Polish filmmakers are writing the rough draft of their country's history in these tumultuous times. First Andrzej Wajda filmed "Man of Iron" during the birth of the Solidarity union in the summer of 1980. Now, Jerzy Skolimowski, will be filming "Blackout" -- the story of some Polish workmen who are in London when martial law is declared. Skolimowski was Roman Polanski's collaborator on "Knife in the Water." The film is set to start shooting Feb. 15 and will star Jeremy Irons, currently undergoing a spiritual crisis on "Brideshead Revisited."
Orson Welles will receive the French Legion of Honor on Feb. 23. The great film director is only the third American film personality to be awarded this high honor. Previous winners were King Vidor and George Cukor.
"Cats," the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, was named best Musical of 1981 by London theater critics. "Cats," which will be coming to Broadway sometime in the fall, is a musical interpretation of T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." . . . Named as best drama, Peter Nichols' "Passion Play."
Elizabeth Coates of Philadelphia's Main Line confesses she comes from a family of hoarders and recently she came across some 19th-century photos. Said Coates, "None of us are well organized and these must have gotten mixed up with other things that aren't worth anything." The other things may have no worth, but the photos are probably worth in excess of $11,000. They are studies of the human body in motion that look like the work of Eadweard Muybridge. When she took them to the Library Company of Philadelphia, print curator Kenneth Finkel knew immediately they were the work of Thomas Eakins, the 19th-century Philadelphia master painter. The prints have yet to be appraised but Finkel says that Eakins photographs have all but dropped out of sight. In 1977 one of his photos fetched $11,000 at auction. He expects that one of the Coates photos, a 10-by-11 1/8 with annotations by the artist written on it, will be worth more than that. The photos will remain in the Library Company collection.