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September 06, 1969 - Image 2

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturday, September 6, 1

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Saturday, September 6, 1 ~

theatre

cinema=

CERAMIC CLASSES
at JANKA'S BARN STUDIO begin Sept. 8

High on the music wagon Midnight Co

Stoneware, wheel-throwing for
w b y' f ( begjinning and advanced students
Section 1-7-10 P.M. Mondays
Section 11-1-4 P.M. Tuesdays
D ustncid sigann j111-7-10 P..Wednesdays
Twelve weeks. $48.00 includes supplies
J 'SBaRN-STU IL279:' e

By LAURIE HARRIS
The Gilbert and Sullivan So-
ciety's production of Paint Your
Wagon f i ts the definition of
musical comedy -- but just
barely. And therein lies both
its strength and its weakness.
If a musical comedy w e r' e
judged solely by its lyrical con-
tent then Paint Your Wagon is
outstanding. But since a mini-
mum of acting is needed to cre-
ate a necessary balance, t h i s
production just slides under this
semantic wire.
Individually, most of the per-
formers have a flamboyant flair
of expression but exercise little
control over its variance. The
players lack an understanding
of the theatrical shadingsneed-
ed to turn a role into a believe-
able portrayal.
The California gold rush
days provide the backdrop for
the story of Ben Rumson (Char-
lie Sutherland) and his daugh-
ter Janice Lent who find not
only gold, but loneliness. As the
only girl in a town of hundreds
of gold-digging men, his daugh-
ter, Jennifer, finds friendship
by befriending an outcast Mexi-
can.
However, her father is deter-
mined to turn Jennifer into a
lady and sends her to Boston,
only to establish the previous
loneliness shared by the three
characters. And when Jennifer
returns she finds the gold run
dry, t h e Mexican, Julio gone
and her father remarried. Yet
as the story ends, Julio returns,
her father once again takes up
the search for gold and follows
his "Wandrin' Star."
Charlie Sutherland creates
a Ben Rumson who is appar-
ently happy while betraying the
loneliness of a man with no
root-s and no wife. Almost inag-
ically, his broad smile and
often glistening eyes can por-
tray a wide range of happiness.
Yet through his songs, especial-
ly the haunting "They Call the
Wind Maria," he is able to ex-
press the loneliness and sepa-
ration of all those who have
broken their ties and moved to
the empty California territory.
David Johnson as Julio so
controls his emotions that he
appears wooden in comparison.
To some extent this may be jus-
tified by his role of an outcast
Mexican trying to uphold his
royal heritage.
However, Johnson's voice is
majestic in its power and
strength. And perhaps by only
listening to him and ignoring
his constant rigidity -both of
character and motions-his por-
trayal would become doubly
powerful.
Miss Lent has what is known
as a "lovely" voice which is
highly conducive to the sugary
role of Jennifer. Unfortunate-
ly, Miss Lent's performance is
rigidly stylized into an indig-
nant young girl and thus lacks
any real variety.
Cherry (Patricia Petiet, the
French leader of the gold dig-
gers' imported women is the
epitome of musical happiness
as she delightfully flirts and
flaunts her way across the stage.
The general staging of the
production is excellent, esp-
cially in the "On My Way"
production which gives the feel-
ing of real motions through a
clever rotation of lights and
characters.
The male chorus of gold dig-
gers is a carefully integrated
group of strong voices and char-
acter roles. But the female flooz-
les, needed for the story, add
little to the stage.
DIAL 8-6416

"ONE OF THE BEST
PICTURES I'VE SEEN
THIS YEAR!'
- .fn8 o'Gif lT. .'~ror ,
"A PICTURE OF
DISTINCTION!"
-Saturda;ykvie
"FASCINATING!"
-Tim* Moo~zn.
R. LEE PUT Rsw
A RAYMOND STRGSS PM UCTIO. .,
STARRING
RITA
TUSHINGHAM
BOB
7 .rttpin o a nl~ ..
* ALSO *
"IMPORTANT!
POWERFUL!"
- NENSWEEK MAGAI.
"CERTAINLY THE
MOST EXCITING
AND MEANINGFUL
FII#M IN VYARRI"

By GORMAN BEAUCHAMP
Two ways of looking at film
are as an actor's medium or as
a director's medium. If you
think of Midnight Cowboy as a
Dustin Hoffman film-or, more
accurately, a John Voigt film-
you'll probably like it. If you
think of it as a John Schlesinger
film, you probably won't. Or if
you view the movies as a mixed
medium, you'll probably have a
mixed reaction. I did. The acting
is good and the direction is bad.
Voigt, as Joe Buck, the male
whore with a heart of fool's gold.
is flawless. A New Jersey actor,
he has competely transformed
himself into one of those dumb
"good ol' boys" which West
Texas harbors: a sort of if you
can dig it) handsome, likeable
Lyndon Johnson out to make his
fortune through a more honest
kind of hustling. He's got the
drawling idiom, the hulking
awkwardness, the belligerent yet
beleagured swagger down pat--
a drugstore Hud.
Hoffman is good too if a bit
of a caricature), as Ratso Rizzo.
a greasy, gimpy con-man about
42nd Street who proves there
are other kinds of life just as
bad as graduating and going
into plastics. Repulsive and yet
appealing, Ratso is a jetsam
rebel, giving the finger to the
world at large. The bond that
unites this improbable pair is a
common willingness to believe
in each others pathetic illusions.
And out of their kindness to
each other grows a grubby kind
of platonic love which makes
each one something better than
he would have been alone. The
actors' problem is to keep this
sort of relationship from slip-
ping into maudlin sentimentality
and, usually they do. At its best,

