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Philadelphia DVD Cover Art

Philadelphia DVD

Theatrical release: January 1994. Jonathan Demme directed the music video for Bruce Springsteen's "Murder Incorporated" at Tramps in New York City. The songs "Murder Incorporated" and "Streets of Philadelphia" can both be found on Springsteen's GREATEST HITS album. Director Jonathan Demme decided to make a film about AIDS when his close friend Juan Botas discovered he was HIV+. Botas, after spending months with a group of men with full-blown AIDS, informed Demme that the physical battle with the disease would be a "compelling subject for a documentary." Demme agreed and later decided to make "Philadelphia." According to Premiere magazine, Demme examined several possible narratives but was most interested in stories like Clarence B. Cain's. Cain, an associate in a Philadelphia office of a Cleveland-based law-firm, lost his job only two weeks after telling his superiors about his health status. Cain took his case to a federal court and won a $157,000 settlement. Sadly, Cain died only two months later. He was just 38 years old. A lawsuit was also filed against TriStar Pictures by the family of New York attorney Geoffrey Bowers, who claimed that the film was based on the life of that lawyer, who also had AIDS. After five days of testimony, a settlement in the case was reached when the makers of PHILADELPHIA acknowledged that the movie "was inspired in part by" Bowers's life. Bowers died in 1987. When Demme and Nyswaner pitched the film's concept to Orion production head Marc Platt, he suggested that they insert a character mainstream audiences could identify with. So they decided to make Tom Hanks's lawyer, played by Denzel Washington, a "rabidly homophobic, aggressively heterosexual attorney." Robert Castle, who played Tom Hanks's father in the film, is Demme's "Cousin Bobby," and was the subject of a Demme documentary of that name. Entertainment Weekly reported that several scenes shot by Demme ultimately were excised from the film. These include romantic sequences between Andrew (Tom Hanks's character) and his lover--the lack of which has earned the film criticism from gay groups--and a scene in which a homosexual propositions Joe, the homophobic lawyer.

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