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Kid Stays in The Picture The

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The Los Angeles Times once said...
... that never in the history of Hollywood has such glamour and talent sat under one tree.
Dr. Kissinger is here and there's no accident.
There's more oil on Bob Evans...
Take him home. Take him home! Just get him the hell out of here!
These past 10 years as chief of production at Paramount Pictures...
... I've been lucky, or fortunate enough to be involved with such unique pictures...
... as Rosemary's Baby, True Grit, Love Story, The Godfather...
How did you get discovered for the movies?
Well, I got discovered by jumping into a swimming pool.
But I was an actor for many years as a kid before that.
I was at the Beverly Hills Hotel pool. I was a businessman at the time.
- What was your business? - I was partners in Evan Picone.
We made women's pants. In other words, I was in women's pants.
We actually started the fad of women wearing slacks.
I'll never forget it, because...
It was the fall of 1956.
I flew out to Los Angeles to set up Evan Picone boutiques.
One afternoon, I decided to play hooky...
...sit by the pool and get some sun at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Suddenly a woman approached. "Excuse me, young man, are you an actor?"
Yeah, I was, a long time ago.
It was Norma Shearer.
Norma Shearer, at the time, was one of the few remaining icons...
...of Hollywood aristocracy.
A petite blond in a striped, short robe.
"Pardon me for being curious, young man, but why are you always on the phone?"
Gotta pay my bills. "You're not a bookmaker, are you?"
No, I'm not a bookmaker.
Then she changed the entire course of my life.
"Would you like to play my deceased husband, Irving Thalberg, in a film?"
I looked at her. Looked at her again. I didn't know what she was talking about.
"They're making a film at Universal called Man of a Thousand Faces.
My friend Jimmy Cagney is playing Lon Chaney.
Irving discovered him and made him the biggest star in silent film.
He was only 20 at the time. He was even too young to sign the checks.
But not too young to run a studio."
I'm thinking to myself, wow, this can't be happening to me.
Miss Shearer, it would be an honor. Why not?
Cagney is the one guy I've always wanted to meet.
Two hours later, I'm on a sound stage at Universal.
Here I am, like out of a dream, I'm testing opposite Jimmy Cagney.
Mind if I come in a minute?
I know I don't look dressed for the barricades, but I've come from a revolution.
The premiere of The Jazz Singer. Lon, you should've seen that audience.
When Jolson's voice came from the screen...
...I could hear the bells tolling for silent pictures.
You haven't heard a word I said.
- I'm sorry, Irving. What were you saying? - Nothing much.
Just trying to tell you about a modern miracle.
Pictures that not only move, Lon, but they speak.
Oh, yeah, sure. Talking pictures.
It's the horse and the automobile all over again. No use fighting it.
When it was over, Cagney gave me a quick look, "You did good, kid."
Forty-eight hours later, I made every newspaper around the country.
"Big splash: New York businessman dives into pool and comes out movie star."
Was I lucky? I think so.
If I had stayed just an actor, Norma never would've given me a second look.
What caught her eye was a young go-getter, sure about himself. Persuasive.
A subliminal reminder of the man who was once her mentor and her husband.
It's the old story, though. Luck doesn't happen by mistake.
Rather, luck is when opportunity meets preparation.
As soon as the picture wrapped, I flew back to the Big Apple.
Evan Picone was on fire...
...the showroom packed with them leggy ladies prancing in their patrician pants.
It was turn-on plus. My brother Charles had built the top fashion company of its time.
Me? I was lucky to be part of it...
...never having a second thought about returning to La La Land.
Why should I?
In New York, I was a celebrity. From debutante, to starlet, to model.
There I was on their most-wanted list. Was I enjoying it? You bet your ass I was.
One night, my brother and I took a few femme fatales to El Morocco.
Me? I didn't feel like conversation, so I hit the dance floor.
Well, that night someone had eyes for me, and it wasn't her.
It was Darryl Zanuck, head honcho of 20th Century Fox.
He had no idea who I was. But just looking at me, he thought:
That kid's right to play the matador opposite Ava Gardner.
After years and years of knocking on doors, being turned down...
...here I am, discovered to star in two pictures within six months.
That's what you call incident, and that's what's also known as sense of discovery.
Thank God, I was the one discovered.
I was sent down to Mexico to study to be a bullfighter.
Mind you, I have never once seen a bull in my life.
I worked my ass off for three months.
Wearing a rubber girdle each day, so I'd lose weight around my midsection.
There was one big problem. No one wanted me in the picture.
Ernest Hemingway was furious they'd pick a guy out of a nightclub...
...to play Pedro Romero, who in the true-life story was him.
A telegram goes out to Darryl Zanuck. It reads:
"With Robert Evans playing Pedro Romero, The Sun Also Rises will be a disaster.
Signed, Ernest Hemingway, Tyrone Power...
...Ava Gardner, Eddie Albert."
The only one who refused to sign it was Errol Flynn. He laughed.
I know I'm gonna get fired. But that gave me the resolve.
I said, fuck them. And, you know, when I knew that telegram went out...
...I became Pedro Romero in one week.
Zanuck arrives in Morelia, Mexico, and I'm summoned to the bullring...
...to do my quites and veronicas in front of him.
I walk into the bullring, take off my hat, throw it to him. For you.
And then I start going through my various things.
I feel like an idiot. I know I'm gonna get fired.
Suddenly, Zanuck stands up, all 5'3" of him, picks up a bullhorn:
"The kid stays in the picture. And anybody who doesn't like it can quit."
Puts the bullhorn down, and walks out.
Also, it was then that I realized that's what Evans wants to be.
Not some actor shitting in his pants, waiting to get a role.
But the guy who can say, "The kid stays in the picture."
Bob Evans is a 28-year-old New Yorker who is in the enviable position...
...of pursuing two careers on two coasts.
Here in the East, Bob Evans devotes his time and energy...
...to being a vice president of the Evan Picone sportswear firm.
On the West Coast, Bob Evans devotes his time and energy to being a movie star.
And, at last reports, he's doing pretty well at both.
- Evening, Bob. - Good evening, Ed.
- How are you? - Very fine.
Now you're getting established and recognized as a movie star...
...how long do you think you'll hold out as a bachelor?
Just introduce me to the right girl, Ed, and I can end my bachelorhood right here.
With all the hullabaloo and excitement about the new Valentino...
...I wasn't getting the parts I wanted. There were half a dozen parts offered to me.
I was looking for bigger things.
One day, my agent calls, George Chasen.
"Bob, I'm calling with good news. Fox is remaking Kiss of Death into a Western...
...and we've got you up for the Widmark part. It made him a star overnight."
Finally, I got my first title role.
- Wow! - He's a kooky killer.
The most diabolical horror that ever roamed the earth.
The Fiend Who Walked the West.
He'll cut out your heart or break your neck, and laugh while he's doing it.
My acting career was over and out.
It was my last appearance on the silver screen.
At decade's end, I was sure of one thing.
I was a half-assed actor, and I knew it.
I knew I'd never become the next Paul Newman...
...maybe the next Troy Donahue.
But do you know who I really wanted to become? The next Darryl Zanuck.
That was my goal for the '60s. And I went for it all the way.
Sounds easy, doesn't it?
It ain't.
Next to winning the Olympics, I don't think there's a more difficult thing...
...than a pretty-boy actor transforming himself into producer...
...especially in those days.
I realized that I had to own something that nobody else could get.
I met a guy named George Weiser who worked for Publishers Weekly.
He moonlighted for me for about $ 150 a week.
He comes to me and says, "I just finished a book. It's called The Detective."
This is one hot book. I read it, put $5000 down on it as an option...
