Sunday, November 09, 2008
Investing In A Feature Film May Be A Good Idea Today.
Los Angeles, CA—As our economy s being flushed down the toilet along with our retirement and 401K plans we look in other directions for our money that's left. Whereever we put our money it is risky these days.
Movie investing in considered somewhat risky but people do that and sometimes do it very well. For it to work you need a very trustworthy bean counter that will protect the investors.
Not long ago I was chatting with actor James Woods about my own film offering on the life of the late but heroic Chicago Policewoman Ann Leybourne, Come Friday. This amazing story still needs to be told and hit the big screen.
Woods told me about former LAPD cop, Joseph Wambaugh’s 1979 film he was in, The Onion Field. Woods played LA cop killer, Gregory Powell.
At the time Wambaugh was disillusioned and pissed off at Hollywood after they took one of his better books, The Choirboys and made an unsalable and unwatchable movie mess of it.
There were hard feelings at the time and Wambaugh wanted to tell the intriguing and horrific 1963 saga of two career criminals that abducted two LAPD detectives after a traffic stop. The two killers were able to abduct the detectives and brought them to a Bakersfield, CA area onion field. One officer, Ian Campbell was executed by Powell and his sidekick, Jimmy Lee Smith. The second detective Karl Hettenger somehow managed to escape and eventually testified against the two kidnapping-killing thugs.
Wambuagh crafted this compelling story into a book and screenplay and nobody in Hollywood wanted to touch it. The onion Field sat undisturbed for years until Wambuagh was able to get retired cops to invest in the project. That had never been done before. Even more than a great feature film was born, the old coppers made a handsome profit.
Woods should have won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the despicable killer Gregory Powell. Woods was absolutely unforgettable as he played the hateful murdering bum who is still alive in a California prison today. Powell now 84 years-old credits Wambaugh's movie about the crime for his never getting a chance at parole. Fellow killer Jimmy Lee Smith was paroled in 1983 but kept violating and getting returned until his 2007 death at age 76 while in LA County custody on yet another violation.
The cop killing duo originally were sent by a judge and jury to suck some gas at San Quentin but the California Supreme court prevented that from happening.
As for the surviving cop, Hettinger lived with severe bouts of depression, always ashamed for having run from the scene. The LAPD bosses wrongfully treated him as a coward.
Later in life, Hettinger seemed somewhat better adjusted. He won an appointment as a Kern County supervisor in 1987. Hettinger died in 1994 of cirrhosis of the liver, at 59 having never really escaped from that terrible onion filed.
As for Come Friday which is about a beautiful young, recruit policewoman, Ann Leybourne and a cunning career criminal, serial rapist and a kidnapping gone very wrong. That story needs to be told. Perhaps as James Wood’s suggested the funding may come from an unusual source like retired cops.
I can be reached through My profile about Come Friday.
A side note: That wildly popular TV series The Twilight Zone sat in a lonely file cabinet for nearly 13 years before someone took a chance and produced the series.
Here is the story behind Come Friday.