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Fatal Attraction

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Fatal Attraction is a 1987 American psychological thriller film directed by Adrian Lyne and written by James Dearden It is based on Dearden's 1980 short film Diversion Starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer, the film centers on a married man who has a weekend affair with a woman who refuses to allow it to end and becomes obsessed with him

The film was a massive box office hit, finishing as the second highest-grossing film of 1987 in the United States and the highest-grossing film of the year worldwide Critics were enthusiastic about the film, and it received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture which it lost to The Last Emperor, Best Actress for Close, and Best Supporting Actress for Archer Both lost to Cher and Olympia Dukakis, respectively, for Moonstruck

Contents

  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
    • 31 Writing
    • 32 Alternate ending
  • 4 Reception
    • 41 Academic analysis
    • 42 Awards
  • 5 Home media
  • 6 In other media
    • 61 Play
    • 62 TV series
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Plotedit

Dan Gallagher is a successful, happily married Manhattan lawyer whose work leads him to meet Alexandra "Alex" Forrest, an editor for a publishing company While his wife, Beth, and daughter, Ellen, are out of town for the weekend, Dan has an affair with Alex Though it was initially understood by both as just a fling, Alex starts clinging to him

Dan spends a second unplanned evening with Alex after she persistently asks him over When Dan tries to leave, she cuts her wrists in a suicide attempt He helps her to bandage them and later leaves He thinks the affair is forgotten, but she shows up at various places to see him She waits at his office one day to apologize and invites him to a performance of Madame Butterfly, but he politely turns her down She then continues to call him until he tells his secretary that he will no longer take her calls She then phones his home at all hours, and confronts him claiming that she is pregnant and plans to keep the baby Although he wants nothing to do with her, she argues that he must take responsibility After he changes his home phone number, she shows up at his apartment which is for sale and meets Beth, feigning interest as a buyer Later that night, he goes to her apartment to confront her, which results in a scuffle In response, she replies that she will not be ignored

Dan moves his family to Bedford, but this does not deter Alex She has a tape recording delivered to him filled with verbal abuse She stalks him in a parking garage, pours acid on his car, and follows him home one night to spy on him, Beth, and Ellen from the bushes in their yard; the sight of their content family literally makes her sick to her stomach Her obsession escalates further Dan approaches the police to apply for a restraining order against her claiming that it is "for a client", to which the lieutenant claims that he cannot violate her rights without probable cause, and that the "client" has to own up to his adultery

At one point, while the Gallaghers are not home, Alex kills Ellen's pet rabbit, and puts it on their stove to boil After this, Dan tells Beth of the affair and Alex's supposed pregnancy Enraged, she demands that he leave Before he goes, Dan calls Alex to tell her that Beth knows about the affair Beth gets on the phone and warns Alex that if she persists, she Beth will kill her Without Dan and Beth's knowledge, Alex picks up Ellen at school, takes her to an amusement park, buys her ice cream and takes her on a roller coaster Beth panics when she realizes that she does not know where Ellen is She drives around frantically searching and rear-ends a car stopped at an intersection She is injured and then hospitalized Alex later takes Ellen home, asking her for a kiss on the cheek Following Beth's release from the hospital, she forgives Dan and they return home

Dan barges into Alex's apartment and attacks her, choking her and coming close to strangling her He stops himself, but as he does, she lunges at him with a kitchen knife He overpowers her, but puts the knife down and leaves, with Alex leaning against the kitchen counter, smiling He approaches the police about having her arrested, and they start searching for her

Beth prepares a bath for herself and Alex suddenly appears, again with the kitchen knife She starts to explain her resentment of Beth, nervously fidgeting which causes Alex to cut her own leg and then attacks Beth Dan hears the screaming, rushes in, wrestles Alex into the bathtub, and seemingly drowns her She suddenly emerges from the water, swinging the knife Beth, who went searching for Dan's gun, shoots Alex in the chest, killing her The final scene shows police cars outside the Gallaghers' house As Dan finishes delivering his statement to the police, he walks inside, where Beth is waiting for him They embrace and proceed to the living room as the camera focuses on a picture of them and Ellen

Castedit

  • Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher
  • Glenn Close as Alexandra "Alex" Forrest
  • Anne Archer as Beth Rogerson Gallagher
  • Ellen Hamilton Latzen as Ellen Gallagher
  • Stuart Pankin as Jimmy
  • Ellen Foley as Hildy
  • Fred Gwynne as Arthur
  • Meg Mundy as Joan Rogerson, Beth's mother
  • Tom Brennan as Howard Rogerson, Beth's father
  • Lois Smith as Martha, Dan's secretary
  • Mike Nussbaum as Bob Drimmer
  • J J Johnston as O'Rourke
  • Michael Arkin as Lieutenant
  • Jane Krakowski as Christine, the babysitter

