SPage Six Thursday, August 5, 1976
Arts & Entertainment 'THEMICHIGAN DAILY
'Jackson Jaif' Defying taste
.By KIM POTTER
CURRENTLY on display at Ann Arbor's venerable
grade-A State Theater is an odorous grade-B sex-
and-violence opus entitled Jackson County Jail. In and
of itself, the film is a not untiypical product of the
School of Garbage Cinema, which gears itself artis-
tically and financially to the needs of the fresh-and-
gore clientele it faithfully services. Doubtless the
genre fills a need in some septic corners of our society,
but why, all things considered, is this acknowledged
specialty product suddenly exposing itself within the
confines of the pristine Butterfield Theater chain? On
that question reposes, in the words of Hunter Thomp-
son, a strange and terrible sage.
Like a syphilitic phoenix, Jackson County Jail has
risen from the celluloid ash heap to become the most
bizarre movie mutant in many a summer. Produced
several months ago by the senior connoisseur of low-
budget nausea, Roger Corman, the picture made the
usual obligatory tour of the drive-in circuit to which
it was naturally and deliberately geared, did a negli-
gible business and was then quietly and mercifully
shelved. End of story? We should all be so lucky.
Jackson County Jail contains nothing to differentiate
it from the scores of other cinematic sleaze jobs
native to the school: a California advertising writer
(Yvette Mimieux) is traveling-rather inexplicably-
through Mississippi en route to a job in New York City.
BEATEN AND ROBBED of her car and money by
a pair of teen-age hitchhikers, she staggers to a
roadside diner for help, is menaced by its lecherous
proprietor, and subsequently thrown in jail by the local
sheriff for not having identification. True to the film's
tobacco road stereotypes, Mimieux is raped in her
cell by a hog-hackled deputy in a sequence that makes
the brutalities in A Clockwork Orange seem Disney-
anish. Yvette fights back, inadverently kills the deputy,
then makes her escape with the help of a darkly hand-
some anti-hero murderer (Tommy Lee Jones) locked
in the cell next to her.
l TABLE TALK: Rectificati1
By KEN PARSIGIAN
"Six spades!" I heard Jeff
belt out confidently as I entered
the club. Since slams are usually
the most interesting hands,
especially when Jeff plays them,
I decided to kibitz for a while.
I took a look at Jeff's hand,
then found myself a seat behind
Mitch, who sat West, and was
on opening lead. The bidding
had been simple and direct.
Mitch dealt and opened 3 dia-
monds. North overcalled 4
clubs, and Jeff went Blackwood-
ing with 4 no trump. When his
partner showed two aces, Jeff
jumped directly to the spade
Mitch led the diamond Ace
which held, and followed it with
a low club.
This is what Jeff faced:
V A x x x x
4 A J 10 x x x
West East -
x V QJ10 xx
# A109xxxx xx
4 x x K Q x
A A K Q J 10 x
Jeff paused for only a second
before going up wisely swith
dummy's Ace. He drew trumps,
cashed the King and Queen of
diamonds, then started leading
out good trumps. With this posi-
V A x x
Sx r Q J 10
# 10 x #
he led his last spade, pitching
the club Jack from dummy, and
East was fixed. If he pitched a
club, declarer's 9 would be good,
and if he threw a heart, dummy
would make the 12th trick with
a small heart.
"What 6 fatuous lead," yelled
Rich who had been kibitzing.
"Why a heart opening 'tears it
to pieces! Even a baby could
see that," he chuckled.
"Care to bet on that," asked
Rich, eager to show his skill,
readily agreed to replay the
hand for the same stakes they
were playing-$1.00 a point!
The hands were reconstructed,
and Rich was permitted to
change his last call.
"Double!" he shouted; trying
to intimidate Jeff.
"Redouble," said a calm, con-
In accordance with his claim,
Rich led a small heart which
Jeff won is his hand. Next, he
led the diamond Jack, which
Rich won with the Ace.
"Certainly you didn't think
that I would draw trumps first?"
queried Jeff smugly.
"A service I will gladly per-
form for you myself," Rich said
as he flicked a small spade on
to the table.
If Jeff had led even one round
of spades before starting the
diamonds, all wonld have been
lost. Because Rich, upon win-
ning the Ace of diamonds, would
have led a club locking declarer
on the board. With dummy's
small spade gone, Jeff could
not get back to his hand with-
out conceding a club.
But Jeff was not about to be
done in so easily.
"Care to double the stakes?"
he asked slyly.
Rich, who was becoming sus-
ni-ions of Jeff's confidence, just
neare'j at his cards.
Jeff won the spade in his
hued, drew trumps and cashed
his high diamonds. With two
"sod trimos left in his hand,
this was the position:
V x x
- A Q J 10
f 1098 *-
4 6x 4 KQ
A 9x X
On his penultimate trump,
Jeff pitched dummy's club Jack,
and East had no escape. If he
discarded a club, declarer's 9
would take the last trick, and if
he threw a heart, dummy's little
heart would set up after a ruff.
"Brilliantly done!" Jeff said.
in mock admiration. "Your play
destroyed my Vienna Coup.
Such a pitty that there was still
a trump squeeze. But, how could
you have known?" he chortled.
Just then, Phil (whom we af-
fectionately call Philthy) walked
What's all the commotion," he
"Oh nothing," said Jeff, "just
a few palookas losing their
money trying to break an un-
that is, with me at the helm.
Perhaps you'd like to try your
luck?" Jeff asked hopefully.
"But no, that would be a waste
of time. You couldn't possibly
defeat it. Why I'd even lay you
100 to 1 odds. Surely you can put
up a dollar to my hundred?"
