Skip to comments.Legendary Producer Saul Zaentz Dies at 92
Posted on 01/04/2014 10:01:09 AM PST by Borges
He won Oscars for producing three best picture winners -- "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest," "Amadeus" and "The English Patient" -- after a great career with Fantasy Records and feuds with John Fogerty.
Saul Zaentz, who parlayed a successful career in the music business into a Oscar-winning second act as an independent movie producer, died Friday at his home in the San Francisco area from complications of Alzheimer's. He was 92.
His nephew Paul Zaentz, a fellow producer, confirmed the news.
"He was an extraordinary man," Paul Zaentz, who worked with his uncle for 37 years, said. "He had a lot of guts, a lot of integrity."
After presenting such major acts as Creedence Clearwater Revival on his Fantasy Records label, Zaentz moved into producing and shared three Academy Awards for best picture -- for One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975), Amadeus (1984) and The English Patient (1996). Zaentz then received the Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1997 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his consistently high quality of motion picture production.
(Excerpt) Read more at hollywoodreporter.com ...
John Fogerty is not sad.
“Zaentz can’t dance but he’ll steal your money”— John Fogerty
Not averse to litigation, including suing studios over profits sharing, Zaentz was involved in acrimonious litigation with Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty over song rights. Zaentz's contention was with two songs on Fogerty's 1985 Centerfield album for Warner Bros. Records. Zaentz argued that the song Zanz Kant Danz was a slur on him. He filed suit, and Fogerty responded by changing the first word to "Vanz."
Zaentz filed a second lawsuit, contending that Fogerty used the same chorus for The Old Man Down the Road as Run Through the Jungle, which Fogerty had recorded while on Zaentz's Fantasy Records label. Fogerty ultimately prevailed after surreal courtroom testimony that, essentially, absolved him of plagiarizing himself.
The way I view Saul Zaentz and his henchmen, shall I say -- well, that probably gives it away, Fogerty said in a New York Times interview in 2005. I still view them in the same light. If I was walking down the street and those rattlesnakes were walking towards me, I would give them a wide berth.
Is there anyone John Fogerty didn’t feud with?
Another music/movie mogul died yesterday...
Farewell to the King of Grindhouse
Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird video, dead at 56
t’s a truly sad week for cult cinema. Mike Vraney, founder of the era-defining Something Weird Video, died yesterday at the age of 56.
Vraney’s importance in the preservation and celebration of exploitation, grindhouse, drive-in and z-grade movies can not be overestimated.
For music fans, the Pacific Northwest native may be most famous as a cofounder of Seattle’s The Showbox, and later as manager of punk bands including The Dead Kennedys, TSOL, and The Accused. But it was a film fanatic in the truest and deepest sense of the words that he made his biggest impact....
This guy ripped off Fogerty on the ownership of CCR’s music.
He won’t be missed.
He was one of those people that Jack Kirby called “the grabbers”. People who give capitalism a bad name.
As a film producer he put through some great stuff.
Speaking of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, didn’t Michael Douglas get the rights for that under shadowy circumstances from Kesey? And what was Zaentz’s role, if any in that acquisition?
“This guy ripped off Fogerty on the ownership of CCRs music.
He wont be missed.”
If you think this, you know nothing about what actually happened. Fogerty signed the same publishing contract when he did his record deal with Fantasy (Zaentz) as did every other singer songwriter of the era. The publishing part of the conflict was minor. The big disputes were over (1) who was responsible for the losses Zaentz and Fogerty and everyone else involved took in offshore the Castle Bank and Trust offshore tax shelter deals the whole group of them got involved in the Bahamas; and (2) who was responsible for slander in the Zaentz Can’t Dance lawsuit, just Fogerty or Warner Records.
Fogerty was borderline crazy, in my opinion. He thought Zaentz had secret contacts to the Bahamians or some such nonsense and hundreds of thousands of dollars (more like millions) in legal fees were wasted for Fogerty to lose. And, despite being represented by one of the biggest, most-expensive and meanest law firms in the country, Fogerty did lose.
Zaentz was one of the few honest film/music producers around and Fogerty’s attacks on him demeaned a very fine man.
I watched The English Patient three showings in a row when it first came out. Now, I wrinkle my nose in disgust whenever I see it on the television line-up. Michael Ondaajee, the writer whose book that movie was based, who I have met and spoken with a couple times, is “an anti-Colonialist.” It bothers me now that I have become enlightened
Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus were both well made movie with serious honesty issues.
Cuckoo’s Nest slandered the mental health field and was largely responsible for the subsequent de-institutionalization of mental patients.
Amadeus slandered a great musician, Salieri, who was actually a friend of Mozart.
No one involved with Amadeus called it fact. Hence no slander. The 1984 film was based on the 1979 British play not historical fact. Writer Peter Shaffer called it a ‘fantasia based on events in Mozart’s life’. There were rumors going around that Salieri killed Mozart even during Salieri’s life. The Russian poet Pushkin wrote a play about it...Rimsky Korsakov made an opera out of Pushkin’s play...
It makes no sense for Ondaatje to be anti-colonialist given his life and career.
He’d have done nothing and who knows what he’d be if not for colonialism.
You are right. It wasn’t slander. It was a rehash of a very old calumny.
It came across like a rehash of every Prestige Film cliche you could think of.