I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)

I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)

Grandmother has nothing to say when Libby tells her that she is off to LA to look up Dad, a Hollywood screenwriter. Grandmother has been in a New York cemetery for six years and Dad has been out of Libby’s life for 16 of her 19 years. Libby arrives in LA on a Tuesday and phones Dad the one night that Stephanie, who does Jane Fonda’s hair, stays over. Stephanie is there the next morning when Libby decides she needs to tell her story face-to-face.

Neil Simon’s I Ought to Be in Pictures (also known simply as I Ought to Be in Pictures) is a 1982 American comedy-drama film directed by Herbert Ross and based on Neil Simon’s play of the same name. The film stars Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret, and Dinah Manoff (the only one to reprise her role in the movie). Other actors who have supporting roles are Lance Guest, Eugene Butler, David Faustino, Martin Ferrero and Michael Dudikoff. The film was released on March 26, 1982, a year after the original broadway show ended and was filmed mainly in Los Angeles, California.

About the Story

A 19-year-old Brooklynite, Libby Tucker (Dinah Manoff), visiting her dead grandma’s grave at a New York cemetery, reveals that she is moving to Hollywood to become an actress and find her father, screenwriter Herbert Tucker. Libby takes a bus to Denver, then hitchhikes the rest of the way. Libby then tries to call Herb but gets nervous and hangs up.

The next morning, Libby goes to the house where Herb lives and meets his girlfriend, Steffy Blondell (Ann-Margret), who invites Libby inside. After becoming acquainted and learning the reason why Libby is in town, Steffy needs to leave. Herb Tucker (Walter Matthau) awakens to find Libby after a 16-year gap in their lives. The two chat about their pasts and Libby fills Herb in on the family he left behind, including her younger brother Robbie. The two eventually begin arguing about Libby’s goal of becoming an actress just as Steffy returns, and Libby runs out of the house.

Herb tracks down Libby at a motel and eventually persuades her to come back to live at his house. They begin to get along, although the high-strung Libby also begins to realize that Herb is not nearly as successful in Hollywood as she had assumed he was. He is also on the verge of losing Steffy, who has been asked on a date by another man and has been waiting a long time for Herb to make a commitment.

A studio makeup artist, Steffy helps out Libby by arranging for her go to a drama school. Libby meets a young man named Gordon there and together they take a part-time job doing valet parking at a celebrity-filled private party. Libby comes home at 3 a.m. and tells Herb about putting business cards on car windshields reading “Sunset Valet Parking. No party is too big or too small” on the front and “Libby Tucker, New York-Trained Actress. No part is too big or too small” on the back with her phone number included. He tells her that there is no chance of this helping her to become an actress, but Libby clings to her optimistic dreams.

I Ought to Be in Pictures Movie Poster (1982)

I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)

Directed by: Herbert Ross
Starring: Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret, Dinah Manoff, Lance Guest, Calvin Ander, Shelby Balik, Larry Barton, Eugene Butler, Samantha Harper
Screenplay by: Neil Simon
Production Design by: Albert Brenner
Cinematography by: David M. Walsh
Film Editing by: Sidney Levin
Costume Design by: Ruth Morley
Music by: Marvin Hamlisch
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: March 26, 1982