My Own Private Idaho


1h 42m 1991

Brief Synopsis

Two street hustlers from the Northwest, one abandoned as a child, the other rebellious scion of a wealthy and powerful family, travel as far as Rome, Italy in search of the former's missing mother.

Film Details

Also Known As
Belli E Dannati, Mi Idaho privado, På drift mot Idaho
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Adaptation
Drama
Release Date
1991
Distribution Company
Fine Line Features
Location
Portland, Oregon, USA; Twin Falls, Idaho, USA; Seattle, Washington, USA; Rome, Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Synopsis

Two street hustlers from the Northwest, one abandoned as a child, the other rebellious scion of a wealthy and powerful family, travel as far as Rome, Italy in search of the former's missing mother.

Crew

Christina Ajalat

Assistant

Peter Appleton

Sound Editor

Julianna Arenson

Production Accountant

Charles Armstrong

Construction Coordinator

Thomas Arndt

Effects Coordinator

Tom Arndt

Special Effects

Eddy Arnold

Song Performer

Kelly J Baker

Sound Editor

Edward T Barnes

Best Boy Grip

Pete Barnett

Caterer

Dean Baskerville

Other

Nils Benson

Apprentice

Vicky Berglund

Other

J M Black

Music

Adam Bogle

Other

Nina Bradford

Swing Gang

Forrest Brakeman

Adr

Amanda J Brand

Production Coordinator

Tony Brand

Line Producer

David Brisbin

Production Designer

Kelly Brooks

Other

John Brown

Production Assistant

Charles Bruce

Titles

Kim Burton

Music

Sara Burton

Location Manager

Trevor Cable

Editor

John J Campbell

Director Of Photography

John J Campbell

Other

Donald Campeau

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Kelly Cannon

Sound

Aldo Cestini

Caterer

Christine Chapman

Art Department

Madonna Louise Ciccone (madonna)

Song Performer

Madonna Louise Ciccone (madonna)

