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Domino is
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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I don't usually think in terms of 35th anniversaries, so I hadn't been planning to post anything about the 35th anniversary of Scarface-- after all, at the 35th anniversary Scarface screening and reunion this past April at Tribeca, with Robert De Niro hanging around (it's his festival), De Palma at one point said, "35 is such an odd number to celebrate an anniversary- why not 50? Greetings was created in 1968, we’re all still here." In any case, I felt like posting the two images above, so here it is-- and here are a couple of links from the past few days, followed by a repost of the People Magazine coverage of the Scarface screenings and parties in New York and Hollywood:

Variety: Inside Scarface's Sometimes Rocky Road to Becoming a Classic

Mental Floss: 15 Surprising Facts About Scarface


Scarface 1983 Premiere

In its December 19, 1983 issue, People Weekly covered the parties of the Scarface previews that took place within 24 hours of each other in New York and Hollywood. It is interesting to look back at the celebrities' reactions to the film upon its initial release. The article, written by Kristin McMurran, David Hutchings, and Pamela Lansden opened like this:
Kurt Vonnegut walked out after 30 minutes, muttering, "It's too gory for me." Author John Irving followed. Cheryl Tiegs called it "the most violent film I've ever seen. It makes you never want to hear the word 'cocaine' again." The celebs were unnerved by Scarface, the scarifying update of the 1932 Paul Muni classic, starring Al Pacino as a Cuban immigrant drug lord who shoots his way to the top and snorts his way back down (see review, page 12). At the movie's tag-team previews in New York and Hollywood, the verdict was generally the same: pro-Pacino and anti-firepower. Actor James (The Onion Field) Woods, though, had a different view. "Personally," deadpanned Woods, "I'm all for any movie whose lead character keeps a grenade launcher in his living room."

Pacino himself missed the New York preview because he was performing in a Broadway revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo, although he appears to have made it to the afterparty. In the photo to the left, Pacino is leaving the New York party by limo with his then-current girlfriend Kathleen Quinlan. In the photo at the top of this page, he is shaking hands with co-stars Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Steven Bauer. The caption underneath the photo quotes Bauer: "I feared rejection until I met Al. It's hard to imagine yourself in the same league."

The article says that Lucille Ball was the favorite of fans watching from the sidewalk, until Eddie Murphy arrived to upstage her. Murphy is pictured at left with Diane Lane, who arrived late herself. Murphy said, "Al Pacino is my favorite actor. I know the dialogue to all his movies. When I met him, I groveled." The article says that the preview audience was more subdued after the screening, quoting Lucille Ball (whom the article consistently refers to as simply "Lucy") as saying, "We thought the performances were excellent, but we got awful sick of that word."

Martin Bregman hosted an after-preview party for 130 guests at Sardi's in New York, where Cher, who brought her 14-year-old daughter Chastity along, told People, "I really liked it. It was a great example of how the American dream can go to shit." Raquel Welch, who also brought along her daughter Tahnee, said, "A lot of people will enjoy the comic-strip violence that goes on ad nauseam." Welch is also quoted in a photo caption as saying that "the violence is just for effect."

Another mother-daughter pair of interest showed up at the Los Angeles premiere: Tippi Hedren and daughter Melanie Griffith. Griffith at the time was married to Steven Bauer, and would go on to star in Brian De Palma's very next film in 1984, Body Double. According to the September 16 2003 New York Post, Bauer was planning to check out Griffith's performance in Broadway's Chicago while he is in town for the September 17 re-release premiere. Hedren was quoted in the 1983 article as saying, "Scarface was too brutal." The article concludes in L.A. with one of the big stars of the day, Joan Collins:
Joan Collins, who would gussy herself up for a smog alert, was one of the few who dressed elegantly, sparkling in black sequined leather. Typically, Joan had the final word about Scarface's nasty language. "I hear there are 183 'f---s' in the movie," sighed Collins, "which is more than most people get in a lifetime."

Posted by Geoff at 5:55 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 6:00 PM CST
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