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Home Explore VOLUME 18 - NUMBER 02 MARCH-APRIL 1982


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Description: VOLUME 18 - NUMBER 02 MARCH-APRIL 1982


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MARCH-APRIL 1982/$2.00 COMMENT Paul Schrader on Nastassia Kinski and 'Cat People': p. 49.


+ •Sl•SSUe published bimonthly by the Film Society ofLincoln Center Volume 18, Number 2 March-April 1982 F aIling in Love with the Movies..... 9 The New World of Roger Corman . 26 Every movie, says David As a director of B-minus horror Thomson, is about falling movies, Corman made a lasting in love-about the danger cult reputation. As boss of his of losing and the thrill of own studio, he helped make the winning it back. He dis- reputations of today's Holly- cusses the classic come- wood hots. Who is he and what dies of remarriage, from has he done with his power? Adam's Rib to The Lady David Chute, who spoke with Eve, and takes issue with many Corman associates, has Stanley Cavell's book on some'provocative answers. the subject (page 9). A modern fable of marriage, Midsection: Dueling Genres....... 33 Shoot the Moon , has won Genres used to be dependable. high praise; Richard Cor- You could go to a musical and get a liss reviews it on p. 16. musical; and the director who used ~------------------------j the form imaginatively could get a Who Picks the Oscars? . . . .... 53 lotoutofit. Now it's different, and Not Sam Peckinpah or Elia Kazan or Stephen Schiff explains why Orson Welles. No: Anton Leader and (page 34). Harlan Kennedy Grace Kelly. There are oddities looks at recel1t horror movies and aplenty in membership and rules of sees the post-Nixonian id aprowl in the Motion Picture Academy; Myron the land (page 37). Andrew Meisel has the story. And eight ex- Sarris sings a sagebrush dirge to perts-David Ansen, Lee Beau- the western (page 40). And Car- pre, Stuart Byron, Roger Ebert, rie Rickey, watching three new Aljean Harmetz, Todd McCarthy, musicals, found herself humming Myron Meisel, and Andrew Sarris the sets and wondering about their -predict this year's winner. director's intentions (page 43) . Also in this issue: Nasty 'Cat People' .......... 49 Video..................... 68 Paul Schrader has remade the old Val Wendy Clarke talks with Mitch Journ~s ...... . ............ 2 Lewton thriller into a meditation on Tuchman about her funny, devastat- Yo ho hoI Gilbert and Sullivan's Pi- love and death-and Nastassia ingLove Tapes . A new column. rates of Penzance are roistering to the Kinski into a Hollywood star. Inter- screen-three times. Harlan Ken- view by David Thomson. Books .................... 72 nedy has the story. And inan English Elliott Stein reviews six studies of the country home, Gilbert Adair watches Costa-Gavras on 'Missing' .... 57 grand old movie palace. Kathleen Christmas movies. It's enough to The State Department has panned Murphy on Joseph McBride's conver- drive him to Taxi zum Kia . this movie as an unsubstantiated at- sations with Howard Hawks. tack on U.S. policy in Chile. Now its Photo by James Hamilton .... 18 director tells Dan Yakir his side. Television ................. 76 As staff photographer for The Village Brideshead Revisited has kept many a Voice, Hamilton has taken the pic- Industry .................. 60 televiewer warm this winter. Pierre tures of many directors-from Hit- In our seventh annual Grosses Gloss Greenfield and Lawrence O'Toole chcock and Truffaut to Woody Allen review, Myron Meisel analyzes tangle over its merits. and John Carpenter-and turned 1981 's hits and flops . Winners: Super- photojournalism into high-contrast man II, Arthur, and Absence ofMalice. Bulletin Board ............. 80 art. Herewith, a Hamilton sampler. Sinners: Reds and Ragtime. Cover photo: Jack Shannon/Universal . Editor: Richard CQrliss. SeniQr Editor: BroQks Riley (Qn leave). AssQciate Editor: Anne ThQmpsQn . Business Manager: Sayre Maxfield . Advertising and Circ~latjQ~ Manager: TQny Impavid? Art director: ElliQt Schulman . CQver design: Michael Uris. Research CQnsultant: Mary CQrliss. Executive Director, Film SQclety Qf LlncQln Center: JQanne KQch . SecQnd class PQstage paid at New YQrk and additiQnal mailing Qffices . CQPyright © 1982 by the Film SQciety Qf LincQln center. All rights reserved. The QpiniQns expressed in FILM COMMENT do. nQt.represent Film SQclety QfLincQln Center PQlicy. This l'ubl~catiQn is fully prQtected by dQmestic and international cQPyright. The publi- catlQn Qf FILM COMMENT (lSSNOOI5-120X) IS made PQsslble In part by sUPPQrt frQm the New YQrk State CQuncll Qn the Arts and the Na- tiQnal EndQwment fQr the Art. SubscriptiQn rates in the United States : $12 fQr six numbers $22 fQr twelve numbers , Elsewhere: $18 fQr six numbers, $34 fQr twelve numbers, payable in U.S . funds Qnly. New subscribers shQuld include their QccupatiQns and sip cQdes. Editorial, subscriptiQn, and back-issue cQrresPQndence: FILM COMMENT, 140 West Sixty-fifth Street, New YQrk, N. Y. 10023 U . S.A.

oumals 'Pirates' Abroad and Wondervision at Home Harlan Kennedy musical. They gave us basic, wacky jointly captained by Papp himself (exec- from London plots of romances thwarted and misun- utive producing), director Wilford derstandings multipl ying; tunes Leach, and cinematographer Douglas PIRATES: We propose to marry spooned brightly in with scant fuss over Slocombe, fresh from recording other, your daugh~ers .. ! transitional recitative; big bold four- more sandblown brigands in Raiders of square brassy rhythms; and a cast of the Lost Ark. MAJOR-GENERAL:\",Do you mean dozens falling over themselves to hew ~o say ~ha~ you would delibera~e1y rob out a happy ending before curtainfall. It's only poetic-or piratic-justice me of these, the sole remaining props that America should be bringing Gilbert of myoid age, and leave me ~o go The new lease on life for G and S and Sullivan to England in the wake of ~hrough ~he remainder of my life un- began in July 1980 when entrepreneur centenary time. For the world premiere friended, unpro~eqed and alone? Joseph Papp brought his off-Broadway of The Pirates ofPenzance on New Year's success, Pirates of Penzance, to the Eve 1879 took place not in London but PIRATES: Yes, that's the idea, Broadway's Pira~es of Penzanee: Ahoy and Avast there-It's 1982 and Kevin K(jne, Linda Ronstadt, and Re;c Smith. suddenly, as if a centenary alarm clock has gone off, Gilbert and Sullivan mania Great White Way and thereby proved in the U.S.: at the Fifth Avenue The- is about to bust out all over the English- that the smash-hit backstage modern- atre , New York City. G and S-them- speaking world. One hundred years ago isms of Chorus Line had nothing on an selves plagued by pirates of a more last October, the D'Oyly Carte Light empurpled Nineteenth Century confec- plagiaristic kind, plundering tunes not Opera Company was founded by Sir tion of orphans, buccaneers, Major- doubloons-chose to unveil their most Richard D 'Oyly C. to present the operas Generals, and coloratura lovebirds. A popular opera at the Fifth Avenue in ofG and S in a permanent home-Lon- policeman's lot may not be a happy one, order to secure the American copyright. don's Savoy Theater-and with a per- but a stage producer's certainly is when And although a tiny simultaneous manent troupe of sturdy-tonsilled he strikes culture-shock sparks from the opening-night took place in Devon, singing-actors. least expected source. England, the opera did not reach Brit- ain's capital until April 1880. A century later three screen versions Papp's production is now going before of The Pirates of Penzance are being re- the cameras at Britain's Shepperton Stu- While the rafters of Shepperton Stu- corded-two for the large screen, one dios, with Linda Ronstadt, Kevin Kline dios echo to Pirate's' briny ensembles for the small-and buccaneers are buck- (soon to be \"Sophie's Choice\"),and most and the tongue-twisting iambics of the and-winging, and policemen tarantara- of the original B'way cast reprising their Major-General's famous patter song, ing, over soundstages as far-flung as stentorian trills, plus Angela Lansbury Twickenham Studios across the river Australia and England. drafted in to beef up the cast as nurse- Thames present the very model of a maid Ruth. A quick peek in reveals a modern major mission to immortalize all Just when a cultural phenomenon chorus of brigands swarming over a twelve of Gilbert and Sullivan's original seems to have fallen into dateless desue- gnarled and monumental pirate galleon D'Oyly Carte stage productions for tele- tude, it pops up again through the trap- floating in a water-filled soundstage, vision. The deus praesens hovering doors of history. In recent years the Victorian writer-composer duo scarcely had two memorable stage productions to rub together in the Western world. And even the D'Oyly Carte company itself, standards and attendances falling in uni- son after a century of business-on-the boards, finally announced its fold-up. But now Sir William Gilbert (1836- 1911) and Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842- 1900) will doubtless be hornpiping in their graves at the sudden-and-mighty resurgence of their works from a Sar- gasso Sea of semi-neglect. Makers of daft ditties and deft doggerel, G and S were mighty wits with words-and-music and could justly top the list as founder- fathers of the Broadway and Hollywood 2

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above this TV project is the film com- ninity of what both the BBC and its commercial rivals were pleased to regard pany Brent Walker, and the operas are Gilbert Adair from as seasonal fare. being videotaped with the dual aim of A Country Manor transmission on TV and later marketing Over here, more movies are watched by more people during Christmas than as cassettes. at any other time. The BBC's piece de resistance was a premiere TV screening The Pirates ofPenzance is only one of In England, a Christmas withQut of Gone With The Wind. Resister, never- theless, is what that part of me which has the G and S works thus tripping the light White Christmas on television must be always readily identified with Scrooge endeavored to do. But the heady con- mellifluous with their richly oddball considerably rarer than a white sensus of television makes each of us a Christmas (or a Noel) coward, and there casts of English opera singers and all- Christmas itself. Last year, we were I was, worshipping away at the elec- tronic altar as those preposterous sorts entertainers. William Conrad, the treated to both. On the evening of the Selznick credit titles weirdly material- ized in a 12' x 20' bedroom. And be- incredible hulk of Cannon, guest-stars in twenty-fourth, blizzards raging across cause of Wondervision's excessive sensitivity to polished surfaces, one was The Mikado; explosive-jowled British the land, a particularly unwelcome sight granted startling glimpses of the word GONE reflected in reverse on a bedside comic Frankie Howerd is Sir Joseph Por- was Bing Crosby yet again prying open mirror and an ellipsoid WIND slithering over the ornate cornice on the ceiling. ter in H.M .S . Pinafore; and American the partition doors of Dean Jagger's ho- GWTW is a three-handkerchief cabaret star Peter Allen essays the juve- tel in Vermont and his dazzled clientele movie, all right-but for the nose. It stinks. Its sole resemblance to the kind nile lead in Pirates . according the movie's last-minute snow- of roman-fleuve it so pathetically aspires to be lies in the fact that while the odd Third and not least of the current as- fall a standing ovation as if it were part of florid \"acteme\" remains lodged in the memory-such as Scarlett's seizing a saults on these crenelated follies of Vic- the floor show. (I exaggerate, but so clod ofTara's holy soil and swearing on it as if on a Bible that she will never again torian musicianship is The Pirate Movie . does Michael Curtiz.) allow herself to be mauled by fate-one tends to forget all that tedious second- Myriad millions of Australian dollars are I had been invited down to a friend's act business of her two marriages on the rebound and her running a timber mill fluttering around this Sydney-based cottage in darkest Surrey; and, like most single-handedly. But how any film with- out a single beautiful image, expressive movie adaptation, directed by Ken An- of my compatriots, \"chose\" to spend camera movement, or outstanding per- formance (save those by Hattie McDa- nakin, which is \"loosely based\" on The Christmas in front of a Dickensianly niel and Butterfly McQueen), and also without the merest flicker ofan authorial Pirates of Penzance. Kristy McNichol flickering set. Except that my host had personality, can have caused such an al- mighty hullabaloo is beyond me. and Christopher Atkins play the leads, a just lavished on himself an immense Television ends up by recuperating modern duo of lovers who are fantasy- video projection screen which took pos- everything, even those films which were designed precisely to offer a degree of whisked into the G and S world by that session of his modest bedroom as surre- spectacle held unthinkable on the smaller screen. Thus, on the one chan- never-fail device, a dream sequence, alistically as an oversized apple painted nel 2001 , on the other CLose Encounters ofthe Third Kind. The mystery, if indeed and there spend the rest of the film. by Magritte. Though this was the only Stanley Kubrick is as punctilious over the packaging of his work as his reputa- Five of the opera's original songs are room in the cottage with the requisite tion would have us believe, is that he should ever have authorized the sale of kept-though with modern arrange- eight feet separating screen from audi- such a film to TV. With the best of inten- tions, no doubt, the BBC decided to ments and some revamped lyrics-and ence, it meant that, if we hoped to avoid scan only the interiors, preserving for the suite of celestial ballets, the original six new ones have been added. Distrib- eye strain, all four of us were obliged to Panavision format. But since-for cine- matic purposes, at least-outer space is utors 20th Century-Fox hope to crack a clamber into bed together, a La Bob & basically \"black,\" the initiative proved to be self-defeating, and assorted inter- bottle of champagne over this movie- Carol & Ted & Alice. Called Wondervi- planetary vessels were engulfed by twin galleon in the summer; Joseph Papp's sion (with its apt intimation of some pirates, flying the Universal flag, will spectacular wide-screen process, akin to follow at Christmas time. So dust off Cinerama or Todd-AO, reduced to a do- your cutlasses, adjust your parrots, and mestic scale), it was undeniably impres- dry-clean your skull and cross-bones- sive. But all it seemed to do on this it's going to be a busy buccaneering year. {-Ii occasion was magnify the maudlin asi- 4

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black holes as they glided toward the top When I was an infant, I believed that sentation-the photographic imprint of and bottom edges of the television Walt Disney was Santa Claus in civilian a real person and the retinal animation of screen. In any event. 2001's one- clothes. I also believed, after seeing an artist's wayward pencil line-seam- dimensional planetarium vistas and Fantasia, that Leopold Stokowski was a lessly coexisting in the celebrated scene whimsical M.C. Escher topography sug- cartoon character. And I was struck from George Sidney's film where Gene gest that ideal projection would be verti- somewhat more recently, while watch- Kelly dances with Jerry the mouse. Not cal, with a screen outspread above one's ing extracts from Mary Poppins (and An- only an aborigine: I defy anyone to re- head. chors Aweigh, another Christmas peren- main alert to the difference throughout, nial) on Wondervision, by what little dif- without having constantly to nudge him- As for Steven Spielberg's movie, I ference there finally is in Hollywood self. To watch, as I did, a couple of Bugs persist in my perverse fondness for the movies between cartoons and live per- Bunny shorts followed by Vincente French dubbed version. To make sense formers. That remark is not intended as MinnelIi's The Pirate requires virtually out of the translations necessitated by a gratuitous slight on actors. But an abo- no changing of gears on the spectator's the presence of Truffaut (whose name rigine tribesman, say, who never in his part. Perhaps it is that so much of Holly- sounds like an acronym for an authenti- life has been confronted with a film, wood (Minnelli, for example) derives its cated flying saucer: TRUFO), the would be incapable of distinguishing be- visual inspiration less from painting or French turned their best-known direc- tween the very dissimilar layers of repre- high art photography than from maga- tor into an itali9n. zine covers (Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell), book illustrations, and rec- FILM & CRITICISM ord sleeves. Centre Universitaire Americain du Cinema-et de la Critique a Paris What struck me rather with The Mup- pet Movie was the ambiguous role played The Film Studies Program and Contemporary Criticis m and Culture (CCC) by the all-pervasive \"guest stars.\" Dom DeLuise is one such. Not quite a star, aProgram at the Centre Universitaire Americain du Cinema et de la Critique after all, nor yet a supporting performer, his ill-defined status would seem to ex- Paris both boas t a curriculum of innovative seminars and courses which examine tend even to those films, such as Silent the theories and critical thought that have influenced the study of film and other Movie, whereasa mere \"guest\" hecould forms of expression over the past 40 years. reasonably be accused of outstaying his welcome. To be sure, he is often very The Film Studies Prog ram funny; but the notion of his actually hav- provides student s with ing become a cineaste himself makes me yearn to unearth the directorial efforts- • courses and seminars a na - apocryphal, alas! -of dear Grady Sutton lytical of film theory, his- and Franklin Pangborn, authentic sup- to r y, fo rmal s tru ctures, porting actors and all the more memora- ideo logy, and the relati on- ble for it. (Though The Muppet Movie is ships between film and putrid, it does belong to an uncodified other art form s, and lan- sub-genre to which I've long been g uage and ps yc hoa nal ysis . partial: the-tri p-across-country-to- Participants di scuss such Hollywood film. Its locus classicus is, of theme s as the si len t films course, Frank Tashlin's baroque master- o f Griffith, La ng, Eisen- piece-or, rather, near-misstepiece- stein, and Keaton; classic Hollywood or Bust!) Ho ll ywood film s; , evolu- ti o n o f ea rl y cinema; a nd As an antidote to all that leftover European and American turkey, I determined-back in London avant -g arde cinema s. -that my first film of 1982 should be as different as was humanly possible. Taxi \" E,Hel ~ ,l W hi :> T, IWt' ( The CCC foc u ses o n recent deve l- zum Klo? Yes, I said to myself, nothing m Itwf'lrmof.1 opments in French political th o ug ht could more effectively wash away such !>l ' nuu :> .,bl f'l l . a nd social institutions, ling ui s ti cs, an Everest ofcotton candy than the sight ( ,I III'I1,d , u::.t·fu l, nWIl soc ia l sciences , a nd literar y theo ry. of Frank Ripploh urinating into his The Program , interdi sc iplinary in lover's open mouth. More cotton candy, r<'lurn It hI h lOl III nature, a nal yzes te xts a nd doc u- more Muppets! Ripploh turns out to be tn f' for m 'lf ,I ..:n',n m e nt s as we ll as non- verbal repres- a camp Narcissus unable to go to the b,l ruy ut' Jrl' .lrll e ntati on s s uch as ph o tog raph y, film w hlfh I-jullt' Il,H ur.ll ly and te levisio n , by dra wing fr o m th e cinema except to gay porn, read a book fields of lin g ui s tics, psych oanalysis , unless it has been fulsomely illustrated .,f(\" uen t':> \"n tnt' anthro po logy, philosophy , a nd pol- with tumescent penises, or switch on itica l scie nce. television without \"happening\" to catch b\"rJl'(::' II'll' Liberace and Zsa Zsa Gabor. He con- 1( .. A required sess io n that includes templates his cock as if it were his navel. intensive language tra ining and an Now I know how Scrooge felt during the I~ \"I, ,,,,I (1,1111,, ·, introduction to film analysis, th e-. other eleven months of the year. Bah! o ry a nd se mi o logy precedes th e yea r-l o n g Prog r a m s. 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• JAMES MONACO wroAft the FIJqje Make !he MNes M::1e It'an 4.700 a:to\"S ard a:;tresses. cYecto\"S v.11le-s pocl.cers ard e<:ito\"S crerntogap\"e-s.rTU>Oaffi desges speoalellects ard stUlt peqJe OVER I HOLLYWOOD: THE FIRST 100 YEARS. HOWARD HAWKS. Robin Wood . Bruce Torrence. 2,500 Robin Wood 's grea~ book about one of This is an extraordinary collection of Hollywood's most influential and enjoya- FLMS more than 300 duotone photographs of a ble directors is now back in 'print, and up- century of fascinating history in the little dated . $10.95. WHO'S WHO town the Indians once called \"Cahuengna\" that later became famous HUMPHREY JENNINGS: Filmmaker- IN AMERICAN FILM NOW. the world over as the seductive capital of Painter-Poet. Mary-Lou Jenninqs, ed. the film industry. $19 .95t. James Monaco . Da per 7.95. c loth 19.95' Lindsay Anderson called Humphrey LES BROWN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF Jennings, \"the only real poet the British WHO'S WHO ON BRITISH TELEVISION. 2nd edition .' March. cinema has yet produced.\" TELEVISION. Heavily illustrated. $10 .95. Here is the standard reference guide An illustrated biographical guide to to the colorful world of television , covering MEDIA: THE COMPLEAT GUIDE. 1,000 of the best known faces on British 50 years of turbulent, revolutionary his- .James Monaco. June. television ... including hundreds of Amer- tory. First published by Times Books as icans . paper $4 .95, cloth $10 .95. \"The New York Times Encyclopedia of Here it is! James Monaco has put to- Television ,\" Les Brown's 'witty and enter- gether a complete, accurate, and concise 25 YEARS ON lTV: 1955-1980. taining commentary on TV has been thor- guide to all the various aspects of print Upstairs, Downstairs, The Prisoner, oughly revised and updated for its second and electronic media-including old-fash- edition. paper $12.95t, cloth $24.95t. ioned film, publishing , and radio and new- flock FolliesHere is a glossy, enjoyable fangled video-this, compu-that, and ·tele- celebration of British TV since the fifties THE SCREENWRITERS GUIDE. something-else! Illustrated. with more than 200 large color plates and Veteran writer and lawyer Keith Burr has paper $8 .95t, cloth $24 .95t. many more black-and-white stills from put together a succinct guide to film and your favorite shows! $12.95, cloth $19 .95. television sales that includes an anno- -D Also send me a copy of your new tated list of more than 500 film and televi- catalogue! CINEMA IN THE EIGHTIES. sion producers $4.95 . Essays by more than 100 of the world 's NAME : o Please send me the following books leading film scholars and filmmakers pre- pared for the conference on the Future of immediately. I've enclosed the proper Cinema organized by the Venice Film amount, plus $1 postage and handling Festival. Illustrated , bilingual. $19.95. ($2 for 5 or more books) . Thanks! INTERNATIONAL FILM NYS residents add BV.% tax. BIBLIOGRAPHY: 1979-1980. ADDRESS : ______- - - -________- This is the most comprehensive bibli- ography there is of film criticism and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ZIP : _ _ _ __ scholarship in English , French , German , Italian , and most other European lan- NEW YORK ZOETROPE guages. Trilingual. Cloth $29 .95. Suite 516 Dept.M 80 East 11th St. POPULAR TELEVISION AND FILM. New York 10003 $16 .95, cloth $29.95 .

