With both the Academy Awards and a heavyweight-championship fight on tap, we don't think there could be a better Playboy Interview subject than film director Martin Scorsese, whose Raging Bull is widely considered the greatest fight movie of all time. But then, nearly all of Scorsese's films have devastating intentions. Contributing Editor David Rensin confesses that "even though Scorsese was very casual and totally unpretentious during our discussions, I couldn't escape the feeling that I had been granted an audience. It was like being in the presence of a very intense and committed priest. For Scorsese, the craft of film making is almost like a religion." (For a glimpse of Rensin's irreverent side, look for The Bob Book, co-authored with Bill Zehme, due from Dell in June.)
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), April 1991, Volume 38, number 4, published monthly by Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: $29.97 for 12 issues, U.S. Canada, $43.97 for 12 issues. All other foreign, $45 U.S. currency only for new and renewal orders and change of address, send to Playboy subscriptions, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing, for change of address, send new and old addresses and allow 45 days for change. Postmaster: send form 3579 to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Advertising: New York: 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017, Chicago; 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611; West Coast; 8560 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069; Metropolitan Publishers Representatives, Inc.; Atlanta; 3017 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 100; Atlanta, GA 30305; Miami; 2500 South Dixie Highway, Miami, FL 33133; Tampa; 3016 Mason Place, Tampa, FL 33629.
After realizing that the "Partridge Family" ghost would shadow his legitimate musical abilities for years to come, actor/musician David Cassidy quit the business. Twelve years of acting and songwriting followed, then he released his eponymous debut on Enigma Records. With critical plaudits and a hit single, "Lyin' to Myself," Cassidy is now on a lengthy concert tour. He went into Indigo Girls' latest LP, "Nomads, Indians, Saints," a skeptic--and came out a believer.
Shake your Moneymaker Department: We have our doubts about the news that MTV and MCA are working on a rock theme park called Rockplex, near the Universal Amphitheater in L.A. The park is expected to include a production studio, a restaurant, gift shops and a record store. It's just another move toward taking the light and air out of rock and roll and taking it straight to the bottom line.
You can point high and low to cultural indices proving the resurgence of jazz, but the surest sign is at the Multiplex. Jazz is back in American films, and, since movies beget movie-sound-track albums, even the cinematically illiterate get to hear what's going on. The Hot Spot, Dennis Hopper's film noir from last fall, provides a noteworthy showcase for Miles Davis: It's Davis' first album in three decades that's almost all blues. But Kind of Blue, his landmark sextet date from 1959, painted its pictures in cool, urbane colors. The Hot Spot (Antilles) replaces those shades with the baked-earth tones, dry guitar riffs and gritty vocals of blues greats John Lee Hooker and Taj Mahal, with Miles offering commentary from the side lines. Wherever else his recent music has led, Miles has continued to include the blues in his live performances, and such tunes have sparked his most satisfying solos. This evocative (if limited) album of scene setters asks little else of the legendary trumpeter and shows him off to great advantage.
A Deaf-Mute chambermaid steals a miniature Henry Moore sculpture from a London hotel suite in Object of Beauty (Avenue), setting off a chain of events that almost bring back the good old days of screwball comedy. There's a serious undertone, however, to the plight of John Malkovich and Andie MacDowell. While he is a far cry from the usual film farceur, Malkovich has a take-charge air, and MacDowell seems on her way to becoming one of moviedom's most beguiling comediennes. Together, they portray an unmarried couple of ne'er-do-wells, stranded in luxurious digs with mounting hotel bills after one of his dubious financial deals collapses. They're the sort of people for whom living well is the best revenge. When poverty looms, their relationship begins to unravel, and each believes the other has stolen the statue to raise cash. He sleeps with her best friend (Lolita Davidovich) in an effort to learn the truth. Clearly, their moral codes are fairly slipshod. Object may not mean anything more than meets the eye, but it plays like a house afire--kept simmering by British writer-director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who codirected TV's Brideshead Revisited and knows a thing or two about swank. [rating]3-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
Classic vocalist Johnny Mathis has always had a jones for classic movies, but his video habit started by accident when one of his tour limos happened to be equipped with a VCR. "I began watching my favorites while driving around between concerts," he says. Now he's hooked. "I run The Letter with Bette Davis at least once a week. I've actually learned the dialog. And Davis' Dark Victory--I cry every time!" Other mandatory rewinds on the crooner's list: The Good Earth, Gone with the Wind, The Naked Gun ("that one has the biggest laugh"), Some Like It Hot and Casablanca. What, no musicals? "Sure, Busby Berkeley films and, of course, Jailhouse Rock. What a presence Elvis had. I knew him real well. Forget those slam biographies; he was a super guy."
