The Breakfast Table

At the Grill


You show a fierce resistance to answering my astute questions. You just keep posing more, like some sort of pitching machine that’s set a little too high. But I am game to respond as much as I can.

Glad you brought up l’affaireKazan. I was about to do the same. I haven’t heard a word about the Schlesinger riff, which sounds like pure sophistry to me. Is there no moral compass? Informing on Nazis is the same as informing in a commie witch hunt? Have we no shame? But I didn’t read it, so I’ll stop.

There is, in fact, some limited Kazan debate going on, mostly in the letters pages of the Los Angeles Times. I don’t think it would be enough to hearten you. I am attending a small industry dinner tomorrow night and will let you know if the topic arises. I haven’t gotten out that much lately, so maybe I am missing some chat about this at the Grill. But my very educated guess is that they’re talking deals, Ovitz, the fate of Disney chairman Joe Roth, and more deals at the Grill and that Kazan isn’t on the radar.

That’s how it always is. Gulf War, Zippergate, or whatever are sideshows here. The business of Hollywood is business. There is a generally uninformed liberal lean but I don’t know whether there’s a true political soul. Bill likes Barbra; Barbra likes Bill–and so on. Hollywood and Washington and mutually infatuated. They turn each other on. Washington represents brains and power; Hollywood represents money and unfettered hedonism. As far as business goes–in the form of regulation that might affect profits–the moguls try to make sure there isn’t any. So the Washington brass gets invited to D.C. premieres or dinners and screenings at the Motion Picture Association of America. And from my experience, they show up quite happily.

In the Times, some are saying that the younger generation is too ignorant to know or care what Kazan did, which is probably true. Several are saying that Kazan’s movies got their Oscars and enough is enough–he doesn’t deserve further recognition from the Academy. I predict that when the award is given, there will be some scattered and muted applause and someone may yell something, providing what might be one of the only colorful moments of the otherwise interminable evening. Many in the audience will whisper to their neighbors, “What? I don’t get it.” Cause for despair? I don’t think so. So it is and ever was in the land of celluloid dreams.

Picking my Oscar outfit most carefully,