...and go see David Brown, a pal from 20th Century Fox...
...who's a top producer there. I say, David, I think I have the next big book.
He reads it. In 48 hours, he says, "Bob, we're in business." David, not so quick.
I wanna know what kind of business we're in.
Now, these are my conditions. I want a full spread of offices.
I want a three-picture deal.
To make a very long story short, I get everything I ask for.
They would've bought me out for half a million.
But I wanted my foot in the door, and I got it in the door, but good.
I learned a lot from that. When you own the property, you're king.
Without it, you're a peon.
If the euphemism, "You live by the press, and die by the press"...
...ever fit anyone, it fit me.
Who would've thought a journalist would change the entire course of my life...
...and also my career?
On reflection, I don't know if I should love him or hate him.
Peter Bart, West Coast correspondent for The New York Times...
...wanted to write a story about me in the Arts and Leisure section.
Is this a joke, Peter? Come on. He said, "This is not a joke.
What's interesting about you, and why you're worth writing about...
...is you're beating these big shots at their own game.
You know, you could become the guy you played, the next Thalberg."
That's just what I want the audience to see, Mr. Chaney...
...the soul of a man that God made different.
If I was smart, I should have retired after Peter's article.
Instead, Greg Bautzer, the power broker of the town, calls.
"Pack. You're going to New York." I can't, Greg, I got plans.
"Break them. Charlie Bluhdorn bought Paramount and wants to meet you.
He read the article about you in Sunday's New York Times.
He's a doer, Bob. Not a talker.
Now pack your bags." And pack them I did.
Within five minutes after meeting Charlie Bluhdorn, I know this is no kibitzer.
Before I finished trying to answer one question, he was asking me more.
With him was a guy named Marty Davis.
He was responsible for the conglomerate Gulf and Western.
Buying this aging mountain they call Paramount.
There were eight major studios at the time.
Paramount? It was ninth.
Bluhdorn bought this giant at bargain basement prices, the only way he knew how.
Everybody thought he was nuts to get in a business he knew nothing about...
...much less a business as crazy as show business.
But, guys, I got a deal at 20th. "Get out of it.
You'll be running Paramount in three months. Is that right, Marty?"
Davis gives me a look.
"If you're gonna run Paramount, you better be tougher than you seem."
Did I get the message? You bet. Then Bluhdorn blasted my other ear:
"Go by the seat of your pants. Make pictures people wanna see.
I wanna see tears, laughs. I want pretty girls in the pictures, beautiful girls.
Pictures people in Kansas City want to see.
That's all, Evans. What else do we have to go over?"
Being the head of production of a studio such as Paramount...
... and I'm sure you're aware of it, involves a tremendous responsibility.
You are dealing with millions of dollars.
They had a lot of great names for me. "Bluhdorn's Folly" by The New York Times.
Another was "Bluhdorn's Blow Job" by Hollywood Close-up. Good feeling, huh?
There was, to put it mildly...
...a great deal of skepticism from people in the industry.
After all, where does an ex-actor, and a bad one at that, come off running a studio?
From the day I arrived, the rumor mill had me packing my bags.
Time magazine ran a story saying my firing was imminent.
Friends, columnists, agents, all let me know I wouldn't be there for Christmas.
Then it happened. Front page of Variety: "Evans tenure over by end of month."
I called Charles Bluhdorn, chairman of Gulf and Western, who bought Paramount.
He was in Spain. I got him out of a board of directors' meeting in Madrid and said:
Charles, there's a story in Variety that I'm gonna get fired. If it's true, tell me.
- Tell me if it's true. - I'll pick up my laundry.
I'm ready to go. He says, "Let me tell you something.
When you're getting fired, I'll let you know. Stop reading gossip.
As long as I own Paramount, you'll be where you are. Relax and do your job."
And he hung the phone up.
My first move was to hire Peter Bart as my right-hand man.
He's not Hollywood. He doesn't read synopses, he reads the entire text.
He can read six books over a weekend. I'm hard-pressed to finish one in six.
But even more important, it was his article that got me into this mess.
The two of us caucused in Palm Springs for a full week.
Strategizing how an actor and a journalist could turn a white elephant into a contender.
Patience was not a quality Bluhdorn or Davis had, and the clock was ticking.
With the little experience we had, we knew one thing: The property is the star.
Let's go back to basics, Peter. You can have stars up the ass...
...but if it's not on the page, it's not on the screen.
It's no mistake Paramount's been in ninth place for five years.
It's time to pick up new dice. Now let's try and do it.
Between Peter and myself, we went through dozens of scripts, maybe hundreds.
Nothing clicked. It all felt tired. There was nothing fresh about it.
And we were looking for the unexpected.
Something that sounded new and what we were gonna be about.
Then one day, Bill Castle, the veteran producer...
...walked into my office with a manuscript he had optioned, tucked under his arm.
It was Rosemary's Baby. And I loved it.
There was one problem: Castle insisted on directing it.
I only had one director in mind for it. I saw brilliance in his little films.
It was the little Polack himself, Roman Polanski.
Not a little Polack. The biggest Polack and one of the biggest men I've ever met.
The films I saw were Knife in the Water, Repulsion, Cul-de-sac, all offbeat thrillers.
Roman was a big cinema star over in Europe, as well as director...
...and he'd just finished his first Hollywood film. Get this title:
The Fearless Vampire Killers...
... or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck.
Though no one wanted him in America, he didn't care. He was a star in Europe.
Where do I get him? How do I get to him? He's an avid skier.
I lured him to America, thinking he was gonna direct Downhill Racer.
Polanski walks in. This is some character!
Within five minutes, this Polack's acting out crazy stories.
They're somewhere between Shakespeare and theater of the absurd.
Maybe that's why we clicked so well.
We both come out of the same school of drama, the drama of life.
I didn't wanna bullshit him. Roman, will you read this?
I shoved the galleys of Rosemary's Baby across the desk at him.
"Is this about skiing?" Read it, Polack.
If you don't like it, your next ski trip is on me, anywhere you wanna go in the world.
A gamble? Sure. It paid off. Roman loved it.
But then the fights began. You know, fighting is healthy.
If everyone has too much reverence for each other, or the material...
Check it out and think about it. Invariably, it turns out underwhelming.
By the end of the first week's shooting, Roman was a week behind schedule.
Everyone from Bluhdorn to Bill Castle wanted me to throw him off the picture.
Roman's dailies were weird. They touched off an ominous sense of fright.
One I'd never seen in film before.
At the same time, Bill Castle was pressing the right buttons...
...getting the New York brass unnerved on our Polish discovery, my Polish discovery.
We're 10 days into shooting, and Roman was five days behind schedule.
"Fire the Polack," were the words from New York. Fire him? Fuck you.
He goes, I go.
For a moment, I thought I'd have to pay my own plane fare back.
I grabbed Roman aside. Listen to me carefully, Roman.
My ass ain't on the line. My ass is out the door, and so are you.
Now pick up the fucking pace or we'll both end up in Warsaw.
Bluhdorn and company weren't the only ones screaming about Roman.
Another power entered the scene.
My secretary comes in with an urgent message:
"Frank Sinatra's on the horn. He must speak with you." I picked the phone up.
"I'm pulling Mia from your picture, Evans, if she ain't finished by November 14.
She's starting in my picture on the 17. Got it straight?"
His picture was The Detective, the project that launched my producing career.
Now it was about to sink it.
Frank, you don't understand. We're not gonna be finished till mid-February.
"Then she's quitting. Don't fuck around with me.
We go back too far. She's my old lady, she'll do as I tell her."
Before I could say anything, he hangs the phone up.
