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January 20, 1984 - Image 15

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-01-20
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Pennell
returns
Butley
Michigan Ensemble Theater
Lydia Mendelssohn Theater
8 p.m. Wednesday January 25-
Sunday, January. 29 and
Thursday, February 2-Sunday,
February 5
By Julie Bernstein
A RUMPLED, crumpled ef-
figy," "a rotting apple in a rotting
barrel," "a half-baked academic,"~ "in-
sufferably egotistical, despicable
foolish, bitter - yet likeable and
strangely sympathetic.
These oddly incongruous remarks
were made by theater critics in 1971 as
they described Ben Butley, the central
character in Simon Gray's British
comedy, a painfully funny work about
an English professor's attempt to piece
together his crumbling life.
Ben Butley, the title character, would
rather maintain his undisturbed
academic life, quoting T. S. Elliot and
Shakespeare. However, he is forced to
confront the dismal reality of his wife's
leaving him for another man, the aban-
donment of his male protoge; their
latent homosexual relationship, and the
possibility of losing his job - all of
which happens in a relatively short
period of time, thus enhancing the
humor of these isolated tragedies.

Nicholas Pennell, Canadian actor and
long-time favorite of the University
theater scene, returns to Ann Arbor to
tackle the literary challenge of Gray's
Butley. Why has Pennel returned to
Ann Arbor every year since his 1973
graduation, after which he entered the
Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the
world-reknowned acting conservatory
in England?
Pennell responded that he "loves the
place" and besides, the University
somehow represents a "spiritual cam-
pus" for him.
Pennell also noted that "Butley is a
good play for Ann Arbor. It's about
academic life and its pitfalls. (as well
as) emotional tenure." It is a play
where, "the size of the risk informs the
size of the failure," which is analogous
to Ann Arbor and the artistic freedom
Pennell feels as guest artist and lec-
turer.
Pennell experiences personal
parallels with Gray's partially
autobiographical story. "Butley is self-
destructive, which many artists are,"
Pennell said. But he not only identifies
with this artist's self-destruction, he
also finds inspiration, as he summed up
by citing the last line of a Stevie Smith
poemj've been to far out all my life,
not moving, but drowning.
Pennell says that despite Butley's an-'
ti-heroic nature, he is still, "a brilliant
teacher...and extremely lovable.
"I am moved by (Butley's)
predicament. I understand it - the
loneliness, the love," he said, em-
phasizing his emotional connection with
the role.
When asked to compare his own ac-
ting choices to those of actor Alan
Bates, the original Butley who played in
New York and London 12 years ago,

irt U n

THE BIG CHILL
Seven University alumni gather together at the
funeral of a friend, the results being humorous and
touching. Are these the best years of our lives?
(Movies at Briarwood, Briarwood Mall; 769-8780).
CHRISTINE
The unfulfilled adaptation of Stephen King's novel
focuses on the antics of a very tempermental car,
and sparks fly. (Fox-Village Theater, Maple Village;
769-1300).
FLASHDANCE/STAYING ALIVE
The two movies-of last summer make a return
engagement. If you're expecting dance-fine, but if

HOT DOG
Yet another sex flick, only this time the action.
takes place on snow-covered mountains. (Fox-
Village Theater, Maple Village;:769-1300).
THE LONELY HEARTS
A love story of unknown quality and content. (Ann
Arbor Theater, 210 S. 5th; 761-9700)
THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN
Burt Reynolds stars in a tepid and silly remake of
Truffaut's French classic. (Movies at Briarwood,'
Briarwood Mali; 769-8780).
NEVER CRY WOLF
The Disney adaptation of Farley Mowat's best-
seller about humans and their environment. (State
Theater, 231S. State; 662-6264).
RISKY BUSINESS
Tom Cruise is a rich and naive teenager who
inherits a beautiful prostitute for a night. (State
Theater, 231S. State; 662-6264).
RETURN OF THE JEDI

seethes with passion and ambition; his wildest
dreams come true,.bringing along some wild night-
mares. (Campus Theater, 1214 S. University, 668-.
6416).
SILKWOOD
Karen Silkwood discovers disturbing things about
her plutonium plant. When she attempts to expose
them, she mysteriously dies in a car accident.
(M~lovies at Briarwood, Briarwood Mall; 769-8780).
STREAMERS
Both Robert Altman and his new film will be in
town this week. Streamers, the story of three young
soldiers before they're shipped off to Vietnam, is
perhaps the finest Altman film yet. A must-see.
(State Theater, 231S. State; 662-6264). -
SUDDEN IMPACT
Clint hits again, suddenly and repeatedly, as Dirty
Harry Callahan whose investigation of a murder'
leads to a lovely lady and a psychopath. (State
Theater, 231 S. State; 662-6264).

