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February 11, 1972 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1972-02-11

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Page T'wta

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, February 1 , 1972

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Fridoy, February 11, 1972

C

QQ Q d

.
s_ 1_. . ,

Box Offices Open at 6:30
Show Starts at 7:00

YUL I
BRYNNER WAL

I

ELI.
LLACHI

JANE
BIRKIN

Editors note: these reviews were
Compiled by thenDaily's reviewing
Staff Kyle Counts, ,Neal Gaber,
Richard Glatzer, and Peter Munsing.
The French Connection
FOX VILLAGE
The French Connection, like
* The Last Picture Show, is a
standard-bearer. in the current
move away from quivering so-
cia drama back to cinematic
roots. Who says they don't make
m>ovies like they used to? Con-
niection is enjoyable, innocuous,
vastly overpraised, and in a few
-years, with its language scrubbed
and a glimpse of derriere snip-
ped, we're likely to find it on
TV which is where it really be-
longs. The story is simple. Two
rough New York cops, Ed 'Pop-
eye' Doyle and Buddy Russo, are
out to crack a huge international
dope ring headed, naturally, by
a suave, sinister Frenchman
(Fernando Rey). The French-
man, not surprisingly, doesn't
like the cops' idea and tries to
lose his tail.There are a few
chase scenes, a couple of close
scrapes, some false alarms, a
lot of waiting, a big gunfight
and a postscript. That's about it.
Two or three years ago, given
the frazzled temper of the times,
this film might very well have
passed unnoticed, a .nice little
.jiicture, nothing special. But
'these days we're all so desperate
for good escape that a lean ac-
tibner like Connection is instant-
ly canonized and patronized. If
you're looking for a rationaliza-
tion, what seems to half elevate
the picture from its genre is
"irector William Friedkin's talent
for chiseling hard, sharp edges
and giving his film the look,
sound, and feel of reality, at
least as we've come to know it
.n 'the movies. The credits, sim-
=ple white on black, whip by in
=thirty -seconds. No music. The
language is raw and natural.
Slamming car doors, growling
ignitions, tire screeches, heel
clicks punctuate the soundtrack.
The photography is grainy, and
-the colors are flat, dulled, smog-
'ged over. The composition is
practically all one-dimensional.
The cutting is standard action
with no tricks. And most of the
,:actors look as if they were just
.rounded up in some agent's drag-
niet.
* All of these touches make the
film seem lived-in, but the larger
brushstroke of realism and the
film's centerpiece is Gene Hack-
.man's Popeye lumbering around
in- his porkpie hat, chomping his
gum, rubbing his nose, and look-
.ing g e n e r a 1lly inconspicuous.
,,hackman is not a bravura actor,
primping and showing off as if
he were doing Hamlet every
* time out. Instead he contours
himself to a role, loses himself
*n it and makes the character
seem touchable right down to
the beard stubble. So his Doyle
is almost a documentary crea-
tion - bestial, bawdy, bigoted
("Never trust a nigger." "He
could -have been white." "Never
trust anybody.") .. . and cynical.
A mean cop doing his job.
But -unlike another mean cop,
Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry',
jDoyle is no transpalnted sheriff
and The French Connection is
: no updated horse opera. Far
from the old-fashioned Western
'individualist fighting the System
and moralizing with his gun,
Popeye cruises the streets (mod-
ern mobility is so important to
the action that the auto is really
Haekman's co-star) hoping to win
his superior's favor by rounding
up the. villains-an ambition, I
might add, less noble and prob-
ably more fascistic than Harry's
instinctive violence. So while
Harry grouses about having to
stop a bank robbery on his lunch
hour, Popeye initiates his in-
vestigation after-hours on his

own time. That's how eager he
is to please.