Well, Frank didn't bark, he bit. Bit Mia pretty good.
"Stay in Rosemary's Baby, you go back to Mia Farrow. Forget the name Sinatra!"
Suddenly this little girl hysterically runs into my office.
"I love him, Bob. I love him so. I don't wanna lose Frank.
I'm gonna have to leave the movie."
Mia, if you walk out in the middle of this film, you'll never work again.
"I don't care, I don't care. I just love Frank."
Well, if ever my experience with dames came in handy, I mean actress dames...
...this was the moment.
I knew what makes the head of an actress tick, and I finally found its purpose.
Come with me, Mia, I wanna show you something.
We walked into the executive screening room...
...and I showed her a full hour of Rosemary's Baby cut together.
Dr. Hill? Dr. Hill, there's a plot.
I know that sounds crazy, and you're thinking, "This poor girl has flipped."
But I haven't flipped, Dr. Hill.
I swear by all the saints, I haven't.
Mia, you're brilliant. I never thought you had it in you.
It'll shock them all.
I want you to know something. You're a shoo-in to win the Academy Award.
Suddenly her tears were gone. Her face lights up.
"Do you think so?" The one thing I'm not is prone to exaggerate. You're a shoo-in.
I mean a shoo-in, kid. "Sinatra who?" Suddenly, a smile.
She didn't walk off the film. But Frank did serve her divorce papers on the set...
...delivered by Mickey Rudin, his attorney.
Wow, it's strange. Women recover real quick. It may have taken her a full week.
Then the only thing she wanted was that Rosemary's Baby out-gross The Detective.
You want to know about actresses?
Mia's one satisfaction would be that the pictures would open on the same day.
And I arranged that.
The Detective opened to a real good box office.
But Rosemary's Baby was the smash hit of the summer.
Overnight, Mia was a full-fledged star.
She had one request I couldn't fill:
Take a double-page ad out in the Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter.
On one side, in bold numbers, the theater grosses of Rosemary's Baby.
On the other, the theater grosses of The Detective.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
A decade before, Norma Shearer took me for a short walk.
Within 10 minutes of the Beverly Hills Hotel, we entered a hidden oasis.
It is a world away from Beverly Hills.
It is protected by 100-foot-tall eucalyptus trees.
Greta Garbo used to hide away there whenever she came into town.
I'd never forgotten the day I was there.
God, it must have been 100 times I thought:
One day, I could own that house. God, I'd love to live there.
The grounds, the trees, the acreage, the towering eucalyptus...
...thousands of roses. Everything is quiet and secret behind walls.
Was it for sale? No. But in L.A., there's nothing that isn't.
For 290,000 buckaroos, the place of my dreams was now mine.
In the mid-to-late '60s, movie attendance was spiraling south.
Outside of Paramount, a cultural revolution was taking place.
The brass at the studios didn't know who to cater movies to.
The old guard who wanted to see their aging movie stars in lavish productions...
...or the youth, who no one seemed to understand.
In the same year alone, Paramount released Medium Cool...
...a film catering to the so-called youth market.
And Paint Your Wagon, a film that catered to no one.
We were losing money every year on big, extravagant productions.
The board of directors were nervous. We needed a picture to unite audiences.
Like all good films, it needed to start with a script.
Well, we found it. Or should I say, Miss MacGraw found it.
A simple little film about a boy and a girl falling in love.
It was Love Story.
I set up a lunch date with Love Story's mentor and star, Miss MacGraw.
Damn it, by the time dessert was served, I would've made the phone book with her.
Do you think she got to me? I can tell you this, I sure in hell didn't get to her.
She kept on digging into me. Oh, and she was loving it.
She keeps on interjecting, all during the lunch, how much in love she was.
Then she gives me her last zinger. "Peter and I are getting married in the fall.
We plan to spend October in Venice. Ever been there?" Nope.
"Then wait. Only go there when you're madly in love."
That was it for me. I grabbed her arm. Never plan, kid. Planning's for the poor.
If anything goes wrong between you and Blondie between now and post time...
...take my number. I'm seven digits away.
Hate to admit it, but she never called.
In the spring of 1969, holding Love Story sure as hell wasn't holding aces.
I couldn't even find a fucking director to do it.
You know what my batting average was? A thousand. Everyone turned it down.
Suddenly, a minor miracle. I get a director. Arthur Hiller.
He's willing to direct my angel with a very dirty face.
Well, when you get a first bite, there's no way you're gonna let it go.
It was Wednesday night. Suddenly, Miss Snotnose remembers my seven digits.
This was one angry broad. I say angry with a capital A.
"The audacity you have, Mr. Evans, to sign a director I've never heard of...
...without consulting me. It's my property. I'm doing the picture for slave wages.
I'm living up to my option agreement. Have you forgotten the word 'courtesy'?"
I thought I was hyperventilating.
Ali, why don't you come out to L.A. Tomorrow? Take a look at Hiller's film.
If you don't like it, we'll get someone else. Trust me. I think you'll enjoy it.
The next night at 5, I pick up Snotnose MacGraw in the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Did it bug me? You bet, needing this starlet's nod of approval.
I hoped she wouldn't like Hiller so I could tell her she was a one-way ticket east.
That her flick's over and out. Cancelled. At least I'd get my nuts off.
I'm saying to myself, Miss Charming ain't gonna get to me tonight.
I walked her through my front doors, out and around my pool...
...towards my projection room. What I was thinking didn't work the way I thought.
She looks up to me, with her crooked tooth and all, and says:
"I feel like I'm walking through my own private park in Paris."
Prepared for her bullshit, it hardly made a ripple.
Arthur Hiller's audition was ready to roll. It never did. The screen never came down.
Yeah, but Miss Flower Child Snotnose soon got wet, very wet...
...jumping into the egg-shaped pool totally clothed, from her shoes to her headband.
Me? I'm laughing on the inside, but thinking, for a bohemian...
...she sure as hell became comfortable very quickly.
Behind the so-called Beverly Hills gates, with 2000 rose bushes...
...surrounded by gardenias, daisies, you name it.
She called herself a flower child. And now the flowers were hers.
October 24th, 1969, a Friday morning.
Miss Snotnose is on her way to becoming Mrs. Evans.
Both of us climb into our Mercedes two-seater...
...and head for the town hall in Riverside.
Afterward, we uncorked one magnum of Dom after the other.
Where? On the courthouse lawn.
And did we get loaded!
We had a long two-day honeymoon in Palm Springs.
I held Ali tight in my arms.
"I love you, Evans. I love you. Forever, Evans. Forever."
I whispered back, forever, darling.
"And promise me, never leave me."
I promise you, baby, I won't. Not even for two weeks.
Not for one, kid. "I'm a hot lady, Evans."
I hugged her, I kissed her.
Never change, baby. Never change.
"And never let anything get between us, Evans. Promise?"
Promise.
I forgot my key.
Jenny, I'm sorry.
Don't.
Love means never having to say you're sorry.
"Cut!" says Hiller. "That's it. We've got it."
You did a good job, Ali. You had me in tears.
She runs over to me, smothers me with kisses.
"Evans, did you really like it? The tears, they were for you."
My eyes start to swell. I actually start crying.
Crying about happiness, and feeling that I'm the luckiest guy in the whole world.
Camelot was ours.
Well, at least I thought it was.
"Evans, there's a big problem. The board of directors, they want me out of Paramount.
They can't afford it anymore. It's turning a cash flow into a cash drought.
They've had it. They want me out too, out of show business.
Get back to what I do best. Making money, not movies."
Charlie was not prone to making practical jokes, and this was no joke.
Fuck them, Charlie. Stall them if you can.
