Newsday (Suffolk Edition) from Melville, New York on September 25, 1981 · 139
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Newsday (Suffolk Edition) from Melville, New York · 139

Melville, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, September 25, 1981
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preview Cuii®un? CHARIOTS OF FIRE (PQ) Bued on a true story about two of the world’s futcit men (printers on the 1824 British Olympic team who ran for causes bigger than themselves Exhilarating blend of art and heart Ian Char-leson Ben Cross By Joseph Gelmls Lincoln Center’s 19th New York Film' Festival opens tonight with "Chariots of Fire” a distinguished new British film which begins its theatrical run tomorrow at Manhattan’s Cinema L The festival will present 31 films wwiftlnHing with a Polish epic "Man of Iron” on Oct 11 For Erie Liddell and Harold Abrahams running was a mmma of transcendence Liddell a Scottish minister ran to glorify God His victories were selfless gifts of love Abrahams a Cambridge student wee an English Jew obsessed with becoming a world chsmpinn to force the Anglo-Saxon establishment to abandon a stereotype and acknowledge him their equal Their true exploits are dramatized in a parallel narrative development that leads towhat was destined to be a show- down between them at the 1924 Olympic Garnet in Paris Each was a member of the British track team entered in the 100-meter race whose winner usually sets a world record Produced bv David Puttnam directed by Hugh Hudson from a screenplay by Colin Welland "Chariots of Fire” is an achievement to make'American 'film-makers envious On a modest budget of less than $6 million "Chariots of Fire” creates an absorbing spectacle that enhances the intimate stories of its central characters Don’t let the setting — running — keep ' you away from "Chariots of Fire” It's not merely a movie about running any more than the Astaire and Sogers pictures were movies merely about dancing The motion be it running or dancing is the stylized emnession of emotion And it would not be inappropriate to compare favorably the exhilaration one experiences while watching "Chariots of Fire” to the elation induced by "Top Hat” At one point in a spine-tingling sequence Liddell is bumped off a track mils slowly rises and rqjoins the race The camera is mounted on wheels above and haliind him floating dreamlike in slow motion as trance-inducing music gradually swells and increases tempo Liddell strains and grimaces his stride characteristically choppy to dose the gap overtake the pack araw abreast of the man who fouled him His head is tilted up toward heaven his mouth gaping his neck muscles flexed He is high on God performing a small mipirlw La tour deforce moments such as this the style and content of "Chariots of Ffre” coalesce with a heady rush We share the runner’s experience We feel with him exalted It’s intoxication without a hangover For this "Chariots of Fire” deserves a place of honor among the few score films which translate into " visceral experience the triumph of apir-it over flesh - The leading actors are new to American movie audiences Ian Charleaon makes Liddell who rune in the service of his God seem the hifinblest and proudest of men Charleson’s dazzling mile transmits an utterly convincing sincerity and peace of mind Liddell is so uncomplicated that the scenario fabricates objections by his sister a mission-azy to his running — for conflict mod to pair him like hie rival with a female Ian Charieson as Erie Liddell collapses at the finish line definea sprinters as— "neurotics who run on nerves” He has the mdre ambiv-‘alent role ae a atriver so obsessed with winning he hires a personal trainer and cannot accept the notion of losing The film invents for him a pre-Olympics race with Liddell to chasten his grow- ' ing arrogance For strictly schematic reasons to further humanize Abrahams 1 with a romance his courtship of a gen-' tile showgirl whom he did not actually meet (ana wed) until later is moved forward to before the Olympics ' ' Today’s reviews Chariots of Hie (FG) True Confessions (B) Southern Comfort (B) 14 Carbon Copy (FG) So Fine (R) 14 Disappearance (B) "Chariots of Fire” is impeccable on many levels from the poetic compression of its editing to the casting of its bit parts John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson for instance are marvelously genteel anti-Semites as masters of Trinity and Caiua Colleges at Cambridge They reproach Abrahams for so blatantly wanting to win and then accept as their perfect due the honor and distinction his victory bestows on them and their institution Winning absolves bis Jewishness in a word Liddell went on to join his parents as a missionary in China where he died of a brain tumor in 1945 in a Japanese prisoner of war camp Abrahams died recently a respected elder statesman of British sports TRUE CONFESSION’S R) TWO brothers a priest and a cop are Involved-In the Investigation of s sex murder In 1948 Los Angeles Less a murder mystery than a study of corruption and moral exhaustion Flawed-sensrio excellent acting Robert DeNlro Robert Duvall Charles Durning Rose Gregorio (Nudity profanity gore) ' The investigation in "True Confessions” of the brutal murder of a young prostitute and star of stag movies is what Hitchcock used to call a McGuf-fin just a sensational narrative gimmick to grab attention while dealing with the emotions