The Michigan Daily-Friday, October 26, 1979-Page 5
By DENNIS HARVEY
If A Man,A Woman and a Bank had
.een made in the 1940's or '50's, it would
have been called a programmer-a
,erm for the kind of modest, un-
distinguished comedies and dramas
that the studios used to grind out by the
dozens for use as the bottom half of
double-bills, to rake in a few stray
bucks between major productions.
Most of these films were entirely
routine, but their mediocrity didn't
deem to matter much when stuffed into
W program along with cartoons, short
Subjects, previews, a newsreel and
another feature. For 5W, or whatever
the cost, the viewer didn't expect
Now just paying for a single feature
can put a serious strain on one's finan-
bes, and it's not so unreasonable to ex-
pect something considerably above the
routine for your $3.50. A Man is a per-
fect example of what the studios don't
need to produce anymore, unless
they're merely concerned with building
up a backlog of films for future TV
sale. It's a romantic comedy about
some cute crooks who try to rob a bank;
a pitifully familiar formula by now, af--
ter six years of Sting imitations, and the
film does virtually nothing to breathe
new life into this pat format. It isn't a
bad movie, unfortunately (badness
might have lent it some kind of distin-
ction), but it offers so little of real in-
terest that one wonders why the film-
makers ever bothered with the project
in the first place. If theaters still
charged 50a for admission as in the
days of yore, A Man might be passable
if forgettable entertainment. But at
$3.50 a head, there's scarcely any
reason why a film like this one should
TWO WRITERS are given story
credit, and three more have been stuck
with authorship of the screenplay. It's
remarkable that so many presumably
creative people could combine their
talents and manage to come up with a
plot that can all too easily be described
in, at most, two or three sentences.
Reese (Donald Sutherland) schemes to
rob an elaborate computerized bank.
with the reluctant help of his friend
Norman (Paul Mazursky). While
Reese is stealing blueprints from the
bank, he is photographed by Stacey
(Brooke Adams), who is doing publicity
work for the corporation and assumes
him to be a worker. they fall in love,
the bank job is pulled, The End.
VERY LITTLE else happens. We ex-
pect the vacuum left by this very or-
dinary storyline to be filled in by
suspense, likeable characters, goo4
lines and offbeat twists. No such luck.
The film's only intriguing point may
well be that it makes clear, whether in-
tentionally or not, that robbing a bank
can be pretty dull, and that the people
involved can be as boring as anyone.
The crooks don't have any interesting
reasons for stealing the money, or any
good notions on how to spend it; if they
don't care about such mundane mat-
ters, why should the audience care
about the characters?
The Sutherland-Adams romance is
just a sparkless relationship between
two nice, rather mild people, neither of
whom are in any way particularly fun-.
ny or unique. Perhaps this can pass as
realism, but it's not asking much to ex-
pect more from movie characters,
especially in a harmless trifle of a film
like this one. The thin premise might
have been rescued by a little charm or
tension, but the occasional humorous
lines are so flat that one suspects the
actors were left to improvise. The bank
robbery itself goes so smoothly that the
characters might just as well have been
handed the money at the beginning of
the film, sparing us an hour and a half
of unnecessary buildup.
From time to time the action sud-
denly waxes serious to include dismal
scenes of bland emoting as Stacey tries
to shake off her pesty ex-husband, and,
Norman moans about his faltering
marriage. Sketchy and unresolved,
these subplots do little more than
provide filler material.
SUTHERLAND AND Adams ap-
peared together twice last year, as the
pot-smoking professor and his live-in
student in Animal House, and as some
of the last resistors of the Invasion of
the Body Snatchers. In those films they
managed to develop a nice, quirky
chemistry in their screen relationships,
but here they're just two good perfor-
mers working without material.
Sutherland, as always, can survive
such lapses, but Adams is a promising
actress whose career could be killed
easily enough by many more thuds in
Paul Mazursky, a fine director
(Harry and Tonto, Blume in Love), just
can't act. He doesn't fumble and make
a fool out of himself; instead, he strives
so hard to be inconspicuous that the
performance is closer to dead weight
Director Noel Black made a dazzling
debut over 10 years ago with Pretty
Poison, a nifty tale of small-town
romance laced with murderous black
comedy. Nothing in A Man, A Woman
and a Bank has any of that earlier
film's offbeat style and imagination.
Clearly Black and everyone else in-
volved in the movie, just wantdd to
collect their paychecks and get it over
with; their lack of enthusiasm may be
understandable, but it makes this very
mild caper just a waste of time for the
Saturday ,All Day
Oct. 27, 9:30.*5:00
21 BOOTHS - THE GREATEST VARIETY OF MIPWEST BOOK DEALERS - 21 BOOTHS
ITEMS FOR THE COLLECTOR, THE NOSTALGIA BUFF, THE GENERALIST,
THE SPECIALIST, AND THE ORDINARY READER! COME BROWSE - ADMISSION FREE!
