Monday, November 30, 2009

Tribute to Martin Ransohoff Earlier This Year and Another Take on the Polanski Case

I didn't know that Ransohoff was being honored this year?  I found this article from May 15, 2009:

A recent photo of Ransohoff

A Tribute to Producer Martin Ransohoff  May 3, 2009

This is an Egyptian Theatre Exclusive

Producer Martin Ransohoff started out in television and, after an incredible success story with the original "The Beverly Hillbillies" beginning in 1962, graduated to producing hit motion pictures the same year with BOYS’ NIGHT OUT and THE WHEELER DEALERS. A string of critically acclaimed and successful movies came in their wake, including THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, THE SANDPIPER, THE CINCINNATI KID, THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, DON’T MAKE WAVES, ICE STATION ZEBRA, CATCH-22, 10 RILLINGTON PLACE, SAVE THE TIGER, SILVER STREAK, THE WANDERERS and JAGGED EDGE, to name just a few of his many hits! He was also partly responsible for helping to launch the careers of such actresses as Tuesday Weld, Ann-Margret and Sharon Tate. Join us for some of producer Martin Ransohoff’s favorite films. He’ll be here in-person for two out of the three evenings!  

Here are the highlights of the films they showed:

Another mention announces it this way:

Director Arthur Hiller & Producer Martin Ransohoff In Person at the Egyptian

Producer Martin Ransohoff is the subject of a tribute this weekend at the Egyptian Theatre. Though himself, not a household name, his films are quite famous. He got his start in television producing "The Beverly Hillbillies" and went on to produce THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (starring Julie Andrews & James Garner (forever Jim Rockford of "The Rockford Files" to TV fans), helmed by LOVE STORY director Arthur Hiller. Hiller, a former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, will appear in person with Ransohoff to reminisce about making 'EMILY' in 1964. MARY POPPINS starring Andrews was also released in 1964.

Director Arthur Hiller today

Ransohoff will be joined by Robert Loggia for a look at JAGGED EDGE on Sunday, May 3rd. Loggia was Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as investigator Sam Ransom. Another highlight is ICE STATION ZEBRA on May 2nd, the film that eccentric, compulsive billionaire Howard Hughes watched repeatedly in his private screening room (remember the days before video let alone DVD???) Join us for some big screen action. Also screening are, SAVE THE TIGER and THE CINCINNATI KID with Steve McQueen.

For more on the films they showed go to the 2nd article here:

Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything about if anyone present asked about Sharon.  But here is a summary of the events from a fan that was there:

Mister, we could use a producer like Martin Ransohoff again. And again and again.

Sunday the Egyptian played host to the final night of the Martin Ransohoff tribute. Joining Mr. Ransohoff on stage were the evening’s host, Alan Rode and one of the truly great veteran Hollywood actors, ROBERT LOGGIA.

Much of Friday’s bloggery was taken up with war’s ugliness. Sunday’s double bill encompassed far less grave subject matter, namely murder, betrayal, gambling, small-fry in comparison. All encased in a pair of classic films that continue to mature, recruit new fans to the table, and send the rest of us reeling back in timed-release-capsules.

How such a diverse career? A filmography from which any handful of titles will yield the same results: stories seemingly world’s apart – polar opposites (ICE STATION ZEBRA was Saturday). If anything holds true in an overview, it is this extreme diversity of thematic commitment. And a handling of the material that was –don’t say it, don’t say it – edgy! A producer who exhibited more than just a token willingness to take chances, but real desire and as we heard Friday, one that was willing to go up against studio bosses, to fight for an artistic choice, despite the box office impaction. It is testament to Ransohoff’s guiding hand and diligence that the films are both timelessly entertaining and revelatory of their respective “times.”

The “knife with the jags” certainly holds up, clearly if tonight’s audience was any indication. Collective gasps and a “yeah” when the killer gets “his,” same as the day it was made. Pure 80s gold, prototypical of an entire subgenre, sporting a razor sharp script by the screenwriter who virtually defined the era’s potboiler, Joe Eszterhas, very quickly into the Q&A one begins to realize, that this is one more movie whose story belongs to the man who first conceived of the basic idea, none other than Martin Ransohoff. Not stated in some vanity mirror-moment-of-reflection, rather matter-of-factly in the first moments of discussing the project. “Basically the original idea for the movie was mine.”

Much like the way Mr. Ransohoff refers to himself as a “creative producer,” completely lacking in pretense. He is in fact un-credited on EDGE as he was, we learn, on much of his earlier work.

He mentions it in passing, like the CINNCINNATI KID’s locale being shifted from St. Louis where Richard Jessup’s novel is set, to New Orleans and a more bygone era. Ransohoff: “I’m from New Orleans.” If you’ve seen KID you know how pivotal the Big Easy’s setting is to the movie. If you haven’t seen it, than where the heck were you Sunday Night?

Between films, Mr. Ransohoff took a seat on stage between Robert Loggia and Alan Rode, the Q& A having commenced while he was returning from the lobby and Mr. Loggia recounting a dinner at Spago’s and nearly begging for the role of Sam Ransom. A performance which would land him an Oscar nom., the part had originally been set for Jason Robards, a much older actor. It was Loggia’s input that led to the character’s incorporation of the “F” carpet-bombing, and other major changes that were eventually embraced by both the director, Richard Marquand and Ransohoff.

Repeatedly, as audience, we bear witness to producer Ransohoff’s openness to the collective give and take of the creative process. Loggia said, “Marquand listened and was a gentleman.” The same holds true in spades for Ransohoff.

Ransohoff stated that as a producer, “after my first five or six pictures, I spent very little time on the set. My bonus to a director was not to have to see me.” To the “director who was doing his job… if dailies looked good, if we were on budget, my gift was to stay away… Plus, sitting around on a film set, watching films being made is like watching paint dry.”

Watching a Ransohoff movie is nothing like latex. Also, make note, “director doing his job.”

What might stand out the most in reviewing Ransohoff’s credits (he made the number at 41) is the sheer span of time – the post war 50s, the 60s, and on into the 80s – Mega eras of cultural and social upheaval, shifting norms and taboos, all reflected in shades of nuanced entertainment, engaging and more often than not, challenging, work. Culled from some of the greatest literary sources of the day, “I bought the rights to the book,” and so it would start.

Loggia remarked that he had recently turned 79 years of age, and with Ransohoff at somewhere in the low 80s, both gentlemen were still “ambling,” as Loggia put it, albeit at a somewhat leisurely pace. And this here is one darn glad moviegoer – I’m thinking next month for another six of the 41!

Wonder who I can ask about that?

Wish I could have asked Hiller if Sharon was really in "The Wheeler Dealers" and "The Americanization of Emily" like I have heard?  And there would endless questions to ask Ransohoff.

Another Take on the Polanski Case now that Roman is on house arrest.  It also talks about when Roman lost Sharon:

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