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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri • Page 43

Location:
St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Page:
43
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

the new movies By Joe Pollack 01 thPot-Olsptch Staff Tess' Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the d'Urbervilles," is a fine example of the Victorian novel: Virtue is its own reward, poverty comes to those who deserve it, the xr class system exists because God made it so, the woman may be wronged but still deserves her punish point of trying to convince one woman that the bugs she sees are harmless "palmettos," rather than cockroaches. He's hit by a bus carrying a troupe of Hare Krishnas and, as if he had grabbed the wrong "chance" card in the Monopoly game, goes directly to Hell without passing "go." There Cosby offers a deal if Gould will corrupt three souls he will live, and Cosby selects an ambitious but untalented rock singer (Julie Budd), a clumsy high-schooler who wants to ride motorcycles (David Knell) and a feisty little kid (Adam Rich) who seems to have no ambition outside finding a husband for his mother (Susan Anspach). Gould returns to Southern California some might say he'd never been away with the added power of being able to move from place to place without ordinary transportation and to control his targets as long as he can see them. Given the arrant simplicity of the story and its transparent obviousness from start to finish, all interest wanes rapidly, and though Cosby tries hard to create something out of nothing, he falls short just the way the film does. (Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.

Rating, PG. At the Des Peres, Ellisville, Halls Ferry, Ritz, Ronni -St. Andrews) A object of his intentions, which are considerably less than honorable. Pregnant and In disgrace, Tess returns home to work in the fields. The baby is born, dies while still an infant and she again leaves the family home, this time to work at another (arm.

There she meets Angel Grace, a superlative portrayal by Peter Firth. He is the liberal son of a ministerial family, and love is born again. This time it ends in marriage, but on their wedding night, Tess tells him about her past and he storms out of the house. He goes to Brazil, she again returns to a life of poverty, this time made even more dismal when her father dies and the remainder of the family is evicted. Enter Lawson again and, eventually, Firth once more to set up the tragic conclusion of both the novel and the film.

It's a superior motion picture, filmed with love and care. Every scene is beautifully set up, every shot carefully composed and lighted, every minor part perfectly cast. Rosemary Martin is wonderful as Tess' mother, Fred Bryant as the dairyman who hires her, Suzanna Hamilton as a co-worker who also loves Angel Clare. Polanski has done a remarkable job, and it is difficult to quibble with the length. Maybe he could have chipped 15 or 20 minutes out of the film, but it simply takes a long time to tell a long story, and Polanski obviously was more interested in telling it properly than in telling it briefly.

(Running time: 3 hours, 1 minute, including intermission. Rating, PG. At the Northwest Plaza, Shady Oak, Sunset) Nastassia Kinski In the title role of "Tess." The Devil And Max Devlin' The idea of casting that superlative comic, Bill Cosby, as the Devil is the kind of idea that one could describe, with only a slight blush, as a heavenly Then, in flashback, and in black anaS white, Bergman reconstructs the murder and the life of the murderer, al successful businessman married to an: equally successful woman In the' fashion industry. Sexually, it's rather! permissive. Despite that, it was, at one', time, a strong, vibrant marriage, but now, as actor Robert Atzorn points out, I they have squandered the capital of love they once had, and have nothing left except ritualistic squabbles, with the first one to be contrite winning, and! with both gaining ammunition for the next battle.

A series of interviews builds the life of Atzom and his wife, played simply, and extremely well by Christine; Buchegger, and both offer strong, highly disciplined, controlled' performances, the sort that Bergman; always brings from his actors. Insight also is given by Martin Benrath, as a psychiatrist; Lola Muethel, as Atzorn's-mother; and Walter Schmidinger, a' homosexual who is Buchegger's business partner. Schmidinger is wonderful, wistfuU and vain, aging ungracefully and hating' it. Although he is Buchegger's partner1 and friend, he loves Atzorn from afar and feels he could be a better mate than) the woman. Besides the interviews, Bergman? also provides scenes from the, marriage, and then shows the entire; pre-murder relationship between, Atzorn and Rita Russek, the prostitute.

