A mostly pleasant surprise in a year that has produced a lack of stellar animated outings.
LONDON - There's a photograph of Irene Papas in the files of The Sun-Times, taken when she arrived in Hollywood in the 1950s. It's a typical publicity picture, sort of modified cheesecake; she's sitting on a trunk with her legs crossed and the handout says something about a Greek starlet arriving to star in the new Cagney picture.
NEWPORT BEACH, CA. -- "I've been working all day on the boy's room," John Wayne said. "The boy got it into his head that he wanted a bunk bed. We tore out this wall here and pushed it back - you can see the original boundary on the floor there - and we're going to put the bunk right in here. And there'll be a goddam porthole in the wall." He shook his head, amused.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama Island -- Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch," which is possibly the most violent film ever made, stirred up a bitter controversy here. Film critics splint into many camps at an extraordinary press conference, and even co-stars William Holden and Ernest Borgnine seemed slightly squeamish about the movie. But just about everyone agreed that "The Wild Bunch" will be this summer's top box-office draw, for better or worse.
She was such a little girl when she started off down the Yellow Brick Road. So little and helpless and starstruck: "Gee, Mister Gable," she once sang, "can I have your autograph?"
HOLLYWOOD - There is nobody who can tell you what Michelangelo Antonioni's new film is about, not even Antonioni. On a quiet Saturday morning, he sits curled at one end of a sofa and talks about the futility of it all.
Out on the Colorado locations for "Downhill Racer," Robert Redford was limping and wincing occasionally when his foot landed the wrong way. He had injured his knee in a snowmobile accident. It was bad enough to have your knee banged up, but when you were making a movie about skiers, and doing a lot of the skiing yourself, it was murder.
LOS ANGELES -- This was a restless man. He rocked on the balls of his feet. He looked, turned, looked back to where he'd turned from. Demons were gaining. He peered out the window. Opened the door. Closed the door. Peered out the window. Evoked a pastoral image.
It's easy enough to tell a filmmaker what you liked about his movie. He nods and agrees and discovers you're quite a perceptive fellow. But when you start talking about what you didn't like...
ROME - Not far away, the big jets were landing at Rome airport. They came in low over a Roman galleon that rocked in the surf of the Mediterranean. Scattered on the beach next to the galleon were packing crates, dozens of them, and stretched on top of one crate was a dead body wrapped in gauze.
Fourteen months we were trying to get someone to believe in that picture," Raymond Stross said. "We had our own money in it. All of our money. Everything except the house. And all the time people were telling us, make a Hollywood picture. Make a commercial picture. 'The Fox' will never make a dime."