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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Chris Columbus|
|Produced by||John Hughes|
|Written by||John Hughes|
|Starring|| Macaulay Culkin
|Music by||John Williams|
|Editing by||Raja Gosnell|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||103 minutes|
|Budget||$18 million (estimated)|
|Box office||$476,684,675 (worldwide)|
Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. While initially relishing time by himself, he is later greeted by two would-be burglars played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci. Kevin eventually manages to outwit them with a series of booby traps. The film also features Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Devin Ratray and Roberts Blossom. Immediately and consistently popular, Home Alone remains, as of December 19, 2010, the highest grossing live-action comedy of all time.
The McCallister family prepares to spend Christmas with Peter and Frank's brother Rob in Paris, France, gathering at Peter and Kate's home in Chicago the night before their flight. Eight-year-old Kevin, Peter and Kate's youngest son and the protagonist of the film, finds himself the subject of ridicule from the other children. After getting into an argument with his older brother Buzz because he ate Kevin's cheese pizza on purpose, he is sent to the third floor bedroom of the house, wishing his family would disappear. The family accidentally leaves Kevin asleep in bed, as a power outage resets the alarm clocks and causes them to wake up late. A neighbour boy named Mitch Murphy is mistaken for Kevin in a headcount, and the family hastily departs to the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, for a flight to Paris-Orly Airport. During the flight, Kate realizes that they have left Kevin behind, and once everyone is in Paris, she immediately tries to book a return flight back to Chicago. Kate manages to fly into Dallas and Scranton, but the flight to Chicago was full. However, she does manage to hitch a ride with a man named Gus Polinski and his polka band, the Kenosha Kickers, who are driving to Milwaukee after their flight was canceled due to a blizzard.
Meanwhile, Kevin wakes up to find the house empty and is overjoyed to find that his wish came true. He gets away with taking Buzz's life savings, practicing shooting with Buzz's BB gun, jumping on the bed, watching a gangster film, and eating a large amount of junk food. However, Kevin finds himself scared by the appearance of the Chicago Police Department called by his parents to check on Kevin via payphone from Paris after Kate figures out that they left him at home by accident, his next door neighbour "Old Man" Marley, who was rumored to have murdered his family many years earlier, and the appearance of The Wet Bandits, Harry Lyme and Marv Merchants, who are breaking into other vacant houses along the block. The Wet Bandits are aware of which houses are vacant, as Harry impersonated a police officer doing wellness checks on families before the holidays. On Christmas Eve, Kevin manages to overhear Harry and Marv discuss plans for breaking into his house that night. After conversing with a Santa Claus impersonator and watching a local choir perform in a church in hopes to have his family return, Kevin comes across Marley. The two of them talk, and Kevin learns that Marley is in fact a very nice man, and the rumors about him are not true. Marley tells Kevin that he is watching the choir because his granddaughter is in it, and he never gets to see her because he and his son are estranged and have not spoken in years after a big argument they had. Kevin, now knowing how it feels to not have his family for Christmas, advises Marley to reconcile with his son. They shake hands and wish each other a Merry Christmas. As Kevin leaves, he hears the church bells ringing and remembering the plot to break into his house, he hurries home.
Kevin sets up various booby traps inside the house. Harry and Marv, who were initially fooled by Kevin's illusions that the house is occupied, now realize that he is home alone and attempt to break in, running into the various traps. After the two spring almost every trap in the house, Kevin flees to the second floor of the house, and dials 9-1-1 from a landline. Harry and Marv manage to chase Kevin out of the house; he then flees to the vacant neighboring home, which was unlocked and unoccupied. The Wet Bandits catch Kevin when he runs to the top of the stairs connecting the basement and the first floor and hang him from a coat hook on the door. They decide to do the same things that Kevin did to them and Harry decides to bite Kevin's fingers one at a time first, but Marley has sneaked up behind them and knocks them out with his snow shovel and takes Kevin home. Shortly after Kevin is safely returned home, Harry and Marv are arrested. Additionally, the police were aware of every house The Wet Bandits have hit because of their habit of leaving the household's water running to leave their mark. Kevin watches and mockingly waves to Harry and Marv as they are taken to jail.
