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Michael Tatro
Michael Tatro

Ben E. King - Stand By Me _TOP_

Vern overhears his older brother, Billy, talking with his friend, Charlie, about finding the body. Billy does not want to inform the police because it could draw attention to a car theft he and Charlie committed.

Ben E. King - Stand By Me

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In the evening, as the boys camp, Gordie tells a fictional story he created about "David 'Lard-Ass' Hogan", an obese boy who is constantly bullied. Seeking payback, he enters a pie-eating contest and throws up deliberately, inducing mass vomiting among everyone there.

The next day, the boys swim across a swamp, discovering it's filled with leeches. Gordie faints after finding one in his underwear. After more hiking, the boys locate the body. The discovery traumatizes Gordie, who asks Chris why Denny had to die and cries about his father hating him. Chris comforts Gordie and asserts that his father simply doesn't know him.

Ace and his gang arrive to claim the body and threaten to hurt the boys if they stay. When Chris insults Ace and doesn't back down, Ace draws a switchblade. Gordie gets the gun, fires a warning shot, and stands beside Chris while pointing the gun at Ace. Ace demands the weapon, but Gordie refuses while insulting and threatening him. Ace and his gang vow revenge and leave. The boys realize it's wrong to exploit Ray Brower's death and instead report it via an anonymous phone call. They walk back to Castle Rock and part ways.

The film was adapted from the Stephen King novella The Body.[15] Bruce A. Evans sent a copy of The Body to Karen Gideon, the wife of his friend and writing partner Raynold Gideon, on August 29, 1983, as a gift for her birthday.[16] Both Gideon and Evans quickly became fans of the novella and shortly thereafter contacted King's agent, Kirby McCauley, seeking to negotiate film rights; McCauley replied that King's terms were $100,000 and 10% of the gross profits. Although the money was not an issue, the share of gross profits was considered excessive, especially considering that no stars could be featured to help sell the movie. In response, Evans and Gideon pursued an established director, Adrian Lyne, to help sell the project.[16]

After reading the novella, Lyne teamed up with Evans and Gideon, but all the studios the trio approached turned the project down except for Martin Shafer at Embassy Pictures. Embassy spent four months negotiating the rights with McCauley, settling on $50,000 and a smaller share of the profits, and Evans and Gideon spent eight weeks writing the screenplay. Evans and Gideon asked to also produce the film, but Shafer suggested they team up with Andy Scheinman, a more experienced producer.[16] Embassy was unwilling to meet Lyne's salary for directing the film until Evans and Gideon agreed to give up half of their share of profits to meet Lyne's asking price.[16]

Lyne was going to direct the film, but had promised himself a vacation following the production of 9 Weeks,[17][18] and would not be available to start production until the spring of 1986.[16] Reiner was better known at the time for playing Michael Stivic in All in the Family and had just started a directing career, making comedies like This Is Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing. He was sent the script by Scheinman,[16] and his initial reaction was the script had promise but "no focus".[3] After Lyne withdrew from the project, Reiner signed on to direct in September 1984.[16] In a 2011 interview, Reiner discussed his realization that the film should focus on the character of Gordie:

Feldman recalled how his home life translated into his onscreen character: "[Most kids aren't] thinking they're going to get hit by their parents because they're not doing well enough in school, which will prevent them from getting a work permit, which will prevent them from being an actor."[3] O'Connell agreed that he was cast based on how his personality fit the role, saying "Rob wanted us to understand our characters. He interviewed our characters. [...] I tried to stay like Vern and say the stupid things Vern would. I think I was Vern that summer."[21] Reiner and the producers interviewed more than 70 boys for the four main roles,[16] out of more than 300 who auditioned;[21] Phoenix originally read for the part of Gordie Lachance.[21] Ethan Hawke auditioned for Chris Chambers.[22]

