This was Dolly Parton's theatrical film debut. In preparation for her role as Doralee Rhodes, she not only committed to memory her own part, but the parts of every other role in the film. Apparently, the two experienced starring actresses, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, burst out laughing when Parton let on that she believed that pictures were filmed in the chronological order of a film's script.
Dolly Parton accepted the role with the condition that she would write and sing the theme song, which was nominated for an Academy Award and won two Grammys. Parton made the same deal for almost every other movie, in which she has starred. The exception was Steel Magnolias (1989), which declined to use the Parton-penned song "Eagle When She Flies".
Apparently, Dolly Parton was cast because Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin felt that she would "bring them the West". Parton was both a lead actress (along with the other two) and sang the title song, "9 to 5", which was Oscar nominated and won two Grammys. In an interview with Isaac Mizrahi, Parton states that when she wrote and performed the theme song to Tomlin and Fonda, she used her long acrylic nails to create the beat of the song.
To prepare for her role as Judy Bernly, a middle-aged divorcée entering the workforce, Jane Fonda interviewed numerous women who had entered the workforce late in life due to divorce or widowhood. It inspired Judy's first day outfit: a frilly, conservative wardrobe with over-sized glasses, elaborate hats, and an over-done hairstyle.
The man cast as Doralee's husband was actually married to a close friend of Dolly Parton, and had known Dolly for quite some time. She says that is the only reason why she was able to kiss him on-camera.
Lily Tomlin originally turned down the role of Violet because she was working on The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981). She eventually relented and got that movie's producer to temporarily postpone acting activities so she could act in this film.
Dolly Parton's almost shy and reclusive husband, Carl Dean, never appears in public with her nor accompanies her to any musical concerts or other events. One of the few times he made an exception was during filming of this movie, Dolly's theatrical film debut. When he walked into the studio, Jane Fonda pointed him out across the room and said, "Look at that handsome man! I call him, he's mine!" to Lily Tomlin. Dolly then "spilled the beans" that he is her husband. After a few minutes conversing together, Dolly broke the news of being married to him and introduced him to the other actresses. When Jane heard Dolly's remark, she was extremely and deeply embarrassed, especially after she made a remark to Lily as if she was out "husband hunting".
The movie spurred a reasonably successful sitcom television series Nine to Five (1982) which went for eighty-five episodes, and aired between 1982 and 1988. The first three seasons were broadcast on ABC between spring 1982 and fall 1983, while the second and final season aired in syndication between 1986 and 1988. Dolly Parton's younger sister Rachel Dennison played Parton's role Doralee Rhodes on the show.
Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston turned down the role of Chairman of the Board Russell Tinsworthy.
According to a Variety Magazine article, Jane Fonda was the initiator of this film. It was the third (of six) by her production company, IPC Films.
The license plate frame on the rear of Violet Newstead's (Lily Tomlin's) car reads, "Secretaries do it 9 to 5".
A sequel was planned through the 1980s, but no storyline was ever settled on, and plans were cancelled after writer/director Colin Higgins died on August 5, 1988.
The trio of workers call their extremely short-tempered boss, Franklin M. Hart, Jr. (Dabney Coleman), a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot". This phrase was used when the 25th Anniversary Special Edition DVD release was called the "Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical Bigot Edition". The phrase is listed on the paper slips in the DVD along with other movie highlights.
Violet's fantasy features Disney-like characters from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (including Violet as Snow White), Bambi (1942), and Robin Hood (1973). The animated characters resembled the Disney characters, but were obviously drawn differently for legal reasons.
The name of the company was "Consolidated Companies, Inc." A majority of this movie is interiors of its workplace, which were filmed on Sound Stage 6 at 20th Century Fox in Hollywood. A two-level set that cost about one million dollars was constructed to feature interiors of two floors of a contemporary office complex.
Gilbert recalls the first time Parton arrived with the title song "and played it on her fingernails." She sang it 'a capella' and played the beat on her nails. "You gotta have falsies to do this," adds Parton, "and the nails have to be artificial as well."
A one hundred fifty dollar ticket charity retro premiere of this movie was held in 2003 to benefit the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (GCAPP) which was founded by Jane Fonda. When asked which was their favorite scene from the movie, the three actresses agreed that it was tying up horrible boss Dabney Coleman in the SM-like rig.
