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An 'Affair' Everyone in D.C. Seems to Remember

Gretchen Mol (Kyle Samperton/Courtesy Washington Life magazine)Enlarge Image

Really, does Washington love anything better than a juicy, old-fashioned conspiracy? No, which made Tuesday's world premiere of "An American Affair" so much fun. Who, really, was the dead mistress?

The little indie flick, which opens tomorrow, was filmed in D.C. two years ago and originally called "Boy of Pigs" -- a play on the JFK-CIA-Cuban missile crisis setting. Producers changed the title because "affair" sounds sexier, and wrapped a naked Gretchen Mol in the American flag for the movie poster.

Mol plays a gorgeous blond divorcee living in Georgetown -- an artist and secret girlfriend of President Kennedy. "People loved that it was such an insider story," said Creative Coalition Executive Director Robin Bronk, who hosted the premiere at E Street Cinema with Washington Life magazine. "What was fascinating is that everyone was sure who this was based on."

Marilyn Monroe? Judith Exner? The crowd at the screening -- many old enough to have been around in the Kennedy era -- swear it's Mary Pinchot Meyer, the beautiful socialite who (like Mol's character) lived in Georgetown, married and divorced a CIA agent, was the sister-in-law of former Post top editor Ben Bradlee, experimented with drugs, had high-level affairs, kept a detailed diary and died under mysterious circumstances.

The movie's producer and writer swear she's a "composite" character, of course. We tried to ask Mol ('60s fab in a white dress and coat with mink collar), but she slipped out of the after-party at Tattoo just as we came in.

For you purists: Many of the "Georgetown" exteriors were shot in Baltimore, which had the audience playing "guess that street" during the movie. One authentic Georgetown landmark makes a climatic appearance: the spooky "Exorcist" steps at the end of 36th Street NW, where Mol's character (spoiler alert!) meets a tragic fate.

By The Reliable Source  |  February 26, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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Readers interested in the Mary Pinchot Meyer case, and in great Washington legal stories, will want to read the forthcoming autobiography of the legendary black woman lawyer, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, who won acquittal for Ray Crump, the day laborer accused of Meyer's murder. Roundtree's book, Justice Older than the Law, co-authored with National Magazine Award-winner Katie McCabe, is due out in July from University Press of Mississippi. In the chapter on the Meyer murder and the 1965 trial of Ray Crump, Roundtree speaks out for the first time in great detail about the particulars of the case and gives her unique perspective on it.

Posted by: storyteller1 | February 27, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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