A documentary on the life of Hollywood producer Robert Evans.


Robert Evans is, to say the least, a colourful character. A formidable, one, too, since he narrates, and presumably controls, this film biography about him: The Kid Stays in the Picture.

Evans was a 25-year-old businessman when he was discovered by Norma Shearer and cast to play her late husband, Irving Thalberg, in Man Of A Thousand Faces, the Lon Chaney biopic made in 1957. Despite the objections of other members of the cast, he was also cast by Darryl F. Zanuck to play a bullfighter in The Sun Also Rises, based on the Hemingway novel, "The kid stays in the picture," growled Zanuck, and Evans decided to emulate him, especially when his next film, the sadistic Fiend That Walked The West, killed his career as an actor. To the amazement of Hollywood insiders he was soon made head of production at Paramount, a studio which, under his guidance, made an amazing string of successes – Rosemary's Baby, The Godfather, Love Story, Chinatown – to hear Evans tell it, you'd almost think he directed them himself.

Evans is frank, and rather rude, about his marriage to Ali McGraw and his relationships with other women. But there's no mention of his collaboration with Phillip Noyce on the films Sliver and The Saint, and that might have been interesting. This is a beautifully made and, for a film buff, riveting documentary – don't expect objectivity, though, from what is essentially a very self-serving portrait.