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Actress Eva Saint Marie

Actress Eva Marie Saint.

Actress Eva Marie Saint. She starred opposite Marlon Brando in the 1954 film “On the Waterfront,” and won an academy award for her portrayal of his convent-reared girlfriend. Later she and Cary Grant teamed up for Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest.” Saint studied at the famed Actors Studio where Brando, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe and Dennis Hopper also did. This Sunday she stars in the CBS Sunday Movie, “Papa’s Angels.”


Other segments from the episode on November 30, 2000

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, November 30, 2000: Interview with Jay McInerney; Interview with Eva Marie Saint.


DATE November 30, 2000 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A

Interview: Novelist Jay McInerney talks about his wine column
and his experiences as a wine taster and critic

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

With the holidays coming, there may be some cheap wine and hopefully fine wine
in your future. Jay McInerney has written about both from the matous(ph) that
seemed so sophisticated when he was in college to the rare wines he collects
today. Yes, it's the same Jay McInerney who writes fiction and who first
became known in the '80s for chronicling the New York City club scene in his
novel "Bright Lights, Big City." His six novels include "Brightness Falls"
and "The Last of the Savages." For the past five years, he's written a wine
column for House & Garden magazine. Those columns are collected in his new
book "Bacchus & Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar." McInerney wanted to find
a new vocabulary to talk about wine and avoid the cliches, like comparing
wines to flowers and herbs.

Mr. JAY McINERNEY (Author): It just seemed to me that someone with a new set
of analogies and similes and metaphors might have a legitimate place in this
genre. I tend to compare wines more often to poems, composers, pop songs,
fashion models, actors and cars than I do to things that grow in the garden.

GROSS: For example, you describe white burgundies as very Catherine Deneuve,
more jewels and gem than diehard.

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, this would be a particular white burgundy because, of
course, other white burgundies would be more Kate Moss, for instance, chablis.

GROSS: Right.

Mr. McINERNEY: You know, I admire people who have--there are wine critics
who have these incredible olfactory instruments, you know, who can detect
aromas of honeysuckle and cocoa and--well, almost any of us can get the sort
of cigar smoke stuff. But I don't feel that, you know, that's my strength.
And I also feel that there is something very subjective about the appreciation
of wine. And the role of a wine enthusiast, which I take myself as to be, is
to just get people interested in trusting their own subjective impressions.

GROSS: Well, wine writing and wine collecting is often seen as kind of
snobbish, something...

Mr. McINERNEY: Yeah.

GROSS: ...only for people who have lots of money and lots of time on their

Mr. McINERNEY: Yeah, it is, and that's something certainly that I've tried to
address and dispel a little bit in my column. I mean, I think that, you know,
humor is the best weapon against this particular aspect of the wine world. As
far as snobbery and expense go, I think actually we're at an interesting time
in the history of wine in which it's quite possible to drink very well on a
very modest budget. Technological advances have made good table wine a lot
better than it was 20 years ago, and there's an awful lot of stuff you can get
out there for, you know, $7, $8, $10, for instance.

GROSS: What are the technological advances, and how have they changed the
taste of accessible wines?

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, you know, until fairly recently, until the advent of
stainless-steel tanks and refrigeration technology, before this was widespread
throughout Europe, white wines tended to be very frequently spoiled and very
frequently short-lived, if they weren't spoiled. Cheap white wine was a very
dangerous and ugly proposition until very recently, something that was likely
to be acidic and nasty, as likely to be as acidic and nasty as to be fresh and
fruity and all the things that we want in a white wine.

Technology isn't always a bad thing, although for a long time in California,
they carried technology, I think, too far. You know, naturally, being
Americans, we tend to believe in technology, and in the early days of
California wine-making, chemicals and refrigeration and filtration were relied
upon to the point that they often stripped the character out of what, really,
is a sort of a living, organic substance. I think now there's a nice balance
in our understanding of what technology can and can't do. The best stuff
takes place in the vineyard.

The French believe that the wine is made in the vineyard. The Californians,
until recently at least, tended to believe it was made in the cellar.

GROSS: You write that when you started out writing about wine, you were
pretty uninformed and uninterested in California wines...

Mr. McINERNEY: Yeah.

GROSS: ...but you've since changed your mind about that. What got you to
change your mind?

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, about the same time that I started writing, I think
there were a lot of California wine-makers who were turning to a more natural
approach, who were starting to make sort of interesting, quirky, artisanal
wines; you know, wines that didn't taste like they had come out of a
laboratory. And it was also partly a question of education, visiting
California and tasting some of these wines.

I grew up on the East Coast and spent most of my life on the East Coast or in
Europe, and for a long time it seemed that the value from France and Italy was
a little better. The French had a string of great vintages in the '80s, and I
found myself too busy collecting and drinking these to really discover
California until recently.

