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January 08, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-08

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'Vertigo' spins into Michigan Theater
Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 classic shows at 7 p.m. James Stewart and
Kim Novak star in this chilling tale of lust, obsession and murder,
newly restored in 70 mm. It's only $5 for students or $6.50 for others.
Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to see a classic thriller on the
big screen.

January 8, 1997

January 8, 19975A



Ilaunting performances add life to Miller drama

By Bryan Lark
Daily Film Editor
Plow thine fields.
A 2 Tend thine chickens.
Brush thine teeth.
Watch thine neighbors hang as witch-
Not just another ordinary day in 15th
century Salem,
Mass., is depicted R
i the superb first
American film ver-
sion of Arthur
Miller's classic
drama, "The
No, on the days chronicled in the
exceptional film, the devil is loose in
Salem, and witchcraft is as prevalent
and overwhelming as poor hygiene.
Like the gullible, God-fearing citi-
zens of Salem, you, too, will be
bewitched by this wonderfully tense,
suspenseful, tragic potboiler that first
~premiered on the stage more than 40
years ago.
Slightly altered for modern audi-
ces, Miller's screenplay of "The
rucible," a thinly disguised satire of
the biases and innate outrageousness of
McCarthyism, loses none of the origi-
nal's power. The film's success is most-
ly due to the strength of the perfor-
mances of the stellar cast, headed by a
soiled Daniel Day-Lewis, a saucy
Winona Ryder and a subtle Joan Allen.

Also enhancing the quality of the
original play is Nicholas Hytner's deft
direction. Hytner manages to avoid the
overly staged quality that had previous-
ly stifled the grand scale and spontane-
ity of the storytelling. In this adapta-
tion, Hytner expands the claustropho-
bic two-log-cabin setting of the play

The Crucible

and lets the story
run as wild as the
witches. This is
clearly illustrated
in the electric

**** opening sequence.
At Showcase Young girls steal
from their beds,
carrying strange objects as they flee
from their respective homes. Leaves
crunch and branches break, as the girls
tread through the forest, heading toward
a sacrilegious rendezvous point.
Surrounded by darkness, the girls cast
spells and make wishes by tossing
frogs, clothing and saliva into a boiling
cauldron, while they chant and dance.
Bare breasts, strewn clothing and
smoke are everywhere. The girls'
would-be witchcraft is interrupted by
the curiosity of the shocked Reverend
Tracking shots through underbrush?
Fire hazards? Nudity ? Spitting ? Your
father's "Crucible" this isn't!
Admitting only that they were danc-
ing, which is an offense in itself, the
girls collectively cover for themselves

and wisely blame the apparent witch-
craft on the Barbados native, Tituba,
and other suspicious townfolk.
Soon, Reverend Parris begins a cru-
sade against the Satanic epidemic, as
the girls lash out against those they
dislike. They maliciously identify sev-
eral blameless "Goodys," or wives of
Salem, as being in cohorts with the
devil. "I saw Goody Osborne with the
devil! I saw Goody Two-Shoes with
the devil!"
Getting quickly out of hand as a
result of the young girls' deception, the
already-fanatical town punishes the so-
called "witches" to hang. Eventually,
the town falls prey to the misbegotten
ideals of fear, vengeance and teen-age
Personifying all three ideals is ring
leader Abigail, who was fired by the
Proctors. She desperately wants to
rekindle her secret affair with kindly,
comely farmer and former employer
John Proctor (Day-Lewis). As part of
her plan, she accuses Elizabeth Proctor
(Allen) of sending out her flying, witch-
ly spirit to haunt Abigail's dreams.
Brutally rebuffing Abigail's advances
many times, Proctor is forced to choose
between pride and his wife's love to
clear his family name, tragically illus-
trating the power of truth and basic
Aside from the always dependable
Daniel Day-Lewis and Joan Allen in the

Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder star in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible."

leads, fine supporting performances are
given by veteran good girl Winona
Ryder, deliciously loathsome as the
screen's first Puritan femme-fatale; vet-
eran respected guy Paul Scofield as
self-righteous Judge Danforth; and
even veteran "Punky Brewster" foster
dad George Gaynes as the wary Judge
Sewall - "1 saw Soleil Moon Frye with
the devil!"
Sitting gloriously alongside the stel-
lar performances is the astounding

production design by Lilly Kilvert.
The characters perfectly recreate all
the dirt, sweat, bad teeth and horse
droppings of old Salem with impecca-
ble recreations of the buildings, beach-
es and wilderness of Old Salem. From
the forest tryst of Abigail and John to
the court of Danforth's inquisition,
every inch of Salem in 1692 is
painstakingly created.
Possibly characterized as an erotic
thriller or courtroom drama, "The

Crucible" cannot be so narrowly
Sometimes a sweeping examination
of the power of hysteria, often an inti-
mate study of marriage, frequently an
observation of early American life,
"The Crucible" defies all genres to
become one of the finest, most richly
detailed, overwhelmingly entertaining
films of the year. Take thine self, thine
chickens and thine bewitched neighbors
to see it immediately.

