Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 220
Marlene Dietrich dies / Cannes Film Festival
May 1992

Arrive home from a crazy but delightful trip to Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague on Monday evening the 11th of May. Find a pile of post awaiting my attention and a fax from Ed Hogan of Zephyr Press, the American publisher of my People to People series. He has just returned from Moscow and writes about the proposed Russia book and plans for the Hungary and CzechoSlovakia books. On Tuesday am interviewed by Sophie Manham for a BBC-2 TV programme about the Round House and for another programme about the film, "A Clockwork Orange". After the interview is over, Jack reminds me of C.P.Taylor and our plan to produce "The Ballachulish Beat" first in the ice rink in Edinburgh in 1965 and secondly in the Round House in London. This never happened for various reasons and now some 25 years later, it will be produced at this year's Edinburgh Festival. And C.P. wrote it for Jack.

In the afternoon, go to the university and have my two classes and return for a fried chicken dinner.

On Wednesday, make Newsletter No.217 and begin No.219. Also make No.218 (Alison's "Free Voice" article). Meet Alan Furst in the Village Voice bookshop in the afternoon. Return home and continue with No.219. Telephone Kathleen Tynan and talk with her and Roxana about Prague and Dietrich. Dine with Jim Bacque in my old favorite, Bartolo, in the rue Canette; he tells me about his recent trip to Moscow. Telephone John Flattau late evening and we discuss the People to People series and the contracts, his upcoming trip to Paris in June and Dietrich and Cannes. Call Steven Bach in Munchen and he is busy with an article for "Vanity Fair" about Miss Dietrich. He flies off to New York City Friday to usher the article to completion. Call Sabine Kolmel in Munchen and she says that Rainer is staying in the Pullman Hotel in Cannes and that she flies there on Saturday.

Thursday,14th May: Try to reach Bob Ezrin in L.A., but only get his answering machine. Call Alison and thank her for the sweet article in the "Free Voices". Call Dominique Nicolas at the American Embassy in Paris and he gives me the telephone number of the American Consul in Poznan. Call Poznan and talk to Urszula Dzieuba and she promises to help us get our video equipment to Blois. Carsten and Tanya call from Arhus to discuss the Bulgaria book. Have a headache. Jack gives me an aspirin and it works. Colin Gravois calls. Leo Serban calls. Anny Gruska calls. In the evening, manage to get a sleeper to Cannes. Share it with two attractive women. One, Marie France Cuenot, is a film editor and she has a film in Cannes entitled "Versailles: Left Bank". (I think.)

Friday, arrive in Cannes. When Marie France learns I have no place to sleep, she offers to let me stay in an apartment with her film crew. Thank her and say that I might take up her offer. Check my bag; it costs 30 francs or the equivalent of a month's wage in Russia today. Walk up the rue d'Antibes, pass the Star cinema and down to the Croisette. Spot David Overbey and suspect he might be helpful. And he is. He tells me to talk with Len Klady at "Screen International" in their offices at the Carlton Hotel. Thank David and walk to the Carlton and am told that David is out but will be back soon. Walk to "Variety" to ask about "Sam" Stenzel and am told she did not come to Cannes this year. Damn. Chat briefly with Mark Peplow and he tells me that Hercules Bellville is staying in the Grand Hotel. See Sandy Lieberson and tell him about "DIETRICH SONGS". A fella from "Screen" passes and reports Len is in his office. Len is warm and receptive and urges me to talk with Gilles Jacob. Walk to Grand Hotel and call Hercules. He tells me to order a coffee and he will come down immediately. And within a minute we are sitting on the terrace and discussing the various possible "attack plans". Hercules is wonderful!. Walk down the Croisette and bump into Susi's friend, Dieter Muller. He asks me to join him in the Majestic Hotel and we enter the back door just in front of my old hotel,the Regence, which is now re-named Hotel America. We talk about the Dietrich film and I tell him that I am on my way to see Gilles Jacob. See Rainer Kolmel talking with someone just near us. Leave Dieter and join Rainer. He asks me where I am staying and when I report that I do not know, he says that he has an apartment that belongs to a friend of his, that it is empty and he thinks she would not mind my sleeping there. Hooray! I accept. We agree to meet later. Walk toward the Palais and bump into Mechthild Holter from Koln. She reports that she and Heike have started a PR company and are no longer journalists. She is as lovely as ever. Ask her to pass my greetings to Heike.

