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February 25, 1973 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1973-02-25

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Sundcky, February 25, 1973


vage Five'

I f schools were per fect

Kane and

Weles Wa an kie wicz)

Adams and others. Praeger,
$2.95 paperback.
'TH-E SECONDARY title of this
collection of essays, "Toward -
the liberation of the child," suc-
cinctly identifies the common
starting point of all of the con-
tributors to this volume. The
authors, predominantly British,
are as one in condemning what
they identify as the repressive
and authoritarian oppression of
children perpetuated through the
combined forces of adult sociali-
zation agencies represented by
the family and the school. It is
quite clear to the writers that
society strips all children up to
thC age of sixteen, and in some
circumstances even beyond, of
any rights over their own person
or their present and future aspi-
ratiOns. The parents, and their
"educational representatives" -
the teachers - are morally and
legally given almost total power
to restrict, inhibit, direct and
'discipline the child in order to
ensure that the child's behavior
(and hopefully his thoughts) are
moulded after a fashion the
adult world considers desireable.
All the essays strongly con-
demn the punitive conditioning
that remains the predominant
weapon used by parents and
teachers, to implant in the child
reactions of docility, obedience,
r C p r e s s e d hostility and fear
of authority. Complementary to
this, the socializers react with
horror and violence when faced
with spontaneity, disorder and
independence in children. The
guiding spirit behind Children's
Rights is Wilhelm Reich, to
whose works and ideas almost
all the contributors refer, par.-
ticularly to his assertions that
the basic motivating drives of all
human beings are "natural so-
ciality and sexuality, spontane.-
ous enjoyment of work, capacity
for love."
rf'WO OF THE essays, those of
Paul Adams arid Robert 01-
lerndorff, are by Reichian-orient-
red psychiatrists who propose aa;
rights of childhood through the
adoption of child - rearing ap-
proaches in harmony with the
child's "natural" d r i v e s and
forces. One of the most impor-
tant restrictions religiously en-
forced by adult society, is the re-
pression of the child's natural
sexuality, while violence is an
accepted, less guilt-making out-
let than overt and loving sexual-
ity. Thus, the "sickness"' of so-
ciety is compounded, as Ollen-
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dorff points out in his essay on
Violence is, of course, a built-
in part of our society. It. is not
only the siidism of the school
machinery, the examination
tortures and military traihing;
its most glaring expression is
in the little civil servant's pow-
er to torture other little men.
The hatred in the police, in the
prison warden, in the minor
civil servant who sits behind
grills, is the quintessence of the
delegation of violence in a sick
society. The adolescent learns
it in his contact in schools, in
universities, on the street and
in offices when he meets the
Thite metd of control institu-
tionalized in the law and par-


1ICHAEL DUANE, who for a
tiewas a principal at Ris-
inghill, a comprehensive school
in London, savagely den ounces
the controlling forces of the
State educational system that
are determined to undermine
any experimentation and de-
mocratization of schools while
clinging frantically to rigidity,
authority and brutality as the
most potent teaching methods.
He also points to the class bias
inherent in the subject matter',
the personnel and the values em-
phasized by the educational sys-
Despite the strong and chilling
indictment of the existing situa-
on, the writer are bno means
ciple upon which any "declara-
tion of the rights of children"
should be based. As Paul Good-
man points out in his excellent
critical introduction, there is
some disagreement as to whether
children should have the rights
df adults and be treated simil-
arly or, on the contrary, have
very special rights and immuni-
ties because they are children
and need protection.
FURTHERMoRE, t he m or e
educationally-oriented contri-
butors assume that all children
want to learn and that democ-
racy is a natural outgrowth of
childhood, two dubious and tun-
tested assumptions. Those in fav-
or of greater freedom in the
schools also have a dilemma.
They wish to be teachers, to have
schools, to be sent pupils who
will wish to listen to them, to
have order, attehtion and agree-
ment yet they maintain that the
child is free to decide his own
personal fUture. They wish to
cede information, to guide and to
instill values but without forcing
information and values down the
child's throat. Thus the more suc-
cessful "progressive" s c h o o 1 s
rely heavily on the dominating
personality of the founder who
may be sensitive and enlighten-
ed enough to establish spontane-
ous authority without invoking
the trappings of power. Yet
"spontaneity" a n d democracy
may frequently mask other styles
of tyranny such as that of peer
pressures, fear of withdrawal of
love from respected elders, or
merely rationalize'd conformity.
Much of the critique of the
educational system to be found
in this book is both valid and
needed at the present time, but
to assume that it is possible to
democratize the schools without
achieving critical changes in the
society of which these schools
are the product is both naive and
short-sighted. The problenm of
what rights children need and
should have unfortunately can-
not really be approached without
making important assumptions
about human nature and the de-
sireability of certain types of
social relationships and struc-
tures; sadly, such assumptions
are at present ones of ideological
faith rather than rational dis-