Whitney Museum of American Art The New American Filmmakers Series Presents: March 30 to April 11 , 1982 Robert Drew & Associates: Early Cinema Verite Hubert Humphrey captured on fitm by Roben Drew (wah microphone) in Primary (1960) Tuesday, March 30-Sunday, April 4 Tuesday, April 6-Sunday, April 11 Primary (1960). 53 minutes. 1200 also Mooney vs. Fowle (1961) . 12:00 Tues . at 6:15 57 minutes. On the Pole (1960). 53 minutes. 1:30 Jane (1962) . 71 minutes . 1:30 The Children Were Watching 3:00 The Chair (1962) . 76 minutes. 300 (1960) . 25 minutes. Crisis: Behind a Presidential Kenya, Africa (1961) . 50 minutes . Commitment (1963) . 53 minutes . 445 also Tues . at 6:15 Petey and Johnny (1961) 445 Faces of November (1964). 56 minutes 9 minutes. Gallery Talk: Thursday April 1, following 1:30 screening. Prints provided by the Drew Archive . All films produced by Robert Drew Complete credits will be provided with program notes. During the early 1960's, filmmaker Robert Drew and associates who included Richard Leacock , Gregory Shucker, DA P~nnebake r, Hope Ryden and James Lipscomb , among others, produced a number of films unique at the time for their unscripted, spontaneous recording, with live sound , of people and actual events . Developing their own portable, sync sound equipment, Drew and colleagues pioneered a new approach to the documentary, with films structured , not by a predetermined script or point of view, but by the events themselves . This selection of films recognizes the important achievements of Robert Drew and Drew Associates in the development of cinema verite in America . For additional information on the Whitney Program Direct Cinema Limited cali (212) 288-9601 PO . Box 69589 Los Angeles , CA 90069 For additional information on the Drew Archive con tact : Telephone (213) 656-4700 B.A. McLane, Director ~,~ cmema ~ lim1ted @

Gable and Colbert in love in It Happened One Night. hood. We marvel at ourselves (as if we ritual, divorce. We know it falls more often now, in society and in the lives of were seeing people like us in a film) that individuals, but that has done nothing to deter us from marriage. Most people ne- by David Thomson we are also doing the opposite, entering gotiating divorce are contemplating re- marriage. Hope knows no caution and into obligation, mutuality, and confine- heeds no record of failure. We can forget if there is a chance to be ourselves again. Anyone who marries more than once ment. In the act of marrying we weigh Marriage testifies to our capacity for faith and meaning, and for faith in wants to believe that he or she is remar- liberty and prison-and say it is too meaning. As Jerry Warriner (Cary Grant) explains in Leo McCarey's The Awful rying-re-entering the state of mar- much to decide. After all, we must be in Truth, \"Marriage is based on faith. When that's gone everything's gone.\" But riage. Because it is always running (like a love to be where we are at that moment, lovers will believe in anything. In movies the awful truth may be that we movie), we can come and go without and love is the unquestioned Church. live by night. blame. We do not keep count-that is Which means that we rarely ask what it • how Elizabeth Taylor can beaton, a boat is. Marriage calms that dispute. Film is crucially confounding to our pursuit of happiness, nearly as damaging against the current-but we persuade Marriage is a ceremony in which we as the phrase itself and the disastrous good intentions that established it as a ourselves that we have gone back to zero represent ourselves, become actors password for the national adventure that is the most fanciful, and successful, be- so that we may start again. It is a rebirth, standing up and speaking lines for the fully religious or of the spirit, no matter characters we hope we have arrived at. that the parties in the marriage reckon That is why the act makes most of us themselves atheists or that the premises shy. We part, symbolically, from paren- are as unholy and unwholesome as those tal care and youthful carelessness; but where the young couple are married in symbolism may be the greatest lesson. Nick Ray's They Live by Night. To marry for a first time-and no one The solemnity persists because those marries with a sense of there being more marrying have such a longing for signifi- than one-is to begin again as oneself. cance. We marry, in part, to demonstrate To marry again is to begin again, again. our freedom, our integrity,and our self- Between the two there falls another 9

ginning again in modern history. We'll sense of responsibility; only the actress's pretend that we are not watching them. go elsewhere and things will be differ- eyes, darting past the camera, guess that That voyeurism, and the envy I re- ent. It is not that we will alter. On the the marriage will end. Let no one write contrary, by being away from this failed it off as chance that Freud's commen- ferred to, have to do with photography's version of life we will be more truly taries on dreams, sexuality, and the psy- duplication of life. This is something ourselves. That will be the difference. chopathology of everyday life coincide that renders the term \"realism\"-as in And , as Jerry asks Lucy toward the end with the first decades of the cinema. the n9vel or painting-simplistic. The ofThe Awful Truth, \"As long as I'm differ- real succumbs to something so effort- ent, don't you think things could be the The lesson of that is not that films lessly lifelike. Simultaneously, we give same again?\" mimic dreams, thereby allowing us to up the tasks of discriminating past and see the tale ofour dog in that Andalusian present, or fiction and documentary. \"America\" is filled with the determi- nation to legitimize divorce. But it is Cary Grant with Irene D~nne in The Awful Tru~h .. . thrillingly romantic to name a continent after one person, and reckless to over- frenzy. It is more profound, and directly The lifelike is a new mode, and it must look the disposition toward love and bit- opposed to surrealism's attempt to reviv- surely relieve us of the sense of art; for terness sitting together in his name. Is it ify romanticism by celebrating auto- photography in all its forms-lifelike a surrealist play when Amerigo (Amer? I matic association. So often we mock duplication-is so extensive, so concur- go) sets out from Europe, wearied by all analysts: there is a twitching idiot in rent with our experience, that we will its stale, unloving ways, vaguely hopeful Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby, as if surrender the specific novelty of picking that whatever he finds will reconcile his to promise us that that dream cannot, up a book, going to seeADoll'sHouse, or own old readiness for love and the more will not be explained. We hate analysis, visiting the Hopper exhibit. Originality recent anger that made him take to the but the most potent implication of film boat? He finds this huge paradise and it is that lovely, wild experience is suscep- and authenticity have disappointed us; is named after him; it becomes him, and tible to analysis. So few can afford the we want the reproduction, the dupli- he identifies its secret idea. A new life consulting rooms; thus, we must all have cate, a second chance, not quite as de- begins and the sons of Amerigo go so far the movies. manding as the first. Not only is America as to name tracts of land the Virginias. a model of divorce; film too is a way of The life in films is one in which peo- ~emarrying us, bringing us back together But then dissolve to darkness, and ple are always acting, being framed, ed- with life, but at a safer distance. only a moment later the land of individ- ited, and manipulated, being seen. Film ualism and fresh hope, of that bitter love is a process, a language, a cultural altera- There is another thing to be said already once jilted or disproved, is called tion, that separates participation from about voyeurism and envy. Photography united states, or even US. Overnight, it witness, seeing from being seen. I am bathes everything it sees in an erotic is rededicated to marriage, belonging, sure that spoken and written language light just because of the way it separates and tea for two. Was the new adventure had started to do that, and I can see how us from the thing seen. It romanticizes so lonely and so perilous that Amerigo far film only extends the exemplary that object, and it links longing with the had to snuggle inside a couple so form of the novel, saying, \"read this and act of seeing. The surrealists' greatest quickly? Or is the new nation a parable consider how you match up to it.\" But intuition about film was that the me- of divorce and remarriage? In which reading does cultivate a critical re- dium enshrined and protected desire; it case, every member of the nation may sponse, and it does address us as indivi- ensured that the wish could never be come to realize that he is acting, or audi- duals who are decisive in the process of satisfied. The glow of the screen, and tioning for, a script that is constitution- reading. Film appeals to envy. It says to the state of the viewer-in the dark but ally inscribed in his and every other us that we are watchers, fascinated by with his and her watchfulness illumi- person's experience. Land of the free, the spectacle, but forever unable to en- nated-is itself lovelorn, before any but home of the enacter. Experience is ter it: the pursuit of happiness, there- subject is chosen for the film, before any like a movie one has seen before, but fore, is guaranteed as a lifelong face appears on the screen to reflect the had half forgotten. challenge. But we are voyeurs, licensed viewer's yearning gaze. by the way the people in the picture • Film has found many stories and sub- jects, so it believes. But I suspe~t all film The finding of an object is in fact the refinding ofit. -Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory ofSexuality Film confounds the pursuit of happi- ness, because the medium lets us know the chase is a play that has been pro- duced before. That leaves us with the authenticity and urgency of our own ac- tions looking back at our gaze, like a cobra question mark, or like the feet that render Porthos still and thoughtful in the story told by Brice Parain in Godard's Vivre sa vie. Living one's life becomes harder, despite Anna Karina checking off every bump and grind with her own 10

is about falling in love. The medium couched in unreadability. No one has Cavell cannot always quite trust the constantly explores the danger and the done more to illuminate the several talk- things he loves. Like another professor, anticipation of that threshold-and it ing comedies Cavell has picked on, and Grant's David Huxley in Bringing Up does so whether the movie is The Phila- yet no one brings such unsuitability to Baby, Cavell has an utterable need for delphia Story or a TV ad for Philadelphia the task. If, as I believe, the professor is fun as a right he longs to rediscover. But Cream Cheese. Film is a version of the really rejoicing in marriage in this book he will not give up the reconstruction of experience of being attracted: all its sce- (it is dedicated to a young son-from a the skeleton that is Huxley's serious and narios are enactments of watching, dan- second marriage?), then it is worth say- conscious pursuit. ger, courtship, and falling. But the fall ing that the book shows how much more must never be stopped. Just because the important faith is in marria e than the Pursuits ofHappiness claims that there is an American genre-the comedy of .. .and Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby. remarriage-and that its great works are movies are all about love, it is very diffi- apt casting of suitables falling in love. The Lady Eve, It Happened One Night, cult, perhaps impossible, for them to Love is a desert island; its castaways treat marriage. And if common sense, have only each other. Marriage is a con- Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia censorship, or social expectations say, versation, and one that cannot live with \"Why, you must deal with that some- sweet agreement. Story, His Girl Friday, Adam's Rib, and times,\" then, and only then, will the The Al1jul Truth . Cavell allows that there medium concede divorce as a pretext for Cavell is Professor of Aesthetics and may be other worthwhile films , but he is fresh wooing and remarriage. The ex- the General Theory ofValue at Harvard, a trained, proud, and fastidious discrimi- citement offinding depends on loss, and and I'm sure how well he knows that nator who wouldn't dream of putting an if we are always to fall in love without that title ought to inspire Cary Grant's intercostal clavicle in the wrong place or recognizing that we are mad, then we poker-faced delight on meeting Ralph of boning one species with another's must acquire a way of falling out, too. Bellamy in His Girl Friday. It is a comic relic. Unless, that is, he had a grand hat to put on a human being, as ridicu- theory to support such an outrage. Like • lous and as enchanting as the \"Three all great philosophers and scientists, Jolly Coachmen\" song emanating from Cavell is a man of passion, which means Si l' amour porte des ailes, the bulk of Eugene Pallette as it sinks he will do whatever he wants if he can down an elaborate staircase in The Lady only talk himself into it first. N' est-ce pas pour voltiger? Eve. One of Cavell's own attributes is to see such a thing as not just funny or You know that from the stupefying - Beaumarchais hallucinatory, but as an epiphany of the confusion of academic thunder and per- lifelike, something shown for us to no- sonal caprice in the book. (Let me say Le Marriage de Figaro; tice, \"just this human being doing just again that I intend this as praise.) We these things in just this setting.\" That is discern naught but a lover's rapture and the warning before the stuffoffilm criticism and ofcompan- when such a professor turns his whim Jean Renoir's La Regle du leu ionship. into a code on not much more than this justification: that a Shakespearean struc- There are cupids on the mauve jacket Countless examples of this alertness, ture of remarriage to demonstrate matu- ofStanley Cavell's Pursuits ofHappiness: some of which are free from his custom- rity and regeneration-the philosophy ary pomp, wash over the professorial ,he has found for these delectable movies The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage outline of Cavell's thesis. For it is his -resurfaced in 1934. Thus: \"Nineteen misfortune that, wanting to marvel at thirty-four-half a dozen years after the (Harvard University Press, $17.50). marriage, talk about certain movies, and advent of sound-was about the earliest That brilliant but naive book is the com- walk his experience, he has had to find a date by which the sound film could rea- panion in this essay. It is a wonderful title and an argument that Harvard and sonably be expected to have found itself work, and a hopeless book, steeped in film studies everywhere would respect. artistically. And it happens that at that love for Cary Grant but a Ralph Bellamy The saddest thing about the book is that same date there was a group of women slowcoach I cannot help teasing. No re- view could do it justice or be more help- of an age and a temperament to make ful than to say: read it. Because until you possible the definitive realization of the have read it, you will not be able to read genre that answered the Shakespearean it again. The necessity equals the tor- description . . .. \" ture, for the insights of the book are There are so many nonsenses here that we must pray for a skeleton-recons- tructor's calm. The iist of fully realized and \"artistic\" sound films made before 1934 is far longer that Cavell's line of favorites . Let me name only Shanghai Express (1932)-not just because its pic- torial beauty demands languid talk, but because it employs a structure of love squandered and regained, and of neces- sary sentimental education, that Cavell ought to see as an enrichment of his chosen seven. Reviewing the book in American Film, Al LaValley has tactfully pointed out that Cecil B. DeMille's pic- tures of the Twenties specifically con- 11

cern remarriage in a way that requires among these films in 1937-41, the pe- Shakespeare's life to 1934, Cavell could consideration in Cavell's genre, even if riod during which they were made. follow a paper chase, collecting The they are films that prefer moralizing to Country Wife, The Way of the World, A moral conversation. Nor do I object to the inclusion of SchooL for ScandaL, much of Schnitzler, films in which there is no remarriage, or as well as the work of Jane Austen, One has to wonder how well Cavell to the citing of sources that do not in- George Eliot, and Henry James. Not all knows, or how much he cares about, clude such reconciliation. All he has to of those end as positively as The PhiLa- film history. I don't demand such do is recognize marriage as the common deLphia Story, but not all of Cavell's knowledge from him; I am quite pre- element in these films, and then remark seven films end as cheerfully as he be- pared for the teaching of film to suffer on the wayan earlier state of being is not lieves. They all see marriage as a ritual, that defect if it also has his richness of yet fit for marriage, requiring some kind or self-analysis, in which the parties personal taste and love. But it is Bella- of enlightenment. That is a better way need to become more fully aware-of myesque to cloak ignorance in a manner of describing Adam's Rib (an old mar- themselves and of one another. That is that suggests the book is the pronounce- riage reconfirmed), The Lady Eve (a love the only hope for two passionate Ameri- brought to fruition despite initial ment not just of a professor of the Gen- eral Theory of Value, but of his podium. \\ I• Come to think of it, this is far beneath the Albany decency of Ralph Bellamy in Russell caught between Grant and Bellamy in His Girl Friday. His Girl Friday or The AwfuL Truth. This is humbug worthy of John Howard's deceit), It Happened One Night (frivolity gos living as US. There are panicular Kittredge in The PhiLadeLphia Story. made grave by love), even Bringing Up comparisons it seems obtuse to omit: Baby-though that is the most wayward Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story is I believe in so much of what Cavell of all, so much more Hawksian than very like Jane Austen's Emma likes, but I insist that there is much Cavell appreciates, and such a promis- Woodhouse; and the quality of thought- more to what he likes. \"1934\" is a mis- ing guide to what disconcerts the profes- ful inaccessibility that Cavell enjoys in take that he has built into a millstone sor in His Girl Friday. If only he could Cary Grant would suit him to play' because he has such difficulty in taking see these films belonging to their Horner, Darcy, the Prince in The Golden things lightly. As for the notion that sev- makers as well as to his own fine fancy. BowL or Strether in The Ambassadors. eral actresses-Barbara Stanwyck, (All argument aside, in Cary Grant we Claudette Colben, Katharine Hepburn, With his sources, Cavell is equally are talking about America's subtlest ac- Rosalind Russell, Irene Dunne-who short-sighted. The late Shakespeare tor and one of Hollywood's most intri- were born between 1904 and 1911 auto- plays do not treat remarriage; they do guing authors.) matically ride on the renewed energy of dwell on the belated recognition of American feminism, that is perhaps the harshness and mistake in the general As to films, the list of other, necessary funniest passage in his book. Time and bringing of wisdom and love. Ibsen's A works is far more important. There is again, Cavell says he believes in the rel- DoLL's House does have Nora say that she really no need to spend that much time evance of the real personae and lives of and Helmer would need to marry again on the literary predecessors, but it is actors and actresses. But it never to have any chance of mutual happiness. crass to see no resemblance between amounts to more than the proper realiza- But she says that on the way out, at the Citizen Kane and the genre of remar- tion that these films are photographic conclusion of an entirely justifiable but riage. Kane is a man who marries twice, records of those players in performance. solitary feminist reawakening. Helmer badly once and worse the second time- No research dares disturb the feminist learns nothing, whereas in The Philadel- for his wives, that is; as for Kane himself, family background of Stanwyck, or at- phia Story and The Winter's Tale everyone he never really responds to either rela- tempts to establish it. Cavell does not learns something, above all the need to tionship, he is so much the rabid viewer even ask himself about the collaboration learn more. But Cavell has used remar- of his life. Citizen Kane is peninent in between Hepburn and Philip Barry that riage, by hook or by crook, to obscure another way, for it is a life twice told, the led to The Philadelphia Story. Nor does two much more profound, mythic mo- capsule history of the newsreel (told in he bother to add that Garson Kanin and tifs, rebinh, reawakening, or regenera- Kane's house style) and the slow reopen- Ruth Gordon are the one married couple tion; and the second chance, the replay. ing of his life, like an old man peeling a to be active in the making of his chosen flower, the ghost blowing upon his one- pictures. If those possibilities could penetrate time colleagues until their bitter fondness Cavell's theory, he might be more ex- for him glows again. Moreover, it exactly Some of the trouble stems from the ploratory with sources, and the com- fulfills the comment of Freud's that I inflexibility (and the insouciant ingenu- mentary on his seven films would be have lifted from Cavell-about finding ity) with which Cavell regards remar- more stimulating and coherent. Instead being refinding. What else is it that hap- riage. He has two unimpeachable of the grotesque leap from the end of examples, The PhiladeLphia Story and His Girl Friday, in which couples mar- ried but divorced before the action be- gins avoid a second marriage and come back together again. The Awful Truth is about a married couple who go to the brink of final divorce before second thoughts and original feelings save them. I do not dispute the special, mythic force of this kind of story, and I am sure there was a valuable kinship 12