Kevin wakes up the next morning and is disappointed to see that his family is still gone. While upstairs looking at a family portrait, Kevin hears Kate come into the house, calling for him. He goes downstairs and the two of them meet across the hall. Kate tells Kevin she is sorry and Kevin smiles at her and runs into her arms. Shortly afterward, the rest of the McCallisters, having traveled directly to Chicago from Paris, arrive. Kevin keeps silent about his encounter with Harry and Marv, although Peter finds Harry's missing gold tooth and wonders what it is. Kevin and Buzz have a moment of reconciliation. Kevin then goes over to the window, looks out and sees Marley greeting his son and his family. As Marley is hugging his granddaughter, he looks up to see Kevin watching them. Marley waves at him and Kevin waves back, smiling. He watches as Marley heads inside with his family. However, Buzz interrupts Kevin by calling out, "Kevin! What did you do to my room?!". Kevin immediately runs to Buzz's room and the film ends.
- Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister: An eight-year-old who comes from a big family and usually gets into trouble with them. One night he wishes for his family to disappear and gets his wish, but later on, learns that it is not really fun being alone. He then defends his house from Harry and Marv by using booby traps.
- Joe Pesci as Harry Lyme: The short leader of The Wet Bandits who tries to break into Kevin's house.
- Daniel Stern as Marv Merchants: The tall member of The Wet Bandits.
- Roberts Blossom as Old Man Marley: A kind elderly man and a neighbour of Kevin's who is said to have murdered his whole family, causing Kevin to run scared of him every time he sees him.
- Catherine O'Hara as Kate McCallister: Kevin's mother and the mother of four more children.
- John Heard as Peter McCallister: Kevin's father and the father of four more children.
- Devin Ratray as Buzz McCallister: Kevin's older brother.
- Kristin Minter as Heather McCallister: Kevin's cousin and daughter of Rob McCallister.
- Hillary Wolf as Megan McCallister: Kevin's older sister.
- Angela Goethals as Linnie McCallister: Kevin's older sister.
- Michael C. Maronna as Jeff McCallister: Kevin's older brother.
- Gerry Bamman as Frank McCallister: Kevin's uncle and brother of Peter McCallister.
- Terrie Snell as Leslie McCallister: Kevin's aunt.
- Jedidiah Cohen as Rod McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
- Senta Moses as Tracy McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
- Daiana Campeanu as Sondra McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
- Kieran Culkin as Fuller McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
- Anna Slotky as Brooke McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
- John Candy as Gus Polinski: A member of a band (The Kenosha Kickers) whose flight is canceled due to the weather so he and his band have to catch a ride in a van. He offers to give Kate a ride to Chicago, since it is on the way to Milwaukee, and she accepts. He confides to her that he accidentally left his son alone at a funeral parlor once. Candy played the role for free without payment. Macaulay and John starred in Uncle Buck together.
As with most of Hughes's films, Home Alone was set—and most of the film was shot—in the greater Chicago area. Any other shots, such as those of Paris, are either stock footage or film trickery. The Paris-Orly Airport scenes were filmed in one part of O'Hare International Airport. The scene where Kevin wades through a flooded basement when trying to outsmart the burglars was shot in the swimming pool of New Trier High School. A mock-up of the McDonnell Douglas DC10 business class was also put together in the school, on the basketball courts. 20th Century Fox picked up the project after Warner Bros.'s rejection when the budget escalated from $14 million to $17 million.
The Home Alone house is a three-story single family detached house used for shooting most of the scenes in Home Alone and the first four scenes of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The kitchen in the film was shot in the house, along with the main staircase, basement and most of the first floor landing. However, the house's dining room, and all of the rooms downstairs (excluding the kitchen) were built on a sound stage. It is located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in the village of Winnetka, which is a suburb of Chicago, located about 19 miles (30 km) north of the city in New Trier Township. It was built in 1920 and features 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a fully converted attic, a fireplace, a detached double garage and a greenhouse. "Kevin's tree house" in the backyard was demolished, since it was built specifically for the film. It is listed as a Chicago-area tourist destination, as well as being cited as an example of "How to Get Your Home in the Movies."
