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Trivia / The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

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  • Billing Displacement: Although her image appears throughout the movie and her character is a prominent part of the town history, Ava Gardner does not appear in the film until approximately 15 minutes before it ends.
  • California Doubling: Arizona doubled for West Texas.
  • Creator Backlash: John Milius later said he liked John Huston but thought he completely ruined the movie. He was angry at the casting of "cutesy-pie" Paul Newman and felt Warren Oates would have been more suitable.
    Judge Roy Bean has been turned into a Beverly Hills western. Roy Bean is an obsessed man. He's like Lawrence of Arabia. He sits out there in the desert and he's got this great vision of law and order and civilization and he kills people and does anything in the name of progress. I love those kind of people! That's the kind of people who built this country! That's the American spirit! And they say, 'What you've created is a reprehensible man. We've got to make him much more cute.' So they changed it from a Western about royalty and greed and power to a western where Andy Williams sings a song in the middle of the movie and the judge and his girl and a pet bear go off on a picnic. It's incredible. He goes on a picnic and sits on a teeter-totter. It's a movie about Beverly Hills people. About John Foreman and John Huston and Paul Newman.
    • Milius also said Huston "would explain what he was doing to me all the time. We had a strange relationship. He tortured me constantly, changing things and doing scenes, I thought, deliberately wrong. At the same time, he would explain his options and why he made the decision he made, right or wrong; or the different ways he could have done it. I watched the way an atmosphere was created on the set, watched the way he would respond to an actor resisting him and the way he dealt with an actor going along with him too easily. How he would deal with bad actors. I remember one time when he had someone he said was the worst he'd ever had, and I asked him, what do you do? And he said, "Not a damn thing, I have no idea." He just went back to his trailer."
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  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Paul Newman thought that Bruno the bear stole every scene in which they appeared together, an opinion shared by some reviewers.
  • Romance on the Set: Anthony Perkins had an affair with Victoria Principal during filming.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • John Milius wrote the screenplay with Lee Marvin in mind as Judge Roy Bean. He brought the script to Marvin when he was filming Pocket Money but Marvin fell asleep after one drink too many, his co-star Paul Newman found the screenplay, read it, loved it and petitioned for the part.
    • Milius wanted to direct the film himself, but was overruled.
  • Working Title: Law and Order.

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