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February 25, 1971 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Thursday, February 25, 1 971

I

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday. February 25. 197~

i

cinema

a

'Love

Story

Old

fashjoned

By NEAL GABLER
By now you are probably all
familiar with the Love Story leg-
end. How the Yale classics pro-
fessor wrote a simple little
screenplay about two beautiful
people-a rich Harvard jock and
a poor Radcliffe music student--
who fall madly in love. How the
professor spent a few weeks
knocking off a prose version of
his screenplay. How the book
skyrocketed to the very top of
the best-seller lists. How the film
was seen by more people in its
first week than any other picture,

ever made. How it promeses to
be the biggest grossing movie
of them all.
When such cultural phenomena
occur it's customary for observ-
ers to probe the collective psyche
trying to discover what this piece
of claptrap had that other pieces
of claptrap lacked. In the strange
case of Love Story, diagnosti-
cians have generally concluded
that America is on the road back
to normalcy. (Time titles its cur-
rent issue "The Cooling of Amer-
ica.") People are tired of hyper-
thyroid politics, music, movies,

books. They're looking for some-
thing simpler, more easily diges-
tible, and Segal's gushy romance
hits their mood of sweetness and
light.
Strictly on instinct I'm inclined
to agree, though I'm not really
sure we wandered very far from
normalcy in the first place.:Segal
also agrees with the amateur
sociologists, but he makes a
claim for his book beyond that
of striking our romantic vein; he
calls his soaper "an expression
of today's youth, their values and
their truths." And sure enough

he sprinkles the old-fashioned
fable with cutesy expletives (but
never 'fuck'), tosses in some
sexual freedom, throws in a little
of the generation gap (Oliver and
his father don't see eye to eye
on lower-class Jenny), and even
pulls out that old standby of the
Boho Fifties, atheism.
All of this no doubt proves how
hip we Aquarians are. We don't
even believe in God. Too honest
for that dogma crap. Right? It's
only when you dig past the long
hair and when you scrape away
the goo-Semi Obligatory Lyri-

.
... images

cal Interludes with Francis Lai's
semi-classical score, the smooch-
ing, the Elizabeth Barrett and
Walt Whitman(!), the tear-drops
-that you find the real, unhip,
unromantic core of Love Story-
a dehumanizing, degrading and
despicable value system that
mistakes appearances for char-
acter and the superficial compo-
nents of attraction for love; a
value system that has much more
to do with Tricia Nixon than the
counter-culture.
Take beauty for example. If
Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw
are nothing else they are beau-
tiful, and beautiful people are
their own rewards. I mean,
Oliver's not - so - good - looking
roommate, Ray Stratton, is also
supposedly rich, successful, t irt-
tongued and WASPish, sa why
doesn't he snare little Jenny? As
for Ali, I've come to believe she
is the closest thing to the Pla-
tonic Form of Woman we non-
philosophers are ever likely to
cogitate on. It's as if she were
constructed to divine specifica-
tions, so that even her crooked
tooth is a filigree of imperfection
to make the whole more perfect.
It isn't enough, however, to be
stunning, even as stunning as
these lovers are. One must also
be successful, and Segal's no-
tion of success is right out of the
awful pages of Who's Who: Go to
Harvard. Be All-Ivy on the hoc-
key team. Graduate magna cim
laude. Earn, or better still, in-
herit a lot of Green. Join one of
the country's most pretigious
law firms. Voila! Success! In
fact, Harvard becomes a lind of
phallic symbol for the virility
that position and achievement
bestow; every few minutes old
Langdell Hall seems to thruit
out its columns lubriciously as if
to show us poor, ugly, big Ten
folk what it really means to be
on top.
Beauty and success mean little
if your head isn't unencumbered
by difficult things' like thinking.
Indeed, it's the protagonistsk nor-
mality, or simplicity, that may
actually be one of Love Story's
main attractions. Walt Disney
and the astronauts aside, it's
been a long time since we've seen
happy, unhung-up and unstrung-
"Honest, humane, often
funny, often grisly
depiction of life at
the lower depths.
The real love story
playing in town."
--Gorman Beauchamp,
Mich. Daily