Productionedit

Writingedit

The film was adapted by James Dearden with some help from Nicholas Meyer2 from Diversion, an earlier 1980 short film by Dearden for British television In Meyer's book "The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood", he explains that in late 1986 producer Stanley R Jaffe asked him to look at the script developed by Dearden, and he wrote a four-page memo making suggestions for the script including a new ending for the movie A few weeks later he met with director Adrian Lyne and gave him some additional suggestions

Alternate endingedit

Alex Forrest was originally scripted slashing her throat at the film's end with the knife Dan had left on the counter, so as to make it appear that Dan had murdered her After seeing her husband being taken away by police, Beth finds a revealing cassette tape that Alex sent Dan in which she threatens to kill herself Upon realizing Alex's intentions, Beth takes the tape to the police, which acquits Dan of the murder The last scene shows, in flashback, Alex taking her own life by slashing her throat while listening to Madame Butterfly

This resulted in a three-week reshoot for the action-filled sequence in the bathroom and Alex's death by gunshot Her shooting by Beth juxtaposes the two characters, with Alex becoming the victim and Beth taking violent action to protect her family3

In the 2002 Special Edition DVD, Close comments that she had doubts re-shooting the film's ending, because she believed the character would "self-destruct and commit suicide"3 However, Close gave in on her concerns, and filmed the new sequence after having fought against the change for two weeks3 The film was initially released in Japan with the original ending The original ending also appeared on a special edition VHS and LaserDisc release by Paramount in 1992, and was included on the film's DVD release a decade later4

Receptionedit

After its release, Fatal Attraction engendered much discussion of the potential consequences of infidelity Some feminists, meanwhile, did not appreciate what they felt was the depiction of a strong career woman who is at the same time psychopathic3 Feminist Susan Faludi discussed the film in Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, arguing that major changes had been made to the original plot in order to make Alex wholly negative, while Dan's carelessness and the lack of compassion and responsibility raised no discussion, except for a small number of fundamentalist men's groups who said that Dan was eventually forced to own up to his irresponsibility in that "everyone pays the piper"5

The film has also left an indelible impression on male viewers Close was quoted in 2008 as saying, "Men still come up to me and say, 'You scared the shit out of me' Sometimes they say, 'You saved my marriage'"6

The film spent eight weeks at #1 in the US and eventually grossed $1566 million domestically, making the film the second highest-grossing film of 1987 in the US behind Three Men and a Baby It also grossed $1635 million overseas for a total gross of $3201 million, making it the biggest film of 1987 worldwide7 This in turn led to several similarly themed psychological thrillers being made throughout the late 1980s and 1990s

Overall, the film received positive reviews from critics Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 78% based on reviews from 46 critics, with the site's consensus "A potboiler in the finest sense, Fatal Attraction is a sultry, juicy thriller that's hard to look away from once it gets going"8 On Metacritic, the film has a rating of 67/100 based on reviews from 16 critics9

Academic analysisedit

The character of Alex Forrest has been discussed by psychiatrists and film experts, and has been used as a film illustration for the condition borderline personality disorder10 The character displays the behaviors of impulsivity, emotional lability, frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, frequent severe anger, self-harming, and changing from idealization to devaluation; these traits are consistent with the diagnosis, although generally aggression to the self rather than others is a more common feature in borderline personality disorder11 Some have instead considered the character to be a psychopath3

As referenced in Orit Kamirs' Every Breath You Take: Stalking Narratives and the Law, "Glenn Close's character Alex is quite deliberately made to be an erotomaniac Gelder reports that Glenn Close 'consulted three separate shrinks for an inner profile of her character, who is meant to be suffering from a form of obsessive condition known as de Clérambault's syndrome' Gelder 1990, 93—94"12

The popular term "bunny boiler", often used to describe an obsessive, spurned woman, derives from the scene where it is discovered that Alex has boiled the pet rabbit1314

Awardsedit

Award Category Subject Result
Academy Awards Best Picture Stanley R Jaffe Nominated
Sherry Lansing Nominated
Best Director Adrian Lyne Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay James Dearden Nominated
Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anne Archer Nominated
Best Film Editing Michael Kahn
Peter E Berger
Nominated
ACE Eddie Best Edited Feature Film Nominated
ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films Maurice Jarre Won
BAFTA Awards Best Actor Michael Douglas Nominated
Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated
Best Editing Michael Kahn Won
Peter E Berger Won
Casting Society of America Best Casting for Feature Film, Drama Risa Bramon Garcia Nominated
Billy Hopkins Nominated
David di Donatello Best Foreign Actor Michael Douglas Nominated
Best Foreign Actress Glenn Close Nominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directing – Feature Film Adrian Lyne Nominated
DVD Exclusive Award Original Retrospective Documentary, Library Release Jon Barbour Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Stanley R Jaffe Nominated
Sherry Lansing Nominated
Best Director Adrian Lyne Nominated
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Glenn Close Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Anne Archer Nominated
Goldene Kamera Golden Camera for Best International Actor Michael Douglas Won
Golden Camera for Best International Actress Glenn Close Won
Golden Screen Won
Grammy Award Best Album Written for a Motion Picture or Television Maurice Jarre Nominated
NBR Award Top Ten Films Won
People's Choice Award Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture Won
Writers Guild of America Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium James Dearden Nominated