GROSS: When your editor told you that your first column should be about
Chardonnay, say you wanted to murder the editor. Why?

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, at the time, I just felt that California Chardonnay was
a bore, you know, essentially the Pamela Anderson of the wine world, you know?
I mean, I have nothing against, you know, artificial blondes with, you know,
large synthetic breasts, but, you know, it's not really my type, and that was
pretty much the way I felt about California wines. I felt that they were
unsubtle, that they were overblown, that they tended to derive a lot of their
flavors from the oak barrels that they were aged in. And I think that I was
right, to some extent.

However, I was sent on assignment to California, and I discovered that there
are exceptions, increasingly so, and that there were some great wine-makers
who were challenging that kind of monolithic palate. But, you know, the
average California Chardonnay was, I thought, a terrible beast, and so this was
my feeling as I ventured forth in my first column.

GROSS: But, at the same time, you write that Chardonnay, in almost any price
range, is the most idiot-proof wine in the world...

Mr. McINERNEY: Yeah, yeah.

GROSS: ...not necessarily subtle. But you say, `Like Harrison Ford, it gets
the job done.'

Mr. McINERNEY: Yeah. Yeah. It's, you know, the Harrison Ford, the action
hero of the white wine world. I think there are certainly more subtle wines;
there are subtle grapes in Chardonnay. On the other hand, Chardonnay's very
versatile. It can be grown in a wide variety of climates, and it tends to
sort of transmit messages from the soil, the wine-maker. You know, there's a
huge spectrum of flavors associated with Chardonnay. But, in general, I think
partly just because we're all used to it, it's a safe bet at a dinner party.
You know, you're taking a chance when you serve Riesling or Viognier to a new

GROSS: Let's go to the other extreme for a moment. What's one of the most
kind of rare and special wines that you've had that was a real memorable
experience for you?

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, my favorite white wine--I wouldn't drink it every day
because it is a little exotic--is called Condriev. It's made from the
viognier grape. They do grow it in California, but I wouldn't really
recommend the Californian product yet. They're still trying to figure out
what to do with it. It's a very temperamental grape, but it's a beautiful,
beautiful white wine when it's vinified correctly.

The best example comes from this region called Condriev in the Rhone Valley.
Whenever I have served it or ordered it at a restaurant, people have
inevitably called me at some point to say, `What was that wine that you
ordered?' And then they're thinking about a date or something like that. It
has a very haunting fragrance, which is very floral. A friend of mine, who's
far richer and better traveled than I am, told me that it smells like the
garden in the Hotel du Cap on the French Riviera, and I'm willing to take his
word for it. It's actually become a bit of a cult wine in recent years,

GROSS: But you, yourself, would be more likely to compare a wine to a movie
or a poem or a song...

Mr. McINERNEY: Yeah. To me...

GROSS: ...rather than a garden. Does anything come to mind? Yeah?

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, to me, what Condriev reminds me of is Coleridge's poem
Xanadu, or to quote--his poem "Kubla Khan" and Kubla Khan's pleasure dome, the
great unfinished poem that he wrote, supposedly, when he was whacked out of
his mind on opium. It also reminds me a little--I'd say if Condriev were a
painting, it would probably be something by Fragonard or possibly by Gauguin
in his Tahitian period, if that helps you at all.

GROSS: What kind of response do you get to these analogies in your column?

Mr. McINERNEY: They're meant to be suggestive and not definitive, but I...

GROSS: He said, `This is like Gauguin,' and it isn't. I tasted that wine.
It's not like "Kubla Khan."

Mr. McINERNEY: Yes, it's definitely van Gogh. I think they're helpful, but
as I said earlier, the responses that good wine evokes are subjective, and
they're often ephemeral. A great bottle of wine could taste different on
different occasions, depending on the context, depending on one's mood,
depending on one's palate, depending on the temperature. I think, you know,
even the great Robert Parker, who tends to rate wines on the good old
numerical scale, the hundred-point scale, would agree that wine is not a
fixed, objective, fully quantifiable substance. So these are starting points,
I think, for the appreciation of wines.

But when we meet a great wine, when we taste a great wine, we want to say
something more than, `It's good,' and this is the quest, really, of the wine
critic: to say something that seems to give, you know, resonance to the

GROSS: My guest is novelist Jay McInerney. His wine columns are collected in
his new book "Bacchus & Me." We'll talk more after a break. This is FRESH

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is novelist Jay McInerney. He writes a wine column for House
& Garden magazine. Those columns are collected in his new book "Bacchus &

I guess a lot of people want guidelines on how to look for wine or what to do,
what not to do, and you've done your job in presenting 10 rules. Let's just
talk about a couple of them: avoid artichokes. What's wrong with artichokes
and wine?

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, artichokes just pretty much kill any appreciation, any
ability to appreciate fine wine. Asparagus is also pretty tough. It's just
chemical elements in these foods that tend to turn almost any wine bitter on
the palate.

