In the spring of 1967 my mother, father and I went to Rome where my father was engaged as to rewrite the screenplay of a big, fat World War 2 movie called 'Anzio'. His friend Eddie Dmytryk (who he'd worked with previously on a couple of unmade scripts) was the director and was dissatisfied with the current script that he'd inherited on what seems to have been a very iffy catch-as-catch-can production. So off we went and my father wrote 'ahead of camera' (as the lingo then went) about a week at a time. What a way to make such a complicated movie! The producer was Dino De Laurentis and nobody was ever sure if the checks were going to clear, or if the checks were even going to be issued. That the film looks as large-scale and epic as it does is a tribute to Dmytryk's extreme professionalism and ingenuity. It had a great cast--Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk, Arthur Kennedy, Robert Ryan--and is highly enjoyable (it recently made it onto DVD--at last!) Above I've posted a fan-made trailer for the movie which is vastly superior to the crappy official Columbia Studios trailer which I've posted below.

In 2003 I directed Peter Falk in his last movie, 'The Thing About My Folks', and couldn't wait to tell him that I'd 'known' him since I was a four-year old, hearing about the frantic making of 'Anzio' and the rugged, dependable cast. My father actually worked directly with Falk who liked to improvise speeches for his character that my father would then distill into dialogue. Unfortunately, I didn't realize it at the time but Peter was at the beginning of his gradual descent into dementia. When I mentioned 'Anzio', there was a long puzzled pause. Then a little glimmer of memory crossed his craggy face and he said, "Yeah. That was in Rome, wasn't it?"

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