Hollywood’s eye candy!

Hollywood’s eye candy!
Highlights

Cleaning my room the other day one chanced upon a picture of Candice Bergen, as pretty as ever. It was from ‘Live for Life’ (1967) where she plays the spoiler in a marriage between Robert (Yves Montand) and Catherine (Anne Girardot). She sticks to her own name in the film. 

Cleaning my room the other day one chanced upon a picture of Candice Bergen, as pretty as ever. It was from ‘Live for Life’ (1967) where she plays the spoiler in a marriage between Robert (Yves Montand) and Catherine (Anne Girardot). She sticks to her own name in the film.

There was a good contrast between the two women. Bergen young and ebullient, Girardot mature and unruffled. In fact, she has been grossly overlooked in the film industry. Yes, Montand, of course, has always been a favourite of mine ever since I saw him in John Frankenheimer’s ‘Grand Prix’ one of the finest movies on motor-racing.

Directed by Frenchman Claude Lelouch, of ‘A Man and a Woman’ fame, it is as absorbing as ever with Lelouch’s subtle touches (when Lelouch was in India for IFFI ’97 in Thiruvananthapuram they called him Letouch, crass ignorance).With a rare economy of dialogue, he zeroes on the intricacies of love as only the French can do.

But I do remember Sir Richard Attenborough telling me during the shooting of ‘Gandhi’ that he had promised her the role of photographer Margaret Bourke-White at the time of shooting ‘The Sand Pebbles’ about gunboat diplomacy alongside Steve McQueen.

And Sir Richard kept his word. I was very close to him during the shooting of ‘Gandhi’ and he gave me a few exclusive interviews, including Martin Sheen. I still remember the shoot of the Salt March on Marve beach and Billy Williams searching camerawork.

She may have come in as one of Hollywood’s privileged kids but she did work hard on her roles. She also made news when she married French filmmaker Louis Malle, whose documentaries on India, were seen as anti-Indian but she did defend Malle when I interviewed her at the Hotel Searock during the ‘Gandhi’ shoot.

It was not a long film career but it wasn’t all candy floss roles and she did play a significant part in the new image of the American Indian in ‘Soldier Blue’ (1970). It was inspired by the 1864 Sand Creek massacre of Indians in Colorado and the character she plays lived with the Cheyanne Indians for two years.

The switch had already taken place and the Indian was no longer the screaming, holing-hooligans they were depicted as earlier with good ‘ol John “the Duke” Wayne punching his way to glory.

The 1970s didn’t see much of her but ‘The Wind and the Lion’ did make some impression but even here she was overshadowed by a powerful Sean Connery.

Her name does figure in ‘Miss Congeniality’ and ‘Rich and Famous’ but they are at best pot-boilers. Maybe her detractors would be happy with “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”!

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