A Tale of Two Films: The Picasso Summer (1969)

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
- Pablo Picasso

Few films come with a pedigree as spotted as THE PICASSO SUMMER. Some names that were directly or indirectly associated with the movie include artist Pablo Picasso, author Ray Bradbury, French directors Francois Truffaut and Serge Bourguignon, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond as well as renowned animators Wes Herschensohn, Faith & John Hubley, composer Michel Legrand and songstress Barbra Streisand. Not to mention producer and beloved comedian Bill Cosby, Spanish bullfighting legend Luis Miguel Dominguín, actor Yul Brynner and the films stars, Albert Finney and Yvette Mimieux. Now that I’ve hopefully got your attention I suggest you proceed with caution. The story of how THE PICASSO SUMMER finally got made and was shelved for years is fascinating, funny and sad. This is a film that deserves to be rediscovered but it’s also a tragic reminder of ‘60s Hollywood excess and it left a lot of battered egos and unrealized dreams in its wake.

The film’s premise is simple enough; a struggling architect (Albert Finney) from San Francisco and his wife (Yvette Mimieux) attend a swinging party in the city during the “Summer of Love” where actor Theodore Marcuse appears as just another stoned party guest. The couple isn’t impressed with the happening crowd that has gathered to celebrate a new up-and-coming pop artist who paints the alphabet. The party sends Albert Finney’s character, once an aspiring artist himself, into a spiral of self-doubt and depression that leaves his accommodating wife confused and forlorn. After a night of vivid dreams, Finney suddenly awakes with an unusual idea. Why not take a spontaneous trip to Paris and seek out his favorite artist, Pablo Picasso, to thank him for all the inspiration and joy he’s given him over the years? His wife, who is obviously eager to escape their humdrum existence, agrees to accompany him and the attractive couple set out on a summer adventure in Europe. While trying to make contact with the reclusive Picasso they bump into a cast of unusual characters that lead them in various directions but as the saying goes, the journey is the destination. Does the premise sound a little ridiculous? It is. But it’s also incredibly charming. There’s a naiveté to the proceedings that’s both sweet and endearing. But THE PICASSO SUMMER is also a surprisingly inventive film and a lost love letter to Picasso himself. It celebrates Picasso’s work and his shared ideas about the artistic process while attempting to ask bigger questions about the impermanence of life and the eternalness of art. It isn’t entirely successful at tackling these big themes but it deserves credit for attempting such a risky task to begin with. THE PICASSO SUMMER also contains some of the most creative and uniquely animated sequences I’ve ever come across in any feature film, which is no small feat. Ever wonder what Picasso’s monumental murals for “War” and “Peace” might look like if they were animated? THE PICASSO SUMMER answers that question and does so beautifully.

THE PICASSO SUMMER was based on a vignette titled “In a Season of Calm Weather” written by Ray Bradbury that originally appeared in a 1957 issue of Playboy magazine. In 1967 Bradbury was asked to adapt his story into a half-hour television special but the project evolved into a full-length feature film with a lot of promise. At the time Bradbury was already a respected author and the critically acclaimed director Francois Truffaut had turned one of Bradbury’s stories into a highly successful film, FAHRENHEIT 451 (1966). Bradbury, along with producers Bruce Campbell, Roy Silver and comedian Bill Cosby (who had just launched his own film production team) managed to convince Pablo Picasso to make a guest appearance in their upcoming film while Bradbury reached out to his friend, Francois Truffaut, about directing it. At first Truffaut seemed enthusiastic about the project and the possibility of working with Picasso but after reading Bradbury’s script he told the author that he wasn’t interested and in a written exchange said, “To be completely frank, since we have always been frank with each other, I must tell you that for me this detailed treatment fails to capture the inventive originality of your short story.” This should have been a warning to all. If Truffaut doesn’t like your script it probably needs some work.

