The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, January 26, 1983
'Time Rider': Saddlesore
George Cukor, director of such famous films as 'A Star is Born,' died Monday of heart failure at age 83. He is pictured
with Marilyn Monroe, with whom he worked on the film, 'Something's Got To Give,' in 1962.
HOLLYWOOD (AP)- The death of movie director George "He had no family," the gardener said. "I worked for him
Cukor, whose half-century career included the Oscar- since 1952." He said Cukor had not had recent medical
winning My Fair Lady, was mourned yesterday by many of problems.
the stars who knew him as a witty but hard-driving perfec- "He's been an important person in my life and was a very
tionist. lively gentleman and taught me a lot," said Rich and
The 83-year-old Cukor, whose hits included Rich and Famous star Jacqueline Bisset in a statement released
Famous in 1981 and The Philadelphia Story in 1940, plus a through her spokesman, Dick Guttman.
series of memorable Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn "George was a perfectionist, one of the most enthusiastic
films, died of a heart attack Monday night at Cedars-Sinai men I've ever met," said actor Stewart Granger, who
Medical Center. worked with Cukor in Bhowani Junction in 1956. "He's the
"He came in here in cardiac arrest and they were not able only man I ever met that used worse language than I did. I
to stimulate him again," hospital spokeswoman Tess Griffin loved him for it."
said. Cukor died at 10:58 p.m., about 15 minutes after arrving Among his memorable films were Dinner at Eight 1933,
at the emergency room, she said. Little Women 1933, David Copperfield 1934gCamille 1936,
Cukor's gardener, asking that his name not be used, told Gaslight 1944, Born Yesterday 1950 and A Star is Born 1954.
The Associated Press that the director collapsed at his Three of his films, Keeper of the Flame 1943, Adam's Rib 1949
Beverly Hills home Monday night. Cukor never married and and Pat and Mike 1952 starred Spencer Tracy and Katherine
the gardener said only the household staff was with him at Hepburn.
Dondero's classy show
By Andrew Chapman
T ime Rider is a very confused
movie. Its simple but ultimately
ridiculous plot tumbles across an hour
and a half like a dazed California
motorcycle/shootout fantasy and ends
up blowing every chance it has at being
humorous or exciting.
Chances are Time Rider's script,
written by director William Dear and
ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith (which
tells you something is inherently wrong
with this film), never had much of a
chance at becoming action-packed
drama. But the idea - a California
motocross racer being accidently zap-
ped through time to the American West
in 1877 - was odd enough to leave open
the possibility of fun filmmaking.
I mean I used to watch the Monkees
Saturday mornings and they were pret-
But no chance. Instead,nthere are en-
dless shots of a red Honda bouncing
across California tumbleweed and lots
of Mexican extras (garbed in 1877 pon-
chos) screaming about the coming of El
Diablo. That kind of stuff wears thin
The problems with Time Rider really
shine through in Lyle Swann, the hero,
played by Fred Ward. He's a tough,
handsome California motorcycle
racers-none too intelligent, in that
typical Los Angeles manner, but sup-
posedly smart enough to invent all the
mechanical gadgetry we see on his
But it takes Swann most of the movie
to realize he's been shot back to 1877.
Yeah, sure, that doesn't happen every
day, and most people would be a touch
dazed to find themselves in Dodge City
among a bunch of cowboys. But the
clues (antique guns, no telephones, no
radios, an inordinate fear of Hondas)
are a nice hint.
And you so desperately want to see
that moment of revelation, the look in
Swann's eyes when he suddenly under-
stands his space age dilemma, but all
you get is a grunt. Claire, played by
Belinda Bauer, tells Swann how she
lived through the Civil War, and you'd
think something would click in his sun-
tanned head. Uh-uh: All he can manage
to say is "Do you realize how weird
everything you just said to me was?" A
couple of people laughed. That could
have been funny. Put a shiny red
motorcycle in 1877 and there has to be a
I guess Nesmith didn't put enough of
the Monkees into the film. Or maybe he
did, and I just don't remember what
Saturday mornings were really like.
