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October 25, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-10-25

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The Michigan Daily-Tues3*y, October 25, 1977-Page 7

'Joseph Andrews'

gives money's worth

Joseph Andrews is Tony Richardson's second screen adaptation of a Henry
Fielding novel, the first being the ever-popular Tom Jones. Like its predecessor,
the film is a bawdy, freewheeling excursion through the not-so-dainty world of
seventeenth-century England, with an emphasis on fast-paced action and slapstick
humor. Joseph Andrews just wants to have fun, and achieves its goal by piling
episodes on each other so quickly you barely have time to catch your breath. The
movie is a cheerful bit of tomfoolery, and by the time it ties up its complex series of
loose ends, you'll have gotten more than your money's worth of amusement.
Kubrick's Barry Lyndon was stately and elegant, portraying the lives of
those too crusty and high-society to ever get excited. Joseph Andrews exposes the
other side of the coin, as the characters are led through a world of rotting
debauchery. At one point the heroes are captured by a group of gothic perverts so
obsessed with death, they garnish their dining room with skeleton-supported chan-
deliers and torture instruments. The mood of the film is nevertheless one of
rollicking fun, derived largely from the happy knowledge that we are light years
away from this wretched era.
The plot unravels slowly at first, but eventually manages to work up more

confusion than I care to recreate here. Suffice to say that Lady Booby (Ann-
Margaret) has the hots for her young footman (Peter Firth), a "gentle boy" whose
true love is a plain young girl named Fanny Goodwill. After being fired for his un-
willingness to fulfill Lady Booby's desires, Joseph meets up with his love, and the
two of them go off with a priest friend, planning to be married. Along the way they
encounter several people who tell them stories about children stolen at birth,
stories that eventually prove there's more to Joseph or Fanny's backgrounds than
meets the eye. The intertwined stories are eventually unwound, determining which
baby was stolen from where and who is therefore related to who. It's no surprise
when things turn out for the best.
Despite the involved, multi-stranded plot, Joseph Andrews takes a while to
get moving. What little comedy there is in the opening portions is restricted to
clowning buffoonery by the stock seventeenth-century movie grotesques that per-
meate the film, Even more than the detailed, accurate Barry Lyndon, this film
abounds in the repellingly ghostlike faces of men and women laboring under poun-
ds of makeup and false beauty marks. Along with these types are thrown in a selec-
tion of obese, big-lipped scowlers, whose lives seem to be carried on amidst a
flurry of barn-floor hay and slop. In spite of the fact that such a slobbering collec-
tion of crazies has been put on the screen before, Joseph Andrews manages to get
many a good laugh out of its deranged gallery of creepies. A big-nosed local

magistrate is told that three men bore false witness, and without a moment's
thought he strikes the three of them dead with a single bullet. A more-than-slightly-
senile physician complacently examines an obviously stone-dead corpse, listening
for the heartbeat, and finally comes to the conclusion that the stiff customer is in-
deed dead.
The first third of the film contains little more of interest than such episodes,
but before too long the plot begins to develop its terminal thickness. Many of the
story turns are confusing, as the film moves choppily, in skips and bounds. Torn
Jones utilized a similar life-at-high-speed feeling, but Richardson kept the frenzied
pace constant, and the viewer was kept on guard. Joseph Andrews' movement is'
more inconsistent; new characters come crashing in unexpectedly on all sides,
and the essential rhythm of the story is often lost. Although most individual scenes=
are successful, the tendency is toward stringing action sequences together, as if
Richardson felt compelled to keep the whole thing moving. Joseph Andrews lacks
the smoothness that can make a contrived plot slide by without your worrying'
about it,
But what the film lacks in stylistic perfection is more than made up for by
the good-natured vitality of the humor. A few fight sequences are superb,
especially one in which a woman discovers her husband with the local wench and
proceeds to fling a freshly-dead and bleeding chicken over everything in sight. The
priest who travels with Joseph and Fanny has many fine moments of comic befud-
dlement, as his mind is always three seconds behind everyone else's.
In general, all the perormances involved are fine, especially Peter Firth's
innocent but courageous Joseph. Ann-Margaret - who has seemingly graduated
permanently from the roles where acting meant tight sweaters and a cooing
pussycat voice - is perfectly devious as Lady Booby (almost embarrassingly ap-
tly named), her moments of stifled control in perfect counterpoint to her purrding
seductions. Buffs will also recognize, as Joseph's older sister, the girl who played
one of the children in Mary Poppins.
The film's climax in which the true scheme of family relations is sorted;
out - doesn't have quite the force of Tom Jones' conclusion. This is due largely toy
an inherent weakness in the plot, which lacks the romantic rivalries and overlaps
that sparked Tom Jones. Joseph remains pure to the end, with Lady Booby's ad_
vances providing the only sexual twist in an otherwise straight love story.
Ultimately, Joseph Andrews never takes itself seriously enough to allow its;
romantic undertones to dominate. Joseph and Fanny are the only likeable peopkd
in the film who are also sane, and Richardson's style is too tongue-in-cheek to let us,
care about the outcome per se. This film may not be as completely successful as
Tom Jones, but is nevertheless jolly good entertainment.
- ..i. ... ._______ E- "11 ""I l

