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March 23, 1980 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-23

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I

The Michigan Daily-Sunday. March 23, 1980-Page 5

SATURN3
Science fiction lost in space

By CHRISTOPHER POTTER
*Will cinematic science fiction ever
disengage itself from its syndrome of
pop infantilism? In an age when
written SF has suddenly bloomed into
literary acceptance-a belated
respectability only dreamed about by
the young Asimov ' and
Heinlein-Hollywood has predicatably
chosen to capture only the glitter of this
new dawn and none of the substance.
While the complex, potentially
*daptable works of Dick, Silverberg
and Delaney sit idely on bookstores and
library shelves, the film industry
continues to gorge itself and club the
public with a terminal case of the
interstellar teenybop cutes. Instead of
cosmic subtleties we get macho space-
jockeys, lovable robots, computers both
snide and whimsical, all shackled into a,
primitivist artistic gospel which
absurdly thumbs its nose at the
ingenious and voluminous ambiguities
*minating from today's printed science
fiction.
No more graphic example of this
genre suicide exists than a current
kamikaze mutation called Saturn 3.
How many odd-million bucks were
piped into this lavishly-gilded movie
artifact which seems to have been
strictly assembled for the essential
ritual of showing off-for the third and
perhaps last time-Farrah Fawcett's
linding-white choppers?
AH, FARRAH-officially dated
though she may now be, she remains
the ultimate tinseltown clone: Those
teeth, that smile, that silvery, tumble-
down mane-one must ressurect the old
wisdom that if she did not exist, it would
have been necessary to invent
her-which we all suspect deep down
some demented Bel Aire Dr.
Frankenstein actually did. She drifts,
almost levitates through her roles with
the absent otherworldliness of a Hindu
*akir, mouthing her lines with the how-
can-I-please-you subservience of an
airline stewardess.
Farrah's most adroit ongoing
cinematic talent is her ability to make,
an audience realize how accomplished
hermale co-leads are, as they
inventively play off her aura-encircled
vacuum. Certainly she brings out the
best in Saturn 3 co-star Kirk Douglas,
who belies his 61 years by leaping from
Votherwordly precipices, running
hundred-yard dashes through Saturn
3's loony space station set, even
wrestling in the nude at one juncture

(not, unfortunately, with Farrah).
Alas, all of Douglas' May-September
exhuberance proves an insufficient
anctidote for a film which has been
calculatingly, ruthlessly constructed
around the android limitations of his
golden-glow counterpart.
THE THEATER previews proclaim
with bizarre self-confessional
frankness that "somethingg is wrong
on Saturn 3." There's definitely trouble
out there on the sixth planet: It seems
an undergound space station manned in
domestic, unwedded bliss by Kirk and
Farrah is about to be intruded on by
undesirable neighbors-namely, a mad
scientist and his altar-ego assemble-it-
yourself robot.
Though his master is quite mad

indeed, it turns outs the
robot-winsomely named Hector-is a
good deal madder, with grim
tyrannical predilections jumbled
libidinously together with a throbbing
obsession for Farrah-though just how
this intergalactic passion can be
biologically consummated remains in
the film a graphic urological mystery.
Nevertheless, before the solar day is
out Hector has dispatched his out-
villained creator (the very talented
Harvey Keitel, looking abashed and
humiliated throughout), then
commences chasing Kirk and Farrah
up and down the endles corridors of
their space station (which looks
insanely like Henry Moore's London
bomb-shelter sketches gussied up into a