After Truffaut refused to jump on board the Oscar wining director Serge Bourguignon was asked to take the reigns and British actor Albert Finney, along with Yvette Mimieux, were cast in the leading roles. Picasso’s friend, the Spanish matador Luis Miguel Dominguín, was also cast in the film playing himself. Dominguín was a longtime friend of Picasso and a legendary ladies man who attended lots of parties, slept with lots of actresses and befriended many celebrities. During filming Dominguín relayed messages between the reclusive artist and the film crew. He even managed to convince Yul Brynner to make a cameo appearance in the movie. Unfortunately things began to go wrong almost immediately once the cast and crew landed in Europe. Director Serge Bourguignon was determined to give the film his own unique spin and wanted more creative control over the script, while author Ray Bradbury found the director’s changes wrongheaded. Then chaos apparently broke loose after it was discovered that Luis Miguel Dominguín was sleeping with Yul Brynner’s wife. Picasso, who was also friendly with Brynner, decided he wanted nothing to do with the Spanish matador or the film anymore. Producers struggled to find a Picasso look-alike to take the artist’s place while Bradbury and Bourguignon exchanged long-distance barbs. According to producer Wes Herschensohn, “Directorial liberty resulted in a quiet feud between Serge and Bradbury, in which Ray, back home in Los Angeles, managed to vent his hostility by shouting lustily, “I hate Serge Bourgignon!” whenever the urge hit him, which was quite often.”

When the film was finally completed a screening was set up with director Serge Bourguignon, Ray Bradbury and the producers in attendance. After the film ended and the lights came up, Bradbury reportedly turned towards director Serge Bourguignon and shouted, “Fire that man!” And producer Bill Cosby, who was no doubt fed up with everything, announced to the room that, “I don’t need you people to waste my money. I’m going to go waste it myself!” Naturally Bourguignon was enraged so he attacked Bradbury and the two men had to be forcefully separated. In the end producers decided to bring in another director, Robert Sallin, to re-shoot many scenes while they were busy having Bourguignon’s original film edited into oblivion. The irony is that they wanted a more commercial and less artistic product to sell to the general public. In other words, they wanted to take Picasso out of THE PICASSO SUMMER.

We’ll probably never get to see Serge Bourguignon’s early vision for THE PICASSO SUMMER, which may even include Yul Brynner’s cameo, unless an uncut print of the director’s effort is hidden somewhere in the Warner vaults. But the finished film hints at the movie’s experimental nature and artistic liberty. Between the flash cuts, still frames, rapid montages and abundant split screens it’s possible to get a glimpse of the imaginative ideas behind the film. The beautifully animated sequences that bring Picasso’s artistic ideas to life also survived the editing room. These scenes were conceived and directed by producer Wes Herschensohn, who worked with Disney early in his career, and executed by the Oscar-winning animation team of Faith & John Hubley. There are three animated sequences in total and together they make up about 30 minutes of the films 90 minute running time. The most remarkable animation in the film probably follows the controversial bullfight that takes place towards the end of the movie. It depicts matador Luis Miguel Dominguín’s encounter with a real bull as he teaches Albert Finney’s character how to kill it. This violent and unrelenting scene isn’t for the faint of heart and finally dissolves into a powerful animated montage of Picasso’s numerous bullfighting paintings.

THE PICASSO SUMMER also boasts some wonderful location shots of San Francisco as well as the French and Spanish countryside, while Michel Legrand’s score is exceptional. Speaking of the film’s wonderful score, there seems to be some confusion over Barbra Streisand’s contributions to it. Streisand did record Legrand’s theme for the film titled, “Summer Me, Winter Me” but it didn’t appear in the original movie and wasn’t released until 1974 as part of her The Way We Were LP. The film also suffered a delayed fate. Once changes had been made to the script and editing was done on the film, producers still weren’t happy with the final product that was eventually completed in 1969. THE PICASSO SUMMER was immediately shelved and never given a proper release in the US. In 1972 the film was sold to television and finally debuted on American TV but its dismal outcome didn’t end there. Director Serge Bourguignon, who had wowed audiences with his acclaimed 1962 film SUNDAYS AND CYBELE, was apparently so disappointed with the outcome of THE PICASSO SUMMER that he walked away from Hollywood and never made another film. In the end Bourguignon’s fate was immeasurably linked to the fate of his film’s protagonist and the movie’s underlying questions about artistic integrity and the search for something more meaningful in life ultimately went unanswered.