pens to the sled? married when you come to see that you with this shot in the dark, as mistaken as I have already pressed claims for De- cannot divorce, that is, when you find the one at the end of The Rules of the that your lives simply will not disentan- Game: \"Cukor's camera instinct, unlike Mille's early comedies and for Shanghai gle. If your love is lucky, this knowledge Hawks' , is to move in response to a char- Express. There are more: Sunrise (which will be greeted with laughter.\" acter's attention.\" is about the revival of a marriage); sev- eral Frank Borzage pictures, all melo- There is at least one tragedy of remar- That is a horrifying moment for the dramas, but still concerned with riage, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, and it fond reader, for it leaves one wondering re-seeing, second encounters, and fan- gets a passing mention by Stanley Cavell whether this uncommon curlicued intel- tasy's absolving of reality; for all those as being the end of that line of films in ligence, so generous with stimulus if so reasons again, Peter lbbetson; Mildred which two characters play out the rela- impervious to real conversation, has ac- Pierce, which concludes with Joan tionship of the director and the audi- tually seen the movies. It points to a Crawford and Bruce Bennett forlornly ence; manipulation itself is being larger failure to deal with authorship- reunited; several Ernst Lubitsch films, analyzed. Still, Cavell does not seem to all the more disappointing in a genre most notably The Shop Around the Cor- realize that Hitchcock has used two- that was fashioned by close friends. ner, where love comes by such intricate What these seven films have most in coincidence that young lovers can at first The screwball comedy common is that they have passed before see nothing but their own unsuitability, Cavell's superb cleverness: they be- and need time and cross-talk to appreci- endorses the notion come his films. That leads to a variety of ate that their proud bickering was the mistakes, omissions, and exaggerated surest sign of feeling; Max Ophuls' offalling in love- glories. Caught, about a young woman so crazy to marry she marries a madman first be- and says divorce is To start with something that seems fore she is educated in moral sympathy, small. Cavell refers back to the late Sha- unglamorous nobility, and shared free- the one thing that kespeare plays to define \"a place in dom; Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind. which perspective and renewal are to be can allow us to fall achieved\"-Bohemia in The Winter's One back-handed merit of Pursuits of Tale and the island in The Tempest. In Happiness is that it begins to notice how in love again. four of his seven films, he says, this is underrated George Cukor is. Still, called Connecticut \"and it is all but ex- Cavell does not give full credit to Cukor stage love stories over and over again: in plicitly cited as a mythical location. \" So for his fertile preoccupation with the si- Rebecca (1940), an ordeal of remarriage far so good: there is a kind of enchanted multaneous shows called marriage and in which a second wife does not even country house setting at work in the theater. I suspect that of all the directors merit a name because the force of the genre, a moving train to altered emo- Cavell honors, Cukor might understand first wife looms so large; in Notorious, tions. But all seven of his films were his thesis the best. For Cukor's films are where Grant is too hard to recognize or actually shot in California: the studio, its always alive to the way people are re- help Ingrid Bergman's frailty, and too backlot or neighboring parts of the state peating themselves in the hope of doing censorious to forgive; in Under Capri- enjoying sunniness by day and a suffi- better. It raises another very significant corn; and in North by Northwest, one of ciency of illumination at night that are omission by Cavell: that the gay sensi- the most equivocal screwball comedies not to be found in Connecticut, but bility may be a most shrewd observer of made after the supposed end of the which do characterize America's most marnages. screwball era. mythical location. Mythical in that Cali- fornia is, above all, the place seen, the Mitchell Leisen is not even men- • representation of a place. tioned in Pursuits ofHappiness. But the vitality of love and the uncertainty of It is only when one emphasizes The \"garden\" is really \"Hollywood,\" marriage make a recurring dance in ~he Cavell's highest pleasure-\"a meet and but many of the people there came from light, decorative, thematically intell- happy conversation\" (Milton) remind- Connecticut, or from the lifestyle that igent films of the Thirties and Forties. ing lovers that they cannot divorce- had weekend homes in that state. I am But wherever one places Leisen, how- that one appreciates the gulf between not just suggesting that the people in- ever much his films are spoiled by melo- his seven pictures and the more contem- volved in these comedies were recreat- drama or shallowness, his thematic porary studies of marriage on the screen. ing and harking back to old homes and variations suggest how regularly Holly- It was a golden age, with glow enough to cherished memories. That Hollywood wood conceived of remarriage, and how blur the hard frontiers of 1934 and 1949 feeling for the East is always tinged with inventive it could be in bringing dra- (Adam's Rib). But I wonder if Cavell has love and bitterness. But the talking pic- matic uncertainty to the state ofwedlock worked quite as hard as he might have ture marks one of the most significant -so that the exhilarating danger of done to set these pictures in their con- movements west by a body of talented falling could still be felt. Misalliance text? Occasionally, he speaks with off- people in the history of this country. prolongs courtship, separation swells ar- hand knowingness about a star or a What they got out of it was fame, dor, and one thing leads to another. For director. Floating overhead like a blimp money, and a kinder climate than Con- Leisen, the theme worked as well in who believes great films just ascend to necticut's. And what they felt they lost melodrama (To Each His Own) as in com- his level, he can murmur one dulcet was theater and writing, integrity and edy (Midnight). Cavell himself allows insight-\"One must have a heart of the cold-and, sometimes, a marriage. that laughter is not a reliable reaction to stone to witness Capra's virtuosity in pa- marital complications: \"only those can thos without laughing\"-that seems as I don't want to turn this essay into a genuinely remarry who are already mar- true as it is condescending. But the same list of where people were born, or of ried. It is as though you know you are airy manner quickly gets comeuppance various marital mishaps. Let us just say that Cary Grant-\"This man lwho], in 13

words of Emerson's, carries the holiday assume a Utopian recurrence. Thus is nothing so often explains the Hollywood in his eye; he is fit to stand the gaze of divorce allowed: the happy trick that lets divorce as the call of work.) The Thir- millions.\" (Cavell)- had also seen fail- us do it again. ties comedy as a whole is Utopian, not so ure in his own life. It seems to me the much because it traces the improvement overlapping of idealness and actual Let me develop this possibility in of moral character-for example, with shortcoming that makes Grant so pro- terms of Hawks' films. He seems to me Tracy Lord's giving up of pride and cold- found and ambiguous as an actor, that the best director in Cavell's group, and ness-but because it is a mechanism of leaves his eyes more and less than fes- the one who most often strays outside repetition, of re-finding, as reliable and tive. More generally, I think there is a his rather prim boundaries. Not just in as fascinating as the house in Celine and direct connection between the destiny His Girl Friday, but in many other Julie Go Boating. These are films about of these films and the personal tribula- fun and play, metaphors of their own tions of those who made them. genres, Hawks creates enchanted furors delightful process of manufacture. FaIl- that could go on forever (if we were ing in love with love is falling for ... It is a very large point, and it has to do lucky): the jailhouse in Rio Bravo, the what? with the filmmakers' wealth. Can we cattle drive in Red River, the war and the properly understand the romantic com- cafe in To Have and Have Not, the train That is why so many of them have edy of the Thirties without recognizing ride in Twentieth Century, the mystery in hints about filmmaking itself. It is as if how far Hollywood knew it was going The Big Sleep, and so on. the community were saying: \"Let's against the grain of the country? Cavell have fun, let's fall in love here in 'Con- seems to say that making your central In His Girl Fridny, there is twin enclo- necticut,' in front of the cameras where characters rich is a convention of com- sure: the winning back of Hildy by WaI- edy, and that it shows a cheerful resil- ter and the working on a story. This film ience in Hollywood during the Depression. But I wonder ifit isn't more Holliday caught between Tracy and Hepburn in Adam's Rib. a gesture of bravado to the outside world, and of reassurance for that dis- needs two tasks because of the rapacious nothing is real or subject to alimony. \", placed Connecticut? Similarly, I think intelligence of the central characters; it That is why the kiss is so much more we have to see these films, and espe- may be Hawks's most elitist film, the cially the stress on the metamorphosis one most devoted to superiority, wit, erotic than fucking on screen: the one that redeems remarriage, as Hollywood and speed, and nearly fascist because of aspires to something, the other concerns talking to its own special experience. it. In other words, the divorce is a game a reality that the movies must stop short The two come together in the fact that -which makes Ralph Bellamy a tragic of. The joy of companionable work can divorce has always been a financial, as stooge-allowing the ninety-minute overcome all the distress of broken well as an emotional, transaction. They play of \"Getting Hildy Back.\" It has to home life. Adam's Rib is just one of sev- present us, as critical viewers, with our be put that way, for His Girl Friday is an greatest test in that Hollywood's reluc- abomination to the strict feminist. eral pictures where Tracy and Hepburn tance to risk selling failure conspires Cavell knows he's uneasy about the could be married-something not possi- with the filmmakers' very human wish film, but he can't bring himself to com- ble in life. And who knows if those to improve upon their mistakes and to ment on its flagrant, breathtaking sup- screen moments don't add up to our assuage their guilt. (One huge and very port of graceful male bullying. most perfect American marriage? revealing omission in all of these films is Movies are so presentational, so much a the residue of guilt in the divorced: it What Hawks has done is to find a process of analysis, that they let the least goes hand-in-hand with the merciful most artful way of putting being in love observant notice how far work can make slaughter of all children.) above marriage, and work above life. up for life. But only if the fun goes on (These two have a vital harmony, for forever-which means that something In other words, these films are not must always come between the marriage quite as grown-up as Professor Cavell wants them to be. (I am not sure that he alway knows they are mature-but he is in love with them, and with marriage.) If we use authorship in the sense that em- braces the Hollywood community- stars and directors, technicians and producers, agents and Spy magazine re- porters-then the comedy of remarriage is a way of revising one's life that may not be fully earned. The genre endorses falling in love above all things. Why not? That's what the medium itself believes in. You can watch films like His Girl Fridny, The Awful Truth, and The Phila- delphia Story and feel an urging toward divorce as the one thing that can let us fall in love again. The battle of courtship is the most exciting passage in life, and the peak of the talking picture, so let it 14

of two minds so that they can get back away; and it does look like \"Connecti- excitement. Cavell charmingly refrains together again. cut,\" even if the sun only shines when from making sexual symbolism explicit birds and animals are shot to pieces. in his commentary. I think that's proper Falling in love with love is ecstatic but because the films he loves are fearful of fruitless; it is especially beguiling be- But can one conceive of an interlude sex: it is such a threat to the perpetuity cause it condones selfishness. Cavell ar- in The Philadelphia Story in which the of love. To consent to attraction and gues very well that the absence of cast goes shooting, and a rabbit's limbs erotic urgency is to involve oneself in the children in these films allows the grown- tremble with the spasms before death? emptiness that follows. In the American ups to be children again. That is very That doesn' t leave The Rules ofthe Game comedies, people talk sexually because helpful to our viewing of Bringing Up less of a comedy, or less crowded with of that philosophical flinching from Baby. even ifCavell does not quite_catch thoughts of remarriage, but it makes it a bodily contact; The Rules of the Game the exultant and darkening pursuit of greater film than anything Cavell is con- countenances, sadly, the possibility that madness in that film . But it seems to me sidering. As it happens, there are no \"love is the exchange of two fantasies wishful thinking to say that \"the ab- children in The Rules of the Game . But and the coming together of two epider- sence ofchildren furrher purifies the dis- whereas that lack is a roaring libeny in cussion of marriage.\" I think it actually American comedies, it is a mark of bar-\" flatters selfishness and work, and dis- renness in Renoir's world, the concomi- guises pain and guilt. Moreover, Holly- tant of so much wintry mood and so The Rules of the Game ends. No one wood would not have made such films so much less glamour in the lighting. Re- can doubt the mood of deparrure and often if they had contained evident vic- noir's vision includes so many things that grief, the chill in the air. The American comedies end in the bliss of renewal; Hepbwn and Grant remarry in The Philadelphia S~ory. they say come back next week to their audiences and their lovers. But Renoir tims of adult 10ve.IfCavell had added compromise Hollywood's easy enduring and Marceau wonder if they will ever The Shop Aroijnd the Corner ~o his of the screen's glow. The Rules of the meet again, and the Marquis leads the happy few, then he might have thought Game sees that rich and poor people surviving puppets back into the box- to read Haywire. by Brooke Hayward, make equal fools of themselves, and it stage. In hindsight, we say that is war the daughter of Margaret Sullavan. That recognizes social hierarchy being infil- coming, and the end of French high family story introduces us to the desper- trated by friendship , simultaneity, and society. That is not what makes the film ate juxtaposition of screen romance and accident. The servants in American so poignant. Renoir has simply said that domestic disaster. Much of the book is comedy are like assistant directors: lovers are mortal and love as dangerous set in the real Connecticut. smarr, knowing, and supporrive, but de- as flight. It does not necessarily do us credit, and its damage is not always • tached. Wealth in the French film is not mended. God protect us from the pur- On several occasions, Cavell refers challenged; but its responsibilities are suit of happiness, for it can make us quickly to European films on remar- not evaded. killers. riage, and especially to The Rules of the You could say the same for falling in Renoir is even flinching from the Game. only to say that he can't pursue love. No one in The Rules of the Game movies as a meek model of divorce and them. That's a pity, for the exercise actually remarries. But people fall in the desirable pursuit of happiness. He is might help him be a little less enchanted love with a riotous speed that begins to every bit as interested in the surrogate with the American pictures. The Rules of make love look like a madness. Implic- director as Hawks and Cukor. But the Game has several claims for consider- itly, Renoir is acknowledging the tran- whereas those characters end trium- ation. It was made in 1939; its talk rattles sient energy of attractiveness and erotic phant in American comedy-Dexter in The Philadelphia Story. Susan in Bringing Up Baby-in The Rules ofthe Game they are overwhelmed by what they have done. I say \"they\" because there are two. The Marquis is a director of plays; we cannot fail to see how much the hobby diverts him from his ineptness in life, especially his contradictory urges towards freedom and control, the bane of marriage. The other is not even a surrogate, for Renoir is Octave, a go- between drawn into a disastrous confes- sion of his own love. Filmmaking may be a chronic pastime, but Renoir never encourages fake optimism about it. He is on his way to French Can-Can and The Golden Coach. films that demand com- parison with The Tempest in the way they establish the romantic loneliness of the director and the actress. One cannot al- ways be lucky or believe in the good fortune of a medium that insists on play. I love all the films loved by Cavell, but I 15

Academy Award Too High the Moon: man's filigree work rests in the hands Nominee A Modern Romance of the director-and yes, this is an Alan Parker Film. As a graduate of the IIBest Feature Documentary\" What an odd couple Bo Goldman twenty-eight-second movie, Parker and Alan Parker are. One an American fills each frame with as much visual \"A fine tribute to a hectic, pained, screenwriter, honing his fine behav- information as a Joseph Cornell box; buoyant, decent, exceptionally ioral ironies in a Nonhern California his images are meticulously dense. But radiant life. \" glade; the other a British director, bred this can make him one strident manip- in the bang-bang world of commer- ulator. You want cute? Give 'em the Robert Coles cials, huckstering the significant im- seven-year-old on the potty. You want The New Republic age. Who would have teamed the pitch? Playa moment-of-truth restau- writer of Melvin and Howard with the rant scene as high farce. You want a \"The compleat guide to a perceptive director ofMidnight Express and Fame? sure Oscar nomination for Diane critic, a sensitive author, and a It makes for a marriage whose offspring Keaton? Let her choke back sobs as complex man. \" .-Shoot the Moon-is as full of prom- she sings in the bathtub, and let the ise, and as torn and troubled, as Sherry, camera creep in ponentously to under- Village Voice the movie's eldest, dearest child. Hill and Finney in Shoot the Moon. \"A brilliant new film-a perfect Kids-the focal point of most mar- line the despair. Parker underlines ev- monument to the subject.\" riages' tension and delight, and the erything, visually and aurally. Every crucial ingredient which, by its omis- song in the film, for example, has lyrics Media Digest sion, makes the classic romantic come- whose ineaning the viewer can read dies seem like aboned fables-steal like cue cards. \"Don't Blame Me If I \"A strong, insightfui look at an excel- Shoot the Moon. Incorrigiblyomnipres- Fell. You're Still the Same.\" ent, turning every lovers' intimacy into lent writer.\" an indiscretion, whining and cajoling Parker's ending-when George Writer's Digest and too close to tears, the four Dunlap drives amok over Frank's tennis coun, daughters still compose something like and Frank explodes in return-is a ru- \"A pearl!\" the ideal sibling quanet. (Bless you, inous demonstration of the modern Dana Hill.) The four young actresses moviemaker's yearning for apocalypse. Media and Methods play well together, as if they'd been George's old station wagon must ram fighting for years for bathroom time. through the garden like the Pentagon's \"Superbly crafted.\" They even look like sisters, and look as most indestructible tank. And Frank if they could be the children of Alben must not only fight dirty, kneeing Film News Finney and Diane Keaton. The kids George in the groin, but kick to smith- not only give the picture its quotidian ereens the Very Typewriter that has Undeniable dramatic power.\" urgency, they indicate the kind of served as George's passpon back to L.A. Times \"comedy of remarriage\" Shoot the Sherry's acceptance. The old directors Moon is-one where George Dunlap allowed the viewer a little breathing \"A sparkling documentary!\" wants to be reunited, not with his wife, and thinking room. But here he is not Boston Globe but with his children and his house. allowed to come to a single indepen- dent conclusion-except that Alan \"Startling, revealing, absorbing.\" It's an old dark house in Marin Parker was not the man to shoot Shoot Counry (today's \"Connecticut\") It's a the Moon. -RICHARD CORLISS Washington Post cocoon fortress, one that repels all in- cursions from the outside and serves as * \"A significant subject-an im- a metaphor for the isolation and inces- tuous obsession that the family life can pressive film. \" force upon its members. It's also down- right malevolent in its possessiveness. Booklist George's new girl (Karen Allen) cannot be accepted, by Faith or the children Available from : or the audience, because she never en- ters the house. When Faith opens her JAMES AGEE FILM PROJECT door to a stranger, it must be her future BJX 315, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 lover. Handsome Frank (Peter Weller) steps out of the void, and into hers. (201) 891-8240 The challenge of a film built on small moments is that every moment must ring true, to an audience for whom each reverberation rings differ- ent bells. Goldman is a past master at this; the shrug, the failed joke, the unanswered question insinuate them- selves into a plot line. But all of Gold- 16

have to insist that they are terrified of But, Kramer vs. Kramer and An Un- Ol loneliness or failure. married Woman (pictures Cavell wel- comes) seem to me to suffer from the -WA-NTE-D • deadweight benefit of problem-solving. WE In Paul Mazursky's work, Blume In Love WANT So, what of marriage and divorce in is a finer successor to Grant and Irene YOUR recent American movies? They are more Dunne than An Unmarried Woman, commonly treated, and we do see the though anyone must be impressed by - -FILMS effect upon children. Yet most of the the rawness of the first half of that film. movies that take these steps do not com- Starting Over is a way of saying the hu- REWARD pare with those considered in Pursuits of man being, once stalled, needs a jump Happiness. I must repeat that I do not start to be a stronger h. b. Paternity- If you have produced a believe that the American picture can thematically very close to the Thirties high-quality 16mm tilm- deal with these subjects. So determined originals-is sleepwalking in its plot, so especially one for viewing upon play, excitement, and re-finding, sure is it that Burt Reynolds will fall in by the general public in a it cannot handle emotional difficulty. love with Beverly d'Angelo before birth. library or community set- And as we see the Hollywood film find- ting- and are searching ing it harder to survive commercially, so Sometimes television shocks itself. for a distributor with the form prefers to ignore difficulty or This April, Zoetrope will give a theatri- outstanding marketing refashion it in the guise of \"problem- cal release to Too Far to Go, an NBC capability, we want to solving,\" which it has inherited (or movie of the week of three years ago talk to you. caught) from television. That is the which had dismal ratings when it Telephone source of the homilies about becoming stronger individuals-which is really as- played. You can see why: it doesn't solve (312) 321-7410 piring toward the armor that denotes so its problems. Indeed, it will probably be many of the characters in George Lucas the most harrowing movie on view this Write or phone films. year. Too Far to Go comes from John Renate Moser, Updike's Maple stories, and it is di- Britannica Films Television has divorce and remarriage rected by Fielder Cook, with Blythe 425 No. Michigan Avenue every day: it is part of that medium's Danner and Michael Moriarty as the Chicago, Illinois 60611 effort to show itself real and committed. couple who marry,have several children, Can paraplegic Ray Sharkey gain cus- and then divorce. It is very simply 17 tody of his children? Will he cry? The made, sure of its human material and the authentic heirs of the comedy of remar- quality of its acting. One scene in partic- riage are the soap operas, where marital ular is unbearably convincing: it is the interchange has become a video game, moment when the parents tell the chil- with tawdry actors and tissue dialogue dren, and it is something one has hardly even they can barely remember. seen before in an American picture, no There's no comedy, other than the matter that it is a domestic common- campness; and there's nothing of what place. Too Far to Go was too much for we admire in The Awful Truth. But the television, and I suspect that in theaters maniacal re-finding does come from the it will be too distressing for success. But original genr~, and ought to alarm its it is material such as literature deals with best defenders. regularly. Our lives still confront us in our books. Movies-of-the-week and successful series, however, are forever dabbling in The best modern American film .on divorce with that special solicitude of divorce-by a street-is New York, New television. It comes straight from tlle York. Scorsese gave us two brilliant medium's advertising: the sheer quan- Americans, hopeful,ambitious pursuers, tity of commercials has found it neces- and turned them face to face so that for a sary to temper the basic appeal to envy. moment sax and singer were enchanted Two of these modifiers are comic dis- with one another. Moreover, they talk as tancing and the problem-solving frame- much as they make music, and they talk work. Television does take on many like their music. There is a child, but more problems than one sees in the the couple is torn apart by work and American movies today, but only be- selfishness. Then the movie, in its origi- cause it promises to solve them. We nal version, edged up to remarriage with have given up the language of Philip the very hesitant dressing-room scene Barry and Donald Ogden Stewart and the chance of meeting again, later- for the sterile prognoses of social until the street prevailed. Now, in the workers-less hopeful than positively enlarged version it is clearer how much reinforcing. So it is that divorced people watching her on screen persuades him can stand up and say they're people too: that he loves her and cannot be with her. the \"liberty\" only exists because of an Happy Endings! You can fall in love insane limitation that has been agreed watching a movie, but you cannot fall upon first-that they might be un-peo- into the screen .~J ple, un-American, or unhappy.

