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November 22, 1978 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-22

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, November 22, 1978-Page 5

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BY BILL BARBOUR
The vibraphone is a curious, wickedly
difficult instrument to master - a set of
pitched metal bars that must be struck
like a percussion instrument, and yet
played melodically. It is only the true
master, such as Lionel Hampton, Gary
Burton, or Milt Jackson, who can ring
warm sounds out of the cold metal.
Monday night at the Earle, Milt
Jackson affirmed his mastery.
Of course, there is scarcely any need
at all for such an affirmation. A veteran
be-bopper who had made a strong name
for himself long before he helped form

the Modern Jazz Quartet, perhaps the
prototypical jazz unit, Jackson is firmly
rooted in the bristling tempos, and
complex rhythms and chords of be-bop.
At its best, be-bop is relaxed and firm
even when it's sizzling fast. Jackson
triumphantly maintained his cool
throughout both sets of his short,
straight-ahead 10:30 performance.
JACKSON AND his back-up unit, the
Roy Brooks Trio, opened their first set
with Kenny Durant's "Blue Bossa,"
handled with an easy and relaxed man-
ner. One sensed that Jackson was close
to his music, moving this way and that

after a striking note, or an impressive
solo lick.
Throughout the show, Jackson used
his own motion to convey the mood of
his music. Sometimes he struck the
bars of his instrument hard from a
great distance. At others, he hunched
over the bars and gently brushed them.
After his solos, he would stroll the ban-
dstand, keeping time, staring off into
nowhere singing ideas to himself, reac-
ting physically and vocally to the
others' solos. Then, quickly and unex-
pectedly, he and his back-up band
would once again mesh, going from the

Jackson gives off good vibes

7A
nomo

w

'Lifeline' doctors up
ailing medical shows'

By NINA SHISHKOFF
The lawyer, the crimefighter, and the
doctor - television's holy trinity. The
doctor, especially, has been a popular
and enduring figure, his name changing
from series to series, but his character
basically the same: Wise, com-
passionate, and all-knowing. The shows
themselves differ little, and their theme
'is unchanging: the tenuous balance of
life and death. Therefore, when NBC
announced that Lifeline, its medical
series, was a new kind of doctor show,
the correct response was skepticism.
What, may we ask, is a new kind of doc-
tor show?
Each Lifeline episode concentrates
on a real doctor and his practice,
following several cases from start to
finish. But it's not a documentary. The
.show ends each week with these words :
"The doctor and his patients arewreal
people, and all the medical sequences
were shot as they actually occurred.
For the sake of. clarity, however, the
order of events may have been
changed, and some non-medical,
sequences re-created."g-
~.-.,ACTUALLY, anyone tuning in half-
through the program might not
ie any' .of 4it is real-life for a few
_ utes. drhe structure is reminiscent
of Dragnet; a steely-voiced narrator
breaks in periodically to say things like
"Thursday, 2:45 a.m. The Harris baby
has stopped breathing." The camera
-zooms in on the baby and we hear the
beeps of one of thoe mysterious
machines that are indispensable in
medical dramas. The baby must have
an immediate operation. We see the
crying parents and cut to the doctor
washing up. So far, so melodramatic.
Only now do the differences between
fiction and real life begin to show up,
and only now can we see what may
make Lifeline an important show.
When the baby is wheeled in, it is no ac-
tor fresh out of an Ivory Snow commer-
cial. The baby's limbs are like mat-
chsticks, and tubes come out of every
orifice. The nurses don't "Kootchie
Koo" it; they transfer it from cart to
operating table with care but not much
feeling.#
WHEN THE doctor comes in, he's not
Marcus Welby. On some episodes he's
been so sleepy he doesn't look capable
of tying his shoe, much less performing
an operation. As he's opening up the
patient, he's apt to say things like
"What a mess," and run back and forth
looking from x-ray to patient, trying to
figure out what's going on.
So far, most of the babies have been
saved, but Lifeline knows its respon-
sibility. Some patients die. Sometimes
the doctor doesn't know why.
Lifeline has the potential of doing a
lot of good. There are people who
believe Robert Young, T.V.'s Marcus
Welby, is a real doctor, and they write
him for advice on their cancer. When
'they- go into the hospital for an
operation, they'll expect to be wheeled
in surrounded by compassionate nur-
ses, with their hair combed and make-
up unsmeared. When they wake up
later, they'll be all better, just like on
y TV! If those people watch Lifeline,
they will see the pain of real people, the
tears of non-actors, and, as the end of
the hour draws near, they won't be able
to depend on a happy ending. Those
tired, not always God-like doctors will
inspire trust - *a trust based on
realistic expectations.
UNFORTUNATELY, Lifeline also
has the potential to bring television to
new lows. There's that business of