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you rav a god toryineforgt i. (Mvie atYENTL
you crave a good storyline-forget it. (Movies at Third in a series of space-age flicks that combine TERMS OF ENDEARMENTyn
Briarwood, Briarwood Mals; 769-8780). action, amusing scenarios and charismatic charac- A dow (Shiry c e), tris to settle someo g
GORKY PARK . ~~~ters in an enjoyable, albeit mindless, movie (Fox oftecnuigpnsofam hr/uher uysce:
Can a. jaded Russian agent detective save Russia o h ofsn onso ohrduhe oit
and the girl he loves from an international smuggling Village Theater, Maple Vilage 769-1300) relationship with her daughter (Debra Winger). finally fulfi
scheme? (Movies at Briarwood, Briarwood Mall; SCARFACE (Ann Arbor Theater, 210S. 5th; 761-9700), musical. (
Cuban immigrant Tony Montana (Al Pacino) 769-8780).
769-8780).

Pennell: Plays the part as he plays himself

Pennell responded that he has no inten-
tion of playing the role any way but his
own. In fact, he has deleted all stage
directions designated in the script in
order to avoid a carbon copy perfor-
mance of the original Broadway ver-
sion.
Besides, Pennell does not feel par-
ticularly inspired by commercial
theater. Because the Stratford
Shakespeare Festival (Pennell's ar-
tistic home) receives less funding than
any regional theater in Canada, he

resents Broadway producers and their
frivolous, million-dollar expenditures
and their coveting of potential money-
makers from regional theaters.
"Producers are jackals picking up
leavings from other tables," Pennell
said.
Pennell denied that any previousj
Butley productions will dictate the ac-
tion of this one; he believes that the
play itself is about the actor playing the
.part. "The play's got to be about me,
you can't pretend to be someone else,"
Pennell said.

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Jean Cocteau, 1946)
The French director takes a surrealistic look at the
classic story. It's a good movie to start off the week
with, because the title does a splendid job of sum-
ming up the week's offerings. (Cinema 2; Aud. A,
7:00)
THE GOLDEN COACH (Jean Renoir, 1953)
Ann Magnini stars as Camillia, an actress in a
theater troupe. The troupe serves as a vehicle for
Renoir to take a look at humanity. (Cinema 2; Aud.
A, 8:45)
CAT PEOPLE (Jacquest Tourneur, 1942)
Not the remake, but the original. Simone Simon
plays a woman who is quite scared about the ancient
curse of a panther. By the time the film is over, the
audience finds out that the fear was not all that
unreasonable. (Mediatrics; Nat. Sci. Aud., 7:30)
CAT PEOPLE (Paul Schrader, 1982)
This is not a glitch in the production process. There
are two versions of the same movie playing tonight.
This is the more recent version with Nastassja Kin-
ski in the title role. Which cat person do you like
best(Mediatrics; Nat. Sci. Aud., 9:00)
SEVEN BEAUTIES (Lina Wertmuller, 1976)
Giancarlo Giannini is a gangster whose life goes
from bad to worse to worst as it progresses from jail
to a concentration camp with stops along the way.
Italian with subtitles. (Cinema Guild; Lorch Hall,
7:00,9:05)
WIZARDS (Ralph Bakshi,1979)
One of the wizards of modern animation takes a
look - see into the future when magic and
technology are trying to decide the winner for good.
To be preceded by chapter 3 of Flash Gordon
Conquers the Universe. (Classic Film Theater;
Michigan Theater, 7:15,11:20)_
THE LORD OF THE RINGS (Ralph Bakshi, 1978)
The animation is spectacular - so is the butchery
of Tolkien's novels. Perhaps not for trueepurists, but
enjoyable enough. (Classic Film Theater, Michigan.
Theater, 9:00)

VICTOR, VICTORIA (Blake Edwards, 1982)
The last good film by Edwards is very, very good
indeed. The stars include Julie Andrews, James
Garner, and the rest of Blake Edwards' usual en-
tourage. The plentiful laughs are enhanced by a very
good musical score by Henry Mancini. (Hill Street
Cinema; 1429 Hill, 6:45, 9:00)
LIFEBOAT (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)
World War II. A lifeboat adrift at sea. On board are
Tallulah Bankhead (difficult to picture her being
stuck on a lifeboat), William Bendix, Hume Cronyn,
and others, including the Nazi vital to every WWII
picture. (Alternative Action; Nat. Sci. Aud., 7:00)
SPELLBOUND (Alfred Hitchcock, 1945)
If you like Freud, then you will love this movie
about Ingrid Bergman psychoanalyzing Gregory
Peck. If Freudian psychoanalysis is not your cup of
tea, this suspense movie will seem about as suspen-
seful as watching the trees on the Diag grow. (Alter-
native Action; Nat. Sci. Aud, 9:00);
DIAL M FOR MURDER IN 3-D.(Alfred Hitchcock,
1954)
Ray Milland and Grace Kelly. He plots to kill her
and then tries not to incriminate himself while the
police investigate. (Cinema 2; Lorch Hall, 7:00,9:00)

