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September 12, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-12

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Page Two

1 HE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturday, September 12, 1970.

Page Two I HE MICHIGAN DAILY Saturday, September 12, 1970

cenema'

f

Exploiting

By NEAL GABLER
When histories of the period
are written James Aubrey will
'have probably earned himself
at least a paragraph. Aubrey is
the fellow who, as CBS prexy,
brought television to heretofore
unrealized heights of pap. The
B e v e r 1 y Hillbillies, Petticoat
Junction, Green Acres, Gilli-
gan's Island, and I could go on.
As if that isn't enough to en-
dear him to elevator operators
everywhere, e v e r y o n e from
Joyce Haber to Rona Barrett
considers him the model f o r
T h e Love Machine's Robin
Stone. Could one man have
meant so much in our cultural
life? .-
Fortunately or unfortunately,
depending on whether your
sympathies'lie with television or
film, Aubrey w a s fired from
CBS and shortly after became
top man at MGM. There last
year he presidet over a near-
20 million deficit, thanks in
art to Antonioni's folly Zabri-
skie Point which he reportedly
called "one of the greatest mov-
les ever made," and which, in
light of its disastrous showing
at the box office, he was quick
to pin on the previous adminis-
tration. Aubrey, however, is not
easily discouraged. All those
sandal-shod students, t h o s e
bearded boys, those braless
babes, even the teeny-boppers,
bless 'em; these -kids have Coin,'
dough, moolah, the big green.
And presto! Aubrey, creator of
and spiritual advisor to Jed
Clampett, wraps an arm around
James Simon Kunen. Aubrey is
radicalized.
His contribution to the strug-
gle is T h e Strawberry State-
ment, a film very loosely based
on Kunen's account of the Co-
lumbia uprising in Spring 1968.
What Aubrey, twenty-eight year
old difector Stewart Hagmann
a n d scenarist Israel Horovitz
have done is neutralize the
book's charm and make a kind
of extended L&M commercial.
Just the two of us and the revo-
lution rages on. The locale has
been shifted from Columbia to
an anonymous little campus
somewhere on the West Coast
of all places. And James Simon
Kunen the Eastern Jew's Jew
becomes Simon James (pretty
clever) the Western goy's goy
complete with blonde hair and
blue eyes and a Brownie Insta-'
matic.
Simon, broadly played by
Bruce Davison, is a jock,' , lib-
eral jock with ,a Robert Ken-
nedy poster hanging on his wall,
but a jock , nonetheless; the
campus burns and . Si m o n
strokes for the crew team. Then,
for some inexplicable reason -
this film is full of inexplicable
reasons -.Simon wanders into
t h e occupied Administration
Bulldng. where he quickly be-
comes resident boor. Until he
meets sweet lovely Linda (rock
Chinese exhibit-
An exhibition, "In Pursuit of
Antiquity: Chinese Paintings of
the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties,"
from the collection of Mr. and
Mrs. Earl Morse of New York,
.will be on display at the Museum
of Art in Alumni Memorial Hall
from Sept. 13 to Oct. 25.
In connection with the exhibi-
tion, Prof. Richard Edwards,
chairman of the department{
of the,history of art, will give
a lecture, "Learning and Crea-
' tivity: Wang Hu and 17th Cen-
tur~y Chinese Painting," at 3
p.m. Sunday (Sept. 13) in
Auditorium B, Angell Hall. The
lecture will be open to the
public.
National Generbi Theatres

