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November 03, 1979 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-03

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, November 3, 1979-Page 5^

The man of a

thousand effects

Destroying the Eiffel Tower isn't everyone's idea
of an honest living, but when Linwood Dunn got the
assignment he didn't bat an eyelash. A veteran
special effects person, he annihilated the Parisian
landmark for a scant $7.00 - the cost of a plastic
scale model - and saw the fruits of his labor on film
at the end of The Great Chase.
Dunn, who created the special effects for Citizen
Kane, Airport and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad
World, was in Ann"Arbor Thursday, and in addition
to bringing along a batch of his best film clips, he
presented his audience at the Old Architecture
Auditorium with a legacy of Hollywood history that
spanned the half-century since he went to work for
RKO Radio Pictures.'
"It's the one field in motion picture production
where you know more about what you're doing than
the people you're working for," said Dunn, a calm,
affable gentleman with a shock of thick white hair.
Holding down the floor for three hours, Dunn let his
audience into some of the tricks of the special effec-
ts trade; recalling the times directors came to him
with scenes they wanted "saved." When shooting
was almost completed on John Huston's The Bible,
Dunn was called in to touch up a scene in the Garden
of Eden, in which Eve was wearing shoes. More
recently, director Martin Scorsese had Dunn tone

down the bright-red color in Taxi Driver's ex-
plosively bloody climax.
According to Dunn, there are three major
categories of special effects: Reality, fantasy, and
repair - "the fixing up of scenes that have been
ruined for one reason or another." He placed
movies like King Kong or Star Wars in the fantasy
category; realism, he said, is any effect that's at its
best if completely concealed, adding that creating
purely realistic effects is the most challenging task.
"Reality is visually more difficult to do," he said,
"because if it doesn't look real, it isn't a good shot.
In fantasy, usually whatever you come up with is
unreal, so who can say if it's wrong?"
Dunn spent the most time demonstrating matte
painting, an effect whose prominence has
diminished with the advent of bigger budgets and
on-location shooting. The technique involves pain-
ting a background scene - a panorama of
skyscrapers, say, or' mountainous scenery - and
joining it to a piece of live-action footage. The Hun-

chback of Notre Dame, for instance, concludes with
a memorable shot of Quasimodo clutching a stone
statue on the front of Notre Dame, then pulls back to
reveal the cathedral in its majestic entirety. Ex-
plained Dunn, everything in the shot - with the ex-
ception of the Hunchback and the statue - was ac-
tually a five-by-seven foot painting.
In a similar vein was the farcical final set-piece
from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the special
effect (a term Dunn says is a "misnomer") of which
he's the proudest. In the scene, Spencer Tracy and
assorted other aging comedians fall off a 12-story
fire escape before a crowd of thousands, was ac-
tually a composite of seven different elements - in-
cluding crowd scenes shot on a studio backlot, foot-
age of traffic shot on Hollywood's grungy Venice
Boulevard, and a three-foot model of a fire-truck
ladder. The different sections were amalgamized
by an optical printer, a machine that won Dunn and
Academy Award in 1944 when he brought it into
commercial use.
Throughout the presentation Thursday, Dunn was
obviously proud of the ingenuity with which he and
his colleagues performed miracles on film. At one
point, though, he said that he would have liked
having some of the modern electronic devices. Said
Dunn, "It really hurts when you push a few buttons
and do something it used to take two weeks to do."

""" """'NY''1978
Paul Mazursky's 17
Jill Clayburgh gave a widely acclaimed performance as the attractive wife
and mother enjoying the American dream (great sex, high tech apartment
and fashionable friends)-until her husband announces that he's in love with
another woman and wants a divorce. Just as she's mellowed from shock,
grief, and anger to acceptance of her "loss"-her husband asks her to come
back. With Michael Murphy as her Madison Avenue mate, Lisa Lucas as
her troubled teenage daughter and Alan Bates as a rumpled action-painter.


