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November 02, 1972 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1972-11-02

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hursday, iNovemDer L, '~ IL iriL Ml(,.h~iSN VAILY 1'age Three

Thursday, November Z, 197Z


Page Three

The Residential College Players
The House of Bernarda Alba
8:00 P.m.
November 2,3,4, 1972
341 S. Main-769-5960
DANCING: 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Due to space limitations, advertising clos -
ing may occur prior to regularly announced
In all cases, advertising will be accepted on
a "first come-first serve" basis.
-The Daily Business Staff

Duke Ellington
A "legend in his own time," Duke Ellington will be presented, with
his renowned group of musicians, by the University Musical Society
as a special Benefit Concert Nov. 11 at 8:30 in Hill Aud. Tickets
available in Burton Tower Box Office.


To attempt the filming of A
Separate Peace is, unavoidably,
to be forced to make a great
film, or at least to try. There is
no room for creating a modest
little film out of the John
Knowles novel. The same stig-
matic pressure will befall those
who try to make movies out of
The Catcher in the Rye or any
"modern classic."
So, then, immediately I was
pleased as well as distressed to
learn that they had made a film
version of A Separate Peace. For
as much as I was anxious to re-
experience the fond and sad
images of Gene and Finny im-
mortalized in celluloid, I was
also wary of the possible ugly
bowdlerization of great litera-
ture into romantic fish food for
the piranhas of Middle America.
After all, is this not a time of
nostalgia (a time to look back
even to those spare days during
the second world war, because
everybody then had a purpose
or thought they had one)? And
is there not a market for "com-
ing of age" movies a la Summer
of '42 - lazy exhortations made
erroneously in the name of Sen-
sitivity (not to be confused with
Sensuousness, another style in
vogue someplace).
Magnify my fears by at least
ten upon hearing that Larry
Peerce, whose last effort was
Goodbye Columbus, would be the
Upon seeing the film, however,
I was somewhat relieved. My
greatest fears had been unfound-
ed, for the film was undoubtedly
made with an amorphous grasp
of the beauty in the novel, for it
is all there: the quiet campus
at Devon, the war on the edge
of everyone's thoughts, and the
two boys - intelligent, studious
Gene and the phenomenal, ath-
letic Finny.
There are also the classmates
-the immaculate and aggressive
Brinker and the quiet, childish
nature of Lepellier ("Leper"),
played superbly by Peter Brush.
And there are the scenes of Gene
and Finny at the dean's tea, at
the beach, in the gymnasium,
and, of course, in the tree, where
the action footage of Finny's fall
is handled with enough ambig-
uity to puzzle the viewer as
much as Gene; the actualization
of Gene's blind impulse of ha-
tred was filmed in confusion,
just as Gene's thoughts surround-
ing the impulse itself were con-
The novel was short; conse-
quently there was no big prob-
lem in editing to find the really
representative sequences. No,
the whole treatment would be
one of attitude, of mood.
Unfortunately, t h r u g h a
slight but persistent heavy-hand-
edness, the film obstructs the
grand and lofty images of the
hazy fight between good and
evil, primarily through Peerce's
insistence on capturing all the
"perfect moments" and indeli-
bly etching them into our memo-
Part of the film's heavy-hand-
ed flavor consists in the all-too-
frequent interludes of tinkling,
melancholy piano, but basically
it is the tendency to hold the
camera too long on most shots,
as if there are simply vast
mountains of significance to be
gleaned by gawking at the same
This ultra-slow trigger on the
camera is given free rein on
the close-ups of all the boys, es-
pecially Gene. Peerce seems to
be trying to make up for the lack