Nesmith also wrote the music to Time
.Riders (no, they didn't play "Last
Train to Clarksville" - I probably
would have liked it better if they had),
and it's just as confused and out of
place as the plot, the dialogue, and the
acting. Maybe they could have asked
Davy Jones to lend a hand.
The film's supporting actors do better
than the leads, but they can't help the
basic problems with the movie: Ed
Lauter does an adequate job as a slimy
priest and Peter Coyote -a cliched old
West gunslinger. Richard Masur of One
Day at a Time fame gives maybe the
film's best acting job as a "baddie"
sidekick, but even he gets stuck mut-
tering the same line ("I got the feelin'
this just ain't right") over and over
Bauer as Claire the rugged Westerri
heroine is not all that convincing. Her
best moment comes when she asks
Swann to read her a Mark Twain story
- she can't read, herself - and, like a
child watching television for the first
time, she is captivated. Beyond that
Bauer is stuck with a bum role and
you have the feeling she knows it:
Claire grunts her way through much of
Ward could have been a good Lyle
Swann. He speaks convincing Califor-
nia and plays a good dummy (how hard
was it?), but Time Rider's director
must not have been able to decide
which way the film was going and Ward
ends up looking baffled and bozo-ish.'
Time Rider stutters and slumps, tries
to catch your eye with a fast gunfight
and then loses speed with meaningless
cliched Western talk ("I'm with you, f
you wanna take their camp now"). tt s
plain old California 450 cc fun miked
with silly science fiction, two things thl
American public have been subjected
to a lot lately.
Maybe a little Monkees humor could
have been saved Time Rider. A fewv
scenes of rambling klutziness or fou'r
men wheeling a bed across the desert.
No chance, once again: Time Rider
quickly falls apart without meaning,
action, humor, or interest.
OLD TIMES by Harold Pite
By Jerry Brabenec
A NYONE WHO has ever tried to
organize a musical performance
knows that success depends on. a
million and one seemingly insignificant
details, both musical and otherwise.
Backstage confusion, poor promotion,
and all the little inevitabilities of Mur-
phy's Law can torpedo a promising
concert just as surely as tonedeaf per-
With this in mind, Bruce Dondero's
concert production, "Classical Jazz,"
was a remarkable success. The series
of concerts staged at the Performance
Network this past weekend was quite
unlike anything Ann Arbor had ever
seen, and to undertake such an am-
bitious project and pull it off with such
polish is an exciting accomplishment.
The aim of the concerts was twofold,
as Dondero explained in conversation
before the concerts: first to spotlight
local musicians working outside the
framework of the University, and
secondly to present music from a sort of
common ground between the fields of
jazz and classical music.
The concept of "classical jazz" has a
rather stormy history in both jazz and
classical circles. The idea is certainly
nothing new, for back in the days of
Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Hot
Sevens, Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravin-
sky, and other distinguished European
composers were finding rhythmic and
harmonic inspiration in jazz.
Bela Bartok wrote a piece for
clarinet, violin, and piano that was
premiered by Benny Goodman (or was
it Woody Herman?), and of course, in
America, George Gershwin, in addition
to masterpieces of popular song, wrote
"Rhapsody in Blue," "Concerto in F"
1 and "American in Paris;" all of which
incorporate jazz elements.
Jazz critics will generally insist that
this so-called "third stream" music is
most successful when approached by
the likes of Duke Ellington, considered
by many to be America's finest native
composer. Big band leaders like Stan
Kenton popularized a classical ap-
proach to jazz in the '40s, but like other
experiments by people like John Lewis
} of the Modern Jazz Quartet in the '50s,
much of this music hasn't stood up par-
ticularly well to jazz's test of time, and
this is decades we're talking about, not
2 INDIVIDUAL THEATRES
S Ave. at lbery 7019700
1.75 WED. SHOWS
BEFORE 6:00 pm
'"CREATIVE AND THRILLING"
ED LA SECK. MILAN MI.
O I~l (PG) 7
THURS. 5:50 7:40 9:30
WED. 12:20, 2:10, 4:00, 5:50, 7:40, 9:30
the centuries that classical composers'
like Bach have endured.
