WAS HUGH GRANT’S arrest for publicly dallying with a prostitute two weeks before Nine Months opened in theaters a coincidence — or was it a ploy to ensure the comedy’s success? Impossible to say, but it wasn’t the first time a movie was met with a scandal upon release. Here are some others, featuring particularly prescient dialogue.
HUSBANDS AND WIVES (1992, Columbia TriStar) Scandal: Just one day before the premiere, the movie’s writer-director-star, Woody Allen, admits he has been having an affair with costar (and longtime lover) Mia Farrow’s adopted 21-year-old daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Ironic dialogue: ”What am I gonna say? That I feel myself becoming infatuated with a 20-year-old girl? That I see myself sleepwalking into a mess and that I’ve learned nothing over the years?”
PEYTON PLACE (1957, FoxVideo) Scandal: Four months after the film opens, star Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane, kills Turner’s abusive lover, Johnny Stompanato. Ironic dialogue: ”My daughter did bring her troubles home to me, but I didn’t understand..You see, I’ve always been so afraid of scandals.”
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955, Warner) Scandal: Speeding star James Dean dies in a car crash one week before the movie is released. Ironic dialogue: ”I’m no chicken. You saw where I jumped. What do I have to do, kill myself?”
STROMBOLI (1950, Ingram) Scandal: The night the film debuts in Italy, star Ingrid Bergman gives birth to a child by director Roberto Rossellini, who is not her husband. Ironic dialogue: ”You don’t know my past. I have been lost. I have sinned…as if an evil force were in back of me. I know I’ve been wrong.”
GENTLEMAN JIM (1942, MGM/UA) Scandal: Shortly before the movie opens, star Errol Flynn is tried for (and acquitted of) the statutory rape of two underage girls. Ironic dialogue: ”That gentleman stuff never fooled you, did it? I’m no gentleman.”