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Remembering "Die Hard"


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#1 Michael Coate

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 03:54 AM

On the 15th, this article was posted on the Fans of Showmanship website.


Twenty years ago today, the classic action flick ?Die Hard? was released.


REMEMBERING DIE HARD

Compiled by Michael Coate


CAST:
John McClane ? Bruce Willis
Holly Gennaro-McClane ? Bonnie Bedelia
Sgt. Al Powell ? Reginald Veljohnson
Dwayne T. Robinson ? Paul Gleason
Argyle ? De?voreaux White
Thornburg ? William Atherton
Ellis ? Hart Bochner
Hans Gruber ? Alan Rickman
Karl ? Alexander Godunov
Theo ? Clarence Gilyard, Jr.

DIRECTOR: John McTiernan

SCREENPLAY: Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza (screenplay), Roderick Thorp (novel)

RELEASE DATE: Friday, July 15, 1988 (70mm limited release); Wednesday, July 20, 1988 (general release)

PROMOTIONAL SLOGANS:
?40 Stories Of Sheer Adventure!?
?An Adventure That Will Blow You Through The Back Wall Of The Theatre.?

PRODUCTION BUDGET: $28 million

OPENING-WEEK BOOKINGS: 21

OPENING-WEEKEND BOXOFFICE GROSS: $601,851

CUMULATIVE DOMESTIC BOXOFFICE GROSS: $83 million

RANK ON TOP-GROSSING FILMS OF 1988: 7

MEMORABLE DIALOGUE [WARNING: INCLUDES PROFANITY]

?Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?? ? Hans / ?Yippee-kai-yay, motherf***er.? ? McClane

?Nine million terrorists in the world, and I got to kill one with feet smaller than my sister.? ? McClane

?Attention, whoever you are, this channel is reserved for emergency calls only.? ? Supervisor / ?No f***ing sh**, lady! Do I sound like I?m ordering a pizza?? ? McClane

?I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane.? ? Hans

?Oh my god! The quarterback is toast!? ? Theo

?You throw quite a party. I didn?t realize they celebrated Christmas in Japan.? ? McClane / ?We?re flexible. Pearl Harbor didn?t work out, so we got you with tape decks.? ? Joe Takagi

?We?re going to need some more FBI guys, I guess.? ? Dwayne T. Robinson

?Hey, business is business. You use a gun. I use a fountain pen. What?s the difference?? ? Harry Ellis


WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

?Alan Rickman, a British stage actor, in his movie debut as the chief terrorist, creates a classic villain.? ? Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune

??Die Hard? is dynamite.? ? Joel Siegel, Good Morning America

?[Bruce] Willis has found the perfect vehicle to careen wildly onto the crowded L.A. freeway of ?Lethal Weapons? and ?Beverly Hills Cops.? And he keeps a respectable grip on the wheel, his only acting requirements being to shift that ?Moonlighting? glibspeak into R-rated high-drive and fire his Baretta 92 to heart?s content.? ? Desson Howe, The Washington Post

??Die Hard? is exceedingly stupid, but escapist fun.? ? Caryn James, The New York Times

?This summer?s action movie to see.? ? Mike Clark, USA Today

?For sheer roller-coaster thrills, the pick of the crop is ?Die Hard?.? ? David Ansen, Newsweek

?See it in 70mm and kick back; it?s a party of a movie.? ? Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle

??Die Hard? has audiences rising to their feet and screaming at the screen! You?ll have a whale of a time.? ? Mike McGrady, Newsday

??Die Hard? is the archetypal big-deal Hollywood exploitation picture. It?s like a giant war toy, a triumph of well-oiled mechanical precision that performs miracles of destruction. As a grand flourish of cinematic technique, it is awesome; as a human drama, it is disgusting and silly, a mindless depiction of carnage on an epic scale.? ? Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times


INTERNATIONAL RELEASE DATES

09.21.1988 ? France (?Lepiegede Cristal?)
09.23.1988 ? Taiwan
09.27.1988 ? Philippines
09.28.1988 ? Italy (?Trappola de Cristallo?)
09.28.1988 ? Spain (?Jungla de Cristal?)
09.30.1988 ? Sweden (?Operasjon Skyscraper?)
10.06.1988 ? Australia
10.07.1988 ? Austria (?Stirb Langsam?)
10.07.1988 ? Finland (?Vain Kuolleen Ruumiini Yli?)
10.07.1988 ? New Zealand
10.19.1988 ? Hong Kong
10.19.1988 ? Singapore
11.11.1988 ? The Netherlands
11.11.1988 ? Norway (?Die Hard: Operasjon Skyscraper?)
11.11.1988 ? Thailand
11.11.1988 ? West Germany (?Stirb Langsam?)
12.02.1988 ? Malaysia
12.15.1988 ? Argentina (?Duro de Matar?)
12.26.1988 ? Denmark
02.02.1989 ? United Kingdom
02.11.1989 ? Japan
04.13.1989 ? Mexico (?Duro de Matar?)
04.20.1989 ? Colombia (?Duro de Matar?)


TRIVIA

The Nakatomi Plaza featured in the film is the Fox Plaza, the Los Angeles corporate offices of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

?Die Hard? is based upon the 1979 book ?Nothing Lasts Forever? by Roderick Thorp.

The world premiere of ?Die Hard? was held on July 7, 1988 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, CA.

Bruce Willis received a reported $5 million salary for his acting services despite having no track record in the action-adventure genre.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds and Richard Gere all reportedly passed on playing the role of John McClane.

?Die Hard? was nominated for four Academy Awards: Film Editing, Sound, Sound Effects Editing, Visual Effects. The film won a BMI Film Music award for Michael Kamen?s original score and a Hocho Eiga Sho (?Best Foreign Picture for 1989?) from the Japanese newspaper Hochi Shimbun.

