Taglines: When she comes to life, anything can happen!
Jonathan Switcher is a young artist. He just doesn’t seem to last in any job he does. But when he builds a mannequin, he makes it so perfect, he falls in love with it. It is the first thing he has made that makes him feel like a real artist. The mannequin ends up in the window of a big department store.
When he saves the life of an old lady who happens to be the owner of that store, he is rewarded by getting a job at the store as stock boy. Later the mannequin comes to life as Emmy, who was an ancient Egyptian living in the year 2514BC. The two redesign the window display to make it most eye catching in town. The store competitors are not happy and will do anything to stop them!
Mannequin is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy film starring Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Meshach Taylor, James Spader, G. W. Bailey, and Estelle Getty. Directed and written by Michael Gottlieb, the film was also co-written by Edward Rugoff. The original music score was composed by Sylvester Levay.
The film, a modern re-telling of the Pygmalion myth, tells about a chronically underemployed artist named Jonathan Switcher (played by Andrew McCarthy) who gets a job as a department-store window dresser and falls in love with a mannequin (played by Kim Cattrall)—the attraction being that she comes to life on occasion, but only for him.
Mannequin received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for its main title tune, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. The song reached #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 on April 4, 1987, and #1 on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks the following month.
About the Story
In Ancient Egypt, Ema “Emmy” Heshire (Kim Cattrall) hides in a pyramid from her mother, who wants her daughter to marry against Emmy’s will. Emmy prays for the gods to get her out of the mess and to find her true love. The gods answer her prayer by making her disappear.
Philadelphia, 1987; young would-be artist Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy), takes a number of odd jobs. The first job, where he assembles a beautiful, perfect mannequin, portends the rest of the movie and is representative of his efforts. In each of these jobs, Jonathan painstakingly expresses his artistic self; but each of these early employers dismisses him for taking too much time or deviating from a set pattern.
One night, Jonathan is driving in the rain when he passes the Prince & Company department store and recognizes his “perfect” mannequin in a display window. He declares that she is the first work he’s ever done that made him feel like an artist. The next morning he manages to save the owner, Claire Timkin (Estelle Getty), from being hit by a falling sign.
The grateful Claire hires Jonathan, much to the chagrin of Vice President Richards (James Spader), who assigns Jonathan to be a stock boy. In his spare time, Jonathan hits it off with flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose (Meshach Taylor). That night, Hollywood and Jonathan construct a window display starring Jonathan’s mannequin. They have a run-in with the store’s night security chief, Captain Felix Maxwell (G. W. Bailey). When Jonathan is alone, the mannequin he is obsessed with comes to life as Emmy.
To the surprise of his detractors, Jonathan’s window-dressing for Prince & Company attracts large audiences. Jonathan’s arrogant ex-girlfriend Roxie (Carole Davis) and president B.J. Wert (Steve Vinovich), both of rival department store Illustra, learn about it as well. It is revealed that Richards is a corporate spy for Wert. At their board meeting, Richards wants to fire Jonathan, who is ostensibly showing off with the window displays. In contrast, the board members promote Jonathan to visual merchandising.
Emmy and Jonathan’s relationship thrives over the following week. Every night, she helps him to create window displays which dazzle everyone at Prince & Company. As a result, Claire promotes Jonathan to a vice presidency.
As the window designs are bringing a tremendous amount of customers and profit for Prince & Company, people from Illustra plan to steal Emmy—not knowing that she is alive—and put her on display at Illustra. The next day, Roxie offers Jonathan work at Illustra, but is refused as he and Emmy are in love.
Maxwell and Richards break into Prince & Company and search for Emmy. The next morning, Hollywood and Jonathan discover Emmy and other mannequins missing. Jonathan suspects Illustra and dashes there, where he confronts Wert, who is dismissive regarding the stolen property. Roxie storms out of the office, swearing that Jonathan will never see Emmy ever again.
Jonathan chases Roxie while being pursued by a dozen security guards. Hollywood bombards the guards with water from a fire hose as Roxie loads Emmy along with the other mannequins into a trash compactor. Jonathan charges up the trash compactor’s conveyor belt to rescue Emmy. She comes to life in his hands, and stays human in front of other people for the first time.
Directed by: Michael Gottlieb
Starring: Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty, James Spader, G.W. Bailey, Carole Davis, Steve Vinovich, Christopher Maher, Meshach Taylor
Screenplay by: Edward Rugoff, Michael Gottlieb
Production Design by: Josan F. Russo
Cinematography by: Tim Suhrstedt
Film Editing by: Richard Halsey, Frank E. Jimenez
Costume Design by: Lisa Jensen
Set Decoration by: Cricket Rowland
Art Direction by: Richard Amend
Music by: Sylvester Levay
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox (North America), Cannon Films (International)
Release Date: February 13, 1987