"recreating" scenes. One assumes the
scene of the doctor getting an urgent
call at three in the morning is a re-
creation, but what about the scene of
tearful parents trying to eat dinner
while their child is dying? Did the
cameras really follow them to their
home during such a traumatic period?
Or much later, when the child is safe
and sound, did the director call out,'
"OK, Mrs. Harris, take a bite of
spaghetti and try to look sad"?
There's also the question of blood and
nudity. True, sick people suffer and are
apt to scream in pain, and injured
people often have ugly wounds. To por-
tray it otherwise would be to sanitize
the truth. True, when a woman is giving
birth, she is usually not wearing much
clothing, and the baby tends to come
out naked. The creators of the program
are assuming a little maturity on the
part of the viewer not to get upset at the
sight of a dilating cervix.
BUT THERE is a limit, and it will
take very good judgement on the part of
Lifeline's producers to know where it is.
For instance, after the baby was safely
delivered, was it necessary to show the
happy father fondling his wife's breast?
And although it is admittedly very in-
teresting, must we see such long and
detailed shots of a living beating heart
being stitched up?
When does devotion to accuracy end,
and deliberate titillation begin? And
when do the good intentions of the
filmmaker turn into the rating boosting
schemes of the network executives?
The only way to find out is to continue
watching Lifeline, and 'hope for the
best.
'U' vice-president
gets honor
Michael Radock, University vice-
president for University relations and
development, has been honored by
fellow public relations professionals,
University officials said.
At the. national conference of the
Public Relations Society of America
(PRSA) in New Orleans recently,
Radock was elected chairman of the
educational institution's section of the
society: The organization has more
than 600 members in the United States
and Canada.
Also at New Orleans, Radock was
named a trustee of the Foundation for
Public Relations Research and
Education. Founded in 1956 by PRSA
members, the Foundation sponsors
research and study in professional
public relations.
'U' prof. honored
Lamberto Cesari, Raymond L.
Wilder Professor of Mathematics at the
University, was elected as a member of
the Italian Academy of Science and
Letters of Milano, the University an-
nounced.
Cesari was also awarded an honorary
doctor of science degree by the Univer-
sity of Perugia, Italy.
Cesari, known internationally for his
research, has published more than 170
research articles and two books. His
earlier research was primarily in pure
mathematics, but his more recent work
in differential equations and optimal
control has important consequences in
the application of mathematics.

CM
By CHRISTOPHER POTTER
I find it awfully difficult to get worked
up one way or the other over an
innocuous, currently-released film
called Magic. Newsweek's David Ansen
calls it "a truly dreadful movie best
forgotten by everyone connected with
it." Conversely, The Detroit Free
Press's Susan Stark is so enraptured by
what she calls a film that "satisfies
aesthetic considerations equally as well
as it entertains," that she's devoted not
one but two reviews to it.
In actuality, Magic falls roughly in
the middle of these two extremes. It is a
film so diminutive both in intent and
execution that one feels a little sorry
that it's been shackled with such a
colossal, publicity campaign. Ob-
viously, 20th Century Fox, still bursting
with Star Wars loot, is hell-bent on
using its overflow bucks to promote
every subsequent project as the
ultimate end-all on whatever subject
it's geared to. Thus, we have Magic
ibilled on TV and in print as the most
terrifying horror movie ever, ever
made. It's not, and in fact, is not really
very scary at all. And I'm not at all sure
it was intended to be.
MAGIC VERY modestly reworks the
venerable horror genre cliche of a ven-
triloquist and his less than subservient
dummy. This theme was coined over
three decades ago in a fondly-remem-
bered British thriller, Dead of Night.
The most famous segment of that five-
part film involved Michael Redgrave as
a ventriloquist whose satanic alter-fgo
dummy comes to dominate him more
and more until their roles are effec-
tively and permanently reversed.
At that time, the plot idea was fresh
and chillingly macabre, and was adap-
ted into many short-film variations, in-
cluding at least two separate Twilight
Zone episodes. But thirty-odd years
have taken their' toll on originality;
Night of the Living Dead and its sub-
sequent descendants have effectively
pre-empted any shock values of
yesteryear, and Magic, all two hours
worth, simply has nothing new to add to
its time-honored but creaky thematic
ancestor.
SCREENWRITER William Goldman
and director Richard Attenborough
have transposed their story from
traditional London to New York; their
ventriloquist is a mod type whose
slightly off-color routines catapult him
into the limelight of big-time show biz.
But soon the telltale signs of his per-
sonality fragmentation start to show
through: the ventriloquist (named
Corky) holds long, vitriolic non-stop
monologues in private with his dummy,
Fats. He spurns a major TV contract,
then flees in confusion back to this
hometown in the Catskills.
There he meets and swiftly beds an
old high school classmate, Betty Ann
(Ann-Margret). Corky worships her as