The film suffers from its disjointed narrative and a lack of overall cohesion but it’s still a fascinating movie that offers audiences a unique look at Picasso’s work and captures the overall sense of discontent that was felt by many in the late ‘60s. It may not be a perfect film but I honestly believe that THE PICASSO SUMMER is ripe for rediscovery, particularly for anyone who is interested in animation and how to cleverly incorporate it within a live-action film. The movie is currently available from the Warner Archive but it hasn’t been re-mastered so the picture quality suffers occasionally. This is undoubtedly due to the film’s sketchy production history and I have to assume that it’s nearly impossible to find any original footage of the film to restore since it was butchered for television. But overall this is a great looking movie and the sound quality is excellent.

Around the same time that Albert Finney made THE PICASSO SUMMER, he also appeared in one of my favorite romances, Stanley Donen ‘s TWO FOR THE ROAD (1967), with Audrey Hepburn. Both of these films feature a dissatisfied Finney traveling around Europe while he struggles to come to terms with his troubled marriage and personal ennui. The two films would make a perfect double feature, and although TWO FOR THE ROAD is undoubtedly the stronger film, THE PICASSO SUMMER contains it’s own kind of quirky charm that should appeal to more daring audiences.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JUh9vIJd4E]

“To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow the coup de grace for the painter as well as for the picture.” – Pablo Picasso

Further Reading:
The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller
Conversations With Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury & Steven L. Aggelis
Yul Brynner: A Biography by Michelangelo Capua
Resurrection in Cannes: the making of The Picasso Summer by Wes Herschensohn
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine De Baecque & Serge Toubiana

0 Response A Tale of Two Films: The Picasso Summer (1969)
Posted By Klara : April 12, 2012 3:28 pm

It’s funny, too, that Albert Finney played a struggling architect in both this & in ‘Two For the Road’ – which is probably my all-time favorite film. Now I’ll have to see ‘The Picasso Summer’. Definitely seems like one I’ll appreciate, in many respects :)

Posted By Klara : April 12, 2012 3:28 pm

It’s funny, too, that Albert Finney played a struggling architect in both this & in ‘Two For the Road’ – which is probably my all-time favorite film. Now I’ll have to see ‘The Picasso Summer’. Definitely seems like one I’ll appreciate, in many respects :)

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 12, 2012 3:54 pm

In some ways it feels like TWO FOR THE ROAD & THE PICASSO SUMMER are the same film but there’s a different aesthetic at work. The movies would make a great double feature though & they really should be screened together some day.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 12, 2012 3:54 pm

In some ways it feels like TWO FOR THE ROAD & THE PICASSO SUMMER are the same film but there’s a different aesthetic at work. The movies would make a great double feature though & they really should be screened together some day.

Posted By Klara : April 12, 2012 4:00 pm

That’s a great idea :) especially if it was screened in the summer & outdoors :)

Posted By Klara : April 12, 2012 4:00 pm

That’s a great idea :) especially if it was screened in the summer & outdoors :)

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 12, 2012 5:02 pm

I love that idea, Klara. Particularly if they were shown outdoors at that Spanish castle that I wrote about last week! :)

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 12, 2012 5:02 pm

I love that idea, Klara. Particularly if they were shown outdoors at that Spanish castle that I wrote about last week! :)

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : April 12, 2012 9:53 pm

If it’s the Bradbury story I’m thinking of, it was about someone witnessing Picasso on a beach, drawing a complex work of art in the sand with a discarded popsicle stick, which the incoming tide promptly washes away. It does sound like they padded the story a bit. Bradbury had an unfortunate history with directors. His experience with John Huston while working on “Moby Dick” scarred him for life. Which is to say, it gave him material for some great writing.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : April 12, 2012 9:53 pm

If it’s the Bradbury story I’m thinking of, it was about someone witnessing Picasso on a beach, drawing a complex work of art in the sand with a discarded popsicle stick, which the incoming tide promptly washes away. It does sound like they padded the story a bit. Bradbury had an unfortunate history with directors. His experience with John Huston while working on “Moby Dick” scarred him for life. Which is to say, it gave him material for some great writing.