In the '70 s, third stream music made
a comeback under different guises, as
black classical music coming from the
Association for the Advancement of
Creative Musicians in Chicago (people
like Anthony Braxton and the Art En-
semble of Chicago), as well as more
European style works like Keith
Jarrett's music for saxophone and
Ann Arbor hasn't seen a lot of activity
in this area of music, partly because the
noncommercial nature of such music
doesn't lend itself too well to traditional
jazz venues, and also because the con-
servative U of M music school has
always frowned on jazz. Outside of an
occasional program number, the fine
concerts of Jim Dapogny's Jazz Reper-
tory Ensemble, and Louis Smith's
University Big Band, any jazz influen-
ced work coming out of the Music
School smacks of tokenism.
Many of the performers in Dondero's
production are from the music school
and would readily voice their
disillusionment with the school's lack of
support for indigenous music.
"Classical Jazz" serves as a showcase
for the talent that is busy in the com-
munity, independent of institutions like
Friday's show opened with a trio for sax,
bass, and piano by Dondero and Stephanie
Ozer entitled "When the Seasons Change."
This piece was in a relaxed, "Maiden
Voyage" sort of mood, featuring nice
sonorities from Les Bloom's soprano
sax and Dondero's arco (bowed) bass.
Ozer returned next to play four selec-
tions from Bartok's piano omnibus,
"Microcosmos." These works are
essays in folk harmony as well as
challenging etudes, and Ozer brought
out the drive land excitement of the
music, getting surprisingly good sound
from a rather dumpy looking upright
piano. The Bartok pieces served as a
good link between the classical and jazz
pianists would later emulate.
Most of the first half of the concert
featured the Les Bloom/Bruce Dondero
Sextet in its latest incarnation.
Opening with a spirited reading of
Miles Davis' (new) "Milestones," the
group went on to feature original com-
positions for the rest of the set.
Trumpeter Kalle Nemvalts' "Chant"
opened with a solemn Coltrane-like in-
troduction that led into an ostinato pat-
tern for solos. The horns complemen-
ted each other well, with Bloom's more
emotional saxophone and voice-
inflected-sound contrasting with Nem-
valt's deliberate, formal soloing.
"Riverworld", by trombonist John
Heatherington, displayed his fine in-
tonation on one of the more neglected
jazz instruments. Heatherington's
"Apostacy" featured unison melody
lines in the horns that were particularly
impressive. Les Bloom was represen-
ted as composer by his Art Fair piece,
"Fair Weather." This tune featured
sections of rowdy free blowing in the in-
troduction that led into a rock-like riff
over which the horns traded four bar
Pianist Larry Manderville opened the
second half, calling members of the
audience up to sit for musical portraits.
The highlight of this exercise, beside
Manderville's humorous patter, was
the portrait of bassist Ted Harley, who
got up to play along with his own por-
The closer was Dondero's original or-
chestral composition, "The Dancer."
This piece consisted of a couple of nice,
folksong-like melodies for flute and
oboe, a free introductory bass duo, and
a driving central section in 7/4 time.
Both Kathy Kuscan on oboe and Tom
McGovern on flute turned in fine per-
formances, and bassist David Crandall
contributed some interested arco work
on the introductory duo.
However, the piece seemed to lack
development, with many repeating
unison phrases that became rather
static and a general simplicity of tex-
ture. The group achieved a good blend
for a chamber sized orchestra,
although the six basses experienced
some intonation problems.
Overall, Dondero's "Classical Jazz"
is a very auspicious occurence in Ann
Arbor music. Dondero, Ozer and com-
pany have shown how much local
musicians can do.
New Trueblood Arena
PTP ticket office,
Michigan Ensemble Theatre
Don't miss Diary of a Madman next week! !
*OF EQUAL VALUE/SALE FROM WED. 26th THRU SAT. 29th
Buy one regular or sale sweater,
Marti Walker will give you free
Sweaters equal to your original purchase
EX: BUY ONE $20 SWEATER: GET TWO $10 SWEATERS FREE!
University of Michigan
Michigan Union, Kuenzel Room
Wednesday, January 26
Singers: 2:00-4:30 PM; Dancers: 4:30-6:00 PM
Instrumentalists & Specialty Acts: 2:00-6:00 PM