INCOGNITO: Three Days in Cannes, Part 2

We leave Robert Altman’s yacht and walk to the Hôtel Majestic Barrière in Cannes. David sees the concierge and tips him 200 francs.

“Bonjour. Je m’appele David Whiting, Hollywood correspondent for Time magazine. Je suis incognito. If anyone asks for me, please take a message.”

Hôtel Majestic Barrière.

I find a phone in the lobby and call Graham. Surprise. No Graham. “Graham and Treena have returned to London.”

Tricia only flew down to sail on Graham’s new boat and go to dinner at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc. I’m very pissed. David says he’ll take us there. “Stick with me. I can make magic happen.”

We leave the hotel and wander along the Croisette.

“Hi, David. Staying at the Carlton again?”

“No way, not after last year. I’m at the Majestic. You can leave a message with the concierge.”

Une Chambre Pour Deux Nuits

We drive up the steep hill behind Cannes. There are some ancient buildings with cheap bedrooms. We check in, freshen up and change clothes. Hey, we’re going to a party.

The sun is setting. Cannes is our oyster.

Altman’s party has taken over the entire restaurant. It is filled with festival glitterati: film stars, directors and producers. I sit next to John Daly of Hemdale Film Corp. He wants to read my script. “Send it to me. Sounds good.”

The next morning, we go to the premiere of Altman’s latest movie, Images. No tickets, so while David distracts the attendant, we sneak in and sit down on “no show” seats—people complain—we try other empty seats—nope, someone has a ticket for them, too—move on. Finally, we have seats. Yay.

A cheap hotel in Cannes

Back in the yellow sports car, David drives us to Point Antibes and the Hôtel Eden Roc.

“I want to book a party.” The hotel manager is found.

“Bonjour. I am David Whiting, showbiz editor of Time magazine. I want to celebrate the festival. A party, a big one, 100 guests, perhaps around the swimming pool.”

The manager is aghast. “Monsieur, we are fully booked!”

“Quel dommage! No problem. I’ll book for next year’s festival. It will be at night. A grand event. I’ll need a dance band … professional dancers … maybe fancy dress … jugglers and a magician … hang some big disco mirror balls … and fireworks. The best fireworks in the world.”

“Where are you staying?” asks the manager. “On my yacht in Cannes,” replies David.

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc

He’s no longer David Whiting, writer for Time magazine, but the Great Gatsby himself.

Epilogue

John Daly doesn’t produce my script. He makes The Terminator instead.

Graham never returns to his yacht. The round-the-world TV series is off.

What of David Whiting? A few months after the festival, he travels to Arizona with actress Sarah Miles and dies in her motel bathroom. Suicide or murder? The coroner says suicide, but, knowing David, committing suicide is the last thing he would do.

And me? Maybe one day, just one day, I’ll dine at the Hôtel Eden Roc and drink a toast to my three-day friend: David Whiting.

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