Monday, February 02, 2009

Robert E. Relyea

Long, fascinating review of Robert E. Relyea's decades in Hollywood during which he functioned as an assistant director and many other things on movies large and small. Cinema Retro scores as usual. Here's an example:

"Speaking of TV western stars getting out of their contracts, Relyea relates that James Garner literally had to buy his freedom out of Maverick.. Warner Brothers was only paying him $450 a week – plus the studio took 50% of any earnings he made from public appearances. Even when when he had the opportunity to do a feature film on hiatus, he was contractually bound to work for Warner Brothers. It was on the set of William Wyler’s The Children’s Hour that Robert Relyea first met Garner. This was the actor’s first film after finally buying his way out of his TV contract – and now he was under the direction of the industry’s most intimidating filmmakers. As the new boy amongst a cast that included Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, Garner was the one Wyler constantly picked on. Even for Relyea, who had already been exposed to the tantrums and bully tactics of other veteran directors, Wyler was the ultimate study in power-tripping. On the very last day of shooting the film, Wyler became exasperated with an actress who was having trouble delivering a line as it was written. What followed became a public execution, a slow public humiliation of the actress in front of Relyea and other members of the cast and crew. It caused the poor young woman to give up acting completely. Yet, Relyea recalls, that Wyler was not one to offer a single kind word to her."

For the rest go here

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