When It Comes To Halloween, Should You Trust The IMDb?


Dr. Sam Loomis

Like a lot of people, I enjoy browsing the trivia sections of the IMDb.  While it’s true that a lot of the items are stuff like, “This movie features two people who appeared on a television series set in the Star Trek Universe!,” you still occasionally came across an interesting fact or two.

Of course, sometimes, you just come across something that makes so little sense that you can only assume that it was posted as a joke.  For instance, I was reading the IMDb’s trivia for the original 1978 Halloween and I came across this:

Peter O’Toole, Mel Brooks, Steven Hill, Walter Matthau, Jerry Van Dyke, Lawrence Tierney, Kirk Douglas, John Belushi, Lloyd Bridges, Abe Vigoda, Kris Kristofferson, Sterling Hayden, David Carradine, Dennis Hopper, Charles Napier, Yul Brynner and Edward Bunker were considered for the role of Dr. Sam Loomis.

Now, some of these names make sense.  Despite the fact that Sam Loomis became Donald Pleasence’s signature role, it is still possible to imagine other actors taking the role and perhaps bringing a less neurotic interpretation to the character.

Peter O’Toole as Dr. Loomis?  Okay, I can see that.

Kirk Douglas, Sterling Hayden, Charles Napier, Steve Hill, or Lloyd Bridges as Dr. Loomis?  Actually, I can imagine all of them grimacing through the role.

Walter Matthau?  Well, I guess if you wanted Dr. Loomis to be kind of schlubby….

Abe Vigoda?  Uhmmm, okay.

Dennis Hopper?  That would be interesting.

Mel Brooks?  What?  Wait….

John Belushi?  Okay, stop it!

Dr. Sam Loomis

My point is that I doubt any of these people were considered for the role of Dr. Loomis.  Both director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill have said that they wanted to cast an English horror actor in the role, as a bit of an homage to the Hammer films of the 60s.  Christopher Lee was offered the role but turned it down, saying that he didn’t care for the script or the low salary.  (Lee later said this was one of the biggest mistakes of his career.)  Peter Cushing’s agent turned down the role, again because of the money.  It’s not clear whether Cushing himself ever saw the script.

To be honest, I could easily Peter Cushing in the role and I could see him making a brilliant Dr. Loomis.  But, ultimately, Donald Pleasence was the perfect (if not the first) choice for the role.  Of course, Pleasence nearly turned down the role as well.  Apparently, it was his daughter, Angela, who changed his mind.  She was an admirer of John Carpenter’s previous film, Assault on Precint 13.  Carpenter has said that he was originally intimidated by Donald Pleasence (the man had played Blofeld, after all) but that Pleasence turned out to be a professional and a gentleman.

Laurie Strode

Of course, Halloween is best known for being the first starring role of Jamie Lee Curtis.  Curtis was actually not Carpenter’s first choice for the role of Laurie Strode.  His first choice was an actress named Annie Lockhart, who was the daughter of June Lockhart.  Carpenter changed his mind when he learned that Jamie was the daughter of Janet Leigh.  Like any great showman, Carpenter understood the importance of publicity and he knew nothing would bring his horror movie more publicity then casting the daughter of the woman whose onscreen death in Psycho left moviegoers nervous about taking a shower.

There was also another future big name who came close to appearing in Halloween.  At the time that she was cast as Lynda, P.J. Soles was dating an up-and-coming actor from Texas named Dennis Quaid.  Quaid was offered the role of Lynda’s doomed boyfriend, Bob but he was already committed to another film.

Not considered for a role was Robert Englund, though the future Freddy Krueger still spent some time on set.  He was hired by Carpenter to help spread around the leaves that would make it appear as if his film was taking place in the October, even though it was filmed in May.

Robert Englund, making May look like October

Interestingly enough, Englund nearly wasn’t need for that job because Halloween was not originally envisioned as taking place on Halloween or any other specific holiday.  When producer Irwin Yablans and financier Moustapha Akkad originally approached Carpenter and Hill to make a movie for them about a psycho stalking three babysitters, they didn’t care when the film was set.  It was only after Carpenter and Hill wrote a script called The Babysitter Muders that it occurred to Yablans that setting the film during Halloween would be good from a marketing standpoint.  Plus Halloween made for a better title than The Babysitter Murders.

And, of course, the rest is history.  Carpenter’s film came to define Halloween and it still remains the standard by which every subsequent slasher movie has been judged.  Would that have happened if the film had been known as The Babysitter Murders and had starred John Belushi?