With your eyes closed, you can buy another quarter. I know you can.
Give us one more shot at the table. You can do it.
"The board's already decided.
They called an emergency meeting a week from tomorrow.
The studio will be closed by the end of next week."
Damn it. This couldn't be happening to me. And we were just on a roll.
Then it hit me.
Give me a half-hour, Charlie, with the board.
Just one half-hour, that's all I need.
"Evans, the one person they don't wanna see is you. Are you crazy, Evans?"
Yeah. But crazy good, Charlie.
I've got one ace in my hand: Love Story.
And I'm gonna build a hand around it.
"All right, Evans. You got a half-hour. That's all, just a half-hour.
Be in New York next Monday at the board meeting.
And buy a one-way ticket, and don't be late."
Peter Bart asked Mike Nichols for an afternoon...
...to film a reel for his boss to deliver to the board of directors...
...of Gulf and Western.
Mike directed me in, I'm sure, the best performance of my life.
Where were you, Mike, when I needed you 10 years ago, when I was an actor?
That Sunday at 6 p.m., I caught the redeye into New York.
No luggage, but a can of film under my arm.
This was our one and only chance.
If the film didn't play, the board would shut down the studio, effective immediately.
As I walked into the Gulf and Western building...
...Bluhdorn handed me my walking papers.
"Well, Evans, at least we tried."
I pushed him away.
Hold these for another 20 minutes, will you, Charlie?
I walked into the boardroom, a 100-to-1 shot.
Before me sat 16 of America's finest non-smilers.
Gentlemen, I apologize for not being better dressed.
When you've got a one-way ticket and no hotel...
...it ain't that easy to keep up with the style of the room.
No laugh. Not a crack. Not even a white of a tooth in sight.
Quickly, I stepped out of the room...
...and handed the projectionist Paramount's future.
Good afternoon. My name is Robert Evans...
...and I'm senior vice president of Paramount Pictures.
By the way, this is not my office.
We tried to shoot this scene in my office.
We brought the cameras up, but my office is too small to get the cameras in.
I came down to the studio to borrow a set from The Young Lawyers...
...and that's where we are now.
As a matter of fact, I don't even have offices at the studio anymore.
Last year, we packed up our gear, cut down our staff...
...tightened our belts, moved into small quarters at little offices in Beverly Hills.
They're good enough for us.
These past few years have been rough for Hollywood.
We've made a lot of mistakes.
Some people have learned from them and some people haven't. We have.
Money we spend is not gonna be through extravagances.
It's gonna be on the screen.
And speaking of the screen, I think maybe that's the reason we're here today.
I'd like to have the opportunity of showing you some of our product for 1971.
Right now, we're approaching Christmas.
And Paramount's Christmas gift to the world is Love Story.
I think Love Story is gonna start a new trend in movies.
A trend towards the romantic, towards love...
...towards people.
Towards telling a story about how it feels, rather than where it's at.
I think Love Story is going to bring the people back into the theater in droves.
I could go on for an hour...
...and tell you about 20 or 30 projects in various stages...
...and bore you with it, so I won't.
But I wanna bring up one project. And that's The Godfather.
I bring it up for several reasons. One, that it's starting production next month.
Two, that it's gonna be our next Christmas' picture.
And three, to bring up the similarity between The Godfather and Love Story...
...which are the two biggest books of the last decade.
Paramount owns them both.
But Paramount has more than just owning them both.
We didn't sit back in our plush chairs and write a check...
...for a million dollars for the books, which happens so often in our industry.
We developed both of these books.
If it weren't for Paramount, Love Story would never have been written...
...The Godfather would never have been written.
We were in there in the beginning, spurring the writers on...
...working closely with them to make these books the bestsellers they are...
...and the great movies they're going to be.
We at Paramount don't look at ourselves as passive backers of film.
We look at ourselves as a creative force unto ourself.
And that is why Paramount is going to be paramount in the industry in the '70s.
I promise you that.
Ten minutes later, Bluhdorn walked in.
"Well, I'm fired, huh? You're a bigger fraud than I thought.
You're some showman, Evans. You really pulled the wool over their eyes."
No kiss on the lips, but a Bluhdorn hug.
And that's more than an engagement ring. It was the gold band itself.
Then in typical Bluhdorn fashion, "Go back to work. We need pictures.
And you need plenty of mazel."
On December 16, 1970...
...Love Story had its world premiere at the Loews State Theater in New York.
The lights went down.
Francis Lai's haunting piano strings started up.
Ryan O'Neal, alone and bereft in a snowy Central Park, said in a voiceover:
What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?
Love Story didn't open. It exploded.
All over the world, boys and girls would walk out of that theater in love for the night.
Why did it do such business?
A guy would take a different girl every night.
I think there were more pregnancies over Love Story than any film ever made.
People went back to see it three, four, five, six times. It was an aphrodisiac.
It even got raves from the critics. This, I couldn't believe.
Time magazine said it started a new Hollywood, and Ali ended up on its cover.
Me? I felt like Casanova.
The most extraordinary lady in the world on my arm.
And in her belly, a little Evans-to-be.
Hey, Ali. What's new?
You can say that on television now.
- Go ahead. - Okay. Well, I'm gonna have a baby.
Isn't that great?
That's beautiful. Are you excited?
- Sure. It's fabulous. - I know...
We'll talk about your expecting today on Dinah's Place.
I'd have to say no two people in the entire world...
...were happier than Ali and myself.
We had to pinch ourselves each day to believe all this was happening to us.
We had our Joshua, we had ourselves.
Ali and Jackie Kennedy were considered the two most admired women in America.
And me? I'm sure the luckiest motherfucker.
For the first time since I became head of the studio, I finally had some job security.
Now it's garbage.
We had put together a string of hits, including Rosemary's Baby...
...Harold and Maude, The Odd Couple, True Grit and Love Story.
In 1970, we finally reached the mountaintop.
That air smelled mighty good up there.
Of all the major studios, Paramount was now in first place.
It's hard to believe that, just four years earlier, we were in ninth.
It was the beginning of the Golden Era.
Over the next four years, we would collect 144 Oscar nominations...
...stay number one, and go through a streak of hits that, to this day, is unprecedented.
If I had to pick our crowning jewel...
...I'd say it was a 30-page treatment to a novel called Mafia, written by Mario Puzo.
In turning treatment into novel, Mario asked if he could change the name to Godfather.
"Sure, why not?" I never thought he would finish it anyway.
Well, he finished it. It became the biggest book of the decade.
And there I was, holding the Hope diamond. Euphoria? Wrong.
Paramount didn't wanna make the film. "Sicilian mobster films don't play."
That's what these distribution guys had to say.
And when you bat zero, don't make another sucker bet.
I called up Peter Bart at the studio late that night.
What the fuck do we do? Peter shook his head, laughed.
"Evans, we got a problem."
No, we don't. We've gotta find a solution, Peter.
It must have been after 2 in the morning, and we found it.
Outside of red ink, every one of the films shared another thing in common.
They were written, directed and produced and usually starred...
...Jews, not Sicilians.
There's a thin line, Peter, between a Jew and a Sicilian.
We're gonna make a picture that's gonna be Sicilian to the core.
You're gonna smell the spaghetti.
There was one problem.
It's hard to believe, but in 1969...
...there wasn't a single Italian-American director, that's with any credibility.
Bart looks at me and he says, "What about Coppola?"
Are you nuts? One thing for sure is, he is.
Bart snaps right back at me, "Brilliant, though."
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's your esoteric bullshit coming out.
Let's face it, Bart. This genius has made three pictures:
You're a Big Boy Now, some artsy-fartsy kind of picture, did no business.
