Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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The Making of the Movie

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was directed, co-produced, and written by John Hughes as a teen comedy film featuring Matthew Broderick as the film star who acts as Ferris Bueller. The teen comedy film was co-produced by Tom Jacobson. Bueller who acts as a high school slacker is regularly involved in breaking the fourth wall to spend a day from school. The film’s screenplay was written in less than a week while the filming took three months in 1985 (Thomas, P. 17). Hughes wrote the film as a love letter to Chicago and featured many landmarks such as the Art Institute and Sears Tower. After its release on June 1986 by Paramount Pictures which took a budget of $5.8 million, the film received $70.1million and was acclaimed by audiences and critics enthusiastically as a great grossing film of the year (Granillo, p. 26).

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Awards

The film has greatly been attributed to aesthetic, historic, and cultural significance which has helped to be nominated in numerous awards and accolades. For instance, the Library of Congress selected it in 2014 for National Film Registry’s preservation. In 1986 following its release, Broderick was nominated for Best Actor in the Golden Globe Award for Motion Picture Comedy and Musical (O’Neal, p. 28). The film has also gotten recognition by the American Film Institute that so it being nominated for 100 Laughs and also got the nomination for 100 Movie Quotes. On the other hand, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has gotten great recognition in the film industry thus being in various film rating lists as a popular and influential film (O’Neal, p. 28). In the 100 Funniest Movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is ranked number 54 by Bravo, while the 50 Greatest Comedy Films in British ranks it in number 26. Further, the Best High School Films by Entertainment Weekly ranks it number 10.

Critical Reaction

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off largely received enthusiastic accolades from its audience and was positively reviewed by its critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film is a certified fresh with an aggregate score of 81percent. Certainly, in teen angst, Hughes has proved to be a real scribe. He wrote the screenplay with so much eloquence that he creates a time in everyone’s life and a person who everybody who has been in the teenage bracket can relate to (Ebert, p. 16). Definitely, every teenager or adult knows a Ferris Bueller who they can relate to in their life. A person who is never short of an art form plan, someone who gets in a barrel and a messy situation and come out victoriously smelling rosy.

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All Bueller wants is a simple day off from school, but his escapades in Chicago cannot be fulfilling if he is not accompanied by Sara, his girlfriend, and Cameron, his best friend both of whom he has to convince to go with him to make his day in Chicago enjoyable. He wants to make his friends learn to enjoy the little offers of life. Throughout the movie, the funny situations are consistent, and the audience can easily resonate with the characters as they are able to grow on you (Grow, p 17). Cameron for instance, makes weird sacrifices in the name of friendship and almost drowns in a pool. Ferris passion for Sara who acts as the object of desire to him is overwhelming and understandable. But at least, he can think about their lives after school. Nonetheless, the movie offers a real fun trip from its beginning to the end with a lot of relaxation mood.

Writing

The screenplay of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was written by John Hughes in 1985 on a spiral-bound logbook. Hughes developed the basic of the movie on February 25th and visited Paramount Studios the following day where it was pitched by Ned Tanen after the concept in it intrigued him. It took Hughes less than a week to write the screenplay of the film in which he worked for hours after which the film was short having used what was essentially the script’s first draft (Granillo, p. 26). The focus of Hughes in writing the screenplay was mainly on the characters as opposed to the plot. To him, the beginning and the ending of the film as clear but everything else was in disarray because he believed that the events did not matter as much as the characters who were going through the events. It is in this regard, that the film has made the characters as real and full as possible, characters who handled everyone and everything.

Editing (Montage)

The main editor of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was Paul Hirsch who explained that the script-writing process of Hughes reflected a trance-like concentration. The film’s first cut took two hours and forty-five minutes. However, Hirsch commenced to the cutting room to edit and shorten the script of the movie. Hirsch also edited the story so that it could was episodically take place in one day, where there would be as little costume changes as possible and have the freedom in editing (Ebert, p. 14). Several scenes were thus eliminated from the final film. One of the scenes that were cut includes the scene at the restaurant where three teenagers ate pancreas. Ferris’ younger siblings were also removed from the screen together with other lines of dialogue. All the scrapping of scenes was done by the Paramount executives although Hughes would have wanted the scenes in the film. However, he wanted his editors to have as much freedom as possible in editing the script. Much of the edition was done to differentiate pizza scenes when they were playing games to scenes present in the stadium.

Sound and Music, Cinematography

Hughes felt that the soundtrack for the film would not do well as a continuous album and this reason the official soundtrack was never released. Some people argue that this might have been caused by the songs that belonged to his fan that were part of the album. This was revealed through an in an interview with the Lollipop magazine. Moreover, he was of the opinion that his fan base would not like certain combinations such as “Danke Schoen” and “Oh Yeah” in the same album (Grow, p. 18). Hughes was also bothered by the diversity of the songs stretching among several generations and thereby not matching as an album. On the other hand, Hughes argued that he mailed two of the songs he owned to the fan’s mail list despite the heavy cost he incurred.

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As for the songs that were part of the film, they included; The Flowerpot Men’s “Beat City” and The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” (Grow, p 17). Ferris, Jeanie and Ed Rooney, sing to Wayne Newton “Danke Schoen” mainly because it has recurring motifs in the film (Grow, p 19). According to Hughes, it was one of the most interesting youthful songs of his time. He argues that its inspiration was enhanced by his study of German language in school. Ferris’s shower singing of this particular song was brought about by Hughes. Broderick admits that he had no idea of the existence of such a song and as such he had to learn and sing to it for the parade scene. The soundtrack of the film was released in 2016 by La-La Land records. Its genre includes pop songs as well as new wave music. However, not all songs were included in the album due to licensing restrictions.

Special Camera Work

The parade scene took several days to shoot and due to the dance moves that Broderick was supposed to practice and master. The rehearsals were conducted in a studio, and they were choreographed beforehand. After the real parade with the director getting long shots, the public was invited to take part, and sure enough, the crowd honored the invitation (Grow, p 17). The Wrigley field was a scene that included the game between the Chicago cubs and the Atlanta braves that captured a close up of Ferris during the game. Additionally, “in the park” scene includes the moment when Ferris held the ball on TV at a game between the Cubs and Montreal Expos.

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Special Effects

In the movie, Cameron borrows his father’s car which a rare Ferrari GT California, 1991 after being convinced by to do so. The insert shots of the film used the real Ferrari 250 GT California; however, in the wide shots, reproductions of the car were used rather than the real car (Grow, p 17). Since it was way too expensive to acquire this car which was very rare, a replica of it was made and used in the film. However, although the replicas were good, a real car was needed for the tight shots and was brought on stage and used to make inner shot.

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  1. Ebert, Roger. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. June 11, 1986.
  2. Granillo, Larry. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Wrigley Field”. Baseball Prospectus, 2011.
  3. Grow, Kory. “‘Big Lebowski,’ ‘Ferris Bueller’ Join National Film Registry.” Rolling Stone, 2014.
  4. O’Neal, Sean. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off soundtrack arrives after skipping the past 30 years”. The A.V. Club.2016.
  5. Thomas, Bob. “Young star of Ferris Bueller seeks to get away from high school roles”. Ottawa Citizen. Associated Press. Pp. F17. 1986.
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