‘Hunting Party’ premiere a blast

Stars come out for Weinstein film

SOME PARTY was laid on for the premiere of the Weinstein Company’s “The Hunting Party” at the Paris Theater and cafe Azza the other night. The New York Observer and MGM sponsored the event. Beauties and VIPs galore — Carey Lowell and Richard Gere, James Brolin sans his better half but with their pal Donna Karan, Ivanka Trump, Vera Farmiga, Georgette Mossbacher, Montel Williams, Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons, the Jeff Greenfields, Holland Taylor, Cynthia McFadden, Maurice DuBois, plus all the movie’s cast. This is a terrific, unusual film. Harvey Weinstein hasn’t lost his moxie for recognizing that American audiences will respond to films with serious international themes if they are done with panache, suspense, action and meaning. And humor. There is a solid performance by Richard Gere as a washed up newsman. But my pet pick is Terrence Howard, just great as a news cameraman who has made it big in commercial TV.

GEORGE LUCAS will appear at Sotheby’s in New York on Oct. 26 to receive the Prince Rainier III Award for commitment to the arts. … My new favorite TV show, next to Bill Paxton’s polygamous “Big Love,” is the advertising saga of the ’60s, “Mad Men” on AMC. Cabler will feature a marathon of this new show, showing the first seven episodes back to back beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday. … Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has joined the Fete de Swifty gala happening at 73rd and Lex on Oct. 2. She’ll help the mayor’s fight vs. domestic violence just as she has teamed with the City’s Human Resources group to reduce poverty in Gotham.

LONDON’S WEST END just had 25 of its shows canceled. Even “The Drowsy Chaperone” couldn’t sustain and talents like Maggie Smith, Elaine Paige, as well as “Harry Potter’s” Daniel Radcliffe are out of their jobs. But New York has a Horton Foote premiere opening Sept. 27 at Primary Stages and what a cast — Elizabeth Ashley, Arthur French, Hallie Foote, Penny Fuller and Gerald McRaney. This one, “Dividing the Estate,” will be an occasion.

“I’M NOT DEAD. I have to laugh. I’ve never been more alive.” That’s what Robert Evans said to me the other day. Early this week came a shocking email that Bob had died. In fact, his ex-wife, Phyllis George (who had received the same news), was getting ready to speak to me about Evans when we were all relieved to discover that somebody was wrong. Bob is not ready to leave this vale of tears. When I spoke to Bob — the man who produced “Love Story,” “The Godfather” and “Chinatown” — he gave me his schedule for the day. Breakfast with director Brett Ratner, lunch with Viacom’s Sumner Redstone and a photo shoot with Oliver Peoples for a new line of sunglasses bearing the Bob Evans’ signature. And for the evening? A session with his biographer for a sequel to his fabulous memoir, “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” This one will be called “The Fat Lady Sings.”

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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