Director of Photography
Art Direction by
Set Decoration by
Film Editing by
Costume Design by
Miss Hepburn's Hair Stylist
Miss Hepburn's Makeup Artist
Kit Le Fever
A Martin Zweiback,
A. Martin Zweiback,
Edouard F. Henriques,
VHS / DVD
A Golan-Globus Production for Northbrook Films
An MGM/UA and Cannon Films Release
87 minutes in USA - 88 minutes on VHS/DVD - 102 minutes at the Cannes Film Festival
Filmed on location in Bronx - New York City - New York - USA
Premiere: May 17, 1985
Grace Quigley, an old lady with original, if somewhat dotty, ideas, decides life is not worth living any more, and hires Seymour Flint, a professional hit man, to put her out of her misery. She had already tried suicide but botched it and lacks the nerve to give it another go. Grace feels that Seymour will solve her problem, having previously admired his swift dispatching of her corrupt and greedy landlord. Seymour, however, is reluctant to kill old people (it seems in some ways - and in some areas - he is a big sentimental slob) so Grace eventually takes him on a tour of nursing homes to convince him that a lot of these folks would welcome his tender angel-of-death mercies. Soon, with clients beseeching her to terminate their unhappy lives, Grace has a booming business going.
Vincent Canby - The New York Times - 1985
"A lot of talented people have laboured long and fruitlessly to make something presentable of Grace Quigley, a movie you might not want to take home to meet the folks, not because it's so rude and unpredictable, which it unhappily isn't, but because it's so thoroughly muddled and unintentionally sad... the incomparable Katharine Hepburn plays Grace Quigley with a kind of indomitability that has as much to do with personal courage - you know she'd be the last person off a sinking ship - as with the creation of a character. Miss Hepburn doesn't make junk movies, but she sometimes gets involved with projects not particularly well thought out and, being a fighter, she sticks by them, come what may."
Chris Peachment - Time Out
"Professional hit man Nolte lacks self-confidence. But when he fetches up against Hepburn, who hires him first to help ease her out of this life, and then to oblige all her old friends, he gains self-esteem from these philanthropic acts of euthanasia, and a mother figure to comfort him. Good black comedies about death are rare, and this certainly proves spry and knowing. But its tough line on sentimentality goes squashy at the three-quarter point, and there is evidence of re-editing to provide a soft-option ending. Originally screened as The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley, running 102 minutes, it was then re-edited, partly re-shot, and re-titled."
What Kate had to say
"One of the reasons I've weathered for as long as I have is that the topics I pick to do are interesting... Everything you do has to show different aspects of your personality. You have to have a feeling for it. I was always playing myself in the movies, at least facets of myself. [Although the Grace Quigley was not a success] I liked the movie, but people couldn't stand it. I think it was the death angle. People are very sentimental about life and death. See, I look forward to life. I look forward to death. So I've got them fooled."
What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say
"She's [Hepburn] a legend, but once you get beyond that she's just a cranky old broad who can be a whole lot of fun."
Upon meeting her costar, Nick Nolte, who had a reputation for drinking and partying, Hepburn immediately made it her mission to put him back on the straight and narrow, as she had tried with many of her costars over the years.
For more than 11 years Kate had been waiting to do this film, ever since the young writer Martin Zweiback had thrown the script over her fence.
The original ending had Seymour Flint drowning in an attempt to save Grace's life when she walks into the ocean. After a negative reaction from a preview audience, the ending was changed to a happier one.