PG | | Drama, Romance
Set in 1951, a blacklisted Hollywood writer gets into a car accident, loses his memory and settles down in a small town where he is mistaken for a long-lost son.
Several names in the movie are connected to real-life persons involved in Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch hunt" investigations. The town of Lawson is named for screenwriter John Howard Lawson who stood up to HUAC and ended the Red Scare. Another writer, Lester Cole, gives his surname to the mayor. Luke Trimble is named for blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Appleton is named for Senator McCarthy's Wisconsin home town. The movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), seen briefly in the epilogue, is considered a metaphor for the McCarthy policies.
What about the kid?
Studio Executive: What kid?
Studio Executive: You know, the kid who rings the bell.
Studio Executive: What kid? What bell? What are you talking about?
Studio Executive: The kid. After the mine caves in. The kid. He runs up the hill. He rings the bell to alert the town.
Studio Executive: Is that in the script? What ...
Studio Executive: ...
The 'first dance' that Pete (Luke) and Adele share is to the tune 'Stranger on the Shore' written by Acker Bilk and which was only released in 1961, a decade after the period in which the film is set.
The Hollywood executives heard in the first scene are briefly heard over the Castle Rock logo. Postcards of Lawson fall down around the opening credits.
$7,366,207 (USA) (23 December 2001)
$27,807,266 (USA) (14 March 2002)