Sadly, we may never know.

Film Review: One Night With The King (dir by Michael O. Sajbel)


The 2006 Biblical film, One Night With The King, opens with God ordering King Saul to conquer and execute all of the Amalekites and their livestock.  However, as so often happened whenever God ordered him to do something, Saul manages to screw everything up.  He does conquer the Amalekites but he decides to keep their best livestock for himself and he also declines to execute the Amalekite king or his pregnant wife.  The prophet Samuel (played by an uncomfortably frail-looking Peter O’Toole) shows up and tells Saul that he’s screwed up for the last time.  Samuel goes off to execute the Amalekite king.  However, the queen escapes into the desert.

And that’s the last we see of her.  It’s also the last we see of O’Toole who, despite being top billed, has about a minute of screen time.

Jump forward several hundred years.  We are now in the city of Susa, Persia.  It’s the center of the known world.  We know this because characters tend to say stuff like, “We are living in the center of the known world.”  Xerxes (Luke Goss) is the king of Persia, a somewhat uncouth man who is obviously used to getting everything that he wants.  Xerxes is plotting on marching off to war.  However, his current wife is opposed to the war and refuses to attend Xerxes’s pre-war banquet.  Scandal!  Xerxes’s advisor, Prince Memucan (Omar Sharif, who co-starred with Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia), suggests that perhaps Xerxes should get a new wife.

Every female virgin in the city is brought to Xerxes’s palace so that, under the watchful eye of the king’s eunuch, Hegai (Tommy Lister, Jr.), they can compete for the chance to become queen.  Among the women is the beautiful Hadassah (Tiffany Dupont), who is the niece of one of the king’s scribes, Mordecai (John Rhys-Davies).  Hadassah does not tell the king that she’s related to Mordecai and instead says that her name is Esther.  With the help of Hegai, Hadassah soon emerges as the favorite to become the new queen.

Meanwhile, an evil man named Haman (Boo!  Haman!  Boo!) has shown up on the scene.  Haman (played by James Callas) is a descendant of the Amalekites that Saul failed to destroy.  (Dammit, Saul!)  A greedy astrologer, Haman (Boo!) has been appointed to the position of vizier by Xerxes.  Haman (hiss!) demands that all of the king’s servants bow before him.  However, because he has a pagan symbol sewn onto his clothes, Mordecai refuses to do so.  Driven by hate (Boo!), Haman makes plans to execute not only Mordecai but every other Jew in Persia.  With the king unaware of Haman’s intentions, only Hadassah can stop his plans but to do so, she’ll have to risk seeing the king unsummoned….

 

The story of Esther, Mordecai, the king, and the moment that Haman (Boo!) discovers that karma is a bitch has always been one of my favorites so I’ve always enjoyed One Night With The King whenever I’ve watched it.  Don’t get me wrong.  It has its flaws.  Though the film does a pretty good job of recreating the past on a low budget, it’s still one of those films that’s full of awkward exposition, cringe-worthy dialogue, and more than a few inconsistent performances.  (Sharif and O’Toole, for instance, both go through the motions, doing just enough to pick up a paycheck.)  At the same time, Luke Goss is properly rough-around-the-edges as the king and Tiffany DuPont is well-cast as Hadassah.  Tommy Lister, Jr. appears to be having a lot of fun in the role of the world’s most unlikely eunuch and, as a result, he’s entertaining to watch.  Visually, it’s a pretty film and the costumes are to die for, as they should be in any film about a royal romance.  And, even if the story is at times awkwardly told, it still reaches a deeply satisfying conclusion.

James Callas is convincingly evil and properly detestable as Haman (Boo!  Haman!  Boo!).  Haman is an archetype of evil, the ant-Semite whose evil legacy has continued to haunt the world in the centuries since he met his own fate.  Though the film at times spends too much time playing up the romance between the king and Hadassah (which, while nice to watch, is not the point of the source material), One Night With The King does include enough scenes of Haman (hiss!) ranting to make clear the link between Haman and the anti-Semitism of the Nazis and those modern day hate mongers who try to hide their bigotry behind claims that they are “only criticizing Israel.”  Haman’s evil makes his final fate all the more satisfying but the film leaves no doubt that, unless the world remains vigilant, there will always be new Hamans threatening to come to power.  That’s an important enough message to make up for many of the film’s missteps.