Posted By MissGoddess : April 13, 2012 9:40 am

It’s great to finally find someone besides me that is charmed by this film. Sometimes, if a movie however imperfect can set a tone or capture a mood, I’m hooked, and The Picasso Summer has long been one of these ever since I saw it when it aired on the A&E Network…back when A&E really was about Arts and Entertainment. :)

I enjoyed reading through your appreciation, thank you so much for bringing it up so that more people will, hopefully, seek it out. And a BIG thanks for letting me know it was even out on Warner Archive, somehow, I overlooked its release and am now going to order a copy (to replace my watery DVD-R purchased from i-Offer!) Yay!

Posted By MissGoddess : April 13, 2012 9:40 am

It’s great to finally find someone besides me that is charmed by this film. Sometimes, if a movie however imperfect can set a tone or capture a mood, I’m hooked, and The Picasso Summer has long been one of these ever since I saw it when it aired on the A&E Network…back when A&E really was about Arts and Entertainment. :)

I enjoyed reading through your appreciation, thank you so much for bringing it up so that more people will, hopefully, seek it out. And a BIG thanks for letting me know it was even out on Warner Archive, somehow, I overlooked its release and am now going to order a copy (to replace my watery DVD-R purchased from i-Offer!) Yay!

Posted By SergioM : April 15, 2012 2:40 pm

I actually remember seeing the film on CBS many years ago (in fact I saw it twice on TV) and was stuck by the unusual nature of it and wondered why it never got released theatrically.

Posted By SergioM : April 15, 2012 2:40 pm

I actually remember seeing the film on CBS many years ago (in fact I saw it twice on TV) and was stuck by the unusual nature of it and wondered why it never got released theatrically.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 15, 2012 3:06 pm

John Maddox Roberts – Bradbury’s original story is a slim vignette about 2 or 3 pages long. They had to pad the story to turn into a feature-length film. I admire Bradbury but I think the man protests too much. Would love to see the original film unearthed someday but I don’t think Bradbury would allow it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 15, 2012 3:06 pm

John Maddox Roberts – Bradbury’s original story is a slim vignette about 2 or 3 pages long. They had to pad the story to turn into a feature-length film. I admire Bradbury but I think the man protests too much. Would love to see the original film unearthed someday but I don’t think Bradbury would allow it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 15, 2012 3:08 pm

MissGoddess – I appreciate the comment! It’s nice to come across other folks who enjoy the film. It really deserves more praise, particularly for those amazing animated sequences but I also love watching Albert Finney in anything.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 15, 2012 3:08 pm

MissGoddess – I appreciate the comment! It’s nice to come across other folks who enjoy the film. It really deserves more praise, particularly for those amazing animated sequences but I also love watching Albert Finney in anything.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 15, 2012 3:10 pm

SergioM – I’m surprised I never saw it on TV myself because it would have captured my attention right away.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : April 15, 2012 3:10 pm

SergioM – I’m surprised I never saw it on TV myself because it would have captured my attention right away.

Posted By ratzkywatzky : April 16, 2012 2:39 am

If I’m not mistaken, I believe its US network television debut was on the series of late night movies CBS put on to compete with the talk shows, the same grab bag that offered up the extremely edited version of Visconti’s The Damned (The Darned, Judith Crist called it). The reason I think this is because I was such a Bradbury nut in 1972 that only staying up late on a school night kept me from seeing it.
Thanks so much for posting this. Love the clip.

