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Theater always movie star Edward G. Robinson's first love By Burt Prelutsky Special to the Los Angeles Times B E VE R L Y HILLS, CALIF.--Though I had written him a letter requesting an interview, it came as a shock to pick up the phone and hear that familiar voice at the other end saying, "Hello, this is Edward G. Robinson." After all these years and all those movies, I guess I half-expected him to order me out of town: He was born Emmanuel Goldenberg 78 years ago, in Bucharest. His family came to America when he was nine years old. Sitting on his patio, smoking the stump of a cigar, he recalled never having felt like a greenhorn. "What I do remember from my earliest years was being terribly a m b i t i o u s . In school, I was very competitive and I always seeking some form of recognition. I desperately wanted to win a medal in athletics, but anyone could beat me at anything. Finally, though, I won an award as a debater. From that I got into high school dramatics and amateur theatrics. And with that, the die was cast." Although he has made well over 100 movies, he ROBINSON THEATER I Formerly Cvlt*r ThÂ«*trÂ«) JOS W. Woih. St. M. 141.9431 Â· r*Â«omrlng Only family TypÂ» XovlÂ«l 1 SHOW IKKTir-- 7: 1 5 P. Â·. HOW SHOWING " " AIRPORT STARRING Â· DEAN MARTIN Â· BURT LANCASTER Â· HELEN HAYES ItiOIIYUOOl) 10Q8QunierSt 3460041 RATED ADULT ACTION FILMS 21 and over DOUBLE FEATURE PROGRAM Show Changes Each Wednesday 11 AM thru 11:00 PM didn't make his first one until he was 36 years old. I wondered what he had done in the meantime. "I appeared in over 40 plays. The theater was always my first love. When I starred in my one and only gangster play, "The Racket," we did 10 weeks in San Francisco and L. A. That was in 1927. All the movie tycoons saw it, but I refused to sign with them. I had no respect for the movies. Instead, I returned to New York and did some more plays. Even after "Little Caesar," I returned to Broadway. I had a terrible flop, though, and that cooled my ardor somewhat. I felt that after 40 plays, I would have had enough of a following to at least keep a show going for a few weeks. I felt that I had been faithful 'to the stage, but the stage wasn't being faithful to me. Even when I signed with Warner Brothers, I insisted on keeping four months of each year free to do theater. But I didn't exercise my option. For one thing, I got lazy. And greedy. Today, I regret not having done more theater. I regret it terribly." I asked him if there hadn't been more than am- ple compensation in doing movies, considering the size of the a u d i e n c e they r e a c h e d . "Not really. There's really no substitute for playing to a live audience. In my case, I'm afraid, the size of the audience didn't mean a lot. The size of the paycheck did." About "Little Caesar," which he made in 1930, he says, "I don't honestly understand its success. It seems like an ordinary gangster movie to me. I can't comprehend its still being around to haunt me. After I made that and a few other t o u g h - g u y movies, people actually got the idea that I talked out of the corner of my mouth, packed a gun and knocked off Humphrey Bogart every morning before breakfast. Things got so bad that when I went shopping for a house, some people would refuse to open the door if they saw it was me standing there. And drunks would always want to challenge me. I always talked my way out of fights, though. I'd tell them that they were all a lot tougher than me. These showdowns would take place in the unlikeliest places--even, on occasion, in toilets, while I 'Men Women' ho hum film on James Thurber's life By Robert DIBartolomco "THE WAR BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN," Jack Lemmon, Barbara Harris. Capitol. *% "The War Between Men and Women" is n bittersweet comedy loosely based on the life of James Thurber. His.cartoons especially "The Last Flower" are featured throughout the movie. The technique of playing live actors against an animated background, which I personally find annoying, is used extensively. This film is neither horrendously bad nor very good; it is simply blah. Jack Lemmon is a bachelor who dislikes women, children, and dogs. Sexual attraction and eventually love lure him into marriage with Terry Kozlenko, Barbara Harris, a divorcee with three children and a pregnant dog. Thus the premise for humor is established, but the picture deteriorates rapidly. "Birds and Bees" Jokes and never ending series of FILM REVIEW JOE KIOD" STARTS AT DUSK Jesse MJBK ud Cole Younger's Â·Kt daring tak CUNT EASTWOOD JOEKIDD gags about marriage makes this film verbally risque and simply too cute. As all Thurber fans know the gifted satirist eventually lost his sight, and this impending tragedy provides Whatever dramatic impact the film, contains. Attempts