Walk up to Gilles Jacob's office and tell the receptionist that I would like to see Mr. Jacob. A few minutes later, his son, Laurent Jacob, comes out to talk with me. He is very warm, reports he loved the film, "Dietrich Songs". I tell him that I have a videocassette and that if the festival would like to "screen it" I would certainly be pleased, that Miss Dietrich's death calls for some kind of tribute. He said that he agrees, that I should call him in the afternoon and he would see what he could do. Leave feeling that maybe something might be arranged. Walk to the basement and bump into Gideon Bachmann. See Edith Clavet and she tells me that Lisa Nesselson and Glenn Myrent are in Cannes. Try to telephone Fabiano Canosa and Pascale Dauman; no luck. See Joan Juliet Buck's uncle and we chat briefly about Joan. Walk across to the Stromboli restaurant. Meet Susanne Bulten and ask her to send my greetings to her mother, Marianne Woff. Also see David Robinson and he says he is on his way to London. Walk up the Croisette and pass Pascale Dauman and we embrace. Go to "Screen" office and give Len a report about my meeting with Laurent Jacob. Derek Malcolm is busy typing an article and we chat briefly. Walk to the Miramar Cinema because someone has mentioned they have a video projector. The fella is very nice and tells me to talk to someone at Malmaison. On my way down the Croisette, pass Alberto Ferro. He is busy talking, so we smile greetings. See Marie France Cuenot at Malmaison and tell her that I have found a place to stay. Talk with the young assistant about Miramar and the video projector and she tells me to return in an hour and talk with her boss. Walkabout and meet Alexandra Tuttle in the Croisette. Then seconds later meet Fabiano Canosa and we talk about Dietrich and her grandson, David Riva. I tell Fabiano that Gilles Jacob might make a special screening of the film. He asks what Martin Scorsese has done to help and I reply that he put pressure on Universal. Back to Malmaison and the boss says she cannot help; all screening rooms have been booked. Walk to Stromboli and share a table with an attractive woman. Her name is Mary Katzke. She is a film-maker and lives in Alaska and Manhattan. It's a good lunch. Walk back to Laurent Jacob's office and he asks if I can call him in an hour. Decide to walk back to the "Screen" office and meet Gerard Krawczyk on the way. His little film, "The Subtle Concept", is one of my favorites. He gives me his new address and reports he is busy with a new film. Walk to the Carlton and see Alberto Ferro; he is alone, so sit with him and he tells me about the erotic films he is producing. Good for Alberto! Call Laurent Jacob again from "Screen"; he asks me to call back in an hour. Talk with Rainer's friend at "Screen", Martin Blaney. He covers Germany. Also meet Anna Franklin; she covers Eastern European news for "Screen". She lives in Prague. I tell her about Czech Film Week that Eva Kacerova co-organizes. A fella from a Russian TV station passes to see Anna. He was one of the first to broadcast erotica. Talk with Laurent Jacob again. It's sad news. He talked with someone at Universal and the answer is no. I cannot believe my ears. Why would they say no? What harm could it do? Leonard Klady is not around, so leave a note for him with Oscar Moore, the editor. Walk away in a stupor. Why doesn't Universal say yes? Head for Rainer's hotel and meet Jim Hickey on the way. After I have reported my sad news, Jim insists upon taking me to dinner later this evening. What a sweetheart! I accept. I tell him that I am on my way to see Rainer and he suggests that I invite Rainer to join us. We agree to meet outside the Palais at 20:30. Walk to Rainer's hotel and he is in his room. Go up and tell him about Laurent's efforts and Universal's "no". Rainer has a meeting with a banker before the scheduled dinner, so he is not sure if he can meet with us or not. He asks if we can wait fifteen minutes. He gives me the keys to Margarita Mrkwiczka's apartment. Walk to the station, collect my bag, and taxi to the apt. It's very lovely.