in the final sequence, their at-
tachment is deeply, genuinely
moving. As a simple story of
these two, Midnight Cowboy is
effective and-well-valid.
But then there is Schlesinger's
direction. He is unfortunately
a man with pretensionsnboth
artistic and social. T a k e his
technique of flashing back, for-
ward, up, down, and between in
a gimmicky attempt to provide
a totally unnecessary psycholo-
gical dossier on Joe Buck-you
know, how the guy got that way.
The first half of Herlihy's no-
vel dealt with the boy's life, but
the account was apparently in
sufficiently sensational for Sch-
lesinger who knows every hust-
ler must have had a good film-
able trauma. So we get a trau-
ma - or snips and snatches of
one, a bit here, a bit t h e r e.
<Schlesinger is a leader of the
derriere-garde.) Seems that Joe
Buck's girl was gang raped -
yes, driven mad! - so that as
the police take her away she
points at him and babbles, "He's
the one, he's the only one." You
see? I don't.
Then too, Joe Buck's own vir-
tue may have been compromi-
ed, since the same gang of row-
dies - who? why? when? never
mind that's subtlity - throws
him bare-assed across a c a r,
spread his legs and - end of
flashback. Now what the hell
was that all about? Well, what-
ever, it must have been trau-
matic.
Distressing as Schlesinger's
"artistry" is, his social comment
is worse. His is a Gulliver-in-
Lilliput point of view, one of
those tiresomely trivial accounts
of the European intellectual's
discovering America, so knowing
and so off-base.
Schlesinger sets himself as a

commentor, on American folk-
ways, but simply doesn't know
what it's all about. Take for ex-
ample, that seemingly endless
bus ride at the start of the film.
Poor Joe Buck can't get any-
body to talk to him - not even,
heaven help us, a nun. Now, ask
anybody who has ever g o n e
Greyhound and he'll tell you
that the problem is not getting
people to talk to you; the prob-
lem is getting them to shut up.
And a real Joe Buck on a real
bus would most likely have
scored several times between
Sweetwater and New York; sold-
iers always seem to. But Schle-
singer will have Joe Buck lonely
if it takes a Greyhound full of
deaf mutes to do it. A small
matter, maybe, but it sets the
tone from there on.
I once knew a foreign student
who wanted to learn to swear
in English, so I taught him
all the words, but he never
managed to get them into the
right combinations. "Hell-
damn" just isn't idiomatic,
right? So with Schlesinger's
America. His eye for the grotes-
que is unerring and irrelevant.
A woman and a child playing
with a rat in an automat --
shocking, and so what?
You should of course, s e e
Midnight Cowboy. It's the box
office hit of the year, outgross-
ing even last year's bonanza,
The Graduate. Its theme song
is being boomed by the dj's;
there's even a parody of it on
record already. Your mother
wouldn't like it, a legislator in
Texas wants it banned, and it
has received the industry's high-
est accolade - an X rating. It's
well on its way to becoming part
of the generational folklore, but
it's just not that good.

For reservation cal Janka McClotchev,.668-7338
JANKAS BARN STUDIO, 2793 Newport Road
d">ooC-->o o """"0<-~>0<"""><""" o<-- o<""">

RENT STRIKE
MASS MEETING

MONDAY, SEPT

8

8:00 P.M.-Union Ballroom
Organizers Workshops

Sept. 9,

10,

I11 a t 8: 00

ICN THE S.A.B.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
CALL 63-3102, VISIT 1532 S.A.B.

-Dailv--Richard Lee

PILOT PROGRAM PRESENTS
ALICE'S RESTAURANT
OPENS AGAIN
TONIGHT WITH
PETER BOWEN
ALICE LLOYD HALL
FREE FOOD STILL ONLY 50c
9:00 P.M.

nhii1111h1E11115

F -., - - -m - a o -

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; I .

ii

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- -

i

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TONIGHT

I

WHAT IS THE
--an all-campus orchestra!
-sponsored by MUSKET and G&S!
-performing 3 hit shows!
DON'T MISS THE MASS MEETING
SEPT. 15, 8 P.M.,-ROOM 3A-UNION
UNIVERSITY THEATRE ORCHESTRA

7:00 and 9:00 P.M.

TONM JONES
"Better than Gunga Dinn."
-Judy Wood

TONIGHT
Fine Bluegrass
by
and the
HARMONY GRITS

1421 Hill St.
8:30 P.M.
Free Food
Coffee, lea

'r } }
1:: X+".

I..

ii

Im

MUST HEAR THIS TO BELIEVE IT
Dobro, Banjo, Fiddle Guitar, and Mandolin

Q

TON IGIET
Saturdwy, Sept. 6
The University of Michigan
Gilbert and Sullivan Society
PAINT YOUR WAGON
A musical comedy by Lerner
and Lowe, the mn who gave
us Brigadoon, and Camelot.
Ii
TRUEBLOOD AUDIT ORIUM
FRIEZE BUILDING

,-
Saturday, Sunday, Sept. 6, 7
IVAN THE TERRIBLE -Throws wide its cinder block arms
PART 2
Dir. SERGEI EISENSTEIN (1948)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1969
Eisenstein's last film (in B&W with special color
sequences) . A mammoth epic portrait of the crazed I
Czar Ivan in order to stage
COME AS YOU ARE
7 & 9 ARCHITECTURE
662-8871 7cAUDITORIUM
Starting at 4:30 Post Meridian.
WITH EVERYTHING FREE
C in alphabetical order, sorter:
Cinema Guild is in the Architecture A BAND-
Auditorium in the Architecture and
Design School which is located be . A BATHTUB, filled with Jello;
tween Tappan and East University
on Monroe. FILMS;
o DRINK (essen mein kinder) ;
'- OTHER PEOPLE, some standing on their heads;
< A UNICYCLIST, if we can fit him in.

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