THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Friday, March 3, 1912
Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Friday, March 3, 1972
on Harris is finding out about
himself and Him. First a flash-
back to his mother's death, so
we realize that this is no mere
tail of revenge but, that's right,
an allegory. Then flashbacks. of
his wife saying "The kingdom
of heaven is within you as with
all living things." Flashbacks to
a harsh preacher. Flashbacks to
his mother in law telling him
that his wife's death was "God's
Which tells us absolutely noth-
ing about him, Him, revenge,
and least of all the rebirth of
man through the forces of na-
ture. But the women should like
it, according to director Sarafin:
"The Indian birth sequence..
is one that will have women
on the edge of their seats. It's
never been shown in a major
picture but it's been sensitively
directed. . . Women like to
see human conflict end peace-
fully and understandably."
life. Jeff climbs mountains. Jeff
paddles his canoe. Jeff shoots
wild geese. Jeff tends to an ail-
ing doe. Jeff eats raw clams.,
Jeff sucks rocks, actually. The
narrator keeps insisting that this
celebate hunter is the happiest
man alive, but that is of little
consolation to the viewer, who
is supposed to identify with a
hero whose most poignant ex-
pression of his inner being comes
when he spits out his tobacco.
Throughout the movie, Jeff says
not a word. But we know that
he's really digging the clean,
clean air, because the narrator
insists that he is. And insists
The movie fails so miserably
because it is basically about na-
ture and scenic delights, yet it
superficially focuses on Jeff, in-
stead of on the animals, as the
Disney nature films did. Some-
how the Disney films would in-
variably illuminate the "person-
ality" of the animal, shifting the
tellectual American mathemati-
cian, and Amy (Susan George),
his beautiful a n d physically
oriented wife, move to Amy's
hometown in Cornwall, England.
What David thinks will be a re-
laxing life-style, though, turns
into a nightmare when the
townspeople, annoyed, that the
town peach could marry such a
dud (by their standards), at-
tempt to make up for the mathe-
matician's lack of virility.
Obviously, there is more to
this tale than just action. What
happens when a bright guy mar-
ries a girl for her looks? Can
the intellect (David) overpower
the brawn (the townspeople)?
What makes someone "a man"?
The entire movie builds towards
the climatic half-hour battle at
David's house, and Peckinpah
withholds his position on these
issues until the last moments of
the film. Sadly, Peckinpah's in-
tellectual statement, once reveel-
ed, is somewhat simplistic, un-
ers? With a subject about a
strange series of strangulation
murders that result where bird
droppings on the victims are the
only clue? It's all here in this
delightfully nonsensical (and oc-
casionally brilliant) farce, as
served up by director Robert
Altman and a terrific crewball
Before Brewster (Bud Cort)
makes his first flight with his
invention, several people are
disposed of, thus leading to a
variety of mad, comical inspira-
tions: Margaret "Wicked Witch"
Hamilton belting out an off-key
Star Spangled Banner at the
Houston Astrodome, a supercool
Bullitt - type investigator (Mi-
chael Murphy) who's called in
to solve the crimes, and dozens
of other hilarious bits and pieces
to keep you continuously laugh-
In as wildly uneven a farce as
this, one has to expect broad,
An epic drama
MGM E.u STANLEY WORICK PRODUCTION
Bud Cort and Salty Kellerman
Join The Daily.
"Dustin Hoffman's finest per-
formance since 'Midnight Cow-
"A brilliant feat ,of movie mak-
Man in the Wilderness
Picture a ship on wheels, re-
plete with fingurehead, lumber-
ing across the mountains of the
Northwest. Sound like a Disney
epic? Man in the Wilderness is
pretty much a Disney film. A
trapper, Zachary Bass (Richard
Harris), is left to die in the
wilderness and in surviving to
track down the men that left
him he learns to love, or as Har-
ris put it, "Man AIs reborn
through the forces of nature."
At least that's the way it's
.supposed to be. Of course Dis-
ney wouldn't deal with hate
and neither does this film.
Though the theme is supposedly
based on revenge, the way this
is conveyed gives no sense of
anger; I didn't even feel any
empathy with Harris as he was"
nauled by Peggy the Bear.
