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December 04, 1977 - Image 9

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Michigan Daily, 1977-12-04
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Page 8-Sunday, December 4, 1977-~The Michigan Daily

f 'ilm
(Continued from Page 3)
with the industry's earlier apple pie
timorousness. Hollywood is always
late catching wind of what's going on
around us; Rage caught on-early,
and quickly paid the price of its
clairvoyance.
4. Prime Cut (1972) - Every
would-be critic needs at least one
cinematic joker in the deck through
which to glorify his own idiosyncratic
insight. Prime Cut is my own
candidate for movie-least-likely. I
know of no other American filmwrit-
er who has ever penned a favorable
review of this picture. Well, folks, I

assure you that they're all wrong and
I'm right. I think Prime Cut is one of
the most diabolically funny black
comedies I've ever seen.
Its nebulously haywire story in-
volves an ongoing confrontation be-
tween old-line Chicago gangsters
(represented by Lee Marvin) and
upstart Kansas City country mob-
sters (headed by Gene Hackman).
It's city slickers vs. farmboy shar=
pies, with no real heroes emerging on
either side.
R UMOR has it that Prime Cut's
plot was originally intended to be
played straight, but that director
Michael Ritchie soon realized how
utterly hopeless that approach would
be and decided to play the whole
thing tongue-in-cheek. If so, then it's

a brilliant metamorphosis. Prime
Cut wallows around in such ostensib-
ly unappetizing subjects as murder,
white slavery and hot dogs made out
of people, but it's done in such a hilar-
iously absurdist style that I can't
imagine anyone this side of L. Brooks
Patterson taking offense to it.
Yet the comparatively small num-
ber of critics who paid the film any
attention invariably railed away at
what they perceived as a serious,
gruesome drama. Their intonations

were manifoldly single-minded:
"L o a t h s o m e, disgusting, etc.,
etc. ..
Good grief, people, have you no
appreciation of the ridliculous? Is my
sense of humor simply altogether too
Martian? Could be. As I sat con-
vulsed in laughter watching Prime
Cut, I kept getting nettled looks of
suspicion from the couple of dozen or so
other, silent spectators grimly watch-
ing the film ("Goddamn pervert, what-
cha think's so funny?).

I

p erelman

'l

krasny

(Continued from Page 6)
estate. Though technically answerable
to the city administrator-and, less
directly, to the mayor and council-he
is given virtually free rein over every
level of the department's operations.
There are several reasons why this is
so. Traditionally, police chiefs are
given wide powers of discretion. The
nature of their work makes it im-
perative that they be free to act quickly
and decisively in an emergency. It is an
old axiom in city government: You
don't get in the department's way
unless you've got a damn good excuse.
Moreover, Krasny is an old and
seasoned hand; he's been on the force
for 36 years, much longer than the
relatively fly-by-night administrators
and politicians who are his official
superiors. A mayor serving a two-year
term, for instance, will think at least
twice before telling Krasny how to do
his job.
Born Feb. 28, 1918, in Brighton, Krasny
attended Eastern Michigan University
and Michigan Normal College before
joining the department in 1939. He
became chief of police in 1966, just in
time for the student uprisings of the late

'60s and early '70s, in which-at one
point-radical groups laid siege to City
Hall.
During those turbulent years, Krasny
earned a name as a cool-headed cop
who preferred to meet with his op-
ponents in private rather than confront
them on the streets. That reputation
has stayed with him through dozens of
crises-most recently a University
labor dispute in which he was accused
of acting as "Fleming's
strikebreaker," and the public outcry
over a young black.man shot to death
by one of Krasny's patrolmen.
Since his position subjects him to
constant public view, Krasny plays a
close and careful game. He prides him-
self on his candor and accessibility, and
takes pains to pass information and
responsibility upstairs to Sy Murray's
office.
"There's a framework of authority4
here," he says. "As long as I stay
within that framework, I've got a pretty
good range of independence. But I still
can't tell them 'the hell with you;' they
could take my job over tomorrow if
they wanted."
That possibility, however, seems
fairly remote.

(Continued from Page 3)
ously and, shuddering like gourmets
who had blundered into a Mexican
taco shop, stalked off.
P ERELMAN THRIVES on the pre-
sumption of his fellow travellers,
he flourishes under the incompe-
tence of bureaucrats, he blossoms be-
fore the insolence of sales clerks and
barbers. And he accomplishes mir-
acles when chronicling his own peev-
ishness and the petty vindications
which he affords it.
There are a number of marvelous
selections, most too lengthy to quote
in full here. There is his striptease
before a tourist booth in the Istanbul.
Airport, an encounter in Turkey with
a "troupe of waiters whose antics
topped anything ever seen in vaude-
ville or music hall", and a run-in with
an Israeli barber ("With an insolent
flourish, he yanked off my apron .
and gestured toward an array of
bottles. "How about some real Israel
Chutzpah?")
As always in Perelman's cranky
travelogues, his finest hour is his return
to his homeland. Perelman is at his
best when spoofing the foibles of
Hollywood - namely the "losers of
beauty contests, Texas gigolos, na-
ture fakers, shoe salesmen and
similar voyeurs, absconding bank
cashiers, unemployed flagellants,
religious messiahs, and jail bait."
Predictably, therefore, the crowning
achievement of Eastward Ha! is
"Back Home in Tinseltown":
... There was ... no decline of wit-
lessness in the flicks at the local
picture houses; still available to
kiddies from six to sixty was a
nosegay that included Texas Chain
Saw Massacre, Sizzling Topless Wid-
ows, and Boys in Their Nest Agree. A
porno shop with a dazzling inventory
of sexual cacti bloomed between Vine
and Ivar, outside it a band of exaltes
chanting appeals to passersby to
spurn its wares . . . It was fringed by
half a dozen educational foundations
bearing" such names as the Institute
of Oral Love, Climax Prep, Dr.
Unameit's School of Ecstasy, and
Bondage Unlimited. Their peda-
gogues, a group of lovelies whose
necklines revealed them to be
stacked like buckwheat cakes, were
evidently on sabbatical, since they