American Film Institute recognition

  • AFI's 100 Years100 Thrills—#2815
  • AFI's 100 Years100 Heroes & Villains: Alex Forrest—Villain—#716

Home mediaedit

A Special Collector's Edition of the film was released on DVD in 200517 Paramount released Fatal Attraction on Blu-ray Disc on June 9, 200918 The Blu-ray release contained several bonus features from the 2005 DVD, including commentary by director Adrian Lyne, cast and crew interviews, a look at the film's cultural phenomenon, a behind-the-scenes look, rehearsal footage, the alternate ending, and the original theatrical trailer

In other mediaedit

Playedit

Main article: Fatal Attraction play

A play based on the movie opened in London's West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in March 201419 It was adapted by the movie's original screen play writer James Dearden20

TV seriesedit

On July 2, 2015, Fox announced that a TV series based on the film is being developed by Mad Men writers Maria and Andre Jacquemetton21 On January 13, 2017 it was announced that the project was canceled22

See alsoedit

  • Carolyn Warmus
  • List of films featuring home invasions
  • Mental illness in film
  • Fatal Instinct, a 1993 film parody
  • Film in the United States portal
  • 1980s portal
  • Horror portal

Referencesedit

  1. ^ "Fatal Attraction" Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2009-09-18 
  2. ^ Meyer, Nicholas 2009 The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood Penguin Books ISBN 9781101133477 
  3. ^ a b c d e Remembering Fatal Attraction 2002 DVD Special Features
  4. ^ "Fatal Attraction Special Collector's Edition 1987" Amazoncom Retrieved 14 February 2012 
  5. ^ See "Fatal and Foetal Visions: The Backlash in the Movies", Chapter 5 of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, published by Chatto & Windus, 1991
  6. ^ "Close says boiling that bunny saved marriages" The Times 2008-01-06 Retrieved 2010-07-16 
  7. ^ "Fatal Attraction" Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2007-08-05 
  8. ^ "Fatal Attraction 1987" Rotten Tomatoes 
  9. ^ "Fatal Attraction Reviews" Metacritic 18 September 1987 
  10. ^ Robinson, David J 1999 The Field Guide to Personality Disorders Rapid Psychler Press p 113 ISBN 0-9680324-6-X 
  11. ^ Wedding D, Boyd MA, Niemiec RM 2005 Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe p 59 ISBN 0-88937-292-6 
  12. ^ Kamir, Orit 2001 Every Breath You Take: Stalking Narratives and the Law University of Michigan Press p 256 ISBN 978-0-472-11089-6 
  13. ^ Singh, Anita "Fatal Attraction: My sympathy for the bunny-boiler" The Telegraph Retrieved 20 July 2014 
  14. ^ "The meaning and origin of the expression: Bunny boiler" phrasesorguk 
  15. ^ "America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies" PDF AFI Retrieved 14 February 2012 
  16. ^ "AFI's 100 Years100 Heroes & Villains" AFI Retrieved 14 February 2012 
  17. ^ "Fatal Attraction Special Collector's Edition DVD 2005" Amazoncom Retrieved 2 November 2012 
  18. ^ "Fatal Attraction Blu-ray" Retrieved 2 November 2012 
  19. ^ "Fatal Attraction and Strangers On A Train head to West End stage" bbccouk/news BBC News 20 September 2013 Retrieved 22 September 2013 
  20. ^ "'Fatal Attraction' to become a stage play, will debut in London" latimescom Los Angeles Times 23 September 2013 Retrieved 23 September 2013 
  21. ^ Leane, Rob "Fatal Attraction TV series in development" denofgeekcom Retrieved 21 January 2016 
  22. ^ http://deadlinecom/2017/01/fatal-attraction-remake-dead-fox-1201885804/

External linksedit

  • Fatal Attraction on Internet Movie Database
  • Fatal Attraction at the TCM Movie Database
  • Fatal Attraction at AllMovie
  • Fatal Attraction at Box Office Mojo
  • Fatal Attraction at Rotten Tomatoes
  • Fatal Attraction at Metacritic

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