Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2002. Highway Films, Ministry of Propaganda Films, Robert Evans Company, Woodland Pictures LLC. Screenplay by Brett Morgen, based on the book by Robert Evans. Cinematography by John Bailey. Produced by Nanette Burstein, Graydon Carter, Brett Morgen. Music by Jeff Danna. Production Design by Mark Harper. Film Editing by Jun Diaz. Boston Film Critics Awards 2002. New York Film Critics Awards 2002. Online Film Critics Awards 2002. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2002. Washington Film Critics Awards 2002.
After meeting Norma Shearer at a swimming pool and being discovered, actor Robert Evans found himself on a roller coaster ride of success that had some thrilling moments and some pretty scary ones. Eventually tiring of acting, Evans turned to movie producing and made some of the most memorable films of the sixties and seventies, including Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and The Godfather. By the eighties, movies like The Cotton Club weren’t doing so well and his increased reliance on drugs and alcohol, not to mention a distant connection to a murder scandal, threatened to wash him up on shore for good. As this entertaining documentary shows, you can’t keep a good man down, and Evans’s rise to fame in his later years was the inspiration for the book and film (both with the same title) telling his story. Using film clips, hundreds of photos and Evans’s own narrating voice, this fascinating voyage into the world of back lot Hollywood is a thrilling work of gossip, wonderfully peppered by the narrator’s four-letter words and emphasis on dishing the dirt on everyone he ever came across in Tinseltown. However catty he is, though, he’s also refreshingly honest about his own shortcomings, and this ninety minute, endlessly moving exercise in film biography is all the richer for his (mostly) objective take on his own story.