A sense of loneliness was crucial to how director Bruce beresford wanted to tell the story. 13 The film was given a budget.5 million (12,113,104 in 2017 dollars modest by hollywood standards at the time. 3 Philip Hobel said it took about a year to secure the financing from emi films, whose major 1981 release, honky tonk Freeway, had done poor box office. 16 For the primary location, rosa lee's home and motel/gas station business, beresford imposed one requirement: that no other buildings or large manmade structures be visible from. 17 The filmmakers eventually decided on a property that had been sitting abandoned by a waxahachie highway. Mary Ann Hobel said the owner, when approached about its availability, immediately handed over the keys: "We said, 'don't you want a contract, something in writing?' And he said, 'we don't do things that way here.
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Philip Hobel said, "What we saw in Breaker Morant is what we like as filmmakers ourselves—an attention to the environment, a straightforward presentation; it's almost a documentary approach." 12 Beresford was attracted to the idea of summary making a hollywood film with a big budget and. Following his success with Breaker Morant, beresford received about 150 Hollywood scripts as potential projects; although he went weeks before reading many of them, beresford read Tender Mercies right away. It immediately appealed to him, in part because it dealt with aspects of American rural life he had seldom encountered in film scripts. 12 several of those involved with Tender Mercies had reservations about an Australian directing a film about a country music star; Beresford also found the decision strange, but pay kept his thoughts to himself because of his desire to direct the film. 13 he contacted emi films and asked for one month to visit Texas and familiarize himself with the state before committing to direct, to which the company agreed. 14 Beresford said of the trip, "I want to come over and see if this is all true, because if it's not really a true picture of what it's all like, it wouldn't be right to make." 12 During his visit to texas,. He met foote and discussed the script with him. The screenwriter, who gave beresford tours of small Texas towns, felt the director's Australian background made him sensitive to the story's rural characters and would help him achieve the sought-for authenticity. 14 Beresford agreed to direct and was hired after receiving final approval from duvall (the actor had a clause in his contract allowing him such approval, the first time he had this power on a film). 15 The central setting of Tender Mercies was chosen largely due to the lack of physical structures in the barren landscape around.
He said the script appealed to him because of the basic values it underlined and because the themes were universal even though the story was local. Duvall felt it portrayed people from the central region of the United States without parodying them, as he said many hollywood films tend. 10 duvall's early involvement led to rumors that he had requested foote write the script for him, something that both men denied. 5 foote took the script to Philip and Mary Ann Hobel, a married couple who ran Antron Media production and had produced more than 200 documentaries between them. Foote felt their background in documentaries would lend Tender Mercies the authenticity he and duvall were seeking. The hobels agreed to produce it after reading and liking the script; it would become their feature film debut as producers. The hobels approached emi films, buy a british film and television production company, which agreed to provide financing for Tender Mercies as long as duvall remained involved, and under the condition the hobels find a good director. 11 The script was rejected by many American directors, creating concerns for foote and the producers that the film would never be made. Foote later said, "This film was turned down by every American director on the face of the globe." 7 The hobels eventually mailed the script to australian director Bruce beresford because they were impressed by his 1980 film Breaker Morant.
4 5 foote described his protagonist as "a very hurt, damaged man. Silence was his weapon". 7 he chose the title tender Mercies, from the book of Psalms, for its relation to the rosa lee character, who he said seeks only "certain moments of gentleness or paper respite, not grandness or largeness". 4 foote sought to portray each character as realistic and flawed, but not unsympathetic. 5 Although the script conveyed a strong spiritual message with religious undertones, foote felt it was important to balance those religious elements with a focus on the practical challenges of everyday life. 8 Film historian Gary Edgerton said the tender Mercies script "catapulted Horton foote into the most active professional period in his life." 3 Film director and producer Alan. Pakula credited the script with helping define the American independent film movement of the late 1980s by initiating a trend of personal filmmaking that often looks beyond Hollywood retrolisthesis conventions. 9 development edit duvall, who had appeared in to kill a mockingbird (1962 which foote adapted from the harper lee novel, was involved in Tender Mercies as an actor and co-producer from its earliest stages.
A writer there has in his contract that you are a writer for hire, which means that you write a script, then it belongs to them." 3 This renewed interest in cinema prompted foote to write tender Mercies, his first work written specifically for the. 4 In the view of biographer george terry barr, the script reflected "Foote's determination to battle a hollywood system that generally refuses to make such personal films." 3 The story was inspired partially by foote's nephew, who struggled to succeed in the country music business. Foote was initially interested in writing a film based on his nephew's efforts to organize a band, which he saw as paralleling his own youthful attempts to find work as an actor. During his research, however, he met an experienced musician who had offered to help his nephew's band, and foote found himself growing more interested in a story about him, rather than the band itself. 5 foote said, "This older man had been through it all. As I thought about a storyline, i got very interested in that type of character." 4 The moment in the film where a woman asks, "Were you really mac Sledge?" and he responds, "Yes ma'am, i guess I was was based on an exchange that. Foote said the entire film pivots on that statement, which he believed spoke volumes about Mac's personality and former status. 6 foote based Sledge's victory over alcoholism on his observations of theater people struggling with the problem. He sought to avoid a melodramatic slant in telling that aspect of the story.
