5.7/10
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The Fan (1981)

Douglas, a record salesman, is an obsessive fan of actress Sally Ross. When his letters are rejected, he strikes out at her and her loved ones.

Director:

Ed Bianchi (as Edward Bianchi)

Writers:

Bob Randall (novel), Priscilla Chapman | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lauren Bacall ... Sally Ross
James Garner ... Jake Berman
Maureen Stapleton ... Belle Goldman
Hector Elizondo ... Police Inspector Raphael Andrews
Michael Biehn ... Douglas Breen
Anna Maria Horsford ... Emily Stolz
Kurt Johnson ... David Branum
Feiga Martinez Feiga Martinez ... Elsa
Reed Jones Reed Jones ... Choreographer
Kaiulani Lee Kaiulani Lee ... Douglas' Sister
Charles Blackwell Charles Blackwell ... John Vetta
Dwight Schultz ... Director
Dana Delany ... Saleswoman in Record Store
Terence Marinan Terence Marinan ... Young Man in Bar
Lesley Rogers Lesley Rogers ... Heidi
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Storyline

Douglas is a lonesome record salesman and a true fan of the actress Sally Ross. Every day he writes her gleaming letters of love. But the only response he gets are formal letters. So his love turns into hatred. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The final act is murder. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trance See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,082,096

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,082,096
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was controversial upon theatrical release due to the recent number of stalkings, harassment, shootings and even assassinations of celebrities. Stars at the time who had become victims of fan obsession included Jodie Foster, Jane Seymour, Larry Hagman, Persis Khambatta and Jacqueline Bisset. The Pope and Ronald Reagan had been shot at, whilst Sharon Tate, Dorothy Stratten and John Lennon all had been homicides. Paul Wilson wrote of The Fan (1981) in England's Photoplay magazine stating "When The Fan (1981) was released in America there was, not unnaturally, a public outcry for it echoes the killing of John Lennon. The [film] company put out a statement denying this, but the parallels are certainly there . . . Is there any wonder then, why there's been an outcry over The Fan (1981)?" See more »

Quotes

Belle Goldman: Dear Mr. Breen. Point one: I have no intention of showing your tasteless letter to Ms. Ross. Point two: I believe there is a law against sending pornography through the mail. Point three: If you should be so ill-advised as to write her any more letters, I can assure you there will be no reply.
Douglas Breen: Now I know why I haven't heard from you. Your secretary has been intercepting my letters. Obviously she is jealous of our relationship. Her possessiveness worries me. Has it occurred to you that she might...
See more »

Alternate Versions

At the 57:17 mark, the spoken line in all theatrical prints and previous video versions is "Dearest Bitch, See how accessible you are? How would you liked to be fucked with a meat cleaver?" The 2002 DVD release from Paramount Home Entertainment replaces that line with "Dearest Bitch, I've exhausted myself on thinking of ways to kill you." No reasons were given for this alteration. The rest of the film, including the gore, is intact. The VHS version features the original line. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Cast in Steele (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland
Performed by Jr. Walker and the All Stars
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One for the fans.
27 April 2010 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Hollywood legends in their twilight-years are what lifts this rather sub-standard, but callous thriller out the ho-hum mould. Refined performances by Lauren Bacall (which could be seen as a star vehicle for her), James Garner and Maureen Stapleton go along way and the chemistry they share is a pleasure to behold. That's not taking away from the rest of the cast, because everyone does an outstanding job… more so than the actual gaudy material deserves. A perfectly pitched Michael Biehn convincingly portrays a young lad who's a persistent admirer of an illustrious movie actress Sally Ross (Bacall). He constantly writes to her with each letter getting even more personal and disturbing, in which her long-serving secretary (Stapleton) at first hides from her. Soon enough it's gotten to the point that this fan would do anything to make his fantasy come true. Also showing up is commendable support by Hector Elizondo and Anna Maria Horsford. Watch out for the recognizable faces of Griffin Dunne and Dana Delany in minor parts. The problem mainly lies in its attempts for suspense and drama building, as it's too predictable and dry to be exhaustively effective. The shocks are nasty, but again lacking creditability and the lasting punch due to what characters are attacked or put under threat. The plot progression isn't as riveting. However Biehn's transformation from simple idol obsession to a possessively troubled mind is unnervingly intimate, especially when the narration has him reading out his letters before posting it. Ed Bianchi's black and white direction is technically sound, if mundanely slow-grinding which is bumped up by Pino Donaggio's vividly spiralling instrumental music score and grounded location work. Accessible, but unmemorable thriller.


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