As Jeff reported earlier today, the famed Hollywood producer Robert Evans passed away this weekend. As a student of both Hollywood and history, I have to say that I always found Evans to be a rather fascinating figure. It seemed inevitable that his name would pop up whenever I read a book, an article, or even just an interview concerning the films of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Robert Evans was nice enough to follow me on twitter and we even exchanged tweets on occasion.
As a producer, Robert Evans is probably more associated with gangster movies like The Godfather and The Cotton Club than horror films. But Evans was involved in a few “scary” and horror-adjacent films, both as an actor and a producer. So, tonight’s edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse Trailers is dedicated to Robert Evans.
- Man of a Thousand Face (1957)
As an actor, Evans began his career by playing Irving Thalberg in this biopic of Lon Chaney, Sr. Evans was specifically chosen for the role by Thalberg’s widow, Norma Shearer. Not surprisingly, the trailer below concentrates on James Cagney’s performance as legendary horror star, Lon Chaney, Sr.
2. The Fiend Who Walked The West (1958)
One of Evans’s rare starring roles was in this western-horror hybrid. Yes, that’s Robert Evans as the “kooky killer.”
3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
As head of production at Paramount, Evans was responsible for greenlighting this classic horror film, starring Mia Farrow. Reportedly, Evans arranged for his friend, Jack Nicholson, to screen test for the role of Rosemary’s husband.
4. Marathon Man (1976)
Evans produced this film. Technically, Marathon Man was a thriller/spy movie. But the scenes of Dustin Hoffman in the dentist chair definitely qualify as horror.
5. Sliver (1993)
After spending the 80s financially bereft and an almost forgotten figure, Evans made a comeback by producing this incredibly silly “erotic” thriller.
6. Jade (1995)
Sliver did well enough at the box office that Evans followed it up with another, similarly silly thriller.
Of course, while it’s tempting to laugh at films like Jade and Sliver, it should be remembered that Evans was also involved with some of the best and most important films of all time. Next time you watch The Godfather, be sure to say a little thank you to Robert Evans.