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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi • Page 14
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi • Page 14

Jackson, Mississippi
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14 Cfee A-Thursday, June 3, 1976 100 Copw $3.25 f'om Your Cwradv Cop 8'4 11" 20 Lb. Willi Bond Bl Ink 103 Emi Mrl Smmi PHont 355-4751 Dixie Rubber Stamp Seal Co. 514 E. Amite St. 948-1851 5 fir as BREAKFAST SPECIAL 00 Staff pnoio oy Angeo Meyers 3 LARGE FLUFFY PANCAKES, 2 FRESH LARGE EGGS FIXED AS YOU LIKE THEM WHIPPED BUTTER, HOT SYRUP Bobbie Gentry Arrives At 'Billie Joe'' Premiere arm around her mother, she greets onlookers at the Paramount 6Ode To Billy Joe' Strangely Moving 49 SHONEY'S FAMOUS STRAWBERRY PIE mcti By JOE LEYDON HIGHLAND VILLAGE WESTLMO HTTIEIBUQ KICKWUH6 rhr's Somlhng Good For lvtryon Af Shorten RESTAURANT DRIVE-IN nP.u WrCX.ncv UIIIIU I horrible tragedy than the director would (or could) show.

That scene gives a firm bedrock of realism to the folk tale Baer and Raucher have created, and helps to make "Ode to Billy Joe" a film that transcends its limitations, a film well worth remembering. I fi, BREAKFAST SERVED DAILY City Feels Hollywood Glamour By OTIS L. SANFORD Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer Downtown Jackson felt the touch of Hollywood for the second time in eight months Wednesday night with the world premiere showing of "Ode to Billie Joe." Lines of onlookers began assembling around the Paramount Theatre, site of the initial showing, more than two hours before the movie was to begin. Each person seemed to have a different reason for appearing at the sod-out world premiere showing, rj. "I am just curious to see what the movie is about," said Rayner Preston, who, along with hundreds others, spent $5 to be one of the first to see the highly publicized "I don't go to movies much," Preston, of Bay Springs, said.

"But when I found out that this one was filmed in Mississippi, I just had to see what was going on." Another anxious spectator, Becky Norton, said her main reason for attending the premiere was "to to become one of the first to learn the mystery behind what he (Billie Joe) three threw off the (Tallahatchie)bridge." Bright lights and cheering fans greeted "Ode to Billie Joe" stars prior to the showing of the film. Robbie Benson, who plays the male lead of Billie Joe McAllister, and Glynnis 0Connor, who portrays the female leading role of Bobbie Lee Hartley, made their premiere-night appearance at the theatre in chauffeur-driven limousines. Also included among the list of celebrities was singer and songwriter Bobbie Gentry, a native Mississippian who wrote and recorded the 1967 folk ballad on which the movie is based. The film was shot in the Greenwood area last summer. The world premiere Wednesday night marked the second major motion picture initially shown in Jackson, But although it wasn't Jackson's first premiere, the gala pagaentry surrounding "Ode to Billie Joe" stirred widespread interest.

"This movie tells a lot about our state," said Clark Howell of Kosciusko who attended the Clarion-Ledger Entertainment Editor Director Max Baer and scriptwriter Herman ol Raucher have taken Bobbie Gentry's wistful ballad Ode to Bill Joe, and turned it into a tragic story of teenage romance. The transformation is at first rather jarring and at times somewhat contrived but the re suit is a strangely moving film that surprises and disturbs. Raucher has taken pains to polish the regional dialect, sometimes with stilted results. caution you not to act in a rash Bu) somehow, the talented cast hich Baer has assembled make even the most awkward lines ring true. GLYNNIS O'CONNOR anc Robby Benson portray the star-crossed lovers of Gentry's ballad, and both make the glow of adolescent passion burn warmly.

O'Connor plays Bobbie Lee Hartley, a small-town girl whose romantic fantasies have been fueled by pulp magazine superlatives. She gives a sensitive, perceptive performance, projecting the tentative fires of blooming womanhood. As the doomed Billy Joe McAllister, Benson is equally effective. The role is a tricky one, calling foi gangling awkwardness and rash intensity. To balance these excellent performances, Baer has gathered a fine supporting cast.

Joan Hotch-kins and Sandy McPeak as Bobbie Lee's parents, Terence Goodman as her macho brother, and Simpson Hemphill as Brother Taylor are all noteworthy. AND PARTICULAR PRAISE should be given to James Best, in the pivotal role of Dewey Barks-dale. To give "Ode to Billy Joe" an exceptional polish and glow, Baer has taken pains to use a superb technical crew. Michel Hugo's sundrenched color photography carefully conveys the sweltering ambiance of the Delta country. Frank E.

Morriss' editing is a tremendous asset to the film. In one jamboree scene, for example, he intricately scrambles at least three different plots into a pulsating kaliedoscope of action. Raucher has been accused of being overly sentimental, and some of this criticism is valid. One also wishes that he had come up with another reason for Billy Joe's leap off the Tallahatchie Bridge, but it cannot be said that he took an easy way out. HOWEVER, there is a darker side to Raucher's romantic spirit that lingers in the mind long after the film's final frames.

At the end of "Summer of '42," one could not help but wonder if the hero's first sexual experience may have traumatized him for the rest of his life. Likewise, the final image of Bobbie Lee smug and unnervingly world-wise as she faces the person who caused Billy Joe's death undercuts the nostalgic mood of Baer's film, and suggests a more a-'dLlS A Distinctive 2-Story Contemporary Planned For Expansion if I HO, 776. Price Includes All Materials From Foundation Plate Up To Complete the First Floor and Rough-In Heating and Plumbing of The Second Story Which Can Be Finished Now or Later. The Spirit of 76 is NOT a pre-fab, NOT a shell house. It is the complete material package necessary to build this attractive modern residence.

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