.:The Witches of Eastwick:.

Director: George Miller

Year: 1987
Country: USA

Tagline: Three single women in a picturesque village have their wishes granted - at a cost - when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives.

Three Beautiful Women. One Lucky Devil.

Production Companies: Warner Bros. Pictures, The Guber-Peters Company, Kennedy Miller Productions

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins, Keith Jochim, Carel Struycken, Carole Ita White

Writers: John Updike, Michael Cristofer

Produced by: Neil Canton, Rob Cohen, Don Devlin, Peter Guber, Jon Peters

Original Music by: John Williams

Cinematography by: Vilmos Zsigmond

Film Editing by: Hubert C. de la Bouillerie, Richard Francis-Bruce

Genre: Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Runtime: 118 min

Release Date:

12 June 1987 USA
27 August 1987 Australia
10 September 1987 Argentina
16 October 1987 Finland
23 October 1987 Portugal
23 October 1987 Sweden
23 October 1987 UK
29 October 1987 West Germany
30 October 1987 Spain
11 September 1988 Italy
25 May 1989 Hungary

Opening Weekend: $9,411,055 (USA)

US Gross: $63,766,510

Worldwide Gross: $80,000,000

Filming Dates: 14 July 1986

Filming Location: Cohasset and Scituate, Massachusetts, USA.

 

 

Plot summary:

 

Alexandra Medford, Jane Spofford and Sukie Ridgemont are three dissatisfied women living in the small town of Eastwick, New England. Alexandra is a sculptress and single mother, Jane is a newly divorced music teacher incapable of having children, and Sukie is an extremely fertile woman with six children and also works as a journalist at the "Eastwick Word". Besides an everlasting friendship, these three women share similar misfortunes of being abandoned by their husbands. Not knowing of themselves as being Witches, the women unwittingly form a coven of which consists of weekly get-togethers, during which they drink, play cards, and share their fantasies about ideal men.

The day after one such meeting, a mysterious man arrives in the town and immediately stirs up trouble by buying the city's landmark property, the Lennox mansion. The arrival of this enigmatic stranger causes fascination among the townfolks, all except local townswoman Felicia Alden, the Christian wife of newspaper editor Clyde Alden. Clyde is the boss of Sukie (who Felicia does not like). Although Felicia is not a Witch, she is somehow able to sense that this man, whose name is easily forgotten by everyone, is up to no good. One night, at Jane's music recital, the man appears and makes a spectacle of himself, which leads to more gossip among the people. After the recital Jane receives flowers and a personal note from the man, signed with the initial "D". This then sparks Sukie's memory, finally revealing the man's name to be Daryl Van Horne. At the very moment of Sukie remembering his name, her beaded necklace inexplicably breaks and falls to the floor, causing Felicia, who had mocked Daryl's name, to trip down a large staircase, breaking her leg.

Daryl begins to seduce the women one by one, beginning with self-assured Alexandra, who is at first appalled by his arrogance and bravado, but then allows him into her heart. He moves on to Jane, who is seen as being very shy and reserved. Jane explains to Daryl that the home he lives in was once said to be an area where people were burned alive after being accused of witchcraft. Daryl then encourages Jane to stop living a life of doubt and learn to enjoy herself. She takes his advice and begins to act and live recklessly. The next day Daryl invites all three women over to the mansion, which allows him to finally turn his attentions on Sukie. A jealous rivalry emerges between the women, leading to a supernatural game of tennis, where the tennis ball begins to behave oddly--floating, stopping in mid-air--in response to their mood. This shared telekinesis reveals to the women their magical abilities. The women decide to forgo competition and share Daryl, and have the most fun they've ever had in their entire lives.

Their frequent presence at Daryl's mansion leads to gossip and rumors spread by Felicia. Alex, Sukie, and Jane become outcasts of the city; the women of Eastwick acknowledge the trio with nasty looks and snotty comments. The Witches begin to have second thoughts on whether or not they should continue to see each other, which then motivates Daryl into causing the girls to unknowingly cast a spell on Felicia, causing her to projectile vomit cherry stones. Felicia is finally killed by husband, who beats her with a fire poker after being horrified when seeing his wife so incredibly ill. Terrified of the dangerous effects of their relationship with Daryl, they agree among each other to never see Daryl or each other for a long period of time. This upsets Daryl, causing him to use his powers against the girls, bringing their worst fears to life. Alex awakens into a bed of snakes, Jane begins to lose her youth transforming into a old woman, and Sukie is forced to feel intense pain. The women reconcile with Daryl in order to get in his good graces again.

