AFI Posts Details of The Loved One

The American Film Institute has posted detailed production information relating to the 1965 film adaptation of Waugh’s novel The Loved One. Much of this is familiar but there are some previously unseen (or rarely repeated) elements included in their research material from contemporary reports in the trade press and national newspapers. This is part of AFI’s efforts to compile “the AFI Catalog of Feature Films to preserve the legacy of America’s film heritage for future generations, … compiling an authoritative record of the first 100 years of American film.” AFI’s description, for example, includes a mention of several notable actors of the period who were approached about roles (including cameos) in the film:

[Once] in full artistic control, [Tony] Richardson proceeded with casting. A 14 Oct 1963 DV news brief indicated that both Shirley MacLaine and Zero Mostel were eager to work with the director following the success of Tom Jones (1963), while an LAT article published eleven days later indicated that Richardson would likely team with Tom Jones star Albert Finney. Earlier items in the 9 Aug 1963 and 5 Sep 1963 DV stated that Carroll Baker and Peter Sellerswere in consideration to star before Robert Morse landed the leading role later that year.

Meanwhile, DV and Var reported that May’s script went through revisions by Arthur Ross, Charles Eastman, Christopher Isherwood, and Terry Southern. An article in the 19 Jul 1964 NYT alleged that there were “at least seven” versions to date, all intended to “update and expand” the satire of Waugh’s novel to comment on other elements of Southern California lifestyles beyond the Hollywood industry. This also allowed several opportunities for cameo roles, with DV items throughout the late summer and fall of 1964 naming Viven Leigh, Julie Harris, Laurence Olivier, Kim Stanley, Claire Bloom, Peter Finch, Diane Cilento, Alain Delon, Jeanne Moreau, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, and Simone Signoret among those who were in talks to participate. The 3 Sep 1964 and 27 Nov 1964 DV referred to appearances by Gail Gilmore and Jayne Mansfield, while the 29 Jul 1964 DV stated that [Martin] Ransohoff also made his onscreen debut as a studio art director in a scene opposite John Gielgud. Casting announcements included Keenan Wynn, Nina Shipman, Joy Harmon, Todd Mason, Barbara Latell, and Renee Paulin the cast, but their involvement could not be confirmed.

The entry also includes detailed identifications of locations around Los Angeles where portions of the film were shot:

According to a 23 Jul 1964 DV news story, scenes of the fictional “Metropolitan Studios” were shot at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios in Culver City, CA. A 25 Sep 1964 DV story indicated that area locations included the Beverly Hills Health Club, Greystone mansion, Pet Haven Pet Cemetery in Gardena, a private home on West 20th Street in Los Angeles, the Fish Shanty restaurant, Gaslight Club, and the Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. studio commissary. The 24 Nov 1964 DV stated that James Coburn’s scenes were shot at the Pan American and Trans World Airlines satellite offices at Los Angeles International Airport. Problems arose at the Greystone mansion, as a 24 Sep 1964 LAT news story reported vandalism on the property, and the 23 Oct 1964 DV indicated that the city of Beverly Hills rejected the unit’s plans to film a helicopter landing on the premises.

Some financial details are also included. The “negative cost” of production ballooned from a budget of $1.9 million to “around” $4 million. “A 4 Jan 1967 Var list of “Big Rental Pictures of 1966” calculated total domestic rentals at $1.9 million, with $2 million of anticipated revenue.” It was not a blockbuster.

The sources abbreviated in the text are DV (Daily Variety), LAT (Los Angeles Times), NYT (New York Times) and Var (Variety). Page references and dates are provided at the end of the article.

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