Lantos, Vizinczey settle suit

Details of out-of-court deal confidential

Filmmaker Robert Lantos has settled a legal dispute with Stephen Vizinczey, author of “In Praise of Older Women,” the film adaptation of which established Lantos as a producer on the international scene.

According to Canadian media reports, Lantos and Stephen Vizinczey settled a year-old breach-of-contract suit out of court for an undisclosed sum late last week.

Vizinczey sold the rights to his autobiographical 1965 novel “In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of Andras Varda,” about a young Hungarian man tutored in eros by women in their 30s and 40s, to RSL Prods., a company founded by Lantos and lawyer Stephen Roth, for C$42,500 plus “6% of gross earnings,” as detailed in a contract Vizinczey reportedly penned himself.

The film raised eyebrows for its then-racy tone at its 1978 preem at the Festival of Festivals (which later became the Toronto International Film Festival). Lantos has gone on to produce many more films, including “Joshua Then and Now,” “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Black Robe,” “Crash” (the one directed by David Cronenberg) and the Oscar-nommed “Being Julia.”

Vizinczey had always believed that the 1978 film was a fiscal flop, until in a featurette included on the 2004 DVD release, Lantos revealed in an interview that “Older Women,” which starring Tom Berenger and Karen Black, had grossed close to $20 million worldwide. Vizinczey was further chagrined that he was not given credit in the DVD release notes.

He filed a breach-of-contract suit in an Ontario court last September alleging that he is owed at least $231,000.

The settlement reportedly promises also to give Vizinczey due credit on the DVD’s notes and suggests the two could collaborate again in future.