First Monday in October (1981)

First Monday in October (1981)

Taglines: In the Supreme Court, there are only eight of them against all of her.

Ruth Loomis becomes the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. A staunch conservative, she immediately runs into conflict with Dan Snow, the high court’s resident liberal. Although, they never agree on the issues before the Court, they develop a respect and affection for one another after several comedic encounters.

First Monday in October is a 1981 American comedy-drama film based on the play of the same name by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, and directed by Ronald Neame. Walter Matthau (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy) and Jill Clayburgh (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy) performed the principal roles. The cast also includes Jan Sterling in her final film role.

The film was originally scheduled for a February 1982 release; President Ronald Reagan’s appointment of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice on July 7, 1981 forced the film’s release a month after the presidential nomination, in August of 1981.

First Monday in October (1981)

About the Story

The death of Stanley Moorehead, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, has created a vacancy on the court. The president’s appointee turns out to be Ruth Loomis, a staunch conservative from Orange County, CA, who is confirmed as the first female Associate Justice.

She and Associate Justice Daniel Snow, a committed liberal and many years older than Loomis and with many years on the Supreme Court, clash intellectually on just about every judicial issue before them. One case involves a pornographic film and arguments about freedom of speech.

Another is a pending case brought by stockholders about the suppression of a possibly revolutionary new power source, a momentum engine, by a large corporation run by CEO Donald Richards, who hasn’t been seen in public for a decade.

With time, the two characters develop a liking and respect for each other. This happens as Snow recovers from a “heart episode” he suffered while he and Lommis were strongly debating the Richards’ case, after hours, in the court.

First Monday in October Movie Poster (1981)

First Monday in October (1981)

Directed by: Ronald Neame
Starring: Walter Matthau, Jill Clayburgh, Barnard Hughes, Jan Sterling, James Stephens, Joshua Bryant, Wiley Harker, Charles Lampkin
Screenplay by: Jerome Lawrence
Production Design by: Philip M. Jefferies
Cinematography by: Fred J. Koenekamp
Film Editing by: Peter E. Berger
Costume Design by: Ruth Myers
Set Decoration by: Ernie Bishop, Robert De Vestel
Art Direction by: John V. Cartwright
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: August 21, 1981