Prizzi's Honor

Prizzi's Honor is a 1985 American black comedy crime film directed by John Huston, starring Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner as two highly-skilled mob assassins who, after falling in love, are hired to kill each other. The screenplay co-written by Richard Condon is based on his 1982 novel of the same name. The film's supporting cast includes Anjelica Huston (the director's daughter and Nicholson's then-girlfriend), Robert Loggia, John Randolph, CCH Pounder, Lawrence Tierney, and William Hickey. Stanley Tucci appears in a minor role in his film debut. It was the last of John Huston's films to be released during his lifetime.

Prizzi's Honor
Prizzis honor.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Huston
Screenplay by
Based onPrizzi's Honor
by Richard Condon
Produced byJohn Foreman
Starring
CinematographyAndrzej Bartkowiak
Edited by
Music byAlex North
Production
company
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 14, 1985 (1985-06-14)
Running time
129 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$16 million[1]
Box office$26.6 million[2]

Prizzi's Honor was theatrically released on June 14, 1985, by 20th Century Fox. It received critical acclaim, with praise for the performances of its cast (most notably Huston). It grossed $26 million against its $16 million budget.

The film received eight nominations at the 58th Academy Awards (including for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay) with Huston winning for Best Supporting Actress. The film also won four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Nicholson and Turner, respectively.

PlotEdit

Charley Partanna is a hitman for a New York Mafia family headed by the elderly Don Corrado Prizzi, whose business is generally handled by his sons Dominic and Eduardo and by his longtime right-hand man, Angelo, who is Charley's father.

At a family wedding, Charley is quickly infatuated with a beautiful woman he doesn't recognize. He asks Maerose Prizzi, estranged daughter of Dominic, if she recognizes the woman, oblivious to the fact that Maerose still has feelings for Charley, having once been his lover. Maerose is in disfavor with her father for running off with another man before the end of her romance with Charley.

Charley flies to California to carry out a contract to kill a man named Marxie Heller for robbing a Nevada casino. He is surprised to learn that Marxie is the estranged husband of Irene, the woman from the wedding. She repays some of the money Marxie stole as Charley naively (or willfully) believes that Irene was not involved with the casino scam. By this point they have fallen in love and eventually travel to Mexico to marry. A jealous Maerose travels west on her own to establish for a fact that Irene has double-crossed the organization. The information restores Maerose to good graces somewhat with her father and the don. Charley's father later reveals that Irene (who had claimed to be a tax consultant) is a "contractor" who, like Charley, performs assassinations for the mob.

Dominic, acting on his own, wants Charley out of the way and hires someone to do the hit, not knowing that he has just given the job to Charley's own wife. Angelo sides with his son, and Eduardo is so appalled by his brother's actions that he helps set up Dominic's permanent removal from the family.

Irene and Charley team up on a kidnapping that will enrich the family, but she shoots a police captain's wife in the process, endangering the organization's business relationship with the cops. The don is also still demanding a large sum of money from Irene for her unauthorized activities in Nevada, which she doesn't want to pay. In time, the don tells Charley that his wife's "gotta go."

Matters come to a head in California when, acting as if everything were alright, Charley comes home to his wife. Each pulls a weapon simultaneously in the bedroom. Irene ends up dead, and Charley ends up back in New York, missing her, but consoled by Maerose.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

As well as working with his actress daughter, John Huston hired Meta Carpenter Wilde, the script supervisor who worked with him on The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Rudi Fehr, his film editor from Key Largo (1948).[3]

Anjelica Huston was paid the SAG-AFTRA scale rate of $14,000 for her role in Prizzi's Honor. When her agent called up the movie's producer to request if she could be paid more, she was told "Go to hell. Be my guest — ask for more money. We don't even want her in this movie." Huston, who was not only John Huston's daughter but also Jack Nicholson's girlfriend at the time, wrote in her 2014 memoir Watch Me that she later overheard a production worker saying, "Her father is the director, her boyfriend's the star, and she has no talent."[4] She would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

A 25-year old Stanley Tucci made his film debut in Prizzi's Honor, playing the minor role of a mafia goon.

