Rosebud (1975)

PG | 126 mins | Drama, Adventure | 24 March 1975

Director:

Otto Preminger

Producer:

Otto Preminger

Cinematographer:

Denys Coop

Production Designer:

Michael Seymour

Production Company:

Sigma Productions
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HISTORY

The 8 May 1974 HR reported that principal photography would begin 29 May 1974 in the French Riviera town of Juan-les-Pins.
       When producer-director Otto Preminger introduced the five young female leads for Rosebud at the Cannes Film Festival in France, as reported in the 22 May 1974 HR, one of the actresses was Barbara Emerson, an American living in France, who was scheduled to co-star as “Sabine Fargeau,” but she was replaced early in the production by actress Brigitte Ariel.
       According to the 28 Jun 1974 HR and the 6 Jul 1974 LAT, British actor Peter O'Toole replaced American actor Robert Mitchum in the lead role of “Larry Martin.” Later, Preminger told the 18 Aug 1974 LAT that Mitchum’s drinking was the reason. The 25 Sep 1974 Var revealed that soon after O’Toole took over the role, his bleeding ulcers delayed the picture for several days.
       Rosebud was actress Kim Cattrall’s first film and French actress Isabelle Huppert’s first American film. The last name of Cattrall’s character, “Joyce Donnovan,” was spelled Donovan in the novel.
       The 17 Sep 1980 Var announced the arrival of a book called Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture: The Anatomy of an All-Star, Big Budget, Multimillion-Dollar Disaster (New York, 1980), by Theodore Gershuny, which chronicled the making of Rosebud, from “the hopeful beginning to the bitter end.” Gershuny, who also had a small role in the film as an Israeli commando, wrote that in the book upon which the film was based, the lead charcter was a Frenchman named “Laurent ... More Less

