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February 20, 1976 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-02-20

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i THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Arts & Eneti m nFrdyFeray2,17 PageFive

I N

Pick of the week:
I w Chinatown
New World Film Co-op, MLBI
II Sat., 7, 9:45

cinema

weekend

-into hysteric fits of laughter.
Brooks and lead player Gene
Wilder penned a screenplay
around Mary Shelley's novel
that is many things at the same
time: a satire on the '303 horror
classic, a collection of beautiful
little slapstick bits, and some
sharp one-line joke writing.

The summer of 1974 is almosti
certain to be remembered as a distinctly modern sense of receives a standing ovation government by the Bolshevist
film release season that was abrupt horror and pacing. Aptly from the audience as he makes revolution. The r e v o 1 u t i o n
dominated by directors aided by superb perform ees his departure. touches everyone in Russia, and
es. The t by Nicholson and Dunaway, he Madeleine Carroll and Wlieprofoundly alters the life of an
creates an almost erfect por- M idealistic poet-doctor, Yuri Zhi-I
California Split and Roman Pa- trait of a long-forgotten eriod Watson give strong supporing vago. The war robs him of
lanski's Chinatown, were bothIin American politica itor performances, but the true sta family and pspri and cun
marked by some of the bes-DvdBoqst of the film is Alfred Hitcncock.teshmbwenheleso
behind-the-camera work seen in * * His tight direction maintins a .
an American film.in years. high level of suspense, wth a t women, his faithful wife,
Robert Towne's fine Chinatown'3, Steps great deal of lighthearted com-
screenplay is set in an atmo- Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud. edy intermixed. This combina-
sphere of corruption-the smoke- 'Sat., 7, 9:05 tion makes The 39 Steps a must. Zhivago is a highly emotional
filled era of machine politics 39 Steps clearly stands out as --Mitch Dunitz cinematography embody suffer-
t sndd th urban the finest British film made by ing, hatred, desolation, love and
tion andsdHvelhmet ofd Lbs Alfred Hitchcock, and perhaps Dr. Zhivago decadence amid the primitive
el His t c his best ever. . 'Bursley Hall Enterprises landscape beauty. Consider the'
generalized for almost any Robert Donat portrays Rich- Bursley West Cafeteria superb cast, including Omar
a terican cty,graft wntgrh ard Hannay, a man who :s un- Fri., 8 Sharif, Geraldine Chaplin and
adpltclgatwnhadjustly accused of murder. With: I Julie Chiristie, and it is no
in hand nearly everywhere in btspi and the olde. htn Perhaps the most challenging sure ht D ivago
the United States after the Civil both spies and the police hot on literary genre to adapt for film surprise that Dr. Zhivago re-
War ; his heels,, Hannay flees to Scot- ;s the "epic story." On the rare:tains its timeless appeal.
land. First, posing as a milk- occasions when directors nhave -Joe McMitken
Jack Nicholson portrays a pri-! man, and later jumping off a succasswhensdire tora
vate detective injected largely train, Hannay barely escaipes s tture tociema try
by accident into the seamy so- the police-only to eventu lly restin h invaibly
ciety of the ",boss" politicians, fallainto the hands of the leader beome classics. The 19v a aw What's playing this
as he attempts to fill in the of a sbeoecass.Te133awpy ring.I theeicGoneWth TheWind
missiing pieces of a strange puz- The film has many memor- the epic one i e in, An unusually varied cine
tle woven by a mysterious w'- able scenes, including one wshere Oth50s, Ben Hur. In the 1full Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
man (played by Faye Duna- Hannay ducks into a pub in screened by director David about every film style and per
way). order to escape arrest. Appar- Lean: Dr. Zhivago. George Cukor's Philadelp
Polanski deftly evokes the ently mistaken for a prominent :the finest products from the go
shadowy, 30s-ish image called London politician, he is forced The epic which Zhivago relates Roman Polanski's sinister m
for by Towne, yet maintains a to give a short speech. He then I is the overthrow of the Russian smbolizes some of the best
symblzssm ftebs

Young Frankenstein
Matrix

}
ii

Comedy is an exceedingly dif- Young Frankenstein is a
ficult commodity to handle on funny, funny film. You might
film. So much of comedy de- just die laughing-and love
pends upon fine timing-the d every minute of it.
veloped art of the performer --David Blomquist
precisely interacting with each
peculiarity of his audience. Twelve Chairs
But in cinema, of course, there Couzens Film Co-op
is no room for such a flexible Fri., Sat., 8, 10
interation: the same finished
product musthserve many dif- The 12 Chairs, Mel Brooks'
ferent audiences. One final cut post-Producers a t t e m p t at
must satisfy both the crowded wacky slapstick comedy, is an
Broadway theater and the de- enjoyable near-miss. Everything
serted Montana drive-in. 'should have worked: the locale,
Perhaps that's what makes the casting (Ron Moody of
Mel Brook's Young Franken- Oliver! fame), the zany plot,
stein such a unique film It can and really, it almost does. But
throw almost any movie viewer Brooks at the time (pre-Saddles)
-whether in New York or Butte suffered from two flaws.