Avoi 'dLove


at all cost

TV is not an inventive medium. There
was a time when television portrayed
old people as sweet old grannies or wise
old grampas; people who sat in rocking
chairs and knitted, unless they were
getting up to take their constipation
medicine or clean their dentures. Sud-
denly a change occurred; the old gran-
nies rode motorcycles, and the gram-
pas jogged to the store for the Dentu-

There's nothing wrong with either
image; only neither is true alone. The
first might be stifling to an active
senior citizen who wants to do more
than the Bingo-crazy stereotype allows,
while the second might by physically
TV is partial to Jekyll-Hyde charac-
terizations. The typical TV woman is
either a dingbat or a rabid woman's
Libber. Pychiatrists are omniscient
Viennese with goatees, or worse

'Love Transfusion


treat from Rockets

Take a look at the state of art in rock
and roll these days, and chances are it
won't look all that promising. The pop
professionalism of groups like Fore-
igner and Fleetwood Mac might seem
repulsive to you in its commercialism.
Or the punk rockers, who are trying to
recycle the energetic hard rock of the
original "punks" like the Stooges and
MC5, may be equally repulsive in their
philosophic stance. If you need a shot of
traditional rock and roll to recover,
listen to Detroit's Rockets on their first
album Love Transfusion.
The Rockets have a list of rock
credits that would impress the' most
discerning groupie. Lead singer Dave
Gilmer is a survivor of a period in the
wilds with the Motor City Madman, Ted
Nugent. Lead and slide guitarist Jim
McCarty was a. member of Mitch
Ryder's group, Detroit, as was drum-
mer John Badjanek. Dennis Robbins,
slide guitar, comes from the South
where that technique is deeply rooted
and has played sessions with the Drif-
ters. John Frata, bass, was also a
session musician, having done a lot of
work for Motown.
Love Transfusion was recorded on
Tortoise International Records and is
being distributed by RCA. The new Tor-
toise label was formed by Don Davis,
former Stax producer, who worked on
Trower's new album as well as this one
by the Rockets.
: The songs on Love Transfusion are in
the vein of early Seger: plain ol' good
rock and roll. The Rocket's make great
use of the tradition started by Chuck
Berry and his interpretation of R&B
and by the Rolling Stones handling of
Berry. If you have ever seen the
Rockets (who usually play at the Red
Carpet Lounge, Detroit's prime rock
club on the city's "respectable far- east
side) then you know that they concen-
trate heavily on R&B material and lots
of Rolling Stones.
Fast Thing In Detroit is the best ex-
ample of how the Rockets can rock. The
tempo of the song is indicated in the
title. It churns along with McCarty
throwing in these short Johnny B.
Goode licks. The chord changes here
are the most original of the whole al-
bum. Another good rocker is She's A
Pretty One, which hints slightly at the
Stones' Gimme Shelter for its melody.
The interesting thing about Love
Transfusion is that it has the greatest
number of songs, six out of nine, with
slide guitar leads in pop music history,
not counting the Allman Bros. Band.
McCarty and Robbins definitely have

