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The Muppets Take Manhattan
220px-Muppets take manhattan.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Frank Oz
Produced by David Lazer
Screenplay by Tom Patchett
Jay Tarses
Frank Oz
Story by Tom Patchett
Jay Tarses
Starring Jim Henson
Frank Oz
Dave Goelz
Steve Whitmire
Richard Hunt
Jerry Nelson
Music by Ralph Burns
Jeff Moss
Cinematography Robert Paynter
Editing by Evan A. Lottman
Studio The Jim Henson Company
Distributed by Tri-Star Pictures
Release date(s) July 13, 1984
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million
Box office $25,534,703
Preceded by The Great Muppet Caper
Followed by The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppets Take Manhattan is a 1984 family film directed by Frank Oz. It is the third of a series of live-action musical feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets, and the second to last film before Henson's and Richard Hunt's deaths (the last being Follow That Bird). This film was produced by Henson Associates and TriStar Pictures, and was filmed on location in New York City during the summer of 1983 and released in movie theatres in 1984. It was the first film directed solely by Frank Oz (who also performs Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Animal), as he previously co-directed The Dark Crystal with Jim Henson.

The film introduced the Muppet Babies, as toddler versions of the Muppet characters in a fantasy sequence. The Muppet Babies later received their own Saturday morning animated television series, which aired on CBS from 1984 until 1990 and has since been syndicated worldwide.

This is also the first (and so far only) Muppet film not to have a main antagonist.

Also, unlike the previous two Muppet Films, The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, this film does not "break the fourth wall", that is, remind viewers that the whole action is a movie.

PlotEdit

As the film opens, Kermit, Miss Piggy, and their friends are graduating from college and are performing in a variety show, Manhattan Melodies, on campus ("Together Again"). Kermit believes that there is "something missing" from the script, but his friends suggest that the group take the show to Broadway. Miss Piggy, in particular, hopes to make enough money to marry Kermit as he has promised. Kermit and the others are so confident in the show that they anticipate becoming instant stars. First they start with New York producer Martin Price (Dabney Coleman) who, at first seems to be willing to produce the show until he tells them the cost of the show ($300 a piece, which is what he really wants). Just then Martin's secretary Nancy (Gates McFadden) comes in with an elderly woman and two police officers where the elderly woman identifies Price as con artist Murray Plotsky. Plotsky tries to use Camilla the Chicken and Gonzo as hostages to get out only to be subdued by Animal and Camilla. The Muppets try other theatrical producers with no success ("You Can't Take No For An Answer").

As the months pass and the group runs out of money, its members are forced to get jobs throughout the United States ("Saying Goodbye"). Scooter gets a job as a house manager at a movie theater in Cleveland, Ohio where he finds the Swedish Chef as the popcorn server and Lew Zealand as a dedicated viewer of a 3-D movie. Fozzie joins some other bears in hibernating within the forests of Maine where he has a hard time hibernating. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem have a gig in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania performing in a retirement home.

Kermit stays in New York to work on the script and gets a job at a diner befriending the owner Pete (Louis Zorich) and his daughter Jenny (Juliana Donald), a waitress and aspiring fashion designer. Also working at the restaurant are Rizzo the Rat who secures employment for the other rats Tatooey, Masterson, Chester, and Yolanda. Later that night, Kermit climbs to the top of the Empire State Building and shouts from the top that he and his friends will soon be on Broadway. Unknown to Kermit, Miss Piggy also stayed behind.

Kermit, Jenny and Rizzo try to find a way to promote Kermit's play. First Kermit enters the Winesop Theatrical Agency to see producer Leonard Winesop (John Landis). Pretending to be a fellow producer, he bluffs his way through an impromptu meeting praising the play, but Winesop discards the unread script soon after Kermit leaves the room. Then Kermit tries to get his picture on the wall of other famous people who dined at Sardi's Restaurant, ending up replacing a picture of Liza Minnelli. The rats assist Kermit by creating a whispering campaign amongst patrons. However, Liza eventually enters and ends up asking Vincent Sardi, Jr. why her portrait was taken down. One of the rats ends up giving themselves away by causing havoc when Vincent discovers Minnelli's portrait near the table where Kermit was sitting. This causes Kermit and the rats to be ejected from the restaurant.

