“Out this way,” she said. “It’s better.”

She indicated the emergency exit on the side. It led us to an alley that ran around the theatre. As we walked through the darkness towards the street,  Kit said:

“I always like to duck out before anybody asks how I liked the picture.”

“Even if you did?”

“It isn’t that simple.  Hollywood has a regular ritual for preview reactions.  When they know they’ve got a  turkey they want to be reassured. And when they have one that’s okay they expect superlatives.”

She illustrated her point by telling the old Hollywood story about the yes-men who are asked what they think of the preview.  The first says it is without doubt the greatest picture ever made. The second says it is absolutely colossal and stupendous. The third is fired for shaking his head and saying, “I don’t know, I only think it’s great.”

Budd Schulberg,  “What Makes Sammy Run?”

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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