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New Yorker fete draws H’wood elite

GOOD MORNING: It was supposed to be a tribute to the movies — and it was the movies’ creme de la creme who showed up to pay tribute to “The New Yorker Goes to the Movies.” Editor Tina Brown hosted the Bel-Air Hotel dinner-dancing party in honor of the mag’s special issue, and those at her table with husband Harold Evans included Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Judy and Michael Ovitz, John Calley and Sandra Lean (the latter wearing a black beret as was Barbra Streisand), Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes and Ali MacGraw. Streisand and Spielberg leaned back from their table to hello Billy Wilder, Sherry Lansing and Herb Ross. Warren Beatty and Annette Bening (who live there) were at the next table with Barry Diller, Mike Medavoy (who brought Streisand), Whoopi Goldberg, Glenn Close (night off “Sunset Boulevard”), Sandy Gallin, Peggy Lipton, etc. … The Bel-Air Hotel had never been so cleverly double-tented — from the south end of the parking lot and covering the lawn in ’30s themed decor with Japanese lanterns on high. For the cocktail hour, music was movie-oriented, like “Singin’ in the Rain”– with Gene Kelly there. And after the dinner, prepared by the Bel-Air for 300, guests segued back to the entrance tent for desserts, coffee, more drinks, and disco dancing and celebs taking photos of celebs with giveaway Kodak disposable cameras carried on trays by waiters, as giant blowups of Richard Avedon’s never-before-seen Marilyn Monroe pix stood brightly illuminated at one end. Even the New Yorker writers were busy talking to movie stars … The hotel’s Frank Bowling, a longtime friend of Tina Brown, admitted the hotel never had anything quite like this party given by anyone in Hollywood. It took a week just to create the setting. It was a classy act put together by the New Yorker staff and Coast editor Caroline Graham.

‘SCHINDLER’S LIST’ ALONE would be reason enough to celebrate. So would the most exciting crop of Oscar nominees in years,” said editor Brown, who was intro’d by New Yorker contributor Gore Vidal, who lovingly called her “Mrs. Miniver.” Brown comes by her love for movies honestly — her father George H. Brown (81) produced the first Agatha Christie movies (at Pinewood), among others. “I can still remember being dangled on Margaret Rutherford’s heavily stockinged knee,” she smiled. The New Yorker writers “spawned” many movie hits: Charles Brackett’s “Sunset Boulevard,” Donald Ogden Stewart’s “The Philadelphia Story,” James M. Cain’s “Double Indemnity” and Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” among others. The next special issue of the New Yorker, Tina told me , will be devoted to its fiction writers. Among writers on hand at the Bel-Air bash was Lillian Ross. But Pauline Kael, who has Parkinson’s, was unable to attend. From her home in Massachusetts, Kael told me, “If I were in good enough health to go to a party — I’d be writing.” Kael said she keeps up with movies, “but I wish I saw more movies that I like.” In this special issue, she says, “Not many reviewers have a real gift for effrontery. I think that may be my best talent.” Brown said, “Movie coverage today is riddled with cliches” and “the snide puff piece.”… Among those there who receive praise in the mag’s movie issue, Joel Silver, who says he’ll start “Richie Rich” in six weeks. John Calley was also flattered by the article about him. Bernie Brillstein admitted he was moved to tears by David Brown’s article on the death of Irving “Swifty” Lazar … Robin Williams was the surprise guest who convulsed everyone — even when he wasn’t understood. Walter Matthau shouted to Williams, “I’m not following you!” Everyone roared at Robin’s request “for places to eat on the information highway”… Spielberg assured me he would be making (directing) more movies — but is determined to take “a year” off. I bet him it would be three months.

AMONG THE YOUNG FILMMAKERS at the New Yorker party, Brad Krevoy, who signed Jason Priestley to star during his “90210” hiatus in the bigscreen “Coldblooded” for the MPCA banner. Also producing are Matt Tolmach, Michael J. Fox and Brad Jenkel. And for MPCA’s “Dumb & Dumber” starring Jim Carrey (“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”), they’ve signed Woody Harrelson and Sarah Jessica Parker for cameos and are talking to Nicolas Cage to co-star with Carrey … Also there, young star Brendan Fraser and his “The Scout” producer, Al Ruddy — they’re off to the Yankee Stadium to shoot scenes with George Steinbrenner … Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly and screenwriter Rebecca Soloday will marry in Hanoi March 30. He won the Pulitzer for his pix in the Vietnam War and she’s currently writing the Nancy Kerrigan telepic for Steve Tisch-Disney-ABC … Arthur and Shirley Canton celebrated their 51st wedding anni with Jackie and Neil C., Wendy and Mark C. and their four grandchildren … CAA signed John Goodman.

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