Rainbow Connection

Conspiracy theory time. Fiona keeps in touch with the great Mike Hodges (GET CARTER, FLASH GORDON), and recently received the following:

“This morning on Radio 4 Jane Fonda was talking about Rosanna Arquette and her run-in with Weinstein in the earl 90s.

She says her career suffered when she refused to comply with his advances – just like Gloria Minette in GRIST.

[Gloria Minette is a star that imploded..…The gravitational forces inside the system tore her apart.  She would never work again.]”

Grist is one of Mike’ recent novels. You can buy them here.

“I made BLACK RAINBOW with Rosanna in 1990 and fought to have Miramax (Weinstein’s company) distribute it.

They were brilliant at marketing.

For over twelve months their people would enthusiastically contact me – but suddenly they stopped.

Then, out of the blue, a tacky US cable company rang to say they’d acquired the movie and would fly me to LA on a promotional visit.

I never heard from Miramax again!  Now I know why!!!”

Or at least can speculate why. I asked Fiona to ask Mike if I could publish his comments.

“By all means run with the RA story as long we make clear that it is conjecture.

Sadly I haven’t seen R since the ghastly (& hysterically funny) press conference held by the cable company.

At the time she was as dumbfounded by Miramax as I was.

The same form of (costly) revenge was perpetrated by Sam Goldwyn on A PRAYER FOR THE DYING.

The film was dumped in the US because Micky R had called him (correctly) a “douche bag.”

Here’s to resilience, you two,”


A little later, Mike added:

“Maybe David could pitch it as a mystery?

The film had great reviews (I’m sure to have then somewhere!) won several festival awards.

So why did Miramax dump it?

Could it be because etc etc”

Well, could it be? Miramax under the Weinsteins certainly had some unusual practices, according to Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures. The movie THE YOUNG POISONER’S HANDBOOK was derailed under similar circumstances, but with no suggestion that Harvey was avenging himself on any of the actors. It was suggested that the strategy was to draw in a project that was getting a lot of interest, wait until the interest went away, and then drop it. The purpose being to reduce the value of a project you never actually wanted but that could have made money for a competitor. You can delay it until its currency has faded, or you can make everyone wonder, “Why did Miramax drop it? What’s wrong with it?”

I didn’t like THE YOUNG POISONER’S HANDBOOK, personally — though it was made and performed with great skill, — but that’s a mean trick. It could be that Weinstein’s apparently inconsistent enthusiasm for BLACK RAINBOW — which I like a lot — was nothing more sinister than that — which is still pretty sinister. Or there could be some other reason.

I think Mike imagined me doing a bit more work, a bit more writing, than I’ve done here. But I figure he’s more interesting to listen to than me.

BLACK RAINBOW is a very fine film. And always relevant, alas. It’s a supernatural thriller, a political thriller, and I guess you could also say it’s about the exploitation of talent and what showbiz can do to people, which means Arquette’s revelations give it a whole new way of being relevant to this particular moment.

5 Responses to “Rainbow Connection”

  1. This “bait and switch” is typical of Harvey Scissorhands, who besides being a rapist excelled at burying movie he didn’t like the better to acquire others that he did. As Jonathan Rosenbaum has pointed out Harvey acquired the U.S. rights to Kirostami’s “Taste of Cherry” with no intention whatsoever of releasing it because of another film that played Cannes that year that he wanted,

  2. That sounds about right. He was always known as a bully, and a man who was skilled at selling films but who did terrible things to them. If he’d never existed I like to think someone else would have done the distributing and we’d all be better off.

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    I freally enjoyed BLACK RAINBOW and glad to know Fiona is in touch with Mike whom I send a Happy Birthday email to every year. He was very helpful in a questionnaire I sent for his Great Directors entry in http://www.sensesofcinema.com. and it is good to know that like Brett Halsey, he is continuing his creativity by writing. His black humor is unique.

  4. david wingrove Says:

    Weinstein seems to have done something similar with TALK OF ANGELS, a Spanish Civil War drama that was meant to launch Polly Walker as a major star. It’s not a great movie but it’s a very good one and Polly Walker is said to be among the women who rejected Weinstein’s advances. I’ve heard similar stories about THE HONEST COURTESAN and its star Catherine McCormack – and that is a film I truly love!

    But it’s hard for me to believe that Weinstein – who is nothing if not a consummate business man – would ‘dump’ a film that has the potential to make money simply because the lead actress refused to go to bed with him. Surely that is cutting off your nose to spite your face? Unless, of course, Weinstein is so obscenely rich that he actually doesn’t care if he loses money, provided his own petty ego is gratified. If that is true, he is even more vile than imagined.

  5. Well, he seems to have acquired films sometimes just to sit on them, to prevent anyone else making money on them. And of course it’s not going to be his money, it’s the company’s, which is slightly different. And back in the day, Miramax was indeed obscenely profitable.

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