Keep your friends close and…

From the movie “Educating Rita”…

Frank: What? Oh, yes, yes.  Now, er, this essay you wrote for me.

Rita: It was crap.

Frank: No, no. The thing is, Rita. How the hell can you write an essay on EM Forster with almost total reference to Harold Robbins?

Rita: Oh, well… Well, you said to bring in other authors. “Reference to other works will impress the examiners,” you said.

Frank: Yes, I said refer to other works but I doubt if the examiner will have read…- Where Love Has Gone.

Rita: That’s his hard luck.

“Educating Rita” on BetaMax (isn’t that old school? It was 1983) was brought to our home in Beverly Hills for Harold to watch and give approval to use his name. There was no hesitation on his part, since his friend Micheal Caine was in the starring role. We invited several of Harold’s friends over including Steve and Betty Shagan, Irving Wallace, David and Rita Chandler, the handsome, Dennis Cole and a few others to watch the not-yet-released movie. After a sumptuous meal of Prime Rib, Yorkshire pudding and sautéed spinach we all went into the living room to watch the movie on Harold’s 60 inch screen that seemed to fill the room.

Before the movie started he told the story of his relationship with Lewis Gilbert, the director of the film…. “I had been hired by Paramount to write the screenplay for The Adventurers and Gilbert was director. The story was massive and I felt the screenplay could easily be adapted from the book. It was one of the most visual I had ever written. So, once I finished the screenplay in the South of France it took a few days to get it to Gilbert. About a week later, in the middle of the night the phone rang. It was Gilbert.” Harold started to laugh as he continued.

“Robbins, you’re fired!” Gilbert bellowed into my ear. “It’s too dirty, too violent and too much like the book!”

That was the end of Harold’s screenwriting career for a time. But, in Hollywood you always remain friends…even with your enemies….because you never know when that person you fired, might be the person you need to ask for a favor down the road!


~ by haroldrobbinsnovels on September 17, 2010.

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