'Thursday, October 9, 1975
t"HE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, October 9, 1975 IHE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five
By JIM FRISINGER
Although the Marx Brothers have always done
well in Ann Arbor and The African Queen and
Casablanca always seems to turn up one one
film schedule or another there is one movie
only that stands out as the most popular on
campus, only one that could truly be called a
cult film here.
That film is King of Hearts.
Last summer a film group in Ann Arbor ran
King every Wednesday for 12 weeks to enthu-
siastic audiences selling out several perform-
ances and doing nearly as well at the end of its
run as at the beginning.
Directed by the French New Wave's Philippe
de Broca, the film opened in Paris back in
1966 but was such a box office dud that the
director closed the ticket window to let every-
one in free and still they wouldn't come. Indeed,
despite the director's present eminence in the
world of cinema, King of Hearts remains un-
known in his own country to this day.
In the U.S., however, in playing out one of the
most incredible rags-to-riches stories in filmdom,
the movie has earned over seven times as much
money in its re-releases than it did during all
of its first run showings.
De Broca had been in film for years working
as an assistant to Francois Truffaut in The
Four Hundred Blows and with Claude Chabrol
in three others. Finally, de Broca got tired of
working for others and in his own words told
Chabrol: "I am fed up with fetching your
cigarettes. I want to make a film of my own."
Chabrol agreed and became the producer for
his first two films.
The American premiere in 1967 of King was
little different than what had happened in
France with many critics panning the film in-
cluding Time magazine which said of it:
"Nothing about this comedy wears well."
Although it bombed in most of the country it
did very well in certain cities including Ann
Arbor where it played to good crowds at the
As a financial proposition, however, it was a
Then something strange happened.
On February 11, 1971 King of Hearts was
added as the bottom feature of a double bill at
a small art theater near Harvard University.
After four and a half years it is still there,
making it the longest running film in history.
In the film, Alan Bates plays a Scottish
soldier sent into a small French town, aban-
doned by retreating German troops, to disarm a
huge bomb they have left behind. All of the
residents quickly depart but in their hurry
have left inmates of an insane asylum behind.
In the process of finding the bomb, Bates
stumbles into the inmates' world and finds
himself become the King of Hearts soon to be
married to the Queen (Genevieve Bujold ip one
of her first screen appearances).
The message is light but thoughtful, counter-
pointing the innocent childlike world of the in-
sane with the self-destructive world of thg
civilized sane. Bates is hilariously caught in
between, and must make a choice for himself.
A sampling of those who come back to see the
film yields some insight into its popularity. @te
moviegoer, on her way to see the film for the
fourth time said, "I love this movie . . . it
makes me think there's hope in the world."
Another, seeing it a second time, described it
as a "pleasing, mellow film that makes me
feel very happy."
It is the philosophy of the film that draws the
audiences as other cult films have done in recent
years particularly Harold and Maude and the
Billy Jack movies.
It is a feeling of the celebration of life which
King of Hearts emotes that reminds one of the
follawing sequence from Harold and Maude.
Eighty-year-old Maude tells young Harold:
"Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even.
Go, team, go. Live. Otherwise, you've got
nothing to talk about in the locker room."
"I don't want to die," says the King of
Hearts to the Queen.
"No one knows his own death," she answers.
"I've only three minutes to live," he con-
"Three minutes!" she replies, eyes shining,
"three minutes is great!"
Surveys done at Seattle's The Movie House
indicate that half of the audience has seen it
before and that half of those have seen it at
In Cambridge one fan has seen it 86 times.
In Ann Arbor, however, an audience sampling
revealed that only 10 per cent had seen it
before, evidence both of the rapid student turn-
over here and that many students have never
been able to see the film before because of its
Frequently screened on the Michigan campus,
King of Hearts is by all means a worthwhile
expenditure of a mere two hours time.
Daily Photo by E. SUSAN SHEINER
Comics are king at
'Eye of Agamotto'
I_______-by chris kochmanski--_-__
The Eye of Agamotto is the .
amulet worn by comic book,
character Dr. Strange and is the
name of Ann Arbor's only storec
dealing solely in comic books c
and related materials.
The Eye, located upstairs be-:
tween Tice's and the Stadium
Restaurant at 340 State, is run
by Norm Harris, a University
graduate. Regular customers t
know Norm as a personable fel-
low who'll discuss comics seem-
ingly with anyone at anytime. :
"Comics are limited appeal
entertainment," he told me.