GROSS: So you should drink beer instead if you're having artichokes, or a

Mr. McINERNEY: You should probably just sip your water and wait for the--have
a piece of bread after you finish your artichoke. Yeah, I've heard of
sommeliers who actually take on the challenge of trying to match a white wine
with an artichoke, but I've never found a successful combination. I ran into
some guy in France last year who won the World Sommelier Competition(ph), who
claimed that he found some Swiss white wine that went really well with
artichokes, but I don't believe it.

GROSS: You say there's no such thing as a bad champagne.

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, that's hyperbole, perhaps, but it's true that there are
very few bad champagnes imported to the United States. Generally speaking,
the quality level in champagne is high as anywhere in the world. All of the
major champagne houses make a great product, whether, you know, it's Moet or
Veuve Clicquot. Mumms is getting much better in recent years. I love French
champagne, and it is pretty hard to get a bad one, unless it's badly stored.
I mean, you want to buy your champagne someplace that has a high turnover
because it will get a little funky if it's kept in a warm place for too long.

GROSS: You say beware of famous European vintages in their youth.

Mr. McINERNEY: Their youth, yeah. Yeah, one of the things that allegedly
makes a great vintage is the ability to age, and a lot of these wines are very
tough to drink when they're young. Oh, just to take a recent example, a 1995
bordeaux is, by most measures, a great vintage. However, it's very, very
tough on the palate right now. It's very high in tannin, which is a
preservative agent. It tastes like--you will know the taste of tannin if you
think of a tea bag that's sat in your tea for too long. That is what makes
wine long-lived, but it also makes for a nasty experience early on. And the
1997 Bordeaux vintage, for instance, which is not judged to be very good,
because it won't be long-lived, is a much more pleasant beverage right now.
The problem, of course, is that a lot of these wines will be consumed by
people who have looked at vintage charts and heard that 1995 is better than
1997. So sometimes the off vintage can be a better bet on your restaurant
wine list.

GROSS: How has writing about wine affected what you eat and what else you
drink and the whole--your whole approach to eating?

Mr. McINERNEY: It has made me more food conscious and more interested in food
because, to me, the two experiences are inextricable. You know, in France and
in Italy they tend to think of wine as food. I remember I was over for a tour
promoting my latest novel a couple of years ago in Italy. And I was always
being urged to have a glass of wine with lunch. And I said, `I don't drink at
lunch.' And they looked at me and they said, `It's not drinking. It's wine.'
Wine--looked at in one way, wine is food. And I think that the appreciation
of wine is greatly enhanced by the right kinds of food. And it's one of the
adventures of wine appreciation--is matching wines with food.

GROSS: So, like, say you're having a fine wine--I mean, I suppose you're not
going to have pizza with it or a hamburger. You should be having something
that's as subtle as the wine itself.

Mr. McINERNEY: You can. I--actually, a hamburger would be fine, but I would
say lay off the ketchup.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. McINERNEY: You know, you could have a hamburger with a great California
Cabernet. And if you are going to have wine with pizza, it should be Barbera,
which is an Italian wine which has very high acidity which cuts through that
acidity of the tomato sauce. There's a lot of simple wines that go very well
with simple foods.

GROSS: Name some more good simple wines.

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, let's see. Again, another tomato-sauce-friendly
Italian wine would be a Dolcetto. You know, Beaujolais is a real,
all-purpose kind of a wine. We're now in the Beaujolais nouveau season. I
personally don't like the Beaujolais nouveau. I find it too fruity and
flamboyant to go with much of anything. But Beaujolais are sort of a
year-after vintage, you know. After they've actually had a chance to settle
down and age a little bit, can go with almost anything. Cote-du-Rhone is
another great, simple wine. We've just had an incredible year. The 1998
vintage in the southern Rhone Valley was spectacular and almost anything you
buy that says Cote-du-Rhone 1998 is going to be terrific. And it will
probably cost $8, $10.

GROSS: Now the wine column--do you ever feel like you're running out of
words because you're describing something similar all--you're always writing
about wine. Now, granted, there are subtle differences, but it's still wine.

Mr. McINERNEY: So far, I don't feel I've hit that point. I am concerned
that it will come any moment, though. And I think that's when I resign from
the wine column. It's still fun. It's still fresh for me. I feel like I'm
still finding ways to express my appreciation for wine. I'm still finding
new similes for some particular wine experience. And as long as I feel that
way, I'll probably keep doing this.

GROSS: Now another thing, you're writing about wine all the time. You could
be writing, say, about books.


GROSS: If you were writing about new books, you'd be writing, often, about
people who you knew or who you might know...

Mr. McINERNEY: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: ...or who might be reviewing your books at some point. Is it less
complicated to write about wine in that respect?