Tomlin ad-libbed the line about Judy's (Fonda) big hat needing its own locker at work. She claims it was her only ad-lib, but the reaction of the others suggests that may not have been the case.
Lily Tomlin was nervous as this was an early film of hers, and she used to exit her trailer each day pretending she actually was Violet and had been hired to make a movie about secretaries.
Dolly Parton, "bought" nearly her entire wardrobe from the film and has them all displayed in her museum at Dollywood.
A planned sequel was immediately scrapped after Writer and Director Colin Higgins died on August 5, 1988.
This was Dolly Parton's first film, and she thought she was supposed to memorize the entire script -- not just her own lines. She arrived on day one of shooting having memorized it all. "I thought a movie was like a play," she says and was surprised to see scenes being filmed out of order.
A release on VHS tape was originally planned with the same date as the film's theatrical release. However, the video release was postponed three months, due to complaints from movie theater owners, and the numerous letters they received from all across North America.
This movie was the second most popular 1980 movie in United States of America and Canada box-offices, earning more than one hundred million dollars.
This picture ranks seventy-fourth on the American Film Institute's list of "America's 100 Funniest Movies". When released in the United States of America and Canada, it was in the top three movies.
Jane Fonda loved working with Dabney Coleman so much that she got him cast as her husband in On Golden Pond (1981).
1hr42mins.) Tinsworthy (Sterling Hayden) looks around a lot, because Hayden needed cue cards to remember his lines.
Lily Tomlin stole the porch swing from her character's house, the one she's sitting on while she tells her fantasy about offing the boss, and hung it up in her yard. She didn't protect it, though, and it rotted over the years. Fonda stole the Rid-O-Rat box of rat poison.
The office building exteriors were filmed at the Pacific Financial Center on West 6th Street, in Los Angeles, California.
Lily Tomlin suggested Dabney Coleman for the role of Mr. Hart after seeing him on Fernwood 2 Night (1977). "There's something sexy about him." she stated.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
When Violet, Judy, and Doralee conspire to send Roz to the Aspen Language Center in Colorado to learn French, a TWA 747 is shown taking off. That plane, TWA flight 800, exploded over the Atlantic Ocean on July 17, 1996, just south of Long Island, shortly after takeoff from JFK International Airport, killing all passengers and crew aboard.
A musical version of this movie opened on Broadway on Thursday, April 30, 2009. The opening cast included Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty, and Marc Kudisch. It closed on Sunday, September 6, 2009, after one hundred forty-eight performances and twenty-four previews, for a total of one hundred thirty consecutive days.
Dabney Coleman, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton all appeared in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), which was a big screen adaptation of the original show.
On the commentary, Jane Fonda says she once worked in an office and was fired because she wouldn't sleep with the boss. She adds that they know the person and therefore isn't naming names. Dolly Parton adds "well I slept with the boss and I still got fired!". Jane Fonda did in fact sleep with Roger Vadim; who was first her director; and later her husband; so maybe that's what she's referring to.
Sterling Hayden is fifth-billed in the relatively small, character role, which is listed as "The Chairman of the Board" in the opening credits, and as "Tinsworthy" in the end credits. His full name is given in the dialogue as "Russell Tinsworthy". Hayden appeared in only two more movies, and one television miniseries after this movie.
The three lead characters' first names were based closely on each actress' first name. Jane Fonda's role was Judy Bernly, Dolly Parton's role was Doralee Rhodes and Lily Tomlin's role was Violet Newstead.
An earlier version of the script saw the trio intentionally try to kill their boss. Director/co-writer Colin Higgins is the one who shifted it all into fantasy sequences.
This movie is said to have been inspired by Preston Sturges' classic screwball comedy Unfaithfully Yours (1948), remade a few years after this movie, as Unfaithfully Yours (1984).
Dolly Parton wonders aloud what's happened to the boy playing Violet's (Tomlin) teenage son. "Dealing pot," answers Tomlin before adding "I shouldn't have said that about that kid." Gilbert agrees saying "otherwise it's a lawsuit."
Most critics thought Mike Nichols' feminist office comedy hit Working Girl (1988) was, in many ways, the offspring of this movie. So were The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The Associate (1996), Horrible Bosses (2011), Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) and Clockwatchers (1997).
