Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore ---BONUS Kris Kristofferson Double Bill ---
1974. Warner Brothers, Warner Home Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 112 minutes, Rated PG
Release Date: December 9, 1974
Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore is available at Amazon.com on DVD, in the Martin Scorsese Collection, and on VHS.
Movie Synopsis: A recently widowed woman and her pre-teen son leave New Mexico and eventually wind up in Tucson, Arizona, where she drops her dream of being a singer, takes a job as a waitress, and attempts to rebuild her life with a local rancher.
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Alfred Lutter III, Billy Greenbush, Diane Ladd, Vic Tayback, Valerie Curtin, Harvey Keitel
Director: Martin Scorsese
Thoughts on the Movie:
This is a great movie. Its unusual (even by todays standards), clever, and has a good mix of comedy and drama. It takes so many twists and turns that somehow you actually get a little lost along the way... but thats a good thing in regard to this film. Because, after all, isnt Alice lost? Isnt she confused? Isnt her life an utter, depressing mess? If youve seen the movie, Im sure your answers to all of the above will be yes. But, all in all, this is a very good movie; one that keeps your interest from beginning to end, because everyone in it is somehow kind of quirky and strange in their own special way.
Now, heres an interesting little sideline to my thoughts on the movie. The last time I watched this film (and it was recently), I had one of those experiences where even though I had seen this movie several times before, it seemed like a whole lot of it was different this time, like it was a whole different movie, actually (except for the scenes where Alice goes looking for a job as a singer; those were exactly the same). This has happened to me before with a few other films, but I mentioned it to my cousin, Aimee, and she said that same thing had happened to her when she had watched this movie again. Kinda odd, huh? But you know whats really odd? I didnt remember ever seeing the giant steer head restaurant location. Seems like something that gosh-darn unusual would have stuck somewhere in my mind. ~Jean
The Longhorn Grill, Amado, Arizona (see Map)
Alice and her son, Tommy, make a stop here on their way from Phoenix to Tucson. The building housing this restaurant is one of the most unusual in the Southwest. The structure, shaped like a steers head with huge horns, is truly an unforgettable sight demanding a picture for the scrapbook.
The Longhorn Grill is located at 28851 S. Nogales Highway, at the junction of Highway 86 and I-19, about 45 miles south of Tucson on the way to the Mexico border. Its hard to imagine a restaurant more Western than one shaped like a giant longhorn skull. This desert outpost eatery was built in the 1970s in the saguaro-studded sands of Amado, Arizona, between Tucson and Nogales, Mexico.
Right: The Longhorn Grill in Amado, Arizona, made a brief appearance in the 1974 film, Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore. The location served as a roadside stop in a scene with Alice and her son on their car excursion to Phoenix, Arizona.
The Longhorn Grill is across the street from the Cow Palace Restaurant, a renowned steakhouse and watering hole for meandering Hollywood stars in the 1930s. Framed on the walls are photos of the likes of John Wayne, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mae West, alongside mounted heads of wildlife.
About Amado, Arizona:
Amado, Arizona (population 275; elevation 3,097 feet; 31° 42 18 N, 111° 3 56 W) is located in the south-central part of the state on I-19, approximately 20 miles from the Mexican border.
Right: Legendary singer-songwriter, Kris Kristofferson, co-stars with Ellen Burstyn in the 1974 film, Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore.
About Tucson, Arizona:
Tucson, Arizona (population 520,116; elevation 2,389 feet; 32° 13 18 N, 110° 55 35 W) is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix on I-10, 60 miles north of the Mexican border. The Tucson skyline is dominated by mountains in every direction. Close in to the city are the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains, closest of all, on the west side. Farther from the city proper, but still commanding the southern sky are the Santa Rita Mountains. The city is located on the Santa Cruz River, which is now a dry river bed for much of the year, with flooding during significant seasonal rains.
Tucson was probably first visited by Paleo-Indians, known to have been in southern Arizona, about 12,000 years ago. And needless to say, a lot has happened between then and now. During the territorial and early statehood periods, Tucson was Arizonas largest city and commercial center, while Phoenix was the seat of state government and agriculture. The establishment of Tucson Municipal Airport increased its prominence. Between 1910 and 1920 Phoenix surpassed Tucson in population, and has continued to outpace Tucson in growth. Yet, in recent years, both Tucson and Phoenix have been among a list of cities with the highest growth rates in the United States. Similar to many other cities in the Western U.S., Tucson was developed on a grid plan starting in the late 19th century, with the city center at Stone Avenue and Broadway Boulevard. While this intersection was initially near the geographic center of Tucson, that center has shifted as the city has expanded far to the east, since development to the west was effectively blocked by the Tucson Mountains.