Mr. McINERNEY: Yeah. Yeah, it's much less complicated. It's nice to have
another world, I guess.

GROSS: Uh-huh.

Mr. McINERNEY: It's also less fierce than the literary world. I was
terribly concerned about being an interloper; about how the insiders would
feel about my arrival in their world. And, in fact, I found that the world of
wine and food professionals to be extremely welcoming and congenial; something
I don't think anyone would say for the American literary scene.

GROSS: So with the holiday season being upon us, what do you plan on
drinking for, say, Christmas and New Year's. Do you have that planned?

Mr. McINERNEY: I'm trying to decide about Christmas dinner. It will either
be burgundy or Pinot Noir. I haven't decided which. But...

GROSS: And why?

Mr. McINERNEY: Well, as I get older, my taste shifts a little more toward
Pinot Noir, which is the grape of Burgundy. It's more food friendly than
Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is a little bit more of a club than
Pinot, than burgundy. It's more subtle. It's more aromatic. It's really a
food wine. And I'm, at the moment, divided between an Oregon Pinot Noir and
a Gevrey Chambertin. We'll see. And champagne is also--will also be part of
the meal. We'll start with a good champagne like Krug or Veuve Clicquot La
Grande Dame or even the old, reliable Dom Perignon, which, despite its fame
and availability, is, actually, a truly great champagne.

GROSS: Well, Jim McInerney, happy eating, drinking and writing. Thank you
very much for talking with us.

Mr. McINERNEY: Thank you, Terry.

GROSS: Novelist Jay McInerney; his wine columns from House & Garden are
collected in his new book, "Bacchus & Me."

I'm Terry Gross and this is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)


GROSS: Coming up, kissing Marlon Brando and climbing Mount Rushmore in
heels. We talk with Eva Marie Saint about her roles in "On the Waterfront"
and "North By Northwest."

(Soundbite of music)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Interview: Actress Eva Marie Saint talks about her various film

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

(Soundbite from "On the Waterfront")

Ms. SAINT: Terry! Terry! Terry!

GROSS: That's a scene from "On the Waterfront" in which Edie, played by Eva
Marie Saint, calls after Terry, played by Marlon Brando, as he walks into a
trap. Saint's other best-known films are Alfred Hitchcock's comic thriller
"North by Northwest," John Frankenheimer's family drama, "All Fall Down," and
"Exodus," about the founding of Israel. On TV, she played Cybill Shepherd's
mother in the series "Moonlighting."

Eva Marie Saint stars in a new TV movie this Sunday night called "Papa's
Angels." Set in Appalachia in the 1930s, the story is about how a family
survives after the young wife and mother dies of tuberculosis. In this scene,
the mother, played by Cynthia Nixon of "Sex In the City," has been hiding her
symptoms. She makes excuses when confronted by her mother-in-law, played by
Eva Marie Saint, who found bloody handkerchiefs while doing the laundry.

(Soundbite from "Papa's Angels.")

Ms. CYNTHIA NIXON: Alvin(ph) had a bloody nose. It made me mad to ruin a
good, embroidered handkerchief, but we were in church, so what can you do?

Ms. SAINT: What about this one? How long did the bloody nose go on?

Ms. NIXON: Well, you know our children. Somebody's always bleeding. I'm
just grateful when bones aren't broken.

Ms. SAINT: Now I know why you and my son get along so good, you're both born

Ms. NIXON: I'm a busy woman. I got more to do than run to a doctor about a
bloody nose.

Ms. SAINT: Except it's not a bloody nose, is it? I'm not gonna tell you
what to do. You won't listen to me any more than Beck will listen to you.
But when you go in there, I want you to look at these children and tell me
you think my son can raise them without you.

GROSS: I asked Eva Marie Saint about her first film, "On the Waterfront." I
wanted to know how she got the part.

Ms. SAINT: I had been doing many, many, many, many live shows on television.
And at one point, I did "Trip to Bountiful," the Horton Foote play. First it
was a television, then he rewrote it as a play with Lillian Gish. And Kazan
saw me in that part. Martin Gerow(ph), my agent, sent Kazan to see me in
that. And he saw it and thought of me as the young, virginal blonde in "On
the Waterfront." And I didn't read for it. I improvised with Marlon Brando.
And it was an interesting improvisation because I--to this day I don't know
what he told Marlon. But he did tell me that I was at home and a young man
was coming to visit my sister, who was not at home. So my job was to keep him
out of that house. Don't let him in the door. Well, I don't know what
happened, but he got--he went in the door. He came in the living room. We
were dancing. We were laughing. I was crying. He was taking my skirt and
whooh, whipping it around. And the sparks flew. And Kazan saw that. And
suddenly I was in "On the Waterfront."

GROSS: Were you used to improvising?