Dolly Parton's younger sister, Rachel Dennison, played Doralee Rhodes in the TV show version.
Parton recalls being told by Fonda to slow down on her eating because filming out of sequence means she'd be wearing the same costume later in the shoot. She recalls entering a scene one size and exiting it bigger. "I look like a little fat canary," says Parton regarding the scene at 1hr12mins.) where she's in a yellow outfit.
Co-Writer Patricia Resnick also co-wrote Straight Talk (1992), starring Dolly Parton.
Roz, the villain, is probably best known as Benjamin's mother Mrs. Braddock in The Graduate. She was also in other movies like The Birds.
First of two consecutive movies in which Dabney Coleman and Jane Fonda played a husband and a wife (but not married to each other) followed by On Golden Pond (1981).
The house where they store their captive boss is the "Chandler House", home for many years to the family that owned the Los Angeles Times. It changed hands a few times since and was often rented out to film and TV productions.
Rita Moreno played Violet in the TV series version of this movie. Jeffrey Tambor played Hart. Sally Struthers also had a recurring role (for a Marsha Shrimpton character who was not in the original movie).
Dabney Coleman plays the sexist, egotistical, lying hypocritical bigot boss Franklin Hart in this movie; the villain who provides the plot with it's jeopardy. This is probably the part Coleman has been most associated with over the years; infact after this movie Coleman was typecast, and Coleman spent years and years playing jerks in Hollywood; from this part, to the bully director Ron in Tootsie; to Buffalo Bill on his own TV show of the same name; to the racist Fred Tanner on Diffrent strokes; to the bumbling Lt. Mckrittrick in Wargames, these characters were all bullies and villains. The only part Coleman played that was not a bully was when he played the imaginary spy Jack Flack in Cloak and Dagger, and when he played Bill Ray in On Golden Pond. But he is still thought of mostly as a villain in Hollywood; and will soon go back to the part that made him a famous villain in the first place; Franklin Hart; when they produce the sequel to 9 to 5 which is coming out soon.
In one scene, Dabney Coleman's character is watching a soap opera. Two years later, in Tootsie (1982), Coleman played the director of a soap opera.
1hr 44mins.) They wonder if the little girl in Tinsworthy's arms at 1:44:22 continued acting, and Tomlin suggests it might very well be Laura Linney, It is not.
About 30 minutes into the movie Maria Delgado gets fired for being overheard by Roz comparing her salary to Mr. Hart's. This was actually illegal according to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 which prohibits companies from taking such retaliatory actions.
The garage door opener, to which Franklin Hart, Jr. is tethered, is a Genie as identified by its remote transmitter when Doralee activates it when she is about to be attacked.
Critics complained that while the first part of the movie was cool, dark and edgy, exploring topical issues like wage discrimination and harassment, part 2 degenerates into sitcomish farce. That's probably because the original script was much darker. In the original script the women DO try to murder the boss; and then everything goes fowl at that point; forcing the women to kidnap their would-be murder victim. This causes all sorts of mayhem and sustains the dark edgy momentum of the beginning. But it was probably decided this was too edgy, and they softened into a comedy of errors to make it palatable for mainstream audiences. Critics initially poo-pooed the ending. But it didn't matter. The movie became a blockbuster and a cult hit as well, and is now known as one of the funniest movies ever made. (Rightly so-its a brilliant movie!)
One of a few early to mid 1980s films that Dabney Coleman made at, or were distributed by, 20th Century Fox. The other films were Modern Problems (1981), and The Man with One Red Shoe (1985).
Judy's evil x-husband is named "Dick", appropriately enough. He's played by ubiquitous 70s and 80s character actor, Lawrence Pressman. Just like Dabney Coleman was always typecast as a smarmy boss character (9 to 5, Buffalo Bill, WarGames), and Elizabeth Wilson was always typecast as a persnickety busybody, (9 to 5, The Graduate), and Henry Jones always plays some old conservative uptight fuddy-duddy, (Napoleon and Samantha, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter), and Lily Tomlin always plays some crazy and eccentric ditz of some sort (9 to 5, Big Business, Grandma, Incredible Shrinking Woman, Short Cuts) Lawrencee Pressman always played some predatory office creep of some sort, (MASH, One Day at a Time, 9 to 5). Jane Fonda however was playing against type for this movie. She usually plays an outspoken firebrand (China Syndrome, They Shoot Horses Don't They, On Golden Pond, the Dollmaker, Agnes of God, Klute), but in this movie she plays a conservative mousy frump, who pretty much stays that way throughout the movie. Except in the confrontation scene at Hart's mansion, when she tells her lecherous husband off, "This is where YOU get off buster!". That's her one Jane Fonda moment.
