Polanski’s new find
“This festival’s a zoo, but we all love animals.” That’s Roman Polanski’s characterization of the Cannes Film Festival. Yet it was Roman himself who created the case in point this year. Asked by two photographers to pose with handcuffs (he faces sentencing in the U.S. for seducing a 13-year-old girl), the director suddenly wrestled one to the dining room floor of Cannes’ Carlton Hotel and punched him in the face. A few nights earlier at the same hotel Polanski had been a perfect lamb, dining decorously with Betsy Farley, 21, a blue-jeaned American model who, although she has never made a film, was the succès fou of the festival. Raved Paris’ Matin: “This year the U.S. sent no strong films, as last year—but they sent us Betsy Farley.” Rated PG.
Glowering “like a toothless old owl” is how one descendant describes this recently unearthed 1840s Mathew Brady portrait of John James (Birds of America) Audubon. The daguerreotype, one of the only two known camera images of the artist-naturalist, disappeared at the turn of the century, although copies have had wide circulation. The original, recently flushed from a trunk in a Cincinnati attic, was offered for sale at New York’s Christie’s East auction gallery by art agent Walt Burton. He expected it to “command a record-breaking price.” But coming on the heels of the $5.2 million bid two days earlier for Van Gogh’s Garden of a Poet in Aries, the top offer for the Audubon—$15,000—struck Burton as birdseed. He withdrew the portrait to await a more appreciative collector.
Rocker Stevie Wonder, 30, and jazzman Eubie Blake, 97, have something else in common. At the commencement of Nashville’s Fisk University, they became honorary doctors of humane letters, as did JFK aide McGeorge Bundy (right). Wonder came late and donned cap and gown onstage. But it was not out of disinterest. “I’ve wanted to meet Eubie as long as I can remember,” bubbled Stevie. “He’s influenced several generations of American musicians, and I am proud to be one of them.” The admiration was mutual, and Eubie responded, simply, “I like your voice, I like the way you play and I like your music.”
Jane vamps Walter
In her Saturday Night Live persona as a TV anchorwoman, Jane Curtin has a crush on Walter Cronkite and has intimated, as she undoes her primly buttoned blouse, that she’d love to meet him. She got her chance when talk show host Mike Douglas taped an interview with Cronkite and invited Curtin to join them. Jane didn’t undo anything for the amused newsman, but she did fiddle enticingly with his tie. Walter, indicating that he has spent at least one Saturday night at home watching Live, gamely went along with her bit, spinning a fantasy about divorcing their spouses and running off together.
Anne camps Mel
In the beginning, there was Mel Brooks. The new project of the 2,000-Year-Old Man is a movie chronicling nothing less than Mel Brooks’ History of the World. Part I (there is no Part II so far, but remember Star Wars) covers the Roman Empire, the French Revolution and the Spanish Inquisition. Brooks casts himself as the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada—”a tough guy, he had no mercy, you couldn’t talk him outta anything.” But Mel’s wife, Anne Bancroft, is, as ever, uncowed. Stopping by the set, a medieval torture chamber for a Busby Berkeley-esque musical sequence, Anne gave her Inquisitor a hug and told him: “Come home late, so I have time to clean the dungeon.”