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December 05, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-12-05

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The Michigan Daily Thursday, December 5,1991 Page 5
A mogul who cries at Disney movies
Jeffrey Katzenberg has taken a string of beastly flms and converted
them to beauty - action figures, plush toys, profit, profit, profit

by Michael John Wilson
O RLANDO - Jeffrey Kat-
zenberg is a kind of paradox. As the
40-year-old chair of Walt Disney
Studios, he's an ambitious, fast-
talking, heavy-on-the-hyperbole mo-
vie mogul. But even when he's
strategically spouting shameless
promotion for his latest film,
Beauty and the Beast, he somehow
comes off as a sincere and likable
person. While interviewing the cast
and crew of Beauty, I found myself
trying to listen to Katzenberg's dis-
cussions with other reporters;
there's something appealing and
magnetic about him.
Since taking over Disney's film
production in 1984, Katzenberg and
boss Michael Eisner have made
things happen. His an ultra hands-on
approach to production brought
Disney from financial doom to first
place in the industry in '88. He also
restored Disney animation to its

tradition of dominance with films
like Oliver and Company, The Little
Mermaid and now Beauty. Al-
though the string of hits that in-
cluded Pretty Woman came to an
abrupt halt this year (with bombs
like V.I. Warshawski and The
Rocketeer), Beauty has the studio
back on track.
The Katzenberg name became
more well known to the general
public than ever with the infamous
"Katzenberg Memo." Lampooned
by Billy Crystal on last year's
Oscars show, the widely circulated
28-page analysis of the film indus-
try came off as self-serving and
ridiculously obvious. It said little
more than, too much money is being
spent on movies these days.
But in person, bombastic lines
from the memo like "(All things)
must serve as humble subjects to the
supremacy of the idea" somehow
become credible. Katzenberg speaks
in paragraphs and believes every

word he says. Young, intense and
driven, Katzenberg's the kind of guy
you'd like to know -just as long as

you don't have to work for him.
And now, a sampling of the latest
insights from the mind of Jeffrey
On bad movies: "We've had a four
or five month run of dreck out of
Hollywood ... the movies just
haven't been any good, and by the
way, I'm as responsible for that as
anybody. I'm sorry, but we didn't
plan to make lousy movies - it
didn't work out so good. We didn't
sit down and say, 'OK, now, how do
we make a dog of a movie. Let's see,
let's find the schlockiest director
and give him the least amount of
money and let's take some actor and
embarrass him in this one."'
On good movies and the up-
coming Christmas season: "The
fact of the matter is that I believe
we are about to go into a sixty day
period in movies that may be among
the most successful sixty days that
the motion picture industry has seen
in ten years. I sit here today and say
to you, I could count no less than
six - maybe seven or eight movies
- which are going to gross more
than fifty million dollars. To me,
there are a couple in there which
could be a hundred and fifty million
dollars. And they're good movies.
Beauty and the Beast is a good
movie. Prince of Tides is a good
movie. I promise you (look is going
to be a good movie. I am told that
the new Star Trek is a good Star
Trek ... There's good movies com-
On the Beauty and the Beast
experience: "I don't know how to
properly explain to people what the
experience of seeing this movie is
all about. It is not like seeing The
Little Mermaid - it's so much
more. It's not like seeing Pretty
Woman - it is so much more. It is
not like seeing a classic musical -

it's so much more. It's not an ani-
mated movie, it's not a cartoon, it's
not a live action movie - there is
not a word or a set of words that I
can find how to explain what
Beauty and the Beast is. It's a new
form of movie to me. That's why we
showed it as a work in progress (at
the New York Film Festival), be-
cause by seeing it in that intermedi-
ary step, that too made you open
your eyes to see it in a way in which
you didn't look at one of these
movies before. You have an appreci-
ation for the enormous, massive,
almost insane amount of work un-
dertaken to make one. Five-hundred
people spent four years working on
one single movie! ... I'm at a loss for
words, a state I don't find myself in
very often."
On the achievement of the Beauty
animators: "I'm very proud of
what the artists achieved in this
movie, and I think it is a new
benchmark for this generation of an-
imators, and I think this really rep-
resents ... the Renaissance of classic
animation. We put ourselves on
course to realize a new generation,
and I think this represents the com-
ing into their own of a new genera-
tion of brilliant, brilliant, brilliant
artists who don't have to be hum-
bled by their heritage. I hope they'll
always be inspired by it but I don't
think it has to be something they
have to have any trepidations about.
... Whatever the best definition of
'It's been done and
redone and done and
done and done and
redone and ...'
-Jeffrey Katzenberg
an artist can be, that's what you've
got to use to talk about Glen Keane
(animator of the Beast)."
On his demand for Beauty's qua-
lity: "We make these movies for
ourselves, first and foremost. We
make them to make us laugh, and the
one thing (the crew of Beauty) will
tell you is that I have been unrelent-
ing. From the first day I said to (the
crew), 'If you do not make me cry
when Beauty and the Beast are on
that castle, you will have failed to
make the movie that you promised
to make (for me)' ... I promise you,
that thirty seconds is probably one
of the most expensive thirty sec-
onds of film ever made. Ever. Ever,
ever, ever. Because it's been done and
redone and done and done and done
and redone and redone and redone,
because it had to do that, otherwise
there's no movie."