Lodging & Dining:
Longhorn Grill. 28851 S. Nogales Highwayy, Amado, Arizona
Eat at the movie location itself. Theres a bar where the locals hang out, and an oversized dining room for lunch or dinner. Dont forget to take a photo of the giant skull on your way out.
Right: The popular Cow Palace Restaurant in Amado, Arizona, is located across the street from the Longhorn Grill, one of the locations used in the film, Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore.
The Cow Palace. 28802 S. Nogales Highway, Amado, Arizona
The Cow Palace was established upon the site of an old general store in the days of Otho Kinsley. Otho established the Kinsley Ranch in 1920, and became famous for furnishing bucking horses and Brahma bulls to the now famous Fiesta de Los Vaqueros Rodeo. Theyve been serving good food since the 1930s, so how can you go wrong? Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Choose from steaks, specialty entrees (chicken fried steak, meatloaf, liver and onions), Mexican entrees, signature sandwiches, charbroiled burgers, plus soups and salads.
The El Charro Cafe. 311 N. Court Avenue, Tucson, Arizona
Tucsons oldest restaurant, operates its main location in the downtown area. Established in 1922, El Charro Cafe is also the nations oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family. Featuring traditional Sonoran cultural style and innovative Tucson style Mexican food, El Charro is truly a taste explosion.
In the late 1890s, Jules Flin built a sturdy home on Court Street, part of the exclusive residential section of Tucson known as Snob Hollow. Snob Hollow lay just outside the area that had encompassed the early Spanish presidio. The house was willed to Monica, his daughter, and is the fourth and present site of El Charro Cafe. The high-ceilinged house is made of the black volcanic basalt rock that characterized most of Flins buildings. He quarried the rock from his claim at the foot of A Mountain, just west of downtown. It is designated Site Number 14 in El Presidio District on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ellen Burstyn won the Oscar for Best Actress.
Ellen Burstyn was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture ActressDrama.
Diane Ladd was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Diane Ladd was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting ActressMotion Picture.
Robert Getchell was nominated for the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay.
Right: The major players during a diner scene in Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore. Left to right: Diane Ladd, Valerie Curtin, Vic Tayback, and Ellen Burstyn.
At the beginning of the film, Alice promises Tommy that shell take him to Monterey, California, before his birthday. The last shot of the film shows Alice and Tommy walking down a road towards a big sign for a shopping center called Monterey Village. The shopping center is at the intersection of Speedway and Wilmot in Tucson.
Diane Ladds daughter, Laura Dern, can be seen in the final diner scene: she is the little blonde girl with glasses sitting at the end of the counter eating an ice cream cone. Her father, by the way, is actor Bruce Dern.
Diane Ladd played Flo in this movie. In the television series Alice (1976), the part was played by Polly Holliday. When Holliday left the series, Ladd stepped in to portray Belle, the waitress who replaced Flo at Mels Diner. Vic Tayback reprised his role as Mel in the TV series. Alfred Lutter III played Alices son Tommy in the pilot episode of the TV series, but was afterwards replaced by Philip McKeon.
Right: The original Mels Diner in Phoenix, Arizona. It served as the inspiration for the movies popular spin-off television series, Alice, starring Linda Lavin.
The actual restaurant that this movie is based on is located at 1747 NW Grand Avenue, in Phoenix, Arizona. This restaurant was at one time known as Mels Diner, then was later changed to Pats Diner. It has changed again, and it is now back to the original name of Mels Diner (as of 2011). This location was not used in Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore, but it was the inspiration for the movie and the popular TV series, Alice.
Mel and Rubys Bar-B-Q, where Alice works as a waitress, was filmed in a real Tucson diner, now closed, which stood on Main Avenue. And all the other joints where Alice tries to get work as a lounge singer are genuine Tucson bars.
Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore was the title of an episode of The Brady Bunch (1969) TV series that aired on October 17, 1969, more than four years before this film was released. It was based on the 1933 song Annie Doesnt Live Here Anymore, written by Joe Young, Johnny Burke, and Harold Spina, and popularized by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. Writers for television have always had a penchant for taking some notable/recognizable title and twisting it for a TV episode.
Character Quote: Mom, are we in Arizona yet? ~Tommy Hyatt (Alfred Lutter III)