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February 08, 1984 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-08

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he Michigan Daily

Wednesday, February 8, 1984

Page 5

Woody books a winner

By Craig Winkelman
BROADWAY Danny Rose, a wonderful
film from Woody Allen, represents the
latest step in the progression of Allen's
Career as a filmmaker, and brings his
art within the reach of most movie
Broadway Danny Rose tells the
story of Danny Rose (played by
Allen), a small-time theatrical agent
who handles only acts that he believes
in - such as a one-legged tap dancer, a
parrot that sings "I Gotta Be Me," and
a lady that plays pop songs on a table of
crystal glasses.
The movie centers around Danny's
exploits with an over-the-hill Italian
singer, Lou Canova (Nick Apollo For-
te), and the woman with whom Canova
is having an affair, Tina Vitale (Mia
The story is told - a la Citizen Kane
- by a group of acquaintances
recalling the past. In this case, the
acquaintances are several small-time
comedians who have gathered at the
Carnigie Deli for a long afternoon of
story telling. Everyone has their own
favorite Danny Rose story. Like the
time the parrot trainer's star was eaten

by a cat, or the time his hypnotist took a
female from the audience and put her in
an irreversible trance. "If she comes
out of it, I'll take you anywhere you
want for dinner . .. You like Chinese
food, don't you?" Danny asks the
distraught husband. Pure Woody Allen.
But no one can match the story of Lou
Canova and Tina Vitale for intrigue and
Danny Rose is forced by his client,
Canova, to be a "beard" with his extra-
marital playmate, Tina Vitale. A
beard is someone who poses as a
companion for part of an illicit couple,
so that the true lovers can be seen in
public together without raising
Danny is a successful beard; so suc-
cessful that he gets an Italian mob -
who thinks that he has stolen Tina away
from their heartbroken brother - on
his trail, seeking revenge.
This set-up is perfect for Allen to play
the nervous, timid Danny Rose. Allen,
with a great deal of exaggerated hand
movements, gives a different kind of
performance than we are used to seeing
from tiim.
Danny Rose, although conforming to
the classic Allen persona, is not sb
much the center of attention as are

most of Allen's main characters. He ac-
ts primarily as a straight man for all of
the others. This minimal performance
makes a truly believeable character of
Danny Rose.
Nick Apollo Forte also gives a very
believeable performance as the over-
weight, heavy-drinking Lou Canova.
And Mia Farrow shines, showing us her
versatility in playing the tacky
bleached blonde, Tina Vitale, just as
convincingly and naturally as the
psychiatrist Isadora Fletcher in Zelig.
Her authentic Brooklyn accent, high-
heeled strut, and sunglasses help make
her obnoxious and crude, yet natural
and likeable.,
The natural performances in Broad-
way Danny Rose are enhanced by the
realism of Gordon Willis' superb
cinematography. His work in Broad-
way is reminiscent of another realistic
favorite, Vittorio DeSica's The Bicycle
Allen adds other DeSica references.
Angelina, a fortune teller, is quite
similar to the fortune teller found in
Bicycle Thief. Allen also carries an
Italian motif through the film with the
families such as the Canovas, and Dick
Hyman's shlocky Italian accordion

the second and more important
reason for noting this comparison is
that Woody Allen has been making such
directorial references throughout his
film career. From the Bergmanesque
Interiors (1978) to the Citizen Kane-
inspired newsreel footage in Zelig
Allen has fluctuated between accessible
to inaccessible styles while remaining
intensely aware of his predecessors and
In Broadway Danny Rose, Allen
finds the perfect blend of pure comic
fun and cinematic references to create
l a very enjoyable and densely-packed
film comedy. It is refeshing to see a
major film talent make wonderful
moies like his last three efforts Broad-
way, Zelig, and the underacclaimed
Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy.
With Broadway Danny Rose,
Woody Allen adds another fine
achievement to his filmography, and
shows us once more that he is one of the
most exciting film makers of our time.

he creative Woody Allen portrays Danny Rose, a timid theatrical agent involved
with the mafia.

Harpsichordist amazes with virtuosity

By Anne Valdespino
filled to capacity in anticipation of
n exciting new artist. Bradley
rookshire, a smart looking young man
in his early twenties, marched up to a
kagnificent Flemish harpsichord and
His first selection was a sonata by
omenico Scarlatti, so virtuosic that
any keyboard players dare not brave
t as an opening piece. Brookshire
ared and triumphed. His tempo was
risk but phrases were well-defined. He
andled the difficult task of articulating
uick notes beautifully, and the music
emained crisp throughout.
Brookshire proved from the outset

that he is a natural harpsichordist,
possessing an intimacy with the in-
strument that is rare today. He had at
his disposal, the ability to convey a
universe of special effects.
To evoke a delicate mood, Brookshire
chose to play on the upper keyboard.
This veiled sound gave the Menuet a
distant music-box quality.
In the Fugue alla giga from Bach's
Toccata in G major, Brookshire made
grander gestures. Using a coupling
device which enabled him to operate
two sets of strings from the lower
keyboard, he produced a brilliant sound
that seemed to swell. This was an
amazing feat, considering the har-
psichord's inability to change volume.
But conjuring various musical
illusions was only part of Brookshire's

bag of tricks. His knowledge of the
historical aspects of these pieces freed
him to do still more. Unknown to many
members of the audience, Brookshire
prepared a composition of his own
creation for this concert. The first
movement of D'Angleberts Suite in D
survives in sources that contain all the
pitches of the prelude without any of its
rhythms. From these raw materials he
fashioned a tasteful introduction to the
suite., It moved forward with great
harmonic direction, in contrast to the
lugubrious interpretations that un-
measured preludes are usually given.
Another advantage Brookshire has in
being skilled in historical practices is
his ability to tune instruments in ways
that are entirely unknown to most
modern keyboard players. This was

