PAUL BRYAN'S JOURNAL
From the diary about this episode:
Paris - Monte Carlo
Tuesday, May 17
If I had a bittersweet sense of accomplishment, having stood up to evil, and exposed the extent organized crime would go to prevent the amendment, the pain left by Dwight's death started to become more real, once my mission was completed.
I thought nothing would bring me out of the depression when I arrived in Paris - the city of light blazing in all its glory, but the crowd that was there for my arrival just surrounded me with love and warmth.
Kate, Pete, and All the Bradleys were on hand with a cheer, and I was shuttled off to the edifice that is their Paris mansion, and we're now flying to Nice in the family jet, and I am, despite myself, trying to take on a festive mood.
Everything - the whole fairy tale that this Formula 1 thing has been up to now - became real and tangible when we met up with Clive and THE CAR. Pete's been testing her in Malaga since he's been well enough to, but the machine is changing on a daily basis, and was already something different than the one he'd driven on Saturday.
He didn't seem happy. Though I'm supposed to be test driver, I was frightened enough just to sit in the car, much less drive, and when Pete took a break, I did, and couldn't handle her at all.
With this little lull while Katie's getting ready for dinner, must not let this incredible day pass without writing something down about the thrill, terror and frustration it was to drive the Mastin RMD.
Spent a good while in our alternate machine, but there is so little road to do anything, know that I will be totally out of my depth this whole week. Am so close to resigning, and insisting that Pete get a proper test driver.
Outside the car, the day was full of people. Mark Shepard wheedled his way into the secure area without as much as a pass, and seeing the petrified look on my face as I got out of the Formula 1 machine, suggested I might prefer our joint-owned red sports car.
Wednesday, May 18
The Mastin was vibrating all over the place, and Pete said that he couldn't control it, walking away from the scene, leaving me to drive bits as the mechanics kept trying to settle her down more with each run.
The glory that Monaco was supposed to be is quickly turning into a nightmare, and we are depending on Clive and his team to get us out of this mess. Had just left the car to them when I saw Ramon.
Last night, after Kate had called it a day, and I was left in charge of Mark's girlfriend Gigi while he made a quick trek back to Port d'Or for some mission, I saw Ramon - already courting a lady, and counted how few hours it had been since he'd said goodbye in Mexico.
Over coffee this morning Ramon explained that he had met the woman when changing planes at Mexico City, and they'd quickly struck up a friendship - though he said she was more of a hawk than a sparrow.
The break I took brought a further improvement in the car, and after another hour, it seemed good enough for Pete to try again. Observed his disgruntled countenance as he got in, and I felt genuinely hurt that the massive investment of money, time and heart had resulted in something so negative.
But when Pete drove back in the pit, he had a more neutral look, and told me I'd done a good job. I knew he was wrong, and that a proper driver would have given far more useful feedback to the technical team.
However, as I looked around, it was clear that almost no one from any team - even the big ones - looked happy, and the extreme degree of sensitivity of these prima donna vehicles is what makes Formula 1 what it is.
We kept working all afternoon with the alternate car until I was dizzy, and really needed to lie down. Katie's going to go and watch the filming they're doing for a Hollywood movie, and when I finish these notes, will go back to the car.
Things were definitely better at the garage, but Pete looked very perturbed, in deep discussion with Clive and Rudy. We took the cars out for a few more runs, finally breaking for dinner, and leaving the machines to the mechanics.
I'd thought that getting back into Formula 1 was going to be Pete's dream come true, but instead of expanding into something even brighter, the carefree playboy I'd been accustomed to in our year of driving together has become transformed into a dark, brooding man of exacting sharpness.
Now waiting for Kate to finish dressing for dinner at the Bradley villa outside Monte Carlo, after which the family are throwing a party at the Hotel de Paris. But this week has really turned out to be the opposite of everything I'd been dreaming of for months.
Thursday, May 19
Things started to improve today on all fronts. Rudy and Clive had the car performing better. When I looked out the window this morning, there was Rachel's palatial yacht dominating the harbor.
In the pits she was bubbling all over the place, as if she'd been attached to Formula 1 all her life, but I guess she's been part of the inner circle for many a Monaco Grand Prix.