Photoby James elton Staff pho~ographer a~ New York's Vil- sho~ , makes his own prin~ , and con- Brooklyn, and appren~iced wi~h ~he lage Voice since 1976, James Hamil~on, sul~s wi~h ~he ar~ direqor on pho~o pho~ographer Albeno Rizzo, who taugh~ 35, shoo~ a wide varienr of pic~ures , choices and layou~. This is an unusual Hamil~on his e:Jc~ensive developing and ranging from landscapes ~o s~ree~ amoun~ of conhol-mos~ pho~ogra­ prin~ing skills. Before ~he Voice, he was scenes , from star sho~ ~o TV charac~ers phers, staff or freelance , give up ~heir on ~he staffs of Crawdaddy, The Herald, nega~ives for selec~ion and prin~ing. \"I capwred on-screen. His crowning work, like ~he immediacy of ~he paper,\" he and Harper's Bazaar. says. \"A weekly is jus~ righ~ for me: Af~er s~in~ as a uni~ pho~ographer on however, may be his gallery of direqor enough ~ime ~o care abou~ a job, and por~rai~s, which FILM COMMENT is ~hen move on quickly ~o some~hing ~o George Romero films , Hamil~on pleased ~o showcase here. more ~han ever feels ~ha~ moviemaking else.\" is \"an heroic ac~.\" As 8~ill phowgrapher, On tap ~o shoo~ almos~ any~hing for Hamil~on grew up in Bahimore, s~ud­ he can lay claim ~o an impressive body of ~he Voice, Hamil~on is also free ~o go drama~ic an of his own. af~er wha~ever he wan~ wi~h his Nikon ied graphic design a~ Pran Ins~iw~e in 5. He keeps his nega~ives , seleqs his -ANNE THOMPSON \"Alfred Hitchcock was in town promoting Frenzy. It turned out to be one ofmy favorite sessions because w~ tal~ed non-stop about his movies. He was hilarious. I was barely looking through the lens when I was photographmg him. We were laughing about a moment in Psycho. \" 18

\"I accompanied a Voice interviewer to Woody Allen's apartment around the time o/Manhattan. We had about ten minutes and he didn't want to do pictures in the house, so we went out on the baLcony. I just grabbed that shot. I didn't take many pictures-that was probabLy the quickest session I ever had.\" 19


\"Marcel Ophuls was teaching out at Princeton when I photographed him there. He's a relaxed, funny guy. I took a picture ofhim laughing, and he said ifthis was for The New York Times, I should take a serious picture ofhim. So he put on this dour face . That picture has quotes around it. \" \"Claude Chabrol is a charming, funny guy. He was naturally talking about Hitchcock. There's something devilish and sweet about him. Doing a close-up was a pretty conscious choice-he really has an interesting face. \" \"Alain Resnais is a very elegant man, very cool. Andrew Sarris was inter- viewing him. Nine times out often I photograph these people in a hotel room and I try not to be repetitive about it. With Resnais I pulled back the curtainfor a background.\" \"Wim Wenders was in New York for The American Friend. We went out and played pinball and walked around. He was taking pictures at the same time I was. We were walking down the middle ofthe street and I asked him to stop and took his picture. ~.~---------------------------- 21

\"I did John Carpenter for the Voice but I wanted to meet him too, be- cause I thought Halloween was so muchfun.llike horrorfilm direc- tors who manipulate an audience, another reason why I like Hitch- cock and George Romero. They usually have a sense of humor, (hey' re funny guys.\" \"George is the greatest guy. I worked with him taking stills for the films Knightriders and Creepshow. Here , I was trying to capture his expression watching the actors at work.\" \"Jean-Luc Godard is another idol. There just seemed to be nothing in the apartment that would coincide with Godard in some way. So I took him out on the balcony and he was nervous about the height. I loved the background for him. \" 22

\"Franrois Truffaut I photograph every time he comes into town, since 1977. We both love Hitchcock and we actually sat there whistling themes to his movies.\" \"During an interview situation, Federico Fellini was being inter- viewed, and Marcello Mastroianni was being very aloof.\" 23

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TheNew RogerCorman by David Chute -fishing for change in a telephone people getting their start with [the booth. studios]. Roger gives a chance to people The legend of Roger Corman, outlaw who have no credentials whatsoever. . . moviemaker and mentor to youthful ge- To this day, Dante speaks fondly of he may not be able to tell the most nius, is a droll and wonderful thing, one Roger Corman-and no wonder. Cor- talented people, but [he can spot] the of Hollywood's happiest inventions. It man has consistently sought the ones who are ready to virtually kill them- goes like this: Since 1953, Corman has cheapest talent possible-usually young selves to make a picture.\" And the kids produced or distributed over 175 and hungry talent. In 1974 four top Oscar had better be enthusiastic, since first- movies, and directed forty-seven. In winners were alumnae of what director time director's fees have run as low as 1956 alone, he churned out eight feature Jonathan Kaplan calls ''The Roger Cor- $250 a week-for just two weeks' work. films. He shot exploitation schlockers man Post-Graduate School of Survival Actor Jack Nicholson, who made his for Allied Artists and American Interna- Filmmaking.\" *As Joe Dante told the starring debut in Corman's 1958 Cry tional Pictures in ten days or seven or Los Angeles Herald Examiner's David Baby KiLLer, has declared, \"Roger saved five; he made The Little Shop ofHorrors Ehrenstein, \"I can't imagine any of those all of our careers. He kept us working (1960) in two days and an evening. Cor- man's seven overwrought adaptations Roger Corman. when no one else would hire us. For from Edgar Allan Poe (from House of this, we are all eternally grateful. For the Usher in 1960 to Tomb ofLigeia five years -The winners were: Francis Ford Coppola (Best fact that he was able to underpay us, he later) steamed up the drive-ins with a Picture and Best Director, The Godfather Pan 11); is eternally grateful. \" new brand of pop-decadent delirium. Ellen Bursryn (Best Actress, Alice Doesn't Live And the style spilled over into The Trip Here Anymore); Roben De Niro (Best Supponing And yet, this charming tale raises nag- (1967), whose cock-eyed LSD visions Actor, Godfather II) ; and Roben Towne (Best Orig- ging questions . Corman has been IOQked like outtakes from the Poe cycle. inal Screenplay, Chinatown). In addition, Jack Ni- known as a rampant individualist and an cholson was nominated as Best Actor. The roll of economic \"outlaw\" in Hollywood for In 1970 Corman founded New World R.C. Film School graduates includes: actors Bud years. At New World he has attained a Pictures, which quickly built a, reputa- Con, Bruce Oem, Tommy Lee Jones, Talia Shire, degree of financial and creative auton- tion for soft-core action pictures and gilt- Roben Vaughn, Ben Vereen, and Cindy Williams; omy that is almost unique, this side of edged foreign product (from Amarcord directors Allan Arkush, George Armitage, Paul George Lucas. But what has Corman to Breaker Morant). Both kinds of Banel, Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante, Jonathan done with all that power? One by one, movies paid off. Last year New World's Demme, Monte Hellman, Jonathan Kaplan, young directors who served their ap- The Private Eyes, a slapstick policier star- Stephanie Rothman, and Manin Scorsese; pro- prenticeship with him on schlock proj- ring Don Knotts and Tim Conway, ducers Jon Davison and Gary Kuru; novelist- ects have trotted off to make their real earned rentals of $5 million-higher screenwriters Max Apple, Rita Mae Brown, movies elsewhere. Would another man than Prince of the City, Wolfen, or True William Hjonsberg, and John Sayles; cinematog- in Corman's shoes have allowed films Confessions-and the company's pickup raphers Laszlo Kovacs and Haskell Wexler; and like Mean Streets, Over the Edge, Handle of Alain Resnais' Mon Oncle d'Amirique Universal marketing boss Bob Rehme. With Care, Return of the Secaucus 7, or was the second highest-rental foreign- The Howling to slip through his fingers? language film of 1981. The familiar Roger Corman legend is Corman made his name and his busi- exhaustively explored in two current ness by pinching pennies frantically, as volumes, J. Philip Di Franco's The director and then as minimogul. The Movie World of Roger Corman and Ed \"He's so cheap . .. \" stories are a dime a Naha's The Films ofRoger Corman: Bril- dozen: charging the cost of the new roof Liance on a Budget. But both are essen- of his home to a New World picture; tially book-length interviews, and the vetoing the use of roll-bars in a car-crash contents are often all but identical, comedy until the stuntmen threatened a word for word. According to a New walk-out. As a sly tribute to this vein of World minion who has observed dozens the Corman myth, director Joe Dante (a of Corman's encounters with the press, gifted New World discovery who made \"It was the same interview and the same Piranha there in 1978, after editing performance every time. And it doesn't trailers for three years) gave Corman a have a lot to do with Roger Corman, walk-on in Avco Embassy's The Howling what he does. He sits there, very re- laxed, and seems like he's having a great time.\" From all accounts, Corman ex- 27

hibits the slippery, protective vagueness producer. Three films later, when he (Airplane!), a boyhood Corman buff ofa politician-an impression I was able realized that the director's fee was the who was New World's head of produc- to confirm when I was ushered into his largest single item in any budget, he tion until 1979, contends that \"Roger office for an audience at New World's became an independent producer-direc- was the first director whose films I blond-wood-in-Brentwood headquar- tor. Thereafter, he was the filmmaker as could identify from their style alone. It ters. chain smoker, often booking three or was like action painting. You almost four assignments in advance. had the feeling that people were run- Which is one reason why a fresh por- ning around doing it.\" trait of Roger Corman must rely heavily Early high-speed efforts like Attack of on unattributed quotes. If one talks to the Crab Monster (1956), She Gods of A few of the movies actually justify past and present Corman colleagues, a SharkReef(1956), Viking Women and the the buff's enthusiasm. It was the revisionist version of the legend begins Sea Serpent (1957), and Teenage Cave- crackerjack horror comedy A Bucket of to emerge-one that could be read as a man (1958) may be diverting, loopy Blood (1959), with Dick Miller, that cautionary fable on the built-in contra- howlers, but it's hard to say they are first won Corman real critical favor- dictions of the Hollywood mentality. good movies. One could almost say that and its success may well have been a they barely are movies, since from all fluke. Corman had commissioned This account may never have been reports they were barely directed. Vin- Charles Griffith to write a horror pic- aired before, except in private conversa- cent Price, who starred in most of the ture that could be shot in five days, on tions between veterans of the New Poe pictures, has sworn that, so long as an existing beatnik-coffee-house set. World wars. When I told one of these the camera didn't tip over, Corman al- Griffith realized at once, he says, \"that battle-scarred cynics that Corman, in most always printed the first take. He under the circumstances it could only spite of his impeccable poise, had would say \"cut\" in mid-stride, already be a comedy.\" According to Griffith, seemed to me a skittish, anxious, even sprinting to the next set-up. \"If I have Corman scanned the dizzy script and mournful figure, the fellow never any regrets,\" Corman has said, \"perhaps nervously inquired, \"But how do you it's that I was never out of work. Perhaps direct comedy?\" Griffith said, \"J ust set Viking Women and the Sea Serpent. if! had had more time to think about my it up and shoot it, same as anything career between assignments, I might else. Let the actors play it.\" Corman, blinked. \"I think you're absolutely have thought things through differ- never celebrated for his sense of hu- right,\" he shrugged. \"The man's not mor, gratefully complied . The result is happy. He wanted to make movies, and ently. \" The tone is wistful, but the limi- a deadpan black farce in which you he made scores of movies. He wanted to tations were mostly self-imposed. Says never catch the actors laboring to be make money, and he made millions of Charles Griffith, who wrote thirteen of funny. dollars. When he was in his 40s he de- the films Corman directed: \" Roger had cided he wanted a wife and kids, and he no ambitions to quality. His only ambi- Miller, doing a low-key Jerry Lewis had three kids in short order. But now tion was to undercut his most recent imitation, plays Walter Paisley, a geek that he seems to have achieved every- budget by getting everything for less- busboy in a Long Beach hipster cafe. thing he wanted, he doesn't seem to including the script and the actors. And Walter pines for pillowy Barboura derive pleasure from much of anything. when he was getting a set price per film Morris, a moth-brained poseuse who is He may be the classic guy who's looking from AlP, the more and cheaper films he unduly impressed by the stuffed shirt for a reason.\" could make the better. \" \"artists\" who infest the place. Poor Walter! He desperately craves accept- • In addition to this overweening profit ance into that circle, but his ham- motive, Corman possessed character handed attempts at sculpture resemble Roger Corman was born in Detroit in traits that made the frantic pace conge- the Pillsbury Doughboy. Then , an in- 1926. After the family moved to Califor- nial. \"The whole thing with speed,\" spiration: he will slather clay over fresh nia he studied at Beverly Hills High, at said one director, \"started from paying corpses (beginning with his landlady's Stanford University (in engineering, his people by the day. The schedules were cat) and exhibit the results. By rush- father's profession), and on the G.!. short because it made the pictures ing to acclaim this grisly non-art, the Bill at Oxford (in literature). In 1953 he cheaper. But it's also Roger's personal coffee house regulars expose them- sold a screenplay, Highway Dragnet, to impatience. He's not a coffee-nerves selves as pretentious know-nothings. Allied Artists. But Corman was so dis- kind of guy, but he does get bored very But Walter, although jittery with guilt, tressed by the finished product that he easily. I know for a fact that he's made a wants to bask in the spotlight anyway. immediately became an independent number of films and never read past page fifty in the script-because he got The significance of this terse little bored. He enjoyed making those early fable (reprised by Griffith, with only movies because they had short sched- minor variations, in his script for The ules and he never got bored.\" Little Shop of Horrors) was not lost upon critic Chris Morris, who fingered And, for the most part, neither did Paisley as Corman's alter ego and wrote the audience. \"Roger knew that there an essay (for the anthology Kings ofthe was a lot of waste motion in movies,\" Bs) entitled \"Roger Corman: The recalls actor Dick Miller, Corman's Schlemiel as Outlaw.\" first trademark performer. \"He always seemed to say, 'That's fine , but do it Quoted elsewhere in Kings of the Bs, faster. Keep it moving. ' Maybe that's Corman says, \"I may personally rebel why I worked for Roger a lot: I could against the concept of the hero. It may spit out more words than anybody be that I dislike the hero. And so I since Cagney!\" Producer Jon Davison deliberately play up other people than 28

the hero. I figure that if you've gone Sam Katzman 's, but he'd usually have pect.\" And when those things weren't through school and the halfback is get- a better script and better actors. Other enough, there was always out-and-out ting all the girls, and you get a chance people were doing rock-'n-roll films deception: trailers artfully edited and to make films , and the format of the that were all 'Golly gee whiz, they're overdubbed to suggest a bogus new film is that the halfback gets the girl, closing down our dances.' But Rock ALL plot; footage shot exclusively for the you may deliberately undercut him.\" Night (1956), a picture I did for Roger, trailers or clipped for the purpose from A recent New World alumnus recalled had a wild flavor to it. It took place in a another movie. that at story conferences, \" Roger bar, with gangsters, and all kinds of Corman's insistence on regular in- would always say at a certain point, crazy philosophies were being ex- jections of R-rated violence and nudity 'yes, and then we'll have the classic pounded. And yet, throw in The Plat- (full figure from the back; waist up guy, you know, the classic schlemiel ters and you've got a rock-'n-roll from the front; no pubic hair) has won who just can't get laid' -and then he'd picture!\" New World points for down and dirty laugh . Roger loves that character, and A somewhat more jaundiced veteran reliability. The customer can rest as- I'll bet you that he identifies with that from the New World period put it differ- sured that, even when a New World guy more than with anybody else in his ently: \"Corman aimed for the low- picture is senseless and incoherent movies. With the guy who, as Roger est common denominator. He aimed (like Humanoids from the Deep or GaL- says, 'can't get laid ,' although obvi- low because the lower you aim, the axy of Terror), it will at least deliver ously it goes far beyond that. \" easier it is. So Roger aimed reaL low, but some raw sensory stimulation. Accord- But there's another theory in circula- he made the best of them: the best five- ing to several New Worlders, Corman tion too, based on the observation that day monster pictures, the best ex- has occasionally restored footage of Corman's favorite monster-movie ploitation films.\" violence, clipped to obtain an R rating, premise has always been \"the beast Among staple genres in the early just prior to a film's release. who wants to mate with human days of New World were the R-rated women.\" This notion dates back at \"nurse\" pictures (The Student Nurses, least to Creature from the Haunted Sea Private Duty Nurses, Night Call Nurses , (1960) , reaches its nadir in Humanoids Candy Stripe Nurses, The Young from the Deep (1979), and crops up Nurses) , and the lucrative women-in- most recently in Galaxy of Terror prison films, culminating with Jona- (1981), in which a naked , buxom than Demme's campy Caged Heat in blonde is graphically humped by a gi- 1974. The money invested was all Cor- ant maggot. \"On some level ,\" director man's now, and the old \"spirit of ad- Paul Bartel proposes, \"every movie- venture\"-his gambler's willingness maker is the monster in his own horror to try out crazy, fresh ideas-seemed films.\" It's an appealing argument: the to evaporate. Where he had once initi- repressed schlemiel and the priapic ated trends, he now jumped on band- beast as flip sides of the same personal- wagons. ,. ity. Recall the piquant \" hostility mon- From the beginning, New World's ster\" sequence in Woody Allen's movies were primarily excuses for the Stardust Memories. But look: When an ad campaigns, some of which were Fonda ,Sinatra in The Wild Angels. exploitation mogul as shrewd and doozies. The trick was to get as close as thrifty as Roger Corman comes up with possible to putting the word \"fuck\" on Roger Corman isn't your average ex- a format that combines sex and horror the poster. (Cover GirL ModeLs: \"They ploitation monger. For one thing, he into one neat package, we shouldn't be may be overexposed but they're never has never seemed to relish playing the too surprised if he sticks by it faith- underdeveloped!\" Bury Me an Angel: vulgarian, as Sam Katzman, Russ fully. \"A howling hellcat humping a hot steel Meyer, David F. Friedman, and, from After all, Corman has always had the hog on a roaring rampage of revenge!\") time to time, Sam Arkoff have. Cor- eagle-eyed, crowd-pleasing instincts \"The bottom line,\" aNew World grad- man's attitudes often seem contradic- of an exploitation entrepreneur. His uate explained, \"was sixty seconds of tory. An avowed political radical (he War ofthe Satellites (1957) turned up in good action for the trailer, and a hot contributed to the Black Panther Party theaters just two months after Sputnik; concept. That was enough to sell the in the late Sixties), he has always oper- The Wild AngeLs (1966) and The Trip picture and everything else was sus- ated professionally as a cut-throat capi- reprocessed the latest buzz from the ·Joe Dante's Piranha and Charles Griffith's talist. \"Who says he's a radical?\" headlines. Even at the time, these Up From the Depths (both 1978) poached from snapped a New World-era Cormanite. films looked cheesy and synthetic: Peter Jaws. In 1980's Battle Beyond the Stars (written, \"That's the same old bullshit from the Fonda looked like a hippy only like Piranha , by Return of the Secaucus Ts John Venice Film Festival in 1967, when he when you plopped him on a couch be- Sayles), Corman took offfrom Star Wars. Galaxy screened The WiLd AngeLs and was identi- side Merv Griffin. Corman's reputa- of Terror (1981) and Mutant (1982) both bear a fied with the counter-culture and called tion for boldly spotting trends and curious resemblance to Alien . The Roger Cor- 'America's outlaw filmmaker.' He putting his finger on the pulse of youth man who, in The Wild AngeLs, broke the sod for Loved it! Woul<;ln't you? But he was only Easy Rider, couldn't bring himself to let director has always been a trifle oversold. But Alan Arkush (Heartbeeps) turn the 1980 Ra- an outlaw in the sense that he didn't he had something. \"Even when Roger mones vehicle Rock' n Roll High School into the sign with the unions. That was his sole jumped on a trend,\" Dick Miller says, act of defiance. And he didn't do it for \"his film was better. His production first true punk-rock exploitation movie. Cor- values weren't any better than , say, any political reasons. He did it because man wanted to call it Disco High School; as it is, he's cheap.\" this ersatz beach-party flick is neither one thing nor ~he o~her. h 's a film without an audience. 29