One Night With The King is a flawed, low-budget film.  But I like it.

 

Glory Daze: Peter O’Toole in MY FAVORITE YEAR (MGM 1982)


cracked rear viewer

The world of 1950’s live TV gets the comic treatment in Richard Benjamin’s MY FAVORITE YEAR, a hilarious homage to those golden days of yore. Executive producer Mel Brooks had first-hand knowledge of the era, and much of the hysterical Norman Steinberg/Dennis Palumbo screenplay is based on his experiences, though completely exaggerated and laugh-out-loud funny. The film earned star Peter O’Toole an Oscar nomination for his role as Alan Swann, a dissipated movie star based on swashbuckling Errol Flynn .

Swann arrives at NBC’s 30 Rock, scheduled to be the week’s special guest on “Comedy Calvacade”, totally smashed, much to the displeasure of gruff show host Stan ‘King’ Kaiser (Joseph Bologna in a brilliant Sid Caesar parody), who immediately wants to fire him. But young comedy writer Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker, later of TV’s PERFECT STRANGERS), who idolizes the movie great, pleads with Kaiser to give Swann another chance. He…

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Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: The Lion in Winter (dir by Anthony Harvey)


(With the Oscars scheduled to be awarded on March 4th, I have decided to review at least one Oscar-nominated film a day.  These films could be nominees or they could be winners.  They could be from this year’s Oscars or they could be a previous year’s nominee!  We’ll see how things play out.  Today, I take a look at the 1968 best picture nominee, The Lion in Winter!)

“I don’t much like our children.”

— Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn)

“Oh God, but I do love being king.”

— King Henry II (Peter O’Toole)

“What family doesn’t have its up and down?”

— Eleanor of Aquitaine

To be honest, it’s tempting to just spend this entire review offering up quotes from this film.  Based on a play by James Goldman and featuring a cast of actors who all specialized in delivering the most snarky of lines with style, The Lion In Winter is a film that is in love with the English language.  As visually impressive as the film and its recreation of the 12th Century is, it’s tempting to close your eyes while watching The Lion In Winter and just listen to the dialogue.

The year is 1183.  England has a king.  His name is Henry II (Peter O’Toole) and he’s held power for a long time, through a combination of willpower and political manipulation.  He’s married to Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), though he long since had her imprisoned.  Before marrying Henry, Eleanor was the wife of Louis VII.  Now, Henry’s mistress is Alais (Jane Merrow), the daughter of Louis and his second wife.  In order to get Alais’s dowry, Henry has promised her half-brother, Philip II (Timothy Dalton), that she will be married to the next king of England.  Philip, incidentally, is the son of Louis’s third wife.  To be honest, it’s confusing as Hell to try to keep up with all of it but that’s medieval politics for you.

Of course, everyone knows that Henry II will not be king forever.  He’s already 50 years old, which is quite an advanced age for 1183.  Being king means that everyone, even his own family, is plotting against him.  It also means living in a remarkably dirty and drafty castle.  (If you’re looking for a film that celebrates the splendor of royalty, this is probably not the film to watch.)  Henry has three sons, all of whom feel that he should be the rightful heir.

For instance, there’s Richard (a young Anthony Hopkins).  Richard is Henry and Eleanor’s eldest son.  He is a fierce, outspoken, and judgemental man.  He describes himself as being a legend and a poet.  He looks and acts like a future king.  Of course, he’s also a bit of a pompous ass.  Richard is Eleanor’s pick to be king, though Richard is always quick to equally condemn both of his parents.

And then there’s John (Nigel Terry).  Early on, John is described as being “pimply and smelling of compost.”  For some reason, John is Henry’s favorite.  He’s also a sniveling weakling, the type who is never smart enough to know when his father is being honest or when his father is bluffing.  Halfway through the film, he comes close to accidentally starting a civil war.

And finally, there’s Geoffrey (John Castle).  Geoffrey is the smartest of the princes and the most manipulative.  Of the three princes, he’s the only one who is as smart as both Henry and Eleanor.  However, whereas Henry and Eleanor enjoy their complicated lives and manage to maintain a sense of (very dark) humor about it all, Geoffrey is bitter about his place as the middle child.

Christmas has arrived and Henry has temporarily released Eleanor from prison so that she can spend the holidays with him, his sons, and his mistress.  Also coming over for the holiday is King Phillip II, eager to either take back his sister’s dowry or to attend her wedding to the next King of England.  What follows is a holiday of politics, manipulation, and shouting.  In fact, there’s lots and lots of shouting.