s dead; we .re bored

solos back to the head of the tune as if,
nothing happened. ,
Jackson worked his way through the
first set with many bop and post-bop
standards, including "So What" and
"Impressions." The second set was
quite different from the first, and the
distinction was marked from the first.
Jackson's solo in the first tune, Horace
Sliver's latin-tinged "Nica's Dream,"
made use of a strong linear motion with
the supporting trio excelling here as
they did all evening. Pianist Clark
Black, embellishing his solo work with
a flourish of McCoy Tyner here, a bit of
Oscar Peterson there, is an excellent
supportive pianist. Bass player Ray
McKinney and drummer Roy Brooks
also provided inventive and consistent
support.
THERE SEEMED to be a stronger
rappport between Jackson and the trio
in the second set than in the first. This
was most clear in the third tune, a brisk
standout where 'Jackson. and Brooks
swapped swinging 16-bar choruses.
After the last song of the set, Jackson
was called out for an encore, during
which the whole of his musical
joyousness rang out. Smirking
throughout a solo crammed with
references to famous jazz ad libs, one
couldn't help but grin along.
Born into a once-burgeoning Detroit
jazz environment, Jackson has become
one of the city's richest and most-
lasting musical resources. And like the
city itself, he has endured all the
changes and trends he has encountered.
Judging from his show Monday evenig,
his music is ready to meet many more.

a savior who can resurrect his disin-
tegrating psyche, which is something
Fats, in a pique of jealousy, cannot
tolerate. Before long, Corky has been
goaded by his wooden companion into
murdering his theatrical agent, his new
love's husband, then turning on Betty
Ann herself.
IT'S REMARKABLE how little
suspense is culled from all these fien-
dish developments. Goldman and At-
tenborough proceed in slick,
professional fashion, but seem to lack
feeling for any of the subtle nuances of
language or visuals that create feelings
of menace and dread.
Earlier versions of the story
deliberately nourished lingering doubts
about the dual-personality horror: was
it all in the ventriloquist's head, or was
the dummy actually taking over?
Magic, contradicting its name,
establishes early on the straight

the more alluring because of it. Ed
Lauter, a superb and neglected actor, is
also excellent as her alcoholic husband.
Only Burgess Meredith, as Corky's
agent, strays into stereotype, playing
his part as if he were doing a film-long
George Burns imitation.
Yet the best thespian efforts on earth
can only go so far to salvage a film
which seems nothing so much as a
smooth, well-intentioned tribute to a
bygone literary and cinematic era. In
light of the near-universal tepidity of
movies under current release, it seems
perhaps reasonable that Magic has
been accorded a publicity campaign so
out of proportion with its meager
merits, even as a cheap-thrill shocker.
But with, the premiere of George
Romero's Dawn of the Dead - a sequel
to Night of the Living Dead - promised
for next month, Magic will by all rights
fade to the status of a mere footnote in
the horror film genre.

Join
the.
Arts
Page

Anthony Hopkins holds on tight to his dummy, Fats, as Ann-Margret looks on, in
a scene from "Magic," a tepid new shocker directed by Richard Attenborough.

I__

Freudian nature of its protagonist's
altercations, and thus the dismissal of
any supernatural possibilities
diminishes already sagging audience
interest that much further.
If there's anything in this profoundly
understated thriller that does hold one's
interest, it's the acting. Britisher An-
thony Hopkins makes his American
lead debut as Corky, and though he
never quite masters an American
dialect, his performance is an
illuminating joy of quirks, twitches and
desperate action which constantly ab-
sorbs without lurching into hamminess.
COMPARABLY fascinating is Ann-
Margret, here cast as an over-thirty de-
glamorized housewife, yet looking all

An error in the preparat on of the time
schedule resulted in the omission of the
following course:
ENGLISH 318, section 2
Literary types: Fantasy. Prof. Eric Rabkin will offer
this course as it was originally scheduled. It meets
M-W-F at 3:00 in Aud. B, Angell Hall

Ii

Studying
got you
down

Take a
break

you are cordiallyq invited
to attend an eK~ii bition
of unique work:

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Oona Langg

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