and tensions and perceptions that really interest yon "True Confessions" is ultimately less interested in the murder than in the ' atmosphere of moral exhaustion and ‘corruption in which two brothqpe sin-and-crime fighters are immersed Adapted from John Gregory DunneTe 6611 Ca make j noire by DuDneand'his wife’Jodtf Cf AbrahaxnFmofe likarwhet sUdtaeff diopj djfyttpdby WuGrtsbayd pJVF” Confessions" is brilliantly cast and acted The two central cnaracters are the Spellaey brothers— Dee a priest (Robert DeNiro) and Tom a homicide detective sergeant (Robert Duvall) ' The action of tire film opens and doses in 1962 with the brothers meeting at a remote desert parish in tire Southwest where the priest reveals he ' is dying- The mein action is the cop’s flashback to Loa Angeles 1948 and the ex murder that changed their lives - "True Confessions” at the Sutton and - Cinerama I in Manhattan is at its best in dealing with street smart rogues grisly realism black humor An ambulance driver and a coroner's medic argue in a vacant lot over whether to use one or ' two stretchers to carry away the victim who was cut in half The camera lingers over the severed halves of the nude victim wanders past corpses on slabs and autopsies in progress in the city morgue Glimpses of family life are unsentimentalized Des and Tom have a depressing visit with their senile babbling mother ' Behind-the-scenes viewi of church af-' fairs are squalid The wheeler-dealer cardinal (Cyril Cusack) exiles a moral ' monaignoT (Burgess Meredith) for being - a nuisance The leading Catholic lay-' men and fund raisers are philanderers The Catholic Layman of the Year is a construction tycoon (Charles Durning) and mobster who has built for the cardinal a cut-rate empire of schools and dmrehes Des who has been doing the cardinal’s dirty work as among other things the go-between with the construction tycoon sadly recognises he has no vocation as apriest except in his managerial abilities Tin tired of fixing things” he says ’True Confessions" ends with -evasions It seems deliberately ambiguous in matters of who killed the victim and why though it is painstakingly detailed in the seamy and kinky aspects of death and corruption brothels and morgues and the absurd uses to which a confee- sional can be put The plot has holes Like why the tycoon so paranoid about bis good name would write an incriminating note to a poroographer on his en-' graved personal stationary? And whether it was evidence or vengeance being unhinged by the suicide of i prostitute he once loved (arguably the film’s most subtle performance by Bose Gre- gorio) that finally makes the cop arrest ’ the tycoon as an accessory to murder We never learn what happened in court The film suddenly Jumps 14 years and the ' priest is dying in exile Was be smeared 1 so badfy his career was ruined? Or did he voluntarily surrender -hie ambitions choosing to follow the godly priest to a desert exile rather than to nuke of the-worldly cardinal his exentf Those questions are left to -'our ' Numbers and of each fating present the movie master ' that has ns corresponding number on foe timetable which appevs on Papa 9 PREVIEW teak Piwiew (U NEW ON LONG ISLAND room conr op- Krtunat who marries the ss'i daughter to become a corporation Mgehot loses efl when Ids pest an iUegit-knste Meek son he didn't know he had sired— enters his He One-joks interracial -comedy with some nice moments George Segal Susan Saint James Jack Warden Paid Winfield Denzel Washington (II D K 47 K 72 II 89 1D1 1M 130 147 ik ik in iso m a (N THE (REAPPEARANCE Donald Sutherland Christopher Plummer David Hem-mingi David Warner That seems Kka a lot of talent to have wasted on m inept and phoney thriller (1 11 17 4 KKKK1UL IK ID 182 n TO SJUiFOU Aut-traSan film about the slaughter of Britiih-lfld- Aussio volunteers in a World War I military disaster Handsome production good performance but the leisurely buildup seems wrung for the bloody payoff Mark Lee Mel Gibson SOI Hunter (35 73 FENCE OF THE CITY Narcotics cop becomes undercover agent for commission investigating police corruption Powerful drama splendidly acted raises mom questions than it answers Treat Wliamt (71 SUMMER M SAM FRANCR COL R H K K K IK IK IK IK ID ID W m SO FML Ribald prepostwous and dumb-funny spoof of academe the fashion industry and organized crime It should haw been worse (2 13 22 25 D 44 74 K K IK IK Ilk IK 145 IK 173 174 ID IK 199 UNSEBL (K SI K K K 111 IK IK IK ID 197) REVIEWS Vi (PS) AIRPLANE! Zwiy spoof of the "Airport" disas-teNn-ttw-air movies Mildly amusing hyperactiw gagfest that's easy to tala and easy to fergat with Robert Hays June Hagerty Kaream Ab-dukJabbw Robert Slick Lloyd Bridges (183) n AMERCAN SOUL A glossy view of the sordid world of an LA mala prosti-tuta who becomes chief suspect ki ths kinky sex murder -of a ctient The characters am unsympathetic the film afl style no heart Richard Gera Lauren Hutton star (Nudity) (22Q tt (IQ AN AMERICAN Nl iminnir A nicely dona variation on the timeless horror-thriller theme wham the fed moon means you better watch out -far the big bad werewolf fs about as scary as can get tampered with a of campus-lewl black hu-r Ttw spatial effects are first-tala (K 174 m ANY WOCH WAY YOU CAM Mom cutesy non-senso from Clint and Clyde Add q alar V you’re starved for monkeyshinei Clint Eastwood 0Q (FIR ARTHUR Screw-textpsge Part 117 ±

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