Home Alone: Official Soundtrack
|Soundtrack album by John Williams|
|Label||Sony Music Entertainment|
Released by Sony Music Entertainment in 1990, the soundtrack contained 19 tracks consisting of the original score composed by John Williams and other Christmas songs used in the film.
- "Home Alone Main Titles" (4:53)
- "Holiday Flight" (0:59)
- "The House" (2:27)
- " Star of Bethlehem (Orchestral Version)" (2:51)
- "Man of the House" (4:33)
- " White Christmas" ( The Drifters) (2:40)
- "Scammed by a Kindergartner" (3:55)
- " Please Come Home for Christmas" ( Southside Johnny) (2:41)
- "Follow That Kid!" (2:03)
- "Making the Plane" (0:52)
- " O Holy Night" (2:48)
- " Carol of the Bells" (1:25)
- "Star of Bethlehem" (2:59)
- "Setting the Trap" (2:16)
- "Somewhere in My Memory" (1:04)
- "The Attack on the House" (6:53)
- "Mom Returns and Finale" (4:19)
- " Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" ( Mel Tormé) (3:05)
- " We Wish You a Merry Christmas / End Title" (4:15)
"Somewhere in My Memory"
The film's signature tune, "Somewhere in My Memory", was actually written to 'run alongside the film' by Williams. It can be heard in numerous sections of the film, either in full length or fragments, forming the backbone for the film's soundtrack and setting an innocent, nostalgic mood, mainly depicting Kevin's struggles and his sorrow, which is reflected in the lyrics of the song. "Somewhere in My Memory" today is performed in many Christmas concerts in schools or professional orchestras and choirs alike across the globe. A version in Spanish was recorded in Spain for the ending credits of the film; this version was performed by singer Ana Belén and is entitled "Sombras de otros tiempos" ("Shadows of Other/Former Times").
In November of 2010, La La Land records announced an expanded, remastered release of the Score. Track titles are as follows.
- Somewhere in My Memory † 3:24 (Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse) Chorus & Orchestra
- Star of Bethlehem [Orchestral Version] 2:54
- Home Alone (Main Theme) 1:27
- Go Pack Your Suitcase/ Introducing Marley/In Good Hands * 1:51
- Banished to the Attic 1:07
- We Slept In/Hard Count * 1:20
- Making the Plane :54
- The Basement 2:18
- Target Practice/Sledding on the Stairs ** 1:31
- Lights On/Guess Who’s Home/Paris Arrival * 3:18
- The Man of the House/Police Check ** 1:22
- The Bookshelf 1:10
- Phone Machine/Drug Store/Escape Across the Ice ** 3:06
- Follow That Kid! 2:12
- Listening to Carson * :44
- Cleaning Clothes/Kitchen * 1:39
- Scammed by a Kindergartner 2:10
- Walking Home (Somewhere in My Memory) † 1:06(Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse) Chorus & Orchestra
- O Holy Night 2:51(Composer: Adolphe Adam) (Translation of Lyrics: John S. Dwight) Chorus & Orchestra Arranged by John Williams. Published by Fox Film Music Corp. (BMI) *
- Star of Bethlehem † 3:00(Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse) with Children’s Chorus
- Carol of the Bells 1:27(Translation of Lyrics: Peter Wilhousky) Chorus & Orchestra
- Setting the Trap 2:31
- The Attack Begins 1:30
- Marv Enters the Basement/A Hot Hand/Sore Head * † 2:50
- Paint Cans 2:06
- Clothesline Trapeze /Marley to the Rescue ** 4:13
- The Next Morning/Mom Returns/Finale 4:26
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas/End Title (Somewhere in My Memory) † 4:19 (Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse) Chorus & Orchestra
- Walking Home [Without Chorus] 1:05
- Clothesline Trapeze [Film Version Insert] * :23
- Jingle Bells * 1:02
- Christmas Carol Medley * 7:43
- Finale [Alternate – O Holy Night] * 1:34
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas/End Title (Somewhere in My Memory) †[Original Soundtrack Version] 4:15(Lyrics: Traditional/Leslie Bricusse) Chorus & Orchestra
total disc time: 78:48
- Previously Unreleased ** Contains Previously
Unreleased Material † Published by Fox Film Music Corp. and John Hughes Songs (BMI)
Novelization and deleted scenes
A children's novelization of Home Alone was published several months prior to the film's initial November 1990 opening. This adaptation features chapters and pictures that showcase several large scenes that were filmed but deleted from the final film. One of the many notable cut scenes features Marv impersonating a police officer. This particular scene takes place directly after Kevin's family leaves for their vacation in Paris. The novelization also includes the surnames of the burglars: Joe Pesci's character, named Harry Lyme, is a reference to Orson Welles' character in the 1940s film The Third Man.
