Easy riders, raging bulls How the sex-drugs-and-rock'n'roll generation saved Hollywood

Peter Biskind

Book - 1998

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 791.430233/Biskind Due Mar 9, 2024
New York : Simon & Schuster c1998.
Main Author
Peter Biskind (-)
Physical Description
506 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm
Includes filmography: p. [447]-448.
Includes bibliographical references (p. [449]-482) and index.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Library Journal Review

A former executive editor of Premiere on 1970s Hollywood. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Chapter One Before the Revolution 1967 Warren Beatty may well have been the first man to kiss Jack Warner's feet, certainly the last. The story goes, Beatty was trying to get Warner to finance Bonnie and Clyde, a movie Warner had no use for. Warner didn't like Beatty, his endless phone calls, his grousing and bitching. Not a day passed that Beatty didn't want something. So far as Warner was concerned, he was just another pretty face, on his way to blowing a promising career on a bunch of artsy-fartsy "films." Even Ella Kazan's Splendor in the Grass, his first picture, the one that put him on the map, never made any real money. Bill Orr, Warner's son-in-law, was right. He had fallen asleep at a screening. In fact, Beatty never had had a real hit. He thought he was too good for the pictures he was offered, and he even turned down the President of the United States. John F. Kennedy wanted the studio to turn John F. Kennedy and PT-109 by John Tregaskis into a movie, wanted Fred Zinnemann to direct it, and Beatty to star in it. Not only did Beatty refuse to play Kennedy, he told Pierre Salinger to drop the project because the script "sucked." Warner was not used to being told his scripts sucked, and he kicked Beatty off the lot, shouting, "You'll never work in this town again," or something to that effect. "He always hated me," Beatty recalls. "He said he was afraid to have a meeting with me alone because he thought that I would resort to some sort of physical violence." But getting physical was not Beatty's style. He was, after all, an actor. One day he cornered Warner in his office, fell to the floor, grabbed him around the knees: "Colonel!" -- everyone called him "Colonel" -- "I'll kiss your shoes here, I'll lick them." "Yeah, yeah, get up, Warren." "I've got Arthur Penn, a great script, I can make this movie for one six; if nothing else, it's a great gangster movie." "Get up, get up!" Warner was embarrassed. He barked, "What the fuck you doin'? Get OFF THE FUCKIN' FLOOR!" "Not until you agree to make this movie." "The answer is NO!" Warner paused, caught his breath. It was not much of a risk at $1.6 million, compared to, say, the $15 million he was spending on his pet project, Camelot. Besides, he was thinking about selling his stake in the studio, calling it a day. With any luck, by the time the picture came out, he'd be far away, in the south of France at his palace on the Riviera, far richer even than he was now. Why not indulge the meshuggener guy. He asked the star for a letter putting the budget in writing. He never got it, but Beatty got his deal. Beatty insists none of this ever happened, but it's a story told over and over by people who swear they were in the room, witnessed it with their own eyes. It's one of those moments that should have happened, because it's so ripe with irony, bleeding with meaning, a genuflection at the feet of the Old Hollywood by a symbol of the New at a time, the mid-'60s, when no one had the foggiest notion that such a distinction would ever come to pass. Copyright © 1998 Peter Biskind. All rights reserved.