The Muppet Movie: Wikis

  
  
  

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The Muppet Movie

Theatrical poster by Drew Struzan
Directed by James Frawley
Produced by Jim Henson
Co-Producer:
David Lazer
Executive Producer:
Sir Lew Grade
Martin Starger
Written by Jack Burns
Jerry Juhl
Starring The Muppets
Charles Durning
Austin Pendleton
Music by Paul Williams
Kenny Ascher
Editing by Christopher Greenbury
Studio Henson Associates
ITC Entertainment
Distributed by Associated Film Distribution (theatrical)
Walt Disney Pictures (2005 DVD)
Release date(s) June 22, 1979
Running time 95 min.
Country UK
USA
Language English
Budget $15,000,000
Gross revenue $65,200,000
Followed by The Great Muppet Caper

The Muppet Movie is the first of a series of live-action musical feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets. Released in 1979, the film was produced by Henson Associates and ITC Entertainment.

Contents

Plot

The film is a film-within-a-film, as we see Kermit the Frog and the rest of the Muppets creating havoc in a screening room, where they are about to watch The Muppet Movie. When asked by Robin if the film depicts how the Muppets began, Kermit responds that the movie is a somewhat fictionalized account.

As the story opens, Kermit is enjoying a relaxing afternoon in a Florida swamp, singing a tune (the Oscar-nominated "Rainbow Connection") and strumming his banjo, when he is approached by an agent named Bernie (Dom DeLuise) who recognizes his talents and encourages Kermit to pursue a career in Hollywood. Inspired by the idea of making millions of people happy, Kermit sets off on a cross-country trip to Hollywood, initially via bicycle but eventually via Studebaker after teaming with Fozzie Bear, who had been working as a hapless stand-up comedian in a sleazy restaurant. During their journey, they are pursued by the villainous Doc Hopper (Charles Durning), owner of a struggling French-fried frog legs restaurant franchise, and his assistant Max (Austin Pendleton). Doc Hopper (who speaks with a southern accent and wears an outfit similar to Colonel Sanders) wants Kermit to be the new spokesman for his restaurants, but when Kermit refuses, Hopper resorts to increasingly threatening means of persuasion.

Kermit and Fozzie's journey also includes misadventures which introduce them to a variety of eccentric characters, some played by human guest stars, others played by Muppets; some of these Muppets, such as Gonzo (who had been working as a plumber) and Miss Piggy (introduced as a beauty contestant) join Kermit and Fozzie as they continue traveling to Hollywood. Along the way, they meet Sweetums (who wanted to go with them to Hollywood but missed the ride), The Electric Mayhem and their manager Scooter (who planned to turn an abandoned church into a coffee house), Rowlf (who worked as a pianist at a lounge), and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker (who owned a laboratory in a ghost town).

Meanwhile, Doc Hopper continues to try a variety of schemes to coerce Kermit into accepting the spokesman position, including kidnapping Miss Piggy, teaming up with a mad scientist named Prof. Max Krassman (Mel Brooks) in an attempt to brainwash Kermit, and even hiring an assassin named Snake (Scott Walker) who kills frogs for a living. Before the climax, Max appears to Kermit disguised as a motorcycle policeman to warn Kermit. Their conflict comes to a head when Hopper and Kermit attempt a Western-style showdown in a ghost town; Kermit breaks tradition by trying to talk Hopper into backing off, but Hopper orders his henchmen to kill him; Kermit is saved only when one of Dr. Bunsen's inventions, the "insta-grow" pills temporarily turns Animal into a giant who is able to permanently scare off Hopper and his men (he is later shrunken back down to his normal size in the next scene since the effect of the pills is sadly temporary). The Muppets proceed to Hollywood, where they finally meet the imposing producer and studio executive Lew Lord (Orson Welles) (a reference to Lord Lew Grade who in real life gave The Muppet Show the green light), who hires them on the spot after an idealistic speech from Kermit.

The film ends with Kermit and the gang attempting to make their first movie, which turns out to be a surreal pastiche of their experiences, hinting that the movie they're making is the same one the audience has been watching all along. As the movie ends, Sweetums tears through the screen, finally catching up with the others. After the credits finish rolling, Animal tells the viewers to go home, then he says goodbye and falls asleep.