Ms. SAINT: Oh, yes. I was from the Actors Studio. I'd been studying there.
I was there about seven years, and--all total. And I'd see Marlon there, but
I'd never worked with him. I actually worked with Lee Strasberg. And, of
course, Kazan was there, too.

GROSS: Had you seen Brando in anything before starring with him?

Ms. SAINT: Oh, yes. I'd seen his movies. And I'm never in awe of another
actor because it's all the same business. Some actors are fine actors; some
not-quite-fine actors; good actors. I'm never in awe of anyone in our
profession. I'm in awe of musicians or painters. But I was impressed. And
he was adorable. And he was a prince, and he knew it was my first film. It
was very cold in Hoboken.

GROSS: That's where you shot it?

Ms. SAINT: On the--yeah, excuse me, on the waterfront. Yeah, in Hoboken on
the water--on the waterfront right there. And it was very cold. And he was
always giving me a jacket to put over my shoulders. And I was skiing at the
time, so underneath my virginal navy-blue dress I had red long johns on. So
when morale was low I would start--I threw up my dress and started doing the
cancan for all the longshoremen.

GROSS: It would be very out of character...

Ms. SAINT: Yeah. Well, yeah.

GROSS: ...for your character in the movie.

Ms. SAINT: Shoot, I'm glad--I don't think Kazan saw me `cause he liked
everyone to stay in character.

GROSS: Oh, that's funny.

Ms. SAINT: But that got a few laughs. But he was very, very kind--Marlon.
We rehearsed constantly, which is what you do on a Kazan film.

GROSS: Right. Now in the movie you have this, like, radiant, pure beauty.
But in most of the scenes you're wearing real shmattes. You're wearing this
big, drab woolen coat and a kerchief around your head and...

Ms. SAINT: I still have that kerchief.

GROSS: Do you, really?

Ms. SAINT: I always save one--I should put it on eBay, right? No siree. I
usually have one thing from each film. And I have it in a little cellophane
bag with a photo of me and Marlon. And there I have the kerchief. I'm
holding the kerchief. And, actually, it was my kerchief. And you know that
it was? It's little squares of Amish carriage; little, dark print of an Amish
carriage. And it's repeated through the whole little scarf.

GROSS: You know, often in movies, you know, the beautiful, young leading lady
is quite glamorous. And you're so unglamorously dressed in this. Did it
affect how you felt in the role to be wearing this, like, drab coat and the
shmatte on your head?

Ms. SAINT: No, when I was making rounds in New York--and the things that I
played on live television were not very glamorous. I think you're thinking
of "North By Northwest." I wasn't really glamorous...

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Ms. SAINT: ...until Hitch saw me as a sexy spy lady. And I remember saying
to my husband, `My God, he sees me as a sexy spy lady.' And my husband said,
`Well, so do I.' So that made two of them. But I--no. The only thing is it
was navy blue. And for some reason, I never, ever wear navy blue. I think I
was tired of that dress by the time it was over. Everything was navy. The
dress was navy, the coat was navy. And in those days, we did wear those
kerchiefs over our head. On windy days and cold, windy days in New York...

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Ms. SAINT: the '50s, we wore them. They were very practical, actually.
So I didn't feel that I wasn't smartly dressed at all. That navy blue with
the little collar, it's a pretty cute dress. I did feel embarrassed in the
slip, I must say.

GROSS: We'll get to that. We'll get to that. Now in this scene...

Ms. SAINT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: In this scene from "On the Waterfront," you've decided not to see the
Brando character anymore. But he's knocking on your door, and you're telling
him to stay away. Then you lock the door and chain the door. He breaks into
your apartment and finds you in bed wearing this white slip.

Ms. SAINT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: Let's hear that scene.

(Soundbite from "On the Waterfront")

Mr. MARLON BRANDO: Edie! Edie!

Ms. SAINT: Stay away from me!

Mr. BRANDO: Edie! Come on, please. Open the door, please.

Ms. SAINT: Stop it! I want you to stay away from me.

Mr. BRANDO: I know what you want me to do, but I ain't gonna do it, so
forget it.

Ms. SAINT: I don't want you to do anything. You let your conscience tell
you what to do.

Mr. BRANDO: Shut up about that conscience. That's all I've been hearing.

Ms. SAINT: I haven't mentioned the word before. You just stay away from me.

Mr. BRANDO: Edie! Edie, you love me. I want you...

Ms. SAINT: I didn't say I didn't love you. I said stay away from me!

Mr. BRANDO: I want you to say it to me.

Ms. SAINT: Stay away from me!

GROSS: And that silence and then the little squeaking is them kissing
passionately after she's attempted, in vain, to fight him off and then gives

Ms. SAINT: Yeah.

GROSS: It's really quite a moment in the film. I mean, you look like you're
almost about to faint with...

Ms. SAINT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: ...being totally overcome by this physical feeling that's very new to
you, being in his arms.

