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Hollywood on the Riviera.

HOLLYWOOD ON THE RIVIERA by Cari Beauchamp and Henri Behar

(William Morrow & Co., 468 p.) carefully and attractively catalogues the history, myths, glories, follies and scandals of the Cannes Film Festival, now in its 44th year and -despite some considerable changes-still going strong.

It is an amazing and colorful story about an event that, at times, has defied logic, bringing out the worst in the movie industry and its players, and at other times, has been a shiny beacon for the art of the international cinema.

Behar, the top French translator at the Festival and Le Monde's U.S. correspondent, and Beauchamp, have collected story after story, incident piled on incident, as the Festival unfolded every May. They cover every aspect-the history, the jury, the stars, the publicists, the studios, the agents and the critics.

The duo relate how the Festival functions (or does not function), how the jury is run and by whom, and how the event gradually turned into a swarming market crowded by men and women who care little about the competition or about films per se, and who have made "the deal" their icon.

Behar and Beauchamp know how to tell a good anecdote. Their book is well researched and crammed with facts and humor. It is also very astute in its observation of the movie crowd and quite seething when they view the behavior of publicists who saw-and still see - their role as "protecting" the client.

"Of course it's a zoo, but don't we all love animals," said Roman Polanski. Jack Lemmon calls Cannes "a circus, but I had a very good seat."

That's how it goes, quote after quote, a long string of wry and sometimes stinging observations on the outrageous manners and mores of the movie crowd and its frequently odd and public behavior, which seems to be a Cannes-induced specialty.

For those who care more for names than industry gossip, the book offers some wonderfully entertaining stories. Name a star or a director or an agent, and they are sure to be in these pages. From Fred Astaire to Ingrid Bergman (who, when jury president, got an ovation every time she appeared) to Brigitte Bardot, and Kim Novak and Cher, who demanded a trampoline and a food mixer in her suite; from Spike "We was robbed" Lee to Robert Mitchum, photographed for the first time with a bare-breasted, publicity-hungry starlet. Hollywood on the Riviera is a riveting portrait of the kind of people which the movie industry nurtures, encourages, idolizes and sometimes destroys.

On the "trade" side, Beauchamp and Behar clearly have the picture. They tell great stories and offer pithy quotes. Included is the tale of Norbert Auerbach who, as United Artists president, appeared with a huge stuffed lion in front of the Carlton Hotel, to announce that MGM's Kirk Kerkorian had bought his company. It was one of those historic photos that went around the world. Its story here is told with verve and irreverence, and often with obvious affection.

This is a very satisfying and entertaining book, one that should be a "must" for just about everyone who has ever been to the Festival madhouse.
COPYRIGHT 1992 TV Trade Media, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:526
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