As a director Corman was 'losing control ofmy George Romero are just two examples) films.' And so, as president ofNew World, he have modestly dismissed the most took control ofother directors' films. over-elaborate interpretations of their movies. Corman has allowed the cult Corman is the first to admit that, tive medium what you make is your to flourish by offering sly non-re- politically, \"there is a certain contra- child. It's a rejection of your offering. Or sponses to the effect that because crea- diction.\" And he has often said that he to put it another way, God has rejected tion is a largely unconscious activity, wants New World to cultivate a \"schiz- you~ offering.\"· anything is possible. Perhaps he sim- ophrenic\" image. As he told Philip di ply liked the sound of it too much to Franco: \"We would deal with defi- At other points in his career, Corman say \"No.\" nitely commercial films and with art has exhibited symptoms of artistic films. The type of film we would stay temperament. He began producing Musings about Corman's personal because Highway Dragnet was ruined beliefs are never likely to be answered. away from would be the middle-of- by Allied Artists. And he only acted He won't, and his colleagues can't. the-road average normal film.\" This upon plans to form New World after Not even the people who have known position seems to date from 1973 Gas-s-s-s .(1970) and Von Richtofen and him longest claim to really know him. when, at the urging of a New World Brown (1971) were recut by their re- They describe him as \"distant,\" as executive, Corman acquired Ingmar spective studios, AlP and United Art- \"shy and introverted,\" as \"a very cold Bergman's Cries and Whispers for dis- ists. As his budgets increased, so did person,\" and as \"a man who calculates tribution. It is said that Corman did not the interference quotient. \"I was be- his emotions .\" Said one: \"When Roger see the Bergman film until after the ginning to get uneasy feelings about wants to be charming, there is no one deal was closed, and then remarked directing,\" Corman told Ed Naha. \"I who can hold a candle to him. But just that if he had he might not have was losing control of my films.\" And beneath the charm is a layer of ice, and authorized the purchase. But when the so, as president of New World, he took 1 could never get beyond that. You Cries and Whispers pickup generated control of other directors' films. Not want to get some sort of engagement good publicity, art films became a cele- surprising from the man whose oft- with him-even if it's a really furious brated and profitable New World side- quoted mot is: \"Anyone who can oper- argument-and he simply will not do line. Since 1973, major works by ate a lathe drill can direct a movie.\" it.\" Other insiders point to Corman's Federico Fellini, Frant,;ois Truffaut, \"obsession with measurable quanti- Joseph Losey, James Ivory, andAkira The pattern that emerges seems to ties,\" from the IQs of his three chil- Kurosawa have carried the proud leg- take the form of a classic Hollywood dren to the grosses of his movies, as a end: \"Roger Corman Presents.\" conflict between the creative id and sign of some fundamental insecurity the financial superego. \"Roger is about his own instincts and judgment. Once upon a time, Corman himself fascinating to work for,\" Charles Grif- \"It used to annoy a lot of people,\" 1 directed a kind of art film. The Intruder fith has said. \"He is both reckless and was told, \"that they'd kill themselves (1961), a melodrama about race hatred conservative. He comes up with a to make a movie and never get a single in the Deep South, was his one clear 'what if' sort of idea and passes his nice word or a pat on the head from attempt at a heartfelt, \"personal\" pic- enthusiasm on to others. Then his Roger. Don't forget, the average age of ture. But in spite of favorable reviews, it fears that the money is being wasted- bombed-out at the box office. \"I de- that the idea being tried is too far out- New World employees is about 21. cided then and there,\" Corman told Ed creep in, and he cuts back. And this is a These are insecure kids who look to Naha, \"that 1 would never again make a repeated pattern. Roger has a lifetime Roger as a father figure and seek his film that could be considered a personal of near misses. \" approval. What they don't realize is statement .... I would never go to an that Roger is probably even more inse- audience directly with my feelings. 1 • cure than they are!\" would only make entertaining films that would have my personal statements in- There seems to have been a definite Corman is reputed to be so fearful corporated as a subtext.\" Many ob- point at which the fun went out of it for that New World movies will garner servers believe that if The Intruder had Roger Corman, when it was no longer \"bad laughs\" that he often snips the been successful, or if Corman's skin had possible to get a kick from just crank- \"good laughs\" as well, just to be on the been a tad thicker, his career might have ing them out. Jon Davison: \"Roger has safe side. (Paul Bartel's wizardly 1975 taken a different turn. One New World often said that the French critics ru- Death Race 2000 is an action comedy alumnus even describes Corman as a ined him as a director, that he had a whose scenes build toward punchlines \"heroic example of Christian capitalist great time making movies until people that are inexplicably missing, because ethics, because he thinks that the peo- started saying he was good. Then he Corman declared them \"silly\" and or- ple who are smart and work hard should became very self-conscious and began dered them excised. \"As a result,\" Joe have all the money.\" Corman rejects the not to enjoy the process.\" Other fringe Dante deadpans, \"the picture plays a thesis, put forward by a one-time em- filmmakers who have attracted febrile little oddly.\") Many of the people who ployee, that he connects the earning cult followings (Russ Meyer and have worked without pay on New power of a movie with its absolute merit World movies over the years have been \"in an almost mystical way. \" Yet when I ·New World has made a couple of forays into dismayed to discover that they didn't asked him about The Intruder, Corman \"middle·of-the-road\" prestige production, with I even receive the precious, anticipated said, \"When you're working in any crea- Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977) and Peter sop of a screen credit-because Cor- Bogdonovich's St. Jack (1980). But neither film man believes that a long credit crawl on performed spectacularly and this experiment, too, a low budget movie will make its pro- has fallen by the wayside. ducer look ridiculous. \"The one thing Roger is afraid of his movies' being is 30

'silly,' \" Dante says. \"And if you ex- 111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 tend that, 'silly' may be something he's afraid of appearing in the eyes of the lRE INDISPENS1BLE 84IR... 1111111 public. \" The two most recognized \"Don't kid yourself,\" a recent New reference directories in the World graduate said, \"every New motion picture and World picture is a Roger Corman pic- television industries .. ture. He goes on the set, he intrudes himself on the editing process. He re- \"\" I\" 11111111\" III\" II\" 1111111111111111111\" II ally imposes his aesthetic. The extent to which a director is able to wriggle ALL-REVISED out of that, and impose his personality 1982 EDITIONS on a film, is possibly the extent to which he will be able to leave Roger ONLY THESE TWO ALMANACS .. . and go on to something else. People encompass the worlds of Mo~on Pictures and Television-their people, who have come up from Roger have companies, products and services in two hard bound reference books been forced to be more creative than they ever imagined they could be.\" WHO'S WHO more than 4500 with new biography input PICTURES Feoture films since 1955.Distributor.releose dote.running time.rating \"Usually,\" Joe Dante says, \"Roger insists upon seeing a movie a week af- MOTION PICTURE CORPORATIONS Structure. Organization. Personnel TELEVISION COMPANIES • Networks • Set MonufoclUrers ter shooting. He does this because he THEATRE CIRCUITS United States. Canada Buying & Booking Services •Major Producers · Group Station Owners · Coble TeleVISion knows that it's impossible to have a DRIVE-IN THEATRES Nome. address. owner. capacity PRODUCERS-DISTRIBUTORS • Programs • CommerCials decent rough cut after only one week. NO'*-THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES Producers-Distributors. • FeolUre Films. Shorts And that allows him to step in and ServiCes, libraries 'save' the film. His usual line is, DISTRIBUTORS 16mm FEATURE FILMS 'There's a good picture here some- ALM DISTRIBUTORS Key Cities TELEVISION STATIONS Channel allocations by state. City where, all we have to do is make it THEATRE EQUIPMENT &. SUPPUES work.' And that's when the power play SERVICES FOR PRODUCERS PUBUC BROADCASTING SERVICE starts .\" STATION AFFtUATES When told what Dante had said, Corman smiled. He mentioned the MOTION PICTURE ORGANtZATIONS Producers-Dlslributors, Exhibitors. ADVERTtStNG AGENCIES Station Representohves movies he had made himself on shorter schedules and smaller budgets by far Guilds & Unions, Variety, Rim clubs, General organizations TALENT &. LITERARY AGENCIES than those currently in force at New World. \"But,\" he sighed, \"today's MOTION PICTURE PRESS Trade Publications, newspapers, TELEVIStON STATISTICS Network, Station operations, Revenue. young directors insist that they can't Fan & General magazines Expenses, Usage, Set sales possibly produce anything of commer- cial quality in five or ten days, and so STATISTICS Theatre grosses Since 1935, Attendance analysis, EMMY AWARD WINNERS the average schedule here is some- Film praduction, costs, equipment TRADE PUBUCATtONS FOR TElEVtSION thing like twenty days.\" The film- makers, Corman argues, know his AWARDS &. POUS Principal Academy Award winners since 1928, TELEVIStON ORGANIZATIONS Notional Regional GUild Unions requirements and the practical limita- Top-groSSing films, Money-making stors since 1932, Dtrectors GUild, '\" tions from the outset, and thus have scant cause for complaint. The impli- NYRim CritiCS awards since 1966 Motion Pictures-WORLD MARKET-Television cation is that the nay-sayers couldn't hack it, and are now groping for ex- Chief Officers, address, CABLE TELEVISION cuses. There may be a grain of truth in telephone. Includes Puerto that: Joe Dante believes that directors Rico, Virgin Islands Statistics and History- who have successfully \"come up from Major System Operators Roger\" tend to speak more highly of ond Suppliers him than those whose careers are stalled. QUIGLEY PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC. c Still, there does appear to be some- 159 West 53rd Street. New York, N. Y 10019 thing odd afoot at New World Pictures . (212) 247-3100 Sources suggest that Roger Corman is often fatally vague when describing Please send 1982 copies of: Total new projects to directors, and that he then throws up additional arbitrary ob- o MOTION PICTURE ALMANAC: $42,00 per copy plus stacles. \"There are always a few basic $3,00 for shipping & handling , , , , , , , , , , , . , , , , , , , ... , , . $45,00 production flaws that make it virtually impossible,\" one veteran said. \"Three o TELEVISION ALMANAC: $42,00 per copy plus $3,00 weeks prep for a first-time director. Or for shipping & handling , , , , , , , , .. , , , . , , . , , , , , , , , , , . . , , $45,00 cutting the budget in half two days o Companion set BOTH ALMANACS:$65,00 plus $4,00 before he starts shooting.\" For Joe for shipping & handling, . , . , , , , , , . , , , , .. .. , , , , , , . , , . , , .$69,00 ( N.Y, residents add sales tax: 1Almanac S3,47 , Both Almanacs: S5.36 ) Please t ype or print c learly PAYMENT MUST ACCOMPANY ORDER NAME ________________________________________ ADDRE SS _____________________________________ ZIP CO DE ________-,--_ ------------------------------------------------------- 31

Dante, this syndrome is simply thrift and motivation don't count. Those in Passages-I'll read it to you. 'Socio- paths and paranoid personalities are carried to counter-productive ex- things are now routinely cut from every heavily represented in the wunderkind pattern. Psychiatrist Willard Gaylin of tremes: \"If Roger has a fault it's that he New World film. He tries to cut them Columbia University has warned it is precisely these traits, the most dan- tends to make pre-production deci- out of every script, but they get shot gerous in people of power in our culture ... Sociopaths are not mentally ill, sions that end up costing him even anyway. That's part of why he's against merely oblivious to the needs of others and unencumbered by the capacity to more money later on .\" For example, directors, because every director 'dou- feel guilt or empathy.' \" because of cost-cutting on Dante's Pi- ble crosses' him. It seems to me that Griffith closes the book and says, \"That's Roger.\" ranha, most of the soundtrack had to when Roger stopped directing he be- • be post-dubbed, at considerable ex- gan to feel that the control was once New World Pictures can easily be pense. again slipping through his fingers. Di- viewed as a small-scale model of the major studios. \"Having failed to make it Some see a perverse logic in this rectors were not just shooting scripts, in Hollywood,\" an insider remarked, \"Roger Corman has recreated it in little, pattern of \" sabotaging\" movies. they were being creative or inventive- with himself as Harry Cohn.\" Indeed, Corman's spiritual kin are operating \"Roger likes to see things get really or disobedient, really, obedience being right at this minute-on a grander scale and with power over many more careers fucked up,\" one New Worlder says. the most important quality. This 'I am -at Fox and Metro and Paramount. \"I don't think Roger's atypical,\" Jon Davi- \"He always makes some crucial wrong the boss' mentality rules everything son says. \"Far from it. I think he's actu- ally better than your average studio decision that I think, secretly, he now. 'This is absolutely not to be in the executive. He's a filmmaker, which al- most none of the others are. He at least knows will screw everything up. So at picture!' And it may be something he knows what you can and can't do to manipulate the footage. Besides, run- the end , he'll have to step in and save asked for the day before. The adulation ning a studio is just an awful job. There are almost no rewards. Other people it. He seems to do this with every from the buffs has encouraged Roger's make the movies and all you can do is interfere with them. Even if what you movie.\" Another alumnus put it this behavior to the point where it's painful. I do improves the movie, it will be re- sented. At least for Roger there's one way: \"Part of what Roger wants is the don't even recommend to a beginner obvious reward: he owns the company, so the money's his. \" sense of authorship without the strain now that he go through the torment of Every year since New World was of directing.\" making a picture for Roger. His system founded, Corman has talked about re- turning to directing ... \"next year.\" But While many sources offered con- is exploiting from the top to the bottom, as each year drifts past there is no new movie \"Directed by Roger Corman.\" firmed sightings of \"functional irra- from the writers to the distributors, Most who know him are convinced that he will never direct again. Running the tionality\" in the operation of New bringing everyone down to the lowest company is a consuming business, and a World, the strongest statement came . possible price and finally screwing the filmmaker works overtime every day. Corman could only step behind a cam- from one of Corman's oldest associ- audience by lying in the advertising and era now if he were to hand the reins of New World to an underling for the dura- ates . \"Roger keeps adding axioms,\" presenting a bad product. tion-and no-one believes that he could bring himself to do it. Charles Griffith says. \"The newest \"Do you know Gail Sheehy's defini- \"As long as Roger is epitomized as ones are that character development tion of a sociopath?\" Griffith asks. \"It's The King of B's,\" a New World refugee concluded, \"he will go on operating as -rh. 11\"' ,.t....atlonal he has. And I can't say that he's wrong: -r....,•••s the man is very wealthy. But Roger's real love was directing, and he's opted for .II.lnaati•• something else. That's where the sad- ness comes in. It sOl;lnds strange saying The latest and best of international animation from all over the world . A .sixteen-film package including it, but I feel sorry for Roger. There is Cannes Film Festival Winner. HARPYA from Belgium; Academy Award Nominees DREAM DOLL Ifrom some kind of greatness there, and I Britain) and Irs SO NICE TO HAVE A WOLF AROUND .THE HOUSE Ifrom the US); Annecy Film Festival don't think it will ever be realized.\" ~ Grand-Prix Winner. APRES LA VIE Ifrom the National Film Board of Canada) . A feature-length program available for rental from: 4530 18th Street San Francisco. Calif. 941 14 1415) 863-6100 32

