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    The Making of Trick Or Treat? 1976

    Category: Autobiographical

    The Making of Trick Or Treat? (The Sunday Times Magazine, September 1976)


    One lunchtime last summer, Michael Apted and I walked into a crowded restaurant together, sat down, and without looking at each other considered the menu. After a few moments he put his menu down, screwed up his face, and dropped his head in his hands. ‘Stephan’s gone,’ he said. ‘He left this morning. He told me.’

    I didn’t look up: ‘About us?’ I asked finally.

    ‘Yes.’ He paused. I waited, forcing him to carry on. ‘It doesn’t make any difference … not to you and me. You know that, don’t you?’ I didn’t say anything. ‘I mean … I love you,’ he said finally. A couple at the next table looked round at us.

    ‘No you don’t.’ I was being petulant.

    ‘You know I do.’

    I shook my head. ‘I don’t know that. I don’t know anything any more. I can’t trust you. I can’t believe anything you tell me. Everything’s just one big game to you … dressing up in those ridiculous clothes all the time … out of your mind on opium … everything’s just one big game for you. I’m tired of all the bullshit … I’m tired of you. Do you understand? It’s just not the same anymore. It’s never the same … last night, it wasn’t the same …’ Gradually I had worked myself up to a point verging on hysteria.

    Apted put an arm out towards me: ‘For Christ’s sake, Kathy … ‘
    The restaurant was now an audience of ears, alert to the conversation and to my name.

    ‘Don’t touch me,’ I virtually yelled. ‘I don’t want your hands … your fingers near me.’

    ‘I don’t understand,’ he said. ‘What’s wrong?’ I shook my head. He persisted. ‘Tell me, darling …’

    A waiter hovered over us waiting to take our order. He was looking at us very strangely.

    ‘I’m pregnant,’ I said. And I began to cry.

    For six months, while director Michael Apted and I were preparing our film-that-never-was Trick or Treat?, we improvised scenes like this at every opportunity we got – on aeroplanes, in bars, cafes, taxis and finally in between shots on location. He almost always played Ille, the stronger more determined of the two girls that the film was about, and I was Kathy – the vulnerable one. He didn’t always call me ‘darling’ and I didn’t always cry. Sometimes he would be cold and aloof, and I would be plaintive, simpering and even fawning; and sometimes he would be clever and witty, and I’d be giggly and silly.

    Trick or Treat? may not at the end of the day have entertained millions of people at the box office, but in one way and another, the sight of Michael Apted and me acting out the parts of a couple of lesbians must have provided a diverting cabaret to an awful lot of lunches.

    For better or worse Trick or Treat? was my idea. I first thought of it in 1969; I wrote it as a novel in 1974; I spent all of 1975 trying to help turn that novel into a film; and so far I’ve spent the first eight months of 1976 trying to recover from that experience. As a film it was, in every sense, a complete disaster; and when it was finally abandoned in January it was estimated that about £400,000 (two thirds of the total budget) had been spent shooting under forty minutes of usable footage.

    Nobody sets out to make a disaster, or, in our case, half a disaster: given the right set of circumstances it could happen to anybody. I just wish it hadn’t happened to me. At the start everyone agreed that it was a good and commercial idea; the story of two girls who have a love affair with each other, who decide to have a baby together, and who, in doing so, become tragically involved with a married couple.

    It was, in my mind, a love affair between four people, a sort of erotic Chabrol piece about sexual relationships and emotional ambivalences. It was to be set in Europe and to star three Europeans and one American. At a time when English films were unattractive outside Britain, here seemed an opportunity to make a film with international appeal. In fact I’d even gone to Paris to write the novel in the first place.

    From my point of view, things began to go wrong right from the start. The first company to show interest in the project was Warner Brothers, but I turned down their very good offer and stayed with Goodtimes Enterprises, the company that had made That’ll Be The Day, Stardust and my documentary on James Dean. There are many advantages in working with an independent production company, but there is one major disadvantage – money. While the major film companies can afford to spend thousands of pounds developing a film in pre-production costs, the resources of a small company cannot realistically be expected to stand an investment of £30,000 in a film which may not get made. I say this now because I think it may help explain some of the pressures upon Goodtimes’ two producers, Sandy Lieberson and David Puttnam, and also upon the film’s director Michael Apted and myself.

    I began writing the first draft in March, and by July, had a second draft completed which had attracted the National Film Finance Corporation, EMI Films, and eventually an Italian company called Rizzoli. By then the location had been moved from Paris to Rome and Michael Apted and I found ourselves on a European tour in search of a cast.