While in Central Park, Jenny comforts Kermit with his loss in the first two attempts. Miss Piggy, jealous of Jenny and Kermit's friendship, secretly spies on them before a thief (Gary Tacon) steals her purse causing her to borrow some skates from a roller skater (Gregory Hines). When Miss Piggy catches up to the thief, a police officer (Joe Jamrog) arrests him just as Kermit and Jenny catch up with her. While Kermit and Miss Piggy argue about Kermit's relationship with Jenny, the roller skater tries to reclaim his skates from Miss Piggy but then allows her to keep them since he never actually uses them. After making amends and taking a ride around Central Park with Kermit ("I'm Gonna Always Love You"), Miss Piggy also takes a job as a waitress at the same diner as Kermit. Kermit reads more letters from his friends while the rats handle a customer (Brooke Shields) that Miss Piggy was with. The letters from Kermit reveal that Gonzo and Camilla are in Michigan trying to make a successful water act. Rowlf is in Delaware working at a dog kennel where Mr. Skeffington (James Coco) leaves his dog for the weekend. Another letter that Kermit got was from Bernard Crawford, a Broadway producer who is interested in producing Kermit's play.

Kermit meets with Ronnie Crawford (Lonny Price), the actual writer of the letter, who is willing to fund Manhattan Melodies in order to prove himself to his father, Bernard (Art Carney). While Bernard doubts the play, he agrees to help with it. In his excitement over having finally sold the play, Kermit fails to notice a "Don't Walk" sign and is hit by a car while making his way back to the restaurant. When Ronnie comes to the diner to bring up his father's approval to Miss Piggy, Jenny, and Pete, he, Jenny and Miss Piggy go out to look for him. Pete sends a telegram to the rest of Kermit's friends informing them to get to New York as quickly as they can. Fozzie ends up bringing the bears with him, Gonzo and Camilla bring along some chickens, Rowlf brings along some dogs, Scooter brings the Swedish Chef and Lew Zealand along, and the Electric Mayhem bring Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and Beauregard along. Kermit awakens in the hospital with no memory of his name, friends, or past. His doctor (Linda Lavin) tells Kermit to find a new life for himself. As "Phil," he finds a job at Mad Ave Advertising with fellow frogs Bill, Gil, and Jill while his friends, Jenny and Ronnie search the city for him ahead of the show's opening at the Biltmore Theater. After Kermit visits the diner with the frogs and plays the Manhattan Melodies theme "Together Again" with a spoon and glasses of water, his friends recognize him. Miss Piggy restores his memory with a punch after Kermit mocks the idea of romance between a pig and a frog.

Kermit realizes that what the script needs is more "frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and whatever", and adds the cast members' many friends from around the country to the show as supernumeraries. With the expanded cast, Ronnie's producing, and Jenny's costumes, Manhattan Melodies is successful ("Right Where I Belong"/"Somebody's Getting Married"/"Waiting for the Wedding"). On opening night, Piggy substitutes a real minister (Cyril Jenkins) for Gonzo in the wedding scene finale where the other Muppet characters, many of the characters from Sesame Street, and Gobo Fraggle, Mokey Fraggle, Red Fraggle, Wembley Fraggle, Boober Fraggle, Uncle Traveling Matt, Philo and Gunge, Fraggles, Cantus the Minstrel, Murray the Minstrel, Brool the Minstrel, Aretha, Papa Tree Creature, Mama Tree Creature, Baby Tree Creature and Blustering Bellowpane Monster from Fraggle Rock attend. Kermit is surprised, but willingly says "I do" and he and Miss Piggy happily wed ("He'll Makes Me Happy"/"The Ceremony"). Crazy Harry, Pops, Newsman, Sam Eagle, Ernie, Bert and Cookie Monster are in the wedding finale waiting for Kermit and Miss Piggy to arrive. And when Kermit and Miss Piggy get finally married, the film ends after the part: "What better way could anything end, hand in hand with a friend".

