10 Things You Didn’t Know About 10 to Midnight
Many would categorize the movies that Cannon Films produced to be nothing more than guilty pleasures from decades past. But thanks to two documentaries, a number of special edition Blu-Ray releases and even a few books covering the movies that Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus produced, these guilty pleasures are enjoying new life in the modern world.
Social media has also allowed Cannon fans from around the globe to connect with one another (and in some cases the stars and crew that were actually a part of Cannon Films) to discuss their admiration for films like the subject of this edition of 10 Things You Didn’t Know… 1983’s 10 to Midnight.
Before I begin I’d like to cite my sources for this post. First up is the commentary track on the limited edition 10 to Midnight Blu-ray release from Twilight Time. Producer Pancho Kohner, Casting Director John Crowther and Film Historian (and former Cannon script reader) David Del Valle provide the audio commentary on the Blu-ray, not only sharing interesting facts about 10 to Midnight but about the man himself, Charles Bronson.
I also turned to one of my favorite resources where Charles Bronson is concerned, Paul Talbot’s book Bronson’s Loose Again! On the Set with Charles Bronson. This book is a must have for any Charles Bronson fan and proved invaluable as I was accumulating factoids for this list.
But the first of the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About 10 to Midnight was actually a story Lisa Eilbacher told when she was a guest on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Eilbacher appeared with Johnny on the February 6, 1985 episode. Lisa was there to discuss her role in Beverly Hills Cop but it was Johnny who asked her about 10 to Midnight (which was on heavy rotation on HBO at the time) and that is when she told an interesting story about her co-star in the film, Gene Davis…
1. The script for 10 to Midnight called for the Warren Stacy character to appear nude in many scenes. Gene Davis, who portrayed the naked killer, wanted to break the ice with his co-stars and get the awkwardness out of the way before they began shooting. But Lisa Eilbacher, who portrays Laurie Kessler, the daughter of Charles Bronson’s character Leo Kessler, was the one hold out. Eilbacher refused to look at “IT”. So Davis went ahead and tied a red bow around his member to draw Eilbacher’s attention to his nether region.
2. Director J. Lee Thompson agreed to direct the film the night before shooting took place after the original director was let go. Thompson had previously worked with Charles Bronson on St. Ives, The White Buffalo and Cabo Blanco.
3. After the success of Death Wish 2, Cannon was all about doing another film with Charles Bronson. The second Cannon/Bronson collaboration was set to be The Evil The Men Do and the plan was to announce the project at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. But, when Menahem Golan learned that he would have to reimburse Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, J. Lee Thompson and producer Pancho Kohner for the film rights that they had previously paid for to make a movie based on R. Lance Hill’s novel, Golan backed out of the deal.
4. The Evil That Men Do may not have been a go, but Menahem Golan still wanted to announce a new Cannon produced Charles Bronson movie at the Cannes Film Festival that year, so 10 to Midnight was born. Golan sold the film at Cannes, but there was one catch… there was no actual script for the movie, only a generic poster that touted Bronson in an international thriller fighting terrorists. When they got back to the States, Pancho Kohner contacted Lance Hool and Lance’s script for Bloody Sunday (or Blood Bath depending on who you believe) became the script for 10 to Midnight.
5. 10 to Midnight was shot over 8 weeks in November and December of 1982. The film was released on March 11, 1983.
6. Gene Davis actually dislocated the shoulder of actress Iva Lane during the intense scene where he is shaking her on the bed in the violent and gruesome third act of the film.
7. Cannon sold the cable TV rights of 10 to Midnight to HBO for 2.5 million dollars. Along with the 7 million dollars the movie made at the box office and all the money made in the rental market, 10 to Midnight could only be classified as a financial success.
8. All of the Warren Stacy nude scenes had to be shot twice. Once for the theatrical release and then for the television version. Gene Davis wore a pair of black bikini briefs for the TV version, but some of the scenes with Davis in the briefs actually made it into the theatrical cut.
9. Former teen idol Leif Garrett auditioned for the role of Warren Stacy. Sam Bottoms, Parker Stevenson and Frank Sinatra Jr. read for the role of Paul McCann but all lost out to Andrew Stevens.
10. Two scenes that were in the original script that were never shot featured Warren Stacy interacting with a 10 year old girl at a park and Warren getting hit on by a homosexual man. The original script also called for Leo Kessler to wrestle Warren Stacy down to the ground in their final confrontation but Bronson wasn’t getting that up close and personal with a naked Gene Davis.