Ms. SAINT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: Let's talk about that scene. How is that kiss staged?

Ms. SAINT: How is the kiss staged? Well, we were struggling. We were
struggling, and I was hitting his back. And I'm sure it was Kazan who said
just drop that arm at that point. And I did.

GROSS: To show that you were giving in; that you were kind of...

Ms. SAINT: Yes, that I was giving in.

GROSS: ...succumbing to your feelings.

Ms. SAINT: You know, when you just hear it, it's almost like two animals,
isn't it? He was very--Marlon--very, very strong in that. And she dropped
her conscience, didn't she? He overcame her and yet she had these strong
feelings. And he broke through for both of them. And she--you know, she
really did love him. I had trouble, actually, with that scene because I was
in a slip. And in those days I was very modest. And I felt exposed. I'd
never been in a slip on screen, on television. And the kiss and all of that,
it was pretty physical. And I remember just having trouble, and Kazan came
up to me and he just whispered the name of my husband. He just said,
`Jeffrey.' Well, I'm still married to Jeffrey. It's almost 50 years. And do
you know it worked? I mean, that was it. I mean, another director might have
struggled with whatever, but he just--one word. And no one heard it. Marlon
didn't hear it. No one heard it. And that's how he worked. And somehow I
just knew that he knew I would relax if--because he had met my husband--if I
had--if I thought of Jeffrey. And somehow, when he whispered that, I just
relaxed and enjoyed it.

GROSS: There's a scene in this where he's been called downstairs by some of
the guys who are out kill him. And you've chased after him, calling his name.
And you find him in this narrow alley. And just as you find him and you're
running down this alley to meet up with him, a big truck that's as wide as the
alley is coming after him and, therefore, coming after you, too. And there's
no way you can be in the street without getting hit by this truck. So he
breaks into a building and you both rush in, narrowly averting this truck.
It's such a beautifully lit scene. You're kind of, like, in the headlights of
the truck, illuminated by it, running for your lives. Where you aware of the
lighting when that shot was being made?

Ms. SAINT: You're never aware of the lighting. But it's interesting because
I--when I did see it, it's almost like the hair has a halo, as I remember.

GROSS: Yeah.

Ms. SAINT: It was a very scary scene because it was wet. I had no idea that
that truck was going to be as close as it was in the scene. There was a
place where we had to get out of the way. And Marlon was supposed to open
the door. The door wouldn't open. He actually broke that glass and he
actually cut his hand a little bit. The designated door was not unlocked or
was jammed or something. So Marlon Brando's that kind of actor. He just,
schwoop. He broke the glass and we got inside just in time.

GROSS: I guess you didn't have to do that scene again.

Ms. SAINT: No. No. Hm-mm.

GROSS: You won an Oscar for your role in "On the Waterfront." And I think
four days after winning the Oscar you gave birth to a son.

Ms. SAINT: Two days.

GROSS: Two days.

Ms. SAINT: Better story, right? Two days. Yes.

GROSS: So those were two big changes in your life happening just about

Ms. SAINT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: I think, you know, for most people when they get the Academy Award,
they want to be at their most glamorous. And you were at your absolute most
pregnant. I'm not sure if you were even able to go the awards ceremony.

Ms. SAINT: Oh, yes. I was sitting there with Jeffrey. And it was in New
York. Now it's all in California, but at that time the New York contingency
and the Hollywood contingency--and there was a little jealousy between
Hollywood and New York, so we really didn't think there was much of a chance
for "Waterfront;" black-and-white, made in New York. But we went, and we were
all there. And some of the people started winning Oscars. And my dear
husband said, `Now, honey, if they call your name, I want you to sit here and
count to 10, and then go up.' Well, I heard my name and I felt this hand on
my thigh--pressing my thigh. And I'm smiling and smiling. And I'm really
counting to 10. And then I walked up. I didn't rush up. I walked up and
accepted the Oscar and said something like, `I'm so excited I may have the
baby right here.' And, of course, I had it two days later.

GROSS: Eva Marie Saint is my guest and she's starring in a new movie called
"Papa's Angels," which will be broadcast Sunday night on CBS.

Let's take a short break here and then we'll talk some more. This is FRESH

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Eva Marie Saint and she's starring in a new movie called
"Papa's Angels" that will be broadcast on CBS TV this Sunday night.

Let's talk about a movie that you made five year's after "On the Waterfront,"
"North By Northwest," which starred you and Cary Grant. And you play the
opposite kind of woman in this as you--from what you played in "On the
Waterfront." In this, you're a very, glamorous, beautiful spy working
undercover. And it's your job both to seduce Cary Grant and to seduce his
nemesis. Why don't we start with a scene from the movie. Cary Grant is on
the run. He's been mistakenly accused of being a murderer. He's hiding out
on a train. He's seated next to you in the dining car. And he doesn't
know that you're a spy and he doesn't know that you know that he isn't who he
pretends to be, so...