Production

To perform Kermit static in a log, Jim Henson squeezed into a specially designed metal container complete with an air hose (to breathe), a rubber sleeve which came out of the top to perform Kermit and a monitor to see his performance, and placed himself under the water, log and the Kermit puppet. This scene took 5 days to film.

Filming locations included Albuquerque, New Mexico.[1]

The Muppet Performers

with

and

Guest stars


Note: This movie is dedicated to Edgar Bergen because of his puppeteer career.

The cars

Several classic cars were specially selected by Henson for appearances in the film. The most famous was a pair of psychedelic painted 1951 Studebaker Commander Coupes. In the film Fozzie states that he inherited the car from his uncle. When asked by Kermit if his uncle is dead Fozzie replies "no, just hibernating". One car was painted but unmodified and driven by a person in the front seat. It was used for long, traveling shots. The second car was driven by a person in the trunk, who viewed the road through a TV set. The TV received its image from a camera located in the center nose of the car's front grill. This made it possible for Frank Oz to sit in the front seat and portray Fozzie driving the car in close up shots. This car is now on display at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana. Doc Hopper is chauffeured throughout the movie by Max in a 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine. The 1959 is distinctive for its enormous fins. The final car driven by the Muppets is a 1946 Ford Station Wagon, which is famous for its wood panel siding and is a valuable collectible.

Breaking the fourth wall

The Muppet Movie uses meta-references as a source of humor, as characters occasionally break the fourth wall to address the audience or comment on their real-life circumstances:

Fozzie: [to Big Bird] "Hey, there! Wanna lift?"
Big Bird: "Oh, no thanks. I'm on my way to New York City to try to break into public television." (referring to Big Bird's future "career" on Sesame Street)

In a particularly meta-fictional plot twist, Kermit and Fozzie actually give the screenplay to Dr. Teeth, who later uses it to find and rescue them after they've been stranded in the desert.

Reception

The Muppet Movie has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. As of July 6, 2009, the film holds an 89% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 35 reviews and a 67 out of 100 rating, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", at Metacritic. Roger Ebert gave it three-and-a-half out of four stars. He stated, "The Muppet Movie not only stars the Muppets but, for the first time, shows us their feet." The film sold nearly 26 million tickets and grossed $65,200,000 domestically (adjusted for inflation, this would equal $186,508,367), making it the highest-grossing Muppet film. The success of the film gave the The Jim Henson Company an opportunity to release more Muppet productions theatrically, all of which were successful until the commercial failure, Muppets from Space.

In 2009, it was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant and will be preserved for all time. [2]

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for the movie was released by Atlantic Records in 1979, and on CD by Jim Henson Records in March 1993. The songs were written by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher. Williams recalled to Songfacts: "Jim Henson gave you more [creative] freedom than anybody I've ever worked with in my life. I said, 'You want to hear the songs as we're writing them?' He said, 'No. I'll hear them in the studio. I know I'm gonna love them.' You just don't get that kind of freedom on a project these days." [3] The song Rainbow Connection is available on "The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem, and More - The 25th Anniversary Collection" released in 2002. On the soundtrack, the second verse of the song "I Hope That Something Better Comes Along", a duet between Rowlf and Kermit, was edited for the movie's release. It contained references that the studio considered too mature for children.

Nominations and awards

  • Gold Record (Soundtrack)
  • Platinum Record (Soundtrack)
  • Grammy Award - Best Children's Album (Soundtrack)
  • Golden Globe Award - Best Song (Rainbow Connection)
  • Academy Award - Best Song (Rainbow Connection)
  • Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Score (Soundtrack)
  1. "Rainbow Connection" - Kermit
  2. "Movin' Right Along" - Kermit and Fozzie
  3. "Never Before, Never Again!" - Miss Piggy
  4. "Never Before, Never Again!" - Instrumental
  5. "I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along!" - Kermit and Rowlf (expanded version)
  6. "Can You Picture That?" - Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
  7. "I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along!" - Instrumental
  8. "I'm Going To Go Back There Someday" - Gonzo
  9. "America" - Fozzie
  10. "Animal...Come Back Animal"
  11. "Finale: The Magic Store" - Company

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Muppet Movie is a 1979 live-action/puppet musical comedy film featuring Jim Henson's Muppets.

Directed by James Frawley. Written by Jack Burns and Jerry Juhl.