1
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Cinema Weekend
ma weekend is on tap this
with a fine example of just
iod genre on display.
hia Story represents one of
lden age of MGM. Chinatown,
ystery from two years back,
work of contemporary Holly-

W-f

PTP's

'Purlie' transforms

poor music into a good show

By ANDREW ZERMAN
Y THE Professional Thea-
ter Program chose to pre-
sent Purlie as part of the Guest
Artist Series when they haven't
deigned to do anything more
commercial than Arthur Miller
for the last two years I don't
know. But PTP has done a rela-
tively good job with this show
- so who's complaining?
Purlie opened in New York in
1969 and was a moderate suc-
cess, significant primarily for1
bringing Cleavon Little, Melba
Moore and Nouvella Nelson to
national attention. It is one of
those rare musicals in which
the, book, based on Ossie Davis's
play Purlie Victorious, is strong-
er than the score. Too many
of the songs, writted by Gary'
Geld and Peter Udell, are neith-
er good on their own nor very
well integrated with the book.

morrow afternoon, neglects this musical's original Broadway
comic side of Purlie. His per- cast. Leach stayed on the right
formance was not nearly big side of the line between satire
enough-Purlie is a larger than' and burlesque.
life character.
AS THE Cap'n's son, Terry
DIRECTOR Von Washington Arment was a delight. Arment
may be responsible for this lim- emits magnetism and stage pre-
ited interpretation. In 'a direc- sence the way the rest of us
tor's note in the playbill he do carbon dioxide. He turned
says, "Purlie tells the age-old his unimportant, disposable song
story of a vigorous and valiant into a little show-stopper.
young man who has decided that Not enough thought seems to
he is going to stake his life on ' have gone into the staging of
obtaining freedom for his peo- most of the songs. Whether that
ple." was oversight or inferior work
Luckily, little of this produc- from choreographer Vera Em-
tion suggests that overly serious bree, I don't know. Either one
summation. But that quote still could result in the dullness of
might explain why all the wit the musical staging; neither is
of Purlie's overblown language excusable. Only Arment and
was underplayed. (Word has it Aycox really know how to "put
that Rhonnie Washington, who over" a song.
will p 1 a y Purlie tomorrow It was also a great mistake
night, is stronger in the role.) not to include a funeral proces-
The rest of the cast is excel- sion in "Walk Him Up the
lent, beginning with Tommye Stairs." The number is not only
Myrick as Lutiebelle. She is a great gospel celebration, it is
all-innocence and lovableness in quite funny when you realize
her ten - year - old's birthday it's supposed to be a funeral
dresses and she knows exactly and the spontaneous and un-
what to do with comedy. controllable joy that erupts
stems from someone's death.
SHE DOESN'T have the same That wasn't made clear enough.
flair for songs, however, and Under Washington's direction,
her two solos were the most most of the show's comedy
awkward of the show's several worked. The second act drag-
awkward numbers. Arguably, ged, but that's probably be-
both songs are out of character cause there's really no reason
for Lutiebelle, but that can't be for the show to have a second
remedied by performing them act at all. Diction, by the way,
without gusto and power. should have been much better.
Anna Aycox has a rich, This is not a socko Purlie but
creamy voice, and her songs it is a.livelytand funny one. I
were perhaps the most effective laughed a lot, tapped my foot
in the show. Hers was an hon-: some and had a good time.
est, intelligent performance. Consider it recommended.
William Leach was better as

wood. And King of Hearts, back on Friday for its monthly
appearance, is unquestionably one of the more notable
"cult".films.
This cinema weekend in detail:
Friday-Rancho Deluxe (Ann Arbor Film Co-op, MLB
r3, 7, 10); Smile (Ann Arbor Film Co-op, MLB 3), 8:45;
Philadelphia Story (Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud., 7, 9:05);
King of Hearts (Ann Arbor Film Co-op, MLB 4, 7, 9); They
h Live By Night (Cinema II, Aud. A. 7, 9); Little Big Man
(Mediatrics, 7, Nat. Sci. Aud., 7, 9:30).
Saturday-Chinatown (New World Film Co-op, MLB 3,
7, 9:45); 39 Steps (Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud., 7, 9:05); Little
' Big Man (Mediatrics, Nat. Sci. Aud., 7, 9:30); Hound of the
Baskervilles (Cinema II, Aud. A, 7, 9).
Sunday-Deep End (Cinema wuild, Arch. Aud., 7, 9:05);
Sunset Boulevard (Cinema II, Aud. A, 7, 9).
All weekend-Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (State,
662-6264); Mysterious Monster (Campus, 668-6416); The Man
Who Would Be King (Michigan, 665-6290); Young Franken-
stein (Matrix, 994-0027); One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,
The Hindenburg, Barry Lyndon, The Sunshine Boys (The
Movies, Briarwood, 769-8780)