of turmoil that Parker Steven-
son, playing Gene, is able to
Gene must be, of course, the
focal point of the film-for it is
he who discovers the twilight
zone of love and hate within him-
self which actually dooms peo-
ple with the simple vitality of
Finny. In the novel, Gene won-
ders if Finny was, indeed, doom-
ed. It is this inner turbulence
in Gene that renders the war ef-
fort vague and enigmatic, for
the battle against evil inside
Gene strangely parallels the bat-
tle against evil that the students
want to enlist into: nothing is
black and white anymore.
Such subtleties are simply ab-
sent from the film, primarily be-
cause of the same blue-eyed va-
pidity with which Gene's face
again and again responds to
life's mysteries. The trouble is
that there is a naivete behind his
expression which would tend to
make one believe all things are
a mystery to him.
The flimsiness of Gene's char-
acter is in no way a result of any
intended shift in emphasis from
the original work. The beginning
and closing scenes with the adult
Gene (the body of the film is a
flashback) place an obviously
great burden on Gene's role. For
the muted grey colors of ap-
proaching winter in these scenes,
the man forlornly craning his
head into the wind to stare at
the very tree he shook his best
friend out of - this is a pic-
ture of a man whose emotional
life has been a draining, tor-
mented one.
At the picture's close, the man
says he did not cry when they
were lowering Finny into the
ground because "one doesn't cry
at one's own funeral." But the
rest of the film did not strike
me as sufficiently traumatic to
merit such thoughts: the film's
slow-aced smoothness belies the
silent suffering that its charac-
ters endure. This is not to say
that A Senerate Peace should
resemble the subconscious psy-
chological volleyball of such
jarring films as Hour of the
Wolf, but neither should it flow
as serenely as Summer of '42,
which it does.
This serenity, this recurring
dissolve of green, leafy trees
rustling in the wind to a shot of
Gene wilking - it pervades the
entire movie. The boys in the
film, although at prep school,
come into almost no contact
with any authority whatsoever.
It is almost as if they are ludi-
crous Charles Schultz charac-
ters in Peanuts, uttering their
simple profindities in a world
void of authority. For instance,
Finnv to Gene as they lie side
by side at the seashore: "In this
teenage period in your life, the
best person to go to the beach
with is yor best pal. And that's
what you are."
The depiction of Finny, Gene,
Leper, and the rest as boys who
are alone in some secluded
vacuum would not be an utter
prostitution of Knowles' ideas.
But it does not work here be-
cause the acting is simply not
strong enough to evoke the trans-
cendant aura of mythicality that
must surround a character like
Finny, and which actor John
Heyl cannot convey while simply
swimming or excitedly running

A Separate Peace:
Flawed adaptation


about in his jockey shorts.
Perhaps the moving literary
images of the characters, Finny
in particular, would come alive
if transmitted through compari-
son with the stuffiness of De-
von. But there is no dynamism,
political or otherwise, lent to the
"School vs. Finny" opposition;
little is made of his obsession for
breaking rules.
The rebellious twist of A Sgpa-
rate Peace has, no doubt, been
downplayed to allow the melan-
cholia to blossom. One has only
to think of Lindsay Anderson's
If ... and Malcolm MacDowell's
characterization of the free spirit
virtually fighting for his life in

FILM-The Film Co-op is
Aud. A at 7 and 9:30.
about the film:

presenting Fellini's Satyricon in
Daily reviewer Rich Glatzer says

.A _ _ - _. ..... _ . _..

a morass of authoritarian dead
weight to see how wishy-washy is
the cinematic Finny.
It is a bit surprising to find
a film so utterly apolitical, espe-
cially one that deals with the
war. One'recruiting officer,
speaking to a group of enthusias-
tic students at Devon, starts off
by saying he wants to make
things "perfectly clear." The ob-
vious reference to Nixonian log-
istics, which the young men will-
ingly absorb, has the effect of
negating any awareness one may
have sensed in the students.
The only residue of feeling that
the film evokes is that of with-
drawl, of Leper, AWOL from the
Army, melodramatically curling
up into a womb-like pose as he
lies in the snow in his Army
coat, silhouetted against the
stark white, while Gene looks on
helplessly and Charles Fox's
poor imitation of a Michel Le-
grand score oozes in from the