Realizing that the only way to rid Daryl from their lives is by using Witchcraft against him, the girls trick Daryl into going to town for a while as they practice a banishing spell to make him go away forever. Sukie goes to Daryl's office and takes a spell book he kept locked in a glass chest. Jane gathered some of Daryl's personal belongings such as hair, clothing, and pictures of him. Alex created a Voodoo doll out of wax that resembled Daryl. Meanwhile, as Daryl was in town shopping for the girls, he began to feel painful sharp aches in his body from the girls sticking pins and needles into the doll. Daryl becomes infuriated with the girls betrayal, and as he made his way home, Daryl's devilish figure was beginning to reveal itself more and more. Now terrified of what Daryl is capable of doing to them, the girls throw the Voodoo into the flames of a fire then causing Daryl to disappear.

Eighteen months later, Alex, Jane, and Sukie are now the mothers of Daryl's sons. They still have their Magic powers and they now live together in Daryl's mansion. Daryl appears on television screen and talks to the boys, but the women catch him and turn the TV off.

Photos:

  

See all photos in the gallery.

Trivia:

- Composer John Williams' own whistling was dubbed in over Jack Nicholson's for the scene in at the ice cream counter.

- Bill Murray was originally cast to play Daryl Van Horne.

- Anjelica Huston was auditioned for the role of Alex, but she was passed over for the part which eventually went to Cher.

- Cher was offered the role of Jane but preferred the part of Alexandra, the role that Susan Sarandon had been hired to play. Sarandon did not discover that she would be playing Jane until she showed up on location.
-
The movie was turned into an award-winning comedy musical by Cameron Mackintosh.

- Test audiences were displeased with the original ending of the film, prompting several versions of the ending to be shot.

- In an interview with the Australian magazine Cinema Papers in the early 1990s, the director, George Miller, revealed that the shoot had been extremely difficult as he was initially unfamiliar with Hollywood-style communication. In a meeting to discuss ways to reduce the budget Miller volunteered to give up his trailer because he was always needed on the set and had no time to use it. This was interpreted by the studio as him being a pushover, so they began to interfere with his production requests. If he asked for 50 extras, the studio would provide a dozen. If he asked for two cameras they would provide one. Miller decided to fight fire with fire and refused to shoot each scene until his production demands were met. The studio responded by looking for a new director but were prevented by Jack Nicholson, who supported Miller and vowed to walk off the production if he was replaced.

- The snake seen crawling over Van Horne's bowl of fruit is a harmless gray-banded king snake (Lampropeltis alterna), common in Texas.

- The piece Daryl Van Horne plays on the violin is Caprice #16 in Gm by Niccolò Paganini.

- The quote "A woman is a hole, isn't that what they say? All the futility of the world pouring into her" is from the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre's book, "Being and Nothingness".

- Jane's character believes she can't have children of her own until Daryl gets her pregnant. Susan Sarandon also thought she couldn't have children, until becoming pregnant with director Franco Amurri's child Eva Amurri who was born in 1985.

- While getting into bed with the mountain of snakes, Cher famously quipped, "Which one is (producer) Jon Peters?"

- The opening shot zooming in on the town of Eastwick was originally to feature a seagull flying along with the camera. Visual Effects Supervisor Michael Owens had great difficulty finding a suitable bird. The plan was to acquire a taxidermy-type bird and put animatronics in it. First, it turned out to be illegal to own a dead seagull in California. When they were able to borrow one, another law stated it to be returned to its legal owner in the same condition it came in. After turning the bird into a rod-puppet of sorts, the team spent weeks perfecting the motion with up to ten puppeteers working simultaneously. In the end, none of their work ended up on screen, because the opening credits were added to the shot, and the seagull was found to be too distracting.

- Industrial Light and Magic was hired to animated the tennis ball, as it violates the laws of physics the tennis match. However, when it turned out the three main actresses were not very proficient tennis players, the effects company saw their workload doubled as they were asked to create the ball for the entire sequence (with the exception of some close-ups).

- Actress Veronica Cartwright also appears in the television series remake, "Eastwick" (2009).

