Saturday, September 02, 2006

Elizabeth of Bathory and Frances of Farmer

OK, I'm not a greedy person. All I had was ideas for 4, just 4, screenplays that I really wanted to see done in my lifetime. By ME, of course. One of which was the story of Elizabeth of Bathory, the insanely depraved medieval Romanian countess who sexually tortured virgins and bathed in their blood in order to keep herself youthful. And now I see the below July 30 article in Variety:

Slovaks wrap pricey epic
Helmer Jakubisko's 'Bathory' budget topped $13 mil


Slovakia has just wrapped its biggest-budgeted feature ever, an epic by local standards. It's the Gothic historic tale of Elizabeth of Bathory, a notorious countess of Renaissance Europe whom helmer Juraj Jakubisko says has been unfairly maligned by legend.

She was said to bathe in the blood of virgins, but Jakubisko maintains she was simply a powerful woman who got caught up in the politics of men.

The Slovak helmer, known to the local media as "the Fellini of Eastern Europe" and a man who favors white suits and broad-brimmed black hats, has set a new high-water mark for productions in the cash-strapped Central European country with "Bathory."

The $13.3 million shoot, which stretched over the last year, outgunned that of Jan Sverak's Czech World War II romancer "Dark Blue World," in part by incorporating battle scenes from the Turks' invasion of Renaissance Europe.

"We couldn't pass up the Turkish wars," said Jakubisko. "They significantly influenced that time."
... [Well, of COURSE they did!]

Aaaaargh. My idea, my idea! I'm feeling so tense I might just have to go scare me up some virgins... This film should be interesting (!) but one thing annoys me: "Jakubisko maintains she was simply a powerful woman who got caught up in the politics of men." ... Please. The woman was rich and powerful, yes, and she pretty much had leeway to do exactly what she felt like doing. From what I've read, I sincerely doubt that ANY of her evil-doing was the result of getting "caught up in the politics of men." That's either an incredibly PC statement from the Tom-Wolfe-ishly clad director, or an incredibly sexist one. ("Bad men are responsible for women's downfalls" or..."Bad men are responsible for women's downfalls.") Stupid however you look at it. How about: Some women are just evil and mean, and let's explore that psychology in-depth? Nah... battle scenes from the Turkish wars are probably better. And I'm sure that Liz just took up with those girls 'cause it was such a turn-on for her back-from-the-wars boyfriend!

Oh well. I still have 3 film ideas left. One is: Frances Farmer's life with lover Jean Ratcliffe post-asylum. In Farmer's 1972 autobiography "Will There Really Be A Morning?" it's clear that she didn't actually have a lobotomy or a male rescuer as the '82 film fictionalized, but that she was still a mess anyway, yet ended up finding occasional moments of peace in Indianapolis (of all places), where she hosted a local film show and lived with/emotionally abused her younger female "companion" while battling both the bottle and ex-husbands and stalkers that kept turning up... I see this as being a real Summer Blockbuster. (And how cool would it be to have the 25-years-older Jessica Lange star in this one, as well?)

The other two...Oh, they involve Joan. One's completely written, by the way, for any of you agents out there. Give this kid a break!


David said...

You don't think she had a lobotomy?

Anonymous said...

love the frances farmer movie idea! she has long been a subject of my interest. joan, too. seems we share a lot of obsessions! did you happen to come across the obit for christopher crawford? i'd like to read it if you find it and post it to your wonderful joan site.

Graham in Texas