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January 15, 1981 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-15

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Thursday, January 15, 1981

Page 7

DialMfor Murder'
in 3-D doesn't help

Redbone headlines A2 Folk Fest

By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
3-D movies are animated optical
illusions; you don't watch them as
much as sit back and let them play
tricks with your eyes. At a screening of
the "blood-chilling" 3-D print of The
Creature From the Black Lagoon, I
peered out from behind those white-
cardboard-framed, blue-and-red tinted
,glasses (which tend to make everyone
in the audience look like members of
some New Wave ensemble called the
Visual Aids) while a galactic explosion
sent a shower of cardboard shrapnel to
the back of the auditorium. Later in the
same picture, the Creature himself
(scaly, rubber-reptile mask in place)
made his entrance by taking a swipe at
the first eight rows, while little round,
white marble-ish bubbles drifted out of
his gaping, thick-lipped jaw. And they
say that 3-D ain't art.
Actually, 3-D was always a cheesy
wonder that never really delivered the
goods it promised. The process was in-
troduiced as the technical innovation
that would finally liberate movies from
their straitjacket of plain old art-
gallery flatness. Just don some funny-
looking glasses and images would be
popping out at you like cannonballs,
more realistic, more "alive" than ever.
It didn't work out that way. Like
Cinemascope, the wide-screen process
that was supposed to convert the
modestly square screen surface into a
mammoth rectangular canvas worthy
of Biblical epics at the very least, 3-D
was an extended publicity stunt, a
visual gimmick whose novelty was
quickly worn off. The nifty sen-
sationalism of 3-D epics like The
Creature and House of Wax was
generally limited to a few strategically-
spaced moments; visually,,most of the
movies tended to look like normal old 2-
.D and the dialogue ("You're insane,,
'Doctor, leading us all into these
waters!") was drearily routine- stuff.
"3-D movies were like candy corn:
tasty for only a little while, and not-
quite-real.
q Occasionally, though, directors with
some scientific curiosity exploited the
~process to more "serious"~ ends, in-
stead of simply punctuating grade-C
:horror thrillers wit. ;eatchy-, svisual
tricks. So it only madesense that Alfred
'Hitchcock, visual trickster that he was,
wpuld take a stab at it. In 1954,' Hitch-
cock took Dial M For Murder, a popular
English stage-play, and filmed it with a
sophisticated polaroid 3-D process,
using two simultaneously-running
cameras to produce a doulgle-image in
glorious Technicolor, instead of the
usual grade-B-surreal red and blue tint.

The movie was rarely screened in its
original form. This Friday , Saturday,
and Sunday, though, at 7:00 and 9:30,
the Detroit Film Theatre willfbe
presenting the 3-. Dial M as the first
feature in a four-month series of 3-D
films at the Institute of Arts, including
Kiss Me Kate, House of Wax, and Andy
Warhol's Frankenstein among others.
It's a rare chance to see what happened
whenrthe supreme visual innovator of
the first half century of movie-making
got his hands on the ultimate gimmick.
The movie itself is a fairly stodgy,
stage-bound affair, and even Hitchcock
buffs tend to look down their noses at it.
It's a not-quite-suave, English-game-
playing melodrama that hops from
blackmail to murder to an attempted.
frame-up, but the whole thing is con-
fined to a single claustrophobic living-
room set and a chamber-cast of four ac-
tors, headed by Grace Kelly and an.
unusually prissy Ray Milland.
When the 3-D version played a limited
engagement at a New York arthouse
last Spring, Village Voice critic Andrew
Sarris called it the "avant-garde"
cinematic event of the season. I caught
it at a preview this week and couldn't
wax quite as enthusiastic. The 3-D
process doesnt actually spread out ob-
jects over a uniform space. Instead, it
divides the screen into three flat visual
planes, one on top of the other,
highlighting foreground objects like
lamps and vases and turning
background scenery into a sort of
detailed backdrop. The effect is like
deep-deep-focus, and even though the
actors are a shade more well-rounded
than usual, they hardly look like they'rer
about to walk off the screen.
Still, the movie is worth seeing. When
Grace Kelly is being strangled and her
outstretched hand reaches right into
the auditorium for help, you know the
meaning of audience involvement. Hit-
chcock uses the process with such
elegant restraint it's almost pleasure-
denying; he never reaches for
gratuitous effects, but the movie is too
unvaried to allow for much inventive
use of three-dimensional space.
One wishes Hitchcock had made
Psycho in 3-7; what with knife-slashing
and all, it could, have done some per-
manent emotional damage. Perhaps it
says something, though, that Hitchcock
never used the 3-D process again; Dial
M For Murder is a visually charming
eccentricity, a clipped-English Colum-
bo episode with cut-out figures and jut-
ting objects. It's too bad that Hitchcock
makes his cameo in a still photograph.
You'd think he'd have rigged it so he
could roll right off the screen.