Women wail their woes on new benefit album 7

Various Artists
Women for Women 2
The major problem with "Women for
Women 2" is not the music, but the
TIme. For an album that sets out to
lp women help each other, there are a
surprising number of songs of the I'm-
1-can't-ever-live-again variety.
The compilation of songs by 14
female performers, organized by the
National Alliance of Breast Cancer
Organizations, is intended to raise
funds and awareness for breast cancer
research. Its predecessor, "Women for
men," did the same thing, but some
Jthe songs on the new album seem
overly doleful in theme.
Case in point: Celine Dion's nasal
wailing on "Send Me A Lover" should
not be the album's opener. What kind of
inspiration does a woman repeatedly
begging for a man's love provide for an
album that should suggest women find
'strength from within? Although country
,singer Terri Clark belts beautifully in
'Something You Should've Said," her
sings about perfect movie-star men
are unnecessary on this compilation.
Leah Andreone's fast-paced, guitar-
heavy "We're Not Alone" is interesting,
a's she screams about going insane, but
again, she's screaming about going
insane. Not exactly empowering, I'd say.
Jahn Arden's sweet sounding ballad,
"Insensitive," about trying to rid oneself
of the memory of an unworthy lover,
y inspire DJs at radio stations to put
on their heavy rotation, but it doesn't
make much of an impact on "Women
far Women 2." The same goes for
Vanessa Williams' sexy crooning on

"Sister Moon." Is there really a need for
her to sing a song by Sting'? Aren't there
any female song writers out there who
could write for her?
The songs that make sense on the
album include Sheryl Crow's mellow,
tuneful "I Shall Believe," Christian pop
star Amy Grant's inspiring "Helping
Hand," Joan Osborne's soulful render-
ing of "Lumina" and the ever cool Tina
Turner singing "All Kinds of People."
When Tina sings, you listen, because
she's been there and then some.
The Indigo Girls' "Power of Two" is
perhaps the most telling song on the
album, showing that women can help
each other, be strong, and are able to
overcome obstacles together
without extra help.
And isn't that what
it's all about ?
-Stephanie Jo
Klein -
Built To Spill
Perfect From Now On
Warner Bros.
In Built to Spill's first major-label
release, singer / songwriter / master-
mind Doug Martsch doesn't shy away
from the decidedly lo-fi sound that has
characterized the band's previous work.
Though the budget is greater, the pro-
motion is stronger and the production is
somewhat cleaner than on past releases,
the guitars are still fuzzy, buzzing and
distorted. Martsch hasn't polished his
singular vocal style, ranging easily
between plaintive and fragile to ragged-

ly hoarse, all in his high, nasal tone.
Throughout the record, Martsch dis-
plays the songwriting style that places
him in good company among the lead-
ing lights of the slacker-rock move-
ment: Sebadoh's Lou Barlow, Guided
By Voices' Robert Pollard and
Pavement's Steve Malkmus. Built To
Spill has often been likened to
Pavement, and that similarity is clear
here, musically and lyrically. But there
are parallels to other bands as well:
Luna's pop-with-a-twist; Low's repeti-
tious wash of distorted guitar accompa-
nied by understated vocals; the sprawl-
ing art-noise jams of Sonic Youth. "I
Would Hurt A Fly," for instance,
explodes after three minutes
of verse-chorus-verse into
a fuzztoned freakout
worthy of Thurston
Lyrically, Martsch
covers the well-worn
terrain of love and
relationships with a
sometimes cynical but
always interesting per-
spective. He can be starting-
ly honest, bitterly angry and
sweetly devoted by turns. His imagery
is unique and, at times, remarkable, as
in "I Would Hurt A Fly": "I can't get
that sound you make outta my head / it
sounds like fingernails across the moon
/ or did you rub your wings together?"
This track is a clear standout; others
particularly worthy of mention are
"Randy Described Eternity,""Made Up
Dreams," "Kicked It In The Sun" and
"Untrustable / Pt. 2," each with arrest-
ing turns of phrase and equally intrigu-
ing sonic appeal.
While there may not be any songs
here that match up to the pure pop con-

fection of "Big Dipper" from the
band's 1992 release "There's Nothing
Wrong With Love," nor anything to
equal the spare simplicity and inno-
cence of that album's "Twin Falls," this
record as a whole is mesmerizing,
introspective and quiet; angry and
buzzing and loud. Though the band has
jumped to a major, Built To Spill hasn't
sold out its fans or principles nor mort-
gaged its vision. "Perfect From Now
On" is the first great record of the new
- Anders Smith-Lindall
Kevin Mahogany
Kevin Mahogany
Warner Bros.
Blues music has just received a new
facelift, and alto / bass singer Kevin
Mahogany is the plastic surgeon. It
shouldn't come as news that blues
music has been on the verge of extinc-
tion for over a decade now; the depress-
ing guitar melodies of the B.B. King
generation just can't seem to make
much of an impression in today's hip-
hop world.
However, Kevin Mahogany has man-
aged to restructure the blues construct
in such a way as to keep the genre's true
spirit alive, while simultaneously mak-
ing the music more easily digestible for
those who may have been turned off by
traditional blues music.
Songs like "Yesterday I Had the
Blues," "Dark End of the Street" and
"I'm Walking" will touch you with their
distinctive blues vibe intermingled with

Tina Turner appears on the benefit album, "Women for Women 2."

a sort of '90s spirit. From the faster
pitched "Oh! Gee!" to the backroom-
club sounds of "Still Singin"' to the
slowly-sung "When October Goes,"
Mahogany introduces the listener to a
variety of blues nuances.
Mahogany has breathed a new life
into blues music, and he has given it a
new sense of respectability. His name
is surely deserving of a place among
the blues-music greats. Just as many

worked to bring blues up decades
before, so is Mahogany now refusing
to allow the music to be cast aside into.
the wastebin of African American
music, which no one listens to any-
You can't listen to "Kevin
Mahogany" in its entirety and not be
- Eugene Bowen.

' ..


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