Song

Curtiss Clayton

Editor

Sandra Collister

Casting Associate

Yvonne Couture

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Jake Culver

Research And Content Consultant

Jan Cyr

Sound Mixer

Venora Debrowolski

Mechanical Special Effects

Laura Ditrapani

Visual Effects

Tom Dokoupil

Song Performer

Tom Dokoupil

Song

Amy E Duddleston

Assistant Editor

Jeff Duffy

Grip

Jeff Duffy

Generator Operator

Vernon Dunn

Music

Matt Ebert

Production Assistant

Eric Alan Edwards

Other

Eric Alan Edwards

Director Of Photography

Steve Einhorn

Music

Wade Evans

Other

Rob Farley

Music

Rolando Ferrario

Assistant Camera Operator

Sean Fong

Swing Gang

Massimo Galliano

Best Boy

Gary D Gatewood

Assistant Camera Operator

Shaun Gavin

Security

Sandy Gernhart

Other

Sandy Gernhart

Music

Dean Giammarco

Sound

Robert Giasson

Driver

Jane Goldsmith

Script Supervisor

Mark Goodermote

Boom Operator

Anne Gordon

Animal Trainer

Tino Gorga

Gaffer

Donald Granger

Other

Scott Patrick Green

Photography

Scott Patrick Green

Assistant

Scott Patrick Green

Other

Dirk-jan Haanraadts

Assistant Director

Jamie Haggerty

Music

Jamie Haggerty

Song Performer

Jamie Haggerty

Other

Ken Hardy

Art Director

Paul Hellerman

Unit Production Manager

Charlie Henderson

Song

Doctor Brewster M Higley

Song

Anthony Holborne

Music

Karen E Hout

Visual Effects

John Huck

Sound Mixer

Jon Huck

Sound

Eric Hull

Other

Scott Hybl

Music

Anne Hyvarinen

Scenic Artist

Mark A James

Transportation Coordinator

Elton John

Song Performer

Elton John

Song

Shaun Jordan

Other

Patti Kalles

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Karen Karbo

Foley

Janet Karecki

Visual Effects

Daniel E Kelley

Music

Udo Kier

Song Performer

Udo Kier

Song

Anton Kimball

Other

Carol Knotts

Driver

J R Knotts

Driver

Mark Knotts

Transportation Captain

Kris Krengel

Assistant Director

Ed Kuchar

Other

Antonio La Barbera

Electrician

Richard Letcher

Music

Kevin Lindeman

Art Assistant

Parker Logan

Continuity

Chris Lowenstein

Production Assistant

Shane Macgowan

Song

Mary Ann Marino

Production Coordinator

Jeff Martin

Caterer

Robert Marts

Sound Mixer

Matthew May

Best Boy

Giuliano Mazzoni

Electrician

Mark Mcginnis

Dolly Grip

Richard Mcnutt

Music

Richard Meyers

Music

Steven Miller

Foley

Allan Mindel

Co-Executive Producer

David Minkowski

Assistant Director

Jeff Mishler

Assistant Camera Operator

Gina Monaci

Makeup

Conrad Montgomery

Song Performer

Conrad Montgomery

Song

Franco Moranti

Driver

Bruce Murphy

Consultant

Michael F Newman

Sound Editor

Kathleen Nichols

Visual Effects

Vana O'brien

Other

Gary Osborne

Song

Gaspar Othmayer

Music

Tex Owens

Song

Phred Palmer

Assistant

Phred Palmer

Assistant Director

Arnold Pander

Storyboard Artist

Laurie Parker

Producer

Mike Parker

Other

Sally Parker

Craft Service

Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

Costume Designer

Robert Polich

Boom Operator

Jean Poulot

Other

Jean Poulot

Song Performer

Jean Poulot

Music

Lori Presthus

Other

Allesandra Ravenna

Production Coordinator

Rebecca M Revak

Grip

Giancarlo Rocchetti

Key Grip

Dorothy Rust

Music

Katrina L. Sanders

Driver

Marvin Laroy Sanders

Driver

Vincenzo Savino

Photography

Tom Scherer

Other

Tom Scherer

Driver

Joe Henry Schmeer

Mechanical Special Effects

Bill Scott

Color Timer

Daniel Self

Swing Gang

Daniel Self

On-Set Dresser

Jeffrey Selis

Assistant Location Manager

Cary Shafer

Foreman

William Shakespeare

Screenplay

William Shakespeare

Play As Source Material

William Shakespeare

Writer (Dialogue)

Paul Sharpe

Rerecording

Tom Sheft

Sound Editing

Bill Sheppard

Rerecording

Dennis Sherwood

Gaffer

Jeff Smithwick

Color Timer

Concha Solano

Sound Editing

Bill Stafford

Song Performer

Bill Stafford

Music

Reinhardt Stergar

Sound Mixer

Missy Stewart

Set Decorator

Thomas Stoltzer

Music

Elliot Sweetland

Music

Teresa Tamiyasu

Production Coordinator

Teresa Tamiyasu

Production Assistant

Abigayle Tarsches

Photography

Jessie Thomas

Other

Karen Thorndike

Negative Cutting

Paolo Tinari

Production Manager

Vittorio Troiani

Property Master

Rudy Valee

Song Performer

Bruce Van Buskirk

Music

Gus Van Sant

Screenplay

Gus Van Sant

Executive Producer

Lorenzo Dalla Vedova

Production Assistant

Vanessa Vogel

Wardrobe Supervisor

Samuel A Ward

Music

Steve Warner

Visual Effects

Tiger Warren

Other

Bruce Weber

Photography

Peter Weiss

Boom Operator

Chel White

Visual Effects

Bryan Wilson

Other

Patrick Winters

Sound Editor

W Wayne Woods

Adr

Film Details

Also Known As
Belli E Dannati, Mi Idaho privado, På drift mot Idaho
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Adaptation
Drama
Release Date
1991
Distribution Company
Fine Line Features
Location
Portland, Oregon, USA; Twin Falls, Idaho, USA; Seattle, Washington, USA; Rome, Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Articles

My Own Private Idaho on DVD


Lifting its title from a B-52s song and its basic structure from Shakespeare's Falstaff cycle (primarily Henry IV Part I), Gus Van Sant's cryptic but endlessly fascinating arthouse favorite was hardly what anyone expected after his incendiary debut with Drugstore Cowboy. Slow, stately and beautiful, it paved the way for his subsequent meditative coming of age films like Gerry, Elephant, and the problematic Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

Here our protagonist is narcoleptic hustler Mike (River Phoenix), a confused and longing lad who often wakes up in different locations with no orientation whatsoever. Abandoned by Italy-bound mother, Mike is accompanied for much of the film by Scott (Keanu Reeves), whose well-to-do upbringing spurred him to temporary rebellion by turning tricks. Together they embark on a surreal odyssey including encounters with various johns (including an unforgettable turn by Udo Kier) and an ultimately poignant, bittersweet outcome for the lovelorn Mike.

At heart a dissection of the buddy movie, homoerotic subtext and all, My Own Private Idaho sidesteps the seedier and more explicit aspects of its subject matter, instead creating a dreamy atmosphere that resembles some random collision of Jean Cocteau and Jean-Luc Godard. Phoenix shines in what most regard as his definitive role, but the often maligned Reeves (whom Phoenix fought to have cast in the film) also acquits himself well and proves he does have the chops when presented with the right material. (Check out The Gift for further proof if necessary.)

