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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England • 8

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The Guardiani
Location:
London, Greater London, England
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8
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ARTS GUARDIAN August 31 J973 i Shove Visions of Eight (left to right) Juri'Ozerov, The Claude, Ue etterling, 'The Strongest. Milos forinan. 'The Decathlon. John-ScHeslnger; Zetterl louch, 'The Michael Pfleghar, 'The Arthur Penn, 'The "The Longest' (top), and Kon Ichilcawa, The Below: Bob Dylan (centre), in Fat Carrett and Billy the Kid The week's new films reviewed by Derek Malcolm Mflfly eaiimimnlbaflnsedl Ichikawa, who has covered the ground before, not surprisingly runs out of inspiration in his examination of the sprinters. Claude Lelouch, who once did a superbly pyrotechnic Winter Games film, also misses his chances with The Losers while the contributions of Michael Pfleghar and Juri Ozerov are unbelievably amorphous.

Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea after all. I wanted to ask about a dozen questions a minute but I suppose df they'd been answered it would have been a different kind of film. As it is, you. have to take the very rough with the rather too smooth. Alan Myerson's Steelyard Blues (Warner West End, X) has Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, the stars of Klute," in an odd but satisfying little story that's a mixture of anarchic comedy and surprisingly biting social comment.

Half the time you don know what you are into at all, since its sense of narrative isn't very strong and it never belabours a point when it can just give you a gentle, nudge. But you finally find out that it's about the way society mates fairly harmless outsiders into dangerous adversaries by insisting they conform or get bust. Sutherland jlays a crazy Demolition Derby driver in and out of gaol for stealing the cars he uses, Fonda is his prostitute girl friend who services most of the local police force and the estimable Peter Boyle is a fantasy-ridden accomplice who is never quite sure whether he wants to go through life as Brando or Tom. Mix. The forces of law and order are led by the driver's corrupt brother, running for District Attorney.

The film presupposes that eccentricity is a great deal more charming than orthodoxy, which isn't always true but is at least an entertaining premise, and its slow-iburning black humour leaves something on the memory. I hope it doesn't get lost like that other genuine original, Bad There are too few of them about. Shaft In Africa (Empire Two, XV has Richard Roandtree's hip black private eye chasing slave dealers across Africa like a subfusc James Bond with expansive Third World principles and an even more insatiable taste for nymphets. It's quite a merry progress, with Frank Finlay doing one of his outrageous cinematic villains and various birds like Vonestta McGee and Neda Arneric succumbing with ill-conceived glee to the randy charms of our hero. John Guillermin directs as if he hasn actuallv seen the original but knows roughly what's wanted.

If I thought the movie was serious for a moment I'd find it rather retrograde. There must be more to the black cause than swinging gonads. It was only a matter of time before we got round to a black Dracula too. But Blacula (Classic Victoria, X) is a pretty tatty first attempt. I am indebted to William Crain's film, however, for the surprising knowledge that vampires multiply geometrically and for the line, slowly drawled by a nightclub drunk on meeting William Marshall's Count Say, maa that's one strange dude." 8 ANY DISCUSSION of Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Empire X) has to take account of the fact that the film has been extensively re edited and shortened, and not by Peckinpah, who at one time threatened to have his name taJken off it altogether.

It has also had relatively minor censorship cuts for this country, almost all involving the type of bloodletting that was let through complete at the time of "The Wild Bunch." It has not, when all is said and done, been as badlv massacred as the same director's ill-fated "Major Dundee but it can scarcely be quite the movie that Peckinpah set out to make. In a way, there's only the shell for guidance, or perhaps more accurately the stuffing. And people who keep on saying that it is a satisfyingly open film, which doesn't attempt to tie its loose ends, may thus he making excuses for the devil. Fortunately, the thesis around which Peckinpah's exploration of the famous legend is based is still clear enough, and his familiarly ambivalent view of the Western myth in general has never been more Moreover, his setting of the scene is as powerfully resonant as ever (John Coquillon is the cameraman), and it is beautifully underscored by Bob Dylan's original music, which contributes much rnoTe than his presence in a minor and monosyllabic rdle. The film postulates that Garrett (James Coburn) has successfully, to all but himself and Billy, come to terms with the 'changing times in which he finds himself.

Billy (Kris Kristofferson) has not. With the new land barons putting railings round the West, Garrett has decided to stalk more gingerly on the right side of the law as a well-paid accomplice for exploitative security and order. The Kid regards him as a traitor, not least to himself and it is not too difficult to detect that Peckinpah, though he understands the older man. is on Billy's side. Garrett's real motive in pursuing Billy may be an obsessive jealousy of the young man's contempt for authority and hell-for-leather sense of freedom.

