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The Osterman Weekend (1983) Poster

Trivia

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Sam Peckinpah was fired when he refused to re-edit the film after it was screened for a test audience on 25 May 1983 and met with a confused and extremely mixed reaction. Producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer took over the editing with the assistance of editor Edward M. Abroms, drastically altering opening and ending sequences.
Director Don Siegel, long time friend and mentor to Sam Peckinpah, recommended Lalo Schifrin as the film's composer. Schifrin had scored five of Siegel's movies.
The mustache that Craig T. Nelson wears throughout the film is glued on. Director Sam Peckinpah apparently hated it and would rib Nelson constantly about it during the shoot.
The film was made and released about eleven years after its source novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum had been first published in 1972.
One of a number of films where director Sam Peckinpah was fired as director during post-production. Others were Convoy (1978) and Ride the High Country (1962).
The film featured the first major character in a Hollywood movie played by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer who was an American.
The code-names of John Tanner (Rutger Hauer and Maxwell Danforth (Burt Lancaster) were "Cloak" and "Dagger" respectively.
Actress Meg Foster hit actress Helen Shaver so hard by accident in one scene and welted her connecting with her jaw and hitting her. Shaver then got up and the two then did another take.
Director Sam Peckinpah was in ill-health throughout the shoot. The long-term toll of his drug and alcohol abuse suggested to many in the production that he was dying. Peckinpah would go off and take opportune naps but still completed and delivered his initial cut of the film on-time despite sickness and exhaustion.
The last two actors cast for the film were Sam Peckinpah regulars Cassie Yates and Dennis Hopper.
Second and final of two films that actress Cassie Yates made with director Sam Peckinpah, the first and been Convoy (1978) about five years earlier.
According to the February 1984 edition of Photoplay (UK), after this movie, director Sam Peckinpah intended to make a western as his next picture.
A number of actors who worked on the film, such as John Hurt, Dennis Hopper and Burt Lancaster, took lower salaries than their normal pay rate, so they could work with the legendary director Sam Peckinpah.
Director Sam Peckinpah apparently put as much of Alexander Haig into Burt Lancaster's character Maxwell Danforth as he dared he could.
This picture was the second film in the spy / espionage genre that director Sam Peckinpah directed. The first had been The Killer Elite (1975) about eight years earlier.
First ever feature film adaptation of a Robert Ludlum novel. It was the second Ludlum adaption overall for any filmed production, as _The Rhinemann Exchange (1977) had been made for television in 1977. The picture was the first of three 1980s features based on Ludlum novels, the second followed about two years later with The Holcroft Covenant (1985) and the decade ended with a tele-movie feature of The Bourne Identity (1988).
A feature-length documentary, Alpha to Omega: Exposing 'The Osterman Weekend' (2004), about the making of this movie, was made in 2004 for the film's Commemorative Edition two-disc DVD release .
The film marked some story element similarities with director Sam Peckinpah's earlier film Straw Dogs (1971). Peckinpah once said: "Same thing. Here we have a dead dog in the refrigerator, in Straw Dogs (1971) there was a dead cat in the closet. Both involve a house under siege".
A cut made by director Sam Peckinpah which was shown to a test audience is now available on the Anchor Bay DVD release. A number of people walked out of the test screening due to the film's infamous opening sex scene between Fassett (John Hurt) and his wife. The producers wanted Peckinpah to cut the scene out. Once he refuse to made the cuts, he got fired. Deleted scenes in this DVD include: 1) The sex scene is more extended and shot more wobbly to express how Fassett breaking point for revenge had started. 2) Delete scene of Osterman and Joe talking on the phone about their deal. 3) Extended scene of Virginia flirting with Dick on the phone. 4) There a deleted scene of John Tanner of having an affair with his director Marcia, there wakes up to find her dead. 5) The scene where Tanner and guest are arguing by the dinner table, in the theatrical cut Fassett switches on a Swiss ad, the Peckinpah's cut he has like a big image of Danforth. 6) Alterative ending is juxtapositioned between Tanner searching for his family and the TV studio.
According to "The Espionage Filmography", director Sam "Peckinpah claimed the film was botched in the final edit". In the February 1984 edition of Photoplay (UK), Peckinpah said he was happy with the final cut despite six minutes of scenes with humor being cut out which he said balanced the violence. According to Wikipedia, "The producers changed the opening sequence and deleted other scenes they deemed unnecessary. Peckinpah proclaimed that producers had once again sabotaged his film, a complaint he made after filming Major Dundee (1965) and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973). He was less vocal this time, mindful that studios and producers were keeping an eye on his behavior".
Final film of director Sam Peckinpah. The picture was also Peckinpah's big "comeback movie", it was his first in five years, his last film having been at the time Convoy (1978) back in 1978. The movie is also Peckinpah's only feature film of the 1980s decade.
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Before filming began, Sam Peckinpah insisted that he use actors that he usually worked with previously, such as James Coburn. Producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer balked at the idea and Peckinpah finally agreed to the cast that was chosen.
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Composer Lalo Schifrin had to sit by Sam Peckinpah's sick bed in order to spot the film and decide which scenes did or did not need music.
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Chris Sarandon's wife was pregnant throughout the filming of this movie. He said that the added tension provided his character with a little more depth. His wife gave birth shortly after filming wrapped.
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Burt Lancaster celebrated his 70th birthday while filming, and the cast and crew threw him a special honorary birthday party on set.