Although springtime and the Academy Awards usually coincide, Oscar seldom shows up with a song in his heart. Only seven times has the Best Picture nod gone to a movie musical. They are: The Broadway Melody (1929): The novelty of sound probably made this a winner, though the Melodys of 1936 (with Eleanor Powell) and 1940 (Powell plus Fred Astaire) are far better.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle: The flying squirrel and the talking moose are on vid at last! Also on the six-tape collection: Boris and Natasha, Sherman and Mr. Peabody, Dudley Do-Right and the rest of the gang (Buena Vista).
Psychohistorians are going to have a field day analyzing the spread of Twin Peaks mutilation fever in the Nineties. On the heels of TV's Nouvelle Vague saga of "Who raped, tortured and killed Laura Palmer?" we had the tasteless spectacle of Bret Easton Ellis' splatterpunk homage, American Psycho. Now, in Chicago Loop (Random House), Paul Theroux explores the story of a happily married Yuppie developer who seeks out lonely women through the "Personals" columns and eventually murders one of them by biting her to death.
One of my friends says that he and his girlfriend have discovered a new type of foreplay. They set aside an hour or so a week and talk about sex. They choose a topic, and then eachreminisces about past experiences, fantasies, whatever. He said they had read about it in a book, but I haven't gotten back to him for details. Have you ever heard of this?--P. R., Kansas City, Kansas.
Last fall, U.S. District Judge Marvin H. Shoob recused himself from an obscenity case when a U.S. Attorney sought to bring felony charges against a 50-year-old bookkeeper for importing adult tapes for his personal use.
On October 24, 1990, the Playboy Foundation and the Nation Institute assembled a panel of speakers to discuss "The First Amendment in Crisis: Arts and Entertainment." These outspoken advocates of freedom addressed censorship, the market place of ideas, culture wars and, since the evening was intended to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, sex. Playboy Enterprises, Inc., Chairman Christie Hefner introduced the colloquium, moderated by Victor Navasky, editor of The Nation. The following are excerpts from the discussion.
The topics range from achieving sexual peaks to the seeming inevitability of divorce. No, we are not talking about The Oprah Winfrey Show in sweeps week. Every year, members of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex assemble to present papers, opinions and hypotheses to their peers. This year, we asked Marty Klein, a California-based therapist, to eavesdrop.
As unlikely as it seems, Martin Scorsese has never made a picture that was a mega box-office hit. Of course, that's easy enough to understand: Scorsese's films don't take place in outer space or in Beverly Hills. They never feature precocious kids, ambitious secretaries, ghost chasers, fraternity high-jinks, the undead in hockey masks nor any kind of military equipment. Even when his subject matter parallels the stuff hits are made from, Scorsese's vision is unique: His Mafia lives and works in the streets, not in a posh family compound; when Scorsese went to the boxing ring, his pugilist was a self-destructiveputz,not a come-from-behind hero. As if that were not enough to court box-office disaster, Scorsese avoids two subjects that most moviegoers crave: sex and romance.
It was Nearly 21 years ago that Michael Raymond, a beefy, Brooklyn-bred con man and stock swindler, got into a tight spot with the law. After a lengthy trial in Illinois state court, he received a four-year prison term for trying to use stolen Treasury notes to buy two small Midwestern banks. A silver-tongued grifter with a robust appetite for the good life, Raymond had no intention of serving his sentence. Instead, he cut a deal with the Feds.
