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July 16, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-16

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)aturdoy, July 164 1971


St told
gs con-
shy of
ed the

dry in our shadow, much like Lindbergh
used to call out for directions. She ignored
us. "Just another noisy plane," she prob-
ably thought.
Jobst brought the plane in for a low pass
at the spectators, saluting them by tilting
the wings side to side as we came in. The
controls were stiff.
Henry Haigh, one of the nine men alter-
nately piloting the craft, told reporters the
replica was "Work to fly," but a very safe
The original, which Lindbergh helped the
Ryan corporation to custom design, was
intentionally difficult to handle so, when
trying to keep the plane level across the
ocean, he would not fall asleep at the_
The first "Spirit" cost slightly less than
$12,000 to build; the replica cost about
$90,000, donated by many of the same spon-
sors Lindbergh had. Modern two passenger
planes cost less than the original "Spirit."
HIS TRANS-ATLANTIC flight made an
event in aviation history second to none.
In 1953, 26 years afterward, Lindbergh wrote
in The Spirit of St. Louis, "We have accom-
plished our objectives, passed beyond them.

We actually live, today, in our dreams of
yesterday; and living in those dreams,
dream on."
Now, his dreams of promoting aviation
have surpassed one hundredfold in SO short
years; his history making jaunts are ver-
itably forgotten in the shadow of jumbo jets,
moon shots and space shuttles.
We touched down just rough enough to
remind the inexperienced passenger we
landed much too soon. Likq a little kid at a
fair, I would have liked to ask for "one
more time, just one more time."
Lindbergh often took to his plane to get
away from the days on the ground; it was
a way to make the world bigger, and en-
tirely his own. Today, we take the travel he
pioneered' for granted, using jet transport
as a means of making our worlds selfishly
The "Spirit" stopped; I disconnected the
headset, and unfastened the seat belt. Tak-
ing the long step to the ground from the
fiselhge, I saw the silver cross swinging
slightly with the vibrations of the plane.
Linda Willcox is the Daily's Editorial

Page Seven
Sce enings


IMITATION slogs drearily but
solvently onward. Peter Bench-
ley's The Deep is the latest and
most economically elegant pro-
duct of the ongoing formula
repition, and is reportedly doing
socko business across the coun-
try (although perhaps not in
Ann Arbor, where I stretched
out last Monday amidst a one-
fourth full, apparently non-en-
raptured audience).
It seems an unwritten law in
the po-novel-to-pop-movie world
that any writer who manages to
churn out a genuine dual-media
bonanza is not only expected but
virtually obligated to subse-
quently rearrange his meagre
group of plot-shocks into an
equally marketable sequel. And
since Benchley fathered the
book-to-film lollapalooza of them
all, Jaws, one could easily en-
vision hoardes of slobbering,
manna-mad publishers and pro-
ducers threatening him with
lawsuits, blacklisting or tfie rack
if he failed to come through with
a comparable pot of gold spinoff.
Well, Benchley has tried duti-
fully and hard, regurgitating his
literary bag of tricks into a
novel and screenplay replete
with cheap thrills, pseudo-ero-
tics and determinedly one-di-
mensional characters all aimed
straightarrow at the viewers'
senses with minimal disturbance
to their brains.
The Deep is geared to knee-
jerk reactions, and the fact that
it more often than not succeeds
to that end fails to obscure the
sad truth-that another Jaws it
definitely ain't.
THE DEEP'S storyline is at
once multi-leveled and simplis-
tic. While skindivini off the
Bermuda coast, a young New
York couple (Jacqueline "Biset
and Nic/ Nolte) stumbles onto
an engrossing dual find-a Span-
ish dubloon and an ampule of
morphine, the products of a
pair of side-by-side shipwrecks
more tha ntwo centuries re-
moved from each other.
Motivated by the lure of
buried treasure, the two ally
themselves with a noted diver-
adventurer - recluse (R o b e r t
Shaw) against the evil machina-
tions of a Haitian gangster bent
on recovering the ,thousands
more ampules resting on the
ocean floor. And that's the es-
sential conflict, the remainder
of the film-will the good guys
find the hidden treasure while
keeping the morphine away
from the bad guys? Any addict
of formula films will hardly
need a hint at the answer.
Despite the expected slick
production values and some
truly glorious underwater se-
quences, The Deep's focus be-
comes blurred both morally
and stylistically when contrast-
ed with Jaws. In the former,
Benchley managed - however
crudly and inadvertently - to
touch a primal nerve in the col-
lective human psyche: The
shark as nightmare, as fear
of the dark, as symbol of hys-
teric menace lurking around
every unknown corner. It would
be an arduous assignment for

anyone to top what amounted
to an aquatic view of Satan,
and The Deep's reliance sim-
ply pales by comparison.
crucially from the genius of di-
rector Steven Spielberg, who
managed to tie Benchley's
fragments together into some-
thing resembling film art. The
Deep's Peter Yates, a solid,
workmanlike filmmaker, exhib-
its no more sense of vision and
scope than does Benchley's us-
ually turgid prose. And while
Jaws meticulously built and
built in tension until its final
apocalyptic explosion, The Deep
never seems to generate any
real nervousness at all - it
goes off in too many directions,
yields too many false alarms,
too many shocks for shocks
Early on Ms. Bisset finds
herself menaced by the mob-
sters in scenes first involving a
strip search, later on a bogus
witchdoctor sequences, unusual-
ly kinky for a PG film, but add-
ing hardly anything to the plot.
Still later a school sharks
makes its obligatory appear-
ance in a spectacularly shot
but again plot-wise irrelevant
interlude; but topping all these
in non-rhythm is a fight to the
death between Shaw's burly
bodyguard and the gangster's
chief goon, a duel memorable in
its grisliness but so out of kil-
ter with anything in the main
storyline that the sequence
looks like is could have beenn
lifted from a completely dif-
ferent film.
THE DEEP also suffers from
a moral obtuseness; whereas
the protagonists of Jaws ven-
tured into the perilous unknown
clearly to rid the world of a
menacing monster, the heroes
of The Deep are motivated as
much by avaricousness as are
the villians they battle. And
while Benchley tries to add a
certain tremulous nobility to
their actions (helping society
by blowing up, the morphine),
there is no hiding the fact that
"our' intrepid trios in this ven-
ture basically for the money,
which makes it leagues more
difficult to root for them. Ev-
evry audience likes to believe
it is above such low object wor-
Given its crippling limita-
tions, The Deep has its enjoy-
able elements. Although Nick
Nolte delivers a performance
on the level o fa low-IQ beach
gigolo, Jacqueline Bisset man-
ages to bring a measure of ar-
tistry to her emotionally unde-
manding role, and is, as all the
world knows, mesmerizing in a
wet T-shirt. Robert Shaw is
crustilly likeable in a slightly
(fortunately) muted re-rash of
his salty dog of Jaws, and the
villians are leeringly villianous.
In short, all the elements of
formuls mindlessness are at-
the viewer's disposal; and while
these elements may combine to
make one forget about overdue
work and unpaid bills for a cou-
ple of hours, The Deep's long-
range benefits will probably
stick with you less than .a five-
minute dip in the Rec Building

tinger, 9, had just as much fun as the
a disappointingly small crowd of less
1 was open to the public. Mark has just
beinnings of American aviation.

Bisset: Sleaze in 'The Deep'

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