CastEdit

Cameo guest starsEdit

Producer David Lazer cameos as a customer at Sardi's.

Muppet performersEdit

Main article: List of Muppets

Additional Muppets performed by Cheryl Bartholow, Tim DeHaas, Michael Earl Davis, Glenngo King, James Kroupa, Jim Martin, David Rudman, and Melissa Whitmire Some of the puppeteers made cameos in this movie.

Although not seen in the film, Jim Henson's son Brian Henson operated a marionette of Scooter riding a bicycle. Additionally, Jim Henson's daughter Heather Henson can be seen in an uncredited cameo as a girl serving drinks in a beer hall.

Other Television, Specials, Video Games, Stage-Show, Short and Magazine AppearancesEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Once the script was completed and the sets were built, special consultant David Misch was brought in to write cameos for some guest star appearances. Originally, this list of guest stars contained the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Steve Martin, Michael Jackson, Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, and Laurence Olivier to name a few. According to Misch, Hoffman was going to play a Broadway producer and planned to do an imitation of legendary film producer Robert Evans (The Godfather), which he later did in the movie Wag The Dog. However, at the last minute Hoffman decided that the role could be offensive to Evans and dropped out, following which all the other big names dropped out as well. Because of the dropped cameos, Misch and director Frank Oz ended up rewriting most of the movie's entire dialogue.[1]

ReleaseEdit

MarketingEdit

The Muppets Take Manhattan was adapted by Marvel Comics in 1984, as the 68 page story in Marvel Super Special #32, August. The adaptation was later re-printed into three limited series issues, released under Marvel's Star Comics imprint (November 1984 – January 1985). The film's script was adapted into comic form by Stan Kay with art by Dean Yeagle and Jacqueline Roettcher. Unlike in the film, the comic depicts Gonzo, Floyd Pepper, Animal, Janice, Dr. Teeth, and Zoot in their customary outfits from The Muppet Show.

In addition, a book-and-record set of the film was released in the form of a vinyl record through the Muppet Music Records label.

Box officeEdit

Although the film didn't out gross its predecessors, it did gross $25,534,703 making it the second highest grossing G-rated film of 1984 (behind the re-issue of Disney's Pinocchio).[2]

Critical receptionEdit

The Muppets Take Manhattan opened on July 13, 1984 to mostly positive reviews.[3][4] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 81% of 21 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.9 out of 10. The site's consensus stated that "if it's not quite as sharp as The Muppet Movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan is still a smart, delightfully old-fashioned tale that follows the formula established by the first two movies -- a madcap adventure assisted by a huge group of human stars."[5]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a three star rating (out of four) stating in his review that "the plot of [the] movie has been seen before." However, Ebert went on to say that just about everything in the film was enjoyable and that Kermit finally solves his long-lasting identity crisis.[6] In his 2009 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gave the film a three star rating (out of four) as well siting that the film is an "enjoyable outing with bouncy songs, [with a] nice use of N.Y.C. locations."[7]

Home mediaEdit

Unlike the Henson's previous films (The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Dark Crystal), The Muppets Take Manhattan was originally released by Tri-Star Pictures and not produced by ITC Entertainment; mainly because ITC was suffering from extreme financial difficulties at the time. Therefore unlike the previous films, the distribution rights to The Muppets Take Manhattan did not revert to The Jim Henson Company in 1998. Due to this, it is one of three Muppet films (along with Muppets from Space and the direct-to-video feature Kermit's Swamp Years) controlled by Sony Pictures and not Walt Disney Pictures.

