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October 02, 1977 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-10-02
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Page 6-Sunday, October 2, 1977-The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, 4

FILM/christopher potter


priva te


Getting to the heart of

B YTHE MERES'T chance, I hap-
pened across a late-night showing
of East of Eden on TV last weekend. I
didn't make the discovery until the film
was half over; still, mostly out of lack
of anything better to' do on a
frustratingly dank Saturday night, I
settled in to half-interestedly watch the
remainder of a movie I already knew
almost by heart.
It may have been the pronounced
isolation of the late hour, it may have
been the demonstrative stimulus of a
six-pack I had close at hand. But I shor-
tly found myself transformed from a
casual spectator into a rapt semi-
participant, tears streaming down my
face, trapped in shaking absorption
over young Cal Trask's wrenching,
doomed efforts to gain the fatherly love
he always lacked. James Dean, dead
and forever young at 24, had cast his
midnight spell once more, and I once
more lost, utterly.
I first encountered Dean and East of
Eden during the initial stages of high
school, in the early phase of a swift
descent into the most unbearable years
of my life-a plunge many of us took;
into the dregs of academic and social

disaster. While sinking progressively
deeper into a pit of snubs and
loneliness, I discovered the catharsis of
Dean. Dean, who with Eden transfor-
med Steinbeck's unmemorable Cain
and Abel parable into a catalytic light-
ning rod through which to shout the
frustrations of a generation.
Suddenly I had found a spokesman
for my helplessness. In some sensory
manner he knew my agony, felt my
rage, felt like screaming along with me
at a world that had cast us both in the
unwilling role of outsider, of undesired
oddball amidst a peer group which
remained tolerant at best and
crushingly derisive at worst. I knew,
of course, that close commiserator was
long since dead; still, in an unfocused
but immensely relieving way, I felt less
D EAN WAS certainly the ultimrte
beneficiary-practitioner of a mes-
meric showbiz quality known simply
and inadequately as charisma. It is an
amorphous entity to define and a
maddening non-equalizer among per-
formers since it often has little or
nothing to do with acting ability.

What is it that rivets a basically
limited thespian like Humphrey Bogart
in the collective American con-
sciousness, while more talented con-
temporaries like Spencer Tracy and
Edward G. Robinson languish on
celluloid back shelves, preserved
mainly in the minds of nostalgia cultists
and specialized film groups? What
makes the essentially monotone-ish
Marilyn Monroe a pulsating symbol of
triumph and tragedy, while consumate
actresses like Geraldine Page or
Maggie Smith leave only the remotest,
hazy impressions on our minds?

Duvall manages to immerse himself so
completely and convincingly into his
various characters that despite his
major roles in the Godfather films,
most audiences have trouble even
recognizing his face.
Movies are, in theroy at least, a
reflection of ourselves, and I think most
of us long to look slightly bigger than
life. And in many cases a naturalistic
actor like Duvall seems almost to get
swallowed up on the screen. It's
terribly unfair, aesthetically, of course,
but unavoidably the nature of the entire
film genre.

T HERE WAS A TIME when Leonte Valladares
got a buck more for most Ernest Heming-
way novels he sold.
When customers would come into his Key West
bookstore to buy a copy of To Have and Have Not,
Valladares, like a car dealer trying to sell a set of
whitewalls, would offer them an option on the
book-with our without Papa's autograph. And if the
customer was willing, there was one more dollar in
Valladares' cash register at the end of the day.
The 74-year-old Valladares, who still refers to the
author as "Ernest," would take a stack of the novels
over to Hemingway's house on gracious Whitehead
Street "and he would autograph as many as I
needed," the bookstore owner brags. "He would sit
for 15, 20 minutes just signing books for me."
There are no more autographed Hemingway novels
left in Valladares' Duval Street bookstore. Just a few
paperback copies of some of the books sitting in a

Ernest Hemingway started
Leonte Valladares out in the
book business and, in turn,