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, Prizzi's Honor holds an approval rating of 85% based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critics consensus states: "Disturbing and sardonic, Prizzi's Honor excels at black comedy because director John Huston and his game ensemble take the farce deadly seriously."[5] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 84 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[6]

Pauline Kael wrote: "This John Huston picture has a ripe and daring comic tone. It revels voluptuously in the murderous finagling of the members of a Brooklyn Mafia family, and rejoices in their scams. It's like The Godfather acted out by The Munsters. Jack Nicholson's average-guyness as Charley, the clan's enforcer, is the film's touchstone: this is a baroque comedy about people who behave in ordinary ways in grotesque circumstances, and it has the juice of everyday family craziness in it."[7] Roger Ebert gave the film three and half stars out of four and wrote: "This is the most bizarre comedy in many a month, a movie so dark, so cynical and so funny that perhaps only Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner could have kept straight faces during the love scenes."[8]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards Best Picture John Foreman Nominated
Best Director John Huston Nominated
Best Actor Jack Nicholson Nominated
Best Supporting Actor William Hickey Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anjelica Huston Won
Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium Richard Condon, Janet Roach Nominated
Best Costume Design Donfeld Nominated
Best Film Editing Rudi Fehr, Kaja Fehr Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best English-Language Film Won
Best Actor Jack Nicholson Won
Best Supporting Actress Anjelica Huston Won
Best Director John Huston Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Anjelica Huston Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Richard Condon and Janet Roach Won
Casting Society of America Awards Best Casting for Feature Film – Comedy Alixe Gordin Won
David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Producer John Foreman Nominated
Best Foreign Director John Huston Nominated
Best Foreign Actor Jack Nicholson Nominated
Best Foreign Screenplay Richard Condon and Janet Roach Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures John Huston Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Won
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Jack Nicholson Won
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Kathleen Turner Won
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Anjelica Huston Nominated
Best Director – Motion Picture John Huston Won
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Richard Condon and Janet Roach Nominated
Guild of German Art House Cinemas Best Foreign Film John Huston Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Anjelica Huston Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Jack Nicholson Nominated
Best Supporting Actor William Hickey Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anjelica Huston Won
Best Screenplay Richard Condon and Janet Roach Nominated
Nastro d'Argento Best Foreign Actor Jack Nicholson Nominated
Best Foreign Director John Huston Nominated
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films 6th Place
Best Supporting Actress Anjelica Huston Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Film 2nd Place
Best Director John Huston Won
Best Actor Jack Nicholson Won
Best Supporting Actor William Hickey 2nd Place
Best Supporting Actress Anjelica Huston Won
Best Screenplay Richard Condon and Janet Roach 4th Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won
Best Director John Huston Won
Best Actor Jack Nicholson Won
Best Supporting Actress Anjelica Huston Won
Sant Jordi Awards Best Foreign Actress Kathleen Turner (also for Crimes of Passion) Won
ShoWest Convention Female Star of the Year Kathleen Turner Won
Venice Film Festival Golden Lion John Huston Nominated
Special Lion for the Overall Work Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium Richard Condon and Janet Roach Won

American Film InstituteEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p. 260
  2. ^ "Prizzi's Honor (1985)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  3. ^ "AFI Catalog - Prizzi's Honor (1985)". American Film Institute. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  4. ^ Andrew Goldman (2019-04-29). "Anjelica Huston, In Conversation". Vulture. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  5. ^ "Prizzi's Honor". Rotten Tomatoes.
  6. ^ "Prizzi's Honor". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Prizzi's Honor movie review & film summary (1985) | Roger Ebert".
  9. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
  10. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees
  11. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot

External linksEdit