Now, Philthy knew that he
was the club's worst player, and
he accepted it. But that was
still no reason to embarass him
about it. After all, he did have
some pride. So, eyes red with
anger, he agreed.
"100 to 1 indeed," he said.
"Let's make this interesting.
I'll put up $10 to your $1000.
You're obviously my superior,
so there should be no risk on
"Of course I accept," said
Jeff, hoping to impress the
crowd that had now gathered
around the table.
So, the hands were recon-
structed once more, and Philthy
led a small heart against 6
For a minute I thought I was
going to see a replay of the last
hand, as Jeff won with the King,
and led the Jack of diamonds.
Since Phil would, of course, win
with the Ace, I was already
thinking about the next trick.
But, to my surprise, Philthy was
actually thinking about the
trick. I wondered what could be
going through his mind. Surely
he wasn't contemplating a duck,
that would be far too sophisticat-
ed a play or even a thought for
him. What could it be then?
Then it hit me. He reasoned
that since Jeff led the Jack, he
clearly didn't have the King, so
partner had to have that card.
That meant partner could win
the trick and lead a heart for
him to ruff, defeating the con-
tract. To make doubly sure that
partner returned a heart, Phil-
thy played his diamond 10, a
suit preference signal for hearts.
would be u
to win this
pay for his
bill, but he
at the tabl
ly. "I kne
had my re
way I did
as Jeff ga
but the sr
from his f
on the nex
would he g
and a heat
fool and c
holds up t
way to bre
it on purpc
The two fugitives elude pursuing cops in a car
chase replete with the traditional winding back roads
and flaming crashes, then hide out in a country
shack with the killer's relatives. While encamped, the
protagonists drone a few flat, obligatory existential-
isms, presumably to comply with redeeming-socal-
value dictates while rigorously circumnavigating the
remotest hint of redeeming character development.
The Garbage Cinema crowd doesn't like the attach-
ment of real-life minds to the various abused and vio-
lated bodies on display.
AMBUSHED BY THE LAW, Mimieux and Jones slug
and shoot their way out of the trap and hit the road
again in Tommy Lee's pickup truck, chased back to-
wards town by the police. Jones soon realizes the
struggle is hopeless, jumps the truck and gallantly
heads out on foot to draw the cops' fire away from his
female companion. He is followed, bleeding and pant-
ing, through an extended and rather implausable
odyssey through the back and main streets of the
town, only to be climactically drilled through the heart
and fall dead on the street
smack in the middle of the vil-
lage's Bicentennial Parade (ah,
wicked, wicked America). True
o n s to the standard loose ends of
Garbage Cinema, there is nary
a mention of Yvette's fate:
r did his card hit the whether she is re-incarcerated,
Jeff broke into hys- given a train ticket home or
iter, gangbanged by the local towns-
folk is strictly a matttr of fear-
" he exclaimed, "you ful (or drooling) conjecture.
ive fallen for that!"
h the King and Queen And that's all there is-a plot
s out of his hand and of moral and artistic imbecility
hem to Philthy, he equalled only by the film's di-
"Look, I have both rectorial dementia and its an-
and Queen. No, you droid acting. But now the plot
that card back. It thickens: Evidently J a c k s o n
nsportsmanlike of me County Jail managed to plead
way. I really must or con its way into just enough
big city fleabag moviehouses to
be noticed, however accidental-
ly and belatedly, by some
VERY important people.
ve a floir for Suddenly one found one's eyes
isic writioq? and ears jarred by the intonings
ou are interest- of The New York Times' ponti-
in reviewing fical Vincent Canby: "Jackson
wry and uIe County Jail is filmmaking of
es a bout the relentless energy and harrow-
na, dance, film ing excitement . . . it details
contact Arts nothing less than the total dis-
sigan tay.Th integration of bourgeois America
in this bicentennial y e a r."
'91 Whether the total disintegration
of Canby's critical judgment
ilthy realized he had was due to self-hypnosis or
I, but he did not de- heatstroke is pure speculation,
ridicule. He would but whatever his ghastly mo-
s blunder with a $10 tives, a significant cluster of
would be respected critical bigwigs lunged onto
Jackson's suddened and vacuous
-.bandgwagon: "Explosive . . .
how I intended to made with a tough intelligence"
ounced Philthy smug- -NBC's Gene Shalit; "It's a
w you had the King sleeper"-The C h i c a g o Sun-
, but let's just say I Times' Roger Ebert; "Fast and
asons for playing the frightening"-The New Repub-
And now, may we lic's redoubtable Stanley Kauff-
mann; and so on and so on in
d was still laughing an ongoing spectacle of high-
thered in the trick brow hara kari carrying all the
miles were all gon' trappings of a Marx Brothers-
ies For he suddenly ish debunking of cultural hum-
ace. For ,,een bugs; one waits for Margaret
tma ka re e Dumont to start leading the
out the diamond Ace e.
t round, but then how PRODUCER Corman, doubt-
tet back to his hand. less stunned by this lemming
dummy's spade he onslaught of elegant converts,
e to give up a club swiftly marshaled his massive
rt ruff to get back to hustler's abilities, yanked Jack-
son out of its vault and re
him!" screamed an launched it, this time into main-
"He plays like a line theaters. Along with it went
omes away smelling a purification PR campaign, re
d Jacoby. When he placing the film's lurid-pitched
he Ace, it keeps me ads with tasteful social-con-
fying the count. He sciousness graphics laid thick
ven know what a with quoted raves from the be-
yet he finds the only nighed pundits. Put it all to-
ak this one!" i a 1
said, "at least no one gether and presto: Trash is now
him of having done alchemized into Art. Corman
ose." must be laughing all the way to
hat?" said Philthy. the bank.