Daily News from New York, New York on November 4, 1977 · 108
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Daily News from New York, New York · 108

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, November 4, 1977
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" te-.-f $ , fjf yr f3-x , of Robert DeNtro and Gerard Depardieu-the century children MoviesBy KATHLEEN CARROLL 1900. Gerard Depardieu, Robert De Niro. Directed bv Bernardo Bertolucci. At the Festival Theater. Running time: 4 hours, 5 minutes. No rating. "1900," Bernardo Bertolucci's grandly ambitious epic about the struggle and inevitable rise of the Italian peasant class, fails to live up to its great expectations. Bertolucci reluctantly has whittled the film down to four hoi'" from five hours, but that is not his real problem. The first part of the film, in particular, contains moments of staggering beauty, including one lovely pastoral dance in a wooded glen to the sweet music of the ocarina. J But Bertolucci is so anxious to promote his political philosophy and so intent upon getting his rather simplistic message across that the film emerges as nothing more than ? thinly disg-iised Marxist tract. With his concerns elsewhere, Bertolucci has allowed his actors to floujder about on their own, often with disastrous results. But perhaps his worst mistake was his decision to make an English-language version of this bloated : history lesson. The English dialogue, with its smartass Americanisms, virtually shatters the lyrical mood of the first half of the film. Bertolucci is interested in tracking the relationship of Alfredo (Robert De Niro), the grandson of a be nevolent landowner (Burt Lancaster), and Olmo (Gerard Depardieu), grandson of a stalwart peasant (Sterling Hayden), from the time of their birth on the same day in 1900 to the present. Although instinctive enemies, Alfredo and Olmo maintain a bond of friendship in the midst of a historically turbulent era. As small boys, they roll in the hay together; as young men, they attempt to share the same girl (in an embarrassing sex scene), and, as tottering old men, they still cling to each other. Bertolucci is inclined to stack the deck in order to support his political thesis. He depicts Alfredo as a weak, ineffectual man unable to control his wife (Dominique Sanda), much less his own estate which he turns over to a Fascist brute (Donald Sutherland) while Olmo is a natural leader and the strong, silent type. ' De Niro merely walks through the film with a silly smirk on his face, as if he considered playing this cardboard character nothing but a lark. Depardieu, at least, is able to handle his role with quiet dignity. Miss Sanda, with her Dietrich-like voice and -Garbo-like incandescence, is merely comical as the ultra liberated '20s woman. Grinning sadistically, Sutherland hams it up-terribly as the vicious foreman who batters pussycats, children and deranged widows to death. In contrasting the chilly depravity of landowners with the healthy naturalism of the peasants, "1900" has a certain dynamic power, but it remains a colossal disappointment. - - PETE'S DRAGON. Helen Reddy, Jim Dale. Directed by Don Chaffey. At Radio City Music Hall. Running time: 2 hours, 14 minutes. Rated G. - "Pete's Dragon," an engaging musical fantasy and a welcome treat, is the Walt Disney studio's latest experiment in mixing live action photography with animation. The live action is not always lively because the music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn- is fairly nondescript and lacks any real zest. But Disney's skillful animators have once again created a wonderfully endearing char-cater a pot-bellied, jolly green dragon who breathes fire only under stress or when someone tries to pacify him with firewater. Elliott, -with an amazing range of facial expressions (he can change from being painfully dejected to gleefully happy in a matter of seconds) and who sounds like an out-of-tune French horn, is the companion of Pete, a runaway orphan. They are passing through a quiet fishing village called Passamaquoddy when Elliott, after becoming invisible, turns into a public nuisance' by smashing ' fences, humiliating the ' town's prim-and-proper schoolmistress (played delightfully by Jane Kean), and shaking up the mayor (Jim Backus) while he boasts about how serene the place is. With Elliott holed up in a cave in disgrace, Pete meets the lighthouse keeper's daughter (Helen Reddy) who takes an immediate interest in him. The fish mysteriously stop biting; the town drunk (the lighthouse keeper, played by Mickey Rooney) hits the bottle after a sobering confrontation with Elliott; and a quack doctor (Jim Dale) threatens to carve up Elliott and sell his parts for ' medicinal purposes, while Elliott eventually distinguishes himself as a true-blue (or should it be true-green?) hero. Sean Marshall, as Pete, looks and acts natural on camera which makes hiirk a refreshing change from those, sweet little cherubs usually cast in Disney movies. Miss Reddy plays her role with crisp efficiency and fortunately receives strong support for the rest of the cast,- particularly Dale, so slick and funny as the conniving medicine man he nearly upstages the cuddly dragon. : Kathleen Carroll VOYAGE TO GRAND TARTARIE. Jean-Luc Bideau, Micheline Lanctot. Directed by Jean-Charles Tacchella. At the D.W. Griffith, Embassy 72d St. and Quad. Runnins time: I hour, 40 minutes. No Rating. "Voyage to Grand Tartarie" has its droll moments, but, for the most part, it's hard to believe that this feeble farce was directed by Jean-Charles Tacchella, the same man who was responsible for the phenomenally successful, "Cousin, Cousine." -"Voyage to Grand Tartarie" is meant-to be a satiric look at our violence prone, so-called civilized society. The filril begins as a man in a cowboy outfit gleefully fires his gun into the street, killing a young housewife. The victim's husband packs a suitcase and takes off on an aimless journey through a factory-clogged landscape. He meets a young woman whose hysterical