Author: Stephen Macaulay (Stephen Macaulay)

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Fortunately, It’s 1985

Nineteen Eighty-Four; Written and Directed by Michael Radford; Virgin Films. The concept of a filmed version of 1984 wasn’t without merit. After all, the timing seemed right. And when the final credits roll, we can see how precisely writer-director Michael Rad ford timed it. That is, a title explains that the film was shot in England in April-May 1984:...

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Screen – A Film Vacuum

Falling in Love, Directed by Ulu Grosbard; Written by Michael Cristofer; Paramount Pictures. Anyone who believes that an actor or an actress “makes” a film should sit through Falling in Love. Twice. Once for Robert De Niro. Once for Meryl Streep. Those two, certainly, are among the finest American players in the cinema. De Niro, whose eyes...

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Saccharin Sobs Places in the Heart; Written and Directed by Robert Benton; Tri-Star Pictures. by Stephen Macauley Robert Benton is the man behind Still of the Night and Kramer vs. Kramer. Places in the Heart, his latest film, is set in a small Texas town during the Depres­sion. The subject—like Kramer vs. Kramer—is separation, but this...

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Filming for Dollars

Zanuck: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Last Tycoon by Leonard Mosley; Little Brown, Boston. Movies have not always been taken seriously as art. When Rudolph Arnheim 50 years ago compared film with painting, music, and literature, he was being deliberately controversial. It was a long road from the nickelodeon to artistic respectability. Today film...

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Seeing Red   Red Dawn; Directed by John Milius; Written by John Milius and Kevin Reynolds; MGM-UA Entertainment.   by C. P. Dragash   There is a common daydream among men who grew up in the years between the Berlin blockade and the Cuban missile crisis: the Russians have invaded the American heartland, and a...

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Screen – Firecracker

Moscow on the Hudson; Directed by Paul Mazursky; Written by Paul Mazursky and Leon Capetanos; Columbia Pictures. Is Bloomingdale’s quintessentially American, the paradigm of of this country in the late 20th century. Hollywood leads us to believe that it is so. First there was Madison (named after the avenue) the mermaid in Splash learning how...

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Screen – Groveling to Glory

Roman Polanski: Roman; William Morrow; New York. Roman Polanski on his favorite subject: “My friends and family … came to regard me as a buffoon. Ever eager to amuse and entertain, I assumed the role with good grace. I never minded.  Polanski could use the same words to describe his career as film director. Despite...

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Screen – Burn Out

Streets of Fire; Directed by Walter Hill; Written by Walter Hill and Larry Gross; Universal. Streets of Fire has what is either a subtitle or a disclaimer: A Rock & Roll Fable. Moreover, as the movie opens, a title on the screen advises the viewer that he’s viewing “Another Time, Another Place … ,” which, of course, provides the...

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Polynesian Postcards from Dr. Freud

A number of people in the movie reviewing business are busy commenting on whether the team of Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson in 1984 measures up to Charles Laughton and Clark Gable in 1935 and/or Trevor Howard and Marlon Brando in 1962. This smacks of handicapping midget tag-team wrestling matches, so let’s ignore that whole...

Screen: Zoology
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Screen: Zoology

Screen Zoology Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Directed by Hugh Hudson; Screenplay by P. H. Vazak and Michael Austin, based on Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Buroughs; Warner Brothers. Greystoke raises a large number of questions, most of which will not be addressed here. For example, there’s the question...

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Return to Remedial Physics Silkwood; Directed by Mike Nichols; Written by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen; ABC Motion Pictures/Twentieth­ Century Fox.  One of the latest causes of self-righ­teousness, posturing, and enlightened indignation is not a person or place, but a thing: a group of heavy metals that disintegrate and emit various rays (alpha, beta, gamma),...

Past & Presence
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Past & Presence

Rumble Fish; Directed by Francis Ford Coppola; Written by Francis Ford Coppola and S. E. Hinton; Based on a novel by S. E. Hinton; Universal. An individual is the sum of his memories and his dreams. That, of course, is no great revelation; the Greeks were scripting plays about it thousands of years ago. Nowadays,...

Screen – Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
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Screen – Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

I want to get out while I still can / I want to be like Harry Houdini / Now I’m the Invisible Man. –Elvis Costello In Reds, writer-director-producer­-actor and all-around polymathic per­forming pygmy Warren Beatty felt that he could achieve veracity in his untell­able, tedious tale of John Reed and his Amazon queen by interrupting the...

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Goodbye, Peter Pan The Big Chill; Directed by Lawrence Kasdan It is unique in that it has something for virtually everyone to hate. Consider the characters, all eight. They are the types of people that our parents warned us about in the late 60’s and early 70’s: not the drug pushers who lurked behind bushes,...