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January 09, 1982 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-01-09

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gThe Michigan Daily

Saturday, January 9, 1982

Page 5

Nominations for
Golden Globe
are announced

Timothy Hutton in Taps.

'Ordinary People ' meet s
Patton' in uneven Taps'

By James Clinton
T IT DIFFICULT to understand the
motivation behind Taps. Stanley Jaf-
fe, the films producer, has spent an
inordinate amount of time on this
*roject (his first since Kramer vs.
Kramer) and the result is an uneven
production wherein the slick exterior
attempts to hide the fact that there is
little substance underlying it all.
All of the dynamics of the film occur
in its first few minutes and are supplied
by Geroge C. Scott who gives another
variation on his anacronistic "old
general" theme. On screen for about 15
minutes Scott is so outstanding in the
eolethat the residue of his performance
carries the film for another hour. In a
stirring speech at the commencement
of a small military school he announces
the plan, by the regents, to close the
academy the following year. In his
gruffy articulate fashion he explains
how the present military hierarchy is
composed of dinosaurs.
Scott is in every way the per-
sonification of what he describes;
festooned with medals, his ravaged
face suggesting the horror and
necessity of war, his gestures are pun-
ctuated by an awareness of his own
imminent extinction and a rage that

precludes gentle capitulation. It's a
riveting few moments that result in
another great Scott performance. Not
surprising since over the past twenty
years no other American actor has
achieved the extraordinarily high level
of consistency in performance as Scott.
I've always felt a more successful
criterion in measuring the strength of
an actor is not how he responds in the
handfull of meaty roles he develops
over the years, but how he fares in
lesser material. Scott has frequently
been good in mediocre films, here he is
very good in a poor film.
Within minutes of Scott's disap-
pearance, Timothy Hutton, as the cadet
leader, proposes the occupation of the
school to demonstrate their
displeasure at it's closing. As the
leader, Hutton's motives are ex-
plained in a key scene that illustrates
the transferance of Scott's persona onto
his own. The quickness of such a
metamorphosis is not as far fetched as
it sounds. One can easily imagine
someone of Hutton's age and military
bearing responding to Scott's character
in just such a fashion. On these terms
we understand his motivation, but
what's highly implausible is the blind
following he inspires in the other
students. In short order they occupy the
buildings, confiscate the ammunition
and take over the entire complex.

Director Harold Becker brings a new
definition to the meaning of uneven
directing. The pacing of this film is
poor; the first half hour is developed
with the rapidity of a television comedy
and the rest of the film then lanquishes
for the next hour, virtually sedentary,
awaiting it's very predictable last few
minutes. Instead of rushing into the
plot, Becker would have been better
advised to flesh out some more detailed
One of the more glaring deficiencies
of Taps is in it's somber tone-this is a
film that takes itself far too seriously. A
much lighter touch would've gone a
great deal further. Another difficulty
rests at the center of this film's plot.
Would children (some as young as 8)
risk their lives to take over a school
merely because it's closing? Probably
not. This goes a long way in diminishing
the very foundation on which Taps is
supposed to stand.
In 1968, the great English director
Lindsay Anderson made a brilliant film
on a similar theme called If. The setting
was a British boarding school where the
discipline is carried out with Victorian
tenacity. Eventually disident students
led by Malcolm MacDowwel machine
gun all the authority figures. The dif-
ference between the two films (in ad-
dition to talent) is that the suggestion
implicit in If is that violence and
repression breed violence on a wider
scale. In Taps no such implication is
evident and the result is that we are left
asking, "Why"?

Ragtime, Reds and On Golden Pond
scored high in the Golden Globe
nominations for movie achievements
Thursday, indicating a close race for
the Oscars in March.
The awards of the Hollywood
Foreign Press Association often
presage the Academy Awards, and no
runaway contender has appeared.
Ragtime and Reds collected seven
Golden Globe nominations each, and On
Golden Pond got six. Arthur followed
with five.
For television, the association
nominated NBC's big Emmy-winner
"Hill Street Blues" as the top dramatic
series along with CBS' "Dallas" and
"Lou Grant" and ABC's "Dynasty"
and "Hart to Hart." In all, CBS cap-
tured 15 nominations, ABC 13 and NBC
The 39th annual Golden Globes will be
presented Jan. 30 in ceremonies to be
televised by CBS.
Some of the major film nominations
Motion picture drama-The French
Lieutenant's Woman, On Golden Pond,
Prince of the City, Ragtime, Reds.
Motion picture, comedy or
musical-Arthur, Four Seasons, Pen-
nies from Heaven, S.O.B., Zoot Zuit.
Actress, drama-Sally Field, Absen-
ce of Malice; Katherine Hepburn, On
Golden Pond; Diane Keaton, Reds;
Sissy Spacek, Raggedy Man; Meryl
Streep, The French Lieutenant's
Actor, drama-Warren Beatty,
Reds; Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond;
Timothy Hutton Taps; Burt Lancaster,
Atlantic City; Teat Williams, Prince of
the City.
Actress, comedy or musical-Blair
Brown, Continental Divide; Carol Bur-
nett, Four Seasons; Jill Clayburgh,
First Monday in October; Liza Min-
nelli, Arthur; Bernadette Peters, Pen-
nies from Heaven.
Actor, comedy or musical-Alan
Alda, Four Seasons; George Hamilton,
Zorro the Gay Blade; Steve Martin,
Pennies from Heaven; Walter Matthau,
First Monday in October; Dudley
Moore, Arthur.
New star of the year-Elizabeth
McGovern and Howard E. Rollins 'for
Ragtime; Kathleen Turner, Body Heat;
Rachel Ward, Sharkey's Machine;
Craig Wasson, Four Friends; Pia
Zadora, Butterfly.
Director-Warren Beatty, Reds;
Milos Forman, Ragtime; Sidney
Lumet, Prince of the City; Louis Malle,
Atlantic City;. Mark Rydell, On Golden
Pond; Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the
Lost Ark.
Screenplay-Alan Alda, Four
Seasons; Warren Beatty and Trevor
Griffith, Reds; Kurt Luedtke, Absence

of Malice; Harold Pinter, The
Lieutenant's Woman; Ernest
pson, On Golden Pond.

1% . WOPF



J , j I5 ' WED, SAT, SUN
c$- s..-.iND rIV 7U1A11700 Except "REDS")

Daily Classifieds Bring Results
44... a flawlessly balanced duo
- San Francisco Chronicle

part burlesque, part satire, part Folies-Bergeres and all cinema.
-Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Andr DWatts, Pianist
Charles TreqerViolinist
Beethoven: Sonata, Op. 30, No. 3
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 1
Debussy: Sonata
Franck: Sonata
Sundaqq Jan.0 at4:00

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