EXTRA ADDED ATTRACTION! FREE SEMINARS FOR THE COLLECTOR
Starting at 12:30 in the Explorers Room; 3 hour-long sessions on Collecting and Coltectibles
Detroit Public Library
George Cukor's 1940
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
CARY GRANT, KATHERINE HEPBURN and JAMES STEWART in the classic high
society comedy by Phillip Barry. Two reporters from infamous Spy magazine
crash the latest pre-nuptial proceedings of Tracy Lord, spoiled ex-wife of
Dexter Haven, who seems to be hanging around a lot . .. Virginia Weidler
creates one of the few child roles in film that leaves you wanting more.
Stewart got an Oscar for his serious writer-turned-yellow journalist'role.
Short: KITSCH IN SYNCH (Adam Beckett, 1975) An abstract animation with
a soundtrack of enthusiastic and persistent ducks.
Sat: FANTASTIC ANIMATION FESTIVAL
Friends of the Library
DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY
Solomons dan cers
give appealing show
By KATHE TELINGATOR
There was tension at Power Center Wednesday night while the
Ann Arbor audience waited-for the Solomons Dance Concert.
Gus Solomon taught in residence lastyear with the University's
dance department, and this performance was his troupe's first
in this city.
Solomons choreographed "Step Chart," "Psycho Motor
Works," and "Make Me No Boxes to Put Me In . ." the three
pieces performed Wednesday. Each work is a conglomeration of
several small segments, and so it is difficult to approach any as
a single unit. And yet all are connected; a powerful energy
flowed through the Solomons dancers all evening, and seemed to
satisfy the anxious tension in the audience.
"STEP CHART," choreographed this year, creatively uses a
string of disco songs played occasionally at ultra-high speed to
establish an electrically energetic movement.
The program states that "Psycho Motor Works," originally
created during 1977-78, is an '"umbrella title" for much of the
choreography made for the company during those-years. With
each performance, the number and sequence of the parts
change, and hence a new dance is created-before the audience.
In this piece, as in "Step Chart," the lack of a unifying theme
did not distract: the movement sufficed. Grand extensions and
arabesques, great use of arms, hands, and shoulders as leaders
of movement expressed a love of energy which the troupe ex-
tended to the audience. "Move!" they seemed to say in their
dancing, "There's life out there!"
CONTRACTIONS, which suggest tension, were juxtaposed
with lax movements in "Make Me No Boxes To Put Me In ...".
This especially long piece was punctuated by a startling scream
suggesting the exorcism of the torment confronting a lead dan-
The movement and energy that flowed fromthe Power Cen-
ter's stage Wednesday, though natural and spontaneous, was
also clearly constructed. Solomon's choreography reflects his
interest in structure-he graduated from MIT with an architec-
CINEMA GUILD TWITAT
G DON'T LOOK NOW
(NICOLAS ROEG, 1973)
An intensely erotic and macabre film. Working with elements of the tradi-
tional horror genre-second sight, ESP, warnings from the dead, a mad
killer-anc a cinematography of disquieting beauty and dreamlike sense of
dislocation, Roeg weaves a fabric of anxiety that questions all reality.
Outstanding performances by JULIE CHRISTIE, DONALD SUTHERLAND, and
the CANALS F VENICE.
"The most subtle and sophisticated horror film ever made." NY Times
ANGELL HALL 1:50 7:00 & 9:00
Tomorrow: LA GRAND BOUFFE J
Ile Ann Arbor Film Coopertv e Presents at MLB: $1.50
Friday, October 26
BREAD AND CHOCOLATE
(Franco Brusati, 1978) T,8:40, 10:20-MLB 3
A beautifully photographed film that details the plightof an illegal Italian
immigrant attempting to fit in a supercilious, Swiss society. The lead character,
an expertly cast Nino Manfredi, appears on the screen as an innocent victim of
events; the character recalls Chaplin with his poignant blend of pathos and
humor. Bread and Chocolate is an artfully done film that is both funny and
rueful with little bits of caustic social satire thrown in for good luck. Some
memorable moments and thoroughly entertaining. NINO MANFREDI, ANNA
Tomorrow: Roger Corman's THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and THE
MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, and George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING
DEAD at MLB 4.
Also showing tomorrow: Jerry Garcia's THE GRATEFUL DEAD at MLB 3.
ARE YOU LETTING
CLASSES GET TO
Take a 1 atg break
... you deserve it!