Non-Union Films: Weekend at Bernie’s

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Non-Union Films: Weekend at Bernie's

The movie Weekend at Bernie’s kicks off with two lowly employees discovering an accounting irregularity which they unknowingly bring to the perpetrator. After he is killed by the mob they keep up the ruse he is still alive to protect themselves.

This silly movie has a slightly less silly real life parallel with the life and times of David Begelman, head of Gladden Entertainment which produced the film, and the eye of the hurricane for a real life Hollywood embezzlement scandal.

Show Summary

Intro

Recapping Weekend at Bernie’s

  • It was hot outside, very hot
  • Two friends low on the company totem pole find that someone has swindled two million dollars
  • They bring this to Bernie Lomax, who invites them to his beach house
  • Bernie is actually the thief and has mafia connections
  • Bernie tries to put a hit on the kids, but the mafia covertly targets Bernie instead
  • The hapless heroes find a dead Bernie and mistakenly believe the mafia is trying to kill them
  • The two heroes abuse a corpse for about an hour
  • There was also a romantic subplot

A Real Life Weekend at Bernie’s

  • In Colorado a very bad roommate finds his friend dead
  • Doesn’t check for a pulse and drags his body around town with another friend
  • They use his money on a joy ride
  • They are arrested and things go poorly for them

On Locations

  • Bald Head Island and “Old Baldy” the lighthouse
  • Figure Eight Island, nature preserve and rich person community
  • Wrightsville Beach and Pleasure Island

Weekend at David Begelman’s

  • David Begelman, talent rep turned producer at Columbia Pictures
  • Caught by actor Cliff Robertson using his name to embezzle 10k
  • Gets a slap on the wrist
  • The studio investigates and finds more stolen funds but is reluctant to oust him
  • Leaves after a power struggle
  • Later accused of stealing large amounts of money from Judy Garland in the 60s
  • Becomes head of MGM, leaves prematurely and joins Sherwood Productions
  • Is accused of using the film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as a vehicle for fraud
  • Forms Gladden Entertainment, which greenlights Mannequin and Weekend at Bernie’s
  • Company goes belly up, he commits suicide at the age of 73

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