Charles Fox composed the music for 9-5, as he done for Colin Higgin's previous picture Foul Play. Due to the musicians strike in Hollywood at that time, the score had to be recorded in Berlin, with Ken Thorne conducting (The only of Fox's 100 movies and TV scores he didn't conduct himself.) The musicians in Germany struggled to play some of the more difficult cues so, for the soundtrack album, those cues were re-recorded in Burbank at Evergreen Studios after the strike settled with Fox conducting. Fox also composed the theme song for Laverne and Shirley and Happy Days, among other projects.
The epilogue has American Graffiti type character storyboard updates telling us what the fate of each character was.
Fonda likely learned her gun twirling skills (on display in the dream sequence) from her work on Cat Balou, a famous 60s western she started in, or from her father's extensive history starring in Westerns himself. That's probably why they gave her the gun and cowboy hat in the first place. So Jane the cowboy could follow in Henry the cowboy's footsteps.
It's unclear if Jane Fonda knows the term "commentary" as she opens by saying "I'm so glad you're watching this, what should I call it, this gabfest! This conversation, this voice-over."
Sally Struthers played one of the secretaries in the TV sitcom version of 9 to 5. She also played Roz in one of the off Broadway versions of the musical for several years.
If Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton had been unavailable, co-producer Jane Fonda's backup casting choices were Carol Burnett as Violet and Ann-Margaret as Doralee. It's hard to imagine Ann-Margaret wearing a blond curly wig; or signing 9 to 5 with a country western backup band though.
One dated aspect of the script: All three women call the villain Mr. Hart throughout the movie. Even Violet who has several years on Hart in terms of experience, is the same age or older than he is, has been at the company longer, and even trained him. These days she would definitely call him "Franklin", not Mr. Hart. (And so would all the other women.)
In an interview Tomlin admitted to embellishing one line. But it's clear she's improvising a big chunk of the dialogue. Many of the jokes are so "Tomlinesque"; and they're a little sharper and more sarcastic than the one liners Patricia Resnick has stacked in there. They're also more sarcastic than the normally professional, buttoned-down Violet would have come up with on her own. Examples: when Fonda/Judy asks her what they call the joint; and Tomlin says, "Mowwy Wowwy". That's classic Tomlin silliness and sarcasm. Or when Elizabeth Wilson says "as Mr. Hart says"; and Tomlin mocks her by lip syncing her as she says it. Again that's classic Tomlin. Or when Tomlin, dressed up as Snow White, says "thank you" in a weird hyped up voice like a drunk stewardess; it's clear she is embellishing the script here. Which works ofcourse since Tomlin is a brilliant comedienne; one of the best! Also when the traffic cop asks her if she's a doctor; and she holds up the name tag and says, "What do you think I am, a beautician?". Or when the candy striper at the hospital says, "Oh, you're a doctor... I'm sorry I didn't see!". And then she comes back with "Yeah! I'm a doctor! So what am I talking to you for? P--- off!". Those comebacks have the snarkiness of her Ernestine character. It's pretty clear she made them up on set.
Doralee calls Hart's wife "Mrs. Hart" at the beginning of the movie, and "Missy" at the ending.
Charles Fox who did the score for Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley did the score for this movie as well.
The tagline for this movie was "The Power Behind the Throne". Lilly Tomlin is also wearing glasses in the movie poster; (or she has glasses turned up on her hair); even though she never wore any in the movie.
Peggy Pope was the only person in both the movie and tv show. But for some reason they changed her name from Margaret Foster in the movie to Betty. And in the tv show she is no longer a lush.
Regarding suggested plot hole: The frosted glass window to Mr. Hart's office can be seen in the final stages of repair and replacement, at about 1 : 22.
There has been criticism about the character epilogues being either too farcical or ridiculous. That's the point of the entire story. The truth behind what became the film was far more serious and even more ridiculous! That's why you find Dolly Parton suggesting that they hire couple of wranglers Priceless.