    At first we hit lucky: Michael Apted’s reputation in Europe is considerable because of his success there with Triple Echo, and Stephane Audrun quickly expressed willingness to play the part of the older married woman. Much more difficult to cast was the sophisticated and intelligent and slightly decadent multi-lingual young woman. All kinds of names were bandied about for the part: Isabelle Adjani, Maria Schneider, Bulle Ogier (my favourite), Charlotte Rampling, Laura Antonelli, Dominique Sanda and Aurore Clement. And then someone suggested Bianca Jagger ….

    ‘She’d be worth talking to at any rate,’ said Apted. Through a mutual friend in California I tracked her down to Paul Morrisey’s house in Long Island and arranged to meet her in Rome at the end of the week. Ominously enough, she arrived a day late, full of stories about Fellini wanting to see her for a part in Casanova. Unluckily for us the part had, I understand, already been cast. Still, Michael Apted and David Puttnam wanted to meet her, so, when she had read the script I took her to meet them: they were cautiously interested, and it was decided that I should hang around Rome for a few more days finding out how interested she really was.

    Whatever qualities Bianca may lack, it cannot be said that she lacks style, and it was that style which interested us. Bitchy people might say that her whole life is a preparation for an entrance, but, we argued to ourselves, that was because no one was ever prepared to risk giving her more than an opportunity for entering. If she performed well in a screen test, and if the financiers were in agreement, it might be that behind that carefully constructed exterior was a natural actress.

    She was certainly a natural exhibitionist. One night after visiting a gay bar with her friends Verushka, and Manola Blahnik, cobbler to the famous, Bianca suddenly decided she was bursting to pee. Loos are rare on the Via Veneto at one in the morning so, while I kept watch for the police, paparazzi, or for any people who may have been interested in watching, Bianca squatted down behind a car parked on the pavement and hoisting up her thousand dollar dress, peed a stream that ran down the hill of Rome’s most fashionable street. Then it was Verushka’s turn.

    August was spent largely writing another draft of the script, while Puttnam and Lieberson worked at sorting out a budget and the financing of the picture. As expected, everyone wanted to see a screen test of Bianca, and after one abortive effort to persuade her to do one in London, Michael Apted flew to New York to test her. She was surprisingly good. Indeed some people think that she performed better in her screen test than she ever did in the film itself.

    By now, however, the sexual nature of the film was
    beginning to concern her increasingly, as was the script. Having now read the book, she wanted the script to be more faithful to the book, which was a surprising request since the book was much more sexually explicit than any of the scripts. During the next six months the question of the sex and nudity was to be a point for endless discussions between Bianca and the rest of us; we wanted to make a serious film about a sexual relationship between two women and a man. To us that involved nudity. In Bianca’s mind there was some big bad film baron who wanted us to make a dirty film; that was absurd.

    Neither the producers nor the financiers ever put any pressure upon us to make a film other than the one we had always intended to make. Bianca never said she wouldn’t do the nudity – and even signed a contract to say that she would: she just moaned a lot about it. But then she moaned about most things … the costumes, the way the film was lit, the importance of having a say in approving the other girl and the eventual choices of the married couple – Nigel Davenport and Elsa Martinelli (who was cast as a result of Stephane Audran having to drop out because of the delay). But most of all she moaned about the script.

    By this time Goodtimes Enterprises had spent a considerable amount of money developing the project. Both EMI and the NFFC liked Bianca’s screen test, but when the NFFC were presented with a revised budget which added a further £50,000 to the cost of the film, they decided to back out. Another source of finance had to be found: that source turned out to be Hugh Hefner’s Playboy film division, but only on condition that the picture was to star Bianca Jagger.

    So from being just a bright casting idea a few weeks before, Bianca Jagger had now become the most essential ingredient: without her there would have been no film (not last autumn anyway), and she knew it. And to make matters worse I still hadn’t got the script right.

    Rationally we should have postponed the production right there and then in early September of last year. But these things have a momentum of their own. We went on. As Puttnam said, Goodtimes Enterprises couldn’t now afford not to make the film.

    Apted now flew to California to choose someone to play the part of Kathy from over a hundred girls: Puttnam was also in Los Angeles clearing up the Playboy deal, and then Bianca joined them to view the short list of potential Kathys. But now having read the book again, and the latest script, Bianca wanted a lady writer on the project, since she felt that a man (me) was pathologically incapable of understanding how two women having a lesbian relationship feel. It was nothing to do with my ability as a writer I was assured: it was, it seems, all to do with my having the wrong balance in my chromosomes.