7:00 & 9:15



The Ann Arbor Film#eoperatve ,

"Presents at ML: $1.50
Saturday, November 3

Pomp and psyco-stances

(Woody Allen, 1977) ANNIE HALL 7 a10:20-MLB 3
With this film, Woody Allen proved that he could make a comedy with
depth. "Annie Hall" succeeds on all levels-as good filmmaking, as fine
acting, and as an intelligent, probing love story. WOODY & DIANE KEATON
(who won an Oscar for her performance) co-star in this chronicle of a rela-
tionship between two lovable neurotics. "Annie Hall puts Woody Allen in
the league with the best directors we have."-Vincent Canby.
(Mel Brooks', 1968) THE PRODUCERS 8:40 only-MLSB3
Mel Brooks first move and one of his best. ZERO MOSTEL plays the producer.
When his accountant (GENE WILDER) shows him how producing a Broadway
flop will make more money than a hit, Zero buys a horrible, hilarious musical
called "Springtime for Hitler"! Academy Award, Best Original Screenplay.
"Pure lunocy."-TIME.
(Moshe Mizrahi, 1978) 7 & 9-MLB 4
Egyptian-born Israeli director Mizrahi won an Academy Award (Best Foreign
Film) for this story of a dying Jewish prostitute (SIMONE SIGNORET) who
runs a one-woman orphanage for Paris prostitutes' children. SAMY BEN YAUB
is Momo, her favorite, a brooding Arab boy who shares both her fantasies
of the past and the reality of her impending death. With glimpses of her
former sexuality intercut with the grossness of her physical decline, Signoret
draws a portrait of her own life in this sentimental, elliptical film of Arab-
Israeli reconcilitation. "IN MADAME ROSA," Simone Signoret plays the most
courageous role as an actress can play. . ."-Molly Haskell.
Next Tuesday: Sergei Eisenstein's POTEMKIN and Edgar G. Ulmer and
Robert Siodmak's PEOPLE ON SUNDAY (Menschen Am Sonntag) at

Heads don't only talk

"We play now." With this terse in-
troduction, David Byrne typifies
Talking Heads efficient, meticulous
approach to music and life. Visually
they are the most unassuming rock and
roll band around; three average-
looking weirdos and one healthy preppy
type on stage with only their instrumen-
ts, bathed in stark white light.
Musically, they are assuming as hell.
They've embellished the intellec-
tuallized funk of their first album with
the effects of Eno, the whoosh and tap-
click-tap of synthesized instruments
embedded in a rich, sometimes over-
powering production.
Talking Heads don't just recreate the
fullness of sound on their records, they
re-charge it with a vital electricity en-
tirely their own. Jerry Harrison's
keyboards add the expected texture to
the funk attack 'of bassist Tina
Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz
uniting behind the nervous, riveting
stage presence of David Byrne. From
the first song, "For Artists only," Byr-
ne skips all over his vocal range, alter-
nately singing, speaking, squawking,
snorting, and squealling for emphasis.
This song is an interesting appraisal of
the creative process (I'm cleaning my
brain!"), resulting in an unusual asser-
tation of artistic integrity (I don't have
to prove that I am creative!") that
rocks in convincingly quirky fashion.
WITH THE aisles filled by dancing,
enthusiastic fans, the band launched in-
to a seven song set from their most
recent album. While the record seemed
overly reliant on electronic novelty and
production effects, the songs are per-
formed live with enough dynamic
aplomb to alleviate any musical shor-
tcomings. Lyrically, Fear of Music
seems thin also, straying from the
educated universality of David Byrne's
emotional concerts to personal conceit.
At times in concert the strength of the
music seemed to overcome the ar-
chness of the lyrics, especially on the
rollicking "Cities"; other times it fell
prey to them, as in the self indulgent
"Electric Guitar."
Byrne still turns phrases of
deceivingly simple profundity, i.e.
"Heaven is a place where nothing ever
happens," or "air can hurt you too."
But the utilitarian structure of the
music seems to have invaded his
songwriting, eclipsing the emotional
peretption of earlier songs like "The
Girls Want To Be With The Girls" or
"The Book I Read."
THE NOTABLE exception here is
"Mind." Behind an eerie but insidiously
funky backdrop, David Byrne stares,
blankly addressing the audience:
"Drugs won't change you / Religion
won't change you / What's the matter
with you? / Everything seems to be up
in the air at this point." The last line
All Uookworms:
Now that your
are over,

says more to me about the prevailing
atmosphere in this society than the
reams of end-of-the-decade prose
already being written.
Regardless of lyrical contentions,
Talking Heads combination of tightness
and expressiveness overwhelmed the
audience at Masonic Auditorium.
It's hard to believe this same band
played to a half full Mendelssohn
theater in Ann Arbor last fall. Since
then, they've had a hit single, been on
national television, and had their album
played endlessly by partying college
students. Along with the appropriately
attired punk contingent, there was a
wealth of wholesome looking college
aged people at Masonic that seemed to
enjoy the show more than anyone.
AND IT'S college students to whom
Talking Heads' intellectual approach
naturally appeals. On "Found a Job"
David addresses career ambition, an
obsession among most current studen-
ts, admonishing the audience that "if
your work isn't what you love, then
something isn't right." During the
funky rhythm guitar polyphony towar-N
ds the end of the song, David breaks out
in a jerky, spastic dance; looking like
an introverted, slightly reptillian nerd
finally rocking out.
This nerdy image is carried to the
logical extreme on "Psycho Killer,"
where the introvert loses touch and
strikes out blindly. This song ex-
presses desperate alienation with an
uptempo beat that is undeniable; a catchy
song about a psychopathic killer that
left the audience startled but clamoring
for more.
WHEN AL Green does "Take Me to
the River," it has a revivalist fervor,
the audience basking in the sensual ex-
pression of spirituality in both Green's
voice and the image of baptism. In
Talking Heads encore the song goes
beyond subjective celebration to an up-
dating of salvation through ethereal
musical technology.
Talking Heads didn't leave the
audience in a gospel thumping fervor,
but more than one person was heard to
say "I can't wait to listen to their
albums now." Sometimes seeing is
on the
Ever since the release of The Grand
Illusion just over a year and a half ago,
Styx has slid in a virtually uninterrup-
ted path toward mainstream of "for-
mula" rock. Many have lamented that
the five heavy-metal practitioners from
Chicago's south side may never return
to the "real" Styx form evident on Styx
II and that they are catering their