It’s a thoroughly enjoyable film, one that expertly mixes British history with domestic drama and dark comedy.  Obviously, the film’s main appeal comes from watching two screen icons, Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn, exchanging snappy dialogue.  Hepburn deservedly won an Oscar for her performance as Eleanor.  O’Toole should have won an Oscar as well but he lost to Cliff Robertson for Charly.  In fact, O’Toole and Hepburn are so good that they occasionally overshadow the rest of the very talented cast.  Anthony Hopkins and Nigel Terry both make indelible impressions as Richard and John but my favorite princely performance came from John Castle, who is a malicious wonder as Geoffrey.  As easy as it is to dislike Geoffrey, it’s hard not to feel that he does have a point.

(Of course, in real life, both Richard and John would eventually serve as king while Geoffrey would die, under mysterious circumstances, in France.  Reportedly, Philip II was so distraught over Geoffrey’s death that he attempted to jump on the coffin as it was being lowered into the ground.)

The Lion In Winter was nominated for seven Oscars and won three, for Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn), Best Adapted Screenplay (James Goldman), and Best Music Score (John Barry).  It lost best picture to Oliver!

Never Nominated: 16 Actors Who Have Never Been Nominated For An Oscar


Along with being one of the greatest actors who ever lived, the late Peter O’Toole had another, far more dubious achievement.  He holds the record for being nominated the most times for Best Actor without actually winning.  Over the course of his long career, Peter O’Toole was nominated 8 times without winning.

But, at least O’Toole was nominated!

Below are 16 excellent actors who have NEVER been nominated for an Oscar.  10 of these actors still have a chance to get that first nomination.  For the rest, the opportunity has sadly past.

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  1. Kevin Bacon

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like Kevin Bacon?  Amazingly, despite several decades of good performances in good films, Kevin Bacon has yet to be nominated.  That said, he seems destined to be nominated some day.  If nothing else, he deserved some sort of award for being the most successful cast member of the original Friday the 13th.  (As well, 40 years after the fact, his cry of “All is well!” from Animal House has become one of the most popular memes around.)

2. Brendan Gleeson

This brilliant Irish actor deserved a nomination (and probably the win) for his brave performance in Calvary.  But, even if you ignore Calvary, his filmography is full of award-worthy performances.  From The General to Gangs of New York to 28 Days Later to In Bruges to The Guard, Gleeson is overdue for some recognition.

3. John Goodman

John Goodman deserved to be nominated this year, for his performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane.  He brought warmth to both Argo and Inside Llewyn Davis.  And he was absolutely terrifying in Barton Fink.  John Goodman is one of the most underrated actors working today.

4. Malcolm McDowell

It’s obviously been a while since Malcolm McDowell had a truly great role.  But who could forget his amazing performance in A Clockwork Orange?  For that matter, I liked his sweetly gentle performance in Time After Time.  Someone give this man the great role that he deserves!

5. Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor is an actor who is oddly taken for granted.  His performance in Trainspotting remains his best known work.  But, really, he’s been consistently giving wonderful performances for twenty years now.  Sometimes — as in the case of the Star Wars prequels — the films have not been worthy of his talent but McGregor has always been an engaging and compelling screen presence.  When it comes to playing someone who is falling in love, few actors are as convincing as Ewan McGregor.

6) Franco Nero

Franco!  If for nothing else, he deserved a nomination for playing not only Lancelot in Camelot and not only the original Django but also for playing Intergalactic Space Jesus in The Visitor.  I also loved his work in a little-known Italian thriller called Hitchhike.  Nero is still active — look for him in John Wick 2 — and hopefully, he’ll get at least one more truly great role in his lifetime.

7) Sam Rockwell

Let’s just get this out of the way.  In a perfect world, Sam Rockwell would already have an Oscar.  He would have won for his performance in 2009’s Moon.  He also would have received nominations for The Way, Way Back and Seven Psychopaths.  Sadly, Sam’s still waiting for his first nomination.  Again, the problem may be that he’s such a natural that he just makes it look easy.

Andy Serkis

8) Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis has never been nominated, despite giving some of the best performances of this century.  He should have been nominated for Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.  He should have won for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

9) Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean Stanton has been around forever and he’ll probably outlive everyone else on the planet.  He often seems to be indestructible.  Harry Dean is the epitome of a great character actor.  He’s a modern-day John Carradine.  And, just as John Carradine was never nominated, Harry Dean seems to destined to suffer the same fate.  Oscar may have forgotten him but film lovers never will.