However, the real star here is Van Sant's precise, striking visual style, mixing in experimental techniques with just the right amount of narrative justification to keep audiences from stampeding to the exits. Whether conducting dialogue scenes while plastering actors on the covers of male skin magazines or interjecting random images of falling barns and time lapse photography, he manages to keep the whole madcap enterprise engaging and surprisingly upbeat considering the fairly grim nature of the journey at hand.

An ideal title for the Criterion treatment, My Own Private Idaho gleams as much as one would expect in this (literally) hefty two-disc set. The first disc contains an immaculate anamorphic transfer of the film itself with Van Sant's seal of approval, boosted by a spacious 5.1 remix as well as the basic theatrical stereo version. The only extra on the first disc is the appropriately edgy theatrical trailer.

The real meat can be found on the second disc, beginning with a very extensive two hours-plus 2004 conversion between Van Sant and director Todd Haynes (Poison). Basically an audio commentary with visual accompaniment, this welcome interaction between two filmmakers offers plenty of anecdotes and oddball facts about the film while revealing some of the quirky personalities of both men involved. Much of the filming stories are amusing, particularly the fact that most of the cast crashed out at Van Sant's home (while the director was usually out toiling on the production) including several of the real-life hustlers recruited for the film.

The much shorter but worthwhile "The Making of My Own Private Idaho" offers a 42-minute chat with editor Crutiss Clayton, cinematographers John Campbell and Eric Alan Edwards, and production designer David Brisbin discussing the creation of the film's unique look and feel. In "Kings of the Road," film scholar Paul Arthur offers a nifty 44-minute guide through the film's Shakespearean influences and its relationship to another major Falstaff film, Orson Welles¿ Chimes at Midnight, with other cinematic connections drawn throughout.

Six deleted scenes are mostly extraneous bits interesting for their visual experiments rather than their contributions to the narrative, though there is one nice extra bit with Phoenix. The actor's legacy is the primary focus on a 20-minute video chat with his sister, Rain Phoenix, and producer Laurie Parker who remember his dedication and perseverance on the film. Finally, writer J.T. LeRoy (who wrote Elephant and the grueling The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things) and filmmaker Jonathon Caouette (the Van Sant-produced Tarnation) discuss their own experiences (including their lives on the street) and how it impacted the Van Sant project for an informative, candid 53 minutes. The entire set is housed in a thick case which also includes a 64-page book containing essays by LeRoy and critic Amy Taubin, a vintage article about the film by Lance Loud, and interviews with the director and two leads conducted during the film¿s initial promotional push.

For more information about My Own Private Idaho, visit The Criterion Collection. To order My Own Private Idaho, go to TCM Shopping.

