GOOD MORNING: A totally different look at the black days during Hollywood’s blacklisting is being readied in “The Carl Foreman Letter.” Lionel Chetwynd is writing and will direct the feature for PBS. I have seen — and read — that lengthy letter by Foreman to the New York Times’ Bosley Crowther on Aug. 7, 1952 following Crowther’s glowing review of “High Noon,” scripted by Foreman. It recounts what happened to Foreman after he was called by the HUAC. The drama and heartbreak in Foreman’s letter outdoes any of his (five) Oscar-nominated films. It will cause Hollywood to hide in shame again. … Coincidentally, Chetwynd is in Montreal — doubling for Marseilles, WWII — directing another of his passions, his screenplay of “Varian’s War: A Forgotten Hero” for Showtime. And this film will no doubt cause many French to hide in shame for their treachery in delivering their fellow countrymen — who were Jewish — to the Nazi death camps. This vidfeature is the story of American Varian Fry who witnessed Kristallnacht in Berlin, Nov. 9, 1938 — and never forgot. He went on to risk his life in rescuing French artists including Chagall by taking them over the Pyrenees mountains and eventually to America. Joel Miller plays Chagall, and Bella Chagall is played by Chetwynd’s wife, Gloria Carlin. William Hurt stars as Fry. Barbra Streisand and Cis Corman (Barwood) and (Prince) Edward Wessex are exec producers, Chetwynd, Michael Deakin and Kevin Tierney are producers of the “grand scale” pic … Chetwynd says his film will show how the Nazi war machine was oiled by the Vichy French who will not be spared in scenes where French were deported to death camps. Two of them were my cousins. How will today’s Frenchmen react to Chetwynd’s movie? “I hope it will play to a profound interest,” he says.
WE STOPPED IN LONDON on our way home, dined with Peter and Virginia Yates. He is talking with writer Bruce Fierstein about a rally car racing pic. Yates, of course, directed “Bullitt,” which boasts the best car chase scenes ever filmed. We lunched with warm and gracious Mark Birley at his home in the heart of London — though you’d never know it — across from the Albert and Victoria Museum. His other guests were the charming Nina Campbell and Belinda Harley … We stayed at the Dorchester, one of the world’s most beautiful hotels, also home to Elizabeth Taylor and Julie Andrews enjoying royal treatment there as well — after receiving their knighthood. We caught Kathleen Turner at the Gielgud theater in “The Graduate.” She is getting raves and doing SRO biz — and has a piece of the action, she smiled. Among her earlier visitors were Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Turner and Douglas teamed in “Romancing the Stone” and “Jewel of the Nile” plus “War of the Roses,” but she admits they don’t think they can pull off another actioner like the first two. She leaves the play July 29 and then readies to tour as “Tallulah.”
CHARLTON HESTON WILL SURELY like “All the Rage.” Producer-director James Stern told me of his black comedy about “America’s fascination with firearms in which the central motif, if not the subject, is guns.” Daily Variety‘s reviewer Todd McCarthy said the pic plausibly argues that its many shootings “would have been quite avoidable if guns were not so conveniently at hand.” P.S. Stern told me the June 27 preem at the WGA benefits the Institute of Police Violence. The N.Y. preem benefited PAX. The versatile Stern (also producer of B’way musicals) arrived in L.A. for Thursday night’s industry screening of his “Michael Jordan to the Max” at U’s IMAX Theater. Jordan told Stern he loved the pic. Next for Stern the feature version of Tina Landau’s play, “Space” about a shrink whose patients think they were abducted by aliens. You must admit Stern is versatile.
KENNY ROGERS ADDS TO HIS HONORS when he receives Country Weekly’s Career Achievement Award on TNN’s Music Awards. Saturday, he headlines Kansas City’s 150th birthday, live show at Arrowhead Stadium with Little Richard, host Walter Cronkite, a cast of 2,500 — and an audience of 40,000. Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion produce after which Smith goes full time as exec producer and director of the DemoNational Convention at Staples, Aug. 14-17. Ricky Kirschner is producer … The 27th Carl Reiner Tournament benefiting the Kayne-Eras Center raised $500,000 at La Costa, where this year Tom Arnold hosted and comedy was supplied by Kevin Meaney, Ron Pearson and Bobby Slayton. The tourney honored Craig Lambert of MCA Records and Valerie DeLong Lambert of Universal/Motown Records Group. “Charmed’s” Brian Krause won the putting contest. Carrie Miller was the events manager of the event founded by Mike and Gloria Franks and Barbara Cull is the founder/exec director of the Kayne-Eras center dedicated to children, youth and families from at-risk conditions … Jean Govoni Salvadore winged in from Italy for the launching of her book, “Villa D’Este Style” (Rizzoli) at Lucy Zahran’s in BevHills. The magnificent book will bring back many memories for all of Hollywood’s elite who have visited the Villa D’Ete on Lake Como and who have known Jean since her days with TWA in Rome in the 1960s. Of the Villa ‘D’Este, Herb Caen said, “The precise location of heaven on Earth has never been established but it may very well be right here.”