tear p
out people, people who have abso-
lutely no trouble getting it to-
gether. Of course, Oliver's father
is around to cause trouble, but
there are worse things than a
multi-millionaire papa who does-
n't approve of the girl we've mar-
ried. In real life, there are things
like neuroses and psychoses and
divorces and wars and, yes, even
the draft. A lot of us would have
an easier time concentrating on
love if we didn't have to worry
about that.
The upshot of these values is
that Oliver and Jenny are really
nothing more than two nicely-
packaged pieces of meat match-
ed by the natural order. He has
looks, wealth, virility, demon-
strating his strength-with-grace
by playing hockey and showing
his manly tolerance of pain by
shrugging off medical attenticn
after a fight on the ice. She has
looks, pvoerty, frailty, and the
poverty isn't too bad because 1)
poor people have kindly parents
they can call by their first
names; and 2) poor, beautiful,
sensitive girls can marry rich,
handsome, ballsy guys while
sexism frowns on any other com-
bination. Just imagine Jenny ts
a rich, sorority girl and Oliver
as a poor harpsichordist. Or
imagine them ugly. Or imagine
them going to Parsons instead of
Harvard and Radcliffe.
This is pretty bourgeois stuff
for a film about emancipated
young lovers. Look good. Go
East. Don't tangle with the com-
plexities. And where did Segal
find these values he attributes to
our generation? Where else but
in movies.
It strikes me as peculiarly
American that lacking a well-de-
veloped literary romantic tradi-
tion we reach back into the Hol-
lywood myth. The movies, our
own creations, become the better
world we'll escape to. One can
almost sympathize, then, with
little Portnoyan Segal's need for
surrogate Oliver Barrett IV -
rich, brainy, handsome, brown-
haired, athletic and a bone fide
WASP. Barrett is the stuff

erker
dreams are made of. He dom-
inates our idyllic past, and when
things get too discomfitting, we
can always resurrect him to
show us how good it can be.
So when Jenny declares in her
liberated Cliffie tone, "It's a
new world," she is not really
talking about the Seventies: she
is talking about Segal's Saturday
matinee fantasies whera every
thing is sugar-coated and do-
cile and where the camera slow-
ly zooms in on Oliver's d o r m
window while he and Jenny dis-
cuss lovemaking, just as in the
pre-permissive days the camera
used to pan to the window when
lovers would embrace. You can
See LOVE STORY. Page 7
ANN ARBOR
DRAMA FESTIVAL
IJOHANN
ORPHEUS
FOLK MUSICAL
Canterbury House
THURS., FRI.,
FEB. 25, 26--8 P.M.
DONATION

1214 S. UNIVERSITY
DIAL 8-6416
HOLDING OVER.,
Two of your
most often
requested
encores!

AND

NUlT:: Glenda Jackson
won the N.Y. Film Critics'
award as "Best Actress"
for her work in "Women
in Love"
Academy
Award
Nominations
BEST DIRECTOR
Ken Russell-
"Women in Love"
BEST ACTRESS
Glenda Jackson-
"Women in Love"

-Daily-David Wender

Paraphernalia's Target'
WINTER THINGS
Up To HALF OFF
Some Further Reduced

. i

music
Stanley Quartet:

Who decides what is
W arho l's Trash'?

S

Solid musicianship

By DONALD SOSIN
The Stanley Quartet returned
to Rackham last night with an
evening of solid music that be-
gan with Beethoyen, got better
with Webern, and reached a
high point with a Dvorak quin-
tet, in which they were joined by
Lawrence Hurst, double bass.
Beethoven's Quartet Op. 18,
No. 2, in G, opened the program.
That Op. 18 relies heavily on
devices from Mozart and Haydn
does not make it any less worth-
while, though. The G major, like
the five others of the group, is
a gem.
At first its performance was,
somewhat disappointing. There
were a number of places where
the group was not together in
its attacks, and Grzesnikow-
ski's intonation did not seem up
to its usual high level. By the
Scherzo, howeved, it had im-
proved, along with precision,
and in the last movement the
ensemble was fully in control.
In the middle of the program
came a Webern Quartet from
1905. It lay in manuscript for
half a century, and was fin-
ally published in 1961, receiv-
ing its first performance a year
later. Its date of composition
puts it several years before the
opused works in the Webern
catalogue, but those not famil-
iar with opera and dates pro-
bably expected to hear the ty-
pically clipped, wispy phrases
that make up much of his later
music Instead, one heard ech-
oes of Strauss, and there were
sections that were quite tonal.
The work even ends most de-
finitely on a long E major
chord. If one examines the
score, one finds that although
he was not yet freed of t h e
sounds of the late romantic-ex-
pressionistic style, he had begun
to formulate ideas that show up
later. The opening consists of a