• ection

epeata e .....-xperetence by Stephen Schiff national cinema became, the more di- picture (and here is where auteurism and genre criticism mesh). Part of the In 1980, a curious even~ occurred. verse and profound its genres, which is vast emotional resonance of a film like From all comers of ~he American film why ~he American indus~ry has pro- The Searchers or Red River comes from indus~ry, a fanfare arose announcing ~he the almost tender way the director han- re~um of ~he wes~em. There were going duced such an embarrassment of riches: dles the weary, comfortable tools of the ~o be wes~ems in abundance, wes~ems the gangster movie, ~he western, the trade-the hats, the six-guns, the of infini~e varie~y and appeal. The brooding plains. Working within a genre, s~igma ~ha~ had scarred ~he genre for detective movie, the musical, the war to the genre's enhancement, brought to movie, the prison movie, ~he screwball the fore a kind of nobility in an artist: a years would vanish, and we would all comedy, ~he weepie, ~he horror movie, humility, a craftsmanship, a willingness ride ~he dus~ range again. The mer- ~he science-fiction movie, ~he film noir. to submit to discipline. The modest ad- chandising prospec~ were s~ggering: Genre used to be integral to the s~udio herence to genre belongs to another age, boo~, bel~, scarves, ~en-gallon ha~­ system: if the studio needed a wes~ern, when traditional codes of honor-ma- maybe even ~en~-gallon ha~, allow- you got assigned to i~, and ~he assigned cho values, patriotic values, even para- ing for infla~ion. And ~hen along ~hey came, some a~ a gallop, some limping genre was one of the boundaries you behind un~il1981 was upon us. TheLong worked within, along wi~h ~he assigned Riders. Tom Horn. Bronco Billy. The Leg- budget, s~rs, and scrip~. For a fine di- end of the Lone Ranger. Cattle Annie and Little Britches. And finally, ~he bigges~ of The apotheosis of the western, The Wild Bunch .. . ~hem all, Heaven's Gate. reqor like Howard Hawks or An~hony inili~ry values-were fashionable. Men Th reci~e ~hose names is ~o recall ~he films' fa~e. Fac~ is, American audiences Mann, directing a genre film was proba- like Hawks and John Ford would pooh- didn'~ want wes~erns anymore, and no pooh ~he no~ion ~ha~ ~hey were artistes. blya bit like being a blues musician who They spoke of themselves ~he way prodigies of merchandising could could wring sublimi~y ou~ of ~hree troupers (or ~roopers) migh~. There was change ~ha~. A whole genre-perhaps chords and a s~ndard 4/4 groove. The a job ~o be done, and, by God ~ey were ~he grea~es~-had died, and ~here was direc~or of a western had ceqain cos- ~here ~o do i~. no~hing anyone in Hollywood could do tumes and se~~ings, charac~er Wpes, and abou~ i~. I~ wasn'~ ~he firs~ time ~he even ~hemes ~o play with, for ~ose were h's hard ~o imagine a Francis Coppola American film indus~ry had misjudged what ~he audience expec~ed to see. h or a Paul Schrader ~lking tha~ way. Dur- the public's ~ste for genres. In ~he la~e was a ~iny arena, and if he were a real ing ~he late Sixties and early Seventies, a Sikties, for ins~nce, the populari~ of aqist, he could load a grea~ deal inw i~. combina~ion of forces conspired to move The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins spawned a slew of big-budge~ musicals In fac~, there was some~hing almos~ HollyWood from the studio era (or, more -Star!, Dr. DoUttle, Goodbye, Mr. ~ouching abou~ ~he thoughifulness an correctly, ~he post-studio era) inw the Chips, Paint Your Wagon, and so foqh- inspired direc~or could bring ~o a genre Au~eur Age. The studios became sub- tha~ no one wanted to see. Bu~ ~o my knowledge, Hollywood has never ~ried to revive a genre wholesale, ou~ of ~he e~her, ~he way it did wi~h the wes~ern. And what i~ discovered in ~he process was ~at the old notions of genre no longer worked. Genre had exploded. • There was a time when ~he develop- men~ of genre was rela~ively predict- able. When moviegoing was an American habi~, genre films bega~ genre films. If a movie did well a~ the box office, the studios churned out more of the same. In fact, ~he more commercial a 34

sidiaries of conglomerafes.. and fheir And yet I would argue thaf the direc- Show and The Big F~ were about the heads became businessmen, corporafe detective movie. In the GodJathtr pic- tors of the New Hollywood brought tures, Francis Coppola apotheosized the wpes wifh law degrees and MBAs. The their own modernism to the movies. In- influence of film crificism-fhe French gangster film in a way that proved termi- stead of anacking primary forms, they nal. In Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks varienr in pal1icular-cafalyzed a certain took on secondary forms: genres. In The focus of anenfion, even wifhin fhe in- Wild Bijnch, Sam Peckinpah responded dealt a punishing blow to the Western. to the western's fatigue by announcing With Blazing Saddles and Woody Al- dusfry, on fhe direcfor. And fhe direcfors offen came from film schools, where its deafh-and then by paying a farewell Ien's early pictures (not to mention ~he homage to its myths and values. In Bon- television an~ics of Carol Burnen and fhey had sfUdied genres and snrles his- nie and Clyclt, Al1hur Penn and screen- o~hers), ~he genre spoof became an en- forically, and so broughf fO ~he movies a writers Robert Benton and David ~renched form-and a dea~h knell. No new self-consciousness. Like all mod- Newman turned fhe gangster genre in- ernist artists, the direc~rs of the New one could fake, say, the deteqive genre Hollywood wanted to explode film his- side out, transpol1ing it from its urban seriously af~er it had been fUrned on its ~ory, to create ultimates and apotheoses, setting ~o ~he countryside (where it and to have the las~ word. uni~ed with its old coeval, ~he wes~ern), head for so many years. Except perhaps changing the undercurren~ of twisted as nosfalgia. And one can'~ call ~he re- • sexualinr in~o a search for sexual health, cen~ Farewell, My Lovely or The Big exposing the audience's complicinr in Sleep a 'true inheritor' of ~he de~eqive In o~her arts, mqdernism meant the violence, forging a new, nafUralistic lan- genre, any more than Body Heat or the systematic demolition of primary forms: guage ~o replace the tradi~ional Run- remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice are true films noirs. It's no~ a ques- tonalinr in music, represenfationalism yonesque argot, and transforming the tion ofwhether you like them or no~. Ifs and decoration in al1 and archifecfUre, narrative, realism, and emo~ionalism in saga of the gangster as a safanic Horatio a maner of ontology. When a being is fhe novel and the ~heater. But in the Alger ben~ on social dominion into a aware of itself, i~ becomes a different movies, the current of cultural history is lament-for the outsider who craves being. And even though Body Heat is a always a bit sluggish. The true modern- very good movie, it's not a ~rue film noir ists of film whoosh by ou~side the main- only social accepfance. because it's ~oo much abOijt the form- After Penn and Peckinpah, the del- as Do~le Indemnity and D.O.A. and Oijt stream, embellishing movie history but of the Past never were and never could rarely affecting its course. (There are a uge. Directors of ~he Au~eur Age no few exceptions, cenainly: Luis Bufluei, longer worked within ~he old genres, be. As i~ does always and everywhere, TV ... and the gangster movie, The Godfather Saga. ~ook its toll. When ~he mass audience Dziga Vel1ov, Kenneth Anger, Jean-Luc they worked on them. Robel1 Altman was regularly exposed ~o Bonanza, Gijn- Godard, Andy Warhol, Maya Deren, tore into the war movie (M>I<A'fS>I<H), the smoke, Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Wi/d, perhaps Jacques Rivene.) The avant- western (McCabe and Mrs. Miller), the Wild West, and so on, i~ realized how gardists of film are always easier ~o falk detective picfUre (The Long Goodbye), about wifh reference to the plastic arts the film noir (Thieves Like Us), fhe musi- limited and boring the western could be. fhan to whafs happening at the movies. cal (Nashville), and with much less suc- The conundrum may be biological. For cess, fhe screwball comedy (A Wedding). Westerns had been growing increasingly reasons ~hat probably have ~o do wi~h Little Big Man, The Missoijri Breaks, Bad how it feels ~o sit in a darkened room and Company, The Shootist, Jeremiah John- flippant and self-aware since at least the sfare at a panern of light that passes in son, The Great NortJifield Minnesota Raid Fifties (perhaps ~he grea~es~ blow ~o ~he front of you just once, movies are inex- -nearly every western of the Seventies digninr of the genre was ~he sigh~ of tricably tied to storytelling. In the world was about the genre, just as What's Up, Dean Mal1in in cowboy togs). The Clin~ of the cinema, fhe avant garde is just Doc? and Paper Moon were about Thir- Eastwood spagheni westerns and tha~ another genre. ties comedy, and movies like The Late gonzo midnigh~ movie El Topo played on the form to make porno-philosophical jokes abou~ violence. And in the year of The WildBijnch, 1969, a much more pop- ular movie, Bijtch Cassidy and the Sijn- dance Kid, used the Western sening in a way ~ha~ fairly ~rumpeted its quainmess. What honor was left the humble oater? Western values had long since gone ou~ of snrle or been condemned outright. All those savage, ululating In- dians rubbed agains~ the grain of racial concern. The macho-loner ethic died at the hands of feminism and Vietnam. And an era of conspiracy and corruption made us doubt the plain-spoken hero- ism of Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Henry Fonda. As ~he new directors forced us to look at it over and over again, in increasingly harsh light, the western began to make us uncomfona- ble. It had become a relic of our inno- cence. 3S

The Star Wars Saga: a religious-sci- pilot-monster-space fantasy, phy, psycho-killer-hack!em-ups, and space fantasy, which, because ifs so and the creation of the video game . technology intensive, is generally too expensive for the small screen, and, As the old genres burned, there were heard of Lash LaRue or Tailspin moreover, looks terrible there. The Bat- stirrings in their ashes. A few new Thmmy. Parts of old genres replace the tlestar Galactica TV series failed, genres, like the disaster movie and the nuts and bolts of narrative that used to mostly, I suspeq, because television abominable-animal thriller, prolifer- keep movies running. More and more, made miniatures of spacecraft look ex- ated, though they were too limited to genre becomes a secret junkyard. actly like miniatures of spacecraft. last. Other genres were revivified by the availability of new technology-the hor- But maybe one can look at the manip- Star vehicles, too, remain a genre ror movie, for instance, and the science- ulations of the Seventies in another way. form, because if you want to see a Bun fiqion picture. Still others began to use Far from hastening the death of genres, Reynolds car-chase comedy, you have to genre as if it were a recombinant nucleic the attention the New Hollywood direc- go to the movies; Bun doesn't do much acid-to create new forms. The para- tors focused on them probably kept TV. Neither does Clint Eastwood or noid conspiracy-monster-disaster-buddy them alive-because, as far as the audi- Woody Allen. If you head out to a Jill picture, for instance (Jaws). Or the reli- ence was concerned, they were dead Clayburgh or Jane Fonda or Richard gious-sci-fi-fighter-pilot-monster- already. In ths studio era, the mass audi- Pryor-Gene Wilder picture, you know space fantasy (Star Wars). ence didn't care much about whether a what you'll see. Star is still genre. And director could wrest new beauties from a when it isn't-when Reynolds makes a The recombinant-genre films carry us limited form. What they wanted was a Rough Cut, or Eastwood a Bronco Billy, beyond the self-conscious explosion of reliable, consistent product-a repeat- or Clayburgh a Luna, or Fonda a Rollover forms. A movie like Star Wars can give able experience. Th some degree, then -the audience stays at home. binh to what looks like a new genre ( in as now, star and genre were inextricable: faq, Star Wars is the source of a genre if you went to a Garbo movie, you knew • that transcends cinema: the video what you gening. And if you went to a game), but it doesn't act the way genres John Wayne movie, it was either a west- There are those who will argue that act. In Star Wars, George Lucas doesn't ern or a war picture; and if it were nei- genre is not ailing, that new genres are work within or even on genre. He plugs ther (if it were The Barbarian and tM being spawned every year. They'll cite in genre, flashing its proven elements at Geisha, for instance), then you didn't go, the WASP marital breakup movie (An Un- us as though they were special effects. and the movie flopped. married Woman, Starting Over, Kramer The genre explorations of the early Sev- vs. Kramer, Shoot the Moon), or perhaps enties depended on the audience's In the Sixties and Seventies, televi- the Broadway weepie (Tribute, Whose awareness of detective movies, west- sion took over the task of providing re- Life Is It Anyway?, On Golden Pond), or erns, and monster movies, but the re- the family-targeted fantasy (nme Ban- combinant-genre movies delight in the peatable experiences. TV series dits, Clash of the Titans, Dragons/ayer, viewer's ignorance. The audience for grabbed old genres and drove them into The Great Muppet Caper). But those Outland doesn't necessarily know from the ground. In fact, genre scarcely exists aren't genres in the true sense. Perhaps High Noon, and the crowds that flock to now in the eyes of the mass audience. they'd best be called \"trends.\" Trends Raiders of the Lost Ark may never have Or, rather, it exists only where it can refleq events, social forces, coinci- provide repeatable experiences that dences. And, all too often, they indicate aren't available on television: pornogra- the dwindling number of subjects deemed safe enough to spend a movie- sized budget on. But no one turns to his wife and says, \"Call the siner, honey, there's a new WASP-marital-breakdown picture at the Bijou. \" People go to marital-breakdown movies because they think they will see something of their lives in them. And that isn't precisely what attracted people to the detective movies or screwball comedies orfilm noirs. In the heyday of the studio, moviegoers liked genres not because they were relevant or because they were big cultural events or because they were the thing everyone was talk- ing about that week. People went to a genre movie because of its movie-ness, because they knew h would make them feel happy or sad or just plain enter- tained in a way that only a certain kind of movie could. The withering of genre may take that direq and simple pleasure away from us. And if it does, the film industry will have lost a piece of its soul.~ 36

ThingsThat Go e tn by Harlan Kennedy Howl, howl, howl, howl! -King Lear, Act V, Scene 1lI When werewolves come, they come Paws a pulse-beat to ponder: that Vietnam's virgin landscape and the hor- not in single snouts but in battalions. currently coinciding with the spate of rors just under the surface of Nixon The new movie decade has ushered in lycanthropes and ids-in-sheep's- RepUblicanism were the two great a whole pack of lycanthropes, variously clothing is an oddly belated-looking American nightmares of the Sixties and dispersed through The Howling, Wolfen, rash of \"conspiracy\" movies (Blow Out, Seventies. In both these theaters-of- An American Werewolf in London, and Cutter's Way, et al.) vaguely genuflect- evil, the mega-threat was sewn into a (coming soon) Full Moon High, and ing to the bygone rumpus of Watergate; camouflaged surface that gave no overt suddenly Western audiences are reach- that the American political villain of the clue to the hidden menace. The were- ing for their silver bullets as if time- last ten years with the most wolf-like wolfs features were disguised and un- warped back to the lupine heyday of features is Richard Nixon; and that a discernible under their possessor's Lon Chaney. Gothic strain of camouflaged horror-a normal face. motif shared by both Watergate and the Miracle advances in special FX wiz- Vietnam war-runs through recent This post-Nam and post-Nixon ardry may satisfy some as the reason for films as diverse as Altered States, nightmare imagery, rollercoasting up this sudden Hour of the Wolf. But it through the unconscious, is now work- takes more than a chance upsurge of Southern Comfort, The Shining, Wolfen, ing itself prolifically into American pop- jazzy genius in Hollywood's palpita- and Shoot the Moon. ular cinema. Raise the topic of ting-pelt and elastic-nose departments Watergate openly today and it may be to fully explain why so many screen American cinema in the early greeted with a groan of fatigue, as of a stars are currently being pursued Eighties, grappling with the injuries dead horse, once well and truly flogged through woods, zoos, or New York and images of a traumatic past twenty by the media and long since dispersed streets by furry ravening mutants or years, is in the grip of the most fascinat- to the boneyard. red-eyed hand-held cameras. ing obsession with split-personality horror themes in its history. Good guys Yet films like Blow Out, Cutter's Way, If werewolves are loping onto the vs. bad guys have long been the staple True Confessions, Missing, and Prince of screen now-plus a fair-to-generous of popular movies, but in the last two the City, testify that the theme of cover- rear-guard sprinkling of apes and Nean- years Good and Evil have become knit- ups in high places is as vigorous as ever derthals and other marauding incarna- ted up as never so closely or obsessively on our screens; and that free-floating tions of the id-it's not. just because before in the same skin. Violence lives maestros with papier-mache and solu- thinly disguised by urbanity; still wa- ble rubber are suddenly at largeon Sun- ters run deep with dangers and de- set Boulevard, it's because the age has mons: WASPs become wolves at full suddenly invoked and demanded these moon; virgin Nature throbs with silent ogres. menace; bureaucracy wears a smiling face and secretes a sharp knife. They're the snout-head of the New American Nightmare. The vengeful enemy concealed in 37

anxiety, Watergate-syndrome, is not mouthfuls of even maturer racial guilt: tactical weapons (in the anything-goes just about the little local trouble with Indian genocide. context of guerrilla war) have a crazy, burglary and tapes back in '72-'74 but desperate, ingenious extemporaneity, about the whole fear of what the In both political resonance and guer- anything from shears to axes to ice picks Smooth Face of Power, with the right rilla-war imagery, there's a clear and to shovels. The camouflaged menace is make-up, can conceal in the way of strong rapport between the Vietnam never more than a few trees away. Evil dormant horrors, galloping chicanery, war and the Indian wars, and plentiful lurks limned in the landscape like the atavistic guilt, and pushbutton apoca- reason why films that fret about the outline of a face in a puzzle drawing, or lypse. Watergate wasn't a once-only ex- destruction of the Indians should have like the wolf-snout ready to snarl out plosion, it was the detonator to a new swelled up in the wake of Vietnam. from a normal face at full moon. Era of Anxiety. And Republicanism redivivus in Reagan-Hollywood en- Both Wolfen and The Shining feature In Southern Comfort the conflation of throned in the White House-reminds buildings erected (or about to be Vietcong and Indians, hinted at in us that the anxieties are there today. erected) on old Indian territory: hunt- many of the horror-ambush movies, be- (Significantly, polls show that a major- ing ground in the one, burial ground in comes even more explicit. The Cajuns ity of Americans disagree with Reagan's the other. Both movies release up-and- are Indians by name, if not by literal policies but approve of him: he's the at-'em ogres seemingly galvanized by genealogy, and in Walter Hill's film perennial movie star the public likes no the notion that the modern age is tres- they're clearly spiritual scions of the matter how many bad pictures he ap- passing on or violating the old. And in soundless savages-cat-like, nature- pears in.) both films there are festoons of iconog- wise, at one with the landscape, never raphy swagged around the idea of snapping a twig-whO've stalked Likewise Vietnam. A war that closed America Past and Present: in Wolfen the American my~h and fiqion since its military books seven years ago has Battery Park memorial windmill and James Fenimore Cooper. only lately begun to release its demons weather vanes, celebrating the first into pop culture: in guerrilla horror Dutch settlers, in The Shining every- Cooper couldn't have foreseen that thing from the Stars-and-Stripes flag in Indians or their likeness would rise up Al~ered S~a~es , Friday ~he 13~h. Carradine and Boothe il films (Friday the 13th), in tales of gaunt- the hotel manager's office to the Apollo again in the 1960s on the opposite side let terror (Southern Comfort), in a Cin- T-shirt of little Danny. American his- of the world, hurling the specter of ema of Sudden Slaughter, where sense tory in these films is the ghost under the genocidal guilt in America's first lost and civilization are only a twig-snap tower block, the vengeful dead under war-and catalyzing a rash of from chaos and calamity. the luxury hotel-just as American par- guerrilla-gauntlet, vengeance-is-mine anoia in the more explicit Vietnam or Z-movie shockers. The horror-thriller genre has always Watergate films is the snarling id under pitched its camp in the crossfire be- the smiling superego. The oddly two-way distribution of tween the civilized and the savage, be- guilt in these films-a reminder of the tween rational reassurance and Pop-out The notion of violence or vengeance moral ambiguities of the Vietnam war, Primitive. But in today's cinema the lying just below the surface of \"normal- where violence was never validated for special new horror comes from the close ity\" is fiercely evident in the glut of the U.S. by the sense of being in a \"just elision of these opposites. It's hard to kids-to-the-slaughter horror movies: war\"-is apparent in the fact that the peel them apart. They're symbiotic, the Friday the 13ths, Burnings, and Hal- \"hero\"-victims are often presented as they share the same skin, they're faces loweens. It's a mark ofthe post-Vietnam callow, strident, games-playing out- closely superimposed one on the other. age that horror films have moved away siders and the villains as once-injured from up-market Grand Guignol, where parties. The mother of a drowned boy When those oh-so-flawless American your course through carnage is charted (Friday the 13th); the son of a killed features warp into feral ferocity in The by classy music crescendoes or florid miner (My Bloody Valentine); the wit- Howling or American Werewolf, it's as if lighting changes or symphonic sus- maidenly Red Riding Hood has herself pense. Gothic has gone cheap, young, ness of a murdered sis~er (Prom Night). mutated into the Big Bad Wolf. Shining So that there's an unprecedented re- WASP decency becomes a raging West- and outlaw. Rural or small-town set- flexivity of \"blame\" between murderer ern id. It's munched on Watergate and tings camouflage the menace of sudden and victims in the new horror genre and Vietnam for breakfast, lunch, and din- ambush, National Service-age young- (usually) a degree of grisly, idiot pathos ner, and it reaches between-meals for sters camp in unknown territory, and in even the most rebarbative of their 38