ticularly through the school sys-
tem are the central concerns of
the other four essays in the book.
The essay by Nan Berger ex-
amines the network of laws,
many frequently archaic but still
in use, that allow adults total
control over children at home
and at school and that clearly
establish the complete disen-
franchisement of the child with
respect to any right except that
of protection from being beaten
to death-a right which can at
best be invoked posthumously.
Leila Berg's paper traces the
turbulent history of "progres-
sive"' educational sabotage adopt-
ed by the educational establish-
ment in attempting to discredit
educators like A. S. Neill and
Homer Lane. These men dared,
with some success, to introduce
a semblance of democracy into
their schools; they respected and
guarded the rights of their pupils
to dissent, to behave spontane-
nusly, and to have some influ-
ence upon the path and direction
of their own education. The arti-
cle by A. S. Neill himself out-
lines his approach at Summer-
hill and maintains that total free-
dom and an educational institu-
tion are not necessarily mutually

Today's reviews
A former Daily Books Editor, Richard Perry, became so
addicted to his reviewing (or perhaps to free books) that when
he became a full-fledged academic a year or two ago (at York
University, Toronto) he set up his own book reviewing agency,
which distributes free of charge several reviews each month to
college newspapers.
To recent reviews of the College Review Service appear this
week. Jay Leyda, author of the "Citizen Kane" review, is a lead-
ig film historian and is currently visiting at York. John Goidlust,
who reviews "Children's Rights," is a graduate student at York.
Lecture and Readings from Her Work
Tuesday, February 27
8 p m.
Rackham Lecture H all
SPONSORS: Center for Continuing Education of
Women, Department of English, Women Advocate's
in iies you to a/tend an
Informal Reception
4:00 to 5:30 p.u.
Itooli 13108 MLB

containing "Raising Kane," by
Pauline Kael, and the shooting
script of CITIZEN KANE by
Herman J. Mankiewicz and Or-
son Welles, with the cutting con-
tinuity of the completed film.
Little, Brown & Co., $lS; $5.95
0RSON Welles is still alive.
Will I be accused of syco-
phancy when I say that he's a
remarkable artist? Or will I
violate the laws of libel if I say
that it's difficult for him to tel
the truth? The two statements
are not necessarily contradic-
tory; they may even complement
each other. As time passes
Welles is tempted to claim total
ahorhi of eryhin god he
hstouched, whether the screen-
play of Citizen Kane or the radio
sensation of "The War of the
Worlds" (whose author is ac-
tually Howard Koch).
If one trusts what appears in

print, Welles wvrote not only Kane
but just about everything half-
way good in any picture he ever
acted in, and in interviews he's
beginning to have directed any-
thing good in them, too.
It could have been the free-
wheeling, generous-gestured in-
terviews that first made Pauline
Kael suspicious of some gap be-
tween the way Citizen Kane was
made and the way Orson Welles
says it was made. Interviewers
and their microphones have an
especially intoxicating effect on
Welles; he either forgets that his
words, when printed, can be
checked for their veracity, or he
counts on his elevated position
or artistic authority to dispose
of the "quibbiers'" - it's his
word against their petty objec-
In a London interview given to
The Observer, hedesiagstars-
lengthy correspondence with
Eisenstein. The interviewer was
alert enough to ask where Eisen-
stein's letters to Welles were.
His airy reply: "I threw them

