Mannequin (1987 film)
Mannequin is a 1987 American romantic comedy film starring Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Meshach Taylor, James Spader, G. W. Bailey, and Estelle Getty. Directed and written by Michael Gottlieb, the film was also co-written by Edward Rugoff. The original music score was composed by Sylvester Levay. The film, a modern re-telling of the Pygmalion myth, tells about a chronically underemployed artist named Jonathan Switcher (played by Andrew McCarthy) who gets a job as a department-store window dresser and falls in love with a mannequin (played by Kim Cattrall)—the attraction being that she comes to life on occasion, but only for him.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Gottlieb|
|Music by||Sylvester Levay|
Frank E. Jimenez
20th Century Fox (North America)|
Cannon Films (International)
|90 minutes |
|Box office||$42.7 million (US)|
Mannequin received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for its main title tune, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship. The song reached #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 on April 4, 1987, and #1 on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks the following month. In 1991, a sequel to the film called Mannequin Two: On the Move was released.
In Ancient Egypt, Ema "Emmy" Heshire hides in a pyramid from her mother, who wants an arranged marriage. Emmy asks the gods to save her and find her true love. In answer, Emmy mysteriously vanishes. In 1987, Philadelphia artist Jonathan Switcher takes a number of odd jobs, including one where he assembles a beautiful, perfect mannequin. Although Jonathan painstakingly expresses his artistic self, his employers dismiss him for taking too much time or deviating from a set pattern. His girlfriend Roxie, who views Jonathan as a flake, dumps him.
While Jonathan is driving in the rain, he passes the Prince & Company department store and recognizes his "perfect" mannequin in a display window. He declares that she is the first that made him feel like an artist. The next morning, he saves the owner, Claire Timkin, from being hit by a falling sign. Grateful, Claire hires Jonathan, much to the chagrin of Vice President Richards, who assigns Jonathan to be a stock boy. Jonathan meets flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose, and the two become friends. That night, Hollywood and Jonathan construct a window display starring Jonathan's mannequin. They have a run-in with the store's extremely inept night security chief, Captain Felix Maxwell. When Jonathan is alone, the mannequin he is obsessed with comes to life as Emmy. Emmy says she has existed for centuries, appearing to various great artists as a muse. She explains that she can only appear to him when they are alone and everyone else sees her as a mannequin.
To the surprise of his detractors, Jonathan's window-dressing for Prince & Company attracts large audiences. At a board meeting, Richards wants to fire Jonathan, ostensibly for "showing off" with the window displays. In truth, he is actually a corporate spy from rival department store Illustra. Ignoring Richards, the board members promote Jonathan to visual merchandising. Emmy and Jonathan's relationship thrives over the following weeks, and he takes her on a date to see the city on the back of his motorcycle. Every night, she helps him to create popular window displays. Impressed, Claire promotes Jonathan to a vice presidency.
As the window designs are bringing a tremendous amount of customers and profit for Prince & Co., Illustra's President, B.J. Wert, attempts to lure Jonathan away from Prince & Co with a job offer from Roxie, who works for him. Jonathan refuses, stating that at Prince & Co he has people he cares about and who count on him and view his work as important. They realize that Jonathan seems to have a fixation on one of the mannequins and make plans to steal Emmy. After becoming tired of Felix' ineptitude and Richard's attitude towards Jonathan, Claire fires them.
Felix and Richards break into the store and search for Emmy. Unable to tell one mannequin from another, they simply steal every female mannequin. The next morning, Hollywood and Jonathan discover Emmy missing. Jonathan suspects Illustra and confronts Wert, who is dismissive. Roxie storms out of the office, swearing that Jonathan will never see Emmy again. Jonathan chases Roxie while being pursued by a dozen security guards. Hollywood bombards the guards with a fire hose as Roxie loads Emmy along with the other mannequins into a trash compactor. Jonathan jumps onto the loading conveyor belt and grabs Emmy, still frozen as a mannequin. As Jonathan attempts to pull her out, Emmy comes to life and stays human in front of other people for the first time.
Felix and his fellow guards rush in, followed by Wert, who attempts to have Jonathan arrested for trespassing. Claire arrives, accusing Richards and Felix of breaking and entering, grand theft and kidnapping Emmy, while accusing Wert of conspiracy, displaying evidence from a newly installed video security system in the store. Wert and his cronies are arrested and hauled away and he fires Roxie as he is being dragged out. Emmy and Jonathan are married in the shop window of Prince & Company; Claire is the bridesmaid, and Hollywood is the best man.
The idea for the film came when director Michael Gottlieb was walking down Fifth Avenue and thought he saw a mannequin move in the window of Bergdorf Goodman. Others observe the similarities to the plot of the 1948 film One Touch of Venus.
