Monday, August 11, 2008

Rosemary's Baby; Small Crimes

I stumbled on an interesting article about producer William Castle by David Parkinson. I'm a fan of Castle's two The Whistler movies (both based on Woolrich stories via the 40s radio show of the same name) and saw them referenced in Google. The piece is reasonably comprehensive. There's a section on Rosemary's Baby, a movie that just couldn't seem to get finished. And yet another example of what a jack-off Frank Sinatra was (though undeniably, I almost hate to admit it, the best pop singer of all time). Castle bought Rosemary's Baby before anybody else. When he took it to Paramount he assumed in was in control.

"Castle had been in a similar situation two decades earlier (wanting to direct) , when he associate-produced Orson Welles' The Lady from Shanghai after his own treatment of Sherwood King's pulp novel If I Die Before I Wake had been rejected by Columbia chief Harry Cohn. But while Castle had been prepared to step aside for his hero Welles in 1947, he doubted the atheistic Polanski's suitability for Rosemary's Baby. Soon the two men were arguing over Polanski's choice of Tuesday Weld for the part of Rosemary Woodhouse. Eventually, with Robert Evans' backing, Castle prevailed and Mia Farrow was cast ahead of Jane Fonda, Julie Christie, Elizabeth Hartman, Joanna Pettet, and Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate.

"John Cassavetes landed the role of Rosemary's husband, Guy. But this brought a third director on to the set, and when Polanski wasn't squabbling with Cassavetes about motivation and method, he was feuding with Castle about schedule delays and the advisability of actually depicting Satan's spawn on the screen.

"The biggest problem during production, however, was caused by Frank Sinatra. He wanted to co-star with new wife Mia Farrow in The Detective, and when it became clear she would not be finished on Rosemary's Baby in time to start Gordon Douglas's cynical policier Sinatra ordered her to abandon the Polanski picture. However, Farrow refused to quit and Sinatra had her served with divorce papers in front of the cast and crew on the morning that Polanski shot the party sequence in which Rosemary's friends (including an uncredited Sharon Tate) lock Guy out of the kitchen to express their concern at her condition. Castle later regarded this incident as the first manifestation of the curse that descended upon the project. But worse was to follow."

For the rest go here

------Small Crimes

About a month ago I reviewed (and raved about) Dave Zeltserman's new novel Small Crimes. Today PW gave it a starred review and compared it the best of James Ellroy. Congratulations, Dave.

1 comment:

Dave Zeltserman said...

Ed, thanks. It's been a good day, Red Sox beat the other sox and good reviews in both PW and Booklist.