away - I get a lot of letters,
yon know." Was there such a
correspondence? As Eisenstein
was less carefree with the letters
he received, I looked for Welles'
end of the exchange on my next
visit to the Eisenstein archive: -
not a trace! I believe it possi-
ble that the "correspondence"
could have grown in Welles'
mind from a single note (unans-
wered?) conveying Eisenstein's
congratulations after seeing Cit-
izen Kane.
PAULINE KAEL'S skepticism
has produced an extraordi-
nary book. In search of buried
facts, she has made the great
but logical leap from criticism
to history, and has given us the
year's best work of film history.
Hers is a book that is as good
and as original in its way as the
film it's written about.
She has newvly examined the
film itself, and has arrived at
some unexpected conclusions.
Pauline Kael calls Kane "a
"shallow masterpiece" (that ad-
jective must be swelling the lists
of her critics), a work in a "com-
ic-strip tragic" style. But she
still enjoys the seer exuber-
ance of the film, the bravura of
Welles' execution and perform-
ance, the success of this "collec-
tion of black-out sketches" ar-
ranged to comment on each oth-
It is when Miss Kael takes us
behind the scenes of Kane's birth
and production that the adven-
ture aspects of her historical ye-
construction begin, excitingly.
Chance plays a large role, bring-
ing Welles to the film at exactly
the right, balanced moment (not
too soon, not too late), and giv-
ing him amazing independence-
in one film:
Welles brought out to Holly-
wood from New York his own
production unit _ the Mercury
Theatr: comny, a grop f
count on - and, because he was
experienced in movies and was
smart and had freedom, he was
able to find in Hollywood people
who had been waiting all their
lives to try out new ideas.

how to read and wrte.
We teach them
how to save lives.
US -
The American Red Cross.
WNe dont know where
wdII be needed next.

After the arrival of the group
in Hollywood in July, 1939, there
was an embarrassing pause
while the subject of their first
film was sought. The idea had to
be one in which Welles would
have a substantial acting oppor-
tunity, and the first proposal of-
fered him two roles - in Con-
rad's Heart of Darkness, adapted
with John Houseman and Her-
bert Drake, a script very inven-
tive and requiring as much tech-
nical ingenuity as Kane. R. K. 0.
thought it would be too expen-
sive, and Welles turned to a po-
litical spy thriller, The Smiler
with the Knife, by Nicholas
Blake (C. D~ay Lewis). This too,
was rejected and, as time passed
too quickly, Welles grew des-
perate and tense and quarreled
with Houseman, who returned to
New York. Before this split o
the partnership, Houseman had
brought Herman Mankiewicz to
TN HER account of Mankie-
wicz's talent and background
Pauline Kael does a splendid
brief history of H-ollywood films
in the 'thirties.' and of the Al-
goni- to -"Hollywood group' o
writers. She has, in fact, rescued
Herman Mankiewicz from the
obscurity that is often the doom
of a witty intelligence. Here was
the first of the "people who had
been waiting all their lives to try
o't new ideas." He proposed to
Welles that they make a "pris-
matic" film of a man's life as
seen from changing viewpoints,
but his first suggestions did not
strike fire - Dillinger, Aimee
Semple McPherson, Dumas pere.
His next was H-earst and "Welles
leaped at it." Miss Kael guesses
that Hearst was in Mankiewicz's
mind from the first - he had
long wanted to treat that dra-
matic life: he had become the
embittered jester of Hearst's
certain parallels of Hearst and
The Citizen Kane Book does
an enormous service in printing
the original shooting script of
Citizen Kane, following which is
the cutting continuity. The
scrint is the film - the ideas,
the form, the ironic attitude -
everything fundamental in the
film wi's orenared in the shoot-
ing scrint. The cutting contin-
nity shows little more change
than the polish of realization. So
it becomes of mnore than nassing
interest that Welles was some-
where else when the scrint was
written by Herm an IVI'kiewicz,