The Muppets Take Manhattan was first released on VHS and the now defunct CED Videodisc format by CBS Fox Video in 1985 and again by the same company in 1991 and by Columbia TriStar on June 1, 1999. The 1999 VHS contained a slightly edited cut from previous versions, possibly derived from the TV broadcast version. Cuts include removal of the audio from the Tristar logo, but when airing Disney Channel in Japan (along with Muppets from Space), the Tristar logo was cut instead of removal of the audio from the Tristar logo, the scenes of Animal shouting "Bad man!" to Mr. Price, removal of the words "Oh, My God" in one scene, and scenes with Miss Piggy hitting the purse snatcher. A DVD version was released on June 5, 2001 with the cuts from the 1999 VHS version restored.[8] A Blu-ray version was released on August 16, 2011, and contains the same bonus features as the DVD.[9]

MusicEdit

Jeff Moss was nominated for an Academy Award for the music and lyrics he wrote for The Muppets Take Manhattan.[10]

SoundtrackEdit

The Muppets Take Manhattan
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The Muppets Take Manhattan: The Original Soundtrack contains all of the songs written by Jeff Moss and prominent score cues composed by Ralph Burns from the film, as well as several portions of dialogue and background score. The album reached #204 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top LP's chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children, but lost to Shel Silverstein's audio edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends. This is the only Muppet movie soundtrack that has not yet been released on CD. However, four tracks from the album can be found on the 2002 compilation album The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem, and More.

Side One
No. TitleWriter(s)Artist(s) Length
1. "Together Again"  Jeff MossKermit and Friends 2:54
2. "You Can't Take No for an Answer"  Jeff MossDr. Teeth 2:00
3. "Saying Goodbye"  Jeff MossEveryone 3:06
4. "Rat Scat (Something Cookin')"  Jeff MossRizzo and the Rats 1:18
5. "Together Again (Carriage Ride)"  Jeff MossKermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Statler and Waldorf 1:07
6. "I'm Gonna Always Love You"  Jeff MossThe Muppet Babies 2:55
7. "William Tell Overture"  Gioachino RossiniThe Chickens 0:59
Side Two
No. TitleWriter(s)Artist(s) Length
1. "Looking for Kermit"  Jeff MossInstrumental 1:42
2. "Right Where I Belong"  Jeff MossEveryone 2:12
3. "Somebody's Getting Married/Waiting for the Wedding"  Jeff MossEveryone 2:36
4. "He'll Make Me Happy"  Jeff MossMiss Piggy and Kermit 2:10
5. "The Ceremony"  Jeff MossEveryone 1:10
6. "Closing Medley (Final Credits)"  Jeff MossEveryone 4:18

