This documentary captures the life story of legendary Hollywood producer and studio chief Robert Evans. The first actor to ever to run a film studio, Robert Evans' film career started in 1956, poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel. His good looks, charm and overwhelming confidence captured the eye of screen legend Norma Shearer, who offered him a film role. After a glamorous--but short-lived--career as a movie star, Evans tried out producing. At the age of 34, with no producing credits to his name, he landed a job as chief of production at Paramount Pictures. Evans ran the studio from 1966-1974. During his tenure, he was responsible for such revolutionary films as The Godfather, Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, The Odd Couple, Harold and Maude and Chinatown. By the early '80s, the Golden Boy of Hollywood was losing his luster. After a failed marriage to Ali MacGraw, a cocaine bust and rumored involvement with the Cotton Club murder, he disappeared into near-obscurity. Only through ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The title comes from a line attributed to studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, who was defending Evans after some of the actors involved in the film The Sun Also Rises (1957) had recommended he be removed from the cast. See more »
The closing credits say that Evans has been at Paramount for over 35 years, "more than any other producer on the lot." However, A.C. Lyles has been with Paramount for 75 years (as of 2003), though he is no longer actively producing. See more »
like Evans himself, this documentary isn't as great as it thinks it is, but it is watchable throughout
Robert Evans's book version of this documentary, The Kid Stays in the Picture, is still un-read by me. But I have read much about him from other movie books from the 70's, and so this film does illuminate certain aspects of him that I already knew- his huge ego, his drug addiction, his proclivity to lots and lots of women, and having some part in the more outstanding films of the 1970's. Sometimes with Evans himself narrating throughout two things become apparent as peculiarities that keep it from being great- 1) the filmmaker's style is rather repetitive and, aside from some flourishes of talent, isn't anything too grand for the material, and 2) the three sides to the story that Evans is quoted with at the beginning become rather blurred as one full-on nostalgia (for bad and good) comes out. What makes it captivating, however, is that Evans is the kind of guy who will be honest about being full of crap and will even call on himself for his past troubles. Rarely has one man's achievements gone neck and neck with his flaws, and let out in a filmic, grandiose style such as this.
Evans is shown to have, basically, a lot of luck as someone getting into Hollywood (as many of these stories go). He starts out as a so-so actor and tries desperately to establish himself as a producer. He becomes more apart of the development side of the pictures, and ushers through Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, and even the Godfather to an extent. As his story includes the personal side (his rise and fall in the relationship to Ali McGraw, the cocaine, the other tabloid stuff), the other side of his professional accomplishments still gears in for room. By the end, one can see that the man has gone through enough to have his rightful reputation as Paramount's longest remaining producer, and will likely hold onto his ego of being the head-cheese kind of 'creative producer' so many directors like or dread till the grave. If anything, the film is actually too short, as at 93 minutes (a brilliant Dustin Hoffman imitation over the credits included) we only get glimpses that are further expounded in the book. Therefore its already subjective viewpoint becomes even more crunched into one all-too-simple story on such an interesting case study.
The Kid Stays in the Picture, despite not being as terrific as the filmmakers might think it is by their sleek camera angles and typical interludes of montage, is as close to being as honest as it could be. Honest, in the sense that Evans doesn't hide much in his story and how his own way of speaking about it, in its deep-sounding and straight-forward Hollywood way, is what film buffs look for. He may have been and done a lot of things, but as he says at the end, "I enjoy what I do, which most people can't say that they do."
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