The entire film consists of
cuts between shots of Harris'
hand or self appearing over the
horizon as he crawls, limps.
and trudges onward, and shots
of the leader of the group' that
deserted him (John Huston)
looking over his shoulder at the
horizon to the man he left be-,
hind. The 'boat was named the
"Moby Richard" by the film
This might make for a good
potboiler,. but Man in the Wild-
erness isn't even tepid, due pri-
marily to its implausibility. First
Huston says he won't leave Har-
ris "While there's a drop of
God's breath in him." Then
when Harris has been stitched
up they leave him, though I
didn't see the difference another
180 pounds would make com-
pared with hauling the boat.
"Why do they do it?' 'For
'Gold.' " Fine, but if they're
mercenaries why does Huston
bother telling them "This is
more than a, trapping expedition,
this is an exploration of a new
While the exploration is going
The makers of North Country,
American National Enterprises,
wanted to make a clean family
film about the wilderness. Well,
that they did. They must have
been pretty intent on it too,
considering they stopped the film
in the middle to allow some
weird executive behind a desk
assure the audience that the
film was clean. But although
cleanliness may be next to God-
liness, it is also most assuredly
a close cousin to boredom.
Throughout the movie we fol-
low the unbearably inconsequen-
tial adventures of Jeff, the
h a p p y, back - country hermit,
whose life is one long panoramic
nature hike. No one is asking
here for Hemingway, for the feel
of the rope burning in the
palms of the hands as the old
man tries desperately to haul
in the giant marlin. But life
can't be this easy, even "clean"
attention from the comparative-
ly lifeless humans to the thriv-
ing "heart of the jungle." True,
in North Country there are some
pretty majestic scenes, but if
you've seen one babbling brook
. . . Anyway, the point is, when
making a feature film about na-
ture, it would be a good idea
to move beyond the soggy dra-
matics of the George. Pierrot
It would be easy to write off
such lifeless drivel as meaning-
less pap, but what is repulsive
is that such empty-headedness
seems to be tolerated, 'as if we
need a last bastion of virtue
in American entertainment. Kids
would be better weaned on War-
hol, since I daresay it would
take a pretty good dose of
Ritalin to make little Johnny
sit through this one, even if you
gave him popcorn.
* * *
The Damned looks Godawful
compared to. Straw Dogs, but
then The Damned looks Godaw-
ful compared to almost any-
thing. Visconti's aimless, for-
ever roaming, panning, zooming
camera, though, did make me.
for one, appreciate that much
more Peckinpah's razor-sharp
editing: every cut for a purpose.
Thanks to the care taken in
crafting Straw Dogs the film,
on a simple level of action and
excitement, is one of the more
gripping movies around. David
Sumner (Dustin Hoffman), an in-
realistic, and unsatisfying, not
to mention immoral.
* * *
Writing one or two paragraphs
on 2001 is a thoroughly unre-
warding task-even if you hate
the film, you've got to contend
with the enormous Kubrick cult
ready to attack any unjustified
slur on their hero or his m'ster-
piece. And how can a non-cultist
like myself hope to compete
with a throng that has spent
years collecting and researching
statements like, "H.A.L. (the
name of a computer) is one let-
ter removed from I.B.M.," or,
"The first three notes of Thus
Spake Zarathustra (soundtrack
music) represent the Holy Trin-
ity," or, "The final episode rep-
resents a human zoo."?
I personally like 2001 (in spite
of the worshippers surrounding
the film) and believe it to be an
awesome, complex, visually re-
markable depiction of the limi-
tations and dangers of Man's
scientific knowledge. Let's leave
it at that.
*I * *
Try explaining the plot of
Brewster McCloud to someone
and you'll end up sounding as
insane as the movie itself. A
film about a young man's crazed
desire to build a pair of wings
and fly a la the Wright Broth-
slightly coarse goings-on, and
Brewster falls into the pitfall
more than once. It's also the
type of film one can easily grow
impatient with because it's bas-
ically plotless and loosely con-
structed as well, But Altman
has a sound, sure instinct for
comedy as we all know, and he
pulls it off in grand style.
Even if Professor Rene Auber-
jonois' bird lectures grow tire-
some and the fun bogs down
midway with an uncomfortably
self-conscious ending (the cast
members re-appear in the midst
of a circus to introduce them-
selves), Brewster McCloud is
still an entertaining, genuinely
original p i e c e of disposable
cinema. -You owe it to ,yourself
to try it.
Can You Top This?
Iowa's 560 yards in total offense
against North Dakota State in
1947 represents the sixth best per-
formance in Hawkeye football an-
1, 3, 5, 7, 9 P.M.