The 8 May 1974 HR reported that principal photography would begin 29 May 1974 in the French Riviera town of Juan-les-Pins.
       When producer-director Otto Preminger introduced the five young female leads for Rosebud at the Cannes Film Festival in France, as reported in the 22 May 1974 HR, one of the actresses was Barbara Emerson, an American living in France, who was scheduled to co-star as “Sabine Fargeau,” but she was replaced early in the production by actress Brigitte Ariel.
       According to the 28 Jun 1974 HR and the 6 Jul 1974 LAT, British actor Peter O'Toole replaced American actor Robert Mitchum in the lead role of “Larry Martin.” Later, Preminger told the 18 Aug 1974 LAT that Mitchum’s drinking was the reason. The 25 Sep 1974 Var revealed that soon after O’Toole took over the role, his bleeding ulcers delayed the picture for several days.
       Rosebud was actress Kim Cattrall’s first film and French actress Isabelle Huppert’s first American film. The last name of Cattrall’s character, “Joyce Donnovan,” was spelled Donovan in the novel.
       The 17 Sep 1980 Var announced the arrival of a book called Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture: The Anatomy of an All-Star, Big Budget, Multimillion-Dollar Disaster (New York, 1980), by Theodore Gershuny, which chronicled the making of Rosebud, from “the hopeful beginning to the bitter end.” Gershuny, who also had a small role in the film as an Israeli commando, wrote that in the book upon which the film was based, the lead charcter was a Frenchman named “Laurent Martin,” but the name was changed to “Larry Martin” to accommodate Robert Mitchum. The character’s name change was retained after Peter O’Toole took over the role. The character “Edward Sloat” began as a Jewish anti-Semite named “Karl Scheidemann,” but to avoid confusion was changed into a German named “Schrantz.” He became English turncoat Edward Sloat when British actor Richard Attenborough took the role late in the production. “Patrice Thibaud” was originally played by French actor Yves Beneyton, but he was fired during the first week of filming. Preminger fired over twenty actors and crewmen during production, but the most dramatic was Mitchum’s departure, after several days of hostile inebriation, according to Gershuny. The real name of the yacht standing in as Rosebud was The Brave Goose, a London-based vessel. Preminger filmed two versions of the five captive heiresses on the deck of Rosebud : one containing full-frontal nudity, the other with only rear nudity, to satisfy different markets.
       When O’Toole arrived in Paris, he was greeted by a bomb-threat letter calling him “an alleged Irishman” who had shamed the Irish Republican Army by taking the role of Martin. After the apartment where they were filming was cleared and a bomb squad made a fruitless search, O’Toole learned that the letter was a hoax written by British film critic Kenneth Tynan. He and two crewmen visited Tynan and beat him up.
       Though the film’s official start date was 29 May 1974, Gershuny wrote that TV footage of BBC reporter Julian Pettifer announcing the kidnapping was filmed on the yacht a day earlier. The filming locations, in order, were: Juan-les-Pins, France; Bastia and Ile Rousse, Corsica; Paris, France; Hamburg and West Berlin, Germany; Jerusalem and Haifa, Israel. A pickup scene with O’Toole was done during a quick return to Juan-les-Pins, but it was not used in the picture.
       According to Gershuny, the film was constantly hobbled by the limited English of a large number of the cast. Much of the dialogue had to be looped in post-production.
       Reviews for Rosebud were uniformly unfavorable. The 25 Mar 1975 NYT called it “a suspense melodrama of .... ineptitude, lethargy and loose ends,” as well as “consistently idiotic,” and the 30 Apr 1975 LAT remarked that “incoherent plotting pales beside the sheer awfulness of the dialogue.” The 14 Apr 1975 Time simply called it a “flaccid, fatuous film.” Box office results were similarly disappointing.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 1974
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 1974
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1975
p. 29.
LAHExam
30 Apr 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Jul 1974
Section A, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jul 1974
Section F, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
18 Aug 1974
Section O, p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
30 Apr 1975
Section IV, p. 10.
New York Times
25 Mar 1975
p. 24.
Newsweek
7 Apr 1975.
---
Time
14 Apr 1975.
---
Variety
4 Sep 1974
p. 5.
Variety
25 Sep 1974.
---
Variety
26 Mar 1975
p. 18.
Variety
17 Sep 1980.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Otto Preminger Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr (Israel)
Prod mgr (France)
Prod mgr (Germany)
Asst dir
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Chief elec
Still photog
Cam asst
Grip
Grip
Film processing
Cam equip
Cam equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Rigger
Const mgr
Prop master
COSTUMES
SOUND
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Main title des by
MAKEUP
Make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod secy
Prod's asst
Prod's asst
Prod's asst
Prod's asst
Prod accountant
Loc mgr
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Rosebud by Joan Hemingway and Paul Bonnecarrere (Paris, 1973).
SONGS
"I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City," written by Harry Nilsson, sung by Kim Cattrall.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 March 1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 24 March 1975
Los Angeles opening: 30 April 1975
Production Date:
29 May--early September 1974 in France, Germany, and Israel
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
17 March 1975
Copyright Number:
LP44360
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
126
Length(in feet):
11,425
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24130
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Abdul Magid Hacam, a Palestinian terrorist, arrives in Corsica and takes a bus to the rural compound of Adrian Tardets. He is greeted by Kirkbane, a young Arab who leads him into a basement cave to show him an armory of Russian weapons and an area where prisoners can be held. Meanwhile, Margaret Carter and her mother, Lady Carter, drive to a yacht called Rosebud, where four other young heiresses—Helene Nikolaos, Joyce Donnovan, Sabine Fargeau, and Gertrude “Gertie” Freyer—prepare for a cruise to Greece. In a nearby pub, Hacam and Kirkbane meet with Rosebud crewman Frank Woods to pay him a down payment and give instructions for that evening. On the yacht, Sabine and her boyfriend, Marxist professor Patrice Thibaud, make love. Afterward, during dinner, Patrice argues with Sabine’s grandfather, industrialist Charles-Andre Fargeau, and leaves in anger. A few minutes later, Fargeau leaves by helicopter to return to Paris, France. Hacam, Kirkbane, and another Arab approach in a small boat, get a signal from Woods, and quietly slip aboard. After paying Woods, Kirkbane silently kills him with an ice pick-like weapon. The Arabs murder the crew, round up the five women, and inform them they are prisoners of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLO). In the early morning, they film the women nude on deck, as Helene reads the kidnappers’ demands. A day or so later, an airplane flying above Rosebud gets no response. A helicopter lowers Israeli intelligence officers Colonel Avivi and Yefet Hamlekh onto the yacht, where they find the crew dead and the women missing. Meanwhile, the five young women, wearing hoods, are transferred from a boat to the Tardets farm ... +