weeping provokes his interest. It turns out that she is just as disenchanted with life as he is. With the world around them in a total state of insurrection, they decide to commit suicide' together, but not before they've enjoyed each other's company. Tacchella's hero is played by gloomy-faced and unappealing Jean-Luc Bideau, though Micheline Lanctot, with her husky, masculine sounding oice and endearing kookiness, is able to compensate somewhat for her co-star's lack of appeal. K.C. MoviesBy ANN GUARINO CHILDREN OF LABOR. Produced by Al Gedicks and directed by Ned Buckner, Mary Dore, Richard Broadman and Gedicks. At the Renoir Cinema. Running time: 1 hour. Not rated. "Children of Labor" is an informative documentary about a little-known ethnic group in this country the Finns, who emigrated to the West, particularly Minnesota, at the turn of the century. Through interviews (unfortunately chopped up and confusing), elderly Finnish-Americans recall how their parents left their homeland to escape oppression, exploitation by the Russians (who were drafting Finnish youths) and famine. Like many other immigrants, they hoped to find opportunity in the United States. " 'Here they found other problems as workers in mines and lumber camps, but most went on to farm work. Strongly Socialist, some even Communists, they banded together to form their own churches, temperance halls. Socialist halls, cooperatives and newspapers. To improve working conditions, they became active in the labor movement, breaking with the Communists when they attempted to use funds from the co-ops for their own use. The Soviet invasion of Finland and the spread of prosperity caused even more of a decline in radicalism; in an interview, one young woman admits she can't speak Finnish. As with other ethnic groups, the language of their forefathers has been lost. A few stills, newsreels and business promotionals round out the interview footage. But were it not for the dialog and narration, the film would not be interesting at all. The visuals show no imagination at all. The film is shown only at 3 p.m. at the Renoir. . MoviesBy ANN GUARINO LX1 iENRY WINKLER may have made his name in Hollywood and on TV as "The Fonz" from Milwaukee in "Happy Days," but A-a-a-y-y-y, his heart is ir New York. Born on Manhattan's West Side, where his parents Use and Harry still live, the just-turned-32 actor returned here to promote his first film, "Heroes," which opens today at the Rivoli and other Showcase Theaters. In it, Henry plays what at first seems a kooky Vietnam veteran who has been in and out of hospitals trying to get his priorities straight. All he wants is to start a worm farm with some buddies (their foxhole dream), because they know it has to be a multimillion-dollar business. In his cross-country efforts to reunite with a service friend in California, he meets up with Sally Field, a kook in her own way, and together they discover the tragedy that has been haunting him, as well as a mutual concern for each other. Winkler's hero is a character as different from The Fonz as Henry himself is, and he worked hard to make them dissimilar Winkler says he never expected The Fonz to be as successful as he became. But with his presence, "Happy Days" hit the top in popularity; kids were imitating his greaser image and his catch-phrase, and the show has continued in the first three spots ever since. "You can only go so far with one character," he explained. "Then you get mediocre and people turn to another channel." Besides, throughout his five-year contract (up in February), he wanted to make movies. He did make "The Lords of Flatbush," which featured Winkler and then-unknowns Sylvester Stallone, Perry King and Susan Blakely. A bit part in "Cnzy Joe" followed. But it is with "Heroes" that he makes his real break from The Fonz. ' Actually, Winkler, who studied at McBurney's prep school, Boston's Emerson College and earned a master of fine arts at Yale, has none of Fonzie's characteristics in person. He's a serious one, though he admits he's not into writing scripts for himself like Stallone ("Rocky") did. "I don't want to do anything I can't handle," he said. "But I might consider producing." Regardless, he was glad to be back in New York. "Go to other cities and what do you see? Ads for New York steaks, or New York-type nightclubs. New York gets bad press mainly because people outside here are jealous. The Fonz may be from Milwaukee, but he has New York in him because I'm partial to New York, not Milwaukee!" One spot here that's dear to his heart is Green-berg's bakery. Last May, when he was in town shooting another film, "The One and Only" (to be released in February), he bought $55 worth of Green-berg's brownies and Linzer tarts and had them individually wrapped for his freezer in California so he could indulge his sweet tooth on Friday night binges. "I eat them with ice cream," he said, grinning wickedly. "And my tongue yells with joy. My taste buds jump up and down. I have to have them shipped to me regularly." Otherwise, he watches his weight. He doesn't drink and he's very much aware that his TV audience is a young one, so he never has his picture taken with a cigaret. And he'" the first to admit that, "in the beginning, I lived a very 'dolce vita', life. I took advantage of whatever success I had. J if: i ..flfcJ E Henry Winkler: back home again "But that's all behind me now." he explains. These days, he has one girl "a fabulous redhead" who isn't Pinky Toscadero at all. And though he declined to name her, it's come to our attention that she is, in reality, Stacey Weitzman. But his real love is acting, and he's the first to admit it. "Acting is my mistress." he said, seriously. "I think of acting as a woman, because you must be gentle and strong at the same time. It's so ethereal." It was time for The Fonz to split, so he got up to leave and, as a parting gesture, gave this writer a kiss on ths cheek. A-a-a-y-y-y, Henry. You're the greatest! 3 i o R . 3 Cl O s w to to -j

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