the technique down pat and can damp
their slides with the best. These types of
leads fit in nicely on the Rockets' three
slow ballads, of which Ramona is the
best. They make unique use of slide on
Looking for Love, a boogie not to be
associated with a similiarly titled tune
by J. Geils, where it is played through a
voice synthesizer for a very good effect.
If there is one thing the Rockets
aren't on this first album, they're not
innovative. Their songs are based
around the same chord progressions
that have been going down for years.
But there is a potential expressed in
Love Transfusion through the musical
ability of the Rockets.;
I have already mentioned the ability
of the guitarists. They are botl1 equally
talented, no denying about it. Gilmer
holds his own as a rock singer,
possessing a decent range and strong
voice control. He can sing in the scat
style of -Arrowsmith's Steven Tyler,
only with clearer enunciation. The rhy-
thm section has no problem driving a
song, another must in maintaining the
energy of any rock song.
Whether Love Transfusion will get
the Rockets into the national spotlight
or not will remain to be seen, and will
depend on the album airplay and styles
in other markets other than the
hometown. My guess js that it is strong
enough to get them booked as a warm-
up act on a concert tour. But con-
sidering that other Detroit-based
musicians had to struggle mpny years
to reach that stardom,tthe Rockets may
well be destined to that long, hard climb
as well.

maniacs than their patients. Children
are either spoiled monsters or geniuses
who make fools of their parents. The
rule isn't a hardfast one; Mary Richar-
ds isn't a dingbat and only mildly
feminist, and Bob Hartley is a human
phychologist. In general, name a char-
acter and television has two personali-
ties for him, each equally annoying.
A case in point is The Love Boat,
which should be avoided every Satur-
day night at 10:00 p.m. It's alleged star
is Galvin MacLeod, as the captain of a
luxury liner. I say "alleged" because
MacLeod appears only briefly in each
episode. Either he has a terrific con-
tract, or his part embarrasses him.
The concept of The Love Boat is sim-
ple; each week, a group of people board
the ship, fall in love, get into hilarious
situations, and get off again. It's an
adolescent idea to start with, and it gets
worse. Everyone falls in love at fight
sight. After being smitten, they confide
to the ship's crew who then play'
The characters are of the Jekyll-
Hyde variety. On one show where the
pattern was followed faithfully, there
came on board an elderly English lady
and her nephew. Elderly English lady
two obvious choices. Either she's a
proper prude, or an eccentric old bat.
Nephew - either spoiled or a smart

aleck. As it turned out, it was the old bat
and the smar aleck combination. On the
same episode, there was a group of re-
tirees from a rest home; either a de-
crepit batch of near corpses or ... 'As it
turned out, they were the Motorcycling
Granny type; alternately jogging,
dancing or playing poker all night.
The Love Boat started as a made-for-
TV movie. Its success spawned a sequel
and then the series. It is presumable
that someone must be watching and en-
joying these idiotic escapades. Ac-
tually, that's not too hard to under-
stand. As escapist entertainment, the
shipboard romance genre is ideal; love
at first sight, an exciting romance with.
no responsibilities, and if it doesn't
work, the romance is over at the end of
the voyage. That's the secret message
behind the common ending to all the
subplots in each episode; the couple
says farewell and promises to keep in
touch. A happy ending, certainly, but in
two senses. The successful conclusion
of the romance satisfies the viewer, and
the promise of "I'll keep in touch"
relieves him from any anxiety about
the feasibility of a lasting relationship
between the two characters.
As for the Jeckyl-Hyde syndrome,
there is hope, and the hope is on Satur-
day nights, too. At 8:30 on CBS, the
seeker of real people can watch Weve
Got Each Other. It's about a man who
stays home and does the cooking, and
his wife who goes off to the office. The
acharacters can't be summarized in lit-
tle "catch-phrases." The writing is ex-
cellent and the acting is superb. We've
Got Each Other has faults, but the prob-
lems are minor next to the enjoyment it"
will bring to people who are avoiding
The Love Boat.


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applies to calls dialed direct within
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through Friday (norning, and from
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You might want to turn your parents
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an inexpensive way to keep in touch.
For more information about Budget
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money, call your Michigan Bell
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tRe nn arbor film cooperative
Tuesday, October 25
r i
(Sidney Lumet, 1976) 7 & 9:15-AUD. A
A box office smash in 1976. NETWORK savagelv satirizes the twiliaht zone of

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