By STEVE HOOK
Thanks to Dave and Linda Siglin,
who manage the Ark, we'll be able to
see both the Fourth Annual Ann Ar-
bor Folk Festival and the Super-
Bowl this month.
The Ark benefit was originally
scheduled for Super Sunday, before
the frantic Siglins-and Major
Events-realized the goof and bum-
ped it up a week. (At least one of the
scheduled performers, so the story
goes, a lifelong and impassioned
Eagles fan, had indicated that on the
25th there would be no leaving
Philadelphia, period.)
As usual, there will be two shows
for the festival, one in the afternoon
and one at night and three acts in
addition to the headliner for 'each
show. But unlike the past two years,
the headliner this year will not be
David Bromberg (who is busy for
now learning the art of violin-
making in Chicago)-this year it will
be Leon Redbone, also known as
"The walking 78 album."
Redbone's presence at Power Cen-
ter will probably keep both audien-
ces amused, if not slightly disorien-
ted, with his anachronistic, boozy
(and not a little bit tongue-in-cheek)
personality, his eccentric appearaq-
ce, and his subtle interpretations of
antique songs like "Shine on Harvest
Moon" and "Meloncholy Baby." On
stage, his bizzare manner tends to
obscure his vocal skills and his ver-
satile guitar playing (Redbone jum-
ps from generation to generation
reviving not only the lyricists, but
the trailblazing guitarists from the
past, e.g. Blind Boy Fuller, Lonnie
Johnson, Eddie Lang, and Bill
Broonzy). He has become a most,
respectable artist, seemingly in.
spite of himself.
But is this folk music? Probably
not, but the label "folk music" is
steadily being eroded anyway, and
Redbone comes as close to the

Blues, Jazz, "Melancholy Baby," you name it and Leon Redbone plays it.
Redbone will appear with Michael Cooney, Andy Breckman and other Ark
favorites at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival this Sunday.

a two week concert without
repeating a song; he is, in fact, a
modern day Woodie Guthrie, having
spent much of his life hitch-hiking
around North America, and at
times, when he was younger,
stowing away on freight trains.
Michael Cooney is perhaps the most
talented unknown folk singer in the
country.
In the 8 p.m. show, an equally
balanced line-up will be featured:
Comedian Andy Breckman, sea
songwriter and balladeer Stan
Rogers, and instrumentalists Mick
Moloney and Eugene O'Donnell.
Breckman is best known for his
contributions to NBC's "Hot Hero
Sandwich," from which he won an
Emmy Award. He is a regular on the
American coffeehouse circuit, and
has been known to open for Robert
Klein when he tours. His performan-
ces tend to be unorthodox, his songs
irreverent. Rogers represents the
conventional, McBride-Lou Killen-
Gamble Rogers strain of folk music;
he stands six foot four and his voice
is deep and powerful, yet his songs
are composed and, performed
delicately, thoughtfully. His works
have been picked up by dozens of
professional musicians touring
today.
Moloney and O'Donnell are long
time performers of Irish dance
music. Formerly of the popular
group The Johnstons, Moloney is
known for his skills as a performer,
and for his depth as a folklorist.
O'Donnell has excelled in Irish dan-
cing, and is. a six-time winner of the
All-Ireland Step Dancing Champion-
ship. They've been playing together
on-and-off since 1973, and tend to
deliver an intense set.
It appears to be another satisfying
festival, one that is, once again,
marked by its diversity. And you can
even see the Super Bowl.

I

traditional concept as many of the
country-western, blues, or pop ar-
tists touring folk music coffeehouses
today. "Why the hell even try to
define it?" screeched last year's folk
festival master of ceremonies Owen
McBride. "What's the point in giving
it a little number, or placing it in
some category?"
Nonetheless, compared to Red-
bone, the other performers ap-
pearing Sunday are more f
traditional, and the festival in
general appears quite well balan-
ced.
In the first show the Canadian
singer Margaret Christl will appear,
along with the Henrie Brothers
string band, and American humorist
and folk song collector Michael
Cooney. Christl is a native of Wales,

and as a regular performer= at
Canadian festivals throughoutrthe
seventies, she has gained much
respect for her interpretations of
traditional folk songs from all of the
British Isles and Canada. The
Henrie Brothers are considered by
many string music aficionados as
the best in the business-but watch
out, they may want to compete with
Redbone for the looney award; they
have been known to appear in
tuxedoes or bathing suits, and offer
an equally unpredictable reportoire.
Michael Cooney (who I believe
should be headlining this festival)
will also appear in the afternoon
show. He is a frequent visitor to the
Ark-a dedicated collector-singer,
and a vivacious storyteller-
humorist. It is said that he could sing

i

7the ann arbor film cooperative

Specials American-style

Tonight

presents

Tonight

Hospital coma unit

..

