‘Casino’ scores ambivalent responses

GOOD MORNING: You can please some of the people all of the time and — all of the people some of the time, etc. — and it was never more true than in current movies, TV shows and books about Las Vegas and its cast of characters. “Casino” is cooking up powerful praise as well as vocal brickbats in the creative community — even at a most unlikely place, the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. At last Saturday’s Acad membership screening of Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” one Acad member stood up midway through the movie and asked the audience to follow him out of the theater as a protest against the violence (maybe one or two took him up on it). Hardly what you’d expect at an Acad screening? There also was uncalled-for vocal reaction at the film’s finale … And then, Saturday night, after HBO debuted its “Sugartime,” the story of Sam Giancana and Phyllis McGuire, she let her feelings be known. “I did not authorize the program, endorse it or cooperate with its production in any way. HBO was more concerned with fiction than fact and the movie is riddled with blatant inaccuracies, exaggerations and distortions. This particular episode of my life and career has been utilized in over 30 books and movies in the past. I am writing my own book that will set the record straight, not for any materialistic gain but to correct the many errors of fact and opinion that the public has received from these other, misleading sources”… HBO, for its part, said they went to McGuire early on for her input, but she refused. Director John N. Smith told me Giancana’s daughter, Antoinette, as well as author William F. Roemer Jr., whose book “Man Against the Mob” suggested the screenplay, both had visited the set. “And I showed it (the movie) to Antoinette at the premiere. She said it reminded her of her dad — as a family man.” As for McGuire’s comments, Smith said, “I think she’s treated fairly. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t talk to us, so wehad to depend on her many appearances on TV, including newsreel footage — we used all possible sources. As for the private moments, we created a love story, which she even described to Barbara Walters. Sam was the man she truly loved”… Meanwhile, the McGuire Sisters continue their career and are on the road again, this week at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, W.Va., and in January, they head out on a multi-city tour of Florida. If you missed the initial screening of “Sugartime,” it airs on HBO again tonight , Dec. 3, 6, 11, and 14 … Phyllis also is represented in “Casino”– at least two of her cars were used by the authenticity-minded Scorsese — her 1973 white, four-door Cadillac limo and 1976 white four-door Caddy. No, they weren’t Sam’s — Phyllis bought them years ago from Barron Hilton, who kept them for his personal use around his Las Vegas Hilton.

“I’M TOO OLD TO WORK,” claimed Virginia Mayo — but she didn’t look or sound old at all at her 75th birthday party Sunday at the Athens restaurant in Santa Monica. She did “Follies” earlier this year in Houston and Seattle, “but I wouldn’t do it again — theater is hard work.” She was surrounded by pals including Gene Nelson, with whom she did six musicals at WB, also Michael Callan , Karen Morrow, Edie Adams, Jane Withers, Margaret O’Brien, Mayo’s daughter, three grandsons and Red Buttons. He pointed to the eatery’s wall of celeb photos and said, “It’s in memoriam of all the Greeks hit here by flying plates!”… Buttons has now completed two of four segs of a very dramatic guestint in “ER”– Oscar winner Buttons reminded he also went vidramatic in a “Ben Casey” seg many years ago … President Clinton, in Ireland, where he meets with Van Morrison, will bring the rocker/saxophonist an 11×14 exhibition-quality print of “The Prez ,” Lester Young, photo’d by Hollywood’s Phil Stern on the “New Orleans” set at WB in 1947. Clinton has one of those Young pix in his den at the White House. “New Orleans,” in case you forgot, also starred such Clinton idols as Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Meade Lux Lewis and Woody Herman … Add showbiz and politix: Faye Dunaway and Christie Brinkley are among co-hosts at the Al Gore fundraiser in N.Y. Wednesday, featuring showbiz and fashion celebs at the home of Jack Rosen, CEO of Hazel Bishop Cosmetics, Continental Health Affiliates — and chairman of the National Finance Council of the Democratic National Committee.

A DEAFENING ROAR on Rodeo Drive — 2,500 Harley-Davidsons on parade — all for a good cause. More than $ 75,000 was raised Sunday afternoon for the Permanent Charities of the Entertainment Industries, which will match it and distribute to children’s charities, as John Carroll, president of the Rodeo Drive Committee happily reported. Grand Marshal Cybill Shepherd arrived dressed entirely in black: bodysuit, vest, skin-tight black leather pants, jacket and boots … Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley were dining at Madame Wu’s Sunday night. He said they’re in town working on Castle Rock’s “Extreme Measures,” which Hurley will produce, and in which Grant stars with Michael Apted directing in February.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Voices News from Variety