The first was that the movies
were always too smart-aleck
and New York or showbiz "in."!
Middle America ignored them
because Middle America cotid-
n't understand parts of them.
When Bette Midler appeared
in Detroit recently, she made a:
joke about Brooks' 1968 film,
Producers, but no one in the
audience laughed. She groaned
that the joke was a bomb; that
drew a laugh. Midler thought"
the audience dense-the sad r
truth is that they didn't know t
what she was talking about.
i
The second flaw is that he
tnlked frankly over the heads?_
of the average filmgoer. By
Saddles, he had cheapened and.
vulgarized hishumor (such as
the campfire scene). But in
those early days, his humor was
of a tongue-in-check, silly-though
snotty variety.
But 12 Chairs has its high
moments, and is still worth a
look.

Shhh. Bip's returning
French pantomimist Marcel Marceau, shown here in one
of his classic poses, will return to the Power Center next
month for two special performances under the auspices of
he University Musical Society. The two concerts, scheduled
for March 6, follow Marceau's three sellout appearances
n Power Center last year.
DAILY CLASSIFIEDS
BRING QUICK RESULTS

-Jeff Selbst
New Orleans and Louisiana
faced a critical shortage of
roads during the colonial era.
River travel was extremely
slow. An average day's pro-
gress was about 24 miles.

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THE STORY concerns the ef-
forts of Purlie, a black preacher
in the South, to buy a churchj
with $50 that's been willed to{
his cousin Bea. Bea has died,
so he finds Lutiebelle, an ignor-
ant, timid and utterly adorable
girl, to impersonate Bea in frontf
of 01' Cap'n Cotchipee who has1
the money. Ol' Cap'n is the
villain of the piece, a bigot toc
end all bigots.-
It makes for a very silly f
story but a terribly funny script,z
because Davis cleverly satirizes
the rhetoric of civil rights and
of Southern racism. When Pur-
lie says blacks need "not frit-
ters but freedom, not cornbread
but courage," he's right ofe
course, but he's also so full of
hot air and fancy talk that we
have to laugh at him before we
"right on" him. Purlie doesn't,-
know when he's off the pulpit
or when he's preaching to the
converted. He's a hero, but he's
a foolish and overeager one,.
and that's the charm of the
show.
Rodney Saulsberry, who will
play the role tonight and to-
ORANGE
JULIUS:
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-
. H. E. Presents
D FRIDAY, 8:00*
ONLY SHOWING
BURSLEYv HALL WST CAFE
Admission $1.00
No Showing on Saturday at 8:30-
Disregard University Record

01' Cap'n than John Heffernan,

Andrew' Zermian s

The,

who played the part in the Daily's theater critic.
uM OFF
Huge selection!
F Over 300 skiing, camping and
backpacking parkas to
choose from.
~3
3150 Carpenter
Ann Arbor
971-4310

KATHERINE HEPBURN, CARY GRANT, AND JAMES STEWART in 1940
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
"One of the prettiest sights in the world is the privileged class enjoy-
ing its privileges." If that's the case, then this sophisticated comedy
directed by George Cukor and written by Philip Barry is a beautiful
film in scene after brilliant scene. Stewart won an Academy Award
for his role as a cynical but human reporter. Grant is great as a society
gentleman and the part of Tracy Lord was written especially for Hep-
burn.
SAT.: Hitchcock's THE 39 STEPS
CINEMA GUILD OLD ARCH. AUD. TONIGHT AT
Admission $1.25 7:00 and 9:05
NICHOLAS RAY'S 1949
THEY LIVE BY NIGHT
The original adaptation of Edward Anderson's novel, THIEVES LIKE
US. At times an old fashioned rough and tumble shoot-em-up, but this
film is chiefly a sympathetic look at a naive young fugitive and his
country sweetheart. Robert Altman remade this picture in 1974 and it
received a great deal of applause, but the original still stands strong )
under the auidance of Director Ray (Rebel Without A Cause) and pro- A

U~*Il~#***k

4

TONIGHT, Friday, Feb.20 in the MLB-
RANCHO DELUXE (Frank Perry, 1975)
MLB 3-7 & 10
Witty original comedy with a contemporary Montana setting Two rustlers live it up to the
consternation of an establishment rancher who is also being fleeced from inside. Sly and

i

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