TIDE MICHIGAN DAILY
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1966
PAGE TWO TIlE MICHIGAN DAILY THURSDAY. SEPTEMBER 8.1966
'Fires' a Cold Seduction into War Fantasy
TIGHT MONEY ISSUE:
House Debates Interest Bills
Amid Warnings of Recession
By PAUL SAWYER1
Kon Ichikawa's "Fires on the
Plain," a moving, skillfully made
film, begins with a series of un-
ruffled closeups of a Japanese of-
ficer scolding a young soldier. The
scene is Leyte in the last, des-
pairing days of the Second World
The young man, a consumptive,
is told to return to the jungle hos-
pital from where he has just come,
since he will only be a burden to
the other soldiers if he stays. As
he returns into the jungle, a com-
rade bids him, "Don't die until
you have to." For nearly two hours
the film follows him, doggedly
and plotlessly, during which he
somewhat half-heartedly takes his
friend's advice. At last he gives up.
That is the substance of this
film. In one respect it is the quin-
tessential anti-war film, contain-
ing a relentless catalogue of all
the horrors, mental and physical,
suffered by men during long per-
iods of privation. Yet for all the
repulsiveness of its subject mat-
ter and the violence of its nar-
rative, it remains strangely quiet
The camera, for example, does
not move very much; the pace of
cutting is relatively slow; and the
individual shots are taken spar-
ingly, in most cases, and with de-
liberateness. More importantly,
there is little tension throughout.
The beginning could scarcely be
more pedestrian, more lacking in
hints of the grotesque horrors to
follow; and the hero's death at the
end could hardly be more casual or
anti-climactic. The characters are
all exhausted men who have large-
ly given up hope of surviving the
They wander from jungle to jun-
gle and from field to field in an
attempt to elude the Americans,
but their energies seem mainly
directed towards forestalling the
inevitable. Bullets rain from the
air, and the men fall into the mud
as into a warm bed.
At least one advantage of this
Geneticist Explains Possible Correlation,
Between Blood Types and Birth Trends
approach is that the audience is
seduced into casually accepting a
truly fantastic world. As the
scenes progress, the characters de-
generate by slow degrees until
they have become practically with-
out our realizing it, madmen and
The whole matter of cannibal-
ism is shrewdly intertwined with
the theme of human bestiality.
When Tamura meets an old friend
who has learned to shoot monkeys
for their meat, he is afraid the
friend will mistake him for his
prey. The keenest irony of the film
comes at the end when Tamura,
after many days of degradations,
watches the normal, rustic activi-'
ties of the villagers in the distance
burning corn husks ("the fires on
the plain"). It is only at this mo-
ment that he realizes how horribly
and completely he and his com-
rades have been severed from the
rest of humanity.
This frightful moral alienation
is, at last, shown to be the worst
of the horrors of war.
All this is not to suggest that
"Fires on the Plain is dreary and
dull. It sustains interest by the
variety of its several episodes, some
of which are quite vivid and skil-
fully recreated. The graphic scenes
at night of the tanks bursting
upon the fleeing soldiers is bound
to live long in any viewer's mem-
ory. This is by no means a pro-
found, or a great film.
Its virtues are skillfullness and
restraint; and its protest, though
outwardly muted, is powerful and
WASHINGTON 0) - A deeply
divided House heard a warning
Wednesday that unless it acts to
lower rising interest rates the 89th
Congress may go down in history
for causing a recession and many
members may be forced back to
private life in November.
As debate began on two rival
bills dealing with one phase of the
tight-money problem, the discus-
sion was heightened by deep con-
cern over mounting interest rates
and lack of lending funds for
housing, business and general in-
The author of one of the bills,
Chairman Wright Patman (D-
Tex.), of the Banking Committee,
told his colleagues the. country
underwent three recessionscduring
the administration of President
Dwight D. Eisenhower because of
"high interest rates and tight
money" and signs now point to
"If it does come," Patman said,
"it should be called the 89th
Congress recession, because we
have the opportunuity and means
of forestalling such a tragedy.
"If we in the Congress lie down
on the job and do nothing, I am
certain that we will see some con-
crete action on the part of the
voters in November."
