Editorial: Nurses will be standing by | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: Nurses will be standing by

A little publicity never hurts.

Little Willie Schloss, born in New York City in 1914 and orphaned at the age of 11, was destined, as William Castle, to add a page to the way independent American movies are made and distributed, long before Sundance. Castle’s specialty was low-budget thrillers. For his 1958 movie “Macabre,” he gave every moviegoer what was purported to be a $1,000 life insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London in case the movie scared them to death. He also put nurses in the lobbies, or at least, women in nurse’s uniforms, and parked hearses outside. “Macabre” was a hit.

These kinds of shenanigans led to the delightful 1993 movie “Matinee,” with John Goodman playing the Castle-like character Albert Woolsey, who brings his independent film “Mant!,” about a giant man-ant, to a theater in Key West, Florida, in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Woolsey also gets a few of his actor pals to pose as decent citizens who are outraged by the ant man. Woolsey’s starlet girlfriend turns up in the lobby dressed as a nurse. All publicity is good publicity and everything is a stunt.

We thought of “Matinee” and Castle when we read about the surprise, one-time Sundance showing in Park City Friday night of a new documentary, “Justice,” in part about the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh that was briefly conducted by the FBI while Kavanaugh was being confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice, in the fall of 2018. The director, Doug Liman, is best known for directing feature films and thrillers such as “The Bourne Identity.”

We did not get to see “Justice.” From the reviews we read, it doesn’t seem to add much to what was already known about Kavanaugh and the allegations, which will forever seem murky to some, who are probably Republicans, and substantiated and outrageous to others, who are probably Democrats — even as Kavanaugh eventually grows old on the bench. It seemed plain at the time that the FBI investigation was ordered after Kavanaugh’s critics and opponents were taken by bus to the Capitol and stormed the Senate halls, and was meant to be cursory at best, as a step on the road to confirmation. It was almost its own little bit of theater.

Nevertheless, according to an Associated Press piece about “Justice,” which we published online (“Armed guards surround Park City premiere of Brett Kavanaugh documentary“), the documentary was “made under intense secrecy.” In a Q&A after the Park City showing, Liman said people were “terrified,” presumably about participating as subjects in the film. The producer, Amy Hardy, told the AP she hoped “Justice” “triggers outrage” and leads to “a real investigation with subpoena powers.”

That strikes us as perhaps overly optimistic on Hardy’s part.

But about those armed guards. “Justice” was shown Friday inside The Yarrow/DoubleTree hotel. It isn’t really possible to surround a room inside the hotel. When we first heard about the guards, we wondered if this wasn’t a cunning stunt, a page from Castle’s book — although that would be awfully cynical, wouldn’t it? And we didn’t quite get it: Who were they supposed to be protecting, and from whom? Enraged Kavanaugh supporters?

It turns out there were half a dozen or so members of a K9 police team milling in front of the room where “Justice” was shown on Friday, almost coincidentally, as part of routine and random security checks performed throughout the festival, according to Sundance.

That’s not as good a story as “surrounded by armed guards,” even if it makes us feel a little better — and when it comes to promoting movies, as Castle knew, there’s no reason to let the truth get in the way of a good yarn. A little publicity never hurts.

We just wish we could have seen those nurses.


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