Romance author Paul Sheldon (James Caan)
longs for parting with Misery. Sheldon’s plucky heroine of seven
novels has delivered Sheldon fame and fortune and recognition
beyond the average writer’s dreams, but she is also interminably
linked to him. Determined to escape an eternal role as dimestore
novelist, he kills her off in the eighth novel and heads to his
New England cabin to work on his own Great American Novel. Upon
completion, Sheldon excitedly sets out for his New York City
publisher in the midst of a raging blizzard and within minutes
veers into a desolate snowbank. From the brink of death, he is
rescued from the snow by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who just so
happens to be Misery’s self-professed biggest fan. At first, she
nurses him back to health in her remote cabin, telling him the
roads and phones are knocked out by the storm, fawning over his
literary accomplishments. However, things change when she
purchases his eighth Misery book and reaches the point of Misery's
death. Annie’s psychotic underbelly swiftly surfaces as the
unfortunate author is held clandestinely captive in her home.
Meanwhile, a wily small-town sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) circles
Director Rob Reiner's adaptation of Stephen King's novel is an
eerie tale of obsessiveness and isolation. The film features an
excellent turn by Caan and an Oscar-winning performance by Bates.
Theatrical release: November 30, 1990.
Shot in Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Los Angeles, California.
MISERY is director Rob Reiner's second Stephen King adaptation.
The first was the 1986 film STAND BY ME, based on the short story
Estimated budget: $21 million.
Second unit photography began in late January 1990 and principal
shooting began on February 20, 1990, completing May 31, 1990.
Richard Farnsworth would go on to give an acclaimed performance in
David Lynch's THE STRAIGHT STORY shortly before his death in 2000.
In this chilling adaptation of a Stephen King
story, a romance novelist loses control of his car during a
snowstorm and is rescued by a nurse who happens to be his
"number one fan." Recovering in her home, he turns from
patient to prisoner as his savior proves to be psychotically
"...[Reiner] adopts Hitchcockian techniques
which he uses to flawless effect..."
"...MISERY is a robust
audience-participation pic..." -- 3 out of 4 stars
"...A breakthrough of sorts....[Bates]
gives a genuinely funny performance..."
"...[Bates] illuminates an imagined extreme
of heartland dementia that's far scarier than any of the undead
creations that pepper King's other works..." -- Rating: B+
"You're a dirty little birdy."--Annie
Wilkes (Kathy Bates) to Paul Sheldon (James Caan)
"It's a masterpiece! What was the name of that ceiling
painted by that dago?"--Annie "The Sistine
"Yes. You and Michaelangelo. Geniuses."--Annie
"I'm your number one fan."--Annie to Paul
"...[Caan] is often marvelous..."