Last year, film buffs complained that the screenplay to Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters" should have received a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Last week, the argument that scripts should be eligible was given an additional boost when the Writers Guild of America asked the Pulitzer committee to start talking about the idea.
"Since its creation in 1917 to recognize and honor excellence in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize has been extended to acknowledge unique talent in such nonjournalistic writing endeavors as fiction and nonfiction, poetry, musical composition and playwriting," wrote WGA President Mel Shavelson. "It is universally recognized that film and particularly television have become the media with the kind of massive influence on the public that journalism had when the Pulitzer Prize Award was created ..."
The Pulitzer folks haven't responded yet.
And after mentioning the WGA letter, Daily Variety reported that in two months the Hollywood Walk of Fame will unveil the first sidewalk star ever granted to a writer. Writers who also directed or produced have stars, but Philip Dunne (who wrote "How Green Was My Valley," "Forever Amber," "The Robe" and others) is the first recipient known almost exclusively as a writer.
On Location Production agreements have been signed on the first two American-made films to be shot entirely in the Soviet Union. Midwood Productions is making the films under an agreement with Sovinfilm; the first of the two is "Hartman," an adventure tale about a dog sled racer, while the second, which was in the works at Midwood before the studio made deals with the Soviets, is entitled "Sun."
Meanwhile, other corners of the world are also getting their first exposure to movie making. Ecuador, with no film industry of its own, was the site of three weeks' filming for "Vibes," a Columbia Picture starring Jeff Goldblum and Cyndi Lauper as mismatched psychics. "We had your basic Third World hardships, like the water was not so good-looking and the food was not so wonderful," says actor Googie Gress, who plays one of the villains ("Room With a View" star Julian Sands is another) who threaten Lauper and Goldblum high in the Andes. "But I talked to a friend of mine who was in this Alex Cox film, 'Walker,' and compared to those guys we had a day at the beach." "Vibes" is due out in May.
Late this month, director John Milius also will head where no motion picture cameras have gone before: into the jungles of Borneo, where he'll shoot the World War II drama "Farewell to the King." The film is based on the true story of a soldier (played by Nick Nolte) who went to Borneo near the end of the war and created a Round Table-type community, with himself as King Arthur. Milius felt that the Philippines -- the usual site for movies set in Southeast Asia -- simply didn't look right.
Leader of the Bonds Surprise: The James Bond movie that had the biggest European Bond opening ever also had the biggest American Bond opening ever. "The Living Daylights" set the new record for Bond movies ($11.1 million in three days) while playing in 1,728 theaters. James Bond, of course, always opens well; the test is hanging on in the face of competition like "Who's That Girl," the Madonna/Griffin Dunne comedy that opens today. Warner Bros. is expecting big business for the film, but apparently isn't expecting favorable reviews, because the studio recently decided not to show the movie to critics or invite any press to tonight's premiere in New York. Still, selected feature writers have seen the screwball, old-style comedy, and they've reacted more kindly than usual for an unscreened picture.
A final James Bond note: In "Live and Let Die," what time is it on the repaired watch that M brings to Bond? If you know the answer (11:22 a.m.), then you could have won the James Bond 007 Trivia Tournament that was held last weekend to promote the "Living Daylights" opening. Nobody knew the answer to that one -- so the question was thrown out, and 27-year-old George Almond successfully defended his title by being the only contestant to know how the nuclear bomb timer was activated in "Octopussy." (A quarter turn clockwise.)