Still, as one of the partners, she was full of positive energy and encouragement, and we ended the day feeling a lot better.
Someone else who's been in the pits for every moment is June's “cattle baron” brother Eric, who's invited me out to his ranch in Wyoming.
Strangely, no sign of Ramon who promised to stop by the pits. Last night, Kate and I were chatting with some other people who'd just left one of the parties, and Ramon passed by.
Introduced him to everyone, and confirmed our meeting at midnight. Couldn't help noting the way he'd looked at Kate's jewelry, and I could see that he was about to put her on his sparrow list.
When I joined him in the bar, he was in ebullient mood, already confident that he'd accomplished his mission, and saying that pretty brunette in my group seemed like a good target for his next campaign. I decided not to tell him that she was my fiancée.
All things considered, we did OK in preliminary qualifying - that is to say, we didn't crash out before it ended. Pete's best time puts us fourth from the end of the grid.
Friday, May 20
In the afternoon, before even getting out of the hotel, I saw Armand, parting from his wife at the elevator, just as I walked out of it.
I greeted her respectfully, and then found myself caught in his presence. He said he hadn't missed a Monaco Grand Prix since the end of the War, and was very excited to have the added interest in our car this year.
I felt so small and nothing next to this man of the world who made my own wanderings seem like a vagrant's. He was gracious and warm, and my only other thought was that he had everything, but not the thing he wanted most.
Walking out the front doors with me, he was greeted by Jackie Stewart with an embrace, as Jackie entered against us, not knowing me, though we'd met in Brazil. The two got into a lively conversation, Armand assuming we were acquainted, and I excused myself.
More trauma later when I saw the unmistakable profile of Robert Thurston speaking with Nick Cooper. Not having greeted Nick - and thanked him again - I took the opportunity to join the pair.
Nick was putting out his hand, and about to introduce his companion when I heard Leslie's voice behind me. It touched every nerve in my body. Each and every one.
I turned, and embraced her quickly, then tried to move out of reach, fearful of what might happen. There was longing in her eyes, and I made a brief gesture, embracing the three of them, and moved back to the Mastin, hoping Leslie wouldn't follow.
Kate and Violet approached from another direction, and the eye contact I made with Katie made it clear that she knew something had happened - and not with the car.
Saturday, May 21
Ran into Armand again last night, and tried to study him in a neutral way, not as Kate's lover, but a man I'd otherwise admire - using his influence for good, devoted and forgiving to his wife, a talented businessman, according to Katie, honest and ethical to a fault without ever hurting anyone's feelings.
The daring heroism he and Odette had displayed as some kind of independent bombing unit in the Resistance was legend.
Those thoughts were still in my mind as we finished breakfast, and I got a call from a lawyer, telling me that Ramon had been arrested for grand larceny, and needed me to come to Court.
My first notion was that I'd always expected this to happen. Not really a gigolo in the proper sense of the word, the way Ramon treats his women lavishly out of his own pocket, he is rather a con artist, and has just been getting away with it.
However, it wasn't about one of his unrepaid “loans,” but rather the theft of a valuable bracelet - 20 fine three-carat diamonds - with which Ramon was charged, jewelry which he had gotten repaired for his sparrow, and said, returned to her.
However, she reported it stolen to the police. One of the first things I asked the Inspector in charge was whether the owner requested documentation for her insurance - and she hadn't.
That was a bit to back up Ramon's denial of the theft, and I offered to meet the woman, and try and find out why she's made the false accusation which could put him on ice for a decade.
When I got back to the car, the look Pete gave me put ME on ice, and I was ready to not just beg forgiveness, but insist that he really deserved a proper test driver.
Everyone from Rhona and Clive through Kate and June to the mechanics seemed to be on edge, and I was grateful that Rachel too wasn't around to witness my tardy arrival.
But Pete was more concerned about the car than me, and one hard look was all he allotted in my direction before going out for a final run before qualifying.
The women took leave for the VIP stand, and Clive gave me an understanding glance. I hung around the pits, feeling useless, and was approached by the jail keeper's daughter with a message from Ramon that the accuser - Charlotte Hyde - was milling around the race area.
