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Secrets from the studio

Peter Bart, an exec at Paramount during its absurdly fecund period of the late ’60s and ’70s, helped bring a slew of classic films to the screen. In his new memoir, Infamous Players, he opens up about his experiences making them, and the people he made them with

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Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
When director Roman Polanski began requiring star Mia Farrow to do as many as 30 takes per scene, ”Frank Sinatra’s attorney, a ferocious pit bull named Mickey Rudin, materialized in my office…. ‘Frank has a rule on his pictures — two takes is the limit,’ Rudin advised me abruptly. ‘That rule is going to apply to Mia as well. Do I make myself clear?”’

The Godfather (1972)
”If Roman Polanski was initially skeptical about Rosemary’s Baby, his disdain was easily matched by Francis Coppola when the latter was presented with The Godfather. The novel was trashy, he said. It was peopled by stereotypes. ‘Why make another Mafia movie?’ Coppola protested. ‘They don’t work anymore. The audience has moved past all that.”’

The Great Gatsby (1974)
When Truman Capote finally delivered his script, Bart could not believe how bad it was: ”All he did was type…. He typed the dialogue from the book, typed Fitzgerald’s descriptions and made them look like stage directions. He didn’t contribute one original line.”