Abdul Magid Hacam, a Palestinian terrorist, arrives in Corsica and takes a bus to the rural compound of Adrian Tardets. He is greeted by Kirkbane, a young Arab who leads him into a basement cave to show him an armory of Russian weapons and an area where prisoners can be held. Meanwhile, Margaret Carter and her mother, Lady Carter, drive to a yacht called Rosebud, where four other young heiresses—Helene Nikolaos, Joyce Donnovan, Sabine Fargeau, and Gertrude “Gertie” Freyer—prepare for a cruise to Greece. In a nearby pub, Hacam and Kirkbane meet with Rosebud crewman Frank Woods to pay him a down payment and give instructions for that evening. On the yacht, Sabine and her boyfriend, Marxist professor Patrice Thibaud, make love. Afterward, during dinner, Patrice argues with Sabine’s grandfather, industrialist Charles-Andre Fargeau, and leaves in anger. A few minutes later, Fargeau leaves by helicopter to return to Paris, France. Hacam, Kirkbane, and another Arab approach in a small boat, get a signal from Woods, and quietly slip aboard. After paying Woods, Kirkbane silently kills him with an ice pick-like weapon. The Arabs murder the crew, round up the five women, and inform them they are prisoners of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLO). In the early morning, they film the women nude on deck, as Helene reads the kidnappers’ demands. A day or so later, an airplane flying above Rosebud gets no response. A helicopter lowers Israeli intelligence officers Colonel Avivi and Yefet Hamlekh onto the yacht, where they find the crew dead and the women missing. Meanwhile, the five young women, wearing hoods, are transferred from a boat to the Tardets farm on Corsica and taken into the basement. In Paris, Newsweek magazine reporter Larry Martin receives a telephone call from Mr. Fargeau’s representative. He meets Fargeau, who has received a letter and film from the terrorist group “Black September.” Fargeau knows that Martin is really a CIA agent who has cleaned up several Middle East problems, and Martin knows that Fargeau is secretly Jewish. In the film, Helene reads a note threatening that if the film is not played at eight p.m. in all networks in France, England, Germany, and the U.S., one of the young heiresses will be executed. Martin meets with the other four fathers and reassures them that the PLO needs public opinion in their favor, so they will not kill their captives unless they have to. When the film is aired in all four countries, Helene is hooded and taken to a nearby chapel to make another film. She is put in the back of a truck and driven in circles to confuse her, then placed in an airplane simulator and rocked to create the sensation she is flying somewhere. Afterward, Helene is placed in another truck and driven to a secluded spot on Corsica’s coast. A passing car takes her to the police. Helene is flown to Paris, where she describes her flight to freedom to Martin and gives the Palestinians’ note and film to Fargeau. When Paris police pick up Patrice as a suspect, he strikes out at them, and they beat him. The police chief, disturbed by Patrice’s swollen and bloody face, orders him hidden in several jails until he heals. According to the new demands, Fargeau must read a confession stating that he armed King Hussein’s Jordanian troops to shoot Palestinians during the infamous “Black September” massacre that gave the terrorist group its name. He also confesses that he is a Jew. Israeli agent Hamlekh tells Martin that British turncoat Edward Sloat, a convert to Islam, is the head of Black September, but he remains hidden. His only contact is an anti-Jewish comic book publisher in Hamburg, Germany. Meanwhile, in Corsica, Hacam and Kirkbane put a hood over Margaret’s head and lead her out of the basement. In Hamburg, Martin is picked up by old friend and German agent Hans Schloss. Dressed in workmen’s clothes, they drive to the Franco-Belgian Society of Graphic Arts, and install a microphone near its door buzzer. Afterward, they go across the street where German agents maintain surveillance. When a courier leaves the office with a portfolio, Martin and other agents follow. After several dodges, the courier gets a ride on a motorcycle, goes