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music, soft focus, run through
park), loses Linda (rock music,
sharp focus, walk down crowded
streets), regains Linda (rock
music . . . oh, the hell with it),,
and gets busted.
True, Kunen was on the crew
team. B u t he wasn't a jock-
sti'apped cretin proudly pro-
claiming, "I'm a liberal!" Nor
did he just happen to wander
into Hamilton Hall because he
had nothing better to do. Ku-
nen was a self-proclaimed radi-
cal with a %elf-deprecating wit
and an eye for the irony of his
predicament. He despised dog-
ma and chanting and violence
and general stupidity. He pre-
ferred tits and food and the Red
Sox a n d genuine morality,
whatever that is. In short, he
was a kid who took the cause
seriously - though he even had
doubts about that - but who
took his role in the cause far
less seriously.
The book's humor relied on
this Yossarian-like point of
view. Let's face it, most radi-
cals aren't this much fun. Thus,
when Kunen slaps on Grayson
Kirk's after shave, t h e sheer
power of his good nature in this
up-tight world obviates any of
the destructiveness of the act.
So it wouldn't have been asking
too much of this picture to be
a passable comedy if nothing
else; the book provides for that.
But w I t h the change in the
main character from soft-core
radical to soft-core liberal jock,
the humor loses its basic wit.
Hagmann and Horovitz don't
seem to realize that actions in
themselve s aren't altogether
comical; it is the people who
act that most often make them
funny. I don't want to get hung
up here on the essence of com-
edy. Suffice it to say that Chap-
lin can kick somebody in the
pants and get a laugh. A -hard
hat can do the same thing and
elicit a gasp. In the same way
Kunen (who has a small bit in
the picture) is funny because he
seems to know what he's doing
and is so light-heartedly para-
noid about it all, while Simon,
doing the same things, is dull
and even pitiable. -
Possibly director Hagmann
wants to show us h o w a goy
jock, who lives f o r crew, be-
comes a stone-throwing, c o p-
hating, breast-beating radical.
Or perhaps Hagmann was less
ambitious, trying merely to
strike responsive chords in a
y o u n g audience. (Altogether
now: Cops are pigs.) He fails
on both counts. To view campus
disorders through a jock's eyes
is legitimate and even neces-
sary: But this isn't just a film
about a jock; it's a film with a
jock's mentality, and when a
filmmaker approaches his sub-
ject with such simple-minded-
ness he levels t h e nuances of
student discontent to the same
philistine plane of his protag-
onist. There is no even remotely
plausible reason - s a v e the
girl he meets during the occu-
pation - for Simon's sudden
radicalization. As for the iden-
tification that would seem to be
inherent in student revolt, Si-
mon is so much a lunk of twen-
ty year-old flesh, so m u c h a
spouter of marshmallow soft
cliches and so little a winning
personality that the film could-
n't even raise my hackles. ME.
And I happen to like students.
After all, I am a student.
n

hose a
If one considers its origins it
would have been a miracle if
The Strawberry Statement were
intelligent, h a r d - hitting or
thought-provoking, a n d this
isn't the age of miracles. What
The Strawberry Statement is is
a pastiche of wow-wow camera
work, a pointless rock score with
plenty of Semi Obligatory Ly-
rical Interludes, swear w o r d s,
pot, hair, cops, blood, armbands,
placards and Thus Spake Zara-
thustra (called by the credits,
in an Aubreyan touch, A 1s o
Spake Zarathustra). It is a
film of tin-eared dialogue ("The
university is responsible for
racism and war. So we're start-
ing a Revolution."), obtuse per-
formances, deceptive stereotypes
(cops saying they hate niggers)
and choreographed riots t h a t
look and sound more like Berk-
eley than Columbia (Busby
Berkeley that is).
Getting Straight, now playing
at the Fox Village, is another
picture touching on campus un-
rest, this one an up-against-it
f ii m trying desperately to be
The Postgraduate. Predictably,
here again are the up-tight lit-
tle co-eds mouthing the dogma
of the Revolution. Here again
are the kids saying "man" and
"bullshit" and "sucks." Here
again are choreographed riots
with neatly hand-lettered signs.
But t h e r e is another, almost
uncanny similarity: a revela-
tion and conversion, and you
know how rare those- a r e. In
The Strawberry Statement it's
one of Simon's fellow crew team
members who, again inexplic-
ably, decides to man the barri-
cades and gets a broken leg for
his trouble. Getting Straight
both reverses a n d accelerates
the process. A freaked-out long-
hair becomes a flag-waving
patriot after a visit to Marine
Corps headquarters. He's sup-
posed to be crazy I guess. But
what's the jock's excuse?
The hirsute students, the
swear words, the hand-lettered
signs give both pictures the feel
of canned revolution. And it. oc-
curred to me as I watched them
that if I were making a "youth"
movie the radicals would at
least sound like real live radi-
cals. Then it occurred to me
that this drivel does sound like
the stuff that comes out of the
mouths of the real live radicals
I've seen and heard on the Diag.
It is symptomatic of the times
that both films defang the is-
sues. Simon, in shades of Morn-
ingside Heights, protests against
a gymnasium being built by the
univ'ersity in a neighborhood
park, but the issue is diffused
into a number of canned issues:
war, racism, brutality etc. For
its part Getting Straight never
even bothers to define AN is-
sue.
Indiscriminate demonstration
is the public's view of disorders;
ki1ds like to riot and they'll riot
for anything, the nogoodniks. I
fear there may be a grain of
truth in this. We may be ap-
proaching or we may have al-
ready arrived at an era of plas-
tic revolution where talking and
walking about issues become
ends in themselves, words and

