Shot in Screenland — “Into the Night”

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The first in an occasional series.

In 1985, a luminescent Michelle Pfeiffer was fresh from playing the coke-addled love interest in Al Pacino’s iconic “Scarface.” Her next project was the sleeper “Into the Night,” in which Pfieffer was able to demonstrate her comic abilities, surprising critics. Pfeiffer plays the femme fatale to Jeff Goldblum’s Ed Orkin (any reference to the bug zappers is likely wholly intentional by director John Landis). Ed is on the outs. He’s discovered his wife is having an affair, he’s dealing with a frustrating bout of insomnia and he’s deeply depressed.  

As the film opens, and he’s battling sleep deprivation, he leaves his home on Culver City’s Segrell Way in Sunset Park, and heads to LAX, at the recommendation of a friend (played by Dan Ackroyd). There, Ed runs into the beautiful, but wily Diana (Pfeiffer), a jewelry smuggler on the lam from some very determined bad buys.  Ed also finds himself on the wrong side of gun, courtesy of a British hit man (David Bowie), and, he encounters a virtual who’s-who of legendary filmmakers, friends of director Landis, who appear in cameos throughout; these include Rick Baker, Jonathan Demme, Carl Gottlieb, Amy Heckerling, Lawrence Kasdan, Paul Mazursky, Jim Henson, David Cronenberg and Roger Vadim.  The whole of the film takes place over the course of one very eventful night.

For many, “Into the Night” is a little known to looked-over gem, which received mixed reviews, and has a current Rotten Tomatoes rating of 38%. Still, it won the Special Jury Prize at the 1985 Festival du Film Policier de Cognac.

Ed’s shade-of-the-freeway home hasn’t changed much in the 34 years since the film was made. Other locations the film used include the no-longer-there Frederick’s of Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd. and Ship’s Restaurant on La Cienega.

“Into the Night” also boasts a first-rate soundtrack, which includes two songs that appear on screen, Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” and The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).” Others on the soundtrack include BB King, Patti La Belle and Thelma Houston.