Only Bergman would give both' prostitute and wife the same surname, 1 a too-easy symbolic touch. When theyj meet, Bergman returns to color film.i also an easy cinematic trick. The film has the usual Bergman) closeups, with magnificent) cinematography by his long-time co- worker, Sven Nykvist. The shots a re merciless, and by the time the story ends, the direction has been, too. The film has no rating, but some of the sexually explicit scenes would probably call for an rating.

Ratings mean less where Bergman films are concerned than for most' others, because his works are strictly, for adult audiences, on every level. It's a strong film, as Bergman films are, but it is not as good as some of his earlier works, mainly because of the rather repetitious feel of the story. (Running time: 1 hour, 44 No MPAA Rating. At the Hi-Pointe, ia! German with subtitles, through Feb. 19 ony)- -2 one.

Cosby's light, understated, easygoing style should be perfect. Unfortunately, though From The Life Of The Marionettes' The Ingmar Bergman style harsh, pitiless, penetrating analysis of emotions and psyches displays all its power in his new film, "From the Life ment. Roman Polanski's cinematic adaptation, "Tess," is a rather long film, but it needs the length to cover the various plot machinations that Hardy created and also to set the scenes properly, to create the moods originally built by the novelist. And it's a beautiful, fascinating film, long but not tedious, highly detailed but not boringly so. Polanski is interested in both plot and character, and he develops both in rich, full manner.

Visually, it's magnificent. The overall look, by Pierre Guffroy, offers a superlative example of what a production designer does, and the cinematography is glorious. Geoffrey Unsworth began the job, and when he died in the middle of the film, Ghislain Cloquet took over without a single jarring camera note. Of course, credit in these areas also belongs to Polanski, just as the generally high caliber of the acting reflects upon the director. But if Polanski takes the credit for the excellent parts of the film, he must take the blame for the not-so-excellent parts, primarily the work of Nastassia Kinski in the title role.

The 17-year-old actress, a lovely young woman with a sensually pouting mouth, lacks the range to carry the role of the often-wronged but largely masochistic heroine who does not realize where pride ends and sheer obstinacy begins. Tess suffers, but she also grows, and Kinski, who almost suffers, never really grows. Tess is born a Durbeyfield, one of a rabble of children born to a pair of ne'er-do-well parents. One day, her father, portrayed in brilliant style by John Collin, is told by a busybody parson that he really is a D'Urberville, descended from Norman royalty. When Collin discovers that a family with the name of D'Urberville lives in the area, he's quick to pick up on the potential of financial reward, and he sends his lovely daughter to work there.

The family isn't really named D'Urberville; they bought the name and the estate, and their rakish son, played in superior manner by Leigh Lawson, makes this lissome lass the The Competition' A world-class competition among classical pianists isn't very much different from any other world-class event; pressure and stakes are high and the finalists of the Marionettes," but it remains vaguely dissatisfying. Perhaps it's because we've seen Bergman down to teach music in the local "high school. The other finalists are Amy Irving, who had a teen-age crush on Dreyfuss years earlier; Joseph Call, a New Yorker who has made up a reform school background in an attempt to gain publicity but whose real ambition is to become another Liberace; Ty Henderson, who satisfies all token requirements by being both black and homdsexual; Adam Stern, an expert at psychological warfare; and Vickie Krieger, a young Russian girl who has beautiful long hair and doesn't speak English (the logic of that clause is typical of that offered by Oliansky). Since Krieger doesn't speak English, that leaves only one girl for Dreyfuss to fall in love with. Anyone who guesses that it's Irving can go to the head of the piano bench.

Irving, who conquered Willie Nelson and guitar techniques in her last film, "Honeysuckle Rose," is charming, and when script and direction offer her the chance, she's excellent. Dreyfuss is a proven actor, but he spends most of his time pouting. The best moments of the film come front Lee Remick, as Irving's teacher, coach and chaperone. She's brittle and tense as she drives Irving toward the top, and it's a first-rate portrayal. The piano sequences are pretty ordinary, and the rest of the music, by Lalo Schifrin, would have been better for a television drama than for a film that is supposed to deal on a classical music level.

Somewhere, in the beginning of the project, Oliansky apparently was trying to make some statements about men and women and about the internal battle between love and ambition, set against a different, and unusual, background. But most of the notes are flat. (Running time: 2 hours, 9 minutes. Rating, PG. At the Chesterfield, Grandview, Mark Twain) that's the role he plays in "The Devil and Max Devlin," Cosby cannot make it work, though neither Richard Pryor, nor Jonathan Winters, nor old Beelzebub himself could have been successful.