Ms. SAINT: It's complicated, isn't it?

GROSS: Here's the scene.

(Soundbite from "North By Northwest")

Mr. CARY GRANT: Think how lucky I am to have been seated here.

Ms. SAINT: Luck had nothing to do with it.

Mr. GRANT: Fate?

Ms. SAINT: I tipped the steward $5 to seat you here if you should come in.

Mr. GRANT: Is that a proposition?

Ms. SAINT: I never discuss love on an empty stomach.

Mr. GRANT: You've already eaten.

Ms. SAINT: But you haven't.

Mr. GRANT: Don't you think it's time we were introduced?

Ms. SAINT: I'm Eve Kendall. I'm 26 and unmarried. Now you know everything.

Mr. GRANT: Tell me, what do you do besides lure men to their doom on the
20th Century Limited?

Ms. SAINT: I'm an industrial designer.

Mr. GRANT: Jack Phillips(ph), western sales manager for Kingby

Ms. SAINT: No, you're not. You're Roger Thornhill of Madison Avenue and
you're wanted for murder on every front page in America. Don't be so modest.

Mr. GRANT: Whoops.

Ms. SAINT: Oh, don't worry. I won't say a word.

Mr. GRANT: How come?

Ms. SAINT: I told you. It's a nice face.

Mr. GRANT: Is that the only reason?

Ms. SAINT: It's going to be a long night.

Mr. GRANT: True.

Ms. SAINT: And I don't particularly like the book I've started.

Mr. GRANT: Ah.

Ms. SAINT: You know what I mean?

Mr. GRANT: Let me think. Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

GROSS: Eva Marie Saint, how did Hitchcock think of you for this very
seductive role when you were best known for playing a woman who very chaste
and plain and--well, chaste and beautiful, but shy, you know, in "On the

Ms. SAINT: Mm-hmm. I don't know. I'm glad that he did. I felt very
comfortable playing the role. His set was such that any--everyone who was on
the set, you just had the feeling of such confidence because he saw you, and
he didn't see anyone else and, `Right, right. You can do this. Sure. You're
right. You're the sexy spy lady.' He didn't give much direction; very
different from Kazan. He gave external direction; things like, `Lower your
voice. Don't use your hands,' because I sort of use my hands a lot when I
talk. `And look directly into Cary Grant's eyes at all times,' which was not
difficult. But that--but those were the things. And the clothes. Oh, he
didn't like the clothes that were designed for me, so he took me to New York
and we went to Bergdorf Goodman. And he said, `Anything; anything you
want'--I used to tease him. I said, `You were the only sugar daddy I ever
had in my life. I had none before or none after.' That afternoon I felt
like I had a sugar daddy. `Whatever you want, Eva Marie.' And so I took the
black dress with the red roses. Remember that? I loved that--and some other

GROSS: Let's talk about the Mount Rushmore scene, where you and Cary Grant
are escaping from the people who are out to get you. And you're scaling
Mount Rushmore or what, I imagine, was a sculpture version...

Ms. SAINT: Exactly. Yeah.

GROSS: A miniature version of Mount Rushmore. What were you actually
climbing on?

Ms. SAINT: We were climbing at M--by the way, two weeks after I gave birth,
climbing Mount...

GROSS: Oh, you're kidding?

Ms. SAINT: No, no, no. Well, at that time, people didn't gain--the doctors
didn't want women to gain more than 21 pounds. So once you have your
nine-pound baby, there's not much left. But, yeah, that was at MGM in the
studio. And it was very, very high. And it was--you know, it was made of
artificial material to make it look like Mount Rushmore. And it was high. I
have no--listen, an actor who had trouble with heights would have had a
difficult time. But I was pretty athletic in high school and in college.
And so I--and I ski and all that, so I was in good shape, even though I'd had
a baby, to climb that dark mountain. And I didn't have any fears. But once
we started climbing and I happened to look down, and I saw that the prop man
was putting all these mattresses around the perimeter of Mount Rushmore. And
I thought, `Oh, my God. That's right. We could actually fall, couldn't we?'
And I remember, at one point, taking off my heels. As prepared as Hitchcock
was, he didn't say, `Now, Eva, once you get started, you take off those
heels.' Well, sure enough, I finally took off those heels after I broke a
heel on one of the shoes.

GROSS: But you're climbing in your heels for part of it, aren't you?

Ms. SAINT: I know. For a lot of it, yeah. And Cary Grant was older, and I
thought, `Well, if he can do it, I can do it.' But he--and someone pointed
out at one point I was really ahead of him. I was pulling him, or at least I
was ahead.

GROSS: There was this scene were you've kind of fallen off a ledge of the
monument, and you're dangling off the edge of the monument. The only thing
you have to hold on to is Cary Grant's hand.

