Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
The Kid Stays in the Picture (2003)
15

"There are three sides to every story. My side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying."

So speaks Robert Evans, veteran producer, lothario, and erstwhile studio head, at the outset of this enjoyable, self-aggrandising adaptation of his infamous Hollywood memoir.

As head of production at Paramount in the late 60s/early 70s, Evans had a hand in "Chinatown", "Rosemary's Baby", and "The Godfather". How big a hand is open to debate, but he’s in no doubt as to his hit-making skills.

For if there's one sentiment that sticks throughout this slick documentary it's that Evans will always have someone to love: himself.

He narrates his journey from child actor to fashion magnate, to studio head, drug abuser, and comeback kid (of a sort). The action is presented in a skillfully assembled collage - using archive footage, magazine covers, and animated photos.

It's interesting stuff - fascinating for film industry aficionados - and as the filmmakers make no claims to objectivity, the obvious bias is forgivable.

But while Evans is an engaging, witty host, in accounting for his descent from über-producer to Hollywood also-ran, he slips into self-pity.

That he was unfairly tarnished after being dragged into a murder investigation is - according to the evidence presented here - unquestionable.

But there's equally no doubt that his fall from grace was largely self-inflicted - fuelled by a monumental coke habit.

He presents a picture of a man battling against the odds. But to talk of fighting for "survival", when he could no longer afford to rent his $25,000-a-month mansion, is nauseating.

More affecting is his account of his failed marriage to "Getaway" star Ali MacGraw (she did, with Steve McQueen). In this moving sequence he actually blames himself, and the movie feels more like the unadorned truth and less like a well-rehearsed excuse.

End Credits

Director: Nanette Burstein, Brett Morgen

Writer: Brett Morgen, Robert Evans

Stars: Robert Evans

Genre: Documentary

Length: 93 minutes

Cinema: 07 February 2003

Country: USA

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