I took two Olympus digital recorders to yesterday’s Barry Lyndon discussion with Alec Baldwin and James Toback. I pushed the record button on the newer one and placed it on the stage just before the session began, and somehow it recorded nothing. I successfully recorded their discussion with an older device from my seat, but after a while I wondered what the point was of having two recordings so I turned it off.

Director-writer James Toback (l.), actor Alec Baldin during yesterday afternoon’s hour-long chat at Savannah’s Lucas theatre.

Baldwin was funny and brilliant and so was Toback, and there I was in the fourth row, technically blowing it all to hell. Here‘s the short miserable clip that I recorded with the older device. Oh, and I accidentally deleted my photos so I had to borrow these shots from another site.

Toback told a funny story that happened during the cutting of Spartacus, which Kubrick directed and Kirk Douglas produced and starred in. The story came from editor Robert Lawrence, who later edited Toback’s Fingers and Exposed.

Kubrick and Lawrence were editing the finale when Jean Simmons, escaping from Rome with the help of Peter Ustinov , is saying goodbye to Douglas, who’s dying on a cross. Kubrick told Lawrence he didn’t want to use what he felt was a grotesque close-up of Douglas. Lawrence said the shot wasn’t so bad and in any case Douglas will surely complain when he notices that his closeup is missing. “I don’t care what he says,” Kubrick said. “I’m the director…take it out.” They later showed the scene to Douglas, and his immediate comment was exactly what Lawrence had predicted — “Where’s my closeup?” Kubrick shrugged and said, “I don’t know, Kirk.” He then turned to Lawrence and said, “Where’s his close-up?”