SCRKKN ZFnSome Like Them LukewarmnTootsie; Written by Larry Gelbart andnMurray Schisgal (from a story by DonnMcGuire and Larry Gelbart); Directednby Sydney Pollack; Columbia Pictures.nby Stephen MacaulaynDuring the 18th century, writers includtQgnVoltaire and Addison made usenof characters from China or Persia. Thesensplendid figures, arrayed in native trappings,nwould comment upon modernnmores, morals, and habits existent innParis or London. Part of the reason fornthis approach was that travel writing wasnvery popular; people wanted to knownhow others in far-off lands lived andnthought. More importantly, the writersnused the form because it provided themnwith a perspective from which they couldnexpose the follies and affectations of theirncontemporaries while protecting themselvesnwith the mask of an innocent. Thenoutsider on the inside can detect incongruitiesnthat those already on the insidencannot or care not to. The observationnand renderiog of the difference betweennwhat something appears to be and whatnsomethtQg is can result in humor; in casesnwhen this is performed most perspicaciously,nthe result is satire, as in Voltairenand Addison. Shakespeare often usednthe outsider on the inside for comedic effects.nIn most cases the outsider is a foolnor a woman. In the latter case, thenwoman pretends to be a man—Rosalindn/Ganymede in As You Like It, Viola/nCesario in Twelfth Night—and so thenhumor springs from an unguarded viewnof what men think about women.nTootsie is a rendition of the outsidernon the inside. In this case, it is a manndisguised as a woman. A common reactionnis to call to mind Some Like It Hot.nBut Sydney Pollack is not Billy Wilder.nMore, Pollack, a facile director, doesn’tnseem to know who Sydney Pollack is. Hisnfilmography includes They ShootnHorses, Don’t They ?, Jeremiah Johnson,nThe Way We Were, Three Days of then42inChronicles of CttlturenCondor, and others. None of these is anparticularly fiinny film; the keynote inneach is social commentary. So, given anman in women’s trappings and Pollack’snPreadolescent PosturingnThe Verdict; Written by David Mametn(based on the novel by Barry Reed);nDirected by Sidney Lumet; TwentiethnCentury Fox.nThere have been coundess movies—nmost featuring Robert Mitchiun—with anstructure so pat that it has passed beyondncliche to a state where it is taken forngranted as a simple approach to movienconstmction. It’s the story of the lapsednprofessional. That is, there isadoctororangunfighter (or the like) who, because of ansingle event (e.g., a padent dies or thenwrong man is shot), loses faith in himself,nunjustly, and turns to the botde fornits Lethe-like quality. