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October 02, 1987 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-02

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_aRTS
Friday, October 2, 1987

The Michigan Daily

Page7

'Big

Town'

can't

fill

big

,$

screen

By Mark Shaiman
The Big Town is Ben Bolt's
p debut as a feature film director,
which is unfortunately quite
apparent. While being a successful
television director in England, he has
not been able to make the transition
fluently. The result: a film that
-operates on the level of a TV-
movie.
Then again, it is not entirely
-Bolt's fault, since screenwriter
Robert Roy Pool didn't give him
much of a story to work with. Based
on the novel, The Arm, by Clark
Howard, The Big Town is full of
cliched events and stereotypical
characters.
Cully (Matt Dillon) is the Indiana
jarmboy who comes to the "Big
City," Chicago in the 1950s, to try
his hand at back room craps. He
encounters George Cole (Tommy
Lee Jones), the crooked gambler;
Lorry Dane' (Diane Lane), the
showgirl/floozy; and Aggie (Suzy
%Amis), the alluring older woman.
All these performances were quite
appropriate to the roles. Dillon,
Lane, and Jones all played their
cliches well. But there is little
substance to the roles they play;
they are all two-dimensional.
The highlights of the film are
strong performances by Bible-toting
gambler Deacon Daniels (Del
-Close), whose unique correlations
,between the numbers on the dice and

the Holy Scriptures are the only
source of humor in the film. To him
a roll of four stands for "three for the
Trinity and one because they're all
together."
Aside from these two, not much
about the film is worthwhile because
the direction is amateurish. Bolt
needs to learn the difference between
the silver screen and television; one
constantly expects a commercial
break. Too many times a small
complication ends in a quick
resolution, which is a sure sign that
the director is afraid of losing the
audience.
In one gambling scene there are
double exposures of money that
seems to be raining down, and then
large dice that roll across the screen.
This is much like the terrific art
direction of The Color of Money.
But whereas Scorsese carries his
images throughout the film. Bolt

goes no farther.
Later in the film, after Cully
wins big at the tables, he goes out
to spend his money. Voices drop off,
music comes up, and this seems like
the beginning of a shopping spree
montage. Cully buys one suit and
the scene ends. Again Bolt fails 'to
continue what he has started.
Bolt's attempts to break from
convention are unfortunately mis-
guided, and much is lost as a result.
In both of these cases the director
has not utilized his possibilities, a
sign of his immaturity in executing
feature films. Either of these scenes
could have been explored while only
adding a few minutes to the film.
But Bolt seems to have wanted to
keep the time to a certain limit - a
must for television, not motion
pictures.
With some experience Bolt may
become a better director, but for now
The Big Town is just small stuff..

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I

Matt Dillon plays a gambler who romances Suzy Amis in the new film 'The Big Town.'
r

p

ho - - - - 7 - 7 -- Ed

Charing'

crosses paths1NlIt I

By Daniel Rosenberg
"I used to go to English movies
just to look at the streets," wept a
New York writer, Helene Hanff
(Anne Bancroft). She was looking
for one street in particular, Charing
Cross Road. 84 Charing Cross Road
to be exact.
It was a bookstore on that little
British Road that she was so
interested in. This was no ordinary
bookstore. It was Marks and Com-
pany, second hand booksellers. A
stare that was synonymous with
Helene's request list.
But how can an entire motion
picture be devoted to a true story of
_ne woman's relationship with a
bookstore? It's no easy task. And it
would have failed if it wasn't for a
p great deal of inspired directing by
David Jones. He was inspired by
Woody Allen. Inspired by witty
remarks, to-the-camera monologues,
a love for nostalgia, and a
Gershwin-esque jazzy score.
Woody Allen has no patent on
'bthese elements, but he seems to be
about the only one who knows how
to use them correctly. Now David
Jones has successfully joined in.
InThe Purple Rose of Cairo, Mia
Farrow takes us on a trip as s he
escapes at the movie house. And in
84 Charing Cross Road, Anne
Bancroft takes us on a trip as she
.escapes with her reading and writing.
It was her love for writing that
shined through in her book-order
letters that made a half-dozen
employees fall for her. And it is this
joy that overtakes the audience as
:well.

Her communication skills had the
largest effect on one employee in
particular, the assistant manager
Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins). He
was the one who had the priviledge
of being the first to open most of
Helen's letters.
Frank was a married man. But he
was falling for a woman which he
has never met. Hopkins, handles this
common situation with his typical
smoothness. He's so smooth that he
even gets his family to fall for her.
But why not? It's easy to fall for
Anne Bancroft. Dustin Hoffman did
20 years ago in The Graduate. And
after all these years she still has not
lost her sparkle. Well into her 50s,
Bancroft can still portray both the
youth and the elderly with grace and
ease. She skillfully displays this
here; her excitement upon recieving
Frank's first package of books is
unforgettable.
The excitiment in the
correspondences never grows dull
over the 20 year relationship.
However, these two reasonably well-
off people who have grown so close
still had not met. Why should one
little ocean stip them? This is where
the film runs over a small pothole.
The film wastes a good 15
minutes on troubles in getting a
THE DAILY
CLASSIFIEDS
ARE A GREAT
WAY TO GET
FAST RESULTS
CALL 764-0557

flight. It is very frustrating to watch
a couple separated by a few setbacks g """
that a small loan wouldn't cover.
Fortunately, the focus finally PRINTING
changes when they realize that they HIGH QUALITY
would not have a better relationship, LOW PRICES
even if they were to meet.
84 Charing Cross Road is a film SINCE 1973
about patience. It is about characters 1002 PONTIAC TR.
whose ibusiness is patience, reading 9
and writing. And it is the story of a6
relationship of patience. They truly U fl U
hove- . - . ] -l ...i ,... -. ... i

Sun., Oct. 4

The University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
27th Annual Conference on Organ Music
Lynne Davis, concert organist from Paris, France
Program TBA
Hill Auditorium, 4:00 PM
Helga Schauerte, Organist, Eglise Evangelique,
Allemande, Paris, France
Works of Jehan Alain
Hill Auditorium, 8:00 PM
Kai Ole Boggild, Organist-Choirmaster, Kristkirken,
Copenhagen, Denmark
Works of Sweelinck, Scheidt, Muffat, and Buxtehude
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, School of Music, 4:30 PM
Robert Glasgow, Professor of Organ, University of Michigan
Works of Widor and Vierne
Hill Auditorium, 8:00 PM

Mon., Oct. 5

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(across from K-Mart & Wayside Theater)

Tues., Oct. 6

Dominique Serve, Organist Cath6drale St. Siffrein,
Carpentras, France
Program TRA
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, School of Music, 11:30 AM
Organ Recital by Oran Majors, University of
Michigan School ofMusic
Hill Auditorium, 4:30 PM
Peggy Kelley Reinburg, Organist and Director of
Music, Pakachoag Church, Auburn, Mass.
"Evolution of the Fugal Form"
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, School of Music, 8:00 PM
Winner of the First Prize, International Organ
Performance Competition
Hill Auditorium, 11:00 AM
Zsigmond Szathmary, Professor of Organ, Musik-
hochschule, Freiburg, West Germany
Program TBA
Hill Auditorium, 8:00 PM

a

Wed., Oct. 7

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