Finian's Rainbow, which was a top Broadway musical. He made it into a disaster.
And now he's got The Rain People out there, which everyone's rained on.
There's gotta be someone else, come on.
There wasn't. But then there was another problem.
Coppola didn't wanna do it.
This guy couldn't get a cartoon made in town.
Yet he didn't wanna make The Godfather.
I gotta give the guy credit. His convictions were strong.
He didn't want to immortalize the families that blackened his Italian heritage.
After three long days of discussion with this guy, Peter's on the horn.
"Coppola will make the picture. On one condition.
That it's not a film about organized gangsters."
It's not about organized gangsters? It ain't a musical, Peter.
I told you the guy's nuts.
"He has an idea, Evans. It's not bad.
He wants to make it as a family chronicle, a metaphor for capitalism in America."
Fuck him and the horse he rode in on! He is nuts. Now get him out of here.
"Bob, I will if you want me to, but take 10 steps first.
Let's not forget, he's Italian."
I had less than 48 hours to make the decision.
Sell it, or shake hands with the devil.
Coppola was announced as The Godfather's maestro.
The shooting of The Godfather should take several months.
And the picture's scheduled for release sometime around Christmas, 1971.
So if in the next few months, you see some old cars dashing around or about New York...
...or see a gentleman taking another gentleman somewhere...
...at the point of a loaded gun, don't raise a hue and cry...
...because it's only the filming of The Godfather.
But then, New Yorkers don't raise a hue and cry...
...about that sort of thing anyway, do they?
This is Gene Huebert, Fifth Avenue and 31 st Street.
It was the unveiling of Francis' cut of The Godfather.
In the theater sat Francis with his quadrille of assistants, editors and ass-kissers.
Plus the rest of his production team were all there.
The film was to open in four months. Paramount's big Christmas gift to the world.
The lights went down, the picture started.
Two hours and six minutes later, the room began to fill with light.
Francis, I want to speak with you. Alone.
I was on fire.
And the prince himself took a half-hour to get to my office.
Thanks for showing, Francis.
"All my boys were telling me how great the picture is.
They tell me not to touch a frame."
The picture stinks, Francis. Got it?
You shot a great film. Where the fuck is it? In your kitchen with your spaghetti?
It sure ain't on the screen. Where's the family, the heart, the feeling?
Is that left in the kitchen too?
Did Coppola glare.
Schmuck. Name me a studio head that tells a director to make a picture longer.
Only a nut like me would. But you're gonna do it.
You shot a saga, pal, but you turned in a trailer.
Now go back and give me a movie.
The next morning I told the New York honchos...
...that the picture couldn't be ready for Christmas.
I didn't need a phone to hear their screams.
Coppola? Of course he agreed with them.
"You've got it for Christmas. Don't worry. Evans is crazy.
He wants to change everything. Hear this: He wants me to make it longer."
Then I get my orders, and unalterable.
"Evans, the picture is to be ready for Christmas, and that is it."
Fine. I quit.
A year before, they would've booted me out on my ass.
Yeah, but Love Story saved Paramount. And I was their fair-haired boy.
When you've only got one shot, either you pull down that beautiful brass ring...
...or you get them brass knuckles in the balls. You got no second time around.
To Francis and the entire company's chagrin...
...Bluhdorn backed me, and backed me all the way.
Once again, the eastern seaboard is reminded that winter is never over until Jack Frost...
... gets a hotfoot that will send him scurrying on his way. The winter-weary...
It was the morning of The Godfather premiere.
Outside, New York was suffering through the worst March blizzard of the decade.
I was parked at the Carlyle Hotel, making last-minute preparations...
...when Ali came in from the cold.
Against her wishes, I'd packed her off to Texas...
...to star with Steve McQueen in The Getaway.
Two months had passed, and I hadn't once bothered to visit her on location.
Quickly, we embraced.
Instead of kissing her, I whispered, wait here. I'm expecting a call.
Weeks ago, I had invited Henry Kissinger to the premiere.
My timing couldn't have been worse.
The North Vietnamese offensive had just begun and, naturally, he begged off.
Hello, this is Robert Evans. May I please speak to Dr. Kissinger?
"No. Dr. Kissinger's with the president. He'll have to call you back."
Have him call me as soon as possible. Please, it's urgent.
Quicker than a junior agent at the William Morris Agency...
...within 10 minutes, Kissinger's on the phone.
"Bob, Bob, what's the urgency?" The Godfather.
"What?"
Tonight's the premiere. Win or lose, it would be worth it if I could walk in with you.
"I have a 7:30 breakfast I can't get out of, Bob. I'm leaving the country tomorrow."
Henry, you didn't hear me. I said I need you tonight.
Only later did I learn that his leaving the country was a secret mission to Moscow.
And the breakfast was with the Joint Chiefs of Staff...
...to resolve the mining of Haiphong Harbor.
I hung up, quickly called Bluhdorn. Charlie, Kissinger's coming.
"Kissinger? Kissinger? Evans, I love you. I love you!"
That was Charlie Bluhdorn. Not easy. But not bad, either.
The doors opened.
Enough flashbulbs went off to light up the entire state of New Jersey.
On one arm, Ali MacGraw, the ravishing Mrs. Evans.
On the other, the most charismatic statesman in the world.
Is this really happening to me?
It was a blast.
I played master of ceremonies, introducing anyone and everyone.
The screaming, the fights, the threats...
...that never let up since day one of filming, were worth it.
Even Coppola, whom I had hired over Paramount's objections...
...and then personally fired, four different times, came over to hug me...
...closing the book on two years of terrible battles.
Ali? Well, she never looked more radiant.
For the rest of the night, we danced as one.
Holding her tightly in my arms, I felt I was the luckiest man in the world.
Could be the highest moment of my life.
Was I dreaming it?
Any man who thinks he can read the mind of a woman...
...is a man who knows nothing.
A month later, I was in Paris working on the translation of The Godfather...
...into French, Italian, German and Spanish.
I called up Ali on the set of The Getaway, but there was no answer in her room.
Jumping up in a cold sweat from a bad dream...
...I called El Paso again. No Ali.
Nah, I said to myself, it couldn't be.
Later that afternoon, I connected.
Where the hell have you been, baby?
"I fell asleep in my dressing room."
You're lying, Ali.
You're with McQueen, aren't you?
"That's right."
Well, expect me in El Paso tomorrow. "It's too late, Evans.
You missed the plane a long time ago."
I flew out that night to Texas.
Joshua and his nanny were at the airport to greet me, but no Ali.
I checked into a hotel 20 miles out of town.
Holding back my tears, I played with my son for the next hours.
Ali arrived at 9 that evening.
The last thing she wanted was to spend the night with me. But she did.
The next evening, she didn't return to my border hideout.
I sped into town, ran up the stairs to Ali's hotel and banged on the door.
"I need time to think. Please, let me finish the picture...
...and get home, for Josh's sake."
On the plane back to L.A., I checked my watch.
How could I have been so fucking dumb?
It's an hour-and-40-minute flight. I never once took it...
...until infidelity got me off my ass.
Ali and McQueen had been having an affair for months.
Was it her fault?
It was mine.
I ignored her one promise, never to leave her.
Instead, I buried myself into The Godfather.
Ali filed for divorce.
A few months later, she and McQueen got hitched.
Joshua would live with them.
He would only know me now as a weekend father.
Did it haunt me?
Well, let's just say, when a woman leaves you, it ain't easy. It never is.
But when that woman leaves you for the biggest movie star in the world...
...well, let's just say it makes you feel small.
Finally, I turned all my attention back to my other great love, the mountain.