were crouched in doorways groom-
ing each other's hides for fleas and
puffing on reefers.
Eastward Ha! is not without flaws.
Cartoonist Al Hirschfeld ("a pair of
liquid brown eyes, delicately rimmed
in red, and a beard which would
engulf anything from a tsetse fly to a
Sumatra tiger") accompanied Perel-
man in Westward' Ha!, and these
tales are a little less focused without
the sidekick. And in the first few
chapters, Perelman's relentless pur-
suit of voluptuous travelling compan-
ions (which always end anticlimac-
tically with a phrase like "we agreed
to meet later, but she must have lost
the address") wear a bit thin.
They're harmless, light anecdotes, but
they lack the strength to glue together
Perleman's occasionally disjointed for-
mat.
T HINGS take a turn for the better
in a chapter about Russia, "The
Millenium - and What They Can Do
With It", but I wondered what
happened to Perelman's ever-patient
Laura, "a broth of a girl with skin
like damask and a waist you could
span with an embroidery hoop." I
miss her.
Nevertheless, Perelman is still one
of the leading writers of contempor-
ary American humor. I recommend
Eastward Ha! - all of his books, for
that matter - to everyone. Buy it if
you're depressed. Buy it if you're not.
Lend it to a friend. Bequeath it to
your grandchildren.
howard,
(Continued from Page 6)
"Their function is to make policy,"
he says of the Board. "But in terms
of the day-to-day operation of the
schools, the superintendent has to have
a lot of latitude.
Latitude is something Howard rarely
lacks. And when support for one of
his proposals isn't immediately forth-
coming from the Board, he has been
known to closet himself with individual
Board members to convince them of
the validity of his views. But he never,
never crosses them.
"You learn a lot in 30 years of ad-
ministration, after all," he says.

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white

(Continued from Page 7)
expensive to repair.
Born in University Hospital in 1942,
St ol
(Continued from Page 7)
an executive committee member (and
one-time chairman) of the Citizens'
Association for Area Planning (CAAP),
an often strident opponent of rapid city
growth. He is a member of the Urban
Area Transportation Study group
(UATS), which recently completed an
exhaustive and critical study of the
city's traffic flow problems.
And Stoll's fingers are in a few
governmental pies as well: he is
chairman of the county Board of Public
Works, an eight-year member of the.
city's Building Board of Appeals, and
head of the mayor's ad hoc committee
on solid waste disposal. These positons
link him to both city and county ad-
ministrations and give him the ear of
many an elected decision-maker. His
efforts seem to have started paying off,
too.
"More and more," he says with a\
touch of pride, "citizens are realizing
they can't rely on the commercial and
bureaucratic interests to do what's
right. They're starting to take things in-
to their own hands."

White grew up in Ann Arbor and gradu-
ated from MSU in 1965-just in time to
be taken into his father's company as a
vice president. During the early '70s, he
tried making it on his own with a com-
pany called Randolph Management.
His father's impending retirement,
however, called him back to Wilson
White, where he was named president.
White, like most local landlords,
avoids publicity whenever
possible-one generally hears from him
through his lawyer. "I maintain a high
reputation among my professional
associates-and a good relationship
with my tenants-by not engaging in
public dialogue," he says.
Nor are White or his fellow landlords
especially active in the political
sphere-except when they feel
threatened. "The only time I've ever
seen them really come out into the open
was when City Council was debating
Rent Control," says Councilman Louis
Belcher (R-5th Ward), who considers
himself a personal friend of White's."
But ower flows in many different
channels. White has served for several
years as treasurer of the Ann Arbor
Board of Realtors, and has a great deal
of influence in the city's real estate
community. How that community acts
will determine to a great extent the
kind of people who can afford to live in
Ann Arbor for many years to come.

t

.: _. . .
-u
.. Y

inside:

sundar magazine

Susan Ades

Co-editors

Jay Levin
Tom O'Connell

Books: Ho, ho, ho!
It's Perelman' s
Eastward Ha!

Film: Potter
picks three
underrated fli

Elaine Fletcher

Associate Editors
Cover photo design by John Knox.

Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor; Michigan-Sunday, December 4, 1977

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