Walk slowly down the Croisette to the meeting with Jim. I am early. Gideon passes and we chat about Victor Herbert and the Berkeley fire. V's house not touched. Jim arrives and I tell him that Rainer might join us. And sure enough he does. They ask where I would like to dine and I suggest "Pizza" across from the port. We three have a great dinner. And even better conversation. I show them POLAND and ROMANIA and we talk about the films R's company, Kinowelt, has purchased. I give them the newsletter about the recent madness in my atelier. Of course we talk about the films they have seen. It's a very cheering evening. Jim insists upon treating. We walk to the petit Majestic restaurant and bar and then to the Petit Carlton. I see Susanne from Utrecht again and she introduces me to Toby Hubner from New York City. Toby has co-written and co-directed a spoof entitled "B-Man". I tell them about today's sad news and Toby suggests that we should screen the film in the Petit Carlton. This idea is already in my head and his suggestion reinforces it. We talk with the proprietor, Roger Constantine. He immediately says OK. I tell both Toby and Roger that I wish to think a bit longer before I fully commit myself. Spot Susi Wyss sitting in the back with the tall blonde Sybilla, with a very small fellow, and with Sade, a fellow I met once at a Susi dinner. Michael Anderson is an actor in the David Lynch film, "Twin Peaks". They are attracting a great deal of attention. Join them and chat with Susi and Michael. Various people come over to photograph them and to be introduced. Susi asks if I would like to go to a fancy party for a French film, but I say no. Not sure why. Excuse myself. Rejoin Toby and we arrange to meet at noon tomorrow at Petit Carlton. Walk over to Majestic and immediately feel it would be a better place to hold the screening. Less traffic problems for one thing. And maybe a more serious group of people. Less drunks. See Jurek and he introduces me to an attractive woman called Eleanor Powell. Eleanor suggests we project the film on the beach and asks me to pass her office in the morning and she will give me information about a video projector. Jurek says that Brian Lewis was in Cannes, but has returned to Paris. See Jim Hickey; go over and say goodbye and thanks. Walk home.

Saturday, 16 May: Great night's sleep. Up early, shave, shower, tea, dress. Walk to the Carlton Hotel and get to see Eleanor for two minutes. She asks an assistant to find out information for me. I am to call James in a few minutes. I do and get a telephone number. I learn the cost begins at 40,000 francs. Out of my league. That's for sure. So it will be at the Majestic I hope. Walk to the Petit Carlton and the proprietor is even more keen today. He has thought about it. I restate my misgivings. Toby arrives. I wonder how Universal and Tom Pollock will feel about it. I do not wish to piss them off. Toby keeps pushing me "to go for it". I suggest that we walk to petit Majestic and see what they have to say. Talk with Marie-Jo Milon, one of the proprietors. She says yes right away. Somehow it feels more appropriate here. Less traffic that's for sure. Toby and I walk to Carlton. Meet Francois Taborelli. He says he met his Polish wife thanks to me. Toby feels we should write a press release. Kevin Sadlier, who covers Australia for "Screen", lets us use Anna's computer. The press release is short and not too pushy. We walk to the American Pavillon to seek help. We don't get much. Introduce Toby to Ed Flaherty. Ed is with CNN; they are covering Cannes. Ed manages to make some photocopies of our press release. We try to enter the British Pavillon, but the guard stops us. No badge or laissez-passer. So over to the Palais to pick up a pass. We contemplate going for lunch, but Toby remembers a few things he has to do. We agree to meet at the American Pavillon at 16:30. Purchase three Marlene Dietrich posters.

Walk over to Stromboli and there is Fabiano Canosa, lunching alone. Join him. We have a great lunch talking about Dietrich, Martin Scorsese, Tom Pollock and Universal, David Riva. Fabiano feels that one day we will succeed with the film. We taxi to his hotel, he quickly changes clothes. We continue in the same taxi to the New Zealand Film Commission office above the Festical cafe to meet Lindsay Shelton. Lindsay is not there, but will be back at 16:30. We agree to meet again at that time. Walk to Rainer's hotel to deposit the posters and the press release. Walk to Gogo's hotel. She did not claim her room. She either did not come to this year's festival or she is staying somewhere else. Look for Dick Brand on the Carlton Terrace. No luck. Bump into Pierre Rissient and we talk about "Dietrich Songs".