gainst
symbols disconnected from the
real injustices of society. What
did the people who bombed
Wisconsin's science center gain
except the right to call them-
selves revolutionaries? Maybe
it's just that the s a n e ones
among us have prematurely be-
come like Diego in La Guerre
Est Finle, tired of losing the
battles and cynical t h a t the
outcome will ever go our way.
All of this is to say that in the
patent dishonesty of The Straw-
berry Statement and Getting
Straight there is too much ver-
acity for comfort.
-There may be some veracity
too (although my experiences
say otherwise) in Harry's (El-
liott Gould) exclamation in
Getting Straight t h a t, "Riots
are sexy." Simon goes out on
food patrol with Linda, falls in
love and gets radicalized as far
as I can gather through sex,
which would make revolution a
hell of a lot more popular than
it is. Harry scores w i t h Jan
right after she is bloodied in a
campus fracas, and there is even
a hint of the ecstacies awaiting
anyone who has the bravado (I
should say "balls") to s c r e w
smack dab in the middle of a
demonstration. Become a revo-
lutionary and win a gir .
And what girls they are! Kim
Darby, w h o plays Simon's
heart-throb, is the kind of a. fe-
male day-dreams are made of.
Sweet and gentle and innocent.
Candice Bergan, Harry's Jan, is
the kind of female wet dreams
are made of. Blonde and stat-
uesque and finely chisled fea-
tures. When she stands there
she's absolutely great. It's only
when she starts talking t h a t
you begin to wince and say to
yourself, "This is Charlie Mc-
Carthy's sister."
Not that screenwriter Robert
Kaufman gives her or anyone
else much to say that we haven't
already heard in scores of other
pictures. Kaufman though has
the awful knack of having his
characters say the wrong Thing,
in the wrong way, at the wrong
time, in the wrong place. I don't
mind dialogue that isses the
clear ring of truth; but I do
mind dialogue that. embarrasses
the actors. A sample is Gould's
shouting indictment of suburbia
delivered at a party 'io less.
"What you want is .the join-
the-PTA, have-two-kids, take-
a-pill-every-Saturday, no-dear-
I-have-a-headache . . ." "OK
Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mr. J.
D. Salinger, Mr. Philip Roth ...'
But Getting Straight does
have a point of view. Its hero is
Harry Bailey, a guy who has
"done it already": early sixties
civil rights crusader, Vietnam
vet, English grad student and
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exploitation