music more toward AM radio.
But unlike other hard rock bands,
Styx doesn't play just hard rock. The
band's three front men,
guitarist/vocalists Tommy Show and
James Young and keyboardist/vocalist
Dennis DeYoung, are diverse enough in
personality and musical philosophy to
create three different kinds of music.
Perhaps the most visually intriguing
of the three on stage is DeYoung. Most
of the time, he is camped behind his
gleaming white grand piano or syn-
thesizers. But when he steals the
spotlight for such romantic ballads as
"Lady," "Suite Madame Blue," or
"Come Sail Away," he commands the
stage with the grace and aura of a
Shakespearean actor.
Young is the main axe-grinder and
songwriter for such hard rock tunes as
"Miss America," "Great White Hope,"
and "Queen of Spades." Shaw, the pint-
sized Alabama pretty boy, sings and
plays doubleneck and acoustic guitars
on such cosmic numbers as "Foolin'
Yourself," "Crystal Ball," and "Sing
For The Day." This triad of styles gives
Styx its distinct style.
As if three different personnas
weren't enough, to observe on stage,
the band tries to keep your eyes moving
by throwing gimmicks and theatrics in-
to their stage show which make it one of
the more delightful to watch in rock.
Touring to support their brand new LP
Cornerstone, Styx stopped in at
Detroit's Cobo Arena Thursday night to
give the Motor City another taste of the
same show we've seen the past two
The only real changes were the ab-
sence of flash pods during "The Grand
Illusion," and the new songs which
replaced the old ones.
One disappointing aspect of the show
was the decibel level. Styx was the
loudest I have ever heard them, and
this added noise only detracted from
the quality of the songs. One of the three
encores, "Blue Collar Man," was so
loud all the instruments blended into
one loud noise. Most of the other songs
weren't quite as loud.
The single aspect of Styx's show
which really stands out is their use of
spotlights and stagelights. In the ab-
sence of Kiss-like gimmicks (flame-
throwers, explosions and the like), the
group tries to put on an elaborate and
theatrical stage show using the lights as
much as possible - and they succeed
admirably. Whether spotlighting one
person or highlighting a particular part
of a song, the colors and the timing add
spectacular and dramatic dimensions
to the show.
Styx's other distinguishing charac-
teristic is the band's coordination on
stage. Shaw and Young use both their
substantial height difference and their
energy while skirting across the expan-
sive stage (the speakers were hung
from the ceiling), taunting the audien-
ce. While Young is the ultimate macho
guitarist and often looks ridiculous
while assuming several pseudo-
intimidating poses, the pair ham it up
and are quite photogenic. Bassist
Chuck Panozzo, on the other hand,
always looks like he's ready for a post
While playing most of their hits,
noticeably absent was their usual en-
core, "Miss America." They opted in-
stead to play "Blue Collar Man," which

became totally lost in the cranked-up
amplifiers and sounded terrible. They
also did a song DeYoung said they were
playing because they hadn't played it in
three years in Detroit, "Light Up,
While Styx certainly has become one
of the more popular bands in the coun-
try, they aren't one of the best. Even
though their stage show is spectacular,
their music has become too program-
med, predictable and plastic. Some of
their songs also sound as if they were
recordeta in a fire hydrant. It's almost
as if the guys in Styx are beginning to
act like politicians. They are trying to
please everyone and thus are com-
promising their musical integrity.
We can't afford
to waste it.
1 ' 4 f

By Wole

U-M Dept. of
Theatre & prama
AT 8:00
Tickets available at
the PTP ticket
League OR at
Trueblood Box
Office prior to



5th Avenue at ab St. 7s1-97OO
F Fl fth oumTheater

THE $1.50


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