Watch CBSN Live

Iconic Films Breeding Grounds For Scandals

Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair and editor of a new anthology titled, "Vanity Fair's Tales of Hollywood: Rebels, Reds and Graduates and the Wild Stories Behind the Making of 13 Iconic Films" dropped by The Early Show with a sampling of some of the behind-the-scenes backstory to some legendary, and infamous films.

Carter looked back at three of those iconic films produced in Hollywood - "Cleopatra," "The Graduate," and "Saturday Night Fever."

The most scandalous movie that Carter features in his book is "Cleopatra."

"Well, it was an amazing film and it just about bankrupted the studio, 20th Century Fox, they built two sets, one in England and one in Rome for the movie. It took two years to make," Carter told co-anchor Julie Chen.

"Why two?" Chen asked.

"The first one, they built it in England and it rained all the time so they moved it to Rome. Then you have -- it cost $44 million, which was real money in those days. You had a huge romance between the two stars and when they would go to Rome and that virtually started the paparazzi. It was a movement," he explained.

The romantic couple, who stole the attention on and off screen, was Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. They were both married and had a steamy affair.

"Both married and they became this famously adulterous couple in the world at that time. At a time when this is a really shunned-upon thing. And it was just -- you know, it cost so much money. But if you actually go back and look at it, the movie is kind of fantastic," Carter said.

"Cleopatra" was quite an undertaking.

"It made its money back over time, but it just killed the people making it, the director, he said it was the toughest three pictures he ever made. It was just so much work," he said.

Taylor was no picnic on set either.

"Well, according to the story, they had to work around her moods and around her physical problems. She got pneumonia. She had a tracheotomy scar. She was probably not the healthiest and easiest person to get along with," he admitted.

Chen pointed out that they had to shoot around Taylor's menstrual cycle, which made Carter stumble his words.

As for "The Graduate," the original cast that they had in mind was not who audiences ended up seeing.

"Well, you had Gene Hackman, Anne Bancroft's husband. And Anne Bancroft was only a few years older than Dustin Hoffman, they dressed her old and predatory. It's funny because there's a thing in the book, Mike Nichols wants to interview Redford for the part that Dustin Hoffman plays. He asks if he was ever turned down by a girl. Robert Redford literally could not understand the concept of that. He said, 'What do you mean?' He said you may not be right for this part," he said.

Originally, they wanted Candice Bergen to play the Katharine Ross part as well.

"She would have been great," he said.

Lastly, "Saturday Night Fever," a movie that defined the '70s.

"They're iconic movies and they helped define a decade. Probably nothing defined the '70s as much as 'Saturday Night Fever.' Three of those stories, the movies, also came from magazine articles. This one from a story about a New York magazine by Nick Cohen," Carter said.

"Tales of Hollywood" is a guaranteed page turner.