wearer of brown corduroy jack-
ets. Harry can stare down an
upstart black radical with "I've
been to Selma," or turn on a
remedial reading class to the
similitude between Batman and
Don Quixote, or discuss the epic
sweep of Beowulf with the Eng-
lish profs. The character how-
ever is poorly drawn, and Hariy
needs a big assist from the low-
key insouciance of Elliott Gould,
who makes even some of Kauf-
man's lines sound decent.
With his boyish grin and slur-
py speech that makes him sound
as if his words are rolling down
the lower lip in a ball of saliva,
Gould is a lucky victim of nor-
mality, an anti-star in a day of
antis. He is the Jewish boy-man
we've all known. The average
face with the average manner,
a living parody of Gable, Coo-
per, Bogie and Newman.
Gould's Bailey finds himself a
man in the middle. He under-
stands the students but with age
has come some distance. He
loves Jan but abhors her WASP-
ish, sterile, suburbia-oriented
existence. He dislikes the Sys-
tem but realizes he must go
along to get along toward his
goal of teaching high school. He
is, in essence, a man trying to
come to terms with life and
avoid the pitfalls that might
keep him from his dream. He is
willing to meet them halfway
by going to their school, by tak-
ing their tests, by earning
money from their payroll and
hoping for their approval on his
teaching certificate.
You can't have it both ways
and when the System threatens
to anesthetize him or chew him
up and spit him out, Harry
rebels. And it is only then that
the film approaches any real
truth about students and their
environment. The scene is Har-
ry's master's oral where he is
confronted, in the person of an
F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar, with
the banality, obscurity and
stupidity of what passes for
education. Mr. Bailey, don't you
see the homosexual core of The
Great Gatsby? And Harry
sweats and stutters and finally
leaps to the table to yell his
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defiance at Them and their Sys-
tem.
Up until that point Getting
Straight like The Strawberry
Statement seems content with
showing the manifestations of
revolt and not the causes behind
the manifestations.'We all know
that students get gassed andj
beaten up and chased and ar-
rested and sometimes even kill-f
ed. We all know that and a filmC
that offers no more than blood-
letting isn't much of a film.
The Strawberry Statement never
deals with causes and motives
though Heaven knows there are
plenty of causes and motives
around. (Of course, it may be
that Mr. Douglas Hallett is
wrong, as I think he is, and that
the cameras pointing toward the
campus are looking only at the
receiving end, missing the sour-
ces of malaise that lie beyond
the campus.) Instead State-
ment opts for an innocuous little
love story and a mystifying
Kama Sutra of radicalization.
Getting Straight does have a
message, though it's bungled in _
delivery, and it does hit almost
by accident upon a very real
campus problem: University
education is very often a lot of
pure, unadulterated bullshit.

CINEMA II
CLOSELY WATCHED
TRAINS
"It takes a lot to
laugh, it takes
a train to cry"
Aud.AAngel Hall

I

1 0.

C+1

Kunstier's
Cunning!

, ____
._

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f
C
E
i
t
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E
G

CIIIU. IILD
Sat.-Sun., Sept. 12-13
Lonesome Cowboy
dir ANDY WARHOL (1967)
Real modern art from the modern West-
with all your favorites-Machismo--King
Joe D'Allesandro, Viva Superstar and Rav-
ing Taylor Mead.
Sept. 14-MANDABI
7& 9:05Architecture
675cA

WORSHIP

1 #

...

ST. ANDREW'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
306 N. Division
8:00 a.m.-Holy Communion.
10:00 a.m.--Morning Prayer and Sermon.
7:00 p.m.-Evening Prayer.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST
CHURCH AND WESLEY
FOUNDATION
State at Huron and Washington
Church-662-4536
Wesley-668-6881
Dr. Hoover Rupert, Minister
Bartlett Beavin, Campus Minister
R. Edward McCracken, Campus Minister
9:30 and 11:00 a.m.-Sermon by Dr. Hoover
Rupert - "You Can't Go Home Again!"
Broadcast WNRS 1290 am, WNRZ 103
fm, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
WESLEY FOUNDATION ITEMS:
Sunday, Sept. 13, 5:30 p.m.- Celebration
(Worship) ; 6:15 Dinner, 7:00 Where Are
You? Wesley Lounge and Pine Room.
Monday, Sept. 14 - Luncheon Discussions at-
noon, Pine Room. Christianity and Foreign
Policy. (Through Nov. 2). Leader, Bart
Beavin.
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 9-11 p.m.-Personal En-
counter Groups. Orientation. Leader, Ed
McCracken.
Thursday, Sept. 17-Luncheon Discussiohs at
noon. Does the Church Keep the Poor?
(Through Nov. 5). Leader, Bart Beavin.
Pine Room.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
1432 Washtenaw Ave.
Ministers:
Robert E. Sanders, John R. Waser,
Donald A. Drew, Brewster H. Gere
Worship at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m.
Preaching: Mr. Sanders.