Ms. SAINT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: But he's losing is grip and you're in danger of just falling and
falling. What was beneath you at that time, the mattresses?

Ms. SAINT: Yes, and something to--I was just, you know--we won't tell
everybody--but just a few feet off a box or something. But at one point, I
did--I actually did slip further than I was supposed to because the man who
was supposed to catch me was looking the other way. So I slipped about three
feet more than I should. And I still have a tiny scar on my left elbow. And
if you notice in the movie, I actually rub my elbow. And I decided at the
Actors Studio, I'm going to--it hurts. It really hurts. I don't want to
stop filming. I don't want to yell, `Cut.' The actor never does that. And
I just used it. And there I am in the scene really rubbing my elbow, which
hurt a good deal.

GROSS: My guest is Eva Marie Saint. She stars in the new TV movie "Papa's
Angels." It will be shown Sunday night on CBS. We'll talk more after a
break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Eva Marie Saint, the star of such films as "On the
Waterfront," "North By Northwest," "All Fall Down" and "Exodus."

You were born in Newark and, I think, grew up in upstate New York?

Ms. SAINT: I grew up in Albany, New York.

GROSS: Mm-hmm. And what did your parents do for a living when you were

Ms. SAINT: My mother had been a schoolteacher in Vineland, New Jersey. She
had been a one-room schoolteacher. And my dad was with BFGoodrich Tire and
Rubber Company. So no one in our business--in our family had ever been in
the business. My sister was a research chemist for DuPont. And I was
studying to be a teacher and then changed my major in college and went into
the theater.

GROSS: What was your early exposure to acting?

Ms. SAINT: My early--oh, it was in Bowling Green State University, where
someone dared me to try out for a play. And I did. And there was just
something enlightening about that whole experience working with other actors.
I'd done some practice teaching and I was really going to be a teacher, like
my mom. But there was something exciting about it. And then I went into
another; did another play; did another play. And then one summer, my
sophomore year, I wrote to my drama professor and said, `I'm thinking of
changing from education to liberal arts and what do you think would be the
possibilities for me?' And he wrote me a beautiful letter about the
possibilities in New York at the time; live television, radio. The theater
was flourishing. And he knew my background and he said, `The main thing is
to be able to take rejection. I have a feeling you can.' And I--it was a
beautiful letter that I felt was encouraging because that's what I wanted to
do. I might have read it differently if I really wanted to teach.

And then I went to my parents and told them. And they said, `Whatever you
want to do, honey, just do your best,' which was what they always said to my
sister and myself. And they were wonderful about it. I probably wouldn't be
talking to you, Terry, if they had said, `What are you talking about? Get a
job. Get a job with a salary check every week, for God's sake.' But they
didn't, and so I'll be forever grateful.

GROSS: Well, you know, you were told that what you needed to do was, you
know, be able to take rejection. Were you able to take that?

Ms. SAINT: Yes. And it happened. It's kind of a long story. I'll try to
make it short, but I was in "Mr. Roberts". That was the first play I ever
tried out for. I got the role, the only woman in the whole show, and I
actually replaced somebody else who was too tough. I got the role. We were
out of town. Josh Logan, the director, came to me after a few performances
out of town and said, `Eva Marie, we think we have a hit but we're a little
nervous with you because this is your first show, so we would like to keep you
as understudy to Jocelyn Brando,' who was Marlon's sister. It all gets very
incestuous, doesn't it? But I did say, `Mr. Logan, I'll take the understudy.'
And I went down to my dressing room and cried my eyes out and everybody came
in one by one (knocks on table), `Eva Maria, may we come in?' They came in
one by one, including Hank Fonda, saying, `You know, it's a godsend that
you're taking this at such a young age because we've all had rejection, but
the fact that you're very young, it means something and nothing will be this
worse,' so tha--well, it wasn't very comforting to me.

But that night on the subway between--I was living with my parents at the time
in Jackson Heights--and I was thinking, `I never want to feel this way again.
I never want to be so destroyed.' I came from a loving family. No one had
ever rejected me in this way. `So by the time I get home, I'm going to decide
whether I want to stay in this business or be a teacher. And if I stay in the
business, if I make the decision, I'll never ever allow myself to feel this
way again.' By the time I got home, I decided I was going to try to continue
acting, studying and whatever happened, wherever I was rejected, when and
where, I would never feel this way again. And the feeling this way again
meant from my neck down, my heart, my soul. From my neck up, OK. You're
disappointed. You're upset from your neck up, but never, never in--your soul
will never be crushed again or your heart. And it never has been, I have to
say, in all honesty. So those guys were right in "Mr. Roberts," so that was
a big lesson, big, big important lesson in my life.

GROSS: Eva Marie Saint. She stars in the new TV movie "Papa's Angels." It
will be shown Sunday night on CBS.


GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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