ogres. with make-up-cosmetic camouflage. The id , meanwhile, bashes furiously at If the Vietnam war catalyzed a whole \"This took me two hours,\" she says in the church doors, protesting the banns her wide-eyed drawl. \" It's the no and ready to answer a wedding with a ancestry of racial guilts in the areas of make-up look.\" And cosmetic ingenu- walpurgisnacht. genocide and bloody colonial conquest, ity has cropped up as a theme in an- Watergate catalyzed a slightly different other recent shocker, Dead and Buried, Iconically, it's no coincidence that set of anxieties. The id-under-the-skin wherein gorily murdered corpses in the werewolves have loped onto the screen in Blow Out and Cutter's Way is com- small town of Potter's Bluff are re- in the red-eyed, sharp-toothed wake of pounded more of fear, less of guilt: a stored, rebeautified , and reanimated the prolific vogue for vampirism just swarm of dormant terrors about the by master mortician Jack Albertson. passed. Two or three years ago it was enormities that Big Government or Top Icon Dracula, with his quick-change People can enact under the protective Indeed the current image of Ameri- acts from suavity to savagery. But once carapace and charisma of high office. can society as a schizoid , Jekyll-and- audiences had supped their fill with Hyde organism concealing grisly truths Carpathian horrors-and cloak-swish- In Cutter's Way the oil-millionaire beneath a smooth and smiling surface ings and toothsome smiles and blood \"villain\" rides a tall horse and locks up spreads well beyond even films with a transfusions-there was a clear logic in his eyes behind mirror-lensed glasses. semi-explicit nod to Vietnam and Wa- upping the ante with werewolves. The They glint from on high like the flashy, tergate. If the neo-Nam and the neo- demon duality of nature is the same, glassy anonymity of his skyscraping of- Nixon movies are about the beast in the but there's a headier charge in human fice block. governmental machine, a film like bipeds turning into furry four-footers . Mommie Dearest privatizes and person- They are not representatives of an Blow Out, a thriller-comic summation alizes the same id-under-the skin dual- older, alien, undead race; they are hu- of the whole recent S.O.S.O.S. genre Ism. mans who, once a moon, go loony and (Save-our-Ship-of-State), shares the lupy. It comes from something in their same expressive strewing of bric-a-brac Moviegoers know Joan Crawford as a spirit and beyond their will. Americana, historical and political, as lacquered and laminated goddess who The Shining and Wolfen (a red-white- and-blue color scheme in Vilmos might have been modeled on the Me- The current vein of Hollywood Zsigmond's photography, the Liberty tropolis robot. But whisk off the mask moral schizophrenia where Evil is a Day background) but the history it and the maquillage and the finery, and skin-depth under Good has produced sculpts is more recent. a domestic she-wolf is revealed in all an astonishing spread of potent pop- her roughery-a harpy with the Har- horror imagery. The writhing palpita- De Palma takes the dour headline pic, a ravisher of rose-gardens and a tions under \"normal\" skin, the realities of Watergate, and Chappa- layer-on of coat-hangers on the body of chameleon killer hidden in the trees, quiddick, and Dallas, and fabulates America's youth. It's a werewolfstory in the racial history coiled vengeful and them to create a rainbow-hued fairy- showbiz clothing. And in Shoot the vigilant under the new cities. tale that might have been painted by Moon, the All-Anglo-American Dad Roy Lichtenstein and scripted in needs only a locked door or a glance These images have erupted in their comic-strip speech-bubbles bristling from ex-wife to lover to turn into a full glory just at the turning point where with exclamation marks. The faux-naif slavering child-beater (another coat- we leave the 1970s and enter the 1980s. style chimes with a movie which tells us hanger) or a one-man demolition derby. We've closed the cage door (or so we how close under the surface of bureau- hope) on a double-decade of slippery cratic sophistication (the white-collar In the Eighties, when the Moral Ma- unclassifiable nightmares, and we can conspiracy bosses dealing strictly in jority torpedoes your cornflakes every now look through the bars and scruti- character assassination) is runaway de- morning with salvoes of pietistic wis- nize them. The first response is likely mentia and mad purgatorial zeal (John dom, it's no wonder that the battle be- to be, and has been, visceral and imme- Lithgow as the wind-up hit-man, a tween hypocritic hygiene and human diate: an unleashing into legend and a Gordon Liddy act-alike, dealing strictly reality is fiercer than ever. Religious pop catharsis. The Sixties and Seven- in real assassination). tub-thumping and post-Nixon Re- ties were a time of debacles for Amer- publicanism have approached the altar ica. These films are the dream-therapy The cover-up theme in Blow Out of high office together; and there they nightmares slowly sorting out the ico- finds a symbolic embodiment in the stand, radiant in their super ego-tism. nography. ,~~ Nancy Allen character's preoccupation 39

by Andrew Sarris The death of the western dawned on Fred Schepisi Writes 'The End' me very gradually. For years I hardly noticed that western movies were few never came to grips with either the to the Western and far between, and seldom even mod- violence or the sexuality implicit in its erately popular. I lived so much in the scenario. The limited distribution of this commercial success seems a near impos- past, cinematically speaking, that I fin-de-fin genre piece suggested that sibility. [The western genre] has been treated unearthed or rediscovered old even RedRiver would have run dry at the little more than box office poison in the westerns as links in a chain that would box office if it had been made in the past decade and neither actor possesses presumably never be broken. Still, the Eighties. the marquee power to draw an instant warning signs were there. I could not audience. \" remember the last time I saw a little boy The handwriting was already on the with a cowboy suit and a cap pistol. The mystique of the fast draw seemed to wall back in the late Fifties and early Box office poison, indeed', or where I have vanished into the mists of antiq- Sixties, when b~ead-and-butter west- art thou, Harry Brandt! The western is, uity. erns were losing their footholds in the at the beginning of the Eighties, in the • kiddie matinee and inner-city action cir- same commercially unenviable position The death of John Wayne was widely cuits. The emergence of the television as Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Ka- regarded as the death also of western western, the spaghetti western, and the tharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, and movie mythology. Sam Peckinpah aban- last tonured permutations of the Freud- Fred Astaire were at the end of the Thir- doned the sagebrush for martial arts; ian and revisionist westerns blinded ties. Film historians in the twenty-first Clint Eastwood exchanged his six- many of us to the shrinking role of the century and beyond may mistakenly as- shooter for a .357 Magnum For a time genre in the popular imagination. sume that the western died in one fell George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy and the swoop at a disastrous screening of Mi- Sundance Kid gave the bottom-line boys Then, finally, in a recent Variety re- chael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, but in Hollywood a commercial precedent view of Fred Schepisi's Barbarosa, Cimino was probably damaged more by for the facetious buddy-buddy anti- Steven Ginsberg offered what was vinu- the genre he chose than the genre he western; but without the collective cha- ally the official obituary for the genre: chose was damaged by him. With a war risma of Paul Newman and Robert \"Barbarosa presents one of those prob- movie like The Deer Hunter, audiences Redford there were no big payoffs for lems major studios face at least once a gave Cimino the benefit of every doubt the sub-genre itself. In 1981 Lamont year-what to do with a film with more as they patiently awaited the unveiling Johnson's Cattle Annie and Little Britches than its share ofartistic merit whose tone of whatever murky meanings he may was so disconcertingly coy about its Old- and subject matter are so out of touch have had in mind. But by the Eighties Bunch-Young-Brat characters that it with the tastes of today's audiences that 40

the Johnson County Wars seemed even western that prides itself on its cosmo- The anthropological moral is clear. more remote than the Trojan War, and politan art-house notions of gritty \"real- Every macho Mexican family, perhaps Cimino's languorous celebration of male ism.\" Barbarosa is something else again: every family, perhaps every society, per- bonding seemed foolishly self-indul- a disconcerting blend of tall-tale anthro- haps every individual, needs a legend- gent. Moreover, there were no un- pology and poker-faced absu'rdism. ary external enemy like Barbarosa in washed multitudes in the hinterlands to Schepisi, a ridiculously overrated direc- order to retain its cohesion and honor. override the critical verdict on Heaven's tor, suddenly seems embarrassingly Schepisi and Wittliff do not bemoan this Gate. King Vidor and David O. transparent as a stylistic trickster, and it state of affairs, but they never miss an Selznick's Duel in the Sun, by contrast, is largely the total unfashionableness of opportunity to depict the squalid under- had received a similarly frosty reception the western genre in America that leaves side of the legend. The primal impulse thirty-five years before, but on that occa- him critically vulnerable. to kill is choreographed with painstaking sion a saturation booking campaign The plot of Barbarosa deserves some clumsiness and intentionally ludicrous managed to recoup the investment on scrutiny in terms of the decline and fall sneakiness. The problem with the film this pioneer Freudian western. The of the genre. Barbarosa (Nelson) is at as far as probable audience reaction is genre, even in this luridly Wagnerian first glance a grizzled desert rat, robbing concerned is that it has come too late to variation, was obviously still implanted and murdering out of sheer greed and demystify the conventions of the genre. in the national consciousness. cantankerousness. He is seen largely Barbarosa is instead merely a throwback through the eyes of Karl (Busey), a to that almost forgotten sub-genre of ~ floppy-hatted farm boy in long overalls arid, arty westerns that decades ago Barbarosa is not a budgetary boon- doggle on the order of Heaven's Gate, on the run from a tightly-knit German sought to adorn Ingmar Bergman's angst but there is something even more mum- immigrant community for killing his with a sombrero. t:J;> mified about it as a western. Its director, brother-in-law in a seemingly senseless Fred Schepisi, is an Australian who has brawl. The whole movie is saturated Am I being premature with my obitu- attracted some cult interest for The with violence, but without any dramatic ary for the western? After all, I was al- Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, a calculat- buildup or heroic posturing. ready mourning the genre back in 1974 ingly gruesome Third World western Gradually, a mysterious vendetta when I wrote: \"Where have all the west- that manages to be as thematically ob- waged against Barbarosa by a large Mex- erns gone? I can't recall more than three r-------------------------------------------~ ~------------------------------------------__, Willie NeLson as Barbarosa and Gary Busey in Barbarosa. vious as it is visually esoteric. The result ican family headed by the significantly or four that have opened within the past is a bonanza for middle-brow critics who like to feel that they have been allowed one-legged Don Braulio is exposed as a twelve months, and this time period en- to figure out the platitudinous moral of the film for themselves. self-conscious charade. Oh, the killing is compasses Blazing SaddLes, which was The screenplay for Barbarosa was real enough, but Barbarosa, too, is part hardly what the late William S. Hart had provided by William Wittliff, the scenar- ist also of Raggedy Man, a Sissy Spacek of the \"family\" through marriage, and in mind for the genre. Of course, all vehicle that is a painstaking mixture of regional verisimo and gothic melodrama. he keeps returning to the family's ranch I genres have their ups and downs and ins Interestingly enough, Wittliff is a native Texan, as are the two leads, Willie NeI- for assignations with his wife even and outs. If westerns are few and far son and Gary Busey, and thus Barbarosa can serve as a paradigm of a trend in though he has continued to kill the between, musicals are virtually non-ex- recent years to return the western to its real roots, and away from the wistfully young men of the family in open com- istent, and farce comedies not much yearning romances of the Eastern pulp writers of yesteryear. Richard Pearce's bat. What makes the situation coyly more in evidence. Moreover, the so- much-admired Heartland is an extreme example of a resolutely anti-dramatic ironic is the fact that Barbarosa never called \"realistic\" tradition in filmmaking leaves that .part of the country even seems moribund at the moment with though he is constantly being hunted. the result that most movies are straining Similarly, Karl cannot leave his own at one and the same time for significance community even after it becomes appar- and escapism by wrapping both ends of ent that the father of the man he has the double feature into one gummy con- killed remains implacably vengeful. coction. Hence, genres are not really The narrative kick of the plot is Karl's dying out so much as they are dissolving assumption of Barbarosa's legend after into each other to form the single all-pur- Barbarosa's death. pose entertainment we witness nowa- 41

CIN EMA CITY is a complele service for days on movie screens.\" to the spaghetti Western: the Transylva- Cinema collectors. dealing with onglnal Today genres are indeed \"dissolving nian Western. They are a hybrid of par- movie posters. pho tos and related collect- ody, homespun humor and vintage ables. Original motion p icture grqph lCS are into each other. \" Outland, for example, shoot-'em-up action, sprinkled with a sough t by collector's throughout the world. projects High Noon into outer space with subtle but significant dose of required Onginal film posters are a uniq ue remem- Sean Connery stoically assuming Gary communist propaganda. brance of a memorable fHm . and because Cooper's superhuman burdens. More- 01 thei r lim ited number, may become fine over, Star Wars is commonly assumed to .. 'Romanians have always loved Investment pieces . M any ilems . wi th their have been profoundly influenced by The Westerns,' says Dan Pita, a top Roma- distinctive artwork , make attractive wall Searchers. Are future cowboys therefore nian film maker who directed two of the decorallons that are sure to be the tOpiC of to be propelled by rockets rather than three Transylvanian Westerns. 'What we d iSCUSSion among movie lovers. horses? And will lasers replace bullets in did was take a known and popular de- gun duels? If so, can there be a western vice, add a few twists and have some All matenal IS onglnal - we deal with no without an identifiably western land- fun ... ' copies . reprlnls. or anything 01 a bogus scape, history, and sociology? The an- nature. Our latest catalogue lists thousands swer may be more complicated than it \"Even the titles of the three movies of Items that Include posters . photos (over seems. are tantalizing: The Prophet, the Gold and 30 .000 In stock ). lobby cards. pressbooks. the Transylvanian, The Babe, the Oil and and other authentic film memorabltla. If For one thing, all action-adventure the Transylvanians, and The Diva, the you 're looking lor a part icular item that is narrative forms can be subsumed under Dollars and the Transylvanians .\" not In o ur catalogue . we will try to locale It a single genre. For another, the western for you. To receive our latest catalogue. was never entirely pure either formally Exoticism and ideology aside, the send $ 1.00 (refundable With lirst order) to : or thematically. Many pulp westerns of Transylvanian western still qualifies for the Thirties and Forties updated their inclusion in any comprehensive study of '(::II/!!!!! lf ~\\A\\ '1:lllr 'o/ plots to take in automobiles, movie stu- the genre. Fon Apache, the Bronx, with dios, and even airplanes. Thus, long be- its titular echoes of John Ford's classic P.O .Box 1012. Dept. FC fore Sam Peckinpah's morbid film on the Seventh Cavalry, or for that Muskegon. Michigan 4944 1 matter, Assault on Precinct 13, with its Slim Pickens socks Dom DeLijise in stylistically perceptive hommage to Ho- One ofthe world's Blazing Saddles. ward Hawks' Rio Bravo, cannot possibly most wickedly qualify as westerns. Indeed, it was while ~rceptive filin modernism, the western was not con- I was watching the opening sequence of fined to any particular period. Fon Apache, the Bronx, an otherwise un- critics on 245 distinguished cop movie with a pseudo- ~ liberal slant, that I realized that the American films of western had at long last lost its raison the past Still, there are limits to the changes in d' etre for both the mass and class audi- decade time, space, and , above all, spirit to ences. This raison d'etre was articulated which the genre can submit and still most eloquently by Robert Warshow in plus eleven remain a recognizable genre. Hence, his 1954 essay, \"The Westerner\" : \"Why general westerns can be made anywhere, but does the Western movie especially have essays on cannot be about anywhere. As if to pro- such a hold on our imagination? Chiefly, vide an acid test for this proposition, I think, because it offers a serious orien- the cinema Frederick. Kempe, staff reporter for the tation to the problem of violence such as Wall Street Journal, filed the following can be found almost nowhere else in our Reverse dispatch from Buftea, Romania in the culture.\" byAJonhdnI~eon issue of November 13, 1981: How times have changed! Violence is 480 pages. $17.95, now at your bookstore. or send \"John Brad is the fastest draw in Tran- not only omnipresent, it has reshaped check or money OrM to Crown Publishers. One Park sylvania. He has the gaunt, sinewy look our perceptions of our immediate peril Ave.• N.Y. ; N.Y. 10016. Please add SI.40 postage and of Clint Eastwood, the silent strength of to such an extent that daily life has itself handling char~. N.Y. and N.J. residents. add soles tax. John Wayne, and the mean streak of become a genre full of tactics for survival Charles Bronson. He also has the accent in a hostile environment. As I looked at Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. of a more famous Transylvanian, Count the South Bronx \"locations\" in the back- Dracula, but the equally fictional Mr. ground of Fon Apache, the Bronx, I real- Brad draws blood with a six-shooter, not ized that the Western Badlands had with his teeth. come almost to my own backyard. We no longer have to return to the late nine- \"He is the main character in a triad of teenth century in order to encounter movies that make up Romania's answer \"savages\" and \"outlaws.\" The death of the western is therefore related with grim irony to the impending death ofour cities. Actors and actresses no longer have to get into costume for the big shoot-outs. They can walk into real-life sets in their street clothes, and the stuff ofdime romances dissolves into the stuff of tabloids. ~ 42

Let Three by Carrie Rickey Mijsjcq/s ... [ambiguityJ may be used to convict Sing a poet ofholding muddled opinions rather One from than to praise the complexity of the order the ofhis mind. Lj/;Jjdo -William Empson, Seven Types ofAmbiKUity Why, of all movie genres, should the ria. the eponymous hero/heroine Oulie tion and the ambiguity of their eventual musical now be a potent laboratory in Andrews) performs in male drag as she resolution-their very irresolvability- are which directors experiment-seeking and her friend Toddy (Robert Preston), at the heart of this trio of musicals. How- interim solutions to amatory dilemmas fully realize their sexuality, acknowledg- ever dissimilar these three movies mor- -and art directors conduct parallel re- ing Victoria's latent machismo, Toddy's ally and stylistically, they are triplet searches into aesthetic proclivities? latentfemme fatalism. progeny of some intellectual union of Sexual confusion and art directorial pro- Bertolt Brecht, Van Nest Polglase, and fusion characterize Francis Coppola's These sexual odysseys are navigated Robert Venturi. Polglase was supervis- One from the Heart. Herbert Ross' Pen- between the Scylla of ordinary domes- ing art director at RKO, an architectural nies from Heaven. and Blake Edwards' ticity and the Charybdi is of exotic af- historian and designer equally adept at Victor/Victoria. Each is an orgy of carnal- fluence-decor extremes that give evoking Dublin's desperate, wind- ity frustrated, of decor and decorum ex- production designers Dean Tavoularis blown, cobbled streets in The Informer aggerated. Musicals have always been a (Heart), Ken Adam (Pennies), and as well as putting-on-the-Glitz Manhat- genre of self-conscious eroticism; subli- Rodger Maus (V/V) plenty of scope for tan with the black-glass floors and white- mated foreplay and consummation con- their own decorative performances. lacquer chancels of the Astaire-Rogers tribute to the immediacy of every Frannie and Hank's half-renovated Big White Sets. Venturi, architect and Astaire-Rogers pas de deux. every stucco house in suburban Las Vegas architectural cri tic, is author of Comple- Chevalier-MacDonald serenade. The stands in dim contrast to the totally over- new musicals desublimate fleshly plea- whelming neon extravaganzas down- xity and Contradiction in Architecture sure. They equate musical performance town. Joan and Arthur's dingy calicoed and co-author ofLearningfromLas Vegas with sexual performance. And they em- Chicago digs turn yellow when juxta- -seminal theses championing eclecti- bellish their performers with enough at- posed with the overlit marble-and- cism and symbolism in architecture, mosphere to choke a horse. Bakolite gloss of Arthur's musical fanta- denouncing Modernism's assumptions sies. The George Grosz-like infestation of simplicity. The unholy trinity of In Heart. Hank (Frederic Forrest) of Toddy and Victoria's seedy, sham- Brecht, Polglase, and Venturi hover over isn't man enough for Frannie (Teri Garr) bling Parisian flat is positively extermi- these projects endowing them with: until he feebly warbles \"You Are My nated by the lavish chromium Sunshine\"at the airline terminal as she's wainscotting and streamlined ellipses of 1. theatrical distanciation, establish- Bora-Bora bound with dreamboat their austerely plush Deco suite at the singer-dancer Ray (Raul Julia). Pennies Hotel Monceau. Darkness smacks up ing the dialectic between the \"real\" and contrasts the sexually aroused Eileen against illumination in every case, tacky the \"staged\"; (the singing-dancing Bemadette Peters) realities against slick fantasies. with the frigid Joane (played by Jessica 2. the oxymoronic aesthetic ofTheat- Harper as though singing might pinch Such sexual and decorative disjunc- rical Realism, the visual counterpart to a nerve). The hypoteneuse of the Brechtian drama, calling attention to its Eileen-Joan triangle is Arthur (Steve ersatzness while at the same time pro- Martin), who knows that although sex feels good it's deemed bad; his contra- dictions are epitomized in his musical reveries when Connie Boswell's voice (\"I Wouldn't Have to Dream Again\") emanates from his lips. In Victor/Victo- 43

