Study Guide

Sixteen Candles Production Design

Production Design

$6.5 mill, 35mm, and a Cardboard Cake

Sixteen Candles was written in two days and shot with an estimated budget of $ 6.5 million. That's a lot of dough for a sweet sixteen party, but for some reason, it wasn't enough to air condition the gym where the dance was set. Mmm. Sweaty gym. (Source)

Speaking of that budget, couldn't they have set aside some money for cake? The cake Sam finally gets at the end of the movie was actually made of cardboard. Sam was able to have her cake, but she can't eat it too.

The film was shot in glorious 35mm, which is the approximate width of sixteen really skinny candles laid side-by-side. John Hughes' cinematographer was Bobby Byrne, who had previously worked on a comedy called Dr. Duck's Super Secret All-Purpose Sauce (1986). (Source)

Why isn't this man more famous, exactly?

John Hughes's editor was Edward Warschilska. We know what you're thinking: What does a sixty-year-old Hungarian man know about an American high school teenager? Well, having worked on Harold and Maude (1971), the ultimate May-December romance movie, he knew a bit about teens. (We're just glad he didn't try to convince Hughes to pair up Sam with her sister's fiancee's father.)

Sixteen Candles lies somewhere between Ferris Bueller's Day Off, with its spectacular parade scene, and the minimalist The Breakfast Club on the John Hughes spectrum. This is a film about normal teenagers doing normal teenage things, so that's exactly how he intended it to be.

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