three-note phrase which is re-
peated at different pitch levels;
the intervals, a minor second
and a major third, recur time
and time again in other works.
The frequent tempo changes,
sometimes one a measure, as
well as sharp contrasts in dyna-
mics - triple piano followed by
fortissimo - are also character-
istic, and thus one can find the
composer's stamp on the piece,
despite the frequent tonal re-
ferences.
One would have appreciated a
little more attention to dyna-
mics here, as well as more pre-
cise triplets and five-note fig-
ures in the first violin part.
The Dvorak Quintet in G was
written in 1875, and originally
given an opus number of 18.
When it was finally published,
though, Simrock labeled it Op.
77, perhaps to give the impres-
sion that it was more sophisti-
cated. If so,,it was hardly ne-
cessary. The Quintet is con-
sistently buoyant and never
lacks in interest.
The musicians' task in creat-
ing this interest is made no
easier by the work's repetitive-
ness and its length - over a
half hour. Yet the group was
able to provide the drive ne-
cessare in the three fast move-
ments, while sustaining long
lines in the Andante.
The sound created by the
use of the double bass was ex-
tremely rich. Other string quin-
tets have either used a second
viola, or a second vello. Here the
lower octave established a firm
foundation, as well as giving the
cello a chance to play expressive
melodies when not doubling the
bass part.
The group reached a peak
of performance here, especially
in the fiery Scherzo and the
jubilant Finale which was a
dramatic finish to the program.

To the Daily:
Let me confess all: I believe
Warhol to be one of the most per-
turbing, stodgy, unoriginal .'ilm-
makers (?) around. Yea-a pho-
ney. But let's leave Andy out of
this since all he had to do with
the making of Trash was to put
his "stamp" (in other words,
his name) on the film.
By no stretch of the imagination
could anyone with taste call it
a brilliant film. One may like it
(or, as in your case, love it) but
that certainly does not constitute
art, even though Trash doesn't
pretend to be. All it is a faintly-
structured porno with a lot of
strange people running around,
trying to look 'busy. Indeed, it is
an honest film, which is to its
credit, but that can hardly cancel
out the fact that Trash is a ter-
rible film.
It's grotesque, (marvelous!)
full of 'redundant gutter language,
fhurrah!) badly timed improvis-
ations, (phenomenal!) and direc-
torial ineptness. Funny, Myra
Breckinridge was never applaud-
ed for these "assets". Sure, it's
far and away Warhol's best pro-
duction, but that isn't saying
much is it? It has plot, but no
story. Is Joe ever cured? Does
he manage to "rise to the occa-
A RAY STARK HERBERT ROSS rd
Barbra Streiand
George Wga
and the Pussycat
P"VI n voin

sion" again. There is no attempt
to show us any results, it instead
stumbles along, doing its worst
to pad out the time length.
The only part of your criticism
I can accept is that the charac-
ters bring the film alive. Holly
Woodlawn brings out some brut-
ally funny sequences, and Jane
Forth is potentially interesting.
beautifully sculpted body, but
as for Joe Dallesandro, he has
little else, unless you enjoy life-
less zombies.
Trash does have a thread of
message running through it,
though I wonder if intentional,
and it claims nothing for itself,
which makes it hard to honestly
condemn it; but even with all this
in mind, Trash will not escape
my Ten Worst list of 1971.
-Kyle Counts
203 Michigan House
West Quad

I

2 n d ~ 7 3 f' Sz ' . s 3r':{ E YF ; :4,t hsfi xs
# u s z r
I
Ex a e F E t [.. ' d

I

R

The Place to Meet
INTERESTING People
BACH CLUB
PRESENTS
Helen Palmer, Bass
Terry Whalen, Bass
Barbara Shafran, Piano
PERFORMING
Bach Sonatas No. 3
in G Minor
and No. 2 in D Major
With brief comments by
Randolph Smith
Thurs., Feb. 25, 8 P.M.
S. Quad, W. Lounge
REFRESHMENTS!
EVERYONE WELCOME!
No Musical Knowledge Needed!
Further Info: 769-1605

I

M 1U- wF. ..1
OPEN 12:45 DIAL
SHOWS AT 662-6264
1 P.M.-3 P.M.-5 P.M. k Tl Corner $#ote{
7 P.M. & 9:05 V T.
PROMPTLY!& Libery Sts.

r""Y

"AN INCREDIBLY REVOLUTIONARY FILM
... THE MIND CAN RUN RIOT!" - The
NYU Ticker

C

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