aka THE LOLLY-MADONNA WAR
(US - 1973)
Directed by Richard C. Sarafian. Written by Rodney Carr-Smith and Sue Grafton. Cast: Rod Steiger, Robert Ryan, Jeff Bridges, Scott Wilson, Season Hubley, Gary Busey, Joan Goodfellow, Tresa Hughes, Paul Koslo, Ed Lauter, Kiel Martin, Randy Quaid, Timothy Scott, Katherine Squire. (PG, 106 mins)
In the years before her career took off in 1982 with A is for Alibi, the first of her ongoing "alphabet mysteries" (the 24th, titled simply X, was released last year), novelist Sue Grafton worked primarily in television, writing numerous made-for-TV movies in addition to being a creative force behind Michael Learned's post-WALTONS CBS series NURSE. She made the move to TV in an effort to polish her plotting and character-building skills after her first two books tanked. Her second novel, The Lolly-Madonna War, was published overseas in 1969 with little fanfare, not even attracting interest from a US publisher. British writer/producer Rodney Carr-Smith (BARTLEBY) bought the movie rights and brought it to MGM in an attempt to establish himself in America (still unpublished in the US, The Lolly-Madonna War remains Grafton's most obscure novel, and used mass market paperback import copies currently range from $423 to $880 on Amazon). Carr-Smith collaborated with Grafton on the screenplay adaptation and the film version was rechristened as the ill-advised LOLLY-MADONNA XXX, which didn't do it any favors as many confused moviegoers and theater owners may have understandably mistaken it for a porno. The title refers to a signature on a postcard, with the "xxx" being "kisses," but it proved problematic enough that MGM pulled the film and relaunched it under its original book title as the more straightforward THE LOLLY-MADONNA WAR (and judging from the trailer, it was also titled FIRE IN THE MEADOW at some point prior to its release), though the LOLLY-MADONNA XXX title is what it's most commonly known as today. Under either title, the movie bombed and Carr-Smith's adventures in Hollywood, as well as his career in cinema, came to an abrupt end.
THE ICEMAN COMETH, released several months after Ryan's death from lung cancer.