to handle this situation humorously are heavy handed and in bad taste. To me there is nothing funny in a man with failing eyesight groping for o b j e c t s , bumping into things, and being unable to cross a street without help. Jason Robards, a fine actor, who seems to be doing character roles in commonplace movies is the former husband, a photographer who chases wars. Lisa Gerritsen, the child actress, whose young career has been made up of appearing hi Thurberesque comedies is also featured as one of the c h i l d r e n . She was the daughter in the short lived television series "My World and Welcome to It". Lemmon these days seems to b*; hi a type casting rut. In his last few films he has been the ever suffering little man, constantly put upon and buffeted about by forces too strong for him to control. He is that here. This movie is not for children. If you bring your pre-teener you may eventually have to explain what terms like " s l e e p i n g around" mean. You will sit through this movie and feel sorry for its hero. Eventually your chuckles will become smirks, and then ho hums, and finally yawns. When it is over you will go home and promptly forget it because one word describes it well--undistinguished. was standing at the urinal. I asked him if he could single out a favorite role. "Very, very difficult. Sometimes you put more into an ungrateful part because you have to--because the character in the script is so lacking in dimension. My favorite role, though, was probably in "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet." I was overwhelmed by the man's accomplishments. The funny part of it is that I was often fighting to get something besides crime movies. So, when I heard the title of the picture, I was unaware that 'Magic Bullett' was Ehrlich's own term. I figured it was Jack Warner's invention. I pictured myself in a laboratory, mowing down Bacilli with a tommy gun." Although Robinson has created any number of varied and unforgettable characters in such films as "Little C a e s a r , "Little Giant," "Brother Orchid," "The Sea Wolf," "Double Indemnity," "The Woman in the Window," "Our Vines Have T e n d e r Grapes, "The Stranger," "All My sons, "Key Largo," "House of Strangers," and "A Hole in the Head," he has not only never won an Oscar, he's never even been nominated. I wondered if the oversight galled him. "It never really bothered me. Unlike some actors, I think the Oscars are a wonderful thing. I would have liked winning one, but maybe I'm not the type." Next to his art on the movie screen, Robinson is best known for the art on his walls. His house is filled with the paintings of Degas, Renoir, Monet and Picasso. I was curious whether in living with such work, one ever risked getting tired of seeing it Â· every day. "It's just the opposite," he said, as we strolled through his home. "They get better and richer as one lives with them. If it's fine to begin with, you only come to love it more as you get to know it more intimately." About his own attempts to paint, he laughed. "I've tried it. But my pitiful attempts have only taught me that I haven't paid enough for the paintings in my collection." In parting, he said, "The trick at this stage is not to be overwhelmed by the indignities of old age." Edward G. Robinson is 5 feet, 6 inches tall standing on a chair, and he has a face like a mashed potato. In spite of that, he has been a movie star for over 40 years. He has appeared opposite some of the most beautiful women in the world, and made you believe they just might fight over him. He has barked orders to toughs twice his size, and rubbed out legions of hoods without dropping a cigar ash. He has ruled Chicago's South Side, command- ed ships, run banks and discovered a cure for syphilis. At 78, Edward G. Robinson is hard of hearing and is having some trouble with his teeth. But even without a tommy gun, he's still a pretty tough cookie. If I were a betting man, Fd give you old age and odds. A SAM SPIEGEL FRANKLIN J. _ SCHAFFNER features PRODUCTION 2:10-5:158:15 Nicholas and Alexandra See at 1:35,3:35 5:40,7:45,9:50 AHORI20N FILM liom COLUMBIA PICTURES MEET GINGER-/ Her weapon is 'f- " *Â· Ter body... She ;an cut you, KM /ou or cure you! Adults Only. :OLOR by Deluxe OWENS Midtown THEATRE ACADEMY AWARD WINNER! Best Art Direction Best Costume Design LAST 3 DAYS TECHNICOLORÂ®- From Warner Bros. A Warner Communications Company SHOW TIME, AUGUST 13, 1972 D I N N E R T H E A T R E based on Sholem Aleichem stories by Special permission of Arnold Perl Book by: JOSEPH STEIN Music by: JERRY BOCK Lyrics by: SHELDON HARNICK Produced on the New York Stage By Harold Prince riginal New York Stage Production , Directed andChoreographed by JEROME ROBBINS NOW thni SEPTEMBER 3rd. -\ SPECIAL PRICES TO GROUPS PLEASE CALL FOt INFORMATION CHARLESTON, W. VA.