He has got to catch up with him to rekindle his belief in himself, to prove that his reading of the situation in the West is right and perhaps to satisfy Peckinpah's own neurosis about the way the world is Within this context, Peckinpah's West is the usual detailed tapestry of both the cynical and sentimental viewpoints. It is rough, tough, and dirty, the opposite of the sparkling but plastic hinterland of today. There's the joy through strength bit, the total disregard for death which has so many colour-fully gnarled characters biting the dust so perfunctorily that one is forced to wonder by what miraculous method they reached middle-age in the first place. The violence, which I did not find particularly noxious physically in the uncensored print, is certainly eye-popping though only in its implications. But characteristically Peckinpah the sentimentalist can also include a loving sequence between Xaty Durado and a dying Chill Wills that seems like an obeisance not only to the veteran TELEVISION by Nancy Banks-Smith MY IDEA of a beauty contest is tike this' week's little contretemps in Catania -where a man elbowed his way through bikini clad girls, snatched the microphone away from the master of ceremonies and shouted into it "Turi Papale, if you are here come out I daro say it sounds even better in Italian.

There is no mention of who became Miss Sicily. The recorded result, when the gangflght and gunfire had died down was live -wounded, three critically. How different from the home life of "Miss Great Britain 1973 (Yorkshire). The essential Britishness of this home (or half) baked affair lay in the way the compere Fred Dineage, and the contestants kept on about the weather. As well they might for it came down in stair rods throughout the contest.

This was the firsl beauty contest in which I have seen the girls parade in bathing suits carrying plastic umbrellas. They -were congratulated on TWO AND TWO MAKE by Michael Biilington MODERN SEX-COGMEDY is rapidly becoming a machine-made affair. And having closely perused the working parts of "Two and Two Make Sex," manufactured by Richard Harris and Leslie Darbon and unveiled to early buyers last night at the Cambridge Theatre, I have drawn up a few rules to guide others hoping to market their projects in the "West End. 1. At no time must there be any hint of real sexual contact.

Mention of the body must be accompanied by nervous gulps, flies must remain steadfastly zipped and anyone sitting on a bed must pay a forfeit by being stabbed in the rear by a sharp object. Only people of the same sex may enjoy, a close relationship. Vide the current model where only Patrick Cargill as a middle-aged adulterer with a virility-crisis and Terence Alexander as an ex-RAF chum are allowed to display untethered affection for each other. Confirms thesis that sex-comedy is really for people who hate sex. 3.

All references to 3p, (intellectuals and women who wort must be openly insulting. Again refer to Hams-Darbon model which (oh-so-lbriEiantly) satirises a roc3c-group called The treats psychiatrists as frauds for using words like F- manic depres- sive psychosis," regards 'an agony column journalist with derision for village killings receive short shrift. Instead, we are offered impressionistic jottings with only John Schlesinger, examining the preparation and disappointment of a British marathon runner, realising the paramount importance, of a wisp of narrative line. It's a movie which moves from the briefly imaginative io the plain dull. Mai Zetterling's eye for absurdity takes an the weight-lifters amusingly, Milos Forman makes a Czech comedy out of judges, bandsmen and spectators weaved round the decathlon, Arthur Penn tries a lyrical slow motion essay with the pole vaulters and Kon director has achieved for some time.

This has, amid mounting tension, the inflexible Garrett finally catching up with a now resigned and cornered Billy Go on," says someone, do it now you've got the chance and shooting him down as he potters about the house at early dawn searching for a drink. His will at last done, he rides, gloomily out of town appalled by 3iis own lack of feeling. Both Coburn and Kristofferson (formerly a folksinger), though not In my book ideally cast, give revealing performances, with Richard Jaecfcel, Slim. Pickens, Jack Elam and other Mai players themselves but to John Ford at his most sinvplistically humane. Then there's the quietly lyrical episode by the river when a tired Garrett watches from the bank as an old man on a riverboat takes pot shots at a floating bottle.

"WTien the lawman tries to play the game, the old man trains his gun on him jn suspicious silence as the craft floats by. Miraculous. Much of the film is sprawling and episodic in structure it may well have been the more so before the cutting but achieves saving tightness in the final reel or so which could well be accounted one of the best things the keeping their footing in the slippery going. The weather reports grew yet more frenzied "This howling gale" "We've just lost the gaiety continued under cover in the appropriately named Winter Gardens filled, one likes to thinik, with happy holiday makers perspiring in plastic macs. The publicity for the contest promised the panel of judges will provide a surprise." The surprise.