 

Memorable quotes:

 

Alexandra Medford: I don't think that men are the answer to everything.
Sukie Ridgemont: No.
Jane Spofford: Then why do we always end up talking about them?

 

Alexandra Medford: I think... no, I am positive... that you are the most unattractive man I have ever met in my entire life. You know, in the short time we've been together, you have demonstrated EVERY loathsome characteristic of the male personality and even discovered a few new ones. You are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, you're morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, a lousy sense of humor and you smell. You're not even interesting enough to make me sick.

 

Sukie Ridgemont: You're terrible!
Alexandra Medford: No I'm not. I'm fabulous
.

 

Alexandra Medford: Who are you?
Daryl Van Horne: Just your average, horny little devil
.

 

Daryl Van Horne: Of course, I wouldn't know a snowy egret if I were pissing on one. Lunch?
Alexandra Medford: I think it's a little late in the season.
Daryl Van Horne: For lunch?
Alexandra Medford: No, pissing on birds
.

 

Alexandra Medford: I hope his dick is bigger than his I.Q.

 

Daryl Van Horne: I like women. I admire them. But, if you want me to treat you like a dumb twit I will. What's the point? You have brains Alex, more than brains, and you don't even know it do you? Well most women do not.
Alexandra Medford: Are you married?
Daryl Van Horne: Good question! You see, brains! The answer is no, I don't believe in it. Good for the man, lousy for the woman. She dies, she suffocates. I've see it! And then the husband runs around complaining that he's fucking a dead person, and he's the one who killed her!
[bursts into laughter]

 

[constructing their ideal man]
Sukie Ridgemont: Huge.
Jane Spofford: I prefer small.
Sukie Ridgemont: Oh, yeah, right...
Jane Spofford: No, no, no, Sam was huge, and there were times when I just could not face it.
Alexandra Medford: Really? Well, I'm sort of in the middle myself. But hey, as long as it works, it's in.
Sukie Ridgemont, Alexandra Medford, Jane Spofford: It's in.
[they clink glasses]

 

[first lines]
Carol Medford: You don't have to come today, you know, I mean, if you don't want to.
Alexandra Medford: No, sweetheart, I want to, it's just that I have a million things I have to do first.

 

Weekend Chart Record

 

Date

Rank

Gross

% Change

Theaters

Per Theater

Total Gross

Days

6/12/1987

2

$9,454,238

 

1,103

$8,571

$9,454,238

3

6/19/1987

1

$8,251,230

-12.72%

1,123

$7,347

$23,040,564

10

6/26/1987

3

$6,309,402

-23.53%

1,317

$4,791

$33,555,541

17

7/3/1987

5

$4,255,271

-32.56%

1,337

$3,183

$41,107,940

24

7/10/1987

6

$3,653,639

-14.14%

1,281

$2,852

$47,267,541

31

7/17/1987

10

$2,804,682

-23.24%

1,118

$2,509

$51,918,373

38

9/4/1987

26

$534,072

 

366

$1,459

$61,669,736

87

9/25/1987

30

$191,001

 

269

$710

$62,787,608

108

 

Awards:

 

Academy Awards, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Nominated

Oscar

Best Music, Original Score
John Williams

Best Sound
Wayne Artman
Tom Beckert
Tom E. Dahl
Art Rochester

 

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

Saturn Award

Best Actor
Jack Nicholson

Nominated

Saturn Award

Best Actress
Susan Sarandon

Best Fantasy Film

Best Music
John Williams

Best Special Effects
Michael Lantieri
(Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)).

Best Supporting Actress
Veronica Cartwright

Best Writing
Michael Cristofer

 

BAFTA Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

BAFTA Film Award

Best Special Effects
Michael Lantieri
Michael Owens
Ed Jones
Bruce Walters

 

BMI Film & TV Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

BMI Film Music Award

John Williams

 

Grammy Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Nominated

Grammy

Best Album of Original Instrumental Background

Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television

John Williams

 

Hugo Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Nominated

Hugo

Best Dramatic Presentation

 

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1987

Won

LAFCA Award

Best Actor
Jack Nicholson
Also for Wolfsmilch (1987).
Tied with Steve Martin for Roxanne (1987).

 

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1987

Won

NYFCC Award

Best Actor
Jack Nicholson

Also for Wolfsmilch (1987) and Broadcast News -

Nachrichtenfieber (1987).

 

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