Kennedy keeps plate full of quality fare

GOOD MORNING: When you talk with Kathleen Kennedy you realize why she, her talented friends — and Hollywood — are best at the bizness of making movies for everyone. Kennedy and husband Frank Marshall are now in Cincy producing what she calls “a feel-good picture.” It’s Par’s “Milk Money” with Melanie Griffith, Ed Harris and Malcolm McDowell. “It will have a Norman Rockwell look,” she says of the Cincy- and Pittsburgh-localed pic. “People like to laugh,” she sez, and the Richard Benjamin-directed movie will fill that need. Meanwhile, Kennedy’s in constant contact with Steven Spielberg on “Schindler’s List,” on which she’s exec producer. “It’s a triumphant story,” she says of the Liam Neeson-Ben Kingsley pic about a dramatic WWII rescue of Holocaust victims. Kathleen visited Auschwitz during the filming and admits, “It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.” For “Schindler,” they rebuilt Dachau and used all original footage — no library film. “It is amazingly realistic,” she admits. “But the movie doesn’t dwell on it.” How will Universal sell Sid Sheinberg’s pet project? “They will tell the narrative,” Kennedy assures. Trailers will be in black-and-white — true to the film — but print ads will be hued … The Kennedy-Spielberg-Amblin relationship continues well as the Kennedy-Marshall/Par association. As noted here, Kathleen, Steve and WB are looking for a January-February script delivery on “The Bridges of Madison County” when Clint Eastwood also makes a decision on the film …”These are secular, not religious pictures,””Abraham” exec producer Jerry Rafshoon assures me. He and Lorenzo Minoli of Luxe (Lux and Poeta) are here for post-production of the four-hour, Joe Sargent-directed mini, which airs in the U.S. on TNT, RAI overseas. It’s the first of 40 hours of the Old Testament. And they tell me, “They’re not like a Cecil B. DeMille movie. They’re a search for meaning for believers and non-believers.” The initial outing came in at $ 10 million after months of filming in Morocco where they built their own studio. A total of $ 120 million is pledged for the entire library of pix, which will have enormous potential in cassettes, they admit. Next up are “Jacob” (two hours) and “Joseph” (four).

ASHES OF MICHAEL REDGRAVE, who died March 21, 1985, were finally placed in the actors’ church at Covent Garden this week. Lady Rachel Redgrave (85), daughter Vanessa and son Corin arrive in N.Y. Nov. 5 to see Lynn Redgrave on B’way in “Shakespeare For My Father.” Lynn and husband John Clark celebrate their show’s 200th performance Sunday — they’ve now gotten back their investment … Maximillian Schell, here from the Estonia location of “Candles in the Dark,” which he directed and co-stars in with wife Natasscha Andreichenko, Chad Lowe and Alyssa Milano, must deliver the director’s cut to the Family Channel by 5 p.m. Saturday — same time the German feature “Justice,” in which Schell stars, screens at Aidikoff. It’s a submission for foreign-language Oscar. The movie’s about the first action of revolt against Soviet power — the 1988 rebellion of Estonians in which they insisted on celebrating — Christmas … No planes were permitted to land in Paris Thursday, so Phil Ramone, producer of Frank Sinatra’s Capitol disk “Duets,” had to drive from Amsterdam in his trek of playbacks for international press, radio, TV. He now has to drive to Brussels in order to get a plane for Tokyo. Ramone sez European reception to the album has been sensaysh. What about “Duets II”? Sinatra’s already recorded four and has four left over from his first sessions. Who’d duet with F.S.? Possible names: Axl Rose, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart, Pavarotti, Placido Domingo — and hopefully Ella. Meanwhile, Sinatra continues nonstop working with an Oct. 26-31 stand in Vegas at the Desert Inn. Wife Barbara Sinatra received the Chancelor’s Founders Award from the U. of California-Riverside for her work for abused children.

KENNEDY CENTER HONOREE Arthur Mitchell, founder of the Dance Theater of Harlem, was applauded Wednesday at a CAA toasting headed by Michael Ovitz, hosts Debbie Allen and Eileen Norton. Also Phylicia Rashad, Brock Peters and showbiz exex who hope the troupe will get a major L.A. date soon (they’re playing El Camino College). The “60 Minutes” piece on Mitchell was screened, plus footage of their historic 1992 tour of South Africa … Sunday at the Marilyn Monroe theater in N.Y.’s Lee Strasberg Institute, Jimmy Webb concerts his “Suspending Disbelief” album (Elektra) benefiting Children Orphaned by AIDS … Nancy Daly’s United Friends of the Children is selling tix to Bette Midler’s Dec. 17 U-Amphi concert benefiting MacLaren Children’s Center, one of Nancy’s longtime charities.