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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( 57:01)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer - 10+
  • Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • 4 Interviews
  • Gag reel - Marathon Man
  • Jacket picture

The Kid Stays in the Picture

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 90 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Robert Evans wrote the story of his rise and fall and consequent re-rise in Hollywood without the intention of seeing it become a movie. Naturally, though, a film producer isnít going to turn down an offer for someone to make a film of his life and so we are presented with The Kid Stays in the Picture - the bizarre success of Robert Evans in Hollywood.

Hollywood is a cruel mistress, and somehow Evans managed to tame her long enough to ride successfully on her back until scandal and drugs bumped him back to earth. Discovered by accident at a swimming pool, he starred in a couple of films with some big stars until a friend bought Paramount Studios. At this point, Paramount was coming in ninth (out of nine) among the big Hollywood studios, and Evans was hired as chief of production with no discernable producing skills. In the eight years he ran the joint he got them back to pole position and began producing his own films. Then he was introduced to drugs and he narrowly avoided run-ins with the law until he was connected with a murder associated with a film he was on and they dropped him like yesterdayís news. What follows is Evans lowest points and his incredible survival amongst a community that had effectively black listed him.

This is the kind of documentary you hang out for; an in-depth and honest exposure of all things that glitter. Evans narrates his own story here and the openness with which he shares his feelings and his story immediately endears us to this grizzled veteran of Hollywood. He speaks frankly about love, his marriage, his drug dependency and his emotional collapse all without trace of bitterness, but of triumph over adversity. Whilst being a gritty story, Evans holds nothing back, detailing his own mistakes and his own failings and it is this humanity shown by this seeming Hollywood denizen from on high that displays his similarity to everyone else; his similarity to us regular people.

Told through a creative use of mildly animated original photos and surviving archival footage, this plays for just the right length of time at 90 minutes, leading us through from his discovery to the premiere of this very film. Itís an exceptional tale and one of genuine interest as he details not only his own life, but the lives of those around him and recognisable events from the time. To wit; the releases of certain movies, his work on others and historical dates of the age. Itís totally gripping stuff and more interesting the further we progress into the darker side of Hollywood and the murky waters he stirs up.

  Video
Contract

Told in multiple formats, this appears in both black and white, colour, new footage, archival footage, original film footage, behind the scenes and outtakes stuff Ė the list goes on. Delivered for the most part in 1.85:1 and 16:9 enhanced, it looks as good as it could look. Some of the archival stuff is pretty battered about, but it totally suits the story and the grainier details being divulged. Picture quality varies according to sources, but this truly isnít so bad. With the incredible stories coming forth, any footage to support them is welcome, regardless of their look. A nice job has been done to restore some of the original quality and does make the film look uniform, if not perfect. Finally though, an unfortunate detectable layer change occurs at 57:01. This is mid-sentence and isnít too bad but still; itís visible.

  Audio
Contract

I love it when we get three options. Even more so when those options include DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo. Whilst not having any real sound effects of note, the narration by Mr Evans is spot on. He speaks eloquently and evenly, keeping all traces of bitterness out of his voice, yet delivering the emotional impact of the story perfectly. Who better to narrate your life story than yourself anyway? Absolutely faultless narration, I gotta say and the sound is just as flawless. The music is dynamic and even with some nice rounded out usage. This has been scored by Jeff Danna and suits the '60s through to the '90s perfectly each time. There are also familiar tracks interlaced throughout and these too are resonant and sound fabulous. Perfect stuff.

  Extras
Contract

A veritable Hollywood mansion worth of extras to fill out more details on the story and to act as postscripts. On the Red Carpet is a 12-minute series of soundbite interviews of folks on the red carpet (natch) at the premiere of the film. There are some interesting names here that include Evans himself, his son Josh, Leeza Gibbons, Larry King, Mathew McConaughey and Brett Ratner.

A seven-minute gag reel from a film made during Evansí time at the top at Paramount comes in next. This is from Marathon Man and is basically Dustin Hoffman acting stupid in 4:3, dinged up and scratched style.

Then we have a series of trailers and artwork from the eight films made by Paramount while Evans ran the show. These include: Rosemaryís Baby, Love Story, The Godfather, Chinatown, Marathon Man, Black Sunday, The Cotton Club and Harold and Maude. A nice inclusion, with the trailers being at 1.85:1 and 16:9 but not all are included.

Then follows the trailer for this pic at 1.85:1 and 16:9 as well.

Nine odd minutes of interviews come in next with Robert Evans, Craydon Carter, Brett Morgan and Nanette Burstein. They're interesting, but a bit fawning really and finally there are the Madman Propaganda trailers. These include The Safety of Objects, Russian Ark (with that awful vertical scratch through the whole thing), Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), The One and Only and Samsara.

Certainly a healthy collection, but the interviews and historical trailer/artwork have to win the race.

  Overall  
Contract

For anyone needing inspiration to succeed through adversity, this is your film. For anyone thinking Hollywood is the perfect city of light, this is a good way to be snapped out of it (if Mulholland Drive hasnít done it for you already). For those interested in filmmaking/producing and the dirty tricks behind the scenes, this is a bit of a bible for you.

So, this film works on many levels. Mr Evans takes us through both the highs and lows of his rise to the top and the unbearable gravity of his falling back to the bottom again. Itís quite sad in parts, but the overall feeling is one of triumph at this manís singular courageousness, and is told with genuine warmth and honesty. If only all Hollywood documentaries played like this, theyíd get watched more and wouldnít be relegated to the 2am timeslots. Compelling watching.


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      And I quote...
    "If only all Hollywood documentaries were this good and this honest. The story of Robert Evans is fascinating and murky viewing."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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