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August 16, 1974 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1974-08-16

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Friday, August 16, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

cinemQ weekend

Pqge Five

Picks of the week:
Bergman weekend
Hour of the Wolf
Cinema I
Sat., 7:30, 9:30
Ingmar Bergman has explored
the themes of maddness in
film more than any other film
maker. The interesting aspect
of this is that he is able to deal
with this theme over and over
and can offer new insights in
each work. One of his best in
this genre is Hour of the Wolf,
a tale of maddness and suicide
on a lonely Swedish island.
Max van Sydow portrays an
artist, who, with his wife, Liv
Ullman moves to an island in
the North Sea. While there he
is plagued by ghosts, monsters,
and traumatic memories of his
past, all in a surreal light. His
wife, out of her intense love
for him, begins to live in some
of the fantasy of her husband.
It is never made clear whe-
ther the apparitions are really
there or not. Bergman explores
the power of insanity in a way
that borders on the real, we
never really know if what we
see is the product of a madman,
or if we are going mad.
The questioning of everyday
reality is also an important ele-
ment in this film, and Bergman
frames his scenes in a halflight
that adds to the surrealistic. An
excellent film that poses many
important questions about the
mind.
-David Warren
Winter Light
Cinema II
Fri., 7:30, 9:30
A small church in Sweden is
the setting for Winter Light, a
film that deals with the dilem-
ma of religion, and its applica-
tion to the atomic. In'gmar
Bergman has made another of
his excellent films about the
human condition.
Gunnar Bjornstand is the min-
ister of the parish, whose mem-
bership is dwindling at a rapid
rate. His relations with the
parishoners is meaningless, be-
cause he cannot relate any of
his clerical training to their
plight. His mistress, Ingrid
Thulin, a drab school teacher,
cannot understand his feelings
of inefficacy, but throughout the
film tries to give him some
meaning to his life.
The film spans one day in the
minister's life, from morning
mass, with an attendance of
five, to vespers in the evening,
when no-one attends. He goes
through the ritual, but he is
mechanical, and hollow.
Bergman exhibits his feelings
about religion, and the loss of
meaning of ritual to the com-
mon man. Moreover, he also
shows the doubt that must come
from a man of God who does
not have the ability, or faith
to cope with the modern world.
-David Warren
His Girl Friday
Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud.
Sat., 7:30, 9:30
Howard Hawkes film remake
of the stage play Front Page
was made in 1940, and was re-
named His Girl Friday. It stars
Rosiland Russel and C a r y
Grant, giving a very strained
performance.
This is the story of Hildy
Johnson, a woman reporter re-
cently divorced from Walter
Burns, her editor. They both
get involved in trying to stop an
execution of an innocent man.
Throughout the film, Hildy
threatens to marry another
man, portrayed by Ralph Bel-
lamy, but in the end Walter
wins her heart again.
This is a funny film, with

some great dialogue, but much
of it is lost because of poor
sound. The direction is good,
but it will seen apparent why
Howard Hawkes got the repu-
tation for being the hardest di-

rector to work for.
-David Warren
Jules and Jim
Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud.
Fri., 7:30, 9:30 ,
Jules and Jim (1962), directed
by the unique and captivating
French filmmaker Francois
Truffaut, is a highly sensitive
film about a romantic triangle.
There is comedy, but not high
comedy, and there are melodra-
matic moments. but, the most
noteworthy aspect of Jules and
Jim, is the way Truffaut man-
ages to understate everything.
Thus, if you go thinking it's an
entertaining film, you're bound
to be bored within 15 minutes.
Jeanne Moreau is the girl ev-
erybody wants but can't have;
Oscar Werner, the stone face
from Farenheit 451 is excellent
as the husband with seemingly
everything: Henri Serre plays
the friend of the family beauti-
fully. During its time Jules and
Jim was alone in the race for
"meaningful" films. Today, it
may be perhaps one of the most
meaningful films of all time.
But it's still not great.
-Michael Wilson

100 years ago. One was the Sand
Creek Massacre (1864), and the
other was the Wounded Knee
Battle (1889).
Director Ralph Nelson, one
of the most inconsistent Holly-
wood talents to emerge from
50's television, took these two
catastrophes of - American His-
tory and turned them into a
quasi-metaphorical document-
ary - apparently he cannot
make up his mind.
Avco Embassy pictures pro-
duced this film to supposedly
show the degradation and hu-
miliation we subjected the In-
dians to so long ago; their facts
about the massacres are cor-
rect. Yet why did they choose to
star Candice Bergen, which only
makes the picture 30 times
harder to take seriously? Why
pick a director like Nelson, who
has done congenial features
like Soldier in the Rain (1964),
Father Goose (1964) and Char-
ly (1968)? It's one big super-
ficial mess, and there's a Chey-
enne massacre of U. S. soldiers
at the start which has no place
in the film's intention. The dia-
logue is "hip", unfortunately,
and the unfortunate thing is