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Director Sam Peckinpah nicknamed actor Craig T. Nelson "Fish" because he had to stay under water a lot in the night-time swimming pool shoot-out sequence. Co-star Burt Lancaster once starred in a movie called The Swimmer (1968) where his character swam various swimming pools but Lancaster does not appear in the pool in this film.
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According to Jason Robards, Robert Ludlum offered to rewrite the overly complex and confusing script for free, but differences between the producers and director Sam Peckinpah, who'd expressed his concern from the beginning, prevented this from happening.
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The film is dedicated to Helmut Dantine.
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The movie's main movie poster featured a woman archer with a bow-and-arrow, and was a very similar image to what had appeared on the cover of some editions of the paperback dust-jackets of Robert Ludlum's source novel.
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Rutger Hauer received top first billing, John Hurt was second billed, Craig T. Nelson got third billing, Dennis Hopper had fourth billing and Burt Lancaster was billed fifth.
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The movie's signature house setting was a 1950s ranch located in upper Mandeville Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. It was a property once owned by Robert Taylor and has been frequently been known by the names the "Taylor Estate" as well as "Robert Taylor Ranch".
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The setting of Robert Ludlum's "The Osterman Weekend" source novel was changed from New Jersey to California for this picture.
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The production shoot for this film ran for fifty-four days.
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The movie's video sequences caused a number of problems for the production. The film's story calls for scenes with the actors watching various television screens. Problems arose in capturing the video images for film.
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Director Sam Peckinpah asked the producers to do re-write work on the script, was given permission to do so, but after submission of his first few pages, the producers relented, and forbid Peckinpah any more re-writes.
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The film was shot during November and December 1982 and January 1983.
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No damage, special effects or action work was meant to be done on location at Robert Taylor's former ranch residence, the filming location for the house seen in the movie, but the production just went ahead and shot out windows, conducted a pool-side shoot-out and damaged the swimming-pool.
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Actors Burt Lancaster and Craig T. Nelson were very keen and excited about doing the movie and working with director Sam Peckinpah.
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Actor Craig T. Nelson was relatively unknown at the time and felt uncomfortable at early read-throughs with star acting stalwarts John Hurt and Rutger Hauer due to the large amount of dialogue he had.
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Horror film maker William Castle was the first owner of the film rights to author Robert Ludlum's source novel. Castle asked Ludlum to write the screenplay but Ludlulm was reluctant and declined. Castle once said: "I didn't leave that crowd of ocelots to go back into it".
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According to the documentary Alpha to Omega: Exposing 'The Osterman Weekend' (2004), director Sam Peckinpah hated Robert Ludlum's novel and he did not like the screenplay for the movie as well. But regardless of his dislike for the book, Peckinpah still accepted the director's job as Peckinpah was desperate to re-establish his legendary director position within the Hollywood film community.
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According to the 30th December edition of "The Gettysburg Times", producer William N. Panzer acquired the Ludlum property with partner Peter S. Davis "after a chance encounter with the previous owner of the screen rights". The movie's budget "was raised by selling foreign, home-video and pay TV rights, with an assist from private investors". Panzer said: "Sam's name was a big help in selling the foreign rights. He's even more known abroad than he is here".
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Both actress Meg Foster and her son Christopher Starr appeared in the movie playing mother and son Ali Tanner and Steve Tanner respectively, Rutger Hauer's John Tanner being her husband and his father. To date [June 2013], this is the only film and TV credit for Starr. Director Sam Peckinpah had previously directed his father Ron Starr in Ride the High Country (1962).
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Larry Jones sold the film rights to Robert Ludlum's novel "The Osterman Weekend" to the film's producers, Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer, due to dissatisfaction in being able to have a suitable screenplay developed. In the book "Bloody Sam" (1991) by Marshall Fine, the film's scriptwriter Alan Sharp said that he didn't like his own script for the film and thought it incredible that producers used his draft for filming. The producers bought the film rights due to the marquee value of the project that they thought would elevate them out of the B-movie scene they had been making movies in.
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This was the first film in two consecutive years where actor John Hurt starred in a surveillance movie. Hurt the next year appeared in Michael Radford's film of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984).
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According to David Weddle's book on Peckinpah, "If They Move, Kill 'Em", despite the extensive surveillance sequences and Peckinpah's declining health, the film wrapped production on January 17, 1983, on time and on budget.
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The picture involved a considerable amount of filming at night.
The name of the TV show hosted by television journalist John Tanner (Rutger Hauer) was "Face to Face".
The name of the Soviet spy network was "Omega".
One of two 1983 big Hollywood movies released that year involving friends spending a weekend together. The other film was The Big Chill (1983).
The Finnish title of this movie is Verinen viikonloppu which means Bloody Weekend in English.

Cameo 

Buddy Joe Hooker:  The stuntman as a kidnapper.
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