I assume, was that for once Katie Boyle and Graham Hill weren't on the bench. The judges were I noticed seated behind the girls as they paraded in bathing suits. This is not, in my experience, a good thing. The last time I sa-w Dinenagewe were judging a beauty contest from precisely this position. As remarked, girls who looS divine advancing tend to be distressing retreating.

I was reduced to bottom in order of precedence, of bounce, or of ibagginess. I dare say it is as fair a criterion as any. SEX in Cambridge daring to compete- in a man'a world. 4. People must always be able to get through on the phone in the time it takes to diai one digit.

5. Sound effects should never come from the actual source and if anyone drops a tray on exiting, the noise should resemlble the San Francisco earthquake multiplied by seven. 6. DPseudo-Wildean quips is like a bath the longer you lie in it, the colder it should be delivered with a fixed stare and an artfully arrested gesture to indicate the presence of something witty. 7.

A ipart should always be written for Patrick Cargill since he is one of the best English farce actors whether absent-mindedly catching his crotch' a chest-expander, gulping down air like a goldfish, with heart failure or rotating his hips like Carmen Miranda he, can fce guaranteed to' flog the limipest script into life. 8. Include, a role for young ingenue so that she may arouse to uncontrollable paroxisms of lust by actually appearing in her bra, 9. Ensure title is vaguely titillating without being offensive to Aunt Edna, who is getting quite frisky in her old age. 10.

Don't read critics the. next morning since you may-feel like h.octinig yourself by luneh-time. you may feel like shooting them. review SCOTTISH OPERA at Sadler's Wells by Philip Hope-Wallace familiars contributing" good looking cameos. Vintage Peckinpah in parts but certainly less than satisfying as a whole.

But if you really wanted to know precisely why, you'd probably have to ask the cutters at MOM, and all those editors brought in to tidy up. Davdd Wohper's Visions of Eight (ABC, U) is exactly what it says it is the visions of eight directors apropos the Munich Olympic Games. Sports fiends who want a cinematic summation of the high points of the Games, the documented glories of the Spitzs, the Korbets and the "Virens might as well not go. Even the Olympic caressing of tl. orchestral phrases, xof i comment exaotly "placed -I's- 5 things were achieved to "No magic," I jqjrge; orfTieej9' But excitement arfd in this relatively short funnel of a anreorhilJtrating sting, like the sea Helga Dernesch is adiantiy'tuti-ful Isolde, her words, her rhythm, her buoyant feeling for the phrase and the glow and feminine warmth of the timbre in the middle of the voice produce wonderful results some of the high bids including the end of the Liebestod were lost.

A stiff, shouty but sincere Tristan, the Finnish tenor Pekka Nuotio, was no match for this Isolde as an artist Ann Howard. John Shaw and Frederick Donaldson were serviceable contributors. Scottish National Orchestra, and Chorus (Arthur Oldham) did a splendid job. It was the lighting and the sets which worked against the spell of what was nevertheless a very Impressive offering. manager job where he drove the ranks of reps.

His son, he observes, is -a guitar-playing commie, his daughter had been touched with a tarbrush by marrying an Anglo-Indian and, for the first time he isn't sure whether it's his world that's crumbling or himself. The play carries many of the scars of determined amateur -writing a sentimental tone and melodramatic style, a generally second-hand feeling. I doubt that it would delay a television drama head from his gin for very long. But it's at least as competent as much of the professional writing that runs around, the regional theatres for years on And it has a tough compassion and a depth of feeling that is often sadly, lacking, ftpm, repertory fodder. "not change course of.

Jnitit's proved that can, as good, as lit Bill. Cripps's production. hTas aa. jmginatiye set. by.

Kay Lett, using blown-up photographs and projected slides; but In other yrays it's woodenrWhicli- is a'hame; i. SCOTTISH OPERA (for details see this page Tuesday: Gerald Lamer) making its first trip south (we've' heard them broadcast) gives us their German Tristan und Isolde at old Sadler's Wells, not an easy theatre in which to make the magic pot boil with this opera. Rightly a sell-out and rightly received with rapture, it in fact had unmagical moments (the Prelude, the 'Watch, the long wait at Kareol's sea-girt castle). I will be blunt and personal. The Isolde looked stunning.