Maybe it was my mood, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.
For the last years, I had worked night and day for Paramount.
Bluhdorn's golden boy now wanted some gold of his own.
While I was living rich, everyone around me was getting rich.
He's right. You give them an inch, and they step all over you.
My contract's up, but I'd been throwing sevens too long.
And here I am. I'm still behind the eight ball.
I called on my consigliere and closest friend, Sidney Korshak...
...one of the most feared lawyers in the country.
"I'll take care of it and quick," said Korshak. "You're gonna get gross.
I don't care if it's just one percent on every film."
Korshak may have been known as the myth, but he was no myth to Charlie.
His proposal was turned down flatter than Twiggy's chest.
Bluhdorn wasn't smart. He was brilliant.
He knew my weak link, ego, and he sure pressed it...
...knowing it far overshadowed my greed.
"Sidney, I want everybody to get rich, but don't rape me. Don't rape me."
The real love of Charlie's life was not family, or sex, or even business.
It was negotiating.
Charlie would negotiate for anything, from an airline to a potato.
"I want Bob to make history.
I'm gonna let him make a picture of his own for five years, under his own banner...
...and still run Paramount.
The last person to have that was Darryl Zanuck, 30 years ago.
I want him to get rich. I'm so proud of him, Sidney."
Proud.
I would stay on at Paramount as head of the studio...
...and I would get to produce a picture a year for five years. But no raise.
- You produced Chinatown. - Right.
But when we talk about that movie, we call it Roman Polanski's Chinatown.
That's a possessive credit from a Director's Guild point of view, which is very unfair.
It is Roman Polanski's Chinatown. It's also Bob Towne's Chinatown.
But, more so, and I don't say this from an egotistical way, it's Bob Evans' Chinatown.
I was on the picture for five years, four years, and Roman was on it for nine months.
But it says, "Roman Polanski's Chinatown."
My first independent production had its origins over a steak dinner with Bob Towne.
Towne unraveled an original story he was writing.
"It's about how Los Angeles became a boomtown, Evans.
Incest and water. It's set in the '30s.
Second-rate shamus gets eighty-sixed by a mysterious socialite.
I'm writing it for Nicholson."
I had met Nicholson a few years back and we'd become great pals.
Sounds perfect for Irish. What's it called?
"Chinatown." Chinatown?
You mean it takes place in Chinatown?
"No, no, no. Chinatown is a state of mind."
Oh, I got it.
I had no idea what the fuck he was talking about.
Six months later, Towne delivered his first draft of the script.
Just like the title, it was pure Chinese.
Was I alone in my confusion?
Nobody, I mean nobody, understood it.
One day, I was summoned to a meeting with Charles Bluhdorn.
"Evans, don't make this your first picture.
No one at the studio understands a word of it.
The only place it'll play is in your projection room."
I'm thinking, thinking, thinking...
I knew I had Nicholson locked.
And even though I didn't understand the script, I knew Towne was a brilliant writer.
Sorry, Charlie, Chinatown is my next picture. I'm gonna make it.
Well.
Tonight we are honoring for best motion picture drama, Chinatown...
...The Conversation, Earthquake, The Godfather: Part II...
...A Woman Under the Influence. And the winner is...
And the winner is...
...Chinatown.
Robert Evans of Paramount Pictures...
... will accept the Golden Globe Award for Chinatown.
Chinatown.
It wins every award you could ever think of.
To this day, I believe it's considered the quintessential private-eye film of its time.
It's a hell of a way to meet Catherine Deneuve, I'll tell you that. It certainly is.
This is the second award, and I'm only a small part of it...
...that I've won in my life.
The first one was for the Most Promising Newcomer of the Year.
It was the Photoplay Award, 1957. And were they wrong.
The attention the picture got caused an uproar...
...with every creative bit of talent in the studio.
"How can Evans run the studio, be involved with our pictures and make his own?"
They were all fucking jealous.
If the picture had flopped, it wouldn't have made a difference. Confrontation time.
I was given two choices.
To continue running the studio, with a much-increased deal by the way...
...or go out with my own banner and make films.
It was a tough choice, but I was just tired of working 18 hours a day...
...eight days a week, to make everyone else rich but myself.
With that in mind, I said, goodbye, studio. Hello, producer.
And went out on my own.
It wasn't my scene. I rarely ever drank.
For two years, I had been suffering from a severe pain...
...the result of a sciatic nerve problem.
Lying beside me one night was a Hollywood princess.
"Is it me?" she asked. "The pain can't be that bad."
Wearing only a necklace, she handed it to me.
Unscrewing the top, she whispered, "Take a sniff, a sniff of life."
It was my first experience into the world of white.
The seducer had been seduced.
I was working 18 hours a day, seven days a week, with no plans to slow down.
With six pictures in development and two in production, I felt invincible.
The first flick to hit was Marathon Man, and it went straight through the roof.
- I salute you. To your health. - Hear, hear!
I followed it up with Black Sunday. Then Urban Cowboy. Popeye was on its way.
At the age of 50, I was on my way...
...to becoming the youngest recipient of the Thalberg Award.
Goodbye '70s, hello '80s. Here I come.
It's fair to say that you live a lot of people's dream.
You're seen in magazines, dating models and movie stars. Is it as good as it looks?
I most probably lead as much of a Ionely life as any man you know.
I have no free time for myself. I have no way of knowing myself as a person.
- I don't like myself as a person. - Bob, I keep reading...
...I keep seeing pictures of you with gorgeous women.
- Are they important in your life, women? - Yes, women are very important in my life.
How? How important?
I haven't had the opportunity of really taking advantage of life at all.
You see pictures of me with beautiful women.
I don't go out with many different women.
My life is not to be envied. I envy many other people, not myself.
I can go a long time without seeing anybody.
- Don't you get terrible headaches? - No, no.
Are you an obsessive record keeper?
It's said you have albums and pictures and things...
I'm not as... I wish I had... Was more obsessive about that.
- Is that Jack Nicholson? - It is.
If he knew that was being shown, he'd kill me.
It was taken in the privacy of a room.
I have to inject here a moment because Bobby Evans...
- We dated and had a great time. - I also dated him.
- He asked me... - Is there anyone here who didn't date him?
- He was very busy in the '50s. - And he was terrific, wasn't he?
On May 2, 1980, I got a call from an associate of mine in New York.
A woman we knew was offering to sell us pharmaceutical cocaine at bargain prices.
Pharmaceutical cocaine was mythical...
...manufactured by only one company in America, Merck.
So mythical was its allure...
...that it became the DEA's most effective bait to entrap schmuck buyers.
Twenty-four hours later, my associate was on the horn.
"What do I tell her? She's called twice."
Me being the gambler, and maybe the fool, said, hell, let's buy it.
The deal was to go down on Friday.
I waited by the phone all day. No call.
At 7:45 that evening, I was going out the door, when my houseman hailed me.
It was my associate.
"Bob, Mike and I have been arrested. We've been set up by the DEA."
What are you talking about?
"Don't worry. Nothing's gonna go wrong. It'll all be taken care of.
You have nothing to worry about. Your name was not mentioned."
It was the biggest mistake of my life.
How could I have been so fucking dumb?
Was Bluhdorn angry? Foaming at the mouth.
"I'll never forgive you, Evans."
He never did.
Gone now was the sacred embrace of Bluhdorn...
...never to return again.
Paramount, the company I saved from the graveyard...
...gave a terse statement to the press concerning my new infamy.
"Evans is not an employee of Paramount and has not been an employee for years.
He is an independent contractor, producing pictures for us."
May 2, 1980. What a difference a day makes.