10) Donald Sutherland

It’s hard to believe that Donald Sutherland has never been nominated for an Oscar but it’s true.  He probably should have been nominated for his work in Ordinary People and JFK.  Even his work in The Hunger Games franchise was an absolute delight to watch.  I imagine that Sutherland will be nominated someday.

Donald Sutherland and Kristen Stewart

Finally, here are 6 actors who sadly were never honored by the Academy and who are no longer with us:

  1. John Carradine

I mentioned John Carradine earlier.  Carradine was a favorite of many directors and he brought his considerable (and rather eccentric) talents to a countless number of films.  Among his best performances: Stagecoach and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

2. John Cazale

Before his untimely death, John Cazale acted in 5 films: The Godfather, Godfather Part II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter.  All five of them were nominated for best picture.  12 years after his death, archival footage of him was used in The Godfather Part III.  It was also nominated for Best Picture.  Not only is Cazale alone in having spent his entire career in films nominated for best picture but, in each film, Cazale gave a performance that, arguably, deserved to be considered for a Best Supporting Actor nomination.  Cazale was an amazing actor and it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to give us more great performances.

3. Oliver Reed

Oliver Reed was a legendary drinker but he was also an amazingly entertaining actor.  I’m not a huge fan of Gladiator but his final performance was more than worthy of a posthumous nomination.

Alan Rickman

4. Alan Rickman

When it comes to the late Alan Rickman, it’s not a question of whether he should have been nominated.  It’s a question of for which film.  I know a lot of people would say Rickman deserved a nomination for redefining cinematic villainy in Die Hard.  Personally, I loved his performance in Sense and Sensibility.  And, of course, you can’t overlook any of the times that he played Snape.

5. Edward G. Robinson

Edward G. Robinson was never nominated for an Oscar!?  Not even for Double Indemnity?  Or his final performance in Soylent Green?  Horrors!

6) Anton Yelchin

It’s debatable whether or not Anton Yelchin ever got a chance to give a truly award-worthy performance during his lifetime.  I would argue that his work in both Green Room and Like Crazy were pretty close.  But, if Yelchnin had lived, I’m confident he would have eventually been nominated.  We lost a wonderful talent when we lost him.

like-crazy-still02

 

You Say You Want A Revolution: Power Play (1978, directed by Martyn Burke)


PowerPlay1978

When I was 16, I would spend every weekend down at a small, used video store that was a few blocks away from my house.  One afternoon, I was looking for a video to rent when I came across a battered VHS box.  On the front of the box, Peter O’Toole smoked a cigar and sat on top of a tank.  The back cover described the film as being about revolution and promised exciting action.  A critic was quoted as saying that the movie was “an intelligent political thriller!”  Because I was obsessed with politics, that caught my attention.  I rented the movie, took it home, and watched it twice.

The name of the movie was Power Play.

In an unnamed Eastern European country, a corrupt and despotic dictator rules with an iron hand.  Dissidents are regularly arrested and executed.  Corrupt government officials live in luxury while the rest of the country is trapped in poverty.  After a friend’s daughter is tortured and murdered by the secret police, Colonel Narriman (David Hemmings) teams up with Dr. Rosseau (Barry Morse) to plot a coup.  In order to the overthrow the government, the conspirators have to hide their plans from Blair (Donald Pleasence), the sadistic head of the secret police, and convince Colonel Zeller (Peter O’Toole) to join them and bring his tanks over to their side.

power

Power Play may be forgotten today but it made a big impression on me when I first watched it.  Power Play not only showed what it was like to live in a totalitarian society but also attempted to realistically portray what it would take to overthrow a dictatorship.  Power Play spends as much time on the plotting of the revolution as it does on the revolution itself, with special attention given to Rousseau’s attempts to secure international support for the coup.  David Hemmings is great in the main role and Donald Pleasence is Himmleresque as Blair.  Even Peter O’Toole’s infamous 1970s hamminess seems appropriate for the character of Col. Zeller.  Power Play is a must see for aspiring revolutionaries every where.