U ntverstity
A NATURAL A exciting.'
University Symphony Orchestra, Theo
Alcantara, conductor; Hill Auditor-
O ium, Tues, Oct. 31, 8 p.m.
x Stravinsky - Monumentum pro Ge-
- suado;Haydn - Symphony No. 45 in
Fsaarsminor; Strauss-Also Sprah
The USO 's concert Tuesday
night may have not been the
most technically perfect example
{ - , of its playing I've heard, but the
R group generated more excite-
ment than I think I've ever
x heard them produce.
Part of this was due to the
exquisite close of the Haydn
;E*{ . I { 4symphony. The nickname "Fare-
The Queen's Favorite
SY{ . . t i..
/ :ie / - . 4"
{ y
+ S
Honored to have as its patron, Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Elizabeth, the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra of London pays its third visit to Ann Arbor under the direc-
tion of its Conductor for Life,' Rudolf Kempe. On the program is Samuel Barber's
Second Essay for Orchestra, Op. 17; the Violin Concerto in D minor by Sibelius,
featuring the young Japanese violinist, Teiko Mahashi; and Tchaikovsky's Symphony
No. 6 in B minor, the "Pathetique."
Performance in Hill Auditorium, Saturday evening, November 4, at 8:30. Tickets
from $3.50 to $8.50.
CJI AT TCTr A T C1 trirTL7Tv

well" comes from Haydn's none-
too-subtle hint to Prince Ester-
hazy that his musicians needed
a vacation; the last section of
the symphony has the parts drop
out one by one, leaving only two
violins at the end.
The lights in the auditorium
were dimmed to candle level,
and after the final portion be-
gan, grew progressively dimmer,
while the musicians left in
small groups. At the close, Al-
cantara was left conducting the
two violinists, and at the last
note,, the lights were extinguish-
ed. The effect was extremely
beautiful, and the simplicity of
the idea was matched by the ele-
gance of the tranquil music. In
this moment I forgave the horns
their early sputterings (although
there were, to be honest, some
clear, precise, spots) and the
ragged entrances of the violins
in the first movement.
There was some raggedness
in the Strauss, too, mostly in
the waltzlike section in the sec-
ond half, but my overall im-
pression was one of great ten-
sion and excitement. I had
never had the opportunity to
hear Zarathustra in a live per-
formance, and cliched or not,
the opening measures were
awesome merely because of the
fullness of the sound, under-
lined with the rumblings of the
organ that just can't be dupli-
cated on records.

Fellini's Satyricon is a film everyone should see. It
is a visual delight filled with bizarre characters and
fantastic landscapes. There are monsters and gods and
witches and mortals - all of them gathered together
in Fellini's imagination and made to populate a decay-
ing Roman Empire. It is all rather surreal and dream-
like, just barely in touch with reality- yet just enough
that we recognize it. Fellini himself calls it "a science
,fiction film projected into the past."
Cinema Guild is showing program eight of the
American Underground Retrospective in Arch. Aud. at 7
and 9:05. The Library Film Series presents Lover's Quar-
rel with the World, with commentary by Carlton F. Wells,
from 3:30 to 5:30 in the UGLI Multi-purpose room.
MUSIC-The University Philharmonic, with Josef Blatt con-
ducting, gives a concert at Hill at 8.
DRAMA-The RC Players perform Lorca's The House of Ber-
narda Alba at 8 in the RC Aud. Mozart's Bastien and
Bastienne and Grass' Max, performed by the Student
Lab Theatre, can be seen at 4:10 at the Frieze Arena.
ART-Ann Arbor Women Painters present their 21st annual
exhibition in Rackham Gallery; Union Gallery open to-
day from noon until 5; exhibition of works by George
Bayliss in the Exhibition Hall of the College of Arch. &
Design; University Museum of Art features etchings from
the 16th century to the present.
* * *
Information concerning happenings to be Included In
Culture Calendar should be sent to the Arts Editor c/o The



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Patrick J. Conlin-
Washtenaw County's youngest judge-
received more votes
than any other candidate
in the August primary for the
Circuit Court.
Here are some of the reasons why. Voters know Conlin represents
youth arnd experience, and that he believes in:


accountability " public access to all records
reform of the bail bond system
administrative reorganization of the Circuit Court
integrity of judicial office
expansion of the Public Defender's Office
support of county Alcohol Safety Action Program
fair and firm handling of every court case

Paul Williams
NOV. 18, 8:00 P.M.
TICKETS: Reserved Seats-
$3.50 $4.50 $5.50
M~cKennv. Unin

Voters know Pat Conlin's background.

1 ;,C-4. i -- - . -,r I - 1, 0- -4-




. lifteme resident of Wasntenaw County

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