Not for Publication

Not for Publication is a 1984 screwball comedy film directed by Paul Bartel and starring Nancy Allen. It premiered at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival before being acquired for distribution by Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment.[3] David Naughton, Laurence Luckinbill, Alan Rosenberg, and Alice Ghostley also appear.[4]

Not for Publication
DVD cover
Directed byPaul Bartel
Produced byAnne Kimmel
Written byPaul Bartel
John Meyer
StarringNancy Allen
David Naughton
Alan Rosenberg
Alice Ghostley
Cork Hubbert
Laurence Luckinbill
Music byJohn Meyer
CinematographyGeorge Tirl
Edited byAlan Toomayan
Distributed byThe Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
  • October 10, 1985 (1985-10-10)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[2]


Lois Thornedyke, the daughter of a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, writes a scandal column for a New York city tabloid. She gets a chance to upgrade her career when she uncovers a conspiracy reaching into city government at the same time she is being romanced by the city's Mayor. Lois and her quirky sidekicks pit naivete against evil and go undercover. Unfortunately, what they discover is not for publication...

If the Perils of Pauline were set in a campy New York City with a dash of trash added in, Not for Publication would result, though the awful jokes and kinky characters are not going to be entertaining to everyone. Lois is a reporter at a sleazoid newspaper, a paragon of yellow journalism that she is determined to turn back to its first incarnation as The New York Enforcer, a better paper. The not-so-good Mayor Franklyn adopts Lois as his personal assistant when she bursts into his office one day and strongly advises him to cut the pressure to shut down porn shops or he will lose the vote of New York's youth. She hires photographer Barry Denver to work in the mayor's office, planning to use his skills for her tabloid paper -- but then a quirky menage à trois arises between the mayor, the photographer, and Lois. After some undercover sleuthing in Long Island -- and help from a host of unsavory characters like Senor Wopperico and Troppogrosso -- Lois connects the mayor to various robberies that have occurred in the city and thinks of a way to return the New York Enforcer to its heyday and handle the mayor at the same time.[5]



Bartel's previous film as director, Eating Raoul, had been popular, enabling him to raise $3 million for this film, ten times the budget of Raoul. Bartel says this enabled him to use a camera crane, relatively well known stars like Nancy Allen and David Naughton, and to produce a musical number in the film.[2]

Filming started October 1983.[6] It finished in December.[7]

$2.5 million of the budget came from EMI.[8]


Box Office

The film was a financial failure. "Maybe it needed stronger names," Bartel said later.[8]

Critical response

Rex Reed called Not for Publication "a delictable treat."[4] While TV Guide offered even wider praise saying "The story is wildly improbable and sometimes hilariously funny. The dialog is inventive and the characters bizarre, and it all smacks of those cult movies that will have a long life in the Saturday night midnight shows around the country."[9]


  1. "NOT FOR PUBLICATION (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1984-05-23. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  2. FILM CLIPS: PARAMOUNT DECIDES TO RESIST 'TEMPTATION' London, Michael. Los Angeles Times 6 Jan 1984: g1.
  5. Not for Publication at AllMovie
  6. 'THE BIG CHILL' GETS A BIG HAND FOR INTELLIGENCE BALTAKE, JOE. Philadelphia Daily News25 Oct 1983: 46.
  7. DISNEY'S PRODUCTION OF A SEQUEL TO 'OZ' IS NOW UNCERTAIN Ryan, Desmond. Philadelphia Inquirer11 Dec 1983: H.3.
  8. Not just kid stuff Some summer movies aren't for children only: [NORTH SPORTS FINAL, ANW Edition] Thompson, Anne. Chicago Tribune 22 June 1989: 13C.
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