ducing the psychological effect of \"real- freedom. Hank's cracked-voice crooning are life- ism\"; Is Coppola's ambiguity a case of mud- less, unvivid. They dally but they never break through; they retreat into their 3. the ontological preference for dIed or complex thinking? It's hard to stucco retreat-which Coppola and Ta- \"messy vitality over obvious unity\" reach a verdict by plot alone. His movie voularis show, unspackled and all, cast- (Venturi, CompLexity and Contradiction). is overlaid and inlaid with outlandish ing cherry-red and cerulean-blue gel lighting, scrims, and apparent rear- light into the scene-leaving Ray and To explore the dualities of these libid- screen projections, acknowledging his Leila to trip the neon light fantastic. inous musicals is to understand the am- debt to the makeshift economies of (One wag, photographer James Hamil- biguities encoded in their over-heated, Hans-Jurgen Syberberg and Off-Broad- ton, suggested that Coppola's directions over-produced Mannerism. They im- way mise en scene . So while he's must have consisted of the imperative: plicitly set up the equation that the vir- obviating the sexual dilemma of monog- \"Lights! Camera! Lights!\") tuosity of the musical performance amy-polygamy, he's also extinguishing equals the virtuosity of the sexual per- polarities like interior-exterior, day- Coppola's movie is authentically com- formance . Do they, moreover, suggest night, noise-silence. The film's clam- plex only in its dissolution of spatial con- the conflation of sexual with aesthetic orous cohesion is courtesy of a Tom straints: interiors dynamically become proclivity? In other words, how does Waits score that provides musical com- exteriors, each set like a Mobius strip each movie define sexuality, define aes- mentary on what the characters are do- twisting, having two apparent sides that thetics, and is there an overlay, a sexual ing. When they're in harmony, Waits miraculously become one. Frannie and aesthetic? and Crystal Gayle harmonize in lovey- pal Maggie (Lainie Kazan) are en- dovey tones; when things are dissonant, sconced in Maggie's apartment when a Learning From Waits' voice-over singing becomes grav- wall with a painting goes transparent, Las Vegas that There's elly, atonal. Like Michael Herr's narra- becoming both a screen on which Mag- No Place Like Home One from the Heart's white-bread tion in ApocaLypse Now, the music in gie's and Frannie's actlvltles are re- brains, Frannie and Hank, are lumpen- Heart seems added afterthought, unne- flected and a curtain through which we proles living an O. Henry twist: on their cessarily redundant, but a thread woven see the restless silhouettes of Hank and fifth anniversary of cohabiting (they're throughout. Moe (Harry Dean Stanton); the wall di- not married) she gives him a pair of viding the quarrelsome lovers is a scrim, tickets to Bora Bora, he gives her the What we see is what we hear, the a membrane, a movie screen receiving deed to their house-their shared sav- simplest of reinforcement devices mak- emotional projections from each side. ings account having done double duty ing a simple plot seem simple-minded. Equally evocative and sensual is the for the gifties although there's only But what we see has a dynamic, a pro- manner in which the casinos and hotels enough money for one, not both. She tean quality, wholly lacking in the love of the Vegas tenderloin spill out into the longs for a Fantasy IsLand escape, he for story. However punchy the Waits score boulevard, annexing the exterior with is, it tends to carry too much weight, their spangles, glitter, and luminous ahomey hijinks La Lucy and Desi. Not making the characters seem more inert floors. Like Las Vegas casinos, inside instead of more intense. The balletic which day and night are made indistinct only is the technology of One from the acrobatics of Leila (Nastassia Kinski) by perpetual fluorescent lighting not al- Heart informed by video mapping and and Ray's lounge-lizard singing (sug- lowing the sun to come in, no day-night, editing, but its iconology is that of TV gesting the dynamism of sexual per- inside-outside barriers determine time sitcom and game show: stylized, neon- formance) are the realm of forbidden or space-Coppola and Tavoularis sign-lit, hyped-up, shrill. Its plot is fruit, exotica Hank and Frannie permit make these malleable. Like his prota- strictly from Oz: characters must divest themselves on their wild July 4th. But ganist Hank, a toiler in God's junkyard themselves of domesticity, douse them- Frannie's pallid disco dancing and selves in glamour and extroversions, fuck like rabbits with dusky exotica, and then-only then-do they recognize the real glamour of domesticity, the counterfeit glamour of the Vegas Strip. They must leave home to discover it. Like Dorothy, Frannie and Hank con- clude, \"There's no place like home.\" Coppola and co-scenarist Armyan Bernstein have devised a paean to semi- monogamy, placating adherents of that as-American-as-Las-Vegas institution of marriage, but also sneakily suggesting that they can have it both ways, have their red-hot assignation and their homely snugglebunny, too. This both! and philosophy (as opposed to either/or simplicity) is the very basis of \"messy vitality,\" but it has a smarmy aftertaste. Onefrom the Heart is calculated to foster the notion of connubial bliss at the same time it propagandizes for erotic 44

working at a demolition firm called \"Re- consummation; he dazzles viewers with men have, but only some women suffer ality Wreckers,\" Coppola is a destroyer sets and sex, teasing instead of deliver- from. Until he meets Eileen, Arthur is of reality, an architect of flash surreality. ing. In Coppola's career, One from the embarrassed about his desire-it's (\"Reality Wreckers\" faces a ' mountain Hean will probably take the same place something that makes wifey Joan with- range of such artificiality that it resem- Barry Lyndon has in Kubrick's canon: a drawn and terrified. Joan is frigid, unde- bles a continuous range of the mountain beautiful failure. It's possible that tech- frostable; Eileen's timid but warms to that serves as the Paramount Pictures nical advances (both Lyndon and Hean his sexual heat by becoming a hot num- logo.) employed state-of-the-art lensing and ber. Arthur assumes Joan's phobias are editing techniques) must precede cine- her problem-not their shared burden Yet in Hank's and Frannie's gel-blue matic advances, that the two can never -and he thinks if she accedes to his heaven there are boundaries. Inside proceed at equal rates. Verdict: Cop- desire (i.e., by rouging her nipples), doesn't tum outside; monogamy pre- pola's sexual aesthetic is doomed be- she'll also share his pleasure. But since vails; there's day and night, night and cause, although an avid experiIl)enter, Arthur won't shoulder the responsibility day, sunset and sunrise. (In fact, in its he's unwilling to let himself go. Instead, with his wife, Joan can't share in the sin-ridden metropolis-versus-rustic mo- he retreats into the realm of pure sci- rewards. The onus is always on her; no rality, One from the Hean is like F.W. ence, technology for its own sake. sense of mutualism exists. Mumau's Sunrise.) No Fantasy Island hi- biscus strewn piazzas that Frannie lolls Repression Depression vs. Sex-desublimated in the movie's in with her Ray, no three-ring highwire Desublimation Exhilaration extraordinary, masturbatory fantasy se- act that Leila provides for her Hank. quences-is invariably subjective, like Indeed, One from the Hean embodies a Set in 1934 Chicago, Pennies from Arthur's libido. Trenchantly, sex is most conventional sexual aesthetic. To Heaven presents the harsh Depression linked with money (in the\"Yes, Yes\" nerds like Frannie and Hank, visual dy- number, a song of seduction, staged in a ri\"ors of the Warners melodrama beside bank, becomes a song of seducing a loan namism and sexual dynamite make for escapist glossy fantasies in the RKO officer) and linked with money plus food one explosive order, but to jaded sexual Astaire-Rogers mode. Adapted by Den- (the title song is performed in the penny physicists like Ray and Leila, it's just nis Potter from his exquisite (and, by shower outside a diner). Only twice in another (enjoyable) bomb. The vora- director Piers Haggard, exquisitely real- the movie are the sexual fantasies ciousness of Leila and Ray unsettles ized) BBC-TV series, Pennies comes shared: \"I Wanna Be Bad\" and \"Let's Frannie and Hank, sends them back to both to praise and bury the dreams we Face the Music and Dance\" pair Arthur the quiet bomb shelter of home. cherish about Thirties movies and Thir- and Eileen in their ardor for each other, ties music; it means to celebrate the for exhibitionism, for the Astaire-Rogers Coppola's sexual aesthetic is virtually Warners/RKO dialectic at the same time dream where they actually become their like Walt Disney's. Disneyland's most it offers a critique of their separate reali- hero and heroine, merging illusionisti- popular rides-Pirates of the Carib- ties and diametric fantasies. Coppola cally with their fetish subjects in the bean, Jungle Cruise, The Haunted and Ross use a similarly romantic fram- movie's most poetic sequence. Sex in House-all regale the viewer with spec- ing device: the omniscient overhead Pennies is fetishized, dangerous. And tacles of exotica, mystery, and the sub- points-of-view, looking down on what's the problem in locating the movie's tone lime, only to end in chaos or debacle to be the action, panning down from is in determining whether Pennies itself (pirates bum galleons, natives attack the stratospheric stars through clouds and deems sex thus or whether it is critical of explorer's craft, goblins destroy the ele- stormy weather, arriving at the scene of such circumscribed, narrow-minded gant mansion). Disney always lands his the crimes of the heart below. thinking. It's a problem of telling the constituents back on Main Street, safely dancer from the dance-literally and back in familiar territory. Ultimately, In Pennies, sexuality is a loin-ache all figuratively. Coppola is interested in titillation, not The polarities of Pennies are those manifested in Hean: \"reality\" is home, the site of Depression repression, fri- gidity, not being able to curse, and hen- pecking apotheosized; \"fantasy\" (read: satisfaction) is in glitter, music, sex, and performance. Within the claustropho- bic, irritable walls of his home, Arthur is hamstrung by ungratified desire. It's only on the road or in his outlaw life after he's been fingered for murder, that Ar- thur becomes unbound by the pieties and proprieties of domesticity. In that it shows loveless, sexless marriage as prison, and consentual sensuality as lib- erating bliss, the sexual politics of Pen- nies from Heaven are less coy, less conventional than Hean's. Yet the movie remains tangled in other ways. The best way to tell the dancer from the dance in Pennies is to analyze the 4S

contrasting decors and decorums in the lence or muddlement, but the very soul (Julie Andrews), looking like a refugee opposition of nondancing with dancing numbers. The numbers sans dance in of complexity. The search, unlike Cop- from one of George Grosz's Berlin car- Pennies from Heaven are sour, sepia- musty, cheerless. Even such despair is pola's complicated technical experi- toons, her ratty fur and growling stom- overdecorated, however. Visual consul- tant Ken Adam congests Arthur and ments, isn't important for Ross, Adam, ach lending an uncommonly bestial Joan's blue hall with a cornucopia of Thirties packages-he makes their life and Potter. What's found-a dialectic- affect. seem more commodity-ridden than De- pression-barren. Since cognoscenti is the thing. The unemployed duo meet, happy know how much those vintage packages are worth on the nostalgia market, it's homosexual and happy hypochondriac, hard to believe there's a Depression go- ing on. More like a De-precious. This I Enjoy Being a Boy! and become fast friends. When Victo- pervasive sense of preciolity is also evi- ria's dress shrinks in the rain and she dent in Adam's quotations from Edward Hopper paintings: New York Movie, for Based on a 1933 Ufa film written and dons a man's suit, Toddy figures there's example, as the scene of Arthur and Eileen's escape into \"Let's Face the directed by Rheinhold Schuenzel called commercial potential in passing Victoria Music and Dance\"; the Nighthawks cafe as the scene where Arthur and Eileen Viktor und Viktoria, Blake Edwards' Vic- off as Victor, female impersonator. So reunite, Eileen having become a street- walker because it's the only job a defiled tor/Victoria is very au courant in its sub- we have the sexually-loaded Rube Depression doll can get. ject-although the spectacle of Julie Goldberg plot: A woman pretending to In selecting such self-conscious high- art imagery, and dressing the set with Androgynous in her David Bowie drag be a man impersonating women falls in gems of packaging, Adam performs one of the nimblest transvaluations in a overcomes the seminarlsermonette love with a he-man (King, played by movie rife with twists and alienation de- vices. \"High art\" is debased, becomes a quality of the movie's all-too-audible James Gamer) who questions his hetero- backdrop for lowlife culture, and the vulgar spangles and sleek surfaces of va- message. Cross-dressing is as old a theat- sexuality when he falls for this putative riety-show sets become the very image of glamour and luxe. At the aesthetic as rical tradition as theater itself, but it's female impersonator who's really a girl. well as the sexual level, everything in PenniesfromHeaven is in perpetual con- rarely (inAs You Like It, Sylvia Scarlett, or But that's not all, folks: Toddy, so far flict: every cliche in the movie exploits and contradicts every other cliche. High a Jessie Matthew musical called First a satisfied to be a male-dressing homosex- art is low, low is high. \"Bad\" (illicit) sex is good, \"good\" (sanctioned by mar- Girl) accompanied by an analysis of the ual, only finds himself as a drag queen. riage) sex is bad. The \"virtuous\" wife is a hateful virago, the Gladys George or characteristics that constitute masculin- There are things available to Victor that Joan Blondell-type whore is virtuous. When visual and moral cliches collide ity and femininity. Almost in spite of weren't accessible to Victoria-a job, for like this, the structure of the movie gets convoluted, complex, like a DNA helix itself, Victor/Victoria offers such anal- instance. Likewise, Toddy finds he en- spiralling with the tension of too much information. .joys being a girl as his tutee learns she Pennies from Heaven is a perpetual- enjoys being a boy. About King's role in emotion machine, yanking its viewers to and fro. No comfy identification is al- all of this: before Victor and King bed lowed; rather, it is invariably nullified; clouds have silver linings (usually lame) down, both the audience and King know and the silver linings gloomy grey shrouds. The structure of the movie is that Victor's really Victoria, so there isn't that of a cliche (that of the pop lyric Arthur so admires and so much believes much punch in it, only Black Like Me in) that is first negated, then reified to allow for a new synthesis. Both in its liberal piety and hollow empathy. None- politics of aesthetics and sexual politics, Pennies from Heaven's filmmakers urge theless, the image of James Garner tan- us to eat our cliche, and have it, too, to praise and to bury. This isn't ambiva- going with Julie Andrews in drag at a gay nightclub is immensely gratifying: Will the real Maria Trapp and Jim Rockford please sit down? As propaganda for the legitimacy of homoeroticism, Victor/Victoria is mildly effective-like any celebrity endorsing a political proclivity. As a platform for radical sexual politics or avant-garde aes- thetic agenda, Victor/Victoria is too com- Jl4lie Andrews in Vic~orNic~oria. fily conventional. In order to convince King that homosexuality isn't illegiti- ysis; it could be called The Homosexual- mate (just a living) Victor/Victoria pro- ization ofEmily. claims: Awoman pretending to be a man Set in Noel Coward-land (in Techni- for business reasons is no different from color equivalents of Lubistch's Design a businessman who does business with a for Living sets), VIV passes as a veddy gangster pretending he's not a gangster. witty commentary on today's homophi- By linking a commonly accepted sexual lic subculture. In a gayola embellish- preference with a universally abhorrent ment of his role in S.O.B (more hair, code of violence, Victor/Victoria doesn't acider-tongued), Robert Preston is have the conviction of its courageous- Toddy, a sprechstimme cabaret enter- ness. It says: I'll accept your perversion tainer at a dive called Chez Lui, chant- if you accept mine. Without recom- ing 1975 slang in what's supposed to be mending androgyny as a panacea, how- 1934. Toddy's bitchy needles at the pay- ever, it does suggest that men \"get in ing customers (he's a combo Don touch\" with their latent femininity and Rickles and Peter Allen) incite a brawl, women with their internalized mascu- leaving him jobless. Before his perform- linity in order to effect a rapprochement ance, however, he's amused by a shabby between the sexes. (This strikes me as a coloratura auditioning to be in the Chez philosophy almost as tidily cheery as the Lui's all-boy chorus line. It's Victoria \"Empathicalism\" informing Funny 46

Face.) For Victoria and Toddy to befully COLLECTOR realized, they must come out, literally SWEATSHIRTS and figuratively, on the music hall stage. AND TEES And this is where the movie's visual SUITABLE FOR aesthetic colors its sexual one. The Henry Mancini songs-a snappy tune, FRAMING \"Jazz Hot Baby,\" that would make Django Reinhardt tum in his grave; a La Beautifully reproduced in full color and fine de- Donna de Sevilla fandango that makes tail from Tenniel's legendary 1st ed~ion wood- Andrews look like a strawberry blonde cuts for Lewis Carroll. Mad Tea Party (pic- Venusian; and a \"My Way\" type ballad tured ), White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Alice & with lyrics like \"I've got my pride/I Caterpillar, Jabberwock Monster, Alice & won't give inn-are grotesquely over- Baby Pig. produced with chorus boys in two-faced masks, women impersonating men im- Cocteau (navy or black); Hitchcock (tan or personating women all spangly, neoned, black); Garbo (navy) ; Stuntman (full-color on and false. In the gay domain is a dynel- wh~e) ; Bye Bye Brazil (full-color on white ); embalmed artifice captioned by Leslie RKO (navy). Not illustrated: Rathbone 's Sher- Bricusse's insincere lyrics. In a Chicago lock Holmes (5-color on tan ); Skating Chap- nightclub where hetero Norma (Lesley lin (full-color on yellow or white ); 7th Seal (It. Anne Warren, Harlowesquely playing blue or black); Chaney 's Phantom of the King's queenie) performs her gyrations Opera (wh~e or tan ). regular cut or, unisex french-cut, S, M, L, XL, (Alice Tees available in and the \"Chicago is Chic\" lyrics denote kids (S,M,L) too ). T-Shirts : $9.95 or 4/$36. truth-in-advertising, a \"what you see is Sweatshirts: $15 .95 . Shipping : $1 .25 each what you get.\" This is an honesry totally at variance with that of the Parisian pe- ~em. Cal. res. add 6% tax. Wholesale inquiries desphere, where what you see is exactly what you're not gonna get. And so over- invited . stylization and theater become at- tributes of the gay life; they are the CELEBRITEES Dept. FC 34, Box 480469, Los Angeles, CA province of these two-faced fuss- budgets. The Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird, and the Wonderful Moreover, the elegant, stylized High Deco suites at the Hotel Monceau Whether you're a fan of the Late Show where Toddy's and Victoria's rooms are or a regular on the midnight movie cir- only a loggia away from King's, provide cuit, you'll want to read CULT MOVIES: ~ more information about the homo aes- Cla ssics, the SleeQers, the Weird, and the thetic versus the hetero. Toddy and Vic- Wonderful. Written by Danny Peary, it's the first toria live amid peachy-pink plush, b ook to offer a n appreciation of this growing chrome wainscotting, sconces, and de- cinematic genre and to examine styles that set tails fussily making this set look like a c ult movies apart fro m Ho llywood 's more tradi- Gilbert Rohde wet dream-two \"men\" tional films. Garnishe d with 450 black-and-white in femme environs, quite disjunctive. p hotogra phs, plus plot syno pses a nd c re dits fo r the King, on the other hand, lives in a far 100 most po pular c ult movies, th is oversize d pape r- simpler gray suite, very \"masculine\" in back is \"inte nded for bo th the fan and serious student the interior decorator sense, environs of the c inema:' -The New York Times Book Review not at all discordant with the film's con- ception of masculinity. For a movie that $13.95 8%\" x 11 \" wants to negate sexual stereotypes, Vic- tor/Victoria congests the screen with a DELTA BOOKS gay-straight visual dichotomy that is nothing if not stereotypical-a confu- ------------------------------------ sion that compounds the character's sex- FC·4 ual confusion. Please send me copies of CULT MOVIES @ 513.95 each. \"It's a crazy world full of crazy contra- dictions,\" shrugs Victoria, summing up plus 51.50 handling and postage per copy. I enclose my check her homosexual gangster analogy for King. Acknowledging that contradic- or money orderfor 5_ _ _and understand delivery will toke 6 tions exist is not to present them in an original, complex fashion. Victor/Victo- to 8 weeks. ria succumbs to the imitative fallacy by being a contradictory movie about con- _NAM~E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___ tradicting. It would have been better advised to be a complex one.~ DElTA BOOKS ADDRESS_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ Dell Publishing Co.. Inc. _C~ ______________________________ Dell-Montville Warehouse STATE _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ ZIP _ _ _ _ _ __ Po. Box 2000. Pine BrOok. Residentsof N .~ . N.J.. ItI. . and Co .. please odd applicable sales tax. N.J 07058-2000 47



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