It's March, you've just finished your mid-terms and now have two choices: spend a week at home with the parental units, boning up on your calculus, or caravan with friends for a week of hedonistic high-jinks in the land of sun, surf, suds and well-toned women. Tough decision? Hardly. More than 1,000,000 collegians each year set aside their books in favor of a week-long education they can't get in a classroom. Call it Spring Break 101, for which the only prerequisite is a "Let's get totally wild" attitude. Playboy photographers followed the masses to three of the top spring-break hot spots--Daytona Beach, Florida; South Padre Island, Texas; and Palm Springs, California. Here are their visual notes. Start memorizing, dudes.
The Girl was blonde, sexy, beautiful, and the way she fondled her Heineken seemed to beckon, Take me home. But when Michael met her at a college party ten years ago, he wasn't sold. After half an hour of dancing, he abandoned her by the bean dip because of one unforgivable flaw: She was only 19 years old.
Men's Fashion designers took the "Think green" message to heart this year. No, recyclable fabrics and biodegradable buttons aren't in the line-up for spring and summer. But green, the color, definitely is. With shades ranging from grayish green to olive, and with styles that are just as diverse, green is the hue to choose this season in suits and sports coats. Check out a traditional six-button double-breasted suit made of lightweight wool or an unconventional one-button single-breasted model in a loose-fitting crepe or linen fabric. In keeping with the toned-down colors, dress shirts have gone from bold and striped to solid white. All-cotton is still your best bet, as are shirts with long, soft-pointed collars and French cuffs. Smarten the outfit with a pair of cuff links and a silk tie. While there are still plenty of retro-style ties around, new trends in neckwear point to deep-toned brocades and pastels with abstract floral patterns. Pocket squares are another great way to add a splash of color. (A white linen square will accent that white dress shirt.) Even sports coats have gone soft this season. Colors are muted and fabrics are smooth to the touch. Select a two- or three-button model in a shade such as taupe or sage and wear it with a denim, chambray or washed-silk work shirt and a colorful tie. This dressy yet sporty style can also be had by combining a sweater and T-shirt with an unconstructed three-button jacket in soft washed linen. Finally, if you're in the market for weekend outerwear that's colorfully distinctive, look slick and stay dry in a bright-colored jacket made of a functional, water-resistant fabric.
This is about a revolution in male self-perception. Women have had their opportunity to create their cultural revolution. Now it is our turn. After too many years of allowing other people to define us, we are going to define ourselves.
Christina Leardini was a natural candidate for Operation Playmate--a letter-writing campaign to cheer soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia. For one thing, a career in modeling (including a stint with our lingerie specials) has turned her into a compulsive correspondent. "I have pen pals--photographers, models--everywhere. I write to keep in touch. Just little notes. Maybe quotes from the Bible or a book I've enjoyed. It keeps me real." But there are other reasons. For one thing, Christina's exotic beauty is the result of a Saudi/American alliance that occurred some 22 years ago between her U.S.--born mom and a Saudi doctor. The union was short-lived, and her father moved on. "I have stepbrothers and stepsisters I have never seen, who may not be aware that I exist. I wonder how they'd feel about me, what they look like." Although she has Arab blood, the letter-writing campaign is her first real contact with the strict world of Saudi culture: "We can't be sexy or we could get censored. Obviously, we can't send copies of Playboy. I hope by the time this issue comes out, the boys I've written will be home to see it." (Not that her letters would have been all that sexy--she is a happily married mom.) Letter writing suits her in another way. "I'd love to be a comedian," Christina says. "I would like to play the funny, stupid characters on Saturday Night Live--the bag lady--anyone not required to wear a push-up bra. But I don't have the guts. I couldn't stand in front of an audience." When we got a chance to watch Christina in action, we saw what she meant. She is more at home with Willy the hotel doorman than she is with crowds of admirers. She is not interested in celebrity or popularity but in one-on-one impact. She wants to be remembered as special, one person at a time. Indeed, she will be.