by Nathaniel Thompson
My Own Private Idaho On Dvd

My Own Private Idaho on DVD

Lifting its title from a B-52s song and its basic structure from Shakespeare's Falstaff cycle (primarily Henry IV Part I), Gus Van Sant's cryptic but endlessly fascinating arthouse favorite was hardly what anyone expected after his incendiary debut with Drugstore Cowboy. Slow, stately and beautiful, it paved the way for his subsequent meditative coming of age films like Gerry, Elephant, and the problematic Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Here our protagonist is narcoleptic hustler Mike (River Phoenix), a confused and longing lad who often wakes up in different locations with no orientation whatsoever. Abandoned by Italy-bound mother, Mike is accompanied for much of the film by Scott (Keanu Reeves), whose well-to-do upbringing spurred him to temporary rebellion by turning tricks. Together they embark on a surreal odyssey including encounters with various johns (including an unforgettable turn by Udo Kier) and an ultimately poignant, bittersweet outcome for the lovelorn Mike. At heart a dissection of the buddy movie, homoerotic subtext and all, My Own Private Idaho sidesteps the seedier and more explicit aspects of its subject matter, instead creating a dreamy atmosphere that resembles some random collision of Jean Cocteau and Jean-Luc Godard. Phoenix shines in what most regard as his definitive role, but the often maligned Reeves (whom Phoenix fought to have cast in the film) also acquits himself well and proves he does have the chops when presented with the right material. (Check out The Gift for further proof if necessary.) However, the real star here is Van Sant's precise, striking visual style, mixing in experimental techniques with just the right amount of narrative justification to keep audiences from stampeding to the exits. Whether conducting dialogue scenes while plastering actors on the covers of male skin magazines or interjecting random images of falling barns and time lapse photography, he manages to keep the whole madcap enterprise engaging and surprisingly upbeat considering the fairly grim nature of the journey at hand. An ideal title for the Criterion treatment, My Own Private Idaho gleams as much as one would expect in this (literally) hefty two-disc set. The first disc contains an immaculate anamorphic transfer of the film itself with Van Sant's seal of approval, boosted by a spacious 5.1 remix as well as the basic theatrical stereo version. The only extra on the first disc is the appropriately edgy theatrical trailer. The real meat can be found on the second disc, beginning with a very extensive two hours-plus 2004 conversion between Van Sant and director Todd Haynes (Poison). Basically an audio commentary with visual accompaniment, this welcome interaction between two filmmakers offers plenty of anecdotes and oddball facts about the film while revealing some of the quirky personalities of both men involved. Much of the filming stories are amusing, particularly the fact that most of the cast crashed out at Van Sant's home (while the director was usually out toiling on the production) including several of the real-life hustlers recruited for the film. The much shorter but worthwhile "The Making of My Own Private Idaho" offers a 42-minute chat with editor Crutiss Clayton, cinematographers John Campbell and Eric Alan Edwards, and production designer David Brisbin discussing the creation of the film's unique look and feel. In "Kings of the Road," film scholar Paul Arthur offers a nifty 44-minute guide through the film's Shakespearean influences and its relationship to another major Falstaff film, Orson Welles¿ Chimes at Midnight, with other cinematic connections drawn throughout. Six deleted scenes are mostly extraneous bits interesting for their visual experiments rather than their contributions to the narrative, though there is one nice extra bit with Phoenix. The actor's legacy is the primary focus on a 20-minute video chat with his sister, Rain Phoenix, and producer Laurie Parker who remember his dedication and perseverance on the film. Finally, writer J.T. LeRoy (who wrote Elephant and the grueling The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things) and filmmaker Jonathon Caouette (the Van Sant-produced Tarnation) discuss their own experiences (including their lives on the street) and how it impacted the Van Sant project for an informative, candid 53 minutes. The entire set is housed in a thick case which also includes a 64-page book containing essays by LeRoy and critic Amy Taubin, a vintage article about the film by Lance Loud, and interviews with the director and two leads conducted during the film¿s initial promotional push. For more information about My Own Private Idaho, visit The Criterion Collection. To order My Own Private Idaho, go to TCM Shopping. by Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Shown at New York Film Festival September 20 - October 6, 1991.

River Phoenix was awarded Best Actor at the 1991 Venice Film Festival.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 5-14, 1991.

Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) September 3-14, 1991.

Shown at American Film Market (AFM) II in Santa Monica October 21-27, 1991.

Shown at MIFED in Milan October 20-25, 1991.

Shown at London Film Festival November 6-21, 1991.

The final shooting script was based on two earlier scripts, "Minions of the Moon" (which in some drafts was titled "My Own Private Idaho") and "In a Blue Funk," as well as a short story titled "My Own Private Idaho."

Named 1st runner-up in the New York Film Critics Circle voting for Best Picture of 1991. Also named 1st runner-up in the categories of Best Director and Best Actor (River Phoenix).

Film received the International Critic's Award at the 1991 Toronto Festival of Festivals.

Completed shooting December 21, 1990.

Began shooting November 1, 1990.

Film incorporates Shakespeare's play "Henry IV," yet is not a direct adaptation.

Ultra-Stereo

Released in United States Fall September 29, 1991

Expanded Release in United States October 18, 1991

Wide Release in United States November 8, 1991

Released in United States 1991 (Shown at Deauville Film Festival August 30 - September 9, 1991.)

Released in United States 1991 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 20 - October 6, 1991.)

Released in United States 1991 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival August 29 - September 2, 1991.)

Released in United States 1991 (River Phoenix was awarded Best Actor at the 1991 Venice Film Festival.)

Released in United States September 1991 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 5-14, 1991.)

Released in United States September 1991 (Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) September 3-14, 1991.)

Released in United States October 1991 (Shown at American Film Market (AFM) II in Santa Monica October 21-27, 1991.)

Released in United States October 1991 (Shown at MIFED in Milan October 20-25, 1991.)

Released in United States November 1991 (Shown at London Film Festival November 6-21, 1991.)

River Phoenix was named best actor of 1991 by the National Society of Film Critics.

Released in United States Fall September 29, 1991

Expanded Release in United States October 18, 1991

Wide Release in United States November 8, 1991

Released in United States on Video April 22, 1992

Released in United States 1991

Released in United States September 1991

Released in United States October 1991

Released in United States November 1991

Shown at Deauville Film Festival August 30 - September 9, 1991.

Released in United States on Video April 22, 1992