B BRADFORD PARKS'
The pr1em with most bad music
groups is that they don't challenge
themselves enough. They find a com-
fortable, popular groove and then they
just dig their feet in the sand until it
buries them. But more modern groups
know all about built-in obsolescense,
and keep growing all the time. Com-
pare Elvis Costello's constant per-
mutations and look what's happened to
Roxy Music and Devo when they stood
still. Yuch!
Now look at the Specials. They've
changed a lot from their Costello
produced debut LP last year. They've
visited America, and found out all
about us. Elevator music,. DC-10
crashes, James Bond movies, meeting
people who don't realize the
inevitability of nuclear warfare and
just stand around and laugh. Real
Americana.
THIS CULTURE shock is what
. makes, the Specials new LP a giant
step forward. Like Elvis Costello's Ar-
med Forces, More Specials takes hold
of the modern nightmare and tries to
see its way to the end of the tunnel.
This could be a concept album. Start.

with traditional rock-ska y"Enjoy
Yourself", look at the working class
and rich girls who end up in blue movies
and then take a look at yourself. Swam-
ped in modern ideals, everyone you
criticize comes out a stereotype. And if
stereotypes don't really exist, then
where are you?
The answers are hf the last three
songs. Our narrator is on the verge of
insanity, he can't eat, drink, or sleep. "I
Can't Stand it", it's too much. He takes
the "International Jet Set" on a DC-10,
ruminating about life, love, etc. "It all
seems so absurd to me," he says, "Will
the muzak never end?" It does swiftly,
because the plane starts--to crash and
the terrified screams mingle with tape
recorded emergency instructions. En-
ter a funeral muzak reprise of "Enjoy
Yourself". Confused, weary, but still
alive and not beaten, like the final track
of Armed Forces: "I will return, I will
not burn. "
The Specials More Specials has tran-
scended most rock music product and
made it all very danceable and intense.
This is the kind of music that wants to
tell you something. Are you smart
enough to listen?

LAST TANGO IN PARIS
7:008 9:30
Admission: $2
Aud. A, Angell Hall

'last mle' for
WESTFIELD, Mass (AP)-They st-aid t
hover in a shadow world somewhere people w
between life and death. They cannot ago, Dav.
speak or move, and doctors don't know Most
if the 17 patients in the Western automo
Massachusetts Hospital coma unit can Massac
see, hear, or even think. the olde
"They're like soldiers . .. missing in been in a
action," says a nurse at Unit Three, the Each
only coma unit in the state and one of decorate
the few such facilities in the country. cards. G
"When a patient is sent here, it's involved
almost like the last mile, because crash, h.
nothing else worked," said nursing hanging
director Eleanor Davio. "Many can live heroics
a full life span-70 years or more-in a player.
coma."
TO THE PATIENTS' families, a ANOT
coma can be more painful to deal with her 20s,
than death. photo of
Victoria Blake's 31-year-old husband, went int
.John, has been in a coma for more than the child
two years, since he fell from a tree The un
while pruning branches and landed because
,headfirst on a concrete patio. victims
"It's harder than death because the are on lif
,grief goes on continuously," Ms. Blake has a wa
said. "If John had died I would have few hosp
taken a year to get over it and then Nurse
gone. But John's not dead. I'm predic- Every f
ting another 35 years of this." in bed to
THERE ARE A growing number of day the
coma patients across the country today mchairs
because paramedics and improved fir- culation

patients
echniques are keeping alive
who would have died 20 years
vio said.
coma patients are victims of
bile accidents. At Western
husetts, the youngest is 19 and
st 47, and the longest any has,
a coma is 4 years.
has a private room, usually
ed with pictures and greeting
)ne patient, a 20-year-old man
[in a 1978 Christmas Eve car
as an old newspaper clipping
on his- wall, recounting his
as a star high school baseball
HER PATIENT, a woman in
lies motionless beside a framed
her baby daughter. The woman
o a coma while giving birth to
d.
nit here was started a year ago
it was easier to care for coma
in one place, Davio said. None
fe support systems, and the unit
aiting list of 50 to 75 because so
pitals provide the needed care.
s are on duty around the clock.
ew hours they turn the patients
o prevent bedsores, and every
patients are lifted into ar-
and moved around, to aid cir-

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