"I married David for better, for worse; but not for lunch!" said the Duchess of Windsor whenever she turned up at the famous Ritz Hotel in Place Vendome, Paris. (She was speaking of an abdicated King of England.)
Vanity Fair magazine presents in its July issue popular writer A. E. Hotchner's history of this famous hotel which is closing on July 31 for a two-year makeover. Sob! Gasp! And what's more, the great Hotel de Crillon, with its view of where Marie Antoinette was beheaded, will also soon close down for a total facelift.
Mr. Hotchner manages to run down memory lane from Chanel to Proust to Hemingway to Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper -- all at the Ritz --but the article doesn't note that Pamela Harriman, the American ambassador to France, died after a swim in the Ritz Pool. It does note that Princess Diana spent the last safe moments of her life there.
- In the front of my daily calendar is pasted a very old, very famous photo from MGM's "Galaxy of Film Stars from the 1940s, with actors from Kate Hepburn to Hedy Lamarr to Jimmy Stewart to Spencer Tracy to Mickey Rooney in the front row. Now Vanity Fair has done this artifact one better, showing today's stars, producers and directors marking the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures. Who's smack dab in the center of this huge three-page gathering? Why, Meryl Streep, of course. And she has Jack, Dustin, George, Tom, Don, Billy Dee, Harrison, John, Kirk, Michael, Richard, Billy Bob, Adam, Jon, Chris, Bobby, Josh, Jimmy, Antonio, Sean, Leonardo, Morgan, Eddie, and assorted famous females surrounding her. I "think" -- although I am not absolutely sure that in both these epic photographs of the stars in alignment - only the great Mickey Rooney is in both of these unusual movie museum pieces! Thank you, Vanity Fair, for another classic photo by Art Streiber. Definitely a collector's item. And I have to admit it. There are a few new faces in this mass pose that I never heard of.
- First of all, I'm glad Lindsay Lohan, her assistant, and the driver of the truck Lindsay rear-ended late last week, are all okay. (The truck-driver is more than okay, already claiming injuries and looking for a settlement.) Naturally, the first words out of Lindsay's mouth were "It wasn't my fault." Maybe it wasn't, but here's some advice. Don't drive. Clearly, all this young woman has to do is look at a car, and that vehicle is history, one way or another. Lindsay, you are currently playing Elizabeth Taylor. Do you think the star of stars ever got behind the wheel of a car and drove herself around? "Where's the driver?" fell from her lips as often as "Where's my present?" Onscreen, she famously crashed her little sports car in "Butterfield 8," fleeing the attentions of Laurence Harvey. After a brief visit to the emergency room, Lohan returned to the set of "Liz and Dick" covered her bruises with makeup and carried on with professional aplomb. But I'm sure producer Larry Thompson has bitten his nails to the quick. And there are weeks more filming to go. Maybe he'd better get himself a pair of thick gloves!
- Charlize Theron is certainly having a good year. Her personal reviews for "Snow White and the Huntsman" are credited with having propelled that mess of a movie to box-office success. Now she is co-starring in Ridley Scott's metaphysical sci-fi epic, "Prometheus" along with one of Hollywood's biggest leading men, Michael Fassbender. The movie took a whopping $50 million over the weekend (and almost as much overseas) but was edged out by the animated "Madagascar 3." The success of the latter film is proof positive that there are always family-friendly movies, and audiences will flock to them. As to "Prometheus," most critics are dazzled by the film's beauty, if left pondering its complex/muddled messages. It ain't "Alien" which is what many people-- especially fans--were expecting. Although it does a few bows in that direction; one being the most gruesome thing I ever sat through. As for Charlize, it never hurts to be associated with a hit. And there'll be a sequel to "Prometheus." This move already has almost a thousand reviews on IMDB! For all the expressed disappointment, these "critics" would certainly go see "Prometheus 2", or whatever director Scott might title it. And, I can promise you Mr. Fassbender, at least, will be coming back. (Maybe even Miss Theron, movies being movies.)
- P.S. I've seen the revived "Dallas" which starts on TNT tomorrow night and it is hilarious fun. Every scene is one of outrageous, over-the-top betrayal. Don't miss it! Almost all the old-timers are back and there are some excellent new-timers.