' ' Cinema Romantico: Making Pitches: Vintage Hollywood Casserole

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Making Pitches: Vintage Hollywood Casserole

I finished reading Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson’s “Hollywood: The Oral History” a little while ago, and while that might make it seem like a proper book review is in order, it seemed more Cinema Romantico-appropriate to scour the book for possible fake Hollywood pitch material. After all, in a Hollywood gone madly sterile, we need as many pitches as we can get. 

Pitch 1: Page 59. In speaking of being D.W. Griffith’s assistant, the director Raoul Walsh explained for how so many so-called cowboys and Indians movies, he would be tasked with gathering extras for 
“And all of a sudden around five o’clock (Griffith would) say, ‘Raoul,’ he’d say, ‘round up about ten or fifteen cowboys for tomorrow,’ and then I’d have to get in the car and go down to Main Street to find these bastards in bars.” So, here we would find our fictional version of Raoul Walsh (Colin Farrell) in a cross between the “Lancer” scenes of “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” and “Get Him to the Greek” trying to track down the most volatile and famous of all cowboy extras (Robert Pattinson) in time for the big scene tomorrow at 10 A.M.

Pitch 2: Page 200. Director-producer Alan Dwan told a rip-roaring yarn of his movie production stealing a B-29 because the military would not lend them one. “So one night we put it on two of these gigantic trucks, drove it off the base at Tucson, Arizona, right though the gates and past the guards and up the road to our studio all through Arizona and California.” I know Quentin Tarantino has announced his intention to retire in the wake of his next movie, but Q.T., baby, stick around for one more, won’t you? 

Pitch 3: Page 417. We return once again to our friend Raoul Walsh talking about how Bette Davis wanted “In This Our Life” (1942) to end one way and the director John Huston wanted it to end another way and so Huston enlisted Walsh to have dinner with Davis. Walsh explained: “…the unit manager came in and handed me the script, the new ending. So I said, ‘Bette, this will interest you,’ and passed it over. She read it, and you never heard such a volley of oaths in your life. The ceiling went off from her screaming and yelling. People started to get up.” I mean, are you kidding me? This practically writes itself. Ninety minutes of Dianne Wiest in “Bullets Over Broadway” crossed with Sarah Jessica Parker in “State and Main” going to a martini-laden war with John Travolta from “Get Shorty.” It’s “My Dinner with Andre” as an acidly comic thriller, My Dinner with Bette starring Kristen Stewart (Davis would have been roughly 34 at the time) and Josh Brolin, can Raoul Walsh get Bette Davis to sign off the new ending before key lime pie. Who on God’s green earth says no? (David Zaslav, maybe?)


Unknown said...

As most of the Internet becomes AIs writing ad copy, we are lucky to have this blog. Truly no one else (much less AI) would come up with these thoughts.

Nick Prigge said...

Many thanks! This blog will continue fighting AI with all the unpredictable inanity at its disposal!