(9 of 10)
To be sure, these are different studios from the one-man autocracies that used to welcome creative geniuses like France's Jean Renoir with lavish contracts and then crush their talent with assembly-line production techniques. The old dinosaurs in the corner offices have finally given way to younger dinosaurs. Robert Evans of Paramount is 37. Richard Zanuck, Fox production chief, is 34. David Picker, United Artists' vice president for production, is 36. Today the studios are frequently packagers, providing money and facilities for small, independent production teams which naturally insist upon artistic control. These filmmakers are not necessarily American. Hollywood is bankrolling movies all over the globe, and the cast and crew of a film can sometimes read like the attendance list of a U.N. committee meeting.
Welcome to MGM
Because of Hollywood's international outlook, Britain's Joseph Janni, producer of Darling, now looks there rather than to England. "If I go to J. Arthur Rank with a film idea, they consider me a nuisance," he claims. "If I go to MGM, I am welcomed." France's Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman) has been signed to a multipicture contract at United Artists, as has Polanski at Paramount. The Iron Curtain countries are a continuing source of new talent, and Hollywood studios have dangled fat contracts before Czechoslovakia's Jan Radar, who made Shop on Main Street. Even the customarily aloof Antonioni has become part of the new Hollywood; his next film, Zabriskie Point, will be financed by MGM and shot in the Southwest. It will be, he says, about violence.
Hollywood is now so eager to experiment with young and untried directors and writers that some older, proven film makers are complaining about lack of work. Director Mark Rydell one of a host of refugees from television got the chance to do The Fox when a studio executive saw a segment of I Spy that impressed him. Francis Ford Coppola, 28, is a precocious graduate of the nudie industry who is now doing Finian's Rainbow for Warner Bros. Another untried talent is Faye Dunaway's fiancé, Jerry Schatzberg, 40, a still photographer of women's fashions, who is doing Puzzle of a Downfall Child.
So far, the freedom given to the new film makers is being expended largely on "adult" themes—which means, of course, lots of sex. But more than nudity and frankness is involved. A proliferation of new techniques multiscreen, three-dimensional, the 360° projection of Expo 67 are already beginning to find their way into Hollywood productions. The Boston Strangler is being shot with multiple images. One scene shows at the left an elderly woman watching TV; at bottom center, a detective interviews a witness; on the right, the strangler drives his car slowly through the streets to the elderly woman's house. Mary Ellen Bute's adaptation of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth will employ a wide screen, occasionally fragmented into a honeycomb of separate actions.