Posted By ratzkywatzky : April 16, 2012 2:39 am

If I’m not mistaken, I believe its US network television debut was on the series of late night movies CBS put on to compete with the talk shows, the same grab bag that offered up the extremely edited version of Visconti’s The Damned (The Darned, Judith Crist called it). The reason I think this is because I was such a Bradbury nut in 1972 that only staying up late on a school night kept me from seeing it.
Thanks so much for posting this. Love the clip.

Posted By SergioM : April 16, 2012 8:40 am

You’re right! That was when I saw Picasso Summer on that late night CBS film series. In fact I also recall seeing The Damned for the first time on that series too. I knew it was edited but it wasn’t until much later when I saw Visconti’s film intact and uncut did I realize what a butcher job CBS did on the film. In fact it was a completely different film altogether

Posted By SergioM : April 16, 2012 8:40 am

You’re right! That was when I saw Picasso Summer on that late night CBS film series. In fact I also recall seeing The Damned for the first time on that series too. I knew it was edited but it wasn’t until much later when I saw Visconti’s film intact and uncut did I realize what a butcher job CBS did on the film. In fact it was a completely different film altogether

Posted By Robert Sallin : December 21, 2012 12:55 pm

Hi. If I can help with more information on this film as well as correct some inaccuracies, please feel free to contact me. As well researched as your post is, there is more…much more to add. I received final directorial credit and can provide some fascinating stories. Trust me on this one! Regards, RSS

Posted By Robert Sallin : December 21, 2012 12:55 pm

Hi. If I can help with more information on this film as well as correct some inaccuracies, please feel free to contact me. As well researched as your post is, there is more…much more to add. I received final directorial credit and can provide some fascinating stories. Trust me on this one! Regards, RSS

Posted By april : December 26, 2012 2:04 pm

Mr. Salin, I for one would love to learn anything more you’d care to share! Such an intriguing movie, I hope you were happy with the end result.

Posted By april : December 26, 2012 2:04 pm

Mr. Salin, I for one would love to learn anything more you’d care to share! Such an intriguing movie, I hope you were happy with the end result.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 26, 2012 2:29 pm

Robert Sallin – Please feel free to share any information about the film that you’d like to in the comments. I listed all the resources I used in the piece so if you think they contain incorrect info you might want to contact the publishers as well.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 26, 2012 2:29 pm

Robert Sallin – Please feel free to share any information about the film that you’d like to in the comments. I listed all the resources I used in the piece so if you think they contain incorrect info you might want to contact the publishers as well.

Posted By Robert Sallin : May 17, 2013 9:01 pm

Kimberly:

I certainly can’t fault your piece insofar as the information was drawn from a variety of sources. Sadly, but not unusually, there is much which is erroneous and which can hardly be corrected as you suggest, since most of the writers involved are dead!

The major misperceptions ––– make that untruthful reporting ––– stem, I suspect, from Wes Herschensohn’s book. While I cannot begin to correct all the inaccuracies without writing a volume of my own, I would like to share a few of the ‘Picasso Summer’ realities as I lived them.

First, my production company, Kaleidoscope Productions, was tasked with providing all US physical production as well as complete post-productions services. Serge spent weeks in my building trying to salvage his disastrous work. Much of the footage he shot as well as his assembly (I cannot call it a ‘cut’) was unusable. The producers could not deliver his version to the studio and they decided to re-shoot most of the film. By this time, Ray Bradbury had distanced himself from the project and I was fortunate to work briefly with Dalton Trumbo who, after we explored our mutual ideas, wrote 18 pages of the script, along with a memo to me which ended with these words, “They are my gift to a good film which I think can become a damned good one.”

Sadly, Dalton was not available to continue and another writer, (this time from the television comedy world!) was hired by the producers. As the script progressed, I soon realized that the original potential of the film might never be realized. As a professional and a friend of one of the producers, I decided to do whatever I could to help complete the production and somehow to bring some form and cohesion to the disparate elements of this film.

Among my major decisions were: (1) to hire Vilmos Szigmond as my Director of Cinematography, (2) to force the animation director to provide transitions in and out of the live action, and (3) to make the film as visually stunning as possible. This was my focus as I came to believe that Bradbury’s original short story was not a sufficient basis for a feature film and that none of the later re-writes were bringing anything substantial to the story.