Vegas casino).
THOUGH HECTOR is strong as
Godzilla and twice as mean to boot, he
seems incurably vulnerable to hide-
and-seek chicanery. Every time Kirk
AETS
and Farrah get tired of running they
simply go hide in a corner, then when
Hector stomps by they deftly, sneakily
reach out and tip him over. Twice they
manage to knock him into what looks
like an inner-station sewer system with
radically divergent results-after his
first dunking Hector briskly hauls
himself up and out as if he'd just
completed a swift 10 laps in a
swimming pool, while the second time
around he goes, literally to pieces.
Perhaps he was fatally mortified at
being snookered twice by the same
trick.
In any event; Hector's demise is
appropriate, since it sets in motion the
prerequisite incomprehensible ending
without which Saturn 3 would lurch
alarmingly out of its strict schlock
aesthetic orbit.
THIS CINEMATIC imbecile would
rate no further discourse were it not for
the stark legacy of all those millions'
plus the improbable presence of
director Stanley Donen. Despite
laboring in service to the dimmest of
masters, Donen (Singin' in the Rain,
etc.) remains the consummate pro; his
thoroughgoing skillfllness at the very
least lends Saturn 3 a definite visual
classiness and a sure sense of pace and
movement.
And therein lies the frustration and
the tragedy: If a sensitive craftsman
can take a piece of artistic and mental
drool and shape it into marginally
legitimate entertainment, what
miracle might he fashioned out of
Dick's Ubik, Silverberg's Son of Man,
even Delaney's huge, problematic
Dhalgren?
We're not likely to find out.
Hollywood will go right on worshipping
ordained mediocrity, will continue to
slaver at the altar of Play-It-Safe. And
in its fashion it will never, ever grasp
the simple truth that artistry and profit
need not be enemies, indeed could with
acing ease become the most
enthusiastic of working partners.
Smile, Farrah.
Y014aarten

The University Activities Center
and
The Michigan Union
Cordially Invite You To Attend
The Inaugural Ball
In Honor of Harold T. Shapiro
The Tenth President of The University of Michigan
Thursday, April 17th, 1980
9p.m. to Ia.m.
Michigan Union Ballroom
Featuring Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Students $10.00 per couple
$6. 00per person
Faculty, Staff and Alumnni $20.0per couple
$11.00 per person
Limited tickets available dt Ticket Central
Michigan Union
Beginning Monday, March 24
For Information Call 763-1107 Semi-Formal

Farrah Fawcett struggles to free herself from the clutches of Hector, her
lust-crazed robot co-star in 'Saturn Three'. Where's the Six Million Dollar
Man when you really need him?

Brahms fest in

Detroit will be the site of the most
comprehensive series of events ever
evoted to compoer Johannes Brahms
in North America when the Detroit
Symphony Orchestra presents the
International Brahms Festival, April 10

thr.ough April 26. Highlights include 19
events with a stellar array of artists;
the International Brahms Congress
with musicologists from around the
globe; the first public exhibition of the
largest privately held collection of

)etro it
Brahms memorabilia in Europe; and
the Brahms Festival Flower Show,
patterned after the famed Chelsea
Show in England.
Music Director Antal Dorati and the
Detroit Symphony will be joined by 64
guest artists and 11 co-sponsoring
institutions in presenting various facets
in the life of Brahms. Soloists include
pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, contralo
Maureen Forrester, pianist Eugene
Istomin, cellist Leonard Rose, violinist
Isaac Stern and many more
distinguished artists from both sides of
the Atlantic.
PERFORMANCES during this third
annual mid-season festival
presentation by Dorati and the DSO
include almost all of Brahm'.s
orchestral repretory including all four
symphonies, all four concertos, 18
chamber works, and a significant
sampling of keyboard music, choral
music and songs.
IN all, 19 separate performances will
take place at locations throughout
metropolitan Detroit including Ford
Auditorium, Orchestra Hall, the Detroit
Institute of the Arts Recital Hall and
the Community Arts Auditorium of
Wayne State. For more specifics, and
general ticket information, call the
DSO ticket office at 1-962-3324. The high
calibre of artists involved should make
the festival well worth the trip to
Detroit.
NEW YORK (AP)-Mark Strand,
author of six books of poems, has been
awarded the $10,000 Fellowship of the
Academy of American Poets.
Strand is the 39th recipient of the
award which is given at least once a
year . to American poets "for
distinguished poetic achievement."
The fellowship has gone in the past to
such poets as Robert Frost, William
Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound,
Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore,
and John Berryman.

G

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Johannes Brahms
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, along with a host of prominent guest solo-
ists, will present the third annual International Brahms Festival next mon-
th, April 10 through April 26.

In the first eaition 01 the "En-
cylopedia Britannica"-published bet-
ween 1768 and 1771-an article on the
curing of diseases in horses ran for 39

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