Clockwise (from bottom-center), Steve Memran, Ce cilia Grinwald, Juliet
Kerr, Miriam Shor and John Knapp star in Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade.
Fun wi'th S&M:*
Sade'11 arouse yOU
by Jessie Halladay
Peter Weiss' political play, Marat/Sade, takes the lives of Jean-Paul
Marat and the Marquis de Sade and blends them into a twisted plot that
questions how one should live.
The University Players will present the play, formally titled The Per-
secution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the In-
mates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de
Sade. Marat/Sade will be directed by visiting actor/director Lewis Palter,
who is the head of the MFA Acting Program at the California Institute
for the Arts.
The show first played in West Berlin in 1964, and was translated into
English the next year by Geoffrey Skelton and Adrian Mitchell and per-
formed in London. The play debuted on Broadway in 1965 with a musical
score by Richard Peaslee.
Weiss wrote the play to make a political statement about humanity, and
Palter believes that the play still makes that statement for today.
"He says it in such a bizarre and weird way," says Palter.
The show is actually a play within a play. The main play is set in an in-
sane asylum in 1808 following the French Revolution. The sub-play takes
place 15 years earlier, and chronicles the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat.
After Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday d'Armont, he became
an over-night hero for the people of France.
The sub-play, which makes up most of the main play, is written and di-
rected by the Marquis de Sade and performed by the inmates of an asylum.
It was Marat's belief that one should do whatever is necessary to help
someone in need. It was de Sade's belief that nothing could be done to
change the nature of man.
Weiss used his creative license to allow de Sade to debate with Marat.
The purpose of the debate is to question the ability of people to change
their condition.
"Our world is resembling a giant lunatic asylum," says Palter. "This
play asks, 'How do you live?' But I don't want the play to answer that."
Palter hopes his audience will try to answer that for themselves.
Weiss incorporated song, dance and pantomime into the play making it
an all-encompassing theater experience.
"The play has been called the ultimate in total theater," says Palter,
who has directed the play once before. "It uses all the attributes of the the-
ater art."

Beauty and the Beast are real and living in Orlando, Florida. Actually,
these are humble, suburban parents who OD'd on Disney's promotional
plush toys, clothes, furniture and low interest loans. They're doing a
little moonlighting for our man Katzenberg now, to pay off their debts.
Susan Ludvigson
wri'tes narrative
,,Poetry with fair

by Christine Slovey

Poet Susan Ludvigson is coming
home! Well, she did live in Ann Ar-
bor for a couple of years a while
back. Ahint for any big fans who
might want to catch a glimpse of
her away from the hustle and bustle
of her formal reading: she remem-
bers the Farmer's Market as her fa-
vorite place in Ann Arbor.
In a traditional Ann Arbor-lib-
eral "live and let live" attitude,
Ludvigson says that she believes
people are not really all that differ-
ent. Her unique style of poetry ex-
presses this belief. She writes in a
narrative style, creating stories
about people from different times,
places and cultures, as well as writ-
ing autobiographically. Using the
lyrical, emotional quality of poetry,
Ludvigson personalizes distant
lives, bringing them closer to the
reader's world.

This theme is strong in one of
Ludvigson's older collections,
Northern Lights. In "Swazi Bride,"
Ludvigson invents the story of a
young girl participating in a mar-
riage ritual: "Soon they will come/
to take me. I cannot/ do this, my
mouth is filled/ with dust, with the
airborne/ hair of the cattle drifting
around me/ like clouds. Breathing/ I
taste my death, and swallow it."
Ludvigson devotes one section of
this same collection to several
women she read about in a turn-of-
the-century newspaper. Each poem
creates an emotional story out of a
cold, factual news article.
Ludvigson says that she may read
from some of her older works and
from her latest work, To Find the
Gold. Specifically, she may concen-
trate on the collection's first sec-
tion, "The Gold She Finds: On the
Life of Camille Claudel, Sculptor,"
a poetic biography of the betrayed

MARAT/SADE will be performed tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m. and
Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Power Center. Tickets are $12, $9 reserved and $6
with student ID. Call 764-0450 for more info.
Half 0L fe flurishes
Student-written play gets a
life of its own in Basement

by Jenie Dahlmann
here is an assault on truth
when someone is abused. Half-Life is
about gaining the ownership of
one's memories and finally believ-
ing them," says Heather Hill, au-
thor and director of this week's
Basement Arts Production, Half-
The play chronicles the lives of
two sisters, Anna and Kate, who
were separated as children and who
"struggle over divided loyalties to
a family long ago shattered by vio-
lence," says Hill. Slowly, repressed
emotions begin to surface and the
pair realizes the pain they suffered
as children.
"Abusive parents view their
children as extensions of them-

their traumatic childhoods.
Anna's and Kate's imaginary
childhood playmate Ruby helps
them recall and re-evaluate the life
they left behind. Ruby aids in
sorting out the generic, nameless
voices and figures of authority that
haunt the sisters.
Half-Life also touches on the idea
of the coming together of women,
uniting to find strength against the
forces that continually oppress
them. Symbolically,athe sisters'
catharsis is complete when they
After staging Half-Life last year
in a playwriting-toward-production
class, and now having the opportu-
nity to direct it in the Basement,
Hill will see her show have a life of
its own in an off-off Broadway pro-

"All those who do not know me think it an excellent likeness"
-Andre Gide, epigraph of Ludvigson's poem."Portrait"

student/lover of Rodin.
Ludvigson writes a thorough,
disturbing and completely unique
biography, using only poetry. The
lines are so detailed and personal,
it's hard to believe that Claudel did
not write them herself. Ludvigson

My mind turns itself upside down./
Last things shall be/ first, first last,
love and hate/ will clasp hands,
whirl in a circle,/ let go, and fall to
the ground."
With a vivid imagination and the
ability to create such detail, you

I ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~: _,,.au a~mg a i

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