Contentwie, if anything is im-
plied by Doyle's dogged determi-
nation and even ruthlessness,
it's that he is only a police-badge
away from being criminal him-
self. In the film's very first se-
quence the Frenchman's hired
killer plugs a pursuer, presum-
ably a gendarme. Then, in point-
ed juxtaposition, a quick cut to
Brooklyn where Doyle and part-
ner Russo chase and finally
rough over a black junkie, a le-
gitimate thing to do; after all, if
you're a policeman. Later we
see a tough, tough, tough bar-
room'bust that makes us banish
the thought of Doyle as public
samaritan. Aren't these the real
victims of the dope ring? And
still later we find Doyle at the
scene of a horrible auto acci-
dent, ignoring the bloody corpses
and selfishly arguing with his
commander (played by former
cop Eddie Egan, real-life pro-
tagonist of the French Connec-
tion story) that he needs a little
more time to catch the French-
man.
In short, if you'll permit the
understatement, Doyle is not
very likable, and yet for all his
heathenism he doesn't seem to
upset people the way Harry does.
A large part of the reason why,
I think, is the film's 'reality'
which mutes Doyle's roughness
and excuses him on the premise
that if it really happened we can
hardly moralize about it. I'd
never blame a film for the sensi-
bilities of its audience of course,
but Connection plays up to this
feeling, going to great lengths
not to take sides. Just the facts.
Now some people mysteriously
regard neutrality, as distinguish-
ed from ambivalence, as a sure
sign of Art (witness Patton);
but I regard it as .an easy way
out and more, a sign that some-
where along the line the film
stopped affecting me. For better
or worse, in real life and in real
art we do take sides, and though
a movie is certainly entitled to
stay out of the fray it does so
at a risk.
Connection took that risk and
I feel it lost-not everything but
something. Because the police-
men's scheme is never laid out
for us there is a certain tension
at times, if not thrills and nail-
biting suspense. When will they
grab the baddes? And the film
does have several undenably fine
parts-a cat and mouse game in
Grand Central Station, a loud
shooutout, a chase that's rea-
sonably hailed as one of the best
in movie history - but these
parts, good as they are, never
coalesce into anything larger.
The wallop is missing. And if
you think that's a small gripe
foir an action picture, you may
be right. Personally, I have
mixed feelings.
-N.G.
" * *
Dirty Harry
STATE
Manny Farber in his famous
e s s a y "Underground Movies"
suggested that "the sharpest
work of the last thirty years is
to be found by studying the most
unlikely, self-destroying, uncom-
promising, round-about artists,"
by which he meant the Holly-

wood action directors. Auteur
critics have stretched the point
too far, but after seeing Dirty
Harry I can almost forgive them.
Harry is not, as some misguided
liberals and law students believe,
fascist propaganda; it is not,
as some Art Film cultists be-
lieve, an empty-headed exercise
in blood-letting; and it is not, I
confess, the kind of picture I
usually find myself praising.
What it is is powerful modern
mythology, no less affecting for
all its moral repugnance.
The hero dirty Harry Callahan,
is an individualistic misfit in the
Don Siegel tradition (Invasion of
the Body Snatchers, Baby Face
Nelson, Madigan, Coogan's
Bluff), but unlike Coogan he
has no place to escape to, no
place in which to ply his trade
unimpeded by criminal-coddling
laws. So he sneers at the liberals.
in power and sets out on his own
after the sniper-villain. In the
end San Francisco finds itself
with one less sniper and one less
cop. It's not a very inspirational
tale and the controversy will
probably rage on, but I haven't
changed my mind: Harry is the
best American movie of the last
six months.
-N.G.
* * *
81/2
CINEMA II
I don't know of any film that
resists criticism quite as much
as Federico Fellini's 8, so I'm
not even going to try to sort it
out in this small space. The
film is a pastiche of present-
tense, past-tense, a dream-tense,
and few more tenses thrown in
for good measure, all of it spun
from the mind of film director
Guido (Marcello Mastroianni).
Guido's problem is a mental
block: he's due to make a giant
heavily - financed spectacle but
the movie is stuck somewhere
inside him, and neither the pro-
ducer's pressure nor the critics'
gibes can get it unstuck. For
all the film's confusion and tem-
poral juggling - which make it
seem like a parody of the For-_
eign Movie-8 is Fellini's best.
Moving( funny, totally outrage-
ous. A masterpiece, and there
are few enough of those.,
-N.G.
* * *
Together
FIFTH FORUM
Together is the worst film I've
ever seen. At first I thought it
was a parody like Is There Sex
After Death? No such luck. From
the sententious aims stated at
the beginning to the incredibly
sacharine end the film is a cine-
matic definition of kitsch. This
film doesn't have every cliche
in the book, it is the book. See
Dr. Roland Curry's Sex Institute:
Listen to him explain "Our civil-
ization is going a mile a min-
ute!" Hear one of the people's
he's helped say-"When you look_
at a person it makes your heart
go 'boom'-then you go to bed
and you make love."
But this is no mere porno film;
this is a film about feeling, with
a capital F. "If you want to be
with someone you love you have
to feel it-right at the gut-that's

