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March 09, 1984 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-09
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,Starring Tom Selleck, Jane Seymour
and Lauren Hutton
Directed by Roger Young
Now playing at the State Theater
By Byron L. Bull
W HEN YOU find yourself among
an audience that is giggling, and
whispering, guessing the major plot
twist of a movie long before they hap-
pen, something is wrong.
Such is the case with Lassiter, the
second attempt by Tom Selleck to cross
over from television to feature films.
But, like both his "Magnum P.." series
and High Road To China release, this
low budget, unimaginative bit of
escapist fluff fails miserably to do
anything but bore.
Selleck plays a professional jewel
thief in London who is recruited by
Scotland Yard to break into German

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embassy and steal a cache of diamonds
before hostilities of World WarII break
out. The blatant similarities to Hitch-
cock's To Catch a Thief and the old "It
Takes A Thief" television series aptly
testify to the project's overall lack of
originality, which is consistently main-
tained through the end of the movie.
And though Selleck, in his cute all-black
(cat) burglar outfit, tries to imitate
some of the style and urbanity of Cary
Grant in the formerfilm, his acting
range is more akin to Robert Wagner in
the latter.
One would expect the film, by its very
premise, to deliver at least some
suspense or thrills, but it doesn't. Most
of Selleck's time is spent wandering
about the cramped back lot that is sup-
posed to represent London in the late
'30s, talking with an assorted bunch of
characters with thick cockney accents
about how difficult his job is going to be.
Yet when he actually does get down to
business (the film's climax) it takes
surprisingly little time and effort.
Most of the film's running time is cen-
tered on the antagonism between
Selleck and the British cop assigned to
supervise him, a hard-nosed chap who
exclaims "Coppers is coppers and rob-
bers is robbers," as an excuse for slap-
ping him up and verbally abusing him.
While on the other side there is an
American FBI man assigned to the
case who follows Selleck about with a
"gee-whiz" reverence.
Thereis,rofcourse, an obligatory
romantic subplot, involving former
model-turned-actress Jane Seymour as
Selleck's shyly innocent, dancer
girlfriend. Selleck and Seymour spend
most of their time together on the
screen whining and gushing over one
another, with Selleck playing such an I-
need-you-baby softie it's hard to accept
him as a cool, calculating rogue. And
while Seymour's screen presence is the
warmest, least strained of the cast, she
is given little to do with her character
but pout and fawn over her lead.
Another former model, Lauren Hut-
ton, plays the role of villainous who
possesses the diamonds. She plays your
basic vile, black widoe-bitch, with
whom Selleck must sleep in order to
locate the whereabouts of the diamon-
ds. Not the enviable task it would seem
since Hutton, in addition to being a coke
fiend and sexual aberrent, has the
nasty habit of killing her enemies while
in the act of consummation with them.
Hello .. is that right?
The Daily?
The Michigan Daily?
Carries Bloom County...
A i
Now in

l augh
Outrageously Offensive Jokes 11
By Maude Thickett
Pocket Books
121 pp., $2.50
Glen Baxter-His Life
By Glen Baxter
Alfred A. Knopf
176 pp., $13.95
By Mark Kulkis
SID YOU hear that Roman
SPolanski cruises in a school
bus? But seriously, we really shouldn't
make fun of him. His wife just died -
crib death.
"Why does New York have so much
herpes and California so many real
estate agents?-New York had first
The above are two of the
"outrageously offensive jokes" ap-
pearing in a new book by Maude
Thickett.iA sequel toher original
Outrageously Offensive Jokes, this new
book (dedicated to James Watt) suc-
ceeds in poking fun at blacks, Jews,
Italians, Poles, gays, and even the late,
great Helen Keller.
A breeze to read, this book really has
no distinguishing merits past getting

