Producer: Peter Douglas, Alan Greisman, Gordon A. Webb Director: Michael Ritchie Screenplay: Andrew Bergman, Gregory McDonald (novel) Cinematography: Fred Schuler Film Editing: Richard A. Harris Art Direction: Todd Hallowell Music: Harold Faltermeyer Cast: Chevy Chase (Irwin 'Fletch' Fletcher), Joe Don Baker (Chief Karlin), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Gail Stanwyk), Richard Libertini ('Frank' Walker), Tim Matheson (Alan Stanwyk), M. Emmet Walsh (Doctor Dolan). C-98m. Closed captioning. by Emily R. Rice

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer May 31, 1985

Released in United States on Video March 10, 1988

Began shooting May 29, 1984

Released in USA on laserdisc December 1988.

Released in United States Summer May 31, 1985

Released in United States on Video March 10, 1988