Visually in all other respects the picture seemed to me bleak, ugly, tin-poetic and the action (directed toy Michael Geliot) pared down to nou-exdstence or even nonsense. But my pulse beat gloriously in time and tune with Alexander Gibson's beautifully sensitive and exciting- control of such episodes as the wait before the Tryst (Act 2), and the boiling fervour of Tristan's agony. Forward movement, balance and, when aexxwn-panyilrtg that really magnificent Kins Mark of David Ward, with a special THE PROMS on Radio 3 by Meirion Bowen THE PURITAN and the sensualist alike must succumb to the Monteverdi Vespers (1610) Small wonder that Westminster Cathedral was packed for this Prom performance, the Albert Hall for once completely forsaken. Stylistically unique, the work sums up an epoch its use of plain chant, and i-jof technique go back "centuries into the Middle Ages and it is a progenitor of future expressive uses of musical language a vast compendium of techniques, in short, 'that enables these settings of psalms and interspersed with sacred concerti, comfpletely-jtO'lranscend the liturgical functions for which they were intended. The rewards of the Vespers are endless, for every conductor can devise his own performing edition, depending on the available vocal and instrumental resources, and the place in which the performance is to foe mounted.

The realisation used in this Prom was that originally devised for a performance back in 1967 in Ely Cathedral by John Eliot Gardiner this one has established itself especially through subsequent Prom performances. Certainly, its publication and recording are now overdue. Gardiner himself directed here, placing his many soloists, choruses and 1 instrumentalists at various points in the cathedral so as to bring out the theatrical character of the music manifest not only in echo effects and operatic roulades but in a stunning THAD JONES Ronnie by Ronald Atkins STILL A NOTCH ahead of any rival, the Thad Jones-Mel Levfis orchestra proves that an alert mind and a willingness to take chances can rise above the dreariest conventions, The band's material owes everything: to tradition you cannot, after all, go back much further than I got rhythm." Yet such pieces as Little pixde and Tiptoe which use this most basic harmonic sequence are precisely the ones that give the band its edge. The rhythm section weaves in and out behind the soloists, who are poropeBed by the brass placing accents where least expected. If you catch the -band at Bonnie Scott's club you should keep an eye on as part of -the' fun comes from anticipating when -he will, say, bring in a section or suddenly cut out bass or drums.

variety of tone colours and textures. If anything, his reading of the work, modified over the years, leans now too far in the direction of sensuous indulgence. There are far too many pull-ups, and the long drawn out cadences do turn into a mannerism. Further, Gardiner's actual scoring sometimes impedes the rhythmic impact of the music (and Monteverdi's rhythmic freedom is one of the hallmarks of the Vespers). For instance, an obvious response to the line Gloria Patri et QFilio wherever it occurs is to bring in the full brass, organ con-tinuo etc but whereas in Nasi Dominus" such treatment provides a fine climax to the movement, in the earlier setting of Psalm 121, Laetatus sum," continuous held notes obscure the cross accents caused by intricate imitative vocal writing.

I mention such an instance not merely as a musicological nicety, but simply because an accumulation of such details can radically alter the effect of the music. There were many points of this kind about which one could argue until the oo-ws home. But I'm glad to say that the performance overall gave a very authentic view of Monteverdi. Gardiner obtained alert playing and singing from the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra. The three tenors, Robert Tear, Philip Langridge, and Ian Partridge, were outstanding, among the many soloists and; coping with an infinity of elaborate brass lines, often in high registers, were the incomparable Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

Scotts The individuals who stand out are, as usual, Billy Harper and Jerry Dodgion 'on Jimmy Knepper on trombone, Jones himself on flugelhorn, and pianist Roland' Hanna, for and. accorapanyifcg'patterns as much for his engagingly eclectic solos. On the debit side, the trumpet section' gets an unnecessarily strident sound' When blowing flat out the art lies in playing' loud and mellow. Also, Mel Lewis' drum includes a rivet cymbal sets up an almighty clatter, all, the more noticeable because the rest of bis playing fits'so well. Finally, the' band does need new arrangements one randomly detects a loss inspira-' tion because soloists and listeners have too often gone over the same ground.

INDIAN SUMMER in Chesterfield by Robin Thornber DEREK COLEMAN was at a loss tot fill the director's page In the programme at Chesterfield Civic Theatre a few months ago. So he announce! a. playwrighting contest. Without really expecting any entries, because the londition was that the author should have seen at least one production at Chesterfield Civic Theatre. In fact eight plays were submitted for the 25 prize.

Four were rejected immediately, two -were better than the run of the mill manuscripts that bounce their way around the country's repertory theatres. And two are being' staged during the autumn season. (The other, by a 19-year-old actress, follows la October.) So "Indian" Summer" is a newjilajr, a first play by Vic Hutchinswn, a Chesterfield salesman who1 -has been writing short stories and collecting; rejection slips for 30 years. It's -what the theatre publicists call a' moving; story about an ex-Indian Army naafor made redundant from the sales.

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