Hartford Courant from Hartford, Connecticut on December 10, 1982 · 35
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Hartford Courant from Hartford, Connecticut · 35

Hartford, Connecticut
Issue Date:
Friday, December 10, 1982
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www PUBLIC NOTICE TRUCKLOAD SALE DEC. 10-12, Fri., Sat., Sunday Only Famous "Everglow" UL KEROSENE HEATERS MUST RAISE CASH This distributor sponsored sale is a result of warm November weather DEALERS WELCOME Free - siphons - 5 gal. can with each purchase. $15.00 Value STAN THE POOL MAN 1010 Burnside Ave. East Hartford 289-9 120 Affordable Heating 10 A.M.-6 P.M. t DAILY- jCjC 5jC 2fc fC cyVj bints From 5 ArtGaUeru V, r " t Showcase w Presents M 'iNE-.-YOUTE NEVER all LIKE THIS BEFORE... "BETTER THAN -rocky:.. DONTWSS THIS nurar n PG PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED SOME MATERIAL MAV NOT 8E SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN (7;359:4011:3SrJ 'iO 9:40 11:50 1 i i...iiujiUhiiiju..iIi.iuI-.i.ji! in.Li..uuiJUliu.iiji...iu.iii.iLiiil..iu..l.l mumiumui-L.., iuii nmiijin xumii.jjlll.ui.iihi jiu liiy.uLau , 'A K$f mm S . I f utlil'l- '-f (mm mmnmmvm. ROY SCHEIDER MERYL STREEP "STILL OF THE NIGHT" . JESSICA TANDY Director of Photography NESTOR ALMENDROS, A.S.C Story by DAVID NEWMAN and ROBERT BENTON Screenplay by ROBERT BENTON Produced by ARLENE DONOVAN Directed by ROBERT BENTON j Available in paperbadi from Ballantinp BoukJ IMSTMHIIIED RV TECHNICOLOR" PANAVLSION Copyright (c) MCMLXXXM Unmd Artists Corporation Alt Rights Reserveo shown with GOIN'ALL THE WAY United Artists MGMUA iNtuuiimt'co 4irTnmr niinin mi imrn unniirn mrnimitr finnminrn n murmimur nnirtr imn ill r lllllll ItTIMCTlP SS 1 n nvmt ctiwiir itii w mill tauam n iiiiiiiiHini OOLBy STEREO IN SELECTED THEATRES nimHUiiiiMui w CrtMCAJUtXltffttnPCWC0rperMeri r ' 1:20 7:30 9:55 11:55 yfWJMPlPMMMJilBlpaM iu rur , RICHARD PRYOR JACKIE GLEASON 4vx y P'J i.nn 7.0ft Nitt. t.VV I.U 9:35 11:40 When Jackie Gleason told his son he could have any present he wanted, he picked the most outrageous gift of all. Richard Pryor. COLUMBIA PICTURES Presents a RAY STARK Production a RICHARD RON film RICHARD PRYOR JACKIE GLEASON "TllT TAU" TmrPA pi hit i iiMirntn imnr uitiiTr urn nriTTu pprtt or nr. ui tntHwti mrn un ut-nn t ntu m i mM MwmL .. to set, PATRICK WILLIAMS CHARIB ROSEN toJARH BOOTH FRANCIS VEBER fe.,lM0 KOVACS, A.S.C. so CAROL SOBIESKI M ipgi Hutnu mm sucgsra HM WTtMt U Ml M SWTWI 'M MMl hut hi PimlilIHioMltASinR ii i ' DEC. 22) (DEC. 17) Peer Si(ers ' II I 1 1 11 WMk TUB AND A GENTLEfilAN g- 11:50 7:15 9:45 12i00l Sill 11:407:20 8:55 12:051 THE HARTFORD COUR ANT: Friday, Deembf t0, 1982 B7 d!7 A1 V lo I A At ' 1 I Mi ft J Richard Pryor in "The Toy " Pryor Is Only Fun Aspect of 'The Toy' By MALCOLM L. JOHNSON Courant Film Critic Back in Hollywood's heyday, movie moguls used to buy up successful European films and remake them as vehicles for their reigning stars. For Christmas 1982, Ray Stark, who is something of a throwback to the studio bosses of yore, has repackaged the 1979 French film "The Toy," but the translation is slapdash and clumsy. Once again, however, Stark is in luck. His star, Richard Pryor, saves "The Toy." Cast as an unemployed journalist so desperate for money that he sells himself into virtual slavery as a rich kid's plaything, Pryor does everything from frantic physical comedy to subdued sentimental drama. Individually, his scenes are wonderful. It's how they are fitted together that sabotages "The Toy." The problems seem to arise more from Richard Donner's direction than from the script by Carol Sobieski (who also reworked the book of "Annie" for Stark), although Sobieski has perhaps tried to introduce too many disparate elements into her narrative. In any case, "The Toy" seems totally out of control most of the time. The changes in tone are stupefying, and as often as not a sequence will begin