The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on March 19, 1972 · 491
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 491

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 19, 1972
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GALENDAB MARCH 19, 1972. LOS ANGELES TIMES unni.iiniu 11111.1 miimii nil i.,i ugjuuu iuiixhwtu' -ew t : Tirv-)-M-itowiuiiiiiiiic-irrr"" n-n r-v"- "" nWsvV.v--w"' n wxw vyww?twvtnimnvwwx ! Peter Finch an Eloquent Underplayer BY MARY BLUME LONDON Peter Finch might have been many things other than an actor. His father, George Inge-Finch, was a distinguished phvsicist and mountaineer who was on Mallory's 1922 Everest expedition. His grandmother, with whom he lived after his parents' divorce when he was 2, was an extraordinary lady who wore a gold headband, played the harp, knew Nijinsky, wrote pamphlets for Gandhi and who hauled .; Teter, age JO, from Vaucresson, France, . where they had been living, to India, where he was apprenticed to a Bud- dhist priest, shaved head and all (his parents had fits and had him promptly repatriated to his native Australia). As soon as Peter was old enough to leave school, he plunged into a series of jobs ranging from reporter to waiter. ' It was a stint as straight man to a comedian during the Depression that . decided him on acting. ' "I've always thought that in a depression actors, who are always on the edge of a precipice, weather it better than others," he says. "I thought why not go through life with these cheerful idiots, cooking baked beans on a gas ring." Avoided Typecasting The gas ring and baked beans were left behind years ago. Finch made his London stage debut in 1949, moving to films "for the bread," he says at a time when the big threat was being ; typecast In the war movies the British were churning out " 'You have to fight -the naval hat,' Johnny Mills used to Bay," Finch recelled. He avoided typecasting, a circumstance that he thinks may have stopped him from becoming really big box office. "The public is alarmed at somebody who can change his step," he says. Consistently undervalued, in the words of one American critic ("he is the most eloquent underplayer since Ralph Richardson, and far less studied"), Finch has lived in Jamaica and Rome (he now lives in Lugano, Switzerland) and has recently appeared in several turkeys. Now, at the age .of 55 comes his magnificent appearance in "Sunday Bloody Sunday," one of the great screen performances of our time, which has made him a leading contender for the Best Actor Academy Award. His Oscar nomination Is his first, and he is quite honestly delighted: "I don't have a dirty feeling about awards," he says. "The work comes first. If somebody gives you a prize it's very thrilling. Then you put the prize on the bookshelf and get back to work." Peter Finch was in London with his third wife, a beautiful and merry Jamaican, to receive his fourth British Oscar. Toward the end of the month they go to Hollywood where Finch starts work on a musical version of "Lost Horizon," in which he plays the old Ronald Colman role. The Ross Hunr. . . . , Please Turn to Page 14 .5 K t A- l....Ac ,: s - i - - V . , Vow Frank Puglia, as Bonasera, asks Don Coreone (Marlon Brando) to avenge assault on his daughter In "The Godfather," Albert S. Ruddy film based on Puzo novel. , MOVIE REVIEW 'Godfather': The Gangster Film Moves Uptown BY CHARLES CHAMPLIN - The most revealing thing I can tell you about "The Godfather" is that it cost $6 million and has already brought in more than twice that $13 million in advance payments from exhibitors eager to play what they're betting will be -a walloping great hit. And they're absolutely, 100 right, , as local audiences will start proving on Wednesday at the Village in Westwood and at Loew's Holly vood.. Mario Puzo's novel, was an irresistible, eventful, easy-to-digest, Jiard-to-put-down best seller (a half-million' hardbacks, 10 million paperbacks) and. Puzo and director Francis Ford Coppola, who coauthored the script, have delivered the novel just about as faithfully as a novel can be delivered. You liked the side action upstairs in the bedroom during the wedding? You . got it. Liked the horse-head bit? You ; got it. The restaurant caper with the crooked police captain? You got it, you got it. A slam-bang novel with boundless energy and the spicy suggestion that' all sorts of secrets are being told under thin disguises has become a rousing movie (a MOVIE-movie, as they say) which seems to me to succeed perfectly at what it set out to do. It is marvelously well cast and acted. It evokes a fairly nondescript period in American life the mid to late 40s with unerring fidelity and interest. It is swift and theatrical, probably the fastest three-hour movie in history. It is incessantly - and explicitly violent, but saves on emotional wear and tear by having the bad guys kill off the. bad guys, so that what's to care? .. As I remember the only innocent who gets it is the nice Sicilian wife who goes to pieces in the car, but that only sets you up for the massive counterblows back home. And at that, the whole extravagant operation is so Little Cae-sarean that to respond to it anywhere near the threshold of pain is like reading Harold Robbins for symbols. It misses the object of the enterprise. "The Godfather" is an entertainment, not a documentary, however close it may come to some of the realities .be-, . pplepse Turn to Page 18 Children's Theater in L. A. Lagging BY DAN SULLIVAN I Last week I described a tour I'd taken of children's theaters from this coast to the other one, a tour which sent me home convinced that children's, theater in the U.S.A. could stand a lot of Improvement. You will not be surprised to hear that that , goes for children's theater around here jtoq. ; ! ' There is a stirring of interest among the people who could help improve it, the people with the talent and the ones ? with the money. We may be in for a renaissance (if that word applies to an art that hasn't had its first flowering. yet). But it is only just starting to happen. The picture at present is spotty A flurry of professional shows at Christmas and Easter, some slick ("Snow White Goes West" at the Taper), some shaky ("Make a Promise, Keep a Promise" at the Hartford). Weekend shows at local colleges and little . theaters, wildly variable. A few old reliable groups like the Bob Baker Marionets, where you know you'll see a capable show if not always an inspired one. Southland Standout The closest thing to a spine that local children's theater has is Junior Programs of Southern California, a volunteer booking office for 11 different series of children's entertainment in the Los Angeles area, from Van Nuys to Orange County. Junior Programs has been around for 17 years; plays to a' total audience of about 50,000; has high standards (which it can't always meet); manages to ' keep its ticket prices reasonable ($1.50 top for kids) and seems to this observer to have its head on straight. This can't be said for every American housewife .who decides to do her bit for children's theater. ;' ? , , : All of the above adds up to something, but it is surprisingly little in a city so family-oriented as Los Angeles. We love our kids. We are demon shoppers when we're buying something "real" for them, like a pair of sneakers. But when it comes to theater, a flimsy charade in a cavernous auditorium will suffice, because that's all there was in the budget and they can't "tell," anyway. ' As noted last week, I think they can tell although they can't always articulate their disappointment. Which suggests a heresy some of our producing groups might ponder: If there isn't enough in the budget for a solid show in a workable house, perhaps there shouldn't be any show at all until the budget is stouter. An adult, after all, can shrug off two or three bad theater experiences in a row. A child may conclude that theater itself Is a drag. If this is "cultural enrichment,"- I'm against it. - Perhaps we would be wiser to keep live theater one of the mysterious, gla morous adult pleasures, like sex and aU cohol. Absolutely no admission to any .legitimate . theater until .1.6, , and, then, Please Turn to Page 2$

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