kiewicz (who had recently brok-
his leg under tragic-comic cir-
cumstances) continued to devel-
op his ideas, we moved him-
nurse, plaster cast and all-up to
a place in the mountains called
Vitorville, about a hundred
miles from Los Angeles. There
we installed ourselves on a guest
ranch. Mankiewicz wrote (ac-
tually dictated to a secretary), I
mostl edited and theu rsge wa
dinner. At the end of three
months we returned to Los An-
geles with the 220 page script of
Kane . .Tis is ae edelicate sub-
sincerely felt that he, single-
handed, wrote Kane and every-
thing else he has directed -- ex-
Sghakespeare Buttthe scrip of
Kane wvas essentially Mankie-
wlcz's. The conception and struc-
ture were his, all the dramatic
Hearstian mythology and the
journalistic wisdom which hi
had been carrying around with
him for years and which he now
poured into the only serious job
he ever did in a lifetime of film
wv r i t i n g. (Penelope Houston,
Sight and Sound, Autumn, 1962)
And Miss KacI reminds us of
a general assumption in 1940:
It was understood that he
would take the credit for the
script, jnst as he did for the
scripts of the radio plays..
He probably accepted the work
that others did for him the way
modern Presidents accept the
work of speech-writers.
But there were too many
more urgent matters to discuss
credits just then, though the
real author prepared himself
for the coming crisis. Everyone
had to conceal from everyone
else that Hearst's career had any
connection with the film. The
"new faces" of the Mercury
actors had to be put to work be-
fore they would acceflt other
jobs that would mnake them less
fresh. The film had to be begun,
in spite of R.K.O.'s hesitations,
and the shooting of the script
was started, disguised as "tests."
ance to the project was the
contribution of its cameraman,
Gregg Toland, who had volun-
teered to work for Welles on any
film he chose to do. Here was an-
other artist whose "new ideas"
were to be revealed by Welles'
arrival in Hollywood, Miss Kael's
inquisitiveness and labor show
Toland's own background as
more vital to Kane's style - ex-
pressionist rather than realist-
than has ever before beene dem-
onstrated. Her spot-light on the
link between Kane and German
films of the 'twenties' gives us
a genuine surprise. We may have
sensed this, before; now we can
know it.
Hearst as a subject was an in-
spired idea. They knew they were
playing with fire, but this seems
to have sharpened everyone wh6
worked on the film. Unfortunate-
ly, it sharpened the enemy far-
ces too. By a characteristic, seWf
destructive stupidity, the Man-
kiewicz script got to Hearst be-
fore the shooting of Kane was
completed - and the war was
on. Miss Kael documents the
several attempts, conducted by
Hearst and his chain of news-
papers, to kill the film and keep
it from being released. The
most outrageous attempt was
Schenck's offer to R. K. 0's
president George Schaefer, of
$842,000 (the money appears to
have come from Hearst's rather
than M-G-M's pocket) if he
would destroy the negative and
all prints of this dangerous film.
Schaefer refused. The Hearst
papers were a convenient black-
mail weapon: even the Rock~efel-

ler family were threatened (the
messenger was Louella Parsons,
Hearst's Hollywood columanist)
with a double-page exnose of the
late John D. Rockefeller - and
the scheduled premier of Citizen
Kane at Radio City Music Hall
was suddenly cancelled. All
Hearst papers refused advertis-
ing for Citizen Kane (scaring
both theatre chains and local ex-
hibitors), and all connected
with its making found them-
selves under steady iralicios
attack. The price of R. K. O.
shares o, the market was driven
down with rumors of failure.
"By mid-1942 Schaefer was fin-
ished at R. K. 0."
THE FILM was seen by critics,
but never by enough of an
American audience to recover its
production expense. War shut off
the Enronean public. Hearst's
victory was only partial, but
Kane has had to wait for a new
generation to gain its full repu-
tation. Some of Welles' behav-
ior may have a psychological
i'nstificention: "Men cheated of
their due are notoriously given
to claimning more than their
Lest any reader feel sorry for
a Welles at the mercy of a mer-
ciless Kael, please remember

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