Spotted her when final qualifying had just started, and after a chat, invited her to dinner. It was at that point that Pete spun out, putting us 18th on the grid ahead of two other non-qualifiers who had worse times.
Didn't know whether it was better to disappear or be seen as diligently standing by when Pete returned; opted for the latter, but he didn't show.
Don't know where he went, but felt grateful not to cross his path. Clive, surprisingly, didn't seem too unhappy with the result, and sounded philosophical.
When Kate got back to the suite, I explained what happened with Ramon, and she said that she wasn't surprised, having taken one look at him the other night, and classified him as a typical oily Riviera fortune hunter.
I could see the look hovering behind her eyes, wanting to ask me how I could possibly hang around with someone like that, and told her that the man had saved my life when I'd accidentally blown up his boat.
Then I had to explain it would be necessary to take this Charlotte woman out to dinner to find out what she was up to, and Katie just came over, hugged me and started to laugh, and I promised to join her before the evening had progressed too far.
My little date with Charlotte Hyde was totally unproductive. She saw through me pretty quickly, but it's definite that she's set Ramon up because of his “profession,” though she wouldn't admit it. Now down to my patient Katie, and if I'm lucky, not my racing partner.
Sunday, May 22
Morning practice was exhilarating. The car was the best it had been the whole weekend, and Pete was in a slightly better mood, though all nerves. He was also much friendlier than he'd been since we arrived here, hugging me, and saying how much this day meant to him.
By the end of the morning session, the Mastin was singing, and excitement around the pit lane was at a fever pitch, all the more so with the movie crew seemingly everywhere.
Before our four lady benefactors took off for the stand, all the partners embraced, and it got very emotional. The noise was deafening compared to any other race I'd been at!
Journal continued in next column
Ramon apologizes for snubbing Paul
Charlotte offers Ramon money
Charlotte asks Ramon to get her bracelet repaired
Ramon and Paul try to figure what happened
The jailer's daughter points out Charlotte
Paul warns Charlotte not to play with lives
Over a lavish meal in jail they talk of Ramon's last affair
Paul wans Charlotte of the consequences of her actions
Ramon reminds Paul of their fishing date
Ramon frees Charlotte just before her car explodes
Paul can't believe Ramon has forgiven Charlotte
Charlotte thanks Paul for his help
The Monaco Grand Prix was thrilling to follow. A lump raised in my throat each time Pete passed. All in all, we didn't do too badly, Pete having gotten up to tenth when he had to retire with engine trouble, and only four cars finishing.
He disappeared before the race was over, so when it was, I went for a walk with Katie to bring myself down. Was surprised to see that many stores were open, and thought it would be nice to buy her something as a memento of this special day.
We went into the shop where Ramon got Charlotte's bracelet repaired, and I bought Kate a pair of sapphire earrings. When I asked the jeweller about the missing bracelet, he recalled two things he'd found unusual.
It didn't look like the clasp had failed accidentally, but that it had been forced back and forth until the bracelet came apart. He said it was also odd that the safety chain had broken too.
When we came back out in the street, the atmosphere was tremendous. Being away from it for a few minutes made it like entering the Monte Carlo world anew. We slowly made our way back to the hotel, loving every minute.
Discussing the Charlotte situation, Kate told me about a number of individuals like Ramon who'd tried to get money out of Molly, a constant prey of such men for nearly a decade now, Alex Ryder being only the latest in a long line.
Kate declared that she'd like dunking the lot in the sea, and gave me an idea. Before dressing for dinner, made a quick visit to Ramon in jail where he was eating a sumptuous meal.
It was a kick! Told him that I was certain that Charlotte planned the whole thing, and asked him who he'd sluiced before he met me in Mexico. An answer I was able to make use of.
Asked Katie if she knew anyone in Baltimore who might give us some low down on Charlotte, and while I was showering, she made a couple calls. Her news set all the tumblers of the safe clicking. Ramon's last sparrow in Majorca was Charlotte's sister.