Contents

Kermit the Frog

  • [to audience] I hope you appreciate that I'm doing all my own stunts.
  • Who said that every wish will be heard and answered when wished on the morning star? Somebody thought of it, and someone believed it and look what it's done so far.
  • Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.
  • Life's like a movie, Write your own ending, Keep believing, Keep pretending

Fozzie Bear

  • A bear in his natural habitat: a Studebaker.
  • I'm a professional. I've had three performances

Rowlf the Dog

  • [concerning Kermit the Frog] It's not often you see a guy that green have the blues that bad.
  • [concerning women] You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. There's something irresistible-ish about 'em. We grin and bear it 'cause the nights are long. I hope that something better comes along.
  • [trying to film the Muppets] Okay everybody, stay in focus.

Dr. Teeth

  • Golden teeth and golden tunes. Welcome to my presence.

Dialogue

Kermit the Frog: [giving directions to Fozzy] Bear left.
Fozzie Bear: [looks at him somewhat distraught and a little angry] Frog right.

[discovering that their car has been painted by The Electric Mayhem]

Fozzie Bear: I don't know how to thank you guys!
Kermit the Frog: I don't know why to thank you guys.

Kermit the Frog: Where did you learn to drive?
Fozzie Bear: I took a correspondence course.

Kermit the Frog: [watching Gonzo, who is holding a bunch of helium balloons, fly by] Gonzo! What are you doing?
Gonzo the Great: About seven knots!

Statler: I'm Statler.
Waldorf: I'm Waldorf. We're here to heckle "The Muppet Movie".
Gate Guard: Gentlemen, that's straight ahead. Private screening room D.
Statler: Private screening?
Waldorf: Yeah, they're afraid to show it in public.

Rowlf the Dog: Oh. Broken heart, right?
Kermit the Frog: [sadly] Does it show?
Rowlf the Dog: Listen, when you've been tickling the ivories as long as I have, you've seen a broken heart for every drop of rain, a shattered dream for every falling star.
Kermit the Frog: Exactly. She just walked out on me.
Rowlf the Dog: Ah, typical. That's why I live alone.
Kermit the Frog: You do, huh?
Rowlf the Dog: You bet. I finish work, I go home, read a book, have a couple of beers, take myself for a walk, and go to bed.
Kermit the Frog: Nice and simple.
Rowlf the Dog: Stay away from women. That's my motto.
Kermit the Frog: But I can't.
Rowlf the Dog: Neither can I. That's my trouble.

Kermit the Frog: It's too bad the dancing girls are on vacation. This crowd's getting ugly.
Fozzie Bear: If you think this crowd's ugly, you should see the dancing girls.

Fozzie Bear: Kermit, where are we?
Kermit the Frog: [Looking at a map] Well, let's see. We're just traveling down this little black line here, and uh, just crossed that little red line over here.
Fozzie Bear: [takes his eyes off the road to focus on the map] Look, why don't we just take that little blue line, huh?
Kermit the Frog: We can't take that. That's a river.
Fozzie Bear: Oh. I knew that.
Kermit the Frog: Yeah sure.
Fozzie Bear: Well, listen Kermit, why don't we just go and...
Kermit the Frog: [Cutting him off] Fozzie? Uh, Fozzie?
Fozzie Bear': Yeah?
Kermit the Frog: Who's driving?

Kermit the Frog: I didn't promise anybody anything. What do I know about Hollywood, anyway? Just a dream I got from sitting through too many double features.
Kermit's Conscience: So why did you leave the swamp in the first place?
Kermit the Frog: 'Cause some agent fella said I had talent. He probably says that to everybody.
Kermit's Conscience: On the other hand, if you hadn't left the swamp, you'd be feeling pretty miserable anyhow.
Kermit the Frog: Yeah. But then it would just be me feeling miserable. Now I got a lady pig, and a bear and a chicken, a dog, a thing, whatever Gonzo is. He's a little like a turkey.
Kermit's Conscience: Mmm - Yeah. A little like a turkey, but not much.
Kermit the Frog: No I guess not. Anyhow, I brought them all out here to the middle of nowhere, and it's all my fault.
Kermit's Conscience: Still, whether you promised them something or not, you gotta remember - they wanted to come.
Kermit the Frog: But... that's because they believed in me.
Kermit's Conscience: No, they believed in the dream.
Kermit the Frog: Well, so do I but...
Kermit's Conscience: You do?
Kermit the Frog: Yeah! Of course I do.
Kermit's Conscience: Well then?
Kermit the Frog: Well then... I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone. I promised me.







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