Judge Brodericks' dictate was to produce a 30-second anti-drug spot.
Well, I did a little more than that.
I produced a series of weeklong specials for NBC entitled Get High on Yourself.
It was a happening.
All my friends showed, and it became known as "The Woodstock of the '80s."
I've never been as high on myself as I am now.
It must have been a month and a half ago.
I had a hundred people here, and my kid was here, and I ran the commercials.
When it was over, he came to me and said:
"I'm so proud of you." First time he ever said it.
"I'm so proud of you, Daddy. Can I sleep in your bed tonight?"
And if I get nothing more out of it... Nothing...
I've been really paid my remuneration for whatever I've done. That's worth years.
Bob, aside from Get High on Yourself, what are your future projects?
I have The Cotton Club which I'm supposed to start in June. A project I love.
Ain't as important as Get High on Yourself, though.
Being yourself
Paramount had no interest in my next picture, The Cotton Club.
So in May of '82, I flew to the Cannes Film Festival to secure independent financing.
Sylvester Stallone, then the biggest star in the world, had agreed to play the lead.
And I was there to announce it.
I was supposed to meet 400 distributors on a Monday morning at 9 a.m. For breakfast.
I get a call at 2:00 that Monday morning, from..."Hello, Bob, this is Sly."
And I said, yeah, Sly. He said, "You know, Bob, I don't think I wanna do the picture."
So I said, I don't quite understand. I mean, we have a contract.
"You don't understand, Bob. I don't like the script." I said, well, you worked on it.
I said, what is it, Sly? He said, "I'm not getting paid enough for it."
To make a very long story short, and a very long conversation, rather bitter, short...
...he backed away. Now, here I have 400 of the top buyers in the world...
...and I have no star, and I have a half a script.
I said, ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to show you a poster.
But I wanna tell you that the film will not be any better than the poster.
So if you don't like the poster, please don't buy the film.
And I unraveled a poster, which I had worked on for eight months with two artists.
And I said, this is the poster.
And I passed it around, and they all looked at it. And it says the whole story:
"Its violence startled the world..."
No, "Its violence startled the nation, and its music startled the world."
And they all looked at the poster, and I said, that's the picture.
So one fellow from Switzerland says, "Who's gonna star in the film?"
I said, sir, I won't let you have the picture.
On August 28, 1983, principal photography commenced.
Francis offered to direct the film. How could I refuse?
Francis directing it, Mario writing it, me producing it.
What a shot of touching magic.
Hey, we didn't do too bad on The Godfather, did we?
Was I wrong!
The production was a disaster. Over-budget, over-schedule. And me?
I was barred from the set by the prince himself.
It was the hottest movie drama in Los Angeles today...
... and it took place in a downtown federal courtroom.
The legal battle was over who would control production of the film The Cotton Club.
The Cotton Club has been a subject of intense interest and backstairs gossip.
The Cotton Club, a production of Robert Evans and Francis Ford Coppola...
... is the subject of a vicious...
You say Evans would second-guess you if he was back in command?
Evans, that's his middle name. That's what he does, all these years.
- Will the picture be a success? - Francis' work on it is brilliant.
I hope we'll be working together. We've fought before, only it wasn't in court.
I hope we have the same luck as we had on The Godfather.
Despite an expected lengthy court battle...
.... the film is expected to open in theaters in December.
The Cotton Club opened later that month.
While some of the critics praised the film, others just didn't get it.
Neither did the audiences. The picture quickly faded away...
...thus ending the first half of the '80s. The good half.
I had no idea what lay ahead.
Two days ago, a badly decomposed body was found in this dry riverbed in Copco Canyon...
... near Gorman, in northern Los Angeles County.
An autopsy indicated the victim died of a single gunshot wound.
In a remote area north of Los Angeles, a beekeeper made a grisly discovery.
I crossed through a dry wash, went around a bush, and around the bush...
...and there was a hand sticking up, and there was a body laying there.
The body found in the Gorman area this past Friday has positively been identified...
...as Mr. Roy Radin.
It was midnight when the phone rang. A bit pissed, I picked up the phone. Yeah?
It was my attorney, Robert Shapiro.
"Roy Radin is dead."
I laid there in shock, totally stunned.
I met Roy Radin a few months earlier through an acquaintance named Laney Jacobs.
Radin and I met and discussed forming a production company.
The Cotton Club might have been one of the films under the banner.
We shook hands, but nothing ever really came of it.
What does that have to do with me?
"Nothing and everything."
Shapiro told me that the police would be calling, and they'd wanna talk to me.
We sat down with them while I told them everything I remembered about Roy Radin.
Laney Jacobs introduced Evans to Roy Radin.
For the next six years, the name Robert Evans was making headlines again.
No, I wasn't buying Warner Bros. This time, I was buying infamy.
The Cotton Club murder case...
Doors closed on me quietly. Calls made were not returned.
Though I was still ensconced in the primo offices of Paramount...
...I may as well have been a shadow.
Finally, in the spring of '89, after six long years of innuendos on my character...
...the Roy Radin case went to trial.
Laney Jacobs, the woman who introduced me to Radin, was tried for his murder.
The prosecutor outlined a case of money and drugs.
And this is gonna show, that this woman here...
...Laney Greenberger, had two problems with a man by the name of Roy Radin.
He told the jury that Laney had asked Radin for a finder's fee for introducing him to me.
When Radin refused to pay it, Laney became irate.
Two weeks before his murder, Laney, who was a part-time coke dealer...
...suspected Radin of stealing a large amount of cocaine from her.
At this point, Laney decided to kill him.
After getting into her chauffeur-driven limousine...
...with her, Mr. Radin was never seen alive again.
Jacobs and her accomplices were convicted for the murder of Roy Radin.
Me? Well, I wasn't even a suspect.
I was a tangential character in the proceedings, at best.
However, the name "Evans" gets ink.
If you live by the sword, know damn well you could die by it.
For many a decade, the sword treated me real well. Maybe too well.
Popeye and Urban Cowboy hit the screens in 1980.
Now, seven years later, the only product Evans was delivering...
...to the mountain of Paramount was embarrassment.
Ending whatever I had left of a legacy to be...
...I was paid a rare visit by Richard Zimbert, the head honcho of business affairs.
He walked into my office, not a happy camper.
"We go back too long, Evans, and this is not me talking. It's orders. I can't help it.
Do you want the truth?" Our eyes met. I knew what he was going to say.
No. But I gotta hear it, Dick. Shoot.
"Bob, there's not one person at Paramount that wants to do business with you."
Dick, the only surprise is that it's taken you this long to tell me.
I suppose when it's over, it's over. It was hard for him to say the next words.
"Your office, Bobby. We need a date."
Is 90 days okay, Dick?
"Yeah, sure. If you want more, take more."
No, 90 days will be fine.
Once king of the mountain, now I was not even allowed to climb it.
My 20-year home had been pulled from under me.
From behind the gates of Paramount, I was now behind the gates of Woodland.
For an entire decade, my kid stood watching his father's life fall to shambles.
Once I was a king, his mother told him.
My character, persona and professional abilities were now lost.
Each month, punches were hitting me harder and harder from all directions.
The effects of public disgrace, the effects of drugs and the effects of continued failure...
...never before experienced, all but shriveled me into obscurity.
So deep was my depression...
...that I wanted to get into a car and drive south one way.
Finally, I'd rid myself of the last bastion of my dignity.
I sold my Woodland home to a wealthy French industrialist.
The effect was that I all but lost the will to function.
Nightmares were telling me I would never leave there alive.
Then lightning struck, bad lightning.
I had nowhere to turn.
Fearing the worst, suicide...
