Romancing the Stone (1984) – Robert Zemeckis (Friday’s Finest)

Last Friday featured the soundtrack of another Robert Zemeckis film – Cast Away. Zemeckis was originally working on the movie Cocoon but was pulled off it after an early screening of today’s featured film – Romancing the Stone failed to impress studio executives. Romancing the Stone won critics praises with 86% positive feedback, but audiences weren’t as affirming with just a 69% rating, but it did earn over $115 million worldwide at the box office and allowed Zemeckis to make Back to the Future. I have a strong affinity with Romancing since it is set in Colombia where I have lived for the past 13 years, but in reality, was mainly filmed in Mexico.

IMDB Storyline:

Joan Wilder, a mousy romance novelist, receives a treasure map in the mail from her recently murdered brother-in-law. Meanwhile, her sister Elaine is kidnapped in Colombia and the two criminals responsible demand that she travel to Colombia to exchange the map for her sister. Joan does, and quickly becomes lost in the jungle after being waylayed by Zolo, a vicious and corrupt Colombian cop who will stop at nothing to obtain the map. There, she meets an irreverent soldier-of-fortune named Jack Colton who agrees to bring her back to civilization. Together, they embark upon an adventure that could be straight out of Joan’s novels.

This was the only produced screenplay for writer Diane Thomas. She had been working as a waitress in Malibu when producer/star Michael Douglas optioned her script for $250,000, allowing her to quit her job. Sadly, Thomas died in a car accident, while working on a new movie project with Steven Spielberg the following year. She was a passenger while her boyfriend was driving a Porsche that Douglas had bought for her as a thank you gift.

Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito were roommates during their time in NYC when starting out in show business. Additionally, DeVito notes that Douglas got his break first with the TV series The Streets of San Francisco (1972) but continued to pay his share of the rent even after leaving their apartment in NYC for Hollywood. He would later, as producer and reluctant lead character, Jack T. Colton, offer the part of ‘Ralph’ to DeVito which DeVito admits was good exposure and helpful to his career.

In the famous dance scene of Romancing below, Michael Douglas was not aware that he was being filmed. He was dancing with Kathleen Turner and some extras and was surprised to find Robert Zemeckis had been filming the entire time. You can see Michael Douglas talk about his experience working on this movie here. As stated in the previous post about Cast Away, this film marked the beginning of director Robert Zemeckis’s partnership with composer Alan Silvestri.

1. Romancing the Stone – Wikipedia
2. Romancing the Stone – IMDB

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Movies and TV

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