Instead of changing for dinner I phoned his lawyer, then confronted Charlotte. She refused to admit anything, even though I warned her she could be arrested for false testimony, but that was all I could do.
Monday, May 23
The evening ranged from super casual parties built around team bands to the ultra swank gatherings of the “steamship” set whose yachts sparkled in the harbor.
Pete and June cut out fairly early in the evening. We had a bit of a Moment, talking about his future, but with the tension off, he was closer to his usual self.
Kate and I went to as many of the parties as possible, and it was getting light when we returned to the suite where there was a message from Ramon's lawyer saying that he was being released at 10 am.
After a quick nap I went to his hotel, packed all his things, then drove his car to the jail house to bid him farewell, and made sure he got out of Monaco before Charlotte put some Plan B into action. Knowing he was safe on his way to Spain, I went back to bed.
Little did I know that the most exciting moment of the weekend was yet to come. With Spa three weeks away, Rhona and Clive were allowing themselves a short vacation, and invited us to their yacht before they sailed.
Afternoon tea as only the British can do, and as we were getting up to leave, Clive dropped his bombshell. He's decided to enter Mastin in the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, and has asked me to drive.
Here I was all weekend, feeling so superfluous and inept, and then this! Katie and I are certainly going to celebrate tonight.
Tuesday, May 24
When we got back from a glorious evening in a more subdued Monte Carlo (if that isn't a contradiction in terms), there was a message from RAMON, asking me to meet him in our hotel bar the next day.
He wasn't at his hotel - though he'd checked back in - and left me in a state of puzzlement - and not a little disturbed. When we met, I got the whole story.
Apparently, Charlotte pursued him out of town, and tried to run Ramon off the road - down into a gully. But instead, she caused her own vehicle to go over the embankment, and then became trapped inside.
According to Ramon, he pulled her out just before the car burst into flames, then spent the afternoon and all night by her bedside.
Considering what could have become of him, he was enormously forgiving and understanding, but promised me that he was definitely heading straight to Spain.
Katie and I spent the day at the Bradleys, having the whole place to ourselves, the clan dispersed to various parts of the world. Feeling too lazy to do more than talk about the trip to Tahiti, we've ended up staying the night here. So quiet, with just the sound of the sea below us.
Paul is test driving a racing car in Monte Carlo when he spots his gigolo friend Ramon de Vega courting Charlotte Hyde. Ramon says that he'll talk to Paul later, and the woman doesn't see him.
Next day, the good friends meet, and Ramon apologizes, saying that he needs to devote every moment to this woman, also expressing the worry that Paul might try to steal his “sparrow” like he did when they were in Mexico together.
Ramon goes on to say that this particular lady seems rather difficult, but he's confident - as always - in his ability to charm a woman into providing him with a substantial sum of money. But Ramon senses that this sparrow is a bit of a hawk. Paul listens with gentle amusement, and they agree to meet after midnight.
Over dinner that evening, Charlotte tells Ramon that she is enjoying his company too much - not being lonely anymore - and doesn't want him to return to his ranch to raise needed funds. He replies that if he remains in Monte Carlo, he's bound to find a friend who will loan him $10,000. But Charlotte says that such a friend is already here, and that she will gladly get the funds from her own accounts.
Ramon is “outraged” at such an idea, of course, saying that he could never take money from her, but she finds this endearing, and he agrees to accept it.
When they go dancing her bracelet falls on the floor, and she asks him if he'd get it fixed for her, then adds that the bracelet is worth far more than the sum she proposed to lend him, a sign of how much she trusts him.
He takes the bracelet to a local jeweller, who says its 20 three-carat diamonds are extremely fine. The repaired piece is returned to Charlotte, but within the hour, following a call from her, Ramon is arrested by the police for theft. Paul tries to plead for Ramon, but the judge refuses him bail due to the great value of the stolen goods. Given time to consult in the judge's chambers, Ramon tells the story of the “hawk's” bracelet, and how he can't understand her actions, asking Paul to try and find Charlotte's motivation for wanting to put him in jail for ten years.