some laughs out of your friends, and
serving as, a -great 30-minute study
As with all other books of its kind,
you'll have great fun reading it, retain
about two percent of the jokes to tell at
parties, and then probably never look at
it again. After you're done with it, you'll
probably say to yourself: "For this I
paid $2.50?!" But when you figure that
the book is 126 pages long, and contains
about two good jokes on every page,
you're really only paying about one
cent per chuckle...which is nice.
On a radically different wavelength
of humor is British artist Glen Baxter's
parodic autobiography. Baxter's "art"
are wonderful little cartoons which,
when combined with the subtle wit of
his writing, relate experiences of Bax-
ter's life with amazing hilarity.
Baxter's storytelling technique is to
follow a perfectly ordinary statement
about a period of his life, such as "On
Sundays it was my job to prepare a pic-
nic lunch using mother's home-baked
wholemeal bread..." with a cartoon
that amusingly and unpredictably in-
terprets the meaning of the accom-
panying statement. In this case, the
cartoon is a picture of the young Baxter
using a saw to slice a loaf of his
mother's bread. This is low-key humor
at its best.
The book almost begs to be read over
and over again; the cartoons never
cease to amuse the reader. This is an
odd sort of book, butone whose unique
brand of humor.I'm sure nobody could
help but appreciate.
The only thing I disliked about this
book was its price. It is a hardcover,
and is printed on an extra-heavy,
durable stock of paper. Still, many
people would flinch at the thought of
paying $13.95 for a book of cartoons. But.

when you consider that this book will
probably last you a good 60 to 80 years,
and also figure in the number of times
you'll re-read it and re-enjoy it, it's

probably woi
Besides, u
contains onl:

Very special, indeed, these new watc
You'll find: unusual shapes, and dial:
glass mineral crystal, genuine leathe
straps, adjustable bracelets. All for to
looking for that wafer-thin, beautifu
look of sophistication. Quartz accur
of course.

Selleck: Strike two
Hutton, with a sloppy German accent
and limited number of scowls and
glares, shows little enthusiasm for her
Roger Young directs the dismal
proceedings, from an uninspired script
by David Taylor. For an action-adven-
ture film there is surprisingly little of
either here, and what there is are
scenes duplicated in numerous other
films to the point of becoming cliches.
A fight scene between Selleck and a
Nazi heavy is all too cleanly
choreographed and predictable as
evidenced by props that just hang
around the set within arm's reach. When
Lassiter (Selleck) steals the diamonds
while running along a rooftop, followed
by a trial of carefully-times squibs and a
conveniently waiting cable, on which he
slides to safety, the reviewer experien-
ces an uncomfortable deja vu because
we've seen this so many times before.
The whole production is rather shabby
throughout. The cinematography is
crude, shot through a filter (as all
period films seem to be) and glaringly,
inexpressively over-lit. The sound ef-
fects during the fist fights are the loud,
tinny whacks and cracks generally
heard only in bad kung-fu imports. The

vintage props, the old cars, wagons and
trucks crowded in front of the camera,
are all in mint condition, freshly pain-
ted and polished. As museum pieces on
loan they look great, but as believable
set pieces, forget it.
About the only place where any
amount of money or attention is
lavished is Selleck's wardrobe. Though
I stopped counting at 14, Selleck
seemed to go through an innumerable
amount of costume changes, with a
seemingly endless supply of wide-
lapeled sport jackets, black tuxes, and
navel-high slacks to slip into (and out
of, even baring his derriere for his
female fans in one scene).
Despite all the accessories, and the
little tugs at his fedora, Selleck fails to
pull off the illusion. His all-too-contem-
porary, blandly handsome male model
looks are too out of place in the setting
of an era known for more distinctive,
less than perfect images of Cooper and
Bogart. Selleck's face and acting
abilities are best suited back where he
began his career, hawking cigarettes
off billboards and magazine pages. Up
on the silver screen, now that's reser-
ved for actors. W,


Coming attractions

The World According to Beaver is
scheduled to hit the shelves in April.
This will be the official illustrated
guide to the television series, and will
include actual dialogue highlights and
photographs from the shows, along
with an introduction by Jerry Mathers
(as the Beaver). Publisher: Bantam
Best-selling author John D. Mac-

Donald's new book arrives this mon-
th. It's called One More Sunday, and
is a tale of extortion and intrigue, of
sexual exploitation and moral am-
biguity, and of murder and redem-
ption, all set against the background
of a high-profit big business religious
television program. Publisher: Alfred
A. Knopf.
-Mark Kulkis

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6 Weekend/Friday, March 9, 1984 W k

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