CreditsEdit

  • The Muppet Performers: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, Steve Whitmire, Kathryn Mullen, Karen Prell, Brian Muehl, Bruce Edward Hall, James J. Kroupa, David Rudman, Melissa Whitmire, Michael Earl Davis, Glenngo King, Tim De Haas, Cheryl Bartholow, Martin P. Robinson
  • Cast: Juliana Donald, Louis Zorich, Lonny Price, Steve Burnett, Mary Lou Harris, Cheryl McFadden, Joanne Hamlin, Hector Troy, Norman Bush, Nancy Kirsch, Alice Spivak, John Bentley, Dorothy Baxter, Stephen Sherrard Hicks, Susan Miller-Kovens, John Maguire, Sinead Maguire, Trisha Noel, Ron Foster, Michael Hirsch, Vic Polizos, Kenneth MacGregor, Chet Washington, Graham Brown, James Bryson, Chico, Kasindir, Viola Borden, Michael Connolly, Wade Barnes, Ruth Button, Lee-Ann Carr, Richard Dubois, Diana Hayes, Jane Hunt, Jaqueline Page, Harriet Rawlings, Milton Seaman, Gary Tacon, Joe Jamrog, Mark Marrone
  • Special Guest Stars: Frances Bergen, Art Carney, James Coco, Dabney Coleman, Elliott Gould, Gregory Hines, Dr. Cyril Jenkins, Edward I. Koch, John Landis, Linda Lavin, Liza Minnelli, Joan Rivers, Vincent Sardi Jr., Brooke Shields
  • Production Manager: Ezra Swerdlow
  • First Assistant Director: Ronald Bozman
  • Second Assistant Director: Tony Gittelson
  • Casting by: Howard Feuer and Jeremy Ritzer
  • Additional Casting by: Gus Schirmer
  • Costume Design: Karen Roston, Calista Hendrickson, Polly Smith
  • Special Consultant: David Misch
  • Choreographer: Christopher Chadman
  • Muppet Design & Construction: Caroly Wilcox, Tim Miller, Edward G. Christie, Jan Rosenthal, Fred Buchholz, Marian Keating, Bob Flanagan, Maria McNamara, Janet Delvoye, Lauren Attinello, Robin Kusten, Cheryl Blaylock, Jody Schoffner, Richard Termine, Jerry Gum, Norman Tempia, Connie Peterson
  • Muppet Special Effects: Faz Fazakas, Tom Newby, Leigh Donaldson, Brian Henson, Larry Jameson, Dick Loveless
  • Rats' Kitchen Number Staged by: Jim Henson
  • Muppet Costume Construction: Muriel Stockdale, Joanne Green, Tom Keller, Carol Spier
  • Muppet Staff - Studio Coordinator: Rollin Krewson
  • Muppet Rigging Coordinator: Jane Gootnick
  • Design Consultant: Michael K. Frith
  • Workshop Coordinator: Will Morrison
  • Assistant To Miss Piggy: Barbara Davis
  • Muppet Prop Coordinator: Faye Kreinberg
  • Miss Piggy's Hairstyles: Christine Cooper
  • Additional Second Assistant Director: Timothy B. Bourne
  • Camera Operator: Richard Kratina
  • First Assistant Cameraman: Hank Muller
  • Second Assistant Cameramen: Gary Muller and Ralph Brandofino
  • Script Supervisor: Renee Bodner
  • Supervising Video Engineer: Ian Kelly
  • Video Cable Man: Michael Bedard
  • Second Unit Photography: Peter Norman
  • Sound Mixer: Les Lazarowitz
  • Boom Man: Tod Maitland
  • Sound Recordist: Vito Ilardi
  • Re-Recording Mixers: Lee Dichter and Paul Coombe
  • ADR Recording: Mel Zelniker
  • Art Directors: W. Steven Graham and Paul Eads
  • Set Decorators: Robert Drumheller and Justin Scoppa Jr.
  • Chief Set Dresser: David Weinman
  • Storyboards: John Davis
  • Assistant Costume Designer: Lowell Detweiler
  • Wardrobe Supervisors: Lee Austin and Deborah Katz
  • Make-Up Artist: Fern Buchner
  • Hairstylist: Romaine Green
  • Gaffer: John DeBlau
  • Best Boy: Jerry DeBlau
  • Key Grip: Dennis Gamiello
  • Dolly Grip: John Donohue
  • Property Master: Joseph Caracciolo Jr.
  • Props: John McDonnell
  • Special Effects: Ed Drohan
  • Construction Coordinator: Carlos Quiles Sr.
  • Construction Grip: Joseph Williams
  • Master Scenic Artist: James Sorice
  • First Assistant Film Editor: Trudy Ship
  • Assistant Film Editor: Jonathan Oppenheim
  • Apprentice Film Editor: Andrea Justin
  • Supervising Sound Editor: Anthony J. Ciccolini III
  • Sound Editors: Stan Bochner, Louis Cerborino, Maurice Schell
  • Music Editor: Todd Kasow
  • Looping Editors: Michael Jacobi and Hal Levinsohn
  • Assistant Sound Editors: Bitty O'Sullivan-Smith, Harry Peck Bolles, Marshall Grupp, Marissa de Guzman, Laurie Mullen, Gilberto Costa Nunes, Beriau Picard, Rose Rosenblatt
  • Music Recording Engineers: Tom Jung and Charlie Clifton
  • Music Contractor: Emile Charlap
  • Production Office Coordinator: Bruce W. Patterson
  • Assistant Production Office Coordinator: Harriette G. Kanew
  • Assistant To The Director: Jane Nerlinger Evans
  • Assistant To The Producer: Ritamarie Peruggi
  • Location Coordinator: Sandy Nelson
  • Studio Manager: James Greenhut
  • Accounting Services: Kathleen McGill - Production Services, LTD.
  • Production Auditor: Barbara B. Miller
  • Extras Casting: Sylvia Fay
  • Assistant Extras Casting: Cal St. John
  • Stunt Coordinator: Victor Magnotta
  • Stunt Drivers: Tony Farentino and Cliff Cudney
  • Miss Piggy's Stunt Doubles: Christa Tomasulo, Cheryl Blackman, Denise Lucadamo
  • Pilot: Al Cerullo
  • Transportation Captain: Harold "Whitey" McEvoy
  • Transportation Co-Captain: Peter Tavis
  • Unit Publicist: Bobbie Stein
  • Still Photographer: Kerry Hayes
  • Publicity: Pickwick/Maslansky/Koenigsberg
  • Publicity & Promotion Coordinator: Roberta Jimenez
  • DGA Trainer: Michea Caye
  • Assistant Production Auditor: Heidi August
  • Production Assistants: Lee Gottsegen, Chris Stoia, Amy Herman, Stephanie Brooks, Prudence Farrow, Patricia Barrow, Frank Comito
  • Title Design: R/Greenberg Associates, New York
  • Opticals by: Computer Opticals
  • Post-Production Services by: Sound One Corporation
  • Filmed At Empire Stages Of New York, Long Island City, New York
  • Color by: TECHNICOLOR®
  • Prints by: METROCOLOR®
  • Lenses & Panaflex® Cameras by: PANAVISION®
  • Special Thanks To: Robert Greenhut, Michael Peyser, Children's Television Workshop, New York City Mayor's Office Of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, Christopher Cerf, Dave Connor, Robin Garsen Oz
  • From Tri-Star-Delphi II Productions
  • Henson Associates, Inc.
  • Tri-Star Pictures
  • A Tri-Star Release