UNITY CENTER OF
PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY
310 S. State St.
Phone 663-4314
Mrs. Eleonore Krafft, Minister
Mrs. Viola Mattern, Associate
11:00 a.m.-Sunday Service-Mrs. Mattern.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Study and Prayer Class
-Mrs. Krafft.
11 :00- a.m. to 12 noon Wednesday-Prayer
and Counseling, also, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m.
-Healing Service-Mrs. Mattern.
Center Open: Mon., Wed., and Fri.-11:00
a m. to 2:00 p.m.; Tuesday-3:00 to 5:00
pm.
CANTERBURY HOUSE
330 Maynard
11:00 a.m.-Holy Communion, Hippolytus
Rite-bring bread, cheese, fruits, vege-
tables, or some such thing for you and
your neighbor.
,4:00 p.m.-Open House (for a somewhat
more freaky and more informative an-
nouncement check the Sunday Daily)
P.S.: You may have to look hard. We
can't afford a very big ad.
UNIVERSITY LUTHERAN CHAPEL
(The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
1511 Washtenaw Ave.
Alfred T. Scheios. Pastor
Sunday at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.-Services,
Communion at 9:30 (Nursery and Tots
Sunday School at 9:30).
Sunday at 11:00 a.m.-Bible Class.
Sunday at 6:00 p.m.-Gamma Delta, Lutheran
Student Organization, Supper - Program.
Speaker, Mr. Moby Benedict, Head Basket-
ball Coach.
Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.-Married Couples' Pot-
luck Supper. Phone 663-5560.
Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.-First meeting of week-
ly Church Membership Class for fall term.
Wednesday at 8:30 p.m-Chanel ,Assmbly

FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST,
SCIENTIST
1833 Washtenaw Ave.
SUNDAY
10:30 a m.-Worship Services, Sunday School
(2-20 years).r
WEDNESDAY
8:00 a m.-TestimonvMeeting.
Infants room available Sunday and Wednesday
Public Reading Room, 306 E. Liberty St. -
Mon., 10-9; Tues.-Sat., 10-5. Closed Sun-
days and Holidays.
"The Bible Speaks to You," Radio WAAM,
1600, Sunday, 8:45 a.m.
For transportation call 662-0813.
UNIVERSITY REFORMED CHURCH
1001 East Huron
Phone 662-3153
Ministers: Calvin S. Malefyt and Paul Swets
10:3,0 a.m.-Sermon Title: "Change Agents."
6:30' p.m.-Sermon Title: "'Changing Men,
Changing Society.
BETHLEHEM UNITED
CHURCH OF CHRIST
423 S. Fourth Ave.
Telephone 665-6149
Ministers: T. L. Trost, Jr., R. E. Simonson
Worship Services-8:00 and 9:30 a.m.
Church School-9:30 a.m.
FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH
1917 Washtenaw Ave.
Erwin A. Goede, Minister
10:00 a m.-Sermon-"Reprtions: Charity
and Morality." Nurseryavailable.
HURON HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH
3150 Glacier Way
Pastor: Charles Johnson

*.

Rosalie
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Doors
Open
12:45

DIAL 8-6416

TODAY
Shows at,
1, 3,5,
7, 9 P.M.

... exquisite.. .
from a birdlike
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country music
howl."
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Saturday 1 P.M.
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"EXTRAVAGANTLY F U N N Y performances by
Wilder, Griffith, and especially Sutherland!"
TIME MAGAZINE
"WHAT A PLEASURE TO LAUGH! The acting to a
man is wildly funny!"

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"JUST FUNNY! JUST GREAT!"

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AT

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