Director feels legally safe with his version of the Von Bulow case


November 15, 1990|By Lou Cedrone

Barbet Schroeder, director of ''Reversal of Fortune,'' is happy with the reception his film has received, but he is not too easy with it.

''It's a little frightening,'' he said. ''The film has had only three bad reviews out of 100. It's so strange. It's the same sort of thing that happened to 'Barfly,' my last film.

''But I'm not going to complain,'' he said.

Schroeder, born in Tehran of German parents, began his film career in France, where he worked with Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer. He directed his first film in 1969, then did more, all in Europe. Two years ago, he did ''Barfly,'' based on the life of poet-author Charles Bukowski. Mickey Roarke and Faye Dunaway starred, but the film did poorly in theaters. It's done better as a cassette, and that makes Schroeder happy.

''Reversal of Fortune'' is the story of Claus Von Bulow, the man who was convicted then acquitted of the attempted murder of his wife. Schroeder has heard nothing from Von Bulow.

''As long as you do something that is based on a published book, you are safe,'' he said. ''There is also the court record, and if there is no deviation, you are legally secure,'' he said.

The film includes scenes that take place between Von Bulow and Mrs. Von Bulow.

''Those were Von Bulow's version of what happened,'' said Schroeder.

Schroeder doesn't know whether or not Von Bulow is innocent or guilty. ''But he was innocent of what he was accused,'' he said. ''It is possible he was guilty. It is also possible that others were guilty of framing the wrong man. Or maybe they framed the right man.''

There is humor in the film, just as there was in ''Barfly.''

''It's a strange kind of humor,'' said the director. ''I had that same problem with 'Barfly.' It was funny, and the studio was puzzled about it. The studio was puzzled about this one.

''Both 'Reversal' and 'Barfly' came out of realism, real life,'' said the director. ''Both films were based on true events. They are not Hollywood.''

But didn't Hollywood supply the money?

''No,'' said Schroeder. ''The money came from all over, but a big chunk of it came from Japan. Warner Brothers Studios just picked it up for distribution.''


Howard Perloff, producer of ''Tony 'N' Tina's Wedding,'' a happening that ran for five months at the Fells Point Cafe, says he hopes to bring more shows to the cafe. ''We're thinking of bringing in something like 'Forbidden Broadway,''' said Perloff. ''We might also bring in people like Peter Allen, or we may bring in a mystery drama. We have a 10-year lease on the cafe.''


''Love Letters,'' the two-person comedy-drama currently at the National in Washington, will remain there through Dec. 9. As has been the custom with this show, the players will change from time to time. The show opened with E.G. Marshall and Colleen Dewhurst reading the letters. At present, Marshall and Eileen Heckart are doing the roles. On Nov. 20, Hal Linden and Dorothy Loudon take over.


The Burn Brae Dinner Theater is doing exceptional business with ''The Sound of Music,'' the musical Mary Martin originated on Broadway in 1959. Kate Stevenson and Marilyn O'Leary are alternating in the role of the Mother Abbess, Elizabeth Byrd is Maria, the postulate who leaves the convent to marry Captain Von Trapp, and Robert Kirkland is a very imposing Von Trapp.

The others do just as well, particularly O'Leary, who could sing this role anywhere. Kathryn Adams directed, and while she has allowed some of her players to overdo in the competition sequence, close to closing, the production is otherwise sound. It will remain at the buffet house through Dec. 31. If you want to go, better get your tickets now.


Another first: The trailer for ''Psycho IV,'' a film made for showing on the cable network Showtime, was shown on local movie screens.

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