ReferencesEdit

  1. Ryan Roe (March 18, 2011). A Q&A with Muppet Writer David Misch. WordPress. Retrieved on January 28, 2012.
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named BOM
  3. Variety Reviews - The Muppets Take Manhattan - Film Reviews - - Review by Variety Staff. Variety.com (1983-12-31). Retrieved on 2012-07-06.
  4. Reviews Movies; Muppets Work Their Magic; The Muppets Take Manhattan - Directed By Frank Oz, Produced By Jim; Henson, Starring Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo And; Dr. Teeth With Cameo Appearances By Dabney; Coleman, Joan Rivers And Gregory Hines, At The Charles, Copley Place; And Suburbs, Rated G. Pqasb.pqarchiver.com (1984-07-13). Retrieved on 2012-07-06.
  5. The Muppets Take Manhattan. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved on January 29, 2012.
  6. Roger Ebert. "The Muppets Take Manhattan", Chicago Sun-Times, rogerebert.com, January 1, 1984. Retrieved on January 29, 2012. 
  7. Leonard Maltin (August 5, 2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide, 2009, Signet. ISBN 0-451-22468-X. 
  8. "The Muppets Take Manhattan", DVD Talk. Retrieved on 2011-12-06. 
  9. "The Muppets Take Manhattan (Blu-ray)", DVD Talk. Retrieved on 2011-12-06. 
  10. Davis, Michael (2008). Street Gang. New York, New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-0-14-311663-9. 

External linksEdit

Template:Muppets Template:Frank Oz Template:Muppet films

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