At State and Liberty
Program Information 662-6264
now a movie
SHOWS AT 1,.3, 5, 7, 9 P.M.
Feature 10 min. later
REMEMBER "A Man Called Horse"?
Now Richard Harris Is Back In The Wilderness Again!
Academy Awards Nominations
HOLLYWOOD (R:--Top hon-
ors in the 44th nominations for
M o t i o n Picture Academy
Awards were split among "Fid-
dler on the Roof," "The French
Connection" and "The Last Pic-
George C. Scott, who won the
Oscar last year as best actor
after announcing he would re-
fuse the honor, was again
nominated -- this time for his
performance in "The Hospital."
Nominated for best actor of
1971 with Scott were Peter
Finch, "Sunday Bloody Sun-
day;" Gene Hackman, "The
French Connection;" W a I t e r
Matthau, "Kotch;" and Topol,
an Israeli actor who uses no
first name, "Fiddler on the
The race for best actress was
predominantly British. O n 1y
Jane Fonda, the prostitute of
"Klute," was an American.
Other nominees for best ac-
tress: Julie Christie, "McCabe
and Mrs. Miller"; Glenda Jack-
son, "Sunday Bloody Sunday";
Vanessa Redgrave, "M a r y,
Queen of Scots"; and Janet
Suzman, "Nicholas and Alexan-
Eight nominations were scor-
ed by three divergent films:
"Fiddler on the Roof," the mu-
sical of Jewish life in czarist'
Russia; "The French Connec-
tion," a realistic crime drama
featuring a sensational chase;
and "The Last Picture Show,"
an idyllic drama of small-town
life in Texas.
Runners-up in the numbers
of nominations were: "Nicholas
and Alexandra," six, and "Bed-
knobs and Broomsticks" and
"Mary, Queen of Scots," five
Nominees for best picture of
the year: "A Clockwork Or-
ange"; "Fiddler on the Roof";
"The French Connection"; "The'
Last Picture Show," and "Nich-
olas and Alexandra."
Nominees for best supporting
actress: Ellen Burstyn, "The
Last Picture Show"; Barbara
Harris, "Who is Harry Keller-
man, and Why Is He Saying
Those Terrible Things about
Me?"; Cloris Leachman, "The
Last Picture Show"; Margaret
Leighton, "The Go-Between,"
and Ann - Margaret, "Carnal
For best supporting actor:
Jeff Bridges, "The Last Picture
Show"; Leonard Frey, "Fiddler
on the Roof"; Richard Jaeckel,
"Sometimes a Great Notion";;
Ben Johnson, "The Last Pic-
ture Show," and Roy Scheider,
"The French Connection."
Best Director: Stanley Kubrick,
"A Clockwork Orange"; Norman
Jewison, "Fiddler on the Roof";
William Friedkin, "The French
Connection"; Peter Bogdano-
vich, "The Last Picture Show,"
and John Schlesinger, "Sunday
Best song: "The Age of Not
Believing," from "Bedknobs and
Broomsticks";, "All His Chil-
dren", from "Sometimes a Great
Notion"; "Bless the Beasts &
Children" title song; "Life is
What You Make It," from
"Kotch," and the theme from
"L M u " " s "a "P
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Zt t SL
Al Freeman, Jr.
Finally, a Hollywood film that tries to take the Black Liberation struggle seriously.
A strong departure for Poitier-"the man who come to dinner"-as a Block mili-
tant driven to violent struggle underground, planning and executing a suspenseful
payroll robbery to finance the movement and support the families of jailed dem-
onstrators., Joanna Shimkus plays a wealthy white smypathizer, and Poitier's lover.
A liberally pessimistic conclusion that fails to obscure the passionate justice of
the struggle, or hard-hitting action, for once placed in a meaningful context.
7:00 & 9:00 p.m.
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:. y i.
free coffee, etc.
U M Film Soc.
s ; ,. j t j ,.
with JAMES MASON
screenplay by HAROLD PINTER
directed by JACK CLAYTON
and enjoy an open-air sport that
dates back to ancient times. From
our around-the-world collection:
A. Schmetterling butterfly from
Germany. 28" high, 35" wing span. $
B. Traditional American box kite
noted for steadiness. 30"x13". $5.
C. Dragon-stvle rcantinecie imnnrter#
"Plays like a house afire, ignited by actress Bancroft who could strike dramatic
lightning from a recitation of the timetables . ."-Time
"A continually absorbing, electrifying study of contemporary life . . . relevant and
often very moving."-America