Michigan Daily

The Whole Town's
Talking
Cinema Guild, Arch. Aud.
Sat., 7:30, 9:30
The Whole Town's Talking
(1935) is an extraordinary John
Ford feature about a meek and
mild white - collar worker who
looks exactly like Public Enemy
No. 1. Edward G. Robinson,
who by now had already defined
his razor-edged Little Caesar
role with an almost incredible
flair for gangster-like flamboy-
ance, plays a tough dual role as
both the clerk and the gang-
ster. Jean Arthur is his sweet-
heart.
Originally a W. R. Burnett
story (he achieved f a m e
through Little Caesar, Scarface,
High Sierra and Asphalt Jun-
gle), Talking was a distinctive
John Ford vehicle, a gangster
story with practically no vio-
lence and lots of laughs.
In the same year he directed
Talking, Ford also received an
Academy Award for his bril-
liant Informer, and directed
Steamboat Round the Bend in
the process.
There is no other director
then or now who can equal a
track record like that - it's
like hitting three grand slams
in one baseball game.
Jean Arthur lends a tough ex-
terior to her portrayal of Bill,
the sweet Eddie G's sweetheart;
she was the infamous heroine
in all these Frank Capra come-
dies and has made a career out
of being pure professional. She's
charming, and so is this film.
-Michael Wilson
Soldier Blue
Friends of Newsreel, MLB
Fri., 7:30; Sat., 9:30
Soldier Blue is one of the
bloodiest movies ever made, and
for this reason alone it is hard
to qualify the film as an un-
precedented disaster. Flop, or
nonsense, may be a better
word.
Starring Candice Bergen, who
in her spare time does Harper's
Bazaar covers and insists she's
just "waiting for the right
script", the film is a semi-
fictional fountain of human
blood based on two actual mas-
sacres that took place almost

these real massacres are left in
a cloud of Hollywood dust.
-Michael Wilson
Butch Cassidy
State
Butch Cassidy (1969) marked
the directorial downfall of what
once looked like promising tal-
ent in the backbone of one TV-
turned-movie director George
Roy Hill, the man responsible
for last year's slick Sting and,
the year before, a disgusting
adaptation of Slaughterhouse
Five.
Hill threw away his profes-
sionalism in accepting these
last three assignments, and sold
out to cigar-chomping phony
Hollywood executives that en-
gineer sucker campaigns which
involve milking box office suc-
cesses like Butch for every
dime before Television makes
an offer they can't refuse.
Thus Butch Cassidy graces
our viewing screens for what
seems like the 19th time and
it's still the same boring cast
with the same mechanically
profound William Goldman
screenplay about two "groovy"
bank and train robbers in a
hurry to get to the cemetery.
Katherine Ross, the outstanding
idiot of the cast, delivers her
lines so badly only the wretched
"Raindrops" musical sequence
can make you feel worse,
Director Hill, who once engi-
neered the excellent Henry Ori-
ent (1964) and Period of Adjust-
ment (1963), is the perfect cap-
tain for the Newman-Redford
battleship; he salutes them on
time with the proper and effec-
tive close-ups to cover up any
reason for the two stars to act
even meagerly if at all. Watch
for TV's Lurch from the Ad-
dam's Family in an incredibly
hysterical cameo role during
the first 15 minutes.
--Michael Wilson
Serpico
Briarwood
The Movies
One of the more celebrated
films to come out last year was
Sidney Lunet's interesting Ser-
pico, an independently-financed-
outside-of-Hollywood produc-
tion (which is why it won no
.Academy Awards) starring Al

Pacino in the role of Frank
Serpico, the New York City
Cop who wouldn't take a bribe.
Most of the film is pretty
accurate in describing his ups
and downs as he made the dis-
appointing rounds with New
York's Finest. There is a dis-
turbing superficiality about
the whole thing, yet it is hard
not to like Pacino's brilliantly
effective characterization.
Most of the supporting actois
are straight from television
commercials and Walt Disney
commercial features (one not-
able actor in the cast has sev-
en Disney losers under his belt),
which may explain why Paci-
no's is the only outstanding per-
formance. His relationships out-
side the force, with his two girl-
friends and the Serpico family,
are almost laughable in their
trite overstatedness.
The on-location scenes in
Brooklyn and Manhattan do
nothing but lend a strange
aura to the already sinking pic-
ture as many real-life ghetto-
dwellers gaze thoughtfully at
the camerastand Pacino during
take after take. The musical
score by the Greek musician
who did Z is annoying, but the
photography and Big Al seems
to make it all worthwhile.
-Michael Wilson
The Golden Needles
Briarwood
The Movies
There is something absolutely
weird about The Golden Nee-
dIes. It has to be the most biz-
astro and insensitive monstros-
ity to ever come out of Ameri-
can International Pictures, the
company responsible for Roger
Corman and all these Poe Hor-
ror Movies along with some
landmarks in film history like
The Trip, The Wild Angels and
Beach Blanket Bingo. All of
these oldies had either Don
Rickles or Vincent Price in ca-
noes doing shtick while the frus-
trated and bloody humour of
the sick screenplay would end-
lessly churn on - they were
absurd and funny. But Golden
Needles is completely devoid
of humor. In fact, I think they
actually want us to take Joe
Don Baker (the hero of Walk-
Ing Tall and Making Money)
and this farce about six magic
needles that possess the im-
mortality power seriously.
However, be forewarned: it's
all quite fascinating, and the
violence is so twisted and
imaginative you'll find it hard
not to watch.
Cobras, Karate, Nuns, claus-
trophobia, Burgess Meredith-
this one's got it all. If you're
interested in-seeing what the
advertising executives mean
when they promote a picture
like Golden Needles as "Incred-
ibly exciting" and one that has
"GUTS", go see what every-
body's talking about. Ann Sou-
thern, Jerry Van Dyke's old
mother from the My Mother
the Car TV series, has a cameo
role. I think she plays herself.
-Michael Wilson
Lady Sinqs the Blues
Briarwood
The Movies
This is hyped-up Hollywood
melodrama at its best, smooth-
ing over screenplay rough edges
like heroin addiction by merely
toying with the idea and not
necessarily getting involved.
Diana Ross gives an effective
drowsiness to the eyes of Billie
Holiday, but her part never gets
off the ground.
The problem is in the sterile
direction (Sidney Furie, who's