Back to the New Zealand office and no sign of Lindsay or Fabiano. Lindsay's associates give me the name of a fellow who supplies their VCR and monitor. Call the number and get an answering machine. Thank the two women and walk to the American Pavillon and spot Toby. He has made a deal with someone to supply us with a VCR and a large monitor. Special price of 300 francs. Good for Toby! He departs to collect his girlfriend, Elisabeth, who is arriving this evening from Berlin by train. We will meet up later at petit Majestic. Wander into American Pavillon and see Philip French and he asks me to join him and two friends for a drink. One is a film critic from Ireland called Jeffrey O'Kelly and the other is a woman with the BBC World Service. Her name is Joy Pereths. I sit and listen to them talk about all the films they have seen. Walk later to the British Pavillon and see more friends including Lisa and Glenn. Also Derek Hill. Derek introduces me to Simon Field who is the director of the I.C.A. cinema. On the way out chat with a pretty woman behind the bar called Mathilda and she tells me she plans to live in Paris. Give her my address and tell her about the Sunday dinners. Watch the stars enter the Palais for the "Twin Peaks" gala screening. See Michael Anderson, but don't see Susi. Wonder how Susi is doing, but know she is having fun.

Walk over to the English Bookshop and purchase YOU'LL NEVER EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN for Rainer. Very sweet people - Christel and Wally - are the proprietors. Tell them about Odile and the Village Voice Bookshop in Paris. Walk to Rainer's hotel and he and Sabine are there and they both come downstairs and we three giggle and gossip. They are pleased with the book; both say they want to read it first. Have some ravioli at the petit Majestic. Call Jack in Paris from the Palais and give him a report. Watch some of the David Lynch press conference on tv. Buy an ice cream and "Paris Match". Walk to petit Majestic and see Toby and a pretty blonde woman. He introduces Elisabeth and I join them. We have a long talk. She is an architect. Later a friend of Toby's from Viennna, Franz Harland, sits with us and of course he knows Melitta Fitzer. They went to Film School together. Toby and Elisabeth depart. Franz and I continue to talk. Two ladies at the table next to ours are very lovely. Invite them to a Sunday dinner. Walk home late. Read about Miss D in "Paris Match".

Sunday, 17th: Shave, coffee, bath and shampoo. Walk and bus to Miramar. Pick up "Screen" and Len's piece is OK. It fails to mention the time and the place of the screening. Not sure if this is good or not. I was worried about too many people showing up; maybe I should worry about too few. Leave "Screen" and a note for Rainer at his hotel. Meet Albert Johnson and a student of his at the American Pavillon. Toby arrives and we go to check on the VCR; pay 300 francs in cash. Back to the American Pavillon. Toby leaves to collect Elisabeth and Ed asks me to be an extra in a CNN shot. Pose with a young fellow at the Information Desk who tells me he will be studying at Parsons in Paris this autumn. Give him a newsletter and invite him to a Sunday night dinner. Toby returns and the two of us create a new press release on an Apple and manage to make some copies. He and Elisabeth go for a walkabout and I go to the Press Room. Leave our press release for a number of important American, British and German critics. Talk with the ex-model at the Info Desk in the Press Room. Walk to petit Majestic and meet Toby and Elisabeth; they have already given our press release to Marie-Jo. They depart and Rainer and Sabine arrive. Two friends of theirs, Eva and Tony Kirkhope, walk by; they were mugged last night. Two women and a fellow at a nearby table also report a robbery. When Rainer and Sabine continue their stroll, join their table. They are three New Zealanders: Nicola Olsen, Anneliese Vanderpool, and Vincent Bourke. Tell them about the midnight screening. Marc and Edward arrive with the VCR and monitor; we decide to place it with the monitor facing out onto rue Victor Cousin. Maris-Jo will not let me pay for my pizza. Walk to Palais, call Jack. He suggests I check the videocassette to be sure it is OK. Raymond lets me watch it fast forward and it is OK. Telephone Laurent Jacob and tell him about the semi-private screening and ask if this is a problem for him and he says no. Go upstairs and put more press releases into the boxes of the important French critics. Discover that Thomas Quinn Curtiss is staying at the Noga Hilton. Walk up the Croisette and meet Anthony Clarke rushing to catch a train to Paris. Alas TQC has checked out. Meet Benjamin Baltimore and his lovely girlfriend, Julie Cole. We chat a while. See a poster for "Blue Angel 2" made in California; it looks like a soft porn film. Walk back toward rue d'Antibes and a woman from America stops me to ask if I am from Cannes. I reply yes and no. She and her friend are looking for a good restaurant. I recommend La Mere Besson and offer to walk them there. Warn them that it will probably be full. But surprise surprise. It is only 7:30, there is one table. The fellow invites me to join them and I decide to accept. I can always join Jim Hicky, Rainer & Sabine and party later for coffee. Jeanne Lisec is a lovely blonde from Lincoln, Nebraska and Rick Berkemeier has a consulting company in Chicago. Dinner is, as expected, wonderful. They are very pleased with the restaurant. Rick insists upon treating. Leave them and walk in the softly falling rain to a fish restaurant in the rue Felix Faure. Jim, Rainer, Sabine, Eva and Tony and Hamish McAlpine will dine together. I stay with them about 30 minutes or so, then walk in the rain back to petit Majestic. Join Toby and Elisabeth. Still more rain. It's almost midnight and our screening will be ruined by the terrible weather. Toby uses my card to call Italy and manages to reach his friend. Suggest to Toby that he call Bepe in Palermo; he and Elisabeth depart early Monday morning for Sicily. About 20 minutes to midnight, the rain stops and the screening will be possible. As soon as midnight arrives, I start the tape. Not a very large audience, but it slowly builds. There is one fellow on the front row who seems to adore the film. Jurek arrives. Also the New Zealand ladies. Jim, Sabine, Rainer and party arrive. Toby reports that one of the best young film directors in America is in the audience, but I forget his name. Toby and Elisabeth have to depart just before the film ends because of their early departure. When the film ends, it receives a warm appreciation from the small crowd. The fella in the front row turns out to be Bill Russell, the "Herald" film critic. Thank the petit Majestic staff, walk down the Crosette, and manage to find a taxi to the apartment.