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Mac attends his daughter's funeral at Dixie's lavish home in Nashville and comforts her when she breaks down. Back home, mac keeps quiet about his emotional pain, although he wonders aloud to rosa lee why his once sorry existence has been given meaning and, on the other hand, his daughter died. Throughout his mourning, mac continues his new life with Rosa lee and Sonny. In the final scene, sonny finds a football theory Mac has left him as a gift. Mac watches the hotel from a field across the road and sings "On the wings of a dove" to himself.
Sonny resume thanks him for the football and the two play catch together in the field. Production edit Writing edit Playwright Horton foote reportedly considered giving up on film writing, due to what he regarded as a poor adaption of his 1952 play the Chase into a 1966 film of the same name. Following what foote saw as a far more successful adaption of his 1968 play tomorrow in 1972, his interest in filmmaking was rekindled, under the condition that he maintain some degree of control over the final product. Foote said of this stage in his career, "I learned that film really should be like theatre in the sense that in theatre, the writer is, of course, very dominant. If we don't like something, we can speak our minds. It is always a collaborative effort. But in Hollywood it wasn't.
He claims he does not, but after she leaves he sings to himself the hymn " On the wings of a dove which references a dove from the lord saving noah and descending at Jesus' baptism. I don't know why i wandered out to this part of Texas drunk, and you took me in and pitied me and helped me to straighten out, marry. Why did that happen? Is there a reason that happened? And Sonny's daddy died in the war, my daughter killed in an automobile accident.
See, i don't trust happiness. I never did; I never will. mac, to rosa lee 2 boys at school bully sonny about his dead father, and he and Mac grow closer. The members of the local country band ask mac permission to perform one of his songs, and he agrees. Mac begins performing with them and they make plans to record together. His newfound happiness is interrupted when sue anne dies in a car accident.
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He buys a bottle of whiskey but, upon returning home to a worried Rosa lee thesis and Sonny, he tells them he poured it out. He tells them he tried to leave rosa lee, but found he could not. Some time later, mac and Sonny are baptized together in Rosa lee's church. Eventually, sue anne visits Mac, their first encounter since she moliere was a baby. Mac asks whether she got any of his letters, and she says her mother kept them from her. Sue anne also reports that Dixie tried to keep her from visiting Mac and that she plans to elope with her boyfriend despite her mother's objections. Mac admits he used to hit Dixie and that she divorced him after he tried to kill her in a drunken rage. Sue anne asks whether Mac remembers a song about a dove he sang to her when she was a baby.
Later, he secretly attends Dixie's concert. She passionately sings several songs that Mac wrote years earlier, and he leaves in the middle of the performance. Backstage, he talks to dixie's manager, his old friend Harry ( Wilford Brimley ). Mac gives him a copy of a new song he has written and asks him to show it to dixie. Mac tries to talk to dixie, but she becomes angry upon seeing him and warns him to stay away from their 18-year-old daughter, sue anne ( Ellen Barkin ). Upon his return home, mac assures Rosa lee he no longer has feelings for Dixie, whom he describes as "poison" to him. Later, harry visits Mac to tell him, seemingly at Dixie's urging, that the country music business has changed and his new song is no good. Hurt and angry, normative mac drives away and nearly crashes the truck.
to develop feelings for one another, mostly during quiet evenings sitting alone and sharing bits of their life stories. Mac resolves to give up alcohol and start his life anew. After some time passes, he and Rosa lee wed. They start attending a baptist church on a regular basis. One day, a newspaper reporter visits the motel and asks Mac whether he has stopped recording music and chosen an anonymous life. When Mac refuses to answer, the reporter explains he is writing a story about Mac and has interviewed his ex-wife, dixie scott ( Betty buckley a country music star who is performing nearby. After the story is printed, the neighborhood learns of Mac's past, and members of a local countrywestern band visit him to show their respect. Although he greets them politely, mac remains reluctant to open up about his past.
The film encompasses several different themes, including the importance of love and family, the possibility of spiritual resurrection amid death, and the concept of redemption through Mac Sledge's conversion. Following poor test screening results, distributor, universal Pictures made little effort to publicize, tender Mercies, which duvall attributed to the studio's lack of understanding of country music. The film was released on March 4, 1983, in a taxi limited number of theaters. Although unsuccessful at the box office, it was critically acclaimed and earned five. Academy Award nominations, including one for, best Picture. Tender Mercies won Oscars for, best Original Screenplay for foote and. Best Actor for duvall. Contents, mac Sledge robert duvall a washed up, alcoholic country singer, awakens at a run-down Texas roadside motel and gas station after a night of heavy drinking. He meets the owner, a young widow named Rosa lee ( Tess Harper and offers to work in exchange for a room.
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Tender Mercies is a 1983 American drama film directed. The screenplay by, horton foote focuses on Mac Sledge, a recovering alcoholic country music singer who seeks to turn his life around through his relationship with a young widow and her son in rural. Robert duvall plays the role of Mac; the supporting cast includes. Tess Harper, betty buckley, wilford Brimley, ellen Barkin and Allan Hubbard. Financed by, emi films, tender Mercies was shot largely in, vertebrae waxahachie, texas. The script was rejected by several American directors before the australian Beresford accepted. Duvall, who sang his own songs in the film, drove more than 600 miles (966 km) throughout the state, tape recording local accents and playing in country music bands to prepare for the role. He and Beresford repeatedly clashed during production, at one point prompting the director to walk off the set and reportedly consider quitting the film.