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April 07, 1978 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-04-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



. F
Friday, April 1, 1918 39 -

r

THE DETROIT JEWISH

Grosbard Directs Hoffman Film

By HERBERT G. LUFT
(Copyright 1978, JTA, Inc.)
HOLLYWOOD — Ulu

"The Miracle Worker," and
as unit manager on "The
Pawnbroker."
He first came to the atten-
tion of the New York theat-
rical public when guiding
the off-Broadway produc-
tion of "The Days and
Nights of Bebee Fenster-
maker" in 1962, followed
two years later by the ex-
tremely successful "The
Subject was Roses" and the
Obie and Clarence Derwent
award winner "A View
From the Bridge" in 1965,
subsequently directing the
premier production of Ar-
thur Miller's "The Price."
I remember his name viv-
idly from the staging of the
concert production of Peter
Weiss' "The Investigation,"
an account of the Auschwitz
trials, which in 1967 he also
transposed into a not-too-
successful television ver-
sion.
Grosbard, WRO di-
rected his first theatrical
motion picture, a film

Grosbard, a Jewish refugee
who as a child immigrated
with his parents to the Un-
ited States from Antwerp,
Belgium when his home
country was overrun by the
Nazis, attended the Yale
Drama School, worked as
assistant director on Elia
Kazan's "Splendor in the
Grass," on "West Side
Story," "The Hustler" and

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based on the highly
acclaimed stage produc-
tion ",The Subject was
Roses," followed by the
highly intellectual but
badly misunderstood
"Who is Harry Keller-
man?" in which Dustin
Hoffman portrayed the
leading role, now comes
up with his second film
starring Hoffman,
"Straight Time," from the
novel by ex-convict Ed-
ward Bunker titled "No
Beast So Fierce."
The film deals with a fic-
titious fellow-prisoner Max
Dembo whose determina-
tion to create a new life for
himself on the outside runs
into a series of major
roadblocks in a prejudiced
society.
It was Grosbard who
suggested that Hoffman
read the Bunker tome and
the actor was so impressed
by the project that he ac-
quired the story property for
his own production com-
pany originally intending to
direct and star in the film
version. This idea was drop-
ped when Hoffman decided
the scope and complexity of
the role would require his
full attention.
He assigned Alvin Sar-
gent to adapt the novel and
turned the director's chores
over to his friend Grosbard
who had inspired the pic-
ture in the first place.
It is not the first time
that Hoffman portrays a
prison inmate, having
. played a convict in a
French Guianan penal
colony in the utterly
realistic "PapWon."
Production on "Straight
Time" commenced early
last year under the aegis of
"First Artists," a company
in which Dustin Hoffman is
one of the partners, together
with such other motion pic-
ture stars as Barbra
Steisand and Paul New-
man. The picture went over
budget and Hoffman had a
drawn-out dispute with the
heads of "First Artists" over
the rights of editing the
completed product. All
problems since have been
settled and "Straight Time"
went into release in March.
Dustin Hoffman, who
went from the role of a re-
luctant hero in "Marathon
Man" to that of a struggling
ex-con adrift in Los Angeles
in "Straight Time," since
has made in England
"Agatha," the life story of
mystery writer Agatha
Christie in which he ap-
peared opposite Vanessa
Redgrave.
This columnist met
Hoffman 10 years ago when
the young actor received a
Golden Globe award from
the Hollywood Foreign
Press Association, a profes-
sional organization - at that
time headed by me. "The
,Graduate," for which
Hoffman was recognized in
Hollywood, was not his first
film but his earliest star-
ring role. His memorable
performance launched him
quickly into the first rank of
- movie actors.
"The
Following
Graduate," he created

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"Jimmy Shine" while
SERVING ITALIAN-AMERICAN
filming "John Loves
CUISINE IN THE FINEST
Mary" in New York with
TRADITION
Mia Farrow.
Since then, Hoffman's
OVER
film roles have included an
40 YEARS A
Italian grocery clerk in "Al-
fredo, Alfredo," a repressed
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