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November 08, 1974 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1974-11-08

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Friday, November 8, 1974

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Friday, November 8, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five




Fickof the week
The Abdication
The Movies, Briarwood
The last time we saw Liv
Ullman speaking English was
in the midst of a cinematic
musical debacle called Lost
Horizon. Thankfully, she has
finally hit upon a more worth-
while vehicle for her consider-
able talents in Anthony Har-
vey's The Abdication.
eased on Ruth Wolff's play,
Abdication is loosely drawn
from the life of Queen Christina
of Sweden, a'powerful 17th cen-
turv Protestant monarch who
renounced her throne to convert
to Catholicism.
Wolff's story (and screenplay)
follows the travels of Christina
to Rome and the Vatican, where
.instead of the expected royal
welcome, she receives a tem-
pered greeting and notice that
she will first have to pass
examination by a committee of
cardinals before being admitted
to see the Pope.
It is her relationship with the
chief examiner, one Cardinal
A.alino (portrayed by Peter
Finch), that forms the core of
the film. AzzalinQ tries to draw
ont the inner Christina in an
effort to probe her motives for
converting. He succeeds, but
finds more than he bargained
for in the process.
Harvey's highly original di-
rection takes full use of the
celluloid medium-indeed, Ab-
dication can hardly be describ-
ed as just another filmization
of a successful stage play. Har-
vey uses high angle shots,
shadows, low key lighting, mon-
tage and almost every other
trick in the filmmaker's book
to carefully evoke an atmo-
sphere of touching pathos.
Ullman and Finch. are simply
brilliant in roles that virtually
dominate the entire picture.
Nino Rota's music, performed
by the Royal Philharmonic Or-
chestra, adds a deft expressive
touch to the film.
In fact, the weakest link in
the whole film is Wolff's screen-
play. Filled with cliches and
terrible. dialogue anachronismS
(e.g. "freak"), it might other-
wise be considered a strike
against the picture. Bt the
combined efforts of Ullman,
Finch and Harvey are just too
overpowering to allow anything
to weaken the message of Ab-
-David Blomquist
* . *
Walking Tal
Mediatrics, Nat. Sci. Aud.
Fri., Sat., 7:30, 9:30
Walking Tall is proof that a
film does not have to have a
large budget to be "successful"
-just a lot of sex and violence.
The film concerns a sheriff
(Joe Don Baker) whose idea of
justice is "if it looks bad, bust
its bead," which he prtceeds 'to
do with a huge wooden club he
carries. Violence follows vio-
lence and in the closing scene,
citizens are self-righteously en-
gaged in lawless reprisals.
There is nothing wrong with
low budget films, but being
allowed to see the sound boom
swing past is more than un-
professional. Likewise, Joe Don
Baker has very little acting
ability beyond his talent for
smashing skulls.
This type of film glorifies
violent self-righteous lawless-
ness and appears to exist only
for that violence. Don't patron-
ize such films.
-David Crumm
* * *
Harold and Maude-
New World, MLB
Sat., 7, 8:45, 10:30

Hal Ashby's Harold and Maude
is a love story about a 20-year-
old boy and a 79-year-old wom-
an. Even though the action and
characters are not really scru-
tinized, it is an exceptionally
funny, warm and inspiring film.
Harold, played by Bud Cort,
is obsessed with suicide. He
simulates hanging, hara-kiri and
shooting himself-to 'name a
few-in an attempt togaet a
rise from his overbearing yet
unemotional mother.
Maude, four times his age,
has the vitality and love of life
Harold lacks. She teaches him
how to live and love, hoping
that he will continue after she
takesher life on her eightieth
This film presents life and
death in a uniquely warm and
humorous manner and should
definitely be seen. Unless its
messages are intellectualizedor