...I looked for protection.
I committed myself to the Scripps Memorial Hospital, a loony bin.
I was put behind bars and stripped of all my belongings.
The claustrophobia alone shot my blood pressure up over to the 200 mark.
Not wanting a DO A on their hands, the nurses shoved sedatives down my throat...
...trying to calm me. A horrible mistake, with no way out.
Is it safe?
I had to take control of the never-ending bad dream that my life had become.
Never having been psychiatrically orientated...
...I knew that action, not therapy, was my only shot at survival.
Take your time. Tell me.
That night, I snuck out of my room and found my way to a phone booth in the ward.
I called my limo driver, John Paul, collect.
John Paul, meet me tomorrow at noon, on the dot, and wait.
It might be an hour, a day, a week. I don't care. Keep your motor running, got it?
The next morning, when all the attendants were busy...
...I made my dash, and I made the elevator as it closed behind me.
I made it, I made it, I thought to myself.
When I hit the bottom floor, the door opened. There were two goons waiting for me.
You're a very nosy fella, kitty-cat.
You know what happens to nosy fellas? No? Wanna guess?
No? Okay. They lose their noses.
I made my dash.
The two goons were right behind me. 100 yards away...
...my car was waiting. I had to make it before they got me.
I was older than the two of them put together, but they lacked one thing: Heart.
I breathlessly made it into the car, slammed the door...
...as I grabbed for a tiny bottle of J&B.
Back to Woodland, I said to John Paul.
My limo was pulling into the gates of my once-owned Woodland sanctuary.
What had been my Garden of Eden for close to a quarter of a century was mine no more.
Even more painful was that I was now a tenant in my own home...
...paying $25,000 a month for the privilege of living there.
Could I afford it? Not by a long shot.
I knew that getting my home, my roots of 25 years, back was vital to my survival.
There was a big problem:
The new owner, a wealthy French industrialist named Tony Murray...
...had no intention of selling it back.
Without asking, Jack Nicholson did a Henry Kissinger.
He flew to Monte Carlo and begged Tony to sell me back my home.
Tony was shocked Jack would fly halfway around the world to plead on my behalf...
...for what he considered just a piece of real estate.
Wherever Tony went, he'd tell the story.
"Imagine Jack Nicholson on his knees to me. These film people, they're all crazy."
The impact of Jack's plea, however, caused Tony to waiver.
He got me back my home. Thanks, pal.
A year passed. It was close to midnight on a Tuesday evening.
The phone kept ringing. It awakened me out of a deep sleep.
I looked at the clock. It was only 11:00. Should I pick it up?
No. I know I didn't win the lottery.
Hey, maybe it's the broad I slipped my number to last night.
Hey, it's not too late. I'm up. I hope it's her.
Disguising my voice to protect me from bad news or bad company...
...I Englished it. Evan's residence.
Well, I was wrong again. It wasn't the broad, but I sure won the fucking lottery.
It was Stanley Jaffe on the phone, and he was just made head of Paramount.
I'd given Stanley his first big gig back in 1967 on Goodbye, Columbus.
"Called to tell you one thing.
From this day on, the life of Robert Evans is going to be a better one.
You're way overdue, kid. Now sleep well."
Stanley Jaffe's loyalty to me was such that it gave me back my dignity.
Back behind the gates of Paramount I went.
And back to my old offices, the best on the lot.
Do you believe in miracles? Well, I do now.
I don't understand it, this world of fickle flicks.
It's been 30 years now, and I'm still here, still standing behind them gates.
Bet your house it ain't been dull. I've either done it or gotten it.
You name them, I've met them. Well, almost.
I've either worked, fought, hired, fired, laughed, cried with them...
...been figuratively fucked by them, literally fucked them. It's been one hell of a ride.
Where is everyone? Dead? Most.
Wealthy? Some. Destitute? Yeah, many.
Retired? I don't know. I ain't seen them.
One thing I do know: I ain't dead, I ain't wealthy, I ain't destitute...
...and I ain't retired. Can't afford any of them.
Gotta keep standing, stay in the picture.
My life today? More volatile than ever.
This last year alone, I've been shot down, bloodied, trampled, accused...
...threatened, disgraced, betrayed, scandalized, maligned.
Tough? You bet your ass it is.
But I ain't complaining. Nothing comes easy.
The last question: Is it truly worth it?
Sure. Know why? I love what I do. And very few people do.
And when you think of most of the work you do in life...
...most of people's lives are spent in their work...
...and very few people enjoy what they do, and I love what I do. So, yeah, it's worth it.
Damn right it's worth it.
Okay. 1996. Robert Evans 20 years from now.
Are we rolling? We're rolling? Well, why didn't you tell me?
I don't know if we're rolling.
- We're rolling. - Thank you very much.
My fellow Americans, I'm coming to you tonight...
...because I am contemplating ending my life.
After years as being head of Paramount Studios and then an independent producer...
...and suffering a terrible disaster with my first independent venture...
... Marathon in Drag... Something. I can't remember. It was 20 years ago.
I would like to ask you, anyone, all over the country...
If you have a script, and it's a love story, I'll do it.
I don't care if it's in drag or a monkey fucking an elephant.
If it's a good script, I'll do it. And that's a promise. You send it to me.
And I wanna say that I would talk more to you, but I don't have the strength to talk.
I'm in the hospital now. There's a Sony tape recorder here, and this is the maternity ward.
They tell me I just had a baby. I never knew I had a vagina.
It came as a shock to me...
...but I just talked to my wife, Sue Mengers, and she says, well...
...didn't I know she had a cock all the time? I never knew it. I give you my word.
She came in yesterday and showed it to me.
It was a terrific cock. One of the biggest I ever saw.
Wait a minute. Is that phone for me? Well, I'm recording. I can't talk.
Yeah, who's this? I can't talk. I'm on television. Wait, stop rolling.
Yeah, what is it? Who? Joyce Haber?
I remember her. That was 20 years ago. She died. I can't come to the funeral.
Why am I going to her funeral? I'm sorry. I'm too busy.
Send her something.
I don't know. Whatever she eats. Candy, whatever.
Oh, she's dead now. Well, if she's dead, then what do you want me to see her for?
Just get it done immediately. I gotta go. Thanks.
What? I'm sorry, I gotta talk... My wife. Yes, Sue.
My wife is Ms. Mengers, one of the top agents in the town 20 years ago.
Today, the business is terrible. She's in Las Vegas. She's a croupier there at the Dunes.
At night she doubles as a dune. She's a dune.
If you ever go see her, you'll say, "There's Sue Mengers."
She's a good dune, though. The best dune I ever fucked. Wait a minute.
I'm sorry, Sue. No, I can't. Because I have to go back in my closet and clean it.
I haven't cleaned it in a long time. They put me in a closet.
I don't know why. They said I'd understand.
But I'm coming out of the closet very soon.
Yeah, Sue. The delivery was fine. Yeah, it hurt a little.
Yeah, but it was wonderful. They shaved me. Yeah.
I don't know. I can't talk. No, I have to get off. I gotta see dailies.
I wanna see dailies of my delivery. I wanna see myself giving birth.
They got a big close-up of my cunt. It's terrific. All right, I'll see you. Take care.
By the way, I want to thank you very much for listening. And I wanna say that I wish...
...all of you a healthy life, because my life is over.
And I was just gonna ask one favor. President Warren Beatty...
...has asked me to ask your vote again, and I ask you to do it, just for me.
Because he has some terrible scandal on me. And I'm afraid he's gonna tell it.
And it's very embarrassing to me. So please vote for Warren Beatty.
And I wish you a good evening, and...
[ENGLISH]
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