to the airport, and takes a flight to Berlin. Martin and Schloss follow and are met by an agent. Following the courier to a Kodak shop, they watch him give the portfolio to the counter girl and leave. When she balks at divulging the customer’s information, Schloss calls police to get information, then threatens her with blackmail. She agrees to signal when someone picks up the slides. The next day, a young woman makes the pickup and they follow her until she passes into East Berlin. Meanwhile, the Paris police free Patrice despite his bruised face, and reporters are waiting to interview him. Afterward, Martin meets Patrice at his apartment to tell him he arranged for his release and the press conference, because with the young man’s Marxist background and his relationship with Sabine, he knew Black September will want to deal with him. Sure enough, a letter arrives at Patrice’s apartment. Reluctantly, Patrice agrees to allow Martin to stand in for him. Made up to look swollen, with his head similarly bandaged, Martin follows the letter’s instructions, gets a package from an Arab man in a village, and drives to a location where Palestinians blindfold him, strip him down, and put him in a robe with sandals. He is flown in an airplane, picked up by a Jeep, and driven to a huge cave. Sloat recognizes Martin immediately and tells him to remove his makeup. Though Martin wants to set up a dialogue with Israel, Sloat refuses to deal with Israel, because he wants its total destruction and the establishment of a “Muslim holy land.” Martin is blindfolded again and led away to deliver the message. In Israel, he meets with Hamlekh and brings a rock sample from the cave for analysis. He describes the place and its overhead openings, and gives the direction of the entrance, which he discerned by seeing Arabs praying eastward to Mecca. A computer gives Hamlekh the cave’s probable location in southern Lebanon, and the laboratory says the rock is from the same area. Later, following Margaret’s release, Martin returns to France and takes her and Helene on a plane ride. The pilot flies as roughly as Helene remembers when she was blindfolded, but this time their ears hurt until the air pressure makes them pop. Helene realizes, as Martin had suspected, that she had never left Corsica because the airplane ride had been a ruse. After Margaret and Helene give detailed descriptions of the interior of the boat that took them off Rosebud, he takes them to look at a boat for comparison. Helene insists on returning to Corsica with Martin. A French agent tells him that the only boat on the island matching the girls’ description is moored at Bastia, and owned by Adrian Tardets. Martin again meets with the fathers to watch the next film, in which Sabine demands her grandfather publish a list of companies that deal with Israel. Instructing them not to air the film for five days, Martin and Hamlekh fly to Bastia, where a group of Israeli commandos dressed as Boy Scouts arrive on a ferry. A farmer who lives next to Tardets’ farm leads them to an area where they dig for a water line. At an appointed time, a commando hooks a hose into the water pipe to pump sleeping gas into the Tardets house. Martin sneaks onto the property and kills Kirkbane. Then, wearing gas masks, he and the commandos enter the house and handcuff the sleeping inhabitants. In the basement, they find the three remaining women and lead them to a rescue helicopter. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, Israeli paratroopers drop into the caves where Sloat maintains his compound and kidnap him. At an Israeli prison, Sloat says Black September will kill schoolchildren until his release, but then blames Black September for following Communism instead of Allah and admits that his truest holy warriors will eventually destroy them, too. Hamekh reveals that Sloats’ words have been filmed through a two-way mirror and will be sent to Black September, discrediting his entire enterprise. Later, an Arab hijacks a commercial airplane, demanding the release of Hacam and two other Palestinians captured in Corsica. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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