weakened by a sentiment of
action implausibility, Harold
and Maude is an inspiration and:
a joy.
Linda Fidel
Day of the Jackal
Bursley Hall Enterprises
Bursley West Cafeteria
Sat., 9
Ever since MGM cancelled
Fred Zinnemann's epic Man's.
Fate, the respectable director
has been in a suspended state
of limbo. In what appeared to
be a search for work, Zinne-
mann took up the task of di-
recting Frederick Forsyth's
The Day of the Jackal. Univer-
sal, apparently hoping for a
collaboration of distinguished
director and reputable novel,
has missed the boat.
From the looks of the film,
it seems that Zinnemann still
has his mind elsewhere. The
film, which deals with the at-
tempted assassination of Charles
DeGaulle, moves along at a
clumsy pace. The events are
strung out as to fill a pre-
designed frame of time which!
the film must encompass. Al-
though interesting and extreme-
ly clever at times, The Day of
the Jackal never completely in-
volves the audience in its pur-!
pose, dwelling on what appears
to be an acutely objective van-!
tage of the entire scheme.
Edward Fox turns in a cred-
ible performance as the zestful
assassin, but the film as a
whole never really meshes.
When one examines the pre-
cision to which this film was
constructed, the entire exercise
seems a waste of both time and
-Jim Valk
* *
t sleuth
New World, MLB
Sun., 7, 9
In Sleuth, a young working
class man decides to get an
elaborate revenge on an old
aristocratic man. The old man,
who likes to play games, has!
played a "dirty trick" on the
young man.
Some of the parlor games the'
two play are funny. The old
man admires the young man's
sportsmanship. But the char-
acter of the games changes as
we gradually learn that the two
men have very different moti-
vations. However you interpret
the puzzling ending, you will
probably agree the games have
"gone too far."
Michael Caine is fine as the
bitter young man and Laurence
Olivier is equally good as the
old man.
Get your popcorn before
Sleuth starts because you won't
want to leave once it has start-
-Joan Ruhela
On the Waterfront
Law School Films
100 Hutchins Hall
Fri., 7, 9
With a cast of superb actors,
director Elia Kazan has trans-
formed Budd Shulberg's screen-
play of On the Waterfront into
one of cinema's most powerful
dramas. This movie could very
well be the finest film por-
trayal of man's inhumanity to
man ever made.
mThe story revolves around the
longshoremen of New York and
how they are terrorized by their
union leaders.
Marlon Brando plays Terry
Malloy, an ex-prize fighter, who!

is used as an unwitting tool to
set up his own brother to be
killed by labor leader Johnny
Friendly (Lee J. Cobb).
Malloy is tortured by his con-
science until finally, with the
help of the "local pr.iest" (Karl
Malden), and the guidance of a
woman (Eva Marie Saint), he
risks his life and testifies be-{
fore the commission investigat-I
ing the docks, destroying the{
power of Johnny Friendly.
Marlon Brando was never
better than in this film, and'
the other characters perform
equally well to make this drama
a taut, realistic portrayal of
what life can sometimes unfor-'
tunately be like.
Rarely is a film made that
is this good and succeeds where
so many before it have failed.
-Mark DeBofskyI
* * *
East of Eden
Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud.
Sun., 7, 9
East of Eden comes to cam-
pus this weekend amidst a
whole raft of Steinbeck film
adaptations. This is Elia Ka-
zan's version of Steinbeck's
classic novel and it follows only,
The Grapes of Wrath as the best
of the bunch. Kazan uses only
about a quarter of the novel
in translating this drama to the
screen while still retaining the
general flavor of the original
The movie centers on the con-
flict' between Adam Trask, a.
farmer, and his son Cal. Otherj
complications arise involving
Aron, Cal's older brother and
Cal's cheap, unfeeling mother.
This film overcomes some
troublesome obstacles in attain-
ing respectability. James Dean,
in one of his first major film
roles as Cal, comes perilously
close to being little more than
a bland Brando imitation.
Raymond Massey achieves a
passable performance with theI
help of some truly formidable
forehead furrowing as the se-
vere Adam Trask.j
Infinitely more effective than
the mediocre acting is Kazan's
excellent use of scenery as it
conveys the immensity of the
California landscape. In total,!
this picture succeeds on the
strength of its superb sense of
atmosphere overriding the less
than adequate acting.
-George Lobsenz{
* * *
Of Mice and Men
Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud.
Sat., 7, 9
Burgess Meredith is the small,
cruel George and 'Lon Chaney
is the huge rabbit-loving Lennie,
in this 1939 adaptation of the
Steinbeck novella.
Of Mice and Men centers'
around two drifters and com-E
patriots who are searching hope-x
lessly for a life and a farm
where they can live off the;
"fat o' the Ian'." Though George
is the brains of the duad and
Lennie the brawn, both seem to,

need each other, if only to keep by the romantic fire of Parisian
from being alone. playboy Melvyn Douglas.
Their stopover and employ- It's really unnecessary to see
ment at a work farm, and this film on the screen sinces it
their relations with the sur- is a coming attraction in Avon
rounding workers, become the Books' series of frame-by-frame
focus of the story-line. Betty analyses of motion picture clas-
Field plays the alluring Mae, sics (also in the series are The
wife of the work foreman, whose Maltese Falcon, Psycho, Casa-
soft, soft hair is so fascinating blanca, etc.). For a nostalgic1
to Lennie. evening of entertainment, how-
The film, works largely be- ever, Ninotchka is the right film
cause director Lewis Milestone to catch.

chose not to tamper with the
original script. It's the only
adaptation ever made of the
novella, but it's just as well:
nothing else need have been
-David Weinberg
* * *

