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Peter Bart Responds to 'Don't Look Now' Fracas

“We're talking about events of over four decades ago!" says Bart.

THR's intrepid rambling reporter Merle Ginsberg reached out to Peter Bart about the conflict with Donald Sutherland last week over the verisimilitude of the sex scene in Don't Look Now (inadvertently sparked by Risky Business -- the conflict, not the sex scene).

Bart claims in his forthcoming book, Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, the Mob, (and Sex), that he personally witnessed on-location coitus when he visited the Venice set. Sutherland says it didn't happen, and Bart couldn't even have been in the room anyway.

When asked by Ginsberg whether he was following the flap on THR.com, Bart responded via email:

“We're talking about events of over four decades ago! I hope people will rediscover this fine movie -- it deserves to be remembered as an example of brilliant filmmaking, not for the mythology that grew up around it.”

Unless, of course, you're trying to sell a book with "Sex," "Infamous" and "Movies" in the title, I guess.

Leaving aside the fact that the movie was made in 1973, which is technically fewer than four decades ago, Bart's attempt to write off his long-term memory so flippantly doesn't bode well for the factual nature of the book, given that it covers his tenure at Paramount from 1967 to 1975. And Bart's anecdote about the purported sex zeroes in specifically on the "mythology that grew up around" the film. So that's a pretty disingenuous dodge.

(Warren, if you're reading this, let me know if the other part of the story is true -- which, I admit, is pretty funny.)

Since the book is still in galleys (it publishes in May), I guess Weinstein Books still has time to bring in a fact-checker. My recommendation to whoever it is: charge by the correction.