The problem lies in the screenplay, by Mary Rodgers, and the direction, by Steven Stern, plus the fact that this is a Walt Disney production, which despite a PG rating, disregards all opportunities to be clever or subtle. The film, like all Disney productions, may be aimed at the younger audiences, but it's a mistake to treat youngsters as if they could not understand anything but the simplest of gags. The entertainment is minimal for adults, but this sort of cinematic approach to comedy usually finds some fans along the way. Elliott Gould, as Max Devlin, is a dishonest apartment house owner who will do nothing for his tenants, to the aren't always very nice to one another except when, perhaps, they fall in love. "The Com do this so many times before, partly it's because he works here in a semi-documentary style that makes everything almost bloodless.

Bergman's direction is colder and less emotional than ever before, and while there are emotions, they seem to exist in a vacuum while the director has disassociated himself from the goings-on. The film opens with the savage, brutal murder of a prostitute, in vivid color. petition" supposedly looks at this world, but writer-director Joel Oliansky has merely collected a group of cliche characters, inserted some Cold War nonsense and a silly love story and hired a group of pianists to dub in the competitive concertos. Richard Dreyfuss, perhaps the world's oldest spoiled brat, is trying once again to win this prestigious competition, which guarantees a concert tour. He has been trying to achieve stardom for years, but keeps falling short and now, nearing 30, he is taking his final shot before settling 3 ii it seen If you're really in love.

nothing's going to stand in your way. IISI IP Vincent CaW "One of the best films of the year." Andrew Sorris, VILLAGE VOICE "One of the most enjoyable movies of the year." Pat Collins, GOOD MORNING AMERICA "Richard Dreyfuss is first rate. Amy Irving is equally good." Charles Champlin, LOS ANGELES TIMES "An out-and-out crowd pleaser that should captivate audiences on a grand scale. In Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving it has the most appealing of romantic teams the chemistry between them is exceptional. Lee Remick is outstanding." Kenneth Turan, NEW WEST MAGAZINE "Exciting, authentic, and a great deal of fun an honest love story.

David Denby, NEW YORK MAGAZINE "Richard Dreyfuss, Amy Irving and Lee Remick give wonderful -Joel Siegel, WABC-TV COLUMBIA POURES Presents A RASTARWILUAM SACKHEIM PRODUCTION RICHARD DREYFUSS AMY IRVING LEE REMICK "THE COMPETITION" riMF-MFE FILMS A I Win SLISSKINU I'RtXX ION PAUL NEWMAN FORT APACHE, THE BRONX Starring EDWARD ASNERj KEN WAHL RACHEL TIC'OTIN DANNY A1ELLO PAM CRIER and KATHLEEN BELLE Music by JONATHAN TUNICK Produced by MARTIN RICHARDS and GILL CHAMPION Written by HEYWOOD COULD Directed by DANIEL PETRIE Executive Producer DAVID SUSS KIND I fJa MifmcTtb 3 1WNtiflMCINIUGV0X SAM WANAMAKER Original Music by LALO SCHIFRIN Executive Producer HOWARD PINE Screenplay by JOEL OUANSKY Story by JOEL OLIANSKY and WILLIAM SACKHEIM Produced by WIIUAM SACKHEIM Ejj, 1 DnlHDFHTU ClliniyrrUICCPCTFnml Directed by JOEL OUANSKY From RASTAR I ft MOW SHOWING AT THESE THEATRES I I I I Mi MS li.HMtHMU'M) WMOj fVinmnl iinW Trnrt Alhum MTA BmwH, An4 TnniM I I SOME MATERIAL MAY NOT IE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN STARTS TODAY! Sw. 12.15 MS lHS4iSS) 3i m. Sal. IMS 1.30 (IKS 4:30) 7:1010 Sw. 12:15 2:35 7,159:151 IAIE SHOW ST llflO IAII SHOW SAT.

II LATE SHOW SAT. 11-30 DAILY 1:15, 3:45, 7:00, 9:30 DAILY 1:30, 4:00, 7:00, 9:30 DAILY 1:30, 4:00, 7:13, 9:43 4.

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Pages Available:
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Years Available:
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