--Chris Kochmanski
* * *

Rainparts of Clay
Cinema II, Aud. A
Sun., 7, 9
A beautiful 19-year-old girl
and the inhabitants of a primi-,

f Thieves Life IUs !
Cinema II, Aud. A
Fri., Sat., 7, 9:15
r Most moviestare advertised
by their stars.& Other movies are
advertised by their special ef-
fects. But Thieves Like Us is
credited to Robert Altman who
belongs to a new breed of di-
rectors whose names dominate
tthe marquee wherever their
filmsare being shown.
Keith Carradine plays Bowie,
i convict who escapes prison
with. two fellow inmates and
plans to rob every bank in Mis-
sissippi. While holed up in a
gas station,vBowietmeets and
falls in, love with Keechie
(Shelley Duvall). Their love af-
fair is the focus of the rest of
the film.
An interesting thing to note
about this movie is that the
soundtrack is composed almost
entirely of '30s radio shows.
Also pay close attention to the
use of Coca Cola as a recurring
metaphor throughout the film.
While often compared to
Bonnie. and Clyde, Thieves Like
Us comes even closer to cap-
turing the '30s on screen.
-Mark DeBofsky



Grapes of Wrath tive mountain village in Tunisia
Ci' a G d A . Ad compose the cast of this fic-'
C FrGi.,Arhtional - political documentary.
Fri., 7, 9 Ramprts of Cla a direted
Few films, particularly those ampartoCa y was oirec
that come from this country, aFrench dueean-Louis Bung
capture the feeling of an era as celli in 1971.
well as The Grapes of Wrath. This short film (90 minutes)
Indeed, by its dignity of theme has a rather limited plot and
and excellence of treatment, is concerned primarily with.
The Grapes of Wrath surely be- phoogrngdtheimarliths
long onanylist of cinema mas- photographing the mieager lives
longs on any in a village of rock salt hand-
terworthe cutters. When the entrepreneur;
Nunnally Johnson adapted the f t hentlventrepaes
John Steinbeck classic and John of the iners the usually docile
Fnrd dtiros s this el uent ac- ,

count of an "Oakie" family's
journey from the barren Dust
Bowl to California and of their
subsequent disillusionment.
Johnson and Ford have done
what few have been able to
accomplish. They have taken
a literary classic and trans-
formed it accurately while los-
ing none of the flavor and mood
of the original. This has been
accomplished thanks to John
Ford's superb direction, which
through the use of camera
angle, captures the feeling of
desolation which Steinbeck so
vividly described fn his novel.
The cast, led by Henry Fonda,
Jane Darwell and John Carra-
dine are flawless in their roles,
capturing the bitterness and
tragedy of the characters.
In short, The Grapes of Wrath
is not konly one of the earliest
exposes of social injustice, but
also one of the most moving
and beautiful films to come out
of America at any time.
-Michael Broidy
* * *
New World, Aud. A
Sat., 7, 9:304
Just as Alfred Hitchcock is
called the "Master of Suspense,"
so was Ernest Lubitsch con-
sidered the "Master of Sophis-
ticated Comedy" in his Holly-
wood heyday. Ninotchka, with
Greta Garbo in the title role, is
his best remembered film and
currently the subject of film
cult revivals.
Overlooking the outdated poli-
tical preaching, Ninotchka pro-
vides a lighthearted vehicle for
Garbo to find, lose and regain
the impossible love. This time
the Swedish legend plays a cold
Russian agent who is thawed

natives stage a three-day sit-
down strike.
Soldiers are brought in to
keep them there, and their pa-
tient fast ultimately leads to the
restoration of the former wages.
But one of the miners, the
young girl's lover, dies, and in
grief she drowns herself in the
Ramparts of Clay examines
the social changes which in-
evitably take place in villages
of newly-established nations.
Subtitles are used for the sparse
French dialogue, as Bertucelli
offers us a nearly silentuand
entirely somber view of another
' -Sarah Polarek
Grand Hotel
Cozens Film Co-op
Co'zens Cafeteria
Fri., Sat., 8, 10
Greta Garbo and John Barry-
more head up -a fine cast in
this 1932 Academy Award-win-
ning film. Manslaughter, gam-
bling, a shady business deal
and, of course, several love
affairs, are just some of the
activities which permeate the
lives of all those living in the
Grand Hotel.,
Greta Garbo stars as an aloof
dancer, Grusinskaya, who, as
with all Garbo characters,
warms up when she is with the
man she loves. John Barry-
more plays the Baron, a jewel
thief, who sweeps Greta off her
feet. Lionel Barrymore plays a
suicidic bookkeeper who falls
in love with Joan Crawford, the
stenographer; Wallace Beery is
the villain (hiss!) who murders
the Baron and breaks Greta's
Director Edmund Goulding of-
fers up a typical 30's adventure-
and-romance film which is de-
lightful because of his talented
and exciting cast.
--Sarah Polarek


_. _ ___


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