where it's at." Everybody strips
off their masks and relates, re-
turning to a child like state be-
cause that's where we had all the
fun. No sex, just fornication.
Together lets you know what
it feels like to have had a lobo-
tomy. As Roy Rogers said in
National Enquirer: "I wouldn't
let my horse, Trigger, see some
of the movies that they've got
out today."
-P.M.
* * *
Billy Jack
CAMPUS
Billy Jack, the sleeper of '71,
overcame its seemingly insur-
mountable odds (shoestring bud-
get, no stars, scattered distribu-
tion) and proved so successful
for Warner Brothers that a se-
quel is on the way. Husband and
wife Tom Laughlin and Delores
Taylor wrote, produced, directed
it and play the leads as well.
Delores runs an experimental
'freedom' school for outcast kids
and Billy Jack (well realized by
Laughlin), a surly half-breed,
protects it from the hateful
townspeople nearby. There's
much pleasure in the glimpses of
the kids working creatively in
the school, the natural acting
by the cast and the funny comic
improvisations, which helps to
overshadow the film's naivoe
and sluggish social consciousness.
It's nothing terribly remark-
able or intelligent, but B i I I y
Jack is fun, well-made enter-
tainment that for once offers us
optimism in place of sarcasm.
-K.C.
The Gospel According
to St. Matthew
CONSPIRACY
This highly acclaimed, intoler-
ably boring passion play features
two hours and sixteen minutes
of soulful wounded-dog peasant
faces and southern Italian land-
scapes. Having sat through King
or Kings and The Greatest Story
Ever Told, critics understand-
ably championed Pier Paolo
Pasolini for the external realism

of his film-non-professioi
tors, the Good Book itsel
screenplay. Pasolini has e
ed much time and effort
tempting to render Jesus
dane. He has succeeded.
* * *

nal ac-
f as a
xpend-
in at-
mun-
-R.G.

C'owboys
MICHIGAN
When The Cowboys rolled into
Radio City Music Hall, I guess
we all expected a shot 'em up
John Wayne western, but with
our hero The Duke getting killed
off early in the movie, Cowboys
sounds like a shocker, Radio
City's Easy Rider of the year.
Directed by Mark Rydell (The
Reivers, The Fox), written by
the people who wrote Hud, and
starring a cast of pre-15 year
olds, The Cowboys could turn
out to be anything, though I
have a sneaking suspicion it's a
Disneyesque Lord of the Flies.
(Friday, not reviewed at press
time).
-R.G.
The Three Penny Opera
CINEMA GUILD
This film verison of the Bertolt
Brecht-Kurt Weill play left both
men dissatisfied. Directed by
G. W. Pabst and starring Lotte
Lenya and others from the stage
cast, Three Penny Opera has
been charged with having top-
pled a house of cards; it sup-
posedly spoiled the play by bring-
ing cinematic realism to an es-
sentially fanciful treatment of
gangsters and degeneracy. (Fri-
day's, not reviewed at press
time).
-RG.
Children of Paradise
CINEMA GUILD
Marcel Carne's film deals with
theater myth, and fittingly the
circumstances under which Chil-
dren of Paradise was made have
given it a mythic aura. France,
S1943, was not exactly an environ-
" ment conducive to filmmaking.
Out of this chaos came a large,
romantic, legendary f i 1 m of

French theater of the 1840's, one
often found high on critics' all-
time best lists. The story con-
cerns Baptiste Deburau, France's
greatest mime, during the years
of his rise to fame, focusing on
his idealistic love for Garance
(Arletty), a pragmatic woman
of experience. I personally find
the film over - praised; Jean
Louis Barrault's highly touted
portrayal of the Sensitive mime
is unsubtle, occasionally taste-
less, unsympathetic. And though
there are many good things in
the film (almost all the perform-
ances, for example), I can't help
but feel that history has influ-
enced critical opinion. (Saturday
and Sunday).
-R.G.
1
1M
Thu ffP eRD

"ROMANCE OF A HORSE THIEF" E
PLUS
THE MOST SAVAGE HUNT OF ALL...
"THIS MAN MUST DIE"

. ..I

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"THE HUNTING PARTY"
MARLON BRANDO
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w/dulcimer
Ballads &
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"
NEXT WEEK-
.Mike Seeger

4
4

SEXISM & RACISM
LECTURE BY
Glori Steinem
Editor, Ms. magazine
Margaret Soan
Operation Breadbasket
MON., FEB. 14 -8:30 P.M.
POWER CENTER
Tickets $1.50-on sale Feb. 8-14
Michigan Union, Fishbowl, at the door
WABX and U. of D. presents

14E7 I9SI ET
"
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LES ENFANTS
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This veekend at
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Ak, Love!

SPECIAL ADDED ATTRACTION
5 MAN ELECTRICAL BAND
SAT., FEB. 19, 8:30 P.M.-U. of D. Memorial Bldg.
TICKETS: $3.50 (in advance) $4.50 Day of Show. .Available at
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MAIL ORDERS: Send check or money order with self-addressed
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UAC-DAYSTAR presents
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"WHERE WERE THE POLICE
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"I'M GOING TO SEE IT AGAIN
AND BRING MY WIFE."

0

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Robt. Preston
75c
FEB. 10,11,12
9 P.M.
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1 ® 1 e

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