    At this point, as if to underline my sexual unsuitability for the job, my hair began to fall out.

    Having been talked out of my first instinct, which was to walk away from the whole project, I joined the centre of activity in California. Apted, whose little boy had recently had a major operation, looked as though the blood was being sucked out of him. Bianca had now made a tape recording giving us her ideas of how the script and the storyline should go.

    Unfortunately it bore little relationship to the story of the novel of which she still professed to be a great admirer. She was, so far as I could gather, very impressed with the Cathy/Heathcliff relationship in Wuthering Heights, and she wanted Ille’s brother, who was always dead in the book, to be resurrected. She also wanted her own character to be given more motivation for behaving badly in the story--- which was a good idea.

    However she didn’t like her entrance into the film and she thought that it should be the other girl who wanted to get pregnant. I argued, and then gave in, and a couple of nights later found myself at dinner with a psychiatrist while Bianca put the case for transferring the conception to the other girl. As Puttnam said, I was “going to have to learn the realities of film-making”.

    The most suitable girl to play Kathy seemed to be a very photogenic Californian called Jan Smithers, who had just missed the part of Cecilia in Elia Kazan’s The Last Tycoon. Clearly Fellini’s and Kazan’s losses were to be our gains. She wasn’t perfect (I said that she reminded me of another girl I knew who was three sheets to the wind) but she was the best. And Bianca liked her.

    The only trouble was that she said she had a scar on her breast and before she could be cast someone had to ascertain whether or not that scar would show up on camera. The director had to see her naked, and at the clinical hour of 9.30 one morning she took off her clothes for his approval. Apted was very embarrassed, but later she told me that the only thing that bothered her was the fact that her period had just come that morning.

    The next problem to be solved was that of the lady writer with whom I was now to work. We knew someone we liked, so the next step was to see if Bianca liked her. On the following Sunday I picked her up for lunch and drove out of town to an open-air restaurant where a very nervous Apted was waiting with my new partner.

    For some reason of her own, Bianca wore dark metallic glasses throughout the lunch and cried, while a very worthy streaming-haired Californian girl, spotting her celebrity, came and sang in a loud Joan Baez voice at our table. Appropriately enough it was a song of doom

    On the way home I asked Bianca if she liked the new writer: ‘Darling, it’s your script. If you like her then that’s all that matters.’

    Two weeks later in London that wasn’t all that mattered: “It’s shit,” said Bianca upon being shown the new writer’s efforts. A new plan was then made. As Bianca didn’t like what I’d written, or what the new writer had written, then obviously the way to do it was for her to work with me. She agreed.

    The next day I cleared my study and waited for her. She never came. When I called the production office to find out what had happened to her I was eventually told that the only time she could see me was the following day at Wiltons for lunch. She was too busy with costume fittings, it seemed.

    That night I spoke to Apted who was now in Rome looking at locations. I told him I was going to speak strongly to the lady: “Be very firm with her, Raymond,” he insisted. So the following morning I wrote on my writing pad all the things that I thought she should hear, and went off for lunch. She wasn’t late.

    “Listen,” I said, opening my writing pad on the table. “I got you into this so it’s fitting that I talk to you now. You are being employed on this picture as an actress … no more and no less. So far we’ve been indulgent to you to an extraordinary degree. Now these are the facts of life. I am the writer. If the story needs changing … I change it. The myth about a woman writer has been disproved. But I’ll take ideas from anywhere and anyone. If you want to help on the new draft of the script come to my home. You know where I live, and you’re always welcome. But the only rights you have there are consultation rights. We start shooting on November 3. My job is to get the script right by then … “

    From time to time she tried to interrupt me but I insisted upon carrying on with my pre-arranged speech. I knew that if we got into an argument she would win. There was no way that I would ever be clever enough to out-debate her.

    Eventually I softened a bit: “I know you’re terrified,” I said. “No, I’m not,” she replied. I insisted that I thought she ought to be, and that I could sympathise, and that I was sorry she was worried about the script. But she had much more evidence about the competence of Michael Apted and me, than we did about her. We were, in effect, gambling our careers on her. “You have to put your trust in us,” I said. “The film’s financiers trusted us enough to finance the picture before you were ever mentioned. Trick Or Treat? will get made, don’t doubt that.”

