Groundhog Day (1993)
On February 2, Phil awakens in the Cherry Tree Inn to Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" playing on the clock radio. He gives a half-hearted report on the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil and the festivities. Contrary to his prediction, the blizzard strikes the area, preventing all travel out of Punxsutawney, and although he desperately searches for a way to leave, he is forced to spend the night in the town.
Groundhog Day (1993)
As well as the main cast, Groundhog Day features Ken Hudson Campbell as the man in the hotel hallway, David Pasquesi as Phil's psychiatrist, and Richard Henzel and Rob Riley as the radio hosts waking Phil every morning. Hynden Walch and Michael Shannon portray the newly married couple Debbie and Fred. Les Podewell plays the homeless old man and Rod Sell appears as a Groundhog Day official. Director Harold Ramis cameos as a neurologist. Punxsutawney Phil is portrayed by a groundhog known as Scooter.
Having recently sold his first script for what would become the thriller film Hear No Evil (1993), his agent prompted him to develop a "calling-card" script that he could use to gain meetings with producers. Rubin began work on his idea of a man changing over eternal life, but quickly realized that the idea was impractical because of the expense of depicting historical and future events. At this point, Rubin recalled a brief story concept he had written two years earlier that followed a man who woke every morning to find it was the same day repeating. Rubin married the two ideas to create the outline for Groundhog Day. By portraying eternity as a repeating cycle instead of a straight line through history, he eliminated the production cost of constantly changing settings. He believed that the repetition also offered him more dramatic and comedic possibilities.
Rubin opened a calendar and picked the next nearest holiday, February 2, Groundhog Day. He saw it as a date with story potential because it was a recognized holiday without much widespread attention. Rubin believed that people were vaguely aware of the holiday, on which a groundhog predicts the coming of spring. Even so, he believed few people outside Pennsylvania were aware that the actual festival takes place in the small town of Punxsutawney, something he became aware of through a writing job for a local phone company. Setting the story in Punxsutawney provided a small area in which to trap Phil Connors, while reporting on the event gave the character a reason to visit. Rubin took the main character's name from Punxsutawney Phil. He hoped the film could become a perennial holiday favorite, like It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).
Tobolowsky was hired after delivering an "overwhelmingly obnoxious" portrayal during his audition. Michael Shannon, who portrays prospective groom Fred, made his on-screen acting debut in the film. He spent much of the shoot in the background of the diner scene as they wanted all the actors in their places even if the camera was not focused on them. A live groundhog, given the name Scooter, was used to portray Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney officials, upset that their town was not used for filming, refused to allow the real Punxsutawney Phil to appear in the film. The groundhog itself was not specially bred for use on film and was trapped in the wild near Illinois a few weeks before filming.
Murray endured physical discomfort for some scenes. To prepare for his step into the water-filled pothole, he wrapped his foot in cling wrap, neoprene, and two pairs of socks. As soon as the scene finished, he began an expletive-filled rant until the costume department dried his foot with hairdryers to avoid frostbite. For another scene, Murray asked MacDowell to really slap him, and Ramis instructed the children Murray confronts in a snowball fight to throw hard. During the scene in which Phil drives off with Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog bit Murray on the knuckle. Despite wearing gloves, the bite broke the skin. It bit him again in the same spot on a later take.
Its impact on Woodstock and Punxsutawney was lasting and significant. Since the film's release, Woodstock has hosted its own Groundhog Day festivals. These have included groundhog Woodstock Willie, screenings of the film, and walking tours of filming locations. The town attracts approximately 1,000 tourists for its yearly event, which has featured appearances by Albert, Rubin, and Tobolowsky. Punxsutawney, which once drew only a few hundred visitors to its festival, has since attracted tens of thousands. The year following the film's release, over 35,000 people visited the town for Groundhog Day. Residents appreciate the film's impact on the town, but assert that their focus remains on Punxsutawney Phil and the long-lived festival. In Woodstock, plaques are positioned at key locations used in the film, commemorating moments including Phil meeting Ned, the pothole in which Phil trips, and the town square pavilion where Phil and Rita share a dance.
This man is named Phil, and he is a weatherman. In a sense, he feels himself condemned to repeating the same day, anyway; the weather changes, but his on-camera shtick remains the same, and he is distant and ironic about his job. Every year on Feb. 2 he is dispatched to Punxsutawney, Pa., to cover the festivities of Groundhog Day, on which Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, is awakened from his slumbers and studied to discover if he will see his shadow. If he does, we will have another six weeks of winter. We usually have another six weeks of winter, anyway, a fact along with many others that does not escape Phil as he signals his cynicism about this transcendentally silly event.
In "Groundhog Day" (1993), notice how easily he reveals that Phil (the weatherman, not the groundhog) is a perfect bastard. He doesn't raise his voice or signal through energetic acting that he's an insufferable jerk. He just is. He draws for his Punxsutawney assignment a patient angel of a producer named Rita (Andie MacDowell) and a good sport of a cameraman named Larry (Chris Elliott). Like television production people everywhere, they're accustomed to "talent" that treats them shabbily; they indulge the egos of the on-camera performers and get on with their jobs, reflecting perhaps that they can do without the big bucks if it means being a creep like Phil.
At 6 a.m. on Feb. 2, Phil is awakened by the clock alarm in his cozy little Punxsutawney bed-and-breakfast. It is playing "I Got You Babe," by Sonny and Cher. He goes through a series of experiences: Being greeted by an old classmate who wants to sell him insurance, stepping into an icy puddle, performing a stand-up on camera in front of the wretched groundhog, which he considers, not without reason, to be rat-like. Phil is rude to Rita and Larry, and insulting to his viewers (by implying they are idiots to be watching the segment). He has no liking for himself, his job, his colleagues or the human race.
Erin: Well, I think there are similarities also. I mean, I looked up how often the groundhog is right in his predictions. The groundhog is actually wrong more often than random chance. So if they flipped a coin, it would be right more times than the real groundhog. 041b061a72