especially apparent in Cento Partite
Sopra Passacagli by the Italian
Renaissance composer Girolamo
Frescobaldi. Its meantone tuning made
discordant harmonies a bit.out of tune,
so that they sounded more poignant.
But this recital did not depend on
historical accuracy "to make it a
fulfilling experience. Brookshire is one
of very few musicians gifted with that
indescribable talent many people call
star quality. Put him on stage, and
rather then feeling anxious, he thrives
in the spotlight and revels in the
challenge of performing technical im-
possibilities as if they were elementary.
Treacherous leaps, intricate hand
crossings, extended trills, and devilish
repeated notes he executed with
astounding ease. The longer one

listened and watched Brookside,
the more the secret to his unearthly ar-
tistry became apparent - he was
having fun.
Join the
Arts Staff!
New Mental Health Service
Professional psychoanalyst will
respond in writing to individu-
als who wish to submit prob-
lems or concerns.
Fee: $1.00 per letter
Please enclose a stamped self-
addressed envelope. Confidentiality
maintained. Please address letter to:
P.O. Box 2078
Ann Arbor, MI 48106

5th AveaoRliberty 76140700
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I at the beach-,
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DALY 1:00, 7:00, 9:25

Silent Running treks through space

By Byron Bull
Silent Running is a modest, and, at times, very
curious film worthy of attention despite its numerous
weaknesses. Directed by special effects genius
Douglas Trumbull (2001, Close Encounters, Blade
Runner) at the a'ge of 29, it's not an immediately en-
joyable work. The plotting is sketchy, and the themes
never fully explored, but the effort is sincere. There
are great ideas hidden within the murky storyline,
they simply require a search.
In the 21st century, overpopulation and rampant
industrialization have wiped nature right off the face
of the planet. The last remaining wildlife and foliage
have been transported into space. Whole forests sit
within glass geodesic domes, affixed to the skeleton
framework of long, spindly space freighters,
awaiting their final fate.
The astronaut caretakers are so bored with their
cargo that, when the order comes to jettison the
domes and return home, they react with almost
violent enthusiasm. The forests are shot into space,
and exploded. The sole botonist on board, Freeman
Lowell (Bruce Dern), is outraged, he commandeers
one freighter and heads into the void. He tends his
forest all alone, his sole companions being several
small robot drones, only a few feet tall.
It is the drones in fact that were the impetus for the
film. Viewing Tod Browning's Freaks, Trumbull
struck upon the idea of using bilateral amputees
(people amputated from the pelvis down) as robots in
a film. Since the amputees can only move about by
walking on their hands (and surprisingly quickly),

Trumbull designed small fiberglass prop/costumes
to encase them. Even with the outfit, on, the drones
are far smaller than a dwarf. The sight of them
walking about the set is stunning.
Yet one effect is not enough to carry a movie. The
screenplay (credited to Deer Hunter's Michael
Cimino among others) is illogical and confused. The
very idea of launching the remaining forests into
space, and then casually destroying them is absurb.
Likewise, a subsequent subplot involving a.
mysterious epidemic that slowly kills the plants. The
solution Lowell reaches after much agonizing is the
very first one we'd consider if we found a house plant
to be ailing. Guess what it is.
Trumbull fails to concentrate on his character. He
spends far too much time showing the hardware, par-
ticularly the drones. Even when we do see Lowell, the
drones are there clicking and chirping, distracting
To be fair to Dern, he does the best with the
material. He tries to inject his Lowell with warmth
and gentleness, but never enough for the audience to
fully empathize. So little of the script is devoted to
explaining his motivations that many of his actions
seem irrational. He, in fact, comes to resemble any
one of the psychos for which he's been typecasted in
other films.

craft carrier. Television monitors and vacuum-
formed plastic panels were added to the cabin walls,
with much of the original wiring and ductwork left
exposed. The result is a cluttered, detailed set that is
a thoroughly believable spacecraft interior.
The miniature and optical work, through simple
animation stand and front projection techniques, is
imaginatively utilized. It is the simple beauty of some
of the shots that makes one wonder how much an im-
provement those expensive motion control systems of
today are.
The one truly fascinating thing about the film is its
unique place as a cultural artifact. Like science fic-
tion films of the early seventies, it has a heavy en-
vironmental theme, yet it's not -at allranti-tech. In
Trumbull's eye,, technology and nature can blend
quite easily. It is the equipment of the domes that
protects and nourishes the forest. Lowell himself ad-
justs more easily to the company of the drones than
he did his crewmates, taking them for walks through
the domes and teaching them to play poker.
- If Stanley Kubrick made technology sexy in 2001,
then Douglas Trumbull makes it as comfortable as an
old sweater in Silent Running. In the final shot of the
film, a drone plods along through the forest, watering
flowers and planting trees, looking very much a part
,of the environment. That one image neatly summarizes
everything Trumball had spent the first 90 minutes
trying to say.
Silent Running shows at 7 and 8:45 at the Hill Street
Cinema, 1429 Hill.

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offers Master and Doctorate degrees in:
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Interested students in Engineering, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Pre-
Med., Pre-Dent., or any Physical or Biological Sciences should call or
Prof. M.S. Hilbert
Dept. of Environmental and Industrial Health
- School of Public Health
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
(313) 764-3188
Financial Assistance available to qualified students.
Open House, Thursday, February 9 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Room
3001, Henry Vaughan Bldg. (SPH I)

Technically, the movie is
shoestring budget. Much
aboard the U.S.S. Valley

a marvel of production on a
of the filming was done
Forge, a mothballed air-


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