August 15, 2009

Movie Sunday: Animal House

This blog is very heavily visited by college students looking up information for their assignments and term papers, so to welcome everyone back to school (it is mid-August after all), we'll do a Movie Sunday post on the classic 1978 movie, Animal House. What's so striking to me about this movie is not just the comic material, but what would become an all-star cast (other than the big names at that time of John Belushi and Donald Sutherland). Two actors made their film debuts in Animal House (Karen Allen and Kevin Bacon), and a number of others have had very long and successful careers since then (e.g., Bruce McGill and Tim Matheson). The fact that the score was written by Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven) is icing on the cake.

  • Donald Sutherland was so convinced of the movie's lack of potential, that, when offered a percent of the gross or a flat fee of $75,000 for his three days' work, he took the upfront payment. Had he taken the gross percentage he would have been worth an additional $3-4 million.
  • Although the film takes place in Pennsylvania [and was filmed in Oregon], a Tennessee flag is shown in the courtroom. This is because the set decorator was unable to find a large enough Pennsylvania flag for the scene, and the blue Oregon state flag wouldn't work because it had "State of Oregon" text on the upper part. So the set decorator used the most generic flag he could find, which turned out to be the Tennessee state flag.
  • All of John Belushi's behavior in the cafeteria was improvised. He was not told to pile all the food on his tray and when he did the director urged the camera operator to "stay with him." The infamous "zit scene" was also improvised. The reaction from the cast is genuine.
  • The scene in which Bluto smashes a bottle over his head to cheer Flounder up took 18 takes because Stephen Furst kept laughing.

    Dean Vernon Wormer: Greg, what is the worst fraternity on this campus?
    Greg Marmalard: Well that would be hard to say, sir. They're each outstanding in their own way.
    Dean Vernon Wormer: Cut the horseshit, son. I've got their disciplinary files right here. Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.
    Greg Marmalard: You're talking about Delta, sir.
    Dean Vernon Wormer: Of course I'm talking about Delta, you TWERP!

    Pinto: Before we go any further, there's something I have to tell you. I lied to you. I've never done this before.
    Clorette De Pasto: You've never made out with a girl before?
    Pinto: No. No, I mean, I've never done what I think we're gonna do in a minute. I sort of did once, but i was drunk...
    Clorette De Pasto: That's okay, Larry. Neither have I. And besides, I lied to you, too.
    Pinto: Oh, yeah? What about?
    Clorette De Pasto: I'm only 13.
  • No comments: