My Life As An Independent Film Producer
by Sidney Pink
Now I had three production teams, two complete editing teams, and enough time to get FICKLE FINGER OF FATE and WITCH WITHOUT A BROOM underway, and finish the editing of THE TALL WOMEN. I authorized two more scripts from Howard Berk and pleaded with Henaghan to get my CHRISTMAS KID script to me to I could get Jeff Hunter's back-to-back pictures set, plus an additional two scripts from him.
I imparted all of this information legally, through my counsel in New York, and now I intended to dot the i's and cross the t's in every dealing with Westinghouse. I never did figure out why Pack and Barnes, who needed us so badly for their own purposes, were intent on making us look bad and, in the long run, destroy themselves. Dick sent Barnes to England, where he made production deals for two very high-budget pictures, one starring Van Heflin that cost as much as our entire contract, and a second film about Napoleon, called EAGLE IN A CAGE, with an even higher budget. At least it kept them out of our way while we moved into high-gear production.
Elorietta was delighted with WITCH WITHOUT A BROOM, one of the cutest scripts I have ever read. Howard Berk made it into a fast-moving American comedy that could have been a major hit with an actor like Cary Grant in the lead of someone like Thurston Hall as director. Jeff Hunter did a good job, but he was no comedian in the sense of the film timing that mark people like Cary Grant and Melvyn Douglas. If Elorietta had remained sober that last four weeks of the film, it would have emerged as his best, but Barnes returned for the finish of the film and was so intrigued by the script he was on the set constantly with his adoring wife at his side. He kept annoying Elorietta with inane suggestions, so Elorietta began drinking again, and during those final weeks he went back to his pattern of great stuff in the A.M. and confusion in the P.M.