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Little Murders (1971) Poster

Trivia

Star Elliott Gould starred in the original 1967 Broadway production of "Little Murders", which flopped after one week of seven performances in late April at the Broadhurst Theatre. Gould was the only cast member to appear in the film, reprising his role as Alfred Chamberlain. The Broadway cast included Barbara Cook as Alfred's girlfriend and future wife Patsy Newquist, Heywood Hale Broun as her father Carol Newquist, Ruth White as her mother Marjorie, and David Steinberg as her brother Kenny. Phil Leeds appeared as Lt. Practice and Richard Schaal was Rev. Dupas. Alfred's parents did not appear as characters in the original play.
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After seeing the film, Jean Renoir wrote to Alan Arkin, telling him "this film will never be forgotten".
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According to Elliott Gould, he wanted Jane Fonda to play the role of Patsy. But when he met with Fonda, he was so intimidated by her that he could not speak.
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Elliott Gould bought the film rights to the play with a view to creating a vehicle for himself.
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Jules Feiffer's original play only lasted on Broadway for 7 performances in 1967. It did however enjoy a more successful run in London with the Royal Shakespeare Company the following year which prompted a revival on Broadway in 1969. This proved to be much more popular, running for 400 performances.
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Alan Arkin's feature film debut as a director.
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The film is opened out considerably from the play which took place entirely within Patsy's apartment.
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Jean-Luc Godard was courted to direct but he refused to attend any meetings. His reason why was "When my wife and children ask me to tell them that I love them, I tell them to go fuck themselves". (A typically elliptical quote from Godard who doesn't have any children.)
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Co-stars John Randolph and Doris Roberts also would later appear together in 1989's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation as character's Clark and Ellen Griswolds' (Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo) in-laws.
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The inspiration behind Jules Feiffer's play was his disillusionment with the state of the world and his perceived breakdown in social order following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
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Alan Arkin had directed the play in its original Broadway run so was one of the more natural choices to direct the film version.
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