Valladares -



morning paper to the auth-
or 's front door. Above all,
the two were friends.
By Ann Marie Lipinski

J WAS DETAINED at the office last Thursday, and when I finally arrived
at the club there were no open tables. Across the room I saw Steve andK
Frank beckoning to me.
"Our rubber's almost up," they said in unison. "Both sides are vulner-
: able, so if you can stand to kibbitz a few hands, you should be able to cut in
I hesitated, since normally I abhor kibbitzing, but they had said only "A
Xfew hands," so it shouldn't be too unbearable. Besides, Steve's and Frank's
opponents were Bruce and Mark, which promised to be amusing. You sees
Steve is undoubtedly the finest card player in the club, while Mark is possibly
the worst. Whenever those two are at the table something interesting always
pops ups
While Jeff, who was sitting East, dealt, I found a chair and sat behind
Mark opened the bidding witha weak 2 diamond call showing 6-12 high
card pointsand a six card diamond suit. The bidding proceeded as follows:
East(Jeff) South(Steve) West(Bruce) North(Frank)

"What makes the essentially monotone-ish Marilyn Monroe a pulsating symbol of
triumph and tragedy, while consummate actresses like Maggie Smith leave only the
remotest, hazy impressions on our minds?"

Why do some performers like Burt
Reynolds suddenly at mid-career
stumble onto the charismatic
wavelength, while others, like Dustin
Hoffman, seem just as suddenly and
inexplicably to lose it? Charisma is so
nebulous and brutally inequitable, yet
when we find it we indentify so need-
fully: "Yeah, that's how it really it. He
(or she) really knows." "Boy did I have
a lousy day today-Bogie would under-
And on it goes with our collective
grasping for gut-level represen-
tatives-we can admire a Gene Hack-
man, but we can root for a Jack

But mere film-to-film audience
familiarity is not automatically
synonymous with limited acting
ability. Often we tend to demand that our
favorite performers do the same thing
again and again; we want to hear the
voice, see the mannerisms we've grown
comfortable with over the years.
During the entire span of the 1960's, we
found Marlon Brando playing what
amounted to a subtle parody of himself
during the course of an endless string of
dud movies he somehow managed to
get himself trapped in. His techniques
of mocking both self ajd film were
multi-leveled and invariably
fascinating, but in his mercurial way

afford a belt, but I like to bj
"That's when Ernest a
books. I told him I didn't k
He told me he would take
ners in New York and pr
this day, I've never recei
ners for that first shipme
Hemingway got som
prominent place on the
work, and his own persona
"Everyday after that I
a Chicago Tribune," rer
when he would seeme he v
in and we will have a drink
of us, and drink Tres Cepa
On an island where
priceless, Valladares'
prisingly modest. There
homely, corner bookstore
affinity with the famous a
the billboards that hang
bragging that the bar was
West watering hole. And t
flooding the store like the
mansion to soak up the a
ence. No one really know
friends. And Valladares ik
me?," he asi
knowledge of ti
But when coaxed to reco
Hemingway's suicide-a
\"people should just forget
glisten with tales of the at
hunting trips, and with ac
contests his and Hemingw
afternoon. The judges wei
and Valladares' wife, and t
cone. Despite his fathe
Hemingway's son was a
Valladares recalls, and t
won the contest and the i
temper was inherited, hov
and Papa's son never co
boxing bout first.
The house where Vallada
brandy with Hemingway w
native stone, the white,
dominated a corner of bany
where Hemingway resided
in 1961. Tall, handsome da
lawn, and inside, in a stu
triumphs, Hemingway once
the Bell Tolls, A Farewel
Kilimanjaro and the Macou
The residence-turned-mu
run by tourist guides now,
occasional artist will drop
fee to enter and sketch the
deliers wife Pauline hung tc
fans. The island's liter
Hemingway, now led by '

Ann Marie Lipinski, (
Photo by PAULINE LIUBENS Daily, came upon this .S
interin. tthe Mc i H

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