Patman's bill and another, spon-
sored by the Treasury and intro-
duced by Rep. Robert G. Stephensi
Jr., (D-Ga.), are intended to ease
competition for the kind of sav-
ings that traditionally have fi-
nanced housing loans, now in ser-
iously short supply. High interest
paid by commercial banks on de-
posits left for specified times have
been blamed by housing industry
spokesmen for drawing money
away from savings and loan as-
Patman's proposal would put a
41/2 per cent ceiling on interest
paid on commercial bank time de-
posits up to $100,000. They now
can yield as much as 512 per cent.
The administration-backed Ste-
phens' bill would authorize the
Federal Reserve Board to set ceil-
Stephens attacked the Patman
measure as inflexible and said
Congress should not substitute its
judgment on such matters for the
expertise of specialized agencies.
"This would be the first step
towards destroying the Federal
Reserve system by taking away its
independence to fix interest rates
and giving such authority to the
President," he added.
This was a reference to a pro-
vision in Patman's bill under
which the Federal Reserve might
reduce interest rates on its own,
but could raise them only with
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Chicago--Parents with a certain
combination of blood types appar-
ently are less likely to have a
baby in the springtime than any
other time, a University scientist
reported this week.
The reason seems to be that in
the summer, when a springtime
baby would be conceived, the
mother has a higher level of anti-
bodies againsthsomething in her
Henry Gershowitz, an assistant
professor of human genetics in
the Medical School, reported his
findings at the Third Interna-
tional Congress of Human Gen-
etics, meeting at the 'University of
"Our findings may be sheer ac-
cident," Gerhowitz said. "But if
they are confirmed by other scien-
tists th eymay offer something of
a clue in the whole range of ques-
THURSDAY, Sept. 8
7 and 9:45 p.m.-Cinema Guild
presents "Fires on the Plain,''
Ichikawa's study of psychological
obsessions in Medieval Japan, in
the Architecture Aud.
FRIDAY, Sept. 9
8 p.m.-The University Players
is sponsoring the Porch Players
in William Saroyan's "The Cave,
Dwellers" in the-Arena Theater on
the first floor of the Frieze Build-
ing. Admission is free.
7 and 9:05 p.m.-Cinema Guild
presents "Fires on the Plain" in
the Architecture Aud.
tions about blood type distribution
and selection within families."
The geneticist tabulated the
birth months of children "born to
mothers with type 0 blood and
fathers with .type A-iblood. He
found that of 100 'children with
type A-1 blood, only 29 were born
between February and June. If a
normal pattern existed, 42 chil-
dren, or five twelfths, would have.
been born in those five months.
In contrast, the birth month dis-
tribution was normal for 142 type
O children born of such mar-
riages. It was also 'normal for 253
children of both types born to
type A f mothers and type O fa-
Gershowitz chose the five-month
period, instead of the limited
March-to-May springtime, to cor-
rect variations caused by slight-
ly differing lengths of pregnancy
or slightly varying times of peak
It has been known for some time
that persons with type O blood
have antibodies to some antigen
in the red cells of other blood
types. Similar antibodies have been
detected in the cervical mucus of
type O mothers and similar anti-
gens in the sperm of type A fa-
thers. The antigen-antibody re-
action, though not fully under-
stood, is thought to be responsible'
for infertility among some child-
Abouut eight years ago it was
found that anti-A antibodies in-
crease in the summer in persons
With type O blood. Why this hap-
pens is still any scientist's guess;
various studies have connected the
rise with everything from cosmic
radiation to chlorophyll.
Gershowitz studied the offspring
of type Ormothers and type A-i
fathers for two reasons. One is
that this combination of parents
is most common among children
with ABO hemolytic disease, a
usually mild blood disorder.
Also, the combination is the
most common of the many com-
binations which geneticists call
"Incompatible" - those in which
the wife's system carries antibod-
ies to the husband's.
About 20 per cent of the mar-
riages between white persons in
America are between persons of
types O and A, the most common
types. Half are "incompatible" be-
cause the wife's type O has anti-
bodies against the husband's type
A. The other half are "compati-
ble" because the mother has type
A blood, which does not have anti-
bodies against type O.
Dr. Gershowitz emphasized thgt
this sort of "incompatibility," un-
like the well-known Rh factor "in-
compatibility," rarely causes a
problem for the child or the
er- cttonM modern C'olin"
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