abruptly, with little or no exposition. Even the photography of the gifted Laszlo Kovas is uneven. Like all too many of today's Hollywood movies, "The Toy" seems to have been assembled by a committee. Narrative gaps abound; continuity seems to have been sacrificed in favor of keeping things jumping from mood to mood. This has been a problem with at least one earlier Donner picture as well; even the finished version of his "Superman" leapt from the straight to the camp in a single bound, and reportedly Richard Lester had to be brought in to bring some sort of order to the chaos. "The Toy" ought not to have been such a problem; essentially it's a simple social comedy with heart in which a poor little rich boy buys himself a friend. But a lot of things get in the way of telling the story. In adapting the original film, written and directed by Francis Veber (who also wrote "La Cage aux Folles"), Sobieski has decided to have a bit of fun with Southern stereotypes. They turn out to be rather dated and boring. The spoiled kid's father, named U.S. Bates, is a Big Louisiana Daddy who owns everything in town taking us right back to that piece of pseudo Faulkner, "The Long Hot Summer" of the '50s. He is a classic racist who consorts with a KKK Grand Dragon and won't even hire blacks on his newspaper the reason for the chronic penury of Pryor's col- FILE! nEVIElV lege-educated newspaper reporter. Undoubtedly there are still a few folks like this deep down in the New South, but Sobieski's satire doesn't ring true. Nor does it help that Jackie Gleason is cast as the Daddy. Once again, television's "The Great One" shows that he is not so great when it comes to the big screen. Although he does pull an amusingly sad face in one nice medium shot, Gleason seems generally bored with the proceedings. And he is about as Southern as Minnesota Fats or Ralph Kramden. One has the feeling that he isn't even trying, and is just yielding the field to Pryor. And if every wrinkle seems to have been smoothed . away through the magic of modern movie makeup, Gleason doesn't seem like the father of a 9-year-old kid. And he has virtually no rapport with cute freckled Scott Schwartz, who makes his debut as young Eric Bates often called Master in one of the -film's more threadbare running gags- But there a couple of good performances from the supporting cast. Teresa Ganzel makes a fairly smashing impression as a sort of latter-day Billie Dawn, a pneumatic, semi-psychotic blonde named Fancy that ole U.S. found in an Amarillo bar. Ned Beatty is rather disappointing as the Daddy's groveling yes man, but as always, 79-year-old Wilfred Hyde-White is smoothly wry as a veddy upper-class butler won by U.S. in a billiard game. And the bright-eyed little Schwartz manages to make Erik both rotten and pitiable. But all pale beside Pryor. Even in a less than worthy picture, he is the funniest man in the movies today. He can do everything, from a deadpan low-key sight gag which parodies the otherworldliness induced by the Walkman phenome-: mon as he peddles his bicycle through, one disaster after another to the manic transitions he goes through while transforming himself into an entire football team. Pryor will probably turn "The Toy" into a hit, but once again, he presents us with the prospect of a comic genius in the service of inferior material. When his concert films outshine his much more costly features; -the contemporary Hollywood comedy is obviously in trouble. ' "The Toy" opens today at Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford. Rated PG, this film offers relatively tame dialogue from Pryor, but some of its verbal and visual jokes are sexually oriented. OK for older kids. niJ ffiiyj i mam Whether you're eating out or staying in, count on The Courant to tell you what's good. fhcfeftfofibgtattfaitt For home delivery call 241-6200, or call toll free 1-800-842-1668.

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