The film was released on VHS in 1991 and included a mail-in rebate offer from Pepsi (a product prominently featured in the film).
It was first released on DVD in 1999 as a basic package, with no special features other than theatrical trailers for the film and its sequels. However, it was later re-released in 2006 as a "Family Fun Edition", which included a large number of extras (multiple trailers, deleted scenes, bloopers, commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more). A Blu-Ray release of the Family Fun Edition followed in 2008.
The first Home Alone game was released in 1991. Home Alone video games were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Genesis, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega Game Gear, the Game Boy, the Sega Master System, the Amiga and personal computers. The Home Alone game on the SNES system used still images and character's voices from the film in its gameplay. It also features the characters from the film as well as new enemies created for the game including a fat gangster, ghosts, large rats and very large tarantulas. A video game titled Home Alone was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006, but it was not released in the United States.
In its opening weekend, Home Alone grossed $17 million in 1,202 theaters, averaging $14,211 per site and just 6% of the final total. Home Alone proved so popular that it stayed in theaters well past the Christmas season. It was the #1 film at the box office for 12 straight weeks, from its release weekend of November 16–18, 1990 through the weekend of February 1–3, 1991. It remained a top 10 draw at the box office until the weekend of April 26 that year, which was well past Easter weekend. It made two more appearances in the top 10 (the weekend of May 31-June 2 and the weekend of June 14–16) before finally falling out of the top 10. The film ended up making a final gross of $285,761,243, the top grossing film of its year in North America The film is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest grossing live-action comedy ever.
By the time it had run its course in theaters, Home Alone was the third highest grossing film of all time, according to the home video box. In total, its cinema run grossed $477,561,243 worldwide.
Though it was a great success in theaters, critical reception to the film has been mixed. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt that the plot was too implausible and the entire film too contrived. Modern day review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, gave the film a "Rotten" score of 47%. Reviewers cited that slapstick comedy has little appeal. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, it has a rating score of 63, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The film received an Academy Award for Best Original Score nomination written by John Williams.
The film was followed by a commercially successful sequel, the 1992 release Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which brings back the original cast from the first film. Home Alone 3, release in 1997 has completely different actors, and a different storyline. A fourth film followed in 2002, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House. This film features some of the same characters featured in the first two films, but with a new cast and storyline that does not fall and with Macaulay Culkin into the same continuity.
Angels with Filthy Souls
Angels with Filthy Souls is a fictional gangster film that appears within Home Alone and was made specifically for the film. After ordering a pizza, Kevin played a home video of Angels with Filthy Souls to trick the delivery boy into thinking Peter doesn't like people calling him a cheapskate. Later, Kevin used the movie to make the Wet Bandits think there are armed, dangerous men in his house. The title is likely a reference to the 1938 film Angels with Dirty Faces. There is also a sequel to the film, Angels with Even Filthier Souls, in the film's sequel, which aids Kevin as well.
Complete footage of the satirical film was included as a bonus on the 2006 DVD release.