"Most stores are pressed for
space and have only one comic
rack, if at all. Some of the
smaller companies and lesser
known titles are usually droppeds
fram the racks atogether."
But the Eye of Agamotto storet
carries virtually every title a
collector or casual fan couldc
possibly desire. Add to that backr
issues, collector's items, and3
comic paraphernalia such as
calendars, posters, and special
Norm's biggest selling titlesi
are Conan the Barbarian, Dr.
Strange ("I can't keep it in
stock for more than two
weeks"), and the new Howard
the Duck, all members of theI
Marvel Comics Group.
Sales at Harris's store are not
indicative of nationwide sales
but point out the emergence of!-
Marvel Comics as leader both
in circulation and reputation.
Marvel, under the direction of
dynamic publisher Stan Lee, be-
gan its meteoric rise in the ear-
ly '60s with the creation of the
Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.
The Eye still sells perennial
favorites Superman, the Bat-
man, and the Flash (from the
DC comics group), but his or-
der forms show that these aren't
quite as big in demand.
Harris observes that most
monthly comics (with one not-
able exception: the Tomb of
Dracla) are "churned out."
One must look to bi-monthlies,
he says, to find any kind of
quality. "Comic books are no
better or worse today than they
ever were. Some are good and
some are bad. Unfortunately,
the good ones have a tendency.
Norm admits that it's difficult
to keep up with all the titles,
especially those in the Fantasy
and "Sword and Sorcery" fields
-Conan, Kull, Kong, Tor, Thon-
gor, Beowulf, Warlock, Warlord,
Kilraven, and Deathlok, to
name a few.
But "business is good,"he
says, and judging by the ten or
twelve customers - some buy-
ing as many as 20 comics -I
filing in and out during our'
SYDNEY (UPI) - Australia's
missile destroyer HMAS Perth;
completed a 13-month refitting
in August at Long Beach, Calif.
During that time the ship's
complement of 333 men didn't
Thirty-one of them got mar-
Professional Theatre Program
ARTHU R MItLER S J
BEATH SOF A
O(CTOBE:R 8- 12 ~ .
AIWED -SAT 8PM i SUNDfAY AN'1
short interview, I'd have to
Now I am left in eager anti-
cipation of something I saw ad-
vertised in Harris's store - a
giant-sized $2 comic book pitting
the two giants of comicdom
(from rival publishers, no less!)
is a modern film great
A NOSTALGIC RETROSPECTIVE
OF CLASSIC. 1950's TELEVISION
A 150 MINUTE ORGY!I
S ii p e r in a n and Spider-Man By JAMES VALK of purposes - the arbitraryI
against each other in one fan- Francis Ford Coppola's The morality drawn by wiretapper
tastic battle. To be released Conversation stands as perhaps Harry Caul in refusing to relate
around Christmas. the most hailed film of the last information that may result in
The Eye of Aganotto is open calendar year. But thanks to the 'ultimate' in foul play.
for business Monday through classic lack of support from Coppola launches a thunderous
Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. Remem- commercial distributors, only a assault against pre-Watergate
ber, Norm buys comics as well. small portion of the national mentality, juxtaposing ideologi-I
* * film audience has been exposed cal intent against a contrived,
Mosher-Jordan resident phil- to his most brilliant effort. melodramatic backdrop. Not
osopher "Doctor" David Greer Coppola originally shelved the since Costa-Gravas' Z has a
says: "I don't know if Barry idea for The Conversation be- thrust been so decisively deliv-
Goldwater exists. I guess, in cause of insufficient financial ered, begging some rhetoricalI
some people's eyes, that makes support. But with the financial response that echoes as hollow
me an agnostic." success of Godfather and God- as the lunacy of the issue it-
"Doctor" Greer, an under- father IT, Coppola received self.
