Illegally Yours

Illegally Yours is a 1988 American comedy film[2] set in St. Augustine, Florida where a series of comic mishaps take place involving a blackmailer, a corpse, an incriminating audiotape, an innocent woman who accidentally picks up the tape, and a pair of teenage blackmail victims. The film was directed by Peter Bogdanovich[2] with Rob Lowe[2] starring as Richard Dice, the college dropout who came back home to get his act together. The film's theme song was performed by Johnny Cash.

Illegally Yours
Theatrical poster
Directed byPeter Bogdanovich
Produced byPeter Bogdanovich
Steve Foley (associate producer)
Written byMax Dickens
M.A. Stewart
StarringRob Lowe
Colleen Camp
Kenneth Mars
Kim Myers
Music byPhil Marshall
CinematographyDante Spinotti
Edited byRichard Fields
Ronald Krehel
Distributed byUnited Artists
(USA & Canada)
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release date
  • May 13, 1988 (1988-05-13)
Running time
102 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[1]
Box office$259,019

The film was a critical and commercial failure. Bogdanovich himself considers this movie one of his worst. In an interview, he stated, "I'm not positive, but it just might be my penance for getting on the bad side of all those studio execs while shooting Mask, three years earlier."

Main cast

Rob LoweRichard Dice
Colleen CampMolly Gilbert
Kenneth MarsHal B. Keeler
L.B. StratenSharon Woolrich
Harry Carey, Jr.Wally Finnegan
Kim MyersSuzanne Keeler
Marshall ColtDonald Cleary
Rick JasonFreddie Boneflecker
Jessica JamesMrs. Evelyn Dice
Linda MacEwenRuth Harrison
George MorfogenJudge Norman Meckel
Marjorie O. TaylorHoney Bunny, the Judges Wife
Ira HeidenAndrew Dice


Bogdanovich was going to direct Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastrioanni in Saturday Sunday Monday but the film was delayed so he did this instead. "I only did it because I needed some money," said Bogdanovich, who had declared bankruptcy in 1985.[3]

The film was a change of pace for Rob Lowe, who was much in demand at the time due to the success of About Last Night. Lowe admired Bogdanovich's films and hoped the movie would do for him what What's Up Doc? did for Ryan O'Neal.[4]

Bogdanovich says he encouraged Lowe to wear glasses like the actor did in real life. Bogdanovich showed Lowe The Awful Truth and Bringing Up Baby to show what he wanted.[5]

Lowe felt the movie needed a name co-star but Bogdanovich insisted he use his old friend and collaborator Colleen Camp. Lowe says Bogdanovich insisted on rewriting the script, which made the actor uneasy since he liked the original script. Part of the rewrites involved adding a character to be played by L.B. Straten.[6]

L.B. Straten was Louise Stratten, sister of Dorothy Stratten who had dated Bogdanovich. Louise Stratten and Bogdanovich would later be married.[7]

Lowe said he went along with the changes because he "loved Peter" although he ultimately felt "every artist can chase his own vision into a blind alley. And on Illegally Yours he did just that."[8]


Filming started in January 1987 and went until April.[9] "There were constant weather problems," Bogdanovich says. "We were shooting in northern Florida under two different weather fronts. There was also pressure to complete the movie in time for summer release--something that became more and more difficult to do."[10]

Pat MacEnulty, who worked on the film, recalled "the crew practically mutinied."[11]


The film was originally meant to come out in July 31, 1987.[12] However, during a test screening, reportedly half the audience walked out and the release date was pushed back to May 1988.

Associate producer Peggy Robertson said "We went in knowing the film wasn't ready. Peter knew what was missing and had accommodated for it, but the audience didn't.... Peter tried [to make the July release date] but it boiled down to, `Do you want it quick or do you want it good?' We just finished filming in April, so I don't think anyone was surprised when it didn't work out." A DEG spokesman said It told us a movie was there and the audience we were aiming for (women between 18 and 25) was responding. That's the reason we're taking our time now. It's not just another programmer."[13]

The De Laurentis Group ran into financial troubles and the release date kept being changed. This affected other films from the producer too "All the films are in limbo until (the group's problems) are resolved," said Bodganovich. "It takes a lot of time because there's a lot of banks and different people involved, but I'm assured by DEG that it will come out either by them or another distributor... It's been a tough ride for Dino. He's just had a hard run of luck."[14]

"We showed this picture to kids, and they were screaming," he said. "Critics have to say, `Bogdanovich is doing this in the tradition of screwball comedy' because that's what it is and they're stuck with saying it. But kids just see that [Rob Lowe] is falling down, and there's an excitement about that because they haven't seen it before."[15]

Bogdanovich he had "high hopes for" the film "but it was re-cut completely by Dino De Laurentiis."[16]

The film was a financial and critical failure. Bogdanovich later called it "awful... I don't even like to mention it."[17]

Illegally Yours currently holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on five reviews.[18]


  1. De Laurentiis PRODUCER'S PICTURE DARKENS: KNOEDELSEDER, WILLIAM K, Jr. Los Angeles Times 30 Aug 1987: 1.
  2. The New York Times
  3. Kralev, Nicholas (May 18, 2002). "Down so long, it looks like up". The Financial Times. Director Peter Bogdanovich.
  4. Lowe p 228-229
  5. "Interview with Peter Bogdanovich". Bobbie Wygand.
  6. Lowe p 229
  7. "The Passions of Peter Bogdanovich". People. 23 January 1989.
  8. Lowe p 229
  9. Beck, M. (1986, Dec 19). Crocodile and an enterprising crew trekking back. The Windsor Star Retrieved from
  10. Beck, M. (1987, Jul 23). STUDIOS RUSH TO ROLL THE CAMERAS. Chicago Tribune (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from
  11. Hinson, M. (2011, Apr 03). Where were you when 'something wild' came to town? Tallahassee Democrat Retrieved from
  13. TOUGH TEST. (1987, Jul 19). Los Angeles Times (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from
  14. Richardson, J. H. (1988, Feb 24). DEBT-RIDDEN DE LAURENTIIS IS FILMSTUCK. Chicago Tribune (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from
  15. Spies, M. (1988, May 13). New comedy wasn't fun to make, bogdanovich says. Houston Chronicle (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from
  16. "Peter Bodanovich Interview". Hollywood Interview.
  17. Tonguette, Peter (2015). Peter Bogdanovich: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781626743755.


  • Lowe, Rob (2011). Stories I Only Told My Agent.
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