Edit
Frances (1982) Poster

(1982)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (2)
Jessica Lange's performance in this film has been said to be actor Sir Anthony Hopkins's favorite by an actress.
Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard fell in love while working on the movie and subsequently had two children together, Hanna and Walker.
The movie has a lobotomy being performed on Frances Farmer. The operation never happened and was first fictionalized in William Arnold's Farmer biography "Shadowland" (1978).
This was Kevin Costner's first major motion picture.
László Kovács, the director of photography, decided that the best way to show a lobotomized Frances Farmer was to take out the eye lights he'd been using the entire film.
The film's closing credits declare that: "In exchange for the use of certain facilities and per agreement with the California Department of Mental Health, the producers have agreed to the following disclaimer: "Since the 1940s there have been major advances in the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The reprehensible conditions experienced by Frances Farmer are not typical of mental health treatment today"."
Scenes which made more sense of Farmer's breakdown and her relationship with her mother were dropped in favor of keeping the romance with Harry York intact.
For this movie and Tootsie (1982), actress Jessica Lange received two Oscar nominations for acting in the same year. It was the first time since 1942 that an actress had been nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the same year and the third time overall. Frances (1982) was Lange's first Best Actress Academy Award nomination but she won that year only for Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Tootsie (1982). Ironically, in Frances (1982), at one point in the film, her character is named a "little tootsie" by another character. Lange would eventually win a Best Actress Oscar for Blue Sky (1994).
The production company of this film was Mel Brooks's Brooksfilms, but as with The Elephant Man (1980), Brooks preferred not to have his personal name, which is associated with comedy, billed with the picture. So though Brooks was an executive producer on this movie, Brooks received no on-screen credit.
Jessica Lange, whose part was so emotionally taxing, urged that the film be shot in sequence, but - due to its low budget of $8 to $10 million - the movie was shot out of sequence.
This film was made and released about twelve years after actress Frances Farmer had passed away.
Graeme Clifford stated that he had put all the out-takes in storage and that they got thrown out without his knowledge, so all the deleted scenes are lost forever.
About a year after this movie was made and released, actress Susan Blakely, who had been considered to play Frances Farmer in this film, portrayed Farmer in the 1983 CBS tele-movie, Will There Really Be a Morning? (1983).
Actress and author Lois Kibbee, who had begun collaborating with Frances Farmer on a book about her life, worked as a consultant for the movie.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The movie was originally based on William Arnold's "Shadowland", a fictionalized biography of Frances Farmer optioned in 1979, but, when the producers jettisoned Arnold's involvement, the screenwriters created Harry York, a fictional character, because they had to prove the movie was based on original material. Arnold sued, and lost, finally, long after the film had been released.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
A picture of the real life Frances can be seen in the scene where Kim Stanley's Lillian Farmer is leafing through the family photo album.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Harry York, a largely fictional character played by Sam Shepard, was based on a political radical named Stewart Jacobson who claimed to have been Frances Farmer's lover. People who were close to Farmer claimed he had never even met her.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
John Barry, the film's composer, also wrote a song based on the main theme, entitled "Close Your Eyes", specifically for the movie. Although a demo exists with Barry accompanying Sarah Brightman on piano, the song failed to make the final cut.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
First cinema film directed by editor Graeme Clifford. Clifford had previously edited The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) which had co-starred this film's lead, Jessica Lange.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
One of two Hollywood biopics of actresses from Old Hollywood made and released around 1981-1982. This film was about Frances Farmer whereas the other movie Mommie Dearest (1981) was about Joan Crawford.
7 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
One of five cinema movie collaborations [to date, June 2015] of actors Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange. The films include Frances (1982), Country (1984), Far North (1988), Crimes of the Heart (1986) and Don't Come Knocking (2005).
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Kim Hunter and Celeste Holm were considered for the role of Lillian Farmer.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Kim Basinger auditioned for the role of Frances Farmer and got so far as to film screen tests with Sam Shepard, but ultimately lost out to Jessica Lange.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
This film's opening prologue states: "This film is based on the true life story of Frances Farmer".
6 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Glenda Jackson was interested in playing Frances Farmer.
3 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Jessica Lange, Kevin Costner and Anjelica Huston; and two Oscar nominees: Kim Stanley and Sam Shepard.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Kim Stanley and Sam Shepard would later appear in The Right Stuff (1983).
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

This film's closing epilogue states: "Frances [Farmer] made one final movie [The Party Crashers (1958)], then moved to Indianapolis where she hosted a daytime television show [Frances Farmer Presents (1958)]. She died on August 1, 1970, at the age of 56. Harry was not with her. She died as she had lived . . . alone.".
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Doctors, nurses and orderlies who worked at Western State Hospital at the time Frances Farmer was there and knew her, vehemently denied that Farmer was lobotomized and operated on. In fact, Dr Freeman, the lobotomist, performed all his lobotomies before witnesses in an operating theatre.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page