one hit, Ipcress File, seems
more like a fluke everytime he
makes a new picture), the cast-
ing (Billy Dee Williams as Holi-
day's Lover Man is about as ef-
fective as his portrayal of
Gayle Sayers in Brian's Song on
TV), and the soundtrack (when
you're not listening to the hor-
rible strains of Michel Le-

grand's violins as Billie is haul-
ed off to jail, you have to put
up with Diana Ross' imitations
of Billie Holiday's songs - why
didn't they use the real ones
and just dub since they dub all
her stuff anyway?).
The only person in Lady worth
looking at is Richard Pryor, the
piano man who gets Billie her
first job. He is a frantic mess
and quite effective. Otherwise,
Lady Sings the Blues is just one
slick piece of slack slush.
The a d d i c t i on sequences,
which are so ridiculous the
film turns into comedy at these
low points, are painfully glossed
over, and give us no clue as to
why Billie was hooked on music
and dope. Eventually, Lady
seems pathetically tired.
-Michael Wilson
Uptown Saturday
Night
Briarwood
The Movies
Don't get suckered into paying
the high price for seeing a low
quality feature like Uptown Sat-
urday Night - the advertising
campaign probably costs double
wvhatever cheap budget they
filmed this mess on. Just be-
cause some big names like Bill
Cosby, Sidney Poitier and Harry
Belafonte were involved the pro-
ducers obviously felt little
things like set design, cinemo-
tography and acting were sec-
ondary.
This nonsensical garbage,
which rightfully belongs on TV
as a made-for-nausea-full-length
feature for the Major Flop of
the Week, concerns a group of
witty, sarcastic and lower-class
blacks that surprisingly bear a
slight resemblance to entertain-
ers Poitier, Cosby and Belafonte
who obtain a winning numbers
ticket in the midst of a frenzied
night at a local gambling house.
The place is robbed, the ticket
taken, and the plot grinds into
gear. Poitier directed Uptown,
and does little better than his
last directorial downfall, Buck
and the Preacher (1971). Bela-
fonte does a funny Marion Bran-
do imitation straight from the
Godfather but the joke pales
after two minutes-the director
drags it out for two hours.
Co-star Cosby, working with a
beard and cigar, is the only
shining star of the otherwise
incredibly boring cast - his
mumbling routines and shuffling
iconoclasm can really be quite
hysterical in the midst of a
flop like Uptown. Flip Wilson
and Richard Pryor are also
featured in cameo roles for a
brief hiatus.
-Michael Wilson
Clair's Knee
Campus
Fri., Sat.: 7, 9
Claire's Knee (1971), directed
by Eric Rohmer is a curious,
charming movie. The beauty of
the film runs from the exquisite
color photography to enchant-
tog performances by actors
Jean-Claude Brialy (Jerome),
and Auroru Cornu (Aurora).
The storyline isn't much -
Jerome, a diplomat stationed in
Stockholm, returns to his child-
hood home in a small French
village and visits an old friend,
Aurora, a Romanian noyelit.
Jerome is then briefly involved
in two flirtatious affairs with
young girls - Laura, 16, and
Clair, 18.
There's very little depth of
characterization to the movie-
it's almost nothing but sur-
face delights - but that doesn't
matter because it's such gor-
geous surface that the audience
doesn't really mind much.
Rohmer is no Bergman in this
respect, but in Claire and the

other films of his Six Moral
Tales (including My Night at
Maud's and Chloe in the After-
noon) he shows himself to be
perhaps the most talented of
the post-New Wave generation
of French filmmakers. -

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