Incidentally, Power Play opens with one of the conspirators being interviewed by Dick Cavett, meaning that Power Play can be added to Annie Hall and A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors on the list of films in which Dick Cavett has played himself.

the-dick-cavett-show

Shattered Politics #37: Rosebud (dir by Otto Preminger)


Rosebud_-_1975_-_Film_Poster

Before I review the 1975 film Rosebud, allow me to tell you about how I first discovered the existence of this particular film.

The greatest used bookstore in the world is located in Denton, Texas.  It’s called Recycled Books and it is three stories of pure literary goodness!  (Plus, there are apartments on the top floor where I attended some pretty interesting parties but that’s another story….)  When I was attending the University of North Texas, I used to stop by Recycled Books nearly every day.  One day, I happened to be searching the Film and TV section when I came across a beat-up paperback called Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture.

This book, which was written by Theodore Gershuny, told the story of how the previously acclaimed director Otto Preminger attempted to make a film about terrorism.  Starting with the attempts of Preminger’s son, Erik Lee Preminger, to come up with a workable script and then going on to detail how Peter O’Toole came to replace Robert Mitchum as the star of the film and ending with the film’s disastrous release, Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture proved to be a fascinating read.

After finishing the book, I simply had to see Rosebud for myself.  Unfortunately, at that time, Rosebud had not yet been released on Blu-ray or DVD.  So, I actually ended up ordering an old VHS copy of it.  The tape that I got was not in the best condition but it played well enough and I can now say that, unlike the majority of people in the world, I’ve actually seen Rosebud!

Which is not to say that Rosebud is any good.  It’s not the disaster that I had been led to expect.  In fact, it probably would have been more fun if it had been a disaster, as opposed to being just a forgettable film from a director who was probably capable of better.  Preminger started his career in the 30s and was considered, at one point, to be quite innovative.  He directed Laura and Anatomy of a Murder, two great films.  Unfortunately, there’s really nothing innovative about his direction of Rosebud.  In Gershuny’s book, Preminger comes across like an intelligent and thoughtful man who was too set in his ways to realize that what was shocking in 1959 was no longer that big of a deal in 1975.  (And, needless to say, it’s even less of a big deal in 2015.)

As for what Rosebud‘s about, it’s about a man named Sloat (Richard Attenborough), a former journalist who now lives in a cave in Israel and dreams of establishing a worldwide terrorist network.  Under Sloat’s direction, terrorists storm a yacht named the Rosebud and take the girls on board hostage.  The girls are wealthy and privileged.  Their fathers are judges, senators, and businessmen.  CIA agent Larry Martin (Peter O’Toole) is tasked with tracking down and rescuing the girls.  If it sounds like an action film — well, it’s not.  This is not a prequel to Taken.  Instead, it’s a very talky film that has a few isolated good moments and performances but otherwise, is fairly forgettable.

That said, the film does have an interesting cast.  Peter O’Toole seems bored by his role (and who can blame him?) but Attenborough briefly livens things up in the role of Sloat.  As for the girls being held hostage, they’re not given much to do.  One of them is played by a young Isabelle Huppert.  Long before she would play Samantha on Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall plays a hostage here.  The English hostage is played by Lalla Ward, who is now married to Richard Dawkins.

And then there’s the girl’s parents, who are played by an odd assortment of character actors.  Raf Vallone, an Italian, plays a Greek.  (His daughter, meanwhile, is played by the French Isabelle Huppert.)  Peter Lawford, looking somewhat dazed, shows up as Lalla Ward’s father.  (One of the sadder scenes in Gershuny’s book deals with Lawford’s attempts to remember his lines.)  And than, in the role of Cattrall’s father, we have a very distinguished looking man named John Lindsay.

John Lindsay was the former mayor of New York City, a man who ran for President in 1972 and, three years later, attempted to launch a new career as an actor.  Rosebud was his both his first and final film.  (Rumor has it that Martin Scorsese attempted to convince Lindsay to play Senator Palatine in Taxi Driver but Lindsay turned the role down.)  Lindsay is not particularly memorable in Rosebud.  It’s not so much that Lindsay gives a bad performance as much as it’s just the fact that he has a very bland screen presence.  That blandness probably served him well as a politician but, as an actor — well, let’s just say that John Lindsay was apparently no Fred Thompson.

And so that’s Rosebud.  It’s a film that, much like Maidstone, you can only appreciate if you know what went on behind the scenes.  I can’t really recommend Rosebud but, if you ever come across a battered old copy of Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture in a used bookstore, be sure to buy it!

Seriously, you will not be sorry.