Undaunted however, the producers pushed ahead and we began production all over again in France! Then, after three weeks of shooting (the period of Albert Finney’s obligation), Sir Albert departed with Anouk Aimee and I was almost a feature director! I returned to Los Angeles and by combining miscellaneous elements of Serge’s original footage with my new footage and completely re-structuring the film, I was ultimately able to deliver the final version. Was it what I wanted? No. Was it a remarkable achievement in bringing order to the previous chaos? I believe it was, but of course, that should not be any concern of an audience.

A few asides:

• When Finney decided to leave the film, I complained to him that it was unfair to both the production and to me. He told me how much he had enjoyed working with me, but he “had to teach those boys (the producers) a lesson.” Closer to the real reason is that Albert had met Anouk while he and I were having lunch at L’Colombe d’Or in St. Paul de Vence. They had become involved and subsequently, Anouk divorced her husband and married Albert.

• Also, I learned later, that contrary to the animation director, Wes Herschensohn’s assertions and assurances to the producers, HE HAD NEVER MET WITH PICASSO AND PICASSO HAD NEVER AGREED TO ANIMATE HIS WORK!!!! This entire production, with two iterations, had been launched on a lie.

• The final scenes of the film were shot in Malibu and on Catalina, not the south of France. The ‘Picasso’ you see drawing on the beach in the distance is not Pablo himself, but Duke Fishman, a Catalina resident and Picasso look-alike!

• Why was I selected to “re-direct” this film? I had a close professional relationship with the Campbell-Silver-Cosby Company, producers of ‘Picasso Summer’. I was a highly successful commercial director with major national and international clients as well as owner of a thriving production company. Prior to assuming oversight of the Picasso project, I had previously directed the opening 10+ minute film sequence of the first Bill Cosby-NBC Special for the producers. Further, I had been directing professionally since the age of 15, working in radio for NBC, CBS and ABC in a major U.S. market.

I have only scratched the surface of what transpired during my time at the helm of ‘Picasso Summer.’ Forty-five years later, I still take some pride in creating a somewhat beautiful Golem from the muddy residue of a sadly mis-managed and ill-conceived film.

Qu’elle repose en paix.

Posted By Robert Sallin : May 17, 2013 9:01 pm

Kimberly:

I certainly can’t fault your piece insofar as the information was drawn from a variety of sources. Sadly, but not unusually, there is much which is erroneous and which can hardly be corrected as you suggest, since most of the writers involved are dead!

The major misperceptions ––– make that untruthful reporting ––– stem, I suspect, from Wes Herschensohn’s book. While I cannot begin to correct all the inaccuracies without writing a volume of my own, I would like to share a few of the ‘Picasso Summer’ realities as I lived them.

First, my production company, Kaleidoscope Productions, was tasked with providing all US physical production as well as complete post-productions services. Serge spent weeks in my building trying to salvage his disastrous work. Much of the footage he shot as well as his assembly (I cannot call it a ‘cut’) was unusable. The producers could not deliver his version to the studio and they decided to re-shoot most of the film. By this time, Ray Bradbury had distanced himself from the project and I was fortunate to work briefly with Dalton Trumbo who, after we explored our mutual ideas, wrote 18 pages of the script, along with a memo to me which ended with these words, “They are my gift to a good film which I think can become a damned good one.”

Sadly, Dalton was not available to continue and another writer, (this time from the television comedy world!) was hired by the producers. As the script progressed, I soon realized that the original potential of the film might never be realized. As a professional and a friend of one of the producers, I decided to do whatever I could to help complete the production and somehow to bring some form and cohesion to the disparate elements of this film.

Among my major decisions were: (1) to hire Vilmos Szigmond as my Director of Cinematography, (2) to force the animation director to provide transitions in and out of the live action, and (3) to make the film as visually stunning as possible. This was my focus as I came to believe that Bradbury’s original short story was not a sufficient basis for a feature film and that none of the later re-writes were bringing anything substantial to the story.