THE WAR AT HOME (Barry Alexander Brown and
Glen Silber)
A look at how the anti-war movement developed
and the effects it has had on U.S. foreign policy.
(Alternative Action; East Quad, 8:00 FREE)
TWENTY-FOUR EYES (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954)
An elementary school teacher sees the promise of
the future vanish from when she first taught in 1928
until the late 1940s. Japanese with subtitles. (Cinema
Guild; Lorch Hall, 7:00, FREE)g

ABSENSE OF MALICE (Sidney Pollack, 1981)
Paul Newman gets victimized by some stories
written by reporter Sally Field. He decides to get
some revenge. Highly entertaining, even though
some things are left hanging. From the director of
Tootsie. (Mediatrics; Nat. Sci. Aud., 7:00,9:00)

FOREIGI
1940)
Sinister
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down, covered with

EL (Luis Bunuel, 1952)
Black comedy leads off an evening of Bunuel. His
study of a jealous and paranoid man also attacks
religion, like so many of Bunuel's films do. (Cinema
2; Aud. A, 7:00)
SIMON OF THE DESERT (Luis Bunuel, 1965)
From black comedy to philosophical comedy. The
subject of this is a prophet called Simon who likes to
spend most all of his time atop a pillar. (Cinema 2;
Aud. A, 8:45)
THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA
CRUZ (Luis Bunuel, 1955)
Black comedy once again. De la Cruz is a
psychotic. He also thinks he is a murderer. The
comedy deals with murder, perversion, and the like.
(Cinema 2; Aud. A, 9:30)
ANGEL LEVINE (Jan Kadar, 1970)
Zero Mostel, Harry Belafonte, Eli Wallach, and
others. An angel is not performing up to standards,
and to try and get himself back in favor, he comes to
Earth to help someone. From a Bernard Malamud
story. (Hill Street Cinema; 1429 Hill, 7:00,9:00)
THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET (Jan Kadar &Elmar
Klos, 1965)
Czechoslovakia during World War II and the early
days of Nazi occupation is the setting. The story
deals with the Aryan controller of a button shop who
starts to fall in love with the elderly owner. Czech
with subtitles. (Ann Arbor Film Coop; MLB 4,7:00)
OKLAHOMA! (Fred Zinneman, 1955)
The screen version of the Rodgers and Hammer-
stein musical comes complete with a surrey with the
fringe on top, a beautiful day, chapter 4 of Flash
Gordon Conquers the Universe; and more.
(Classic Film Theater; Michigan Theater, 3:00,6:00,
9:00)
OF HUMAN BONDAGE (John Cromwell, 1934)
The bondage is more metaphorical than actual.
Bette Davis plays a not-so-nice waitress who toys
with a club-footed medical student who seems to like
the cruel treatment. (Cinema Guild; Lorch Hall,
7:00)
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (Harold Young, 1935)
The French nobility stand mere inches away from
the guillotine, about to be beheaded, when a
secretive English nobleman swoops down to save
them. Adventure in the midst of the Reign of Terror.
(Cinema Guild; Lorch Hall, 8:30)

OEDIPUS THE KING (Phillipe Saville, 1967)
Christopher Plummer, Lilli Palmer, Donald
Sutherland and Orson Welles are on hand for an
adaptation of the Sophoclese tragedy that was filmed
at a ruined Greek ampitheater for authenticity. (Ann
Arbor Film Coop; Aud. A, 7:00)
MARAT/SADE (Peter Brooks, 1967)
Inmates of an asylum reenact the death of Marat
as directed by Sade. The atmosphere at the asylum is
quite horrifying, and the film is not recommended
for the queasy-stomached. (Ann Arbor Film Coop;
Aud. A, 8:45)

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URGH!! A MUSIC WAR (Derek Burbridge, 1981)
This Ann Arbor premiere is a dose of MTV on the
silver screen: It takes a comprehensive look at the
new music scene with non-stop performances by The
Police, Dead Kennedys, Oingo Boingo, Joan Jett, and
more. (AnnArbor Film Coop; MLB 3,7:00,9:15)
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (David Lean, 1965)
The novel by Boris Pasternak comes to the screen.
Omar Sharif and Julie Christie star in a very big
melodrama that is melodrama all the same. Maurice
Jarre composed the music. (Cinema Guild; Aud. A,
4:00,8:00)'

i

Julie Andrews: A man's man

8 Weekend/January 20, 1984

5

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