Sunday, May 15, 2011

70'S FOCUS : THE BITCH .. 1979 ...

BRENT WALKER
Presents
THE BITCH
Starring
JOAN COLLINS as Fontaine Khaled
MICHAEL COBY as Nico Cantafora
KENNETH HAIGH as Arnold Rinstead
IAN HENDRY as Feather
CAROLYN SEYMOUR as Polly
SUE LLOYD as Vanessa Grant
MARK BURNS as Leonard Grant
JOHN RATZENBERGER as Hal
PAMELA SALEM as Lynn
ANTHONY HEATON as Luke
DOUG FISHER as Sammy
Assistant Director - Redmond Morris
   Director of Photography - Denis C Lewiston
     Art Director - Malcolm Middleton
      Music by Don Black and Biddu
       Screenplay by Gerry O' Hara
        From the Novel 'The Bitch' by Jackie Collins
         Edited by Eddie Joseph
          Executive Producers - Ronald S Kass / Oscar Lerman
                Produced by John Quested
                      Directed by Gerry O' Hara
                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HAVE A GOOD RUMMAGE DEARIE!
Fontaine Khaled, a rich divorcee, is returning to London to check up on her business ventures, one of which is the nightclub, 'Hobo', left to her in her divorce settlement. But the club is losing money, run by an inefficient manager, now that she has dispensed with The Stud's services! Fontaine has other problems to contend with in the shape of a conniving Italian playboy! Is the handsome Nico, really smitten with her? Could it perhaps be the large diamond ring concealed in the pocket of her fur, which he planted during a transatlantic flight! The stakes are high for Nico, to stay ahead of the game, he must learn to never underestimate The Bitch!
 (c) 1979 BRENT WALKER 94MINS  Reg 2 DVD'S From UNIVERSAL HOME ENTERTAINMENT / OPTIMUM HOME ENTERTAINMENT....
Following the success of 'The Stud', Brent Walker was keen to cash in and rushed this sequel into production, even though the script was unfinished and the film not fully thought out. Joan was extremely unhappy with it, particularly the script..
"I hate, hate, hate the film! It was a cheap imitation of 'The Stud'. I did not like the script, which was half written, furthermore I did not like the director! They also gave it a damn awful exploitative title, which stuck to me like flypaper through the popular press for years. I begged Brent Walker not to use that title."
DO YOU KEEP YOUR SNAKE IN THERE?
But Joan's protests fell on deaf ears, to make matters worse when the publicity material was released, the posters read ... 'JOAN COLLINS IS THE BITCH!'... Joan was furious, the last straw for her was while she was relaxing on a friends yacht at the Cannes film festival with Kirk Douglas, among others. Kirk pointed to a plane that was flying overhead, a banner trailing behind proclaiming..'Joan Collins Is The Bitch'.. Joan was livid and got her lawyer on to it immediately to begin proceedings to have the billing changed to ..'Joan Collins As The Bitch'...It was eventually changed, however Joan still did not feel overjoyed with the film, but she did comment on the character of Fontaine...
"Fontaine was not fully explored in 'The Stud'.. In 'The Bitch' she is a woman desperately trying to hang on to a plushy lifestyle. A broader spectrum of emotion is called into play. I've tried to show the different facets to the character of this type of woman."
THE BARE FACTS ABOUT THE BITCH..
The film was shot on location in and around London, including Regine's, The Playboy Club and Tramp, with additional filming at Warfield Hall in Berkshire, Heathrow Airport and at Lingfield racecourse. Apart from an unfinished script, Joan was not totally impressed with her leading man, an Italian actor named Michael Coby! In fact his real name was Antonio Cantafora, who also starred with Joan in the 1969 film, 'State of Siege'. Joan's old friend and 'The Stud' co-star Sue Lloyd reprised her role as Vanessa.. Sue recalled...
JOAN ATTENDS THE WESTEND PREMIERE..
"The success of 'The Stud', led to another old mates production 'The Bitch'..In it I played the mistress of a jockey, with one scene where I was supposed to drop my outer clothes to reveal nothing beneath! On thinking about this I decided that sounded rather dull. It would be much funnier if I dropped my garments to reveal custom made underwear for my jockey. So I designed myself silver suspenders in the shape of stirrups and fixed two rosettes printed with '1st Prize', to my boobs! I was much pleased with myself and went to tell the director Gerry O'Hara. To my disappointment he informed me the scene had been cut! He roared with laughter when he saw my costume, so much that he decided to restore the scene!
SABLE OR MINK? CUTBACKS DAMMIT ONLY THE RABBIT LEFT!
Panned as expected by the critics, the film did do good box office and like 'The Stud', the film spawned a best selling soundtrack record album, with many popular disco hits of the time. However relations between Brent Walker and Joan and Jackie became very strained when it became apparent Brent Walker were enjoying all the profits from the film, while the Collins girls saw very little and it would take years and many court proceedings to get their rightful share. The only consolation for Joan, was the fact both films put her back on the entertainment map and gave her another chance at at the big time. Long may she continue to entertain us!


  (c) 2011 Mark McMorrow...

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