Undaunted however, the producers pushed ahead and we began production all over again in France! Then, after three weeks of shooting (the period of Albert Finney’s obligation), Sir Albert departed with Anouk Aimee and I was almost a feature director! I returned to Los Angeles and by combining miscellaneous elements of Serge’s original footage with my new footage and completely re-structuring the film, I was ultimately able to deliver the final version. Was it what I wanted? No. Was it a remarkable achievement in bringing order to the previous chaos? I believe it was, but of course, that should not be any concern of an audience.

A few asides:

• When Finney decided to leave the film, I complained to him that it was unfair to both the production and to me. He told me how much he had enjoyed working with me, but he “had to teach those boys (the producers) a lesson.” Closer to the real reason is that Albert had met Anouk while he and I were having lunch at L’Colombe d’Or in St. Paul de Vence. They had become involved and subsequently, Anouk divorced her husband and married Albert.

• Also, I learned later, that contrary to the animation director, Wes Herschensohn’s assertions and assurances to the producers, HE HAD NEVER MET WITH PICASSO AND PICASSO HAD NEVER AGREED TO ANIMATE HIS WORK!!!! This entire production, with two iterations, had been launched on a lie.

• The final scenes of the film were shot in Malibu and on Catalina, not the south of France. The ‘Picasso’ you see drawing on the beach in the distance is not Pablo himself, but Duke Fishman, a Catalina resident and Picasso look-alike!

• Why was I selected to “re-direct” this film? I had a close professional relationship with the Campbell-Silver-Cosby Company, producers of ‘Picasso Summer’. I was a highly successful commercial director with major national and international clients as well as owner of a thriving production company. Prior to assuming oversight of the Picasso project, I had previously directed the opening 10+ minute film sequence of the first Bill Cosby-NBC Special for the producers. Further, I had been directing professionally since the age of 15, working in radio for NBC, CBS and ABC in a major U.S. market.

I have only scratched the surface of what transpired during my time at the helm of ‘Picasso Summer.’ Forty-five years later, I still take some pride in creating a somewhat beautiful Golem from the muddy residue of a sadly mis-managed and ill-conceived film.

Qu’elle repose en paix.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 17, 2013 10:29 pm

Richard – It sounds like you really should write your own book about the making of the movie so journalists like myself could easily access the information you generously shared. We’re not mind readers! We can only use the resources we have at our disposal so naturally there’s no possible way I could have known all the details you just offered up. But thanks so much for taking the time to make the information available. I hope readers will appreciate your contribution as much I do. It sounds like it was an even more complicated production than I had imagined but I’m very glad the film got finished because I think it’s really lovely. I tend to write about underseen & underappreciated films in the hope that more people will seek them out and THE PICASSO SUMMER definitely deserves a bigger audience.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 17, 2013 10:29 pm

Richard – It sounds like you really should write your own book about the making of the movie so journalists like myself could easily access the information you generously shared. We’re not mind readers! We can only use the resources we have at our disposal so naturally there’s no possible way I could have known all the details you just offered up. But thanks so much for taking the time to make the information available. I hope readers will appreciate your contribution as much I do. It sounds like it was an even more complicated production than I had imagined but I’m very glad the film got finished because I think it’s really lovely. I tend to write about underseen & underappreciated films in the hope that more people will seek them out and THE PICASSO SUMMER definitely deserves a bigger audience.

Posted By April : May 17, 2013 10:32 pm

It is great to have your comments and clarifications posted here, Mr. Sallin. The Picasso Summer is a movie I cannot forget and keep returning to. Why, I can never specifically say. But it does manage to capture something that touches me and I’m grateful for that.

Posted By April : May 17, 2013 10:32 pm

It is great to have your comments and clarifications posted here, Mr. Sallin. The Picasso Summer is a movie I cannot forget and keep returning to. Why, I can never specifically say. But it does manage to capture something that touches me and I’m grateful for that.