Monday, 18th: Up early. Wash and pack. Bus to Majestic Hotel and walk the short distance to the station. Check my bag and go upstairs to see about trains to Paris. The 13:30 is full, but they say I can get the 17:31. Walk to R & S's hotel and Sabine comes down with my Dietrich posters. I give her the keys to the apartment and she gives me Margarita's address in Munchen. Rainer is in the shower; the two of them are going to Province to rest for three weeks. Walk to petit Majestic and thank them. Marie-Jo has a list of all the staff for me. Earlier I had asked her to prepare it. Meet Len from "Screen" and thank him; he asks about the screening and I say it went OK. Go to "Pizza" and sit on the terrace next to a woman who is from Paris but who lives in Madrid. Her company has a film in the Marche called "Jamon, Jamon" and she reports it has been a big success. She gives me her card but it seems I have lost or misplaced it. Afterwards go the the English bookshop and purchase Henri Behar's (with Cari Beauchamp) new book, Hollywood on the Riviera, the Inside Story of the Cannes Film Festival. Christel and Wally introduce me to their assistant and apologize for not attending the screening. At the train station learn that the Paris train left at 3pm. I have missed it. I was given wrong information. There is a train about to depart for Lyon, so quickly decide to take it. Read Henri Behar and Cari Beauchamp's book about Cannes. It's delightful.

Talk with a Lyon businessman who was born in Hungary all the way from Marseille all the to Lyon - almost four hours. We arrive in Lyon at 11pm. Walk about the city centre and grab a snack. Manage to sleep to Paris. Home 7am and find a pile of post awaiting me.

It's been a crazy trip. Not sure how effective it will turn out to be as regards "DIETRICH SONGS", but at least something happened. Some action taken. A tribute was made albeit modest. It could have been fantastic if the festival had screened our film. The world would now be talking about the film. Now only Bill Russell's "Herald" and Jim Hickey's "Scotsman" articles are on the horizon. (Pause to telephone Jim Hickey to ask if he thinks Penny Thomson, the new Director of the Edinburgh Film Festival, might be interested in having "Dietrich Songs" for this year's festival. He suggests I try.) OK, I'll do it...

Telephone Dick Brand in Yorkshire. We missed each other in Cannes because he left the day before I arrived. He says he knows a way to clear the rights with the Hollywood studios and that he will be in Paris in ten days. My god I hope that he can do it.

Jim Haynes
May 1992

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris

 

 

 

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