    At this point Bianca Jagger decided that she no longer wanted to be in the film, and after exchanging some quite pleasant and incidental chat about mutual friends, our lunch meeting broke up. The bill came to £31.40. I took a taxi home and as I walked through the door the telephone was ringing.

    It was one of the producers, Sandy Lieberson. Bianca had telephoned him and was already on her way round to see him. I explained what had happened, and how I had chastised her. He then proceeded to chastise me for jeopardising the whole film without consulting him first. He was right, of course. And it was his company’s money I was jeopardising.

    A few nights later Lieberson and Apted saw Bianca in Paris: and this time Lieberson had a go at her. But this time she didn’t walk away from the film. She’d been bluffing. I was later to learn that she thought I was behaving like a woman when I complained to her: my chromosomes were obviously still in with a chance.

    October was spent fighting Equity. (I actually got escorted from their offices one day when I sneaked in to one of their Press conferences.) They didn’t want Bianca: we did. If only they’d won we could have gone down with honour. But inevitably a compromise was reached.

    By the beginning of November we were all set to go. Apted was in Rome setting his location, Bianca was in London arguing about costumes with Marit Lieberson, Sandy’s wife and costume director, and Jan Smithers was getting tense and catching flu. One night, just before going to Rome, Smithers burst into tears and began to cry hysterically saying that she should never have come to Europe, that it was all her own fault for being greedy, she was homesick and unhappy and that now she was being punished by being ill.

    Eventually she decided to telephone her former husband and after talking to him she said she felt better.

    On November 11 most of the crew moved to Rome (Jan Smithers still with flu and bearing a whole suitcase full of jars of vitamin pills, yeast and health foods) where Apted and I continued to work on the screenplay (now little more than a suggestion of cards for improvisation) while Bianca stayed in London renegotiating the terms of her contract – upwards.

    We had intended to spend a week in Rome rehearsing, but Bianca’s late arrival prevented this. When she did arrive, she was accompanied by a voice coach and a bodyguard. There was, she thought, a danger of her being kidnapped. “Nonsense,” said Gavrik Losey, the associate producer, “who’d want to kidnap you?”

    Shooting started on schedule on November 17. Unfortunately Bianca was an hour late in reaching the location, and a rainstorm of hurricane proportions hit the city as the first clapper was about to go down. It was, apparently, the worst storm Rome had seen in years, and the entire morning was spent getting two shots and one line before the unit broke for lunch and moved to the next location. At lunchtime the first in a long series of rows about the costumes broke out.

    Clothes are a subject about which Mrs Jagger knows a great deal and when she had announced earlier that hardly any of the clothes made for her in England were suitable, a deal had been done with Valentino in Rome to exclusively dress her for the film. So at lunchtime on the first day she and Jan Smithers went off for what seemed like a disproportionately long fitting session, the results being that when they returned to the new location it was too late in the day to do more than rehearse the next scene.

    A couple of days later Apted was to complain: “It seems that Valentino is getting more time with the leading lady than I am.” Bianca seemed to be more interested in frocks than films.

    On the second day Bianca was three quarters of an hour late reaching the location and the scene wasn’t completed. By now it had been decided to resurrect the always-dead brother and a young man called Carlo Puri was hired to play the part. At the start Bianca wasn’t too sure about him, and suggested that he be dressed very carefully or he might look like her servant.

    Later it became known that Puri belonged to the Pirelli tyre family, and a bit later still, Bianca became quite friendly towards him, even suggesting that we should change the end of the film so that we could make use of his father’s castle. Fortunately neither the producers nor Puri’s father took the suggestion seriously.

    The third say started well. It was a mute scene between Jan Smithers and Puri and it went without incident. Bianca wasn’t on call until one fifteen in the afternoon, but through one thing and another, she wasn’t ready to start shooting until twenty past four, and by that time the light was going very quickly. The lighting cameraman, Denis Lewiston, saved the day.

    The fourth and fifth days went without incident but on the sixth day Bianca was an hour late in reaching the location, so that her first scene with Elsa Martinelli was not completed. Elsa, who had just arrived from New York that morning, was not amused.

    By the second week things began to draw to a head. Sandy Lieberson was doing his best to keep everybody happy and working, but already the tension was beginning to tell heavily, not least upon Jan Smithers, who was never more than an eyelash away from tears. Then on the Tuesday (Day 9) a doctor was called to give Bianca some vitamin shots. She wasn’t feeling well. Most nights since she had arrived in Rome she had been going out to Jacky O, Rome’s top beautiful people meeting place, with the result that she probably wasn’t getting enough sleep. The result was exhausting her bodyguard and putting bags under her eyes.

