Begging for a run of 'The Walker'


July 28, 2008|By LIZ SMITH

People who marry for money have the hardest job. You don't get the money. You just get to look at it!" This is a line from Paul Schrader's 2007 movie The Walker. It's uttered by, none other than, the living legend Lauren Bacall. This movie played a lot of festivals last year, had a limited run in the U.S. last December, and its DVD has just been released in Iceland, of all places! (Hey, us regular moviegoers would like to see it.)

Woody Harrelson plays the actual "walker" in this movie, which is reminiscent of director Schrader's classic American Gigolo, which starred Richard Gere.

But there's a whispering campaign about this outre film.

In it, Bacall, Lily Tomlin, Kristin Scott Thomas and Mary Beth Hurt play Washington socialites who seem to be reincarnating an afternoon at Versailles by their weekly card parties. Harrelson plays Carter Page III, a devoted Southern gent and gay best friend escort.

People who saw the movie tried guessing whom Bacall's grande dame is based upon. Is the character called Natalie Van Miter a composite of Katherine Graham, Susan Mary Alsop, Muffy Brandon Cabot, Pamela Harriman, "Oatsie" Charles, Polly Fritchey, Deeda Blair and Bunny Mellon? There are a lot of votes for "Oatsie."

But never mind. With murder, political cover-ups, war debates and knowing references to Truman Capote's "black and white ball," Harrelson scores as he defends himself against charges that he is naive. "I'm not naive; I am superficial."

Schrader seemed to be working toward something like a combo of Gosford Park meets All the President's Men. He described The Walker as "a movie tale of moral redemption that takes the form of a murder mystery."

Festivalgoers were titillated by the kiss in the movie - between Woody and actor Moritz Bleibtreu. (He was sensational in Steven Spielberg's Munich.) Maybe they'll think twice and redistribute this one.

Toilet tribute

Dustin Hoffman is having a toilet named after him at the modern new Broad Stage Theater in Santa Monica, Calif. The Oscar-winning actor has raised a lot of money to help build this place during the past nine years. They wanted to name the theater after him, but he said, "No way." So one of the backstage bathrooms will bear Dustin's name. ... Speaking of the Academy Awards, Newsweek mag listed Estelle Parsons in its Conventional Wisdom Watch list, writing "Octogenarian actress kills as pill-popping mom in Broadway's August: Osage County." They failed to add that this actress won an Oscar for the movie Bonnie and Clyde. ... I have been asked if the gold shoes thrown as weapons in the little musical Charlie Chang and the Mysterious Salami were real Manolo Blahniks as I described them. I am advised, no - the production tried to get Manolo to lend shoes, but they refused. The gold high heels are actually from Patricia Fields for Payless.

Big fashion, big character

Dan's Paper of the Hamptons offers up the smashing tale of the "Queen of Chic" - one Jackie Rogers. This made me wonder. Why haven't they made a movie on the life of this one-time Chanel model, an all-American, whom Coco dubbed "The Cowboy"? Jackie has met most of the great film stars of our time and has been creating U.S. couture privately for decades. Opinionated and fiercely honest, Jackie would be on Project Runway.

If you want to see what young (and older) celebs are wearing these days, go to 1034 Lex to her tiny shop or try her on Gin Lane in Southampton.

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