Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 20, 1972 · Page 85
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August 20, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 85

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, August 20, 1972
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Page 85
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What does movie audience really Mant? By Charles Champlin Los Angeles Tines HOLLYWOOD-The b o x office successes of "Summer of '42," "Willard," "The French Connection," "The Godfather," "A Clockwork Orange," "What's Up, Doc?".and "Play It Again, Sam." all prove beyond question that there really is a movie audience out there somewhere, and that it can be regrouped and marched SPECIAL GUESTS * SUSAN RA YE * TON Y BOOTH * BakmfieM Brass FRI,SEPT.STH8:00 MEM. FIELD HOUSE TICKETS U.M KM $5.M 9N MUN*W · Fttl» MOUH MMJIWMMS*MMS · MMHMN»«HCOM t H»P · m CHAS. · civic CINTII · MAILORDERS IITIOIUSUffSc/i FIELD IIUSE NMTiiCT0R,w.u. FORRES.MU52M124 back into the cinemas just as if television had never been born. The question whose answer remains elusive is what is it that audiences really like? What are its tastes and what is its level of selectivity? There is a body of opinion around the industry which believes, or would tike to believe, that the audience never meally changed at all, and that the movie makers foolishly surrendered to the critics who insisted that the audience had changed. "Are we making pictures for the critics or for the people?" the cry goes. Since there are very few critics, and all of them deadbeats who never buy a ticket anyway, the rhetorical question gets an easy rhetorical answer. And every time a movie succeeds without the endorsement or despite the scorn of the reviewers, there is a pleased murmur of I-told-you-so's. (But the anti-critic lament "is a throwback. What's now interesting is how often, not how rarely, critics and audiences agree.) It would be fairly difficult to think of two more disparate works, both box office winners, than "Summer of '42," a talcum-scented tour of romanticized nostalgia, and "A Clockwork Orange," Kubrcik's stridently hateful depiction of man's inhumanity to man. The point is it is dangerous to draw sweeping lessons from so divergent a time. But a certain number of recent movies, including "The New Centurions," have seemed to me to be based on a reassertkm of the older Hollywood assumptions about the movie audience. At their simplest, the assumptions are that the audience is larger, lew critical and more easily distracted than most of us would have said it is. The controlling idea is to be kindly toward, but essentially distrustful of, the audience. The notion that older certitudes were being revived struck me a few months ago as I watched Mel Shavelson's "The War Between Men and Women," in which the sharp and almost savage wit of James Thurber, as well as the silent courage with which be faced up to the fact of his blindness, gave way to a sloppy and sentimental H o l l y w o o d kitsch which I feel fairly sure would have had'Thur- ber groaning with instant seasickness. "Portnoy's Complaint," is, of course, a world away from Thurber's. And the more I've thought about it. the more doubtful I am that a successful movie could have been made by anyone on earth from Philip Roth's book. But certainly whatever chance there was lay in presuming that there was the same kind of audience --adult, intelligent, cosmopolitan, able not simply to absorb, but to evaluate Roth's work--for the movie as for the book. The result of coarsening the work, or of using its outrageous language merely as a kind of decal on stolid, lumpy events, has demonstrably been a box office failure. Now "The New Centurions" offers another instance of a major best seller broadened and melodrama- tized (if there isn't such a word there should be) as it becomes a movie. Joseph Wambaugh's novel lacked the literary preteo- siona of Roth's work, but there is a ring of authenticity in every detail, and the strength of the book was the credibility deriving from a p o l i c e m a n writing well about the world he knows best. It was popular fiction but the fiction seemed the thinnest of disguises for closely observed real men, conditions and events. JAY GOULD PRODUCTION | .C DINNER THEATRE CLOSED MONDAY NIGHTS i on Sholem Aleichem stories by Speciol 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 riginol New York Stage Production , ._,, Directed andChoreogrophed by JEROME ROBBINS NOW thru SEPTEMBER 2nd SEE IT LIVE! Richard Roundtree start in "Shaft's Big Score," now thawing at the Capitol. Marilyn Home to appear here 10 9 7 C C O 0 1 f ° 00 " RESERVATIONS: / JJ-JO I I Di ""«» SOUTH Om-64- EXIT 9 ' aYB BIG IQ MEMBER CAST EXTRAVAGANZA Doers Op«n --6:00 Dinner -- 7:00-8:00 CHARLESTON,. W. VA. By Martha Smith If you happen to love opera and play the piano, you'll be ecstatic over the season the Community Music Assn. has in store. Although it is a brief season (three performances scheduled, with another in early fall a possibility), it is a powerful one, packaged with big-name artists. The first regularly scheduled performance will be given Dec. 4 by Marilyn Home. Miss Home is the witty, clever and thoroughly delightful woman who has thrilled audiences at the Metropolitan Opera in the last several years. Late night television viewers have gotten to see and hear the versatile soprano on such programs as "The Carol Burnett Show" and the "Tonight Show." On these occasions, Miss Home has performed a familiar aria, then a more popular tune. I remember falling in love with the laughing lady when she, Miss Burnett and Joan Sutherland teamed up to do "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" from the Broadway musical "Company." Then, on a "Tonight Show" appearance, Miss Home sang a movingly beautiful version of "Danny Boy." On both occasions, her audience was completely enraptured. Feb. 7 the renowned Cincinnati Symphony will be in concert here. This is an orchestra with a wonderful In one ear ... balance and professional quality which, I'm sure, will be well-appreciated by a Charleston audience always ready to enjoy competently executed scores. For those who *o vividly recall the mark in musical and world history created by Van Cilburn's tour through the Soviet Union, March 27 is a date to remember. The virtuoso pianist will appear as the final artist in the series. His incredible talent which so shocked the C o m m u n i s t world, and which continues to devastate audiences throughout the world will be a smashing close-out for the series. One super symphony orchestra, the belle of the Met and a genius (yet, Peter Godfrey, genius) of the keyboard combine to make this -eason t very prestigious one for the Community Music Asia. The group has certainly compensated for the decrease in the number of events by scheduling only t o p - n o t c h performers. I don't know about anyone else, but I personally am impatiently awaiting the Marilyn Home and Van Cliburn concerts. If I had to select two artists which I would most enjoy hearing, it would likely be these two. Everyone has his favorite concert pianist and his favorite soprano, but the quality of these two comes near to pleasing all of the people all of the time. Incidentally, the fourth booking which is being sought for early fall is the WVU Percussion Ensemble, and I fervently hope this excellent state group is she- duled . . . C«N LasiU for RcservoHitns! · Free Lasagna Ul-exciting Vocalist -MO! Iht "M« M Clt ws" M-SM^Sm.. Try *ur Business Man's Lunch .KWAWHA CITY CLUBHOUSE i-9960 SUNDAY GAZETTE-MAIL

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