    The following morning, when called at six o’clock, Bianca told the second assistant director that she was too ill to leave her room. The doctor was called again, and influenza and exhaustion were diagnosed.

    It was true that she was too ill to work; she looked terrible. She can’t burn the candle at both ends, the doctor told me. Her constitution was too delicate for that. The following day she hadn’t improved: now the trouble seemed to be diarrhoea. Luckily Nigel Davenport had brought an earlier script with him and by shooting scenes since deleted Michael Apted was able to make optimum use of the day.

    Now, however, Jan Smithers was breaking into tears with increasing frequency. “You’re the writer, he’s the director and we’re the actors,” she would sob. “Why can’t we just make the film and stop all the bullshitting?”She was also extremely tired by this time, and complained frequently, vociferously and tearfully about the work pressure being put upon her.

    Not everyone was sympathetic towards Bianca’s illness. She had not in the week and a half she had so far worked actually drawn the crew to her bosom in loyalty, and when it was heard that she was ill it was suggested that a length of track should be sent up to her suite so that she could rehearse falling over it – a reference to her unfortunate habit of seemingly discovering objects to stumble over during shooting.

    On the Friday Bianca was better and returned to work, where she and Jan Smithers were roundly scolded by Elsa Martinelli when they criticised the location. That day, Jan’s former husband arrived to keep her company and Philip Collins, a representative of EMI, arrived to check the film’s progress. We tried to smile: condemned men do. It hardly seemed to matter now that my hair was still falling out.

    At 7.30 the next morning Michael Apted threw open the door of my hotel room: “She’s done it again,” he said. He was referring to Bianca. What she had done, in fact, was to drive out to the location with her bodyguard and voice coach, and upon discovering that her caravan had not been changed for a bigger one, had immediately set off back to her hotel.

    Apparently she had been promised the best caravan available, and when she saw Elsa Martinelli had a marginally bigger vehicle had decided that that was enough. She was being taken advantage of. What’s more, there seemed to be something wrong with the flush of her caravan’s lavatory, which she found embarrassing to mention and also to use.

    Since I was the person she still claimed to be fondest of, it was decided that I should go round to her hotel and to take with me our man from EMI, Philip Collins. Apted and Lieberson went off to the location to rehearse the day’s shooting.

    Philip Collins and I arrived at her hotel (the Hassler – former headquarters of the SS in Italy, Puttnam liked to say) just after she had got back from the location. I went in first: she was sitting on her bed, a riding crop in one hand and a copy of her contract in the other.

    “So,” she said, “they knew which one to send.” Incredibly, she still believed me to be her one ally against all these people who were trying to do terrible things to her, There was someone to see her, I said, and Philip Collins went in. Whatever he said to her seemed to work, because she was back on location by 10.30. It didn’t, however, work completely, because she wasn’t ready to shoot until four o’clock.

    Much of that day was spent waiting for Bianca to get her frock on and discussing whether or not it was possible to replace her. Apted wasn’t far from tears: Jan Smithers was, of course, in tears. We were supposed to be shooting the big set piece of the film, a scene which involved dozens of Italian extras and a very lavish party. But already the delays meant that the food was beginning to go off in the heat of the lamps and a large log fire.
    In the middle of the afternoon Marit Lieberson asked me if I could pop in to see Bianca in her costume.

    I knew Bianca wanted to be told that she looked wonderful and as always I went through a routine of flattery. She was wearing a black Valentino dress with a hat and a feather. I told her she looked wonderful: I actually thought she looked like the sparrow in the treetop.

    There were two important aspects to the scene which was to be performed that day; the two girls were to watch a mime act, and then Bianca was to dance with Elsa Martinelli. This she didn’t want to do, and since it was late in the day anyway, it hardly mattered.

    That night, producer Sandy Lieberson, director Miachael Apted together with Philip Collins and Gavrik Losey paid a visit to Mrs Jagger, the gist of Apted’s complaint being that he didn’t feel that Bianca was working to his instruction. The meeting broke up at one o’clock, as the crew had to be up before dawn to film Jan Smithers walking down the Via Veneto in evening dress.

    The filming went very well, but Apted was disturbed to hear that Bianca had telephoned Jan Smithers in the middle of the night. For those of us privileged to know Mrs Jagger well, this was not an uncommon occurrence, but since Smithers had to be up at five it was certainly inconsiderate. Jan and Bianca had another long telephone talk that Sunday lunchtime, and when Michael Apted went down to see if Jan was okay at around tea time he was met with floods of tears, accusations that he was making a pornographic film and that everybody was trying to turn her against Bianca.

