The Michigan Daily1
Tuesday, September 11, 1984
Eastwood nervously walks
By Byron L. Bull
IGHTROPE, the latest film vehicle
for machismo star Clint Eastwood,
has been getting an inordinate amount
of good press from critics who should
I suspect that a good deal of the
favorable reviews are coming from
closet Eastwood fans, who are willing.
to overlook Tightrope's numerous flaws
because it's probably the closest
project to resemble a full fledged movie
that its star has been in a good
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While there are some minor attempts
to flush out this Eastwood protagonist
beyond something as zombie-like as
Harry Callahan, the final result is only
a slight notch above the Dirty Harry
adventures that preceeded it. The
major reasons for that being prin-
cipally that the script is not thin to the
point of being skeletal, and that the
violence, while still lavishly spread out
through the story, is refreshingly toned
As Wes Block, a middle aged New
Orleans homicide detective, Eastwood
is in not unfamiliar skin. Only instead of
being a heartless loner without con-
science, Block is a harried divorcee
father with two preadolescent
daughters and a houseful of taken-in
stray dogs attached to him.
Like Eastwood's shell-shocked pilot
in Firefox (one of the few other attem-
pts to depict Eastwood as a troubled
character), Block is a lonely, nerve-
racked basketcase. He can't keep up
with the pressures of work and finds
himself failing to give his domestic life
any semblance of normality.
Beyond all that, he's cursed with a
wrenching inability to find any sexual
or emotional fulfillment through a
relationship with a woman.
Investigating a rash of bizarre
sexually related slaying, Block immer-
ses himself in the sleazy underworld of
New Orleans' French Quarter, and in
little time is indulging in all manner of
aberant experiences with the whores
and sex-act queens he comes into con-
As his escapades become in-
creasingly kinkier and more bizarre,
Block begins to see the darker corners
of his psyche, and wonders if he's fun-
damentally any different from the
killer he's pursuing.
See EASTWOOD'S, Page 7
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Clint Eastwood plays a nervous version of 'Dirty Harry' in pursuit of a psycho killer in the film, Tightrope.
Bolero offers little worth
By Richard Campbell
B OLERO is bad.
There's really not much more to say
than that. It's certainly not worth the
price of a regular evening admission
and not even worth the cut-rate matinee
prices. Seeing it for free on cable will
still be too much of an investment.
What makes Bolero only the slightest
bit interesting is director-star team
John and Bo Derek's lack of talent but
abundance of good intentions and their
Barnumesque approach to advertising.
Over the past six-months, the
Hollywood rumor mills have been
working overtime on the film. Mainly,
the gossip centered on the dizzying
heights of sexual excess that Bolero'
would exhibit. The Dereks were going
to throw all propriety to the winds,
ignore convention, and make if not an
artsy XXX-rated flick, an XXX-rated
A lot of people greeted that news
with a raised eyebrow and a stifled'
yawn. Whatever interest there is in
seeing Bo writhe naked on satin sheets
would surely be dashing through the
inept direction of John.
Suprisingly, Bolero didn't turn out
For a film that was supposed to get an
X-rating, that titilated moviegoers with
promises of wild orgies, Bolero is.
amazingly tame. A few scenes feature
naked bodies throwing themselves
around on a bed, but those scenes are
very few indeed and offer little that is
shocking or intriguing to jaded film
fans. If you want to see sex on the silver
screen, you had better look elsewhere
for your daily ration.
Of course, sex isn't the only reason'
we go to the movies. Mostly, we're
looking for interesting characters in
situations that explore man's purpose
on this planet, all wrapped up in a film
that pushes the medium to new limits.
John Derek's direction seems to show
that he is as inept as ever, but that he
knows enough about filmmaking to con-
fuse the most experienced critic.
Bolero nominally concerns the
wayward adventures of a young
American girl in the roaring '20s who
graduates from a stuffy English boar-
ding school and promptly goes off to the
continent to lose her virginity. Her first
encounter with a pseudo-sheik ends
without success, so she travels to Spain
and falls in love with a bull-fighter.
Their affair is cut short when he is
gored by a bull and may not be able to,
ahem, do it, anymore. Can Bo save a
man from a fate worse than death???
Although the socially redeeming
value in such a plot may be hard to
imagine, there are frames in the film
where it looks like something positive
may emerge to save the movie.
It is unfortunate that Bo Derek stars
in Bolero. Though her physique is above
average, she can't act her way out of a
paper bag. Since her character is sup-
posed to be just over 20 years-old, Bo
has decided to play the sexual adven-
tress as a giggly, nervous, starry-eyed
That may seem appropriate, until
you see Bo's rendition of those
qualities. What was undoubtedly writ-
ten--into the script as the word
"naivete" comes across on the screen
But in the background is one
suprising performance - at least sur-
prising in the context of the movie.
As the ch'auffer/father-figure,
George Kennedy says and acts as little
as possible. But behind his typecast
mannerisms is an actor light-years
ahead of the Dereks. When Kennedy
moves, talks, or simply listens to
another character, there is the simple
feeling that you are watching a real
human being. And during a drunken yet
G-rated love scene, Kennedy grabs a
sincere laugh bigger than any Bo gets
for her non-acting.
See THERE'S, Page 7
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