According to Geist's account, Frank Capra, now 90, was part of the committee that demanded Mankiewicz's recall; but Capra resigned his committee membership in support of Mankiewicz at the meeting. According to a newspaper account at the time, all the ballots that had been cast to oust Mankiewicz were ordered destroyed at the meeting.
Catherine Wyler, a movie development executive at Columbia, said the idea of a DeMille-Mankiewicz movie grew out of her work on a television documentary about her father, the late director William Wyler. "In the course of a discussion with (Columbia chief David) Puttnam about good, true stories, this came up as a really fascinating investigation into a lot of important issues of the time," Wyler said. A strong supporter of Mankiewicz, William Wyler directed such movies as "Wuthering Heights" and "Funny Girl."
Several individuals familiar with the movie said that Columbia Chairman Puttnam is especially interested in the project. Before joining Columbia last year, the British-born Puttnam produced several movies that dealt with historical situations, including "Chariots of Fire" and "The Mission."
Despite the guild's uneasiness, DGA official Franklin said he could understand why Columbia is intrigued by the DeMille-Mankiewicz conflict. "There's definitely drama in it. I don't know if it's high drama, but it's drama," said Franklin.
The guild presented its own rendering of the event in a documentary produced for its 50th anniversary last year, according to a guild spokesman.
In addition, "A Film Maker's Journey," a widely acclaimed documentary on the life of the late director George Stevens, also included some details of the incident. Among them was an account of a particularly striking speech--by some accounts the turning point of the evening--during which director John Ford ("Grapes of Wrath," "Stagecoach"), who died in 1973, pronounced his respect for DeMille's artistry, if not his politics. "I don't agree with C. B. DeMille. I admire him," Ford supposedly said. "I don't like him. But I admire him."
Brooks said if it is ever made, he doesn't expect the movie to have wide commercial appeal. "I don't know if today's young people would want to see it," said the director, whose extensive credits include "Looking for Mr. Goodbar," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Elmer Gantry." But, he said, "we can do it if we keep it at a cost where no one gets hurt."