It's a story about friendship - the true meaning of friendship. About two people from completely different backgrounds who embark on an unlikely journey.
Hundreds of miles later, they discover they have enriched one another's lives."Positively entertaining" is the way Al Henderson, president of Bonneville Media Group, a subsidiary of Church-owned Bonneville International, described "Cab to Canada," which premieres Nov. 29 as the CBS Sunday Night Movie. A division of Bonneville Media Group, Bonneville Worldwide Entertainment, will distribute the movie domestically and internationally after network airing, and will release the movie on videocassette next year.
"Cab to Canada," which airs 8 p.m. (MST and CST) and 9 p.m. (PST and EST), was produced by Beth Polson, owner of The Polson Company, which also produced "The Christmas Box" in 1995, based on Richard Paul Evans' best-selling novel. (Please see Dec. 2, 1995, Church News.) Co-producing "Cab to Canada" were independent producers Jeff Parkin and Reed McColm, who are Latter-day Saints. Another Church member involved with this project is Alan Williams, who composed the musical score for the movie.
The two-hour movie stars legendary screen actress Maureen O'Hara, who also starred in "The Christmas Box." Ms. O'Hara is well known for her roles in such films as "The Quiet Man," with John Wayne, and the original "Miracle on 34th Street."
In "Cab to Canada," which is based on a true story, she portrays Pat Fry, a woman from Pasadena, Calif., who hails a cab driven by Steve Baird, depicted by actor Jason Beghe. Pat is a bit depressed and "down and out," said Ms. Polson in a telephone interview, so she tells Steve to drive her to Malibu.
Upon reaching Malibu, Steve asks Pat if she's ready to go home.
"No, go north," she spontaneously replies.
"Seven thousand dollars later, they are in Canada," Ms. Polson relates.
The producer explained she first saw this story in a newspaper. "I saw the potential to do a story about two people who don't realize they need each other. Here's this lonely woman with no family and a young guy who needs direction, and they add to each other's lives."
Ms. Polson related she wrote a draft of the story and sent it to Ms. O'Hara. "It was perfect for Maureen because it's about a woman with a great deal of inner strength and a great deal of values."
During a separate telephone interview, Ms. O'Hara explained that based on her past experience with The Polson Company and the nature of this new story, she accepted the role. The message of "Cab to Canada," she added, is "how important family is and the sharing of love and attention and respect, and yet having an opinion of your own and fighting for it.
"I think people still love a sentimental movie, a story that makes you laugh and/or cry. I hope they're getting awfully tired of wrecked cars and that kind of thing."
"Cab to Canada" seems to fit nicely with her genre of past projects. "I never made a movie that belittled human beings," she noted. "They were always about tough people and tough incidents and the fact that human beings can win in life - the triumph of love and respect for each other."
In speaking of composing the movie's score, Brother Williams explained he was drawn to the project from the beginning. "It's nice to do a project not just for a paycheck. There's a redeeming value to this movie."
Musically, he said it was important to capture Ms. O'Hara and her character. "We had to capture her kind of quest for life and the liveliness, yet preserving the sophistication of this woman."
Brother Henderson of Bonneville Media Group seems to feel the movie's makers have, indeed, captured the positive elements of this story. "The script of the story in our business is everything," he said. "We are very pleased to be involved because it's our brand of product.
"We're trying to offer positive entertainment that certainly embraces or celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, films that are both entertaining and engaging, and at the same time portray positive values.
"It's putting the money where our mouth is."