Waking up late one morning, President Gorbachev shuffled to the window and looked out at the streets of Moscow below. To his amazement, they were deserted. He picked up his phone and called several ministers, but no one answered.
Of the three logical routes Stan could take from his home to the television station where he worked, he chose the one with the most trees. He seldom varied that part of his routine, avoiding the faster, more efficient freeway and the only slightly less efficient thoroughfare in favor of a leisurely drive past homes he would never be able to afford, past the high school where the students had better cars than he would ever own, past the shopping center where he often took his wife and two young daughters to while away a Saturday afternoon. He wore a polo shirt and clean, pressed chinos--the standard uniform of a 35-year-old executive stopping by his office for a few hours on a Saturday to catch up on work or attend an urgent meeting.
On April 19, George Foreman, a terror during the early Seventies, will challenge Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight championship of the world in a bout that some ring observers believe will more closely resemble burlesque than boxing. Maybe they're right. By boxing standards, Foreman is a geezer. Big George turned 43 on January 22 and no longer has the sculpted physique he sported when he won the title with a savage two-round knockout of Joe Frazier in 1973. The cruelest of his critics claim that Foreman has ballooned up to proportions enjoyed by such eminent nonathletes as weatherman Willard Scott and actor Charles Durning. Lawrence Linderman, who interviewed Foreman at his gym in Houston, dismisses such talk. "George is heavy, but he isn't obese, and he can still hit like a mule," Linderman says. "Angela Dundee, who trained Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, thinks Foreman won't be a pushover, and so does the betting public: Foreman is only a five-to-one underdog. The price on Buster Douglas was forty-three to one when he beat Mike Tyson in Japan, so an upset isn't all that improbable. But it is unlikely: Holyfield, a proud warrior, isn't taking Foreman lightly--which would be impossible to do, no matter how he felt about the fight."
If you're an informed and gutsy shopper, now is a great time to buy a new car. Spring inventories have arrived, and despite an impressive selection of new models, a certain anxiety has stalled sales. As we went to press, the fuel crisis continued to escalate and consumer confidence was strained by fears of a recession. A punitive new tax on luxury cars priced over $30,000 also took effect in 1991. Consequently, it's a buyers' market. As dealers sit nervously atop huge, slow-moving inventories, bargains are yours for the making.
Is Steve Martin a national treasure? Let's take a look at the record. For one thing, he is certainly our cleanest actor. It's no accident that the Defense Department picked him to be the first celebrity to visit our troops in Saudi Arabia, as an example, among other things, of cleanliness in the American acting profession. Once there, he was not allowed to actually entertain anyone--for fear of offending our Saudi hosts--and was restricted to a little tense walking around in the sand. But that wasn't Martin's fault. He was asked to go and he went, a quality you look for in your national treasures.
The tempest struck last spring on a quiet, wooded campus in Oakland, California. Mills College--a prestigious 139-year-old liberal-arts school best known for its exclusively skirted student body--decided to permit men to enroll. The announcement was one in a long line of defections by all-female institutions. According to The Boston Globe, the national roster of women's schools had taken a beating over the past several decades, its number atrophying from 298 in 1960 to 93 in 1990. Ensuing protests--and there were plenty, from thoughtful editorials to strident demonstrations--made the intended waves: Mills's head honchos reversed their decision. Since then, women's colleges have been blazing a comeback, most notably last May, when two students from Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, chartered the Students' Alliance for Women's Colleges, an organization bent on restoring pride and popularity to single-sex education.
It seems that nothing burns as brightly as the return of an old flame. The contours of a familiar shape and a certain feeling in your hand combine to provide a spark that can rekindle the warmest of memories. Of course, we're referring to retro pocket lighters that are as hefty as they are handsome. Or, as Mae West might have said, "Is that a Dunhill in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?" Most of the classic styles pictured here made their debut during an earlier age of elegance, when lighting a woman's cigarette or your own carefully chosen cheroot or a fine briar pipe called for just the right touch of incendiary class. And even if you choose not to smoke, there's no reason you can't light up somebody else's life with appropriate panache. Fire when ready!