Posted By Pete Tombs : June 4, 2013 6:37 am

Interesting to read this and Robert Sallin’s comments. I was surprised to read that Wes Herschensohn “had never met with Picasso”. As I recall, isn’t there a photograph in his book of him and Picasso having dinner together, signed and dated by Picasso himself? It certainly LOOKED like Picasso! Are we to understand that the picture was faked somehow? Also, Mr Sallin, any memories of Sam Selsky working on this film? When I interviewed Sam (God! was it really 20 years ago??) he mentioned working on this film as line producer, but he doesn’t seem to be on any of the credits.

Posted By Pete Tombs : June 4, 2013 6:37 am

Interesting to read this and Robert Sallin’s comments. I was surprised to read that Wes Herschensohn “had never met with Picasso”. As I recall, isn’t there a photograph in his book of him and Picasso having dinner together, signed and dated by Picasso himself? It certainly LOOKED like Picasso! Are we to understand that the picture was faked somehow? Also, Mr Sallin, any memories of Sam Selsky working on this film? When I interviewed Sam (God! was it really 20 years ago??) he mentioned working on this film as line producer, but he doesn’t seem to be on any of the credits.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 4, 2013 1:39 pm

Pete – By all accounts I’ve read (previous to Robert Sallin’s comments), Herschensohn did indeed meet & have dinner with Picasso to discuss the film. Although Picasso never appeared in the film and a double was obviously shot for the final scene. As I said to Mr. Sallin, it seems like it was a very completed production and in my experience, there are always multiple sides to every story.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 4, 2013 1:39 pm

Pete – By all accounts I’ve read (previous to Robert Sallin’s comments), Herschensohn did indeed meet & have dinner with Picasso to discuss the film. Although Picasso never appeared in the film and a double was obviously shot for the final scene. As I said to Mr. Sallin, it seems like it was a very completed production and in my experience, there are always multiple sides to every story.

Posted By Pete Tombs : June 4, 2013 4:35 pm

Hi Kimberley. That was always my understanding. Half of Wes H’s book is about his frustrated attempts to meet Picasso, leading up to that climactic dinner party. I do have issues with other things in the book that just seem too pat (he arrives in Cannes and it seem that round every corner are gorgeous women throwing themselves at him!)… but maybe that’s just cynical old me. However, the meet with Picasso does seem to be a cornerstone of the story and the project. Interestingly, I recall that WH mentions Mr Sallin as a good friend even before the project began, although they did appear to have strong disagreements about the final edit of the material. Maybe the biggest fault with the project was that the 5 page Bradbury story it was based around was maybe just too flimsy to really carry the weight of the final film. In fact, and I think this is mentioned in the book too, the film they should have made was the story of trying to make the film! That really would have been a piece of work.

Posted By Pete Tombs : June 4, 2013 4:35 pm

Hi Kimberley. That was always my understanding. Half of Wes H’s book is about his frustrated attempts to meet Picasso, leading up to that climactic dinner party. I do have issues with other things in the book that just seem too pat (he arrives in Cannes and it seem that round every corner are gorgeous women throwing themselves at him!)… but maybe that’s just cynical old me. However, the meet with Picasso does seem to be a cornerstone of the story and the project. Interestingly, I recall that WH mentions Mr Sallin as a good friend even before the project began, although they did appear to have strong disagreements about the final edit of the material. Maybe the biggest fault with the project was that the 5 page Bradbury story it was based around was maybe just too flimsy to really carry the weight of the final film. In fact, and I think this is mentioned in the book too, the film they should have made was the story of trying to make the film! That really would have been a piece of work.

Posted By Jill : July 1, 2013 2:56 am

seems the most salient point is whether Picasso approved of the animations…really would like to know if he approved, what he thought…get to work ye reporters! please…fascinating all…Thanks to TCM for presenting this morning.

Posted By Jill : July 1, 2013 2:56 am

seems the most salient point is whether Picasso approved of the animations…really would like to know if he approved, what he thought…get to work ye reporters! please…fascinating all…Thanks to TCM for presenting this morning.

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