Cinema: The Showman

"I'm so happy I sometimes get scared," Mike Todd said last month. "I get damned scared I can't last; the law of averages is being just a little too good to me."

Todd's optimism was always somewhere outside the law of averages. While others brooded over the recession and mourned the future of the cinema, he was committing millions to the filming of Don Quixote, his latest project. He glibly claimed that his 1957 Oscar-winning Around the World in 80 Days, which has already grossed $33 million, "will be the first movie ever to make $100 million." Said Todd: "I don't know...

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