The film was made based on the marketing principles of noted Hollywood market researcher Joseph Farrell, who served as an executive producer. The film was specifically designed to appeal to target demographics. McCarthy, though not a star, was cast after tests of his films showed that he strongly appealed to girls, the target audience.
The producers contacted various state film commissions across America looking for an elegant center city department store in which to shoot the movie. They visited stores across the country before settling on John Wanamaker's in Philadelphia (now Macy's Center City). The store was given the name Prince and Company for the film. Interior filming at Wanamaker's took about three weeks, with shooting usually beginning around 9 pm and going until 6 am the next day.
Additional scenes were filmed in the formal gardens behind The Hotel Hershey. Scenes taking place at the fictitious department store Illustra were filmed at the Boscov's department store (previously an E. J. Korvette that was taken over by Boscov's in 1985 after the Korvette's chain went out of business) in the former Camp Hill Mall (now Camp Hill Shopping Center) near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Prior to the start of filming, Cattrall spent six weeks posing for a Santa Monica sculptor, who captured her likeness. Six mannequins, each with a different expression, were made.
Cattrall later recalled, "There's no way to play a mannequin except if you want to sit there as a dummy... I did a lot of body-building because I wanted to be as streamlined as possible. I wanted to match the mannequins as closely as I could."
The actress later said that doing the film made her feel "grown up":
I've become more of a leading lady instead of, like, the girl... All the other movies that I've done I played the girl, and the plot was around the guy. I've never had anybody to do special lighting for me, or find out what clothes look good on me, or what camera angles are best for me... In this movie, I learned a lot from it. It's almost like learning old Hollywood techniques... I've always been sort of a tomboy. I feel great being a girl, wearing a dress.
The film had its premiere in Philadelphia.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 22% based on 18 reviews and an average rating of 3.2/10. It has since become a cult classic.[unreliable source?] It was savaged by Leonard Maltin, who called it "absolute rock-bottom fare, dispiriting for anyone who remembers what movie comedy should be." Moreover, the film received "Two Thumbs Down" on Siskel & Ebert at The Movies. In his print review, Roger Ebert awarded it a half star, deeming it "dead" and full of clichés.
Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called the film "made by, for, and about dummies." Janet Maslin of The New York Times puts the blame on the writer-director: "as co-written and directed by Michael Gottlieb, Mannequin is a state-of-the-art showcase of perfunctory technique."
Dan McQuade, writing in the online version of Philadelphia Magazine, referencing the film's use of Philadelphia as a setting, after panning the film itself wrote, "The message of Mannequin, clumsy as it is, is that the greatest place and time in recorded history is 1980s Philadelphia...Truly, this is the most uplifting film ever made about the city."
Despite being savaged by critics, the film made a strong profit (see above). In 1991, a sequel called Mannequin Two: On the Move was released and was directed by Stewart Raffill. The sequel was dubbed as "one of the worst follow-ups ever made."
Mannequin was released on VHS and digital stereo LaserDisc format in September 1987 by Cannon films through Media Home Entertainment. The film was released on DVD by MGM Home Entertainment on October 7, 2004, in a widescreen Region 1 DVD, and was later re-released to DVD on January 11, 2011, in a new double feature edition with Mannequin Two: On the Move as the second disc. Mannequin was released on Blu-ray for the first time by Olive Films (under license from MGM) on September 22, 2015.
- "Mannequin (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 7 April 1987. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
- Weber, Bruce (25 December 2011). "Joseph Farrell, Who Used Market Research to Shape Films, Dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Mannequin (1987)". Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "60th Academy Awards for Best Original Song". The Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Ebert, Roger (13 February 1987). "Mannequin Movie Review & Film Summary (1987)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- One Touch of Venus review, Vicpine
One Touch of Venus review, Steven Stanley, StageSceneLA, 7 February 2011
- "Mannequin Is Kim Cattrall's Display Window" by Paul Willistein, The Morning Call, February 14, 1987; accessed 17 April 2015
- Mathews, Jack (19 February 1987). "Stallone Loses A Box-office Arm-wrestle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- "Red Sparrow (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- "'Mannequin' 25th Anniversary: See A Young James Spader From 1987". Moviefone. 16 February 2012. Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Kempley, Rita (13 February 1987). "'Mannequin' (PG)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Maslin, Janet (13 February 1987). "Film: A Comedy, 'Mannequin'". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- McQuade, Dan (4 December 2013). "Why Mannequin Is the Best Movie Ever Made About Philadelphia". Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
- "Kim Cattrall, Andrew McCarthy's 'Mannequin' set for remake". Zee News. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2013.