The picture has been said to have been inspired by Preston Sturges's classic screwball comedy Unfaithfully Yours (1948) itself remade just a few years after this movie, sequel, with very same title (thirty-five or thirty-six years difference) with Unfaithfully Yours (1984).
This was Dolly Parton's theatrical film debut. In preparation for her role as Doralee Rhodes, she not only committed to memory her own part, but the parts of every other actor in the film. Apparently, the two other and more experienced starring actresses, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda burst out laughing when Dolly Parton let on that she believed that pictures were filmed in the chronological order of a film's script.
Apparently, Dolly Parton was cast in Nine to Five (1980), because Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin felt that she would "bring them the West". Parton was both a lead actress (along with the two others) and singer in this film and sang the title '9 to 5' song which was Oscar nominated. In an interview with Isaac Mizrahi, Parton states that when she wrote and performed the theme song to Tomlin and Fonda, she used her long acrylic nails to create the beat of the song.
The movie spurred a reasonably successful sitcom television series Nine to Five (1982) which went for eighty-five episodes and aired between 1982 and 1988. The first three seasons were broadcast on ABC between spring 1982 and fall 1983, while the second and final season aired in syndication between 1986 and 1988. Dolly Parton's younger sister Rachel Dennison played Parton's role Doralee Rhodes in the series.
Dolly Parton's almost shy & reclusive husband, Carl Dean never appears in public with her, or accompanies her to any musical concerts & other events. One of the very few times, he has ever made an exception was during filming some scenes of Nine to Five (1980) & being Dolly's theatrical film debut,. When he walked into the studio, Jane pointed him out across the room and said "Look at that handsome man! I call him, he's mine!" to Lily Tomlin. Dolly Parton then "spilled the beans" of the fact that he is her husband. After a few minutes of them conversing together, Dolly broke the ice, of being married to him, she introduced him to the other actresses. When Jane Fonda heard Dolly's remark, she was extremely & deeply embarrassed temporarily, especially after she made a remark, to Lily Tomlin, as if she was out, "husband hunting."
To prepare for her role as Judy Bernly, a middle-aged divorcée entering the workforce, actress Jane Fonda interviewed numerous women, who had entered the labor market late in life due to being widowed or divorced. Fonda took from this an element for her character, that of being over-dressed on her first day. Fonda wore an over-frilly over-prim very dowdy conservative wardrobe with over-sized glasses, elaborate hats and an over-done hair-style.
Lily Tomlin originally turned down the role of Violet because she was working on The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981). She eventually relented and got the movie producer of her then current film, to temporarily postpone acting activities,, where the film was at, as of then, so that she could act in Nine to Five (1980) also.
Dolly Parton accepted the role with the condition that she would write and sing the movie introductory theme song, a deal which worked out great for everybody when 9 To 5's theme song was nominated for an Academy Award. This deal has continued almost continuously in almost all of Parton's starring movies. The only film that refused her music & lyrics was Steel Magnolias (1989), which declined to use the Parton penned song "Eagle When She Flies" in the movie.
Approximately, in the middle of the film, Dolly Parton and her two colleagues, Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda sent away another employee, of the office & worked in a different department, to their boss. She was an extremely curious secretary, that worked in a different office, to the Aspen Language Center in Colorado to learn French. The very same airplane, (a TWA 747), shown in this film, later was used in reality on the ill-fated flight of TWA 800, which exploded shortly after its lifting off & started its flight in the air from Long Island, New York, on Wednesday, July 17th, 1996.
Violet's fantasy features Disney-like characters from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (including Violet herself as Snow White), Bambi (1942) and Robin Hood (1973). The animated characters resembled the Disney characters but were obviously drawn differently for legal reasons.
The name of the company was "Consolidated Industries". A majority of the picture is interiors of its workplace and this was filmed on Sound Stage 6 at 20th Century-Fox studios in Hollywood. A two-level set that cost around $1 million was constructed to feature interiors of two floors of a then modern office complex.
The picture ranks number 74th, on the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest Movies" chart. When first completed and inside theatre buildings, all across United States of America & Canada, it was in the top three movies, while it was first being shown in theaters & watched by theater patrons.
A sequel of this movie was planned but then the sequel to be was immediately scrapped after the death of actor, Colin Higgins, on Friday, August 5th, 1988. (His life time can be seen at Wikipedia's address link: [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Higgins]).
A $150 ticket charity retro premiere of this movie was held in 2003 to benefit the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (GCAPP) which was founded by the film's top-billed actress Jane Fonda. When asked which was their favorite scene from the movie, the film's three female actresses then agreed that it was tying horrible boss Dabney Coleman up in the SM-like rig, was their favorite clip, of the notoriously humorous movie.
First of two consecutive back-to-back movies for actor, Dabney Coleman & actress, Jane Fonda, they acted as a husband & wife (but not to each other) as married spouses in 1981's On Golden Pond (1981), the following year.
The nickname, the trio of actresses gave to their extremely short-tempered boss, Franklin M. Hart Jr. (Dabney Coleman was a "sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot". (The phrase is now labeled inside a rectangle) itself to being the edition title of on DVD & Blu-Ray discs, release of the film being called the "Sexist Egotistical Lying Hypocritical Bigot Edition". The phrase is listed on the paper slips of DVD & Blu-Ray with other movie highlights.
A release on VHS tape, was originally planned, with the very same date as the film's theatrical release. However. The video release was postponed three months, due to complaints from movie theater owners & the numerous letters they received all across North America.
In 2009 a musical version of "9 to 5" opened on Broadway on Thursday, April 30th 2009. The opening cast included Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty, and Marc Kudisch. "9 to 5: The Musical" closed on Sunday, September 6th, 2009, after 148 performances and 24 previews. Thursday, April 30th, 2009, to Sunday, September 6th, 2009, are 130 consecutive days, (18 weeks & 4 days).
The man cast as Doralee's husband was actually married to a close friend of Dolly Parton's, and had known Dolly for quite some time. She says that is the only reason why she was able to kiss him on camera.
In one scene, Dabney Coleman's sexist pig character is watching a soap opera. Two years later in the film Tootsie (1982) Coleman played a sexist pig who was the director of a soap opera. In fact, "Tootsie" earned its title from some of the demeaning nicknames he calls Dustin Hoffman's female alter ego character role & personality.
The three leading character role first names were based closely on each actress' real first names. Jane Fonda's role was Judy Bernly, Debuting actress, Dolly Parton's role was Doralee Rhodes and Lily Tomlin's role was Violet Newstead.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
All three women end up following through, to some extent, on their fantasies for getting rid of Mr. Hart: Judy tries to shoot him in his office, Doralee lassos and ties him up in his bedroom, and Violet puts rat poison in his coffee, on purpose..