The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on April 3, 1994 · Page 67
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 67

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Wilmington, Delaware
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Sunday, April 3, 1994
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Page 67
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Sunday News Journal Wilmington, Del. n El April 3, 1994 Section H 1 J n JUULiUUUUU Ui MOVIES TV ARTS STAGE MUSIC ASCENT n GARY MULLINAX If newspaper films ever got it right, no one would watch In "The Front Page," reporters wear hats in the newsroom. In "The Paper," they don't. In the older movie, they bat out stories on a noisy typewriter. In "The Paper," they use computer terminals with keyboards that make the small, clicking sound of mice skittering over a kitchen floor. But one thing remains constant about Hollywood's view of newspaper folks: They are shabby, immature, cynical and have one of the greatest jobs in the world. Many newspaper movies feature a conflict between the news business where people hang out in bars, sleep in their office and will hog-tie their mother for a story and the quiet, regimented pleasures of domestic life. Hildy Johnson in 1931's "Front Page" was tempted to leave the Post, marry and the lowest level to which a reporter could sink become an advertising man. Michael Keaton in the cartoonish but entertaining "The Paper" is urged by his wife to take a 9-to-5 job at the New York Times-like Sentinel and forsake his crazy night work as metro editor of the tabloid Sun. Hildy finally sees the light. "I'm a rotter, and it's all I ever want to be," he announces after a prison escape starts his juices flowing like Dan Rather when he gets to cover a flood. And you'd be surprised if Keaton left the Sun. Hildy himself would be surprised by some things in "The Paper" besides computers and bare heads. It reflects the current struggle of newspapers to make enough money to stay competitive with other news sources. It conveys the taut drama of . . . meetings, now a major newsroom activity. Hildy also would scratch his head over the attention paid to ethics. Not much attention, mind you who has time? Here's a look at other good newspaper movies and what they say about changes or lack of them in the newspaper game: "His Girl Friday" (1940). "The Front Page" remade as screwball comedy, with Hildy as a woma'n (played by Rosalind Russell). But it maintains views of the original. "Citizen Kane" (1941). Thinly Marisa Tomel and Michael Keaton try to have a life and a career In "The Paper." veiled portrait of William Randolph Hearst. He has no ethics, using his paper to start a war, hype his wife's opera debut, lie about "fraud at polls" when he loses an election. "Teacher's Pet" (1958). Raffish editor Clark Gable prefers Hearst-style headlines like "Hatchet Murderer Slain in Love Nest." Teacher Doris Day wants papers smarter, deeper a sign of views to come. "All the President's Men" (1976). The Watergate coverage of Woodward and Bernstein made reporters look heroic, even if they still stayed out all night. They dug until they got the story the film is about the digging and an administration fell. They stayed cynical by looking past cliches about government honor, but were idealistic about their mission. "Between the Lines" (1977). Re-porters at an underground paper want to keep their post-Watergate idealism but feel burned out and miss the '60s. Still, they resist incursion by new owner wanting "broader-based readership." "Absence of Malice" (1981). The flip side of Watergate. What happens when reporters (here, Sally Field) are so eager to expose corruption they're careless about truth? Field was incompetent, but what about "legitimate" reporting of accusations that could ruin lives of people later judged innocent? "Under Fire" (1983). Journalists are viewed as gypsies who join other marginal characters wherever wars are fought. They're immune to harm as long as they're neutral. "I don't take sides, I take pictures," says a photographer (Nick Nolte). When he finally drops his journalistic objectivity (or cynicism), he becomes vulnerable. No more magic. Vi ' $ - : , if- i ? ? r I ' K 1 f . ' ,: - 'it'.' ' , 1 , I l t . it r i t v'i , 4 .V- i lt Yv r ir r , . v - I i -:'1;. VVNxJ 1 v f L A I - , ' OFA WOMAN Kellle Martin portrays a young turn-of-the-century schoolteacher, and Tyne Daly plays her mentor on "Christy." Gaby Hoffman plays an 11-year-old who copes with a fast-changing world In "Someone Like Me." f fBoys are watching sports and imitating Beavis and Butt-head. Girls have more complicated thought processes.JJ BRUCE HELFORD, 'Someone Like Me' creator ; )"""' -;. ) Who says coming-of-age tales have to be about boys? Several new TV series try to even the score by looking at adolescence through a girl's eyes. By DIANE WERTS Newsday Coming-of-age tales there's something so universal about those adolescent experiences. From "Leave It to Beaver" to "Boy Meets World": A young person awakens to all the wonders and heartaches that growing up has to offer. How universal. How half-baked. Why? Because discovering babes and flexing the muscles of manhood are not exactly the "universal" experience of the larger half of the human race: girls. Girls haven't received the same reverential coming-of- age treatment over the years. A series like "The Patty Duke Show" stands out precisely because it's such an exception. But this