After getting out of his car, Paul is approached by the jail keeper's daughter , with a message that Ramon has learned that Charlotte is at the races. Using the ploy of a missing lucky charm, invaluable for the team,
Paul becomes acquainted with Charlotte, and asks her to have dinner with him that evening as compensation for the bad luck experienced minus the supposed good luck piece. Before dinner she tells Paul she's not a jet setter, and has to stay on in town for the trial of a man who stole her bracelet.
Back in her suite Paul shows curiosity in the theft of Charlotte's bracelet.
But the more questions he asks, the more pointed they become, and she suspects him of being employed by Ramon.
He denies that, but then admits to being a friend. Paul says that she set Ramon up, then is acting as judge and jury because he is a gigolo.
She tells him to leave, but Paul warns her about playing with people's lives.
Paul visits Ramon in jail where he is enjoying a sumptuous lunch, courtesy of the jailor's daughter who stops by, and asks Ramon how he is enjoying the meal.
They again try to figure Charlotte's motivation, and decide that she'd planned the coup even before they met. Paul joins in the lunch, and plans to find more information about the woman and the bracelet.
After he comes up with some clues, he phones Charlotte and tells her that she's in trouble.
Paul visits Charlotte to tell her that the jig is up, that he knows that she is the sister of Ramon's last “sparrow,” and that, in addition to the fact she has not reported the bracelet's theft to her insurance, the original damage to the bracelet appeared intentional.
Paul says he can get a warrant to search her room, and even goes so far as to point out that Charlotte could serve a jail sentence for giving false testimony.
She is clearly angry, but also fearful, and the charges against Ramon are dropped.
Paul meets Ramon as he is released, and suggests that he leave Monte Carlo immediately.
Ramon wants to wait until Charlotte arrives to sign some papers at the station, but Paul has even packed Ramon's car for a quick getaway to Spain. Ramon reminds him of their fishing date the following May, and says that he knows Paul will make it.
Ramon drives out of town, heading for the Pyrenees, but he is being followed by Charlotte in her car, an angry expression on her face.
As the Mediterranean roads start to become winding with sharp cliff edges, Charlotte manoeuvres her car nearer and near to Ramon's, and attempts to drive him off the road, ramming his car several times. He keeps on trying evasive actions, and in one final effort to drive him off a cliff, Charlotte actually plunges her own car over. Ramon jumps out of his to save her. She's unable to get her door open, and he manages to extracate her only after breaking the door. Just before a fire causes her machine to explode, Ramon pulls her out, and carries Charlotte away to safety.
Paul and Ramon share a drink back in Monte Carlo, Paul advising that his friend must take proceedings, saying that Charlotte is insane, and tried to kill him, Ramon countering, “who doesn't have those impulses now and then?” He says that he spent the whole night by her bedside in the hospital, listening to her life history - always being wronged by men. Ramon proposes that she just used him as a substitute target for the others, and states that when she is released, he'll be on his way to Torremolinos.
Then Paul drops the bombshell about Charlotte's sister.
Rather than being near suicide as Charlotte had led Paul to believe, her sister who'd been romanced by Ramon was now getting married. Both break up in convulsive laughter.
After Ramon is gone, Charlotte approaches Paul, wanting to know his whereabouts. “So you can go after him with a machine gun?” he asks. Charlotte says that in her case, Ramon really did leave her richer, and she wants to go to him. Paul tells her she can be there ahead of him if she flys, and she leaves Paul with a kiss.
This further light-hearted episode involving the Ramon de Vega character offers far more plot than the early offering “Someone Who Makes Me Feel Beautiful.” In fact, there are plenty of twists and turns which better show off Ramon's hectic lifestyle among the ladies.
Gena Rowlands - incredibly over-made up and bejeweled for a lady who spends most of her time in settlement house work - lets an inscrutable face disguise a seething anger while Fernando Lamas - easily floating above the waves, no matter how treacherous they get - is the foil for her intensity, offering us a little more character along with plot, even be it two-dimensional only in his case.
Jo Swerling Jr.
Director of Photography
John L. Russell A.S.C.
Howard E. Johnson
John McCartey &
Frank H. Wilkinson
Color by Pathe
Editorial Dept. Head
David J. O'Connell
Costumes by Burton Miller
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