The scene where the boys outrace a steam train engine across an 80-foot tall trestle was filmed on the McCloud River Railroad, above Lake Britton Reservoir near McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in California.[26] The scene took a full week to shoot, making use of four small adult female stunt doubles with closely cropped hair who were made up to look like the film's protagonists.[26] Plywood planks were laid across the ties to provide a safer surface on which the stunt doubles could run.[26] The film crew even brought a brand-new camera for use in the shot, only for it to jam between the rails on the first shot. The locomotive used for the scene, M.C.R.R. 25, is still in daily operation for excursion service on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.[26] Telephoto compression was used to make the train appear much closer than it actually was. The actors did not feel a sense of danger until Reiner threatened them as follows: "You see those guys? They don't want to push that dolly down the track anymore. And the reason they're getting tired is because of you... I told them if they weren't worried that the train was going to kill them, then they should worry that I was going to. And that's when they ran."[17]

The movie's success sparked a renewed interest in Ben E. King's song "Stand by Me". Initially a number four pop hit in 1961, the song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1986, eventually peaking at number nine in December of that year.[27] The song was also reissued in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, where it topped the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart respectively for three consecutive weeks in February 1987. The movie was released in both countries the following month.

Stand by Me was released on VHS on March 19, 1987, by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. A DVD was issued on August 29, 2000, with a director's commentary, multiple language options (subtitles and audio), scene selections with motion images, and a featurette called "Walking The Tracks- The Summer Of Stand by Me." The film was re-issued on Blu-ray in 2011 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and again on 4K Blu-ray in 2019.[31]

The film was a box office success in North America. It opened in a limited release in 16 theaters on August 8, 1986, and grossed $242,795, averaging $15,174 per theater. The film then had its wide opening in 745 theaters on August 22 and grossed $3,812,093, averaging $5,116 per theater and ranking number 2. The film's widest release was 848 theaters, and it ended up earning $52,287,414 overall, well above its $8 million budget.[32]

Reviewing the film for The New York Times, Walter Goodman opined that Reiner's direction was rather self-conscious, "looking constantly at his audience". Goodman called the film a "trite narrative" and said that "Reiner's direction hammers in every obvious element in an obvious script."[33] In his review for the Chicago Tribune, Dave Kehr wrote that there was "nothing natural in the way Reiner has overloaded his film with manufactured drama".[34] In contrast, Sheila Benson called the film "[a treasure] absolutely not to be missed" in her review for the Los Angeles Times.[35] Paul Attanasio, reviewing for The Washington Post, called the acting ensemble "wonderful" and particularly praised the performances by Wheaton and Phoenix.[36]

The film is referenced in Pokémon Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow for the Nintendo Game Boy, as well their Game Boy Advance remakes, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, where the player character's mother is watching the movie on TV.[71] When interacting with the TV, the player character says: "There's a movie on TV. Four boys are walking on railroad tracks. I better go too." This reference exists in both the original Japanese versions and the English localizations, though the reference changes to The Wizard of Oz in the remakes when the female player character is selected.[72]

It's not easy to find the funk in "Stand by Me," but leave it to Ike & Tina Turner to discover it in a place where nobody else was looking. Slowing the tempo down and adding thick washes of organ (plus Ike's chicken-scratch guitar), this groove is so heavy that it almost makes Tina's vocals seem beside the point. That's not to say she doesn't tear into them: Tina sings with so much passion that you have to wonder whether she needs somebody to stand by her at all.

Meat Loaf cut one of the weirdest versions of "Stand by Me" song during the sessions for The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. It sat in the vault for another decade, and maybe for good reason: Loaf gives the elegant original an ornate reggae reinvention filled with over-the-top accents: the overheated backing vocals, a liquid fretless bass that mimics a French horn and a saxophone ripped from Aladdin Sane. Just when you think things can't get any more ridiculous, his voice gets phased through a tremolo, the desperation palpable from every angle.

Recorded for the Bam on the Roof compilation in 1992, Junior Murvin's "Stand by Me" is a rare rendition that strips away the trademark bass line, a move that forces attention elsewhere. Here, the focus is on a tight rhythm anchored by a drum machine and an insistent single-note guitar riff, a spare bed that gives Murvin plenty of room to roam. He doesn't plead, he seduces: There's never a doubt that his intended won't stand by him, at least for the night.

Will someone please stand by Sean Kingston? On "Beautiful Girls," the then 17-year-old used Ben E. King's riddim to express his high school self-pity, warning a possible girlfriend that her good looks will make him want to kill himself if they break-up. Teenage angst paid off well, though: The song went to Number One on three continents. 041b061a72


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