The Kid Stays in the Picture

These titled words are taken from the 1994 tell-all autobiography of o­ne Robert Evans: clothing entrepreneur, not-quite-actor, big-time Paramount producer, and Hollywood survivor of the heady '70s. They refer to an episode in his ephemeral stint as actor, playing a matador in The Sun Also Rises (1957). Despite protestations from Ernest Hemingway (et al) about Evans' talents, movie mogul Darryl Zanuck bellowed the phrase over a bullhorn. Those few words were to become an anthem for the turbulent rise and fall of Robert Evans' life as a longstanding creative force in the fickle fast lane of Hollywood: from small-time actor (in the late 50s), to head of Paramount Pictures– producing such maverick films as Rosemary's Baby (1968), Love Story (1970), The Godfather (Parts I and II), Chinatown (1974), The Conversation (1974), and Marathon Man (1976). He bottomed out in the 1980's, fuelled by a wicked cocaine addiction and subsequent drug bust, in addition to some bad press linking him to a murder scandal (during the production of the The Cotton Club). He made a comeback in the '90s with his bestselling book, The Kid Stays in the Picture, and movie The Saint (1997). In between he was married 5 times (once to 70's superstar Ali MacGraw, mother of his son), and befriended (Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Henry Kissinger) or bedded (Ava Gardner, Lana Turner) many of Tinseltown's elite. What makes the documentary utterly watchable for all 90 minutes is Evans' larger-than-life, seductively charismatic, and thoroughly entertaining narration of events. Recounted entirely from Evans' perspective, there are no opposing views from any of his colleagues, but that ain't the point. To coin Sinatra's mantra: he did it his way.

 

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