For the theatrical film prints, a spherical film element of the 20th Century Fox logo that opens the film was used instead of an anamorphic element, resulting in a noticeably stretched-out image.

?Die Hard? spawned three sequels: ?Die Hard 2? (1990), ?Die Hard With A Vengeance? (1995) and ?Live Free Or Die Hard? (2007).

?Die Hard? inspired the high-concept story idea expression: ?Die Hard on a ______.?


THE 70MM ENGAGEMENTS

The following is a list of the 70mm Six-Track Dolby Stereo presentations that were booked for the film?s exclusive limited-market release. These were the best venues in which to experience ?Die Hard.?

Atlanta ? LENOX SQUARE
Boston ? CINEMA 57
Chicago ? WOODFIELD
Cincinnati ? KENWOOD
Dallas ? NORTHPARK I-II
Denver ? CONTINENTAL
Houston ? SPECTRUM 8
Los Angeles ? AVCO CENTER
Miami ? DADELAND
Minneapolis ? SOUTHTOWN
Montreal ? PLACE ALEXIS-NIHON
New York ? BARONET
New York ? CRITERION CENTER
Philadelphia ? SAMERIC
St. Louis ? ESQUIRE
San Francisco ? CORONET
San Jose ? TOWN & COUNTRY
Seattle ? CINEMA 150
Toronto ? PANTAGES
Vancouver ? GRANVILLE 7
Washington ? WISCONSIN AVENUE CINEMAS


Sources/References: Numerous newspaper articles, reviews and advertisements; and Boxoffice; Boxofficemojo; Cinerama and Large-Frame Exhibition in Canada; ?Die Hard? (1988, 20th Century Fox); The Hollywood Reporter; Internet Movie Database; Newsweek; Time Magazine; Variety.

Special thanks to Thomas Hauerslev, Stan Malone, and the librarians and research assistants who contributed to this project.



>>> So?what are your ?Die Hard? memories? What are your thoughts on Jan De Bont?s cinematography? <<<
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 05:08 AM

DeBont was a maverick. Can't say I always loved his approach, but I have to give him respect for his mad and completely unmotivated gel reflections ripples on faces, flarey photography and unrealistic lighting. Die Hard was a watershed movie for me and one of the reasons I wanted to become a cinematographer.

Die Hard is very interestingly shot film - John McTiernan and DeBont caught a moment in time there. McTiernans ballsy way to cover his scenes in camera, is a more or less lost art (Spielberg still does it brilliantly). Take a look and you'll se he rarely cuts - a scene is normally covered something like this:

Pan up from the gun mag change to the face of Willis, then track in very fast but short as he hears something and turns around. As we see him turn around the camera pans in the direction of the sound and we see what he sees, it then pans back to Willis as he takes off. From objective to subjective and back. Stuff like that all the time, which is sooo cool. Nobody dares to do that these days because it means you leave yourself no options in the cutting room. It's much ballsier and means no station can be sleeping on the job - you have to be on top of your operating, blocking and marks. I like that.

Watch it again just for the camera work and operating - it kind of hadn't been done that way ever before.
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#3 Max Jacoby

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 05:35 AM

McTiernans ballsy way to cover his scenes in camera, is a more or less lost art (Spielberg still does it brilliantly).

A lost art in Hollywood certainly, but many filmmakers across the globe still work in longer shots with minimized cutting.
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#4 Tim Partridge

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:43 AM

A major loss when DeBont jumped careers and became a director.

I got no sense of DeBont's elegant and contrasty work in the rather flat looking DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE directed by John McTiernan. None of the dictatorial shadow work and photogenically sweat-accentuating portraiture followed through. Consequently it cheapened McTiernan's "unbroken" directorial intentions, in my opinion. I did like Oliver Wood's work on the second DIE HARD alot though, although at times the unrealistic exterior filter work comes across like poor man's Tony Scott. At least the film had character to it's look, suitably grainy and gritty, more in line with DeBont's contrast from the first movie. Excellent direction by Renny Harlin (or judging by the credits and what has been written/published elsewhere, maybe Stuart Baird should be praised for the end result- who knows).
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#5 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:48 AM

Love the original Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengence, but i agree that the original is photographicaly superior. The Lens flares, the large use of handheld cameras in a studio picture, the coverage and the superb blend of minature photography and live action still set a benchmark even today. Im a big fan of DeBonts work with McTiernan, Red October being another great example, and i still love the the work he did on Flatliners:)
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#6 Tim Partridge

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:52 AM

DeBont's work on JEWEL OF THE NILE and also the Madonna flop WHO'S THAT GIRL is really pleasing to the eye too. He really had the knack for balancing gloss with texture. I really rate him as a DP, Mikael Salamon too. Great DPs make lousy career directors, it seems.
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#7 Ira Ratner

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 08:09 PM

Pan up from the gun mag change to the face of Willis, then track in very fast but short as he hears something and turns around. As we see him turn around the camera pans in the direction of the sound and we see what he sees, it then pans back to Willis as he takes off. From objective to subjective and back.


Can you tell me a scene or two from One to look for this? (Even after seeing the film a gazillion times, we still bought the DVD from Wal-Mart for like a buck and a half.)

This is interesting stuff.
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#8 Liam Howlett

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:31 PM


Can you tell me a scene or two from One to look for this? (Even after seeing the film a gazillion times, we still bought the DVD from Wal-Mart for like a buck and a half.)

This is interesting stuff.

 

http://filmschoolthr...ideo-streaming/


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#9 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 07:04 PM

Thanks Liam.


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