Behind the Screen

Updated November 28

Next Update: December 19

The following features interesting trivia and stories about the productions and actors of older and current films. Titles are chosen arbitrarily. This page will be updated every other Tuesday.
Note: As always..Spoiler Alerts

  

 

Indecent Proposal (1993)

R (1hr, 57min) Director - Adrian Lyne

 

Indecent Proposal is a 1993 drama film based on the novel of the same name by Jack Engelhard. It was directed by Adrian Lyne and stars Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson.

 

poster

Basic Plot:

A young couple very much in love are married and have started their respective careers, she as a real estate broker, he as an architect. She finds the perfect spot to build his dream house, and they get loans to finance it. When the recession hits, they stand to lose everything they own, so they go to Vegas to have one shot at winning the money they need. After losing at the tables, they are approached by a millionaire who offers them a million dollars for a night with the wife. Though the couple agrees that this is a way out of their financial dilemma, it threatens to destroy their relationship.

 

film scene

The film was a box office success, earning $106,614,059 in the U.S. and $160,000,000 internationally for a worldwide total of over $266,000,000. The film received mixed reviews from critics at the time of its release. Gene Siskel gave the film thumbs down. Roger Ebert, however, gave it thumbs up on Siskel & Ebert, and also wrote a positive print review. Susan Faludi, a feminist writer, objected to the movie's positioning of the female character. Another feminist characterized it as a "woman in prison" film. Today, it maintains a 38% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 39 reviews.

 

38%

Indecent Proposal was nominated for seven Razzie Awards in 1994 including Worst Actor (Robert Redford), Worst Actress (Demi Moore), Worst Director and Worst Original Song ("In All the Right Places"). It would ultimately win three trophies for Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson) and Worst Screenplay. The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Worst Movies Ever Made.

 

Razzie

Engelhard's novel contained cultural friction that the screenwriter left out of the movie: the main character, named Joshua, is Jewish, and his billionaire foil is an Arab. In a review of the novel, The New York Times summarized its themes as "the sanctity of marriage versus the love of money, the Jew versus significant non-Jews such as shiksas and sheiks, skill versus luck, materialism versus spirituality, Israel versus the Arab countries, the past versus the future, and the religious world versus the secular one."

 

novel

The soundtrack was released on April 6, 1993, by MCA Records. "In All the Right Places" by Lisa Stansfield was released as the album's lead single on May 24, 1993, and is the film's theme song. Sheena Easton makes a cameo appearance in the movie performing "The Nearness of You" at a pivotal part of the movie. The length of the soundtrack is 60 minutes and 37 seconds. "No Ordinary Love" by English band Sade was also prominently featured in the film, though it was not included on its soundtrack album. In 2015 Intrada Records released an album of John Barry's score.

 

soundtrack

The 1993 Mad About You episode "Pair of Hearts" in the last scene has Jamie and Paul at the gambling table when a stranger offers Paul $1M to sleep with Jamie. Unlike the movie (which also premiered in 1993) there's no angst here and they both readily agree. In season two, episode twenty-two of Community, millionaire Pierce Hawthorne offers Troy and Abed $1000 to buy the rights to their secret handshake. Recognizing the similarity to the premise of Indecent Proposal, the two film buffs accept the offer.

 

"Mad About You"

Director Adrian Lyne and star Demi Moore often fought on set over her character, with Woody Harrelson trying to be mediator between the two. Lyne (pictured) had argued that he wanted Moore to show vulnerability, while the actress defended herself. It was later while Lyne was editing the film that he realized she was portraying what he wanted all along, which he soon apologized to the actress.

 

Adrian Lyne

Director Adrian Lyne was originally dismissive of casting Woody Harrelson as David, but changed his mind after watching White Men Can't Jump (1992). Harrelson said in one interview that doing love scenes with Demi Moore was uncomfortable because he was good friends with Moore's then-husband, Bruce Willis.

Originally designed as a star vehicle for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, with Warren Beatty taking the part of the billionaire.

 

Cruise and Kidman

During the auction scene, Robert Redford's character is to leave the room. Redford kept missing his cue because he was listening to the jokes auction MC Billy Connolly was saying.

Demi Moore's black cut-out Thierry Mugler-designed dress generated such immense interest after the movie's release, it was often copied by other designers.

 

Thierry Mugler-designed dress

Diana is reading "The Firm" by John Grisham, which Paramount Pictures soon afterwards filmed as The Firm (1993). The secretary at the real-estate office where she works is reading "Backlash", a book which criticizes director Adrian Lyne for his portrayal of women in previous films.

Porn star Randy West was Robert Redford's body double.

 

Randy west

When Indecent Proposal was first released on VHS in 1993, the 1st pressing cassettes were colored green. Paramount Home Video did this five times (five movies, five colors). The other four were The Hunt for Red October (red); Ghost (white); The Godfather Part III (gold) and The Firm (blue).

 

green VHS

Woody Harrelson walked from Benny & Joon which he had signed a contract for to do Indecent Proposal. MGM sued and Paramount settled for $500,000.

Halle Berry was interested in the film but was refused an opportunity to audition because the studio was afraid of adding an unnecessary racial undertone to the plot.

 

Halle Berry

This marks the second time that director Adrian Lyne and cinematographer Howard Atherton collaborated on a film. Over ten years the films are: Fatal Attraction (1987), Indecent Proposal (1993) and Lolita (1997).

Oops:

When bidding at the auction David offers "1 million dollars" for the hippopotamus. This is not possible since his lawyer stated earlier the fee he would receive for the proposal, which would have been deducted from the million David received for the proposal. Therefore David didn't have 1 million dollars to bid.

 

Redford

Cast:

Robert Redford as John Gage
Demi Moore as Diana Murphy
Woody Harrelson as David Murphy
Seymour Cassel as Mr. Shackleford
Oliver Platt as Jeremy
Billy Bob Thornton as Day Tripper
Rip Taylor as Mr. Langford
Billy Connolly as Auction M.C.
Tommy Bush as David's Father
Sheena Easton as Herself
Herbie Hancock as Himself

 

 

 

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