graduate majoring in Vagrancy, carte blanche to develop his in- Conversation seems strong on
can be heard every Sunday tellectual endeavors. His God- a purely cinematic level. Gene
night (or Monday morning, if father successes have, in fact, Hackman, as Caul, performs
von will) from 1 to 4 a.m. on given him unparalleled auton- perceptively, standing almost as3
WRCN-AM. omy to develop into the most in- a figurehead of paranoia -
,,* novative force in American cin- squirming and crawling his way
The "Ann Arbor Triangle" - ema today. through Caul's twisted, con-
is it fact or fancy? In the future Even for a filmmaker whose - -- - -- - -
months, Daily staff writer visions of moral ideologies and -
James Valk will explore in vindications have become legen- N I
depth the mysterious disappear- dary, the outrage Coppola ex- NOON
ances of scores of automobiles presses in Conversation is espe-HOMEMADE
within Ann Arbor city limits. cially shattering. Using a struc-
NEXT WEEK: "Canada: the ture of interlocking plot lines, jFRI AY
Sleeping Giant at Our Doorstep" Coppola creates a basic paradox '
Coppola deftly introduces re-
alistic technical wizardry to em-
phasize the plausible structure
of Caul's character. From the
opening sequences, Coppola
clearly demonstrates the power
of invasion that is at hand - a
thrust that is dictated by the
conscious declaration of those
who accept the command.
It is here that the real roots
of the film lie, with Coppola
manipulating Caul as a puppet
of corrupted rationale, ultimate-
ly demanding solace as his self-
assured form of iteiiized veto.
It is this starving mentality
that Coppola strips of its covers,
bringing it to surface in a film
that stands as some of the fin-
est film-making in the last few
r r i
-f-o-- "---" -
PROF. RODERICK GILKEY
Dept. of Psycholog
AKIRA KUROSAWA'S 1945
THE MEN WHO TREAD ON
THE TIGERS' TAILS
A delightful 1 2th Century Japanese tale of a
lord (disguised as a porter) trying to escape
through the mountains with his vassels (dis-
guised as monks). An interesting turnabout
and a successful adaptation of Kabuki drama.
FRI.: Brando in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
CINEMA GUILD TONIGHT AT OLD ARCH. AUD.
G9:30 Admission $1.2s
A psychological study of a woman's mental dis-
integration. Watch for the stunning editing of
her psychotic visions of childhood, present, fu-
ture; husband, lover, demon. Filmed largely in
the Irish countryside. Starring Susannah York
and Rene Auberjonois.
TONIGHT at 7 & 9
in Aud. A, Angell Hall
FRI.: WOODY ALLEN NIGHT in MLB
WH ERE HOUSE RECORDS
Streak! Streak! Falling for the oldest trick in the
books, Lois is caught on the ropes. But what's a
little twine to the man of steel?
GROUCHO MARX IN
YOU BET YOUR LIFE (1955)
Groucho's insane contestants tonite include the zoo
keeper from San Francisco who sleeps with the ani-
mals! Don't miss the Mad Duck who pops in when
the Secret Word is said!
CHECKERS SPEECH (1953)
Accused of accepting bribes, the former President
responds with the most transparently fraudulent
and hysterically funny speech in the history of Amer-
ican politics. This one will bring the house down!
ELVIS PRESLEY ON ED SULLIVAN (1955)
Pure magical nostalgia as Elvis pounds out Love Me
Tender & Don't Be Cruel. And he was censored from
the waist down!
OZZIE AND HARRIETT (1957)
Don't miss it. Called Father's Night At The Frater-
nity, this one features R i c k y pounding out some
Golden Oldies. Also stars the absurd Wally!
THE LONE RANGER (1952)
The very first episode! In which we learn why the
Ranger dons his mask and how he meets Tonto! A
howl from start to finish.
PLUS: Burns & Allen, Ted Mack Amateur Hour,
Liberace & Special Surprises!
TUDEE kIle'!ITC flWI V-E.; Ca. R ..
SHOWS TONIGHT AT 7 & 9
OPEN AT 6:45
THE UT M 'AT EXPERIENCE
PIS NEY'SGREATPIONEERING VETUREIS
THE SEASON'S HIT RE VI VAt! N.- .g
"AN INCREDIBLY REVOLUTIONARY FILM...
THE MIND CAN RUN RIOT~ Th NYWj 'k,k
MICKEY'S GOOD DEED
SHOWS TONIGHT AT 7 & 9
l T C I C O LM A , R A
G._,.; //. TA CEMBASSY RELEASE
Monday, Oct. 20th-8:00 p.m.
.....RU *E~ A1 b. ..... Em .-"1 n