    Apted now decided that there was no way he could carry on knowing the he didn’t have the confidence of either of his leading ladies. Jan Smithers was clearly more influenced by Bianca than by anybody else: she was an emotional girl, it was true, but she was now saying that she had no intention of doing the nude scenes which were scheduled for London. For weeks she’d been complaining that she couldn’t get close to Bianca, now they appeared to have formed an alliance.

    Dinner that night was a sober affair: shooting for the next day had been cancelled, and even Nigel Davenport’s valiant attempts to keep us amused weren’t working. Sandy Lieberson, who had quite as much to cry about as the rest of us, came up with most apt and philosophical comments: “For Christ’s sake, you guys, all we’re trying to do is to make a move … it isn’t the end of the world … nobody’s dying … all it is is a movie … moving pictures … just like Donald Duck.” He paused for a moment: “In fact we’ve even got Donald Duck.”

    The next day, while I worked with Nigel Davenport polishing a scene to be shot later in the week, Apted and Lieberson went into secret session with the two leading ladies. I was kept out. By now, apparently, the argument about nudity had turned into a full-scale attack on the script led by Jan Smithers (which was strange because when she’d been cast she’d had hardly any criticism at all). Bianca, because she liked me, defended me.

    In the meantime, Gavrik Losey calculated that to stop the film now would have cost a quarter of a million pounds at the very least. Apted was still refusing to shoot, and was being supported by Lieberson and Puttnam, who had flown from London to join the sinking ship.

    The crew were bemused by the behaviour of the two girls: “I really don’t know what that Bewanker is all about, Ray, I really don’t,” said one of the stand-bys. But now even a nickname was no laughing matter.

    Eventually, back at our hotel, Michael Apted said to me: “I don’t think that you and I can carry on and make this film together, Raymond. Not now. One of us has to go.”

    I went home that afternoon with Philip Collins. It was, he said, the worst few days of his entire life. “Thank God you’re out of it,” said Plum, my wife, when I arrived home. It was finally my turn to cry.

    Shooting was then abandoned in Rome and the crew returned to London to work in the studios. It was considered impossible to replace Bianca. The plan was now for the crew to work until Christmas and then to break for three weeks, during which time it was hoped that my replacement, Kathleen Tynan, would be able to produce a new screenplay to meet with everyone’s satisfaction.

    She set to work, and filming resumed. But not for long.
    Work went in fits and starts for one week, during which the leading ladies took to censoring the lines in the script of which they didn’t approve, and then at the beginning of the next week Jan Smithers caught flu.

    It had now been agreed by the director, the producers and the financiers that some indication of intent on behalf of the leading ladies towards the question of nudity should be ascertained before Christmas. Because of Jan Smither’s illness it was impossible to do this until the Friday---the last possible day. Both girls reported to the studio at ten o’clock in the morning, but it wasn’t until four in the afternoon, after six hours of arguing, cajoling, crying, fighting and threatening that filming could begin.

    Even then Michael Apted found that his every request was being questioned. At ten o’clock the scene was completed and the unit broke for Christmas. At last, one of the girls had actually revealed a little bit of nudity: Jan Smithers had bared her breasts. Bianca, for her part, was unmovable. Throughout the whole scene she stayed securely under her sheet.

    Over Christmas, Kathleen Tynan and Michael Apted worked on a new draft of the screenplay but it was all to no avail. The Friday before shooting was due to resume, David Puttnam got a message from Los Angeles to say that Jan Smithers would not be coming back. Immediately he left for America with Kathleen Tynan to find out what was going on. Bianca, meanwhile, resorted to her lawyers.

    When it was sorted out it seemed that both girls, through their lawyers, were saying that they wanted to considerably alter the terns of their contracts to approval of the final cut of the picture. No director can work in that situation. The picture was cancelled.

    The last time I spoke to Bianca was at five minutes to one on the morning of January 14, 1976, a day or two before the end. I was lying in bed, asleep, when the bedside phone rang.

    ‘Don’t answer it,’ said my wife. ‘It’s that woman again.’

    I did. And she was right.

    Trick Or Treat? was an education for everybody involved. At £400,000 you could say that we all had a very expensive education.

    Footnote: Shortly after the film had been abandoned a miracle occurred. My hair stopped falling out.