With a new retrospective, the screenwriter Eleanor Perry gets belated recognition.
The 1972 Cannes Film Festival was marked by protests against Italy’s reigning auteur, Federico Fellini, who had green-lit an ill-advised poster for his movie Roma. Depicting a nude, three-breasted “she-wolf” perched suggestively on all fours, the advertisement drew opprobrium from the venerable American screenwriter Eleanor Perry and five others, who, according to the Chicago Tribune, “stirred up a hornet’s nest when they set up ladders in front of the Carlton Hotel before the [Roma] showing … and tried to deface [the] sign.”
The protestors waved signs that read WOMEN ARE PEOPLE—NOT DIRTY JOKES; soon they ascended a tall aluminum ladder “and threw four cans of red paint on the Fellini poster,” the Tribune reported. The cops started “shaking the ladder and trying to knock them to the ground while Mrs. Perry screamed mechant (a French word meaning wicked and evil) and ripped epaulets from their uniforms.” Asked later about the demonstrations, which had sent three people to jail, Perry told the paper: “I adore Fellini, he’s one of my idols, but this ugly distortion of the female anatomy is a humiliating offense to women everywhere.” Read More