spring brings a minitrend of girl-focused shows to rectify the inequity: NBC's "Someone Like Me" premiered last month as a sort of girl-meets-world counterpoint, with Gaby Hoffmann (she's been seen in "Field of Dreams" and "Sleepless in Seattle") as a smart and sassy St. Louis 11-year-old. "Sister, Sister" joined ABC's "TGIF" lineup Friday, featuring tireless 15-year-old twins Tia and Tamera Mowry. Tonight, CBS premieres "Christy," starring Kellie Martin, formerly of "Life Goes On," as a 19-year-old living at the turn of the century. She leaves her city home to teach others who are less fortunate. f ! ., The most important newcomer may be ABC's upcoming "My So-Called Life," a perceptive hour seen through the eyes of a searching 14-year-old girl, from the creators of "thir- , tysomething." "It seems to be a bit of a reaction, because for a while we were having lots of shows like 'The Wonder Years' and 'Doogie Howser, M.D.' boys' coming-of-age shows," says ad maven Betsy Frank, senior vice president at Saatchi & Saatchi. The 1990 prime-time schedule was choked with sitcoms like "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Parker Lewis" and "Ferris Bueller" over-amped pranksters with overactive hormones, all of them male. See GIRLS - H3 Identical twins Tla and Tamera Mowry vow to stay together forever on "Sister, Sister." : ( i ' ' j Pat Carroll's Superiority complex A veteran actress is back in the habit with 'Nunsense II.' Carolyn Wyeth's "Mason Jar" has a stylized quality not often found In paintings of other Wyeths. Show casts some well-deserved light on the Wyeth family's gloomy recluse By GARY MULLINAX Staff reporter Carolyn Wyeth was the maverick in her family. That helped to keep her out of the limelight, but in some ways it made her the most interesting Wyeth of all. The Brandywine River Museum has installed a small selection of paintings in tribute to Carolyn, who died recently at age 84. Five oils by her and three portraits of her by family members suggest much about the kind- of person she was. A 1967 pencil sketch by younger brother Andy shows her sitting with unkempt hair as she gazes through a window at some classic Wyeth farmlar.i. She is smoking a cigarette a habit not generally associated with the relatively genteel Wyeth family oeuvre. You imagine the ashes piling up on the floor beneath her. Carolyn seems to have been unkempt from childhood given to threadbare sweaters and sturdy shoes even on big occasions. But public appearances were rare. She was an acknowledged recluse who said she enjoyed the company of her many pets more than the company of people. Though rebellious almost from the start a portrait by older sister Hen-riette captures her willfulness at age 13 See CAROLYN - H4 By BILL HAYDEN Staff reporter The big, bright, booming laugh bounces off the walls. It belongs to actress Pat Carroll, who uses it frequently during the conversation. She knows she'll hear it echoed by audiences coming to see "Nunsense II: The Second Coming." "The audience of any show is the other half of what we do. They react to and appreciate a performer's work," Carroll says. "That's why there's a part of me only satisfied in the theater." Satisfaction at the moment is playing. Mother Superior of the Little Sisters of Hoboken in the musical romp, which opens a 10-day run at Wilmington's The Playhouse on Friday. Like the original "T u u... is slight, more a revue ahhull than a musical. Carroll knows it's formulaic, and she revels in that. "It's almost a carbon copy of 'Nunsense.' Danny Dan Goggins has wisely kept the number of songs, the pacing, everything the same. After all, with a child, you never change the fairy tale." The original is in its ninth year off-Broadway. It's been done just about everywhere. In 1991, there were more than 300 productions playing around the world. As of this year, "Nunsense" has returned a 1,500 percent profit on its original investment of $150,000. a "Nunsense II" has been around only a year or so. In addition to Carroll's road company production, it's been done in this area at Philadelphia's Society Hill Playhouse. The Three Little Bakers Dinner Theater in Pike Creek What: 'Nunsense II: The Second Coming" When: Opens Friday, runs Tuesdays through Sundays through April 17. Curtain nightly at 8 (except Sundays, 3 p.m.), plus matinees Wednesday and Saturdays at 2. Where: The Playhouse, 10th and Market streets, Wilmington Information: Call 656-4401 Tickets: $22-$40 HAVE A ENTERTAINMENT STORY IDEA? CALL 324-2855 or (800) 323-7766 opens a version next month, as does the Milford community group Second Street Theater. The production gives audiences a variety show, church bingo, roller-skating nuns, Elvis impersonations, songs, dancing and, of course, nun jokes. This is Carroll's ninth company of "Nun sense and "Nunsense II." ("It's a habit with me. Sorry about the pun.") While her name is at the top of the credits and is being used to draw audiences, she says she's not really the star, just another of the five-member ensemble. "If one of us feels like breaking out in a bit, that's fine. We're all there behind her vamping and covering," she says. Doing the show is like revisiting her childhood, reliving her parochial school days in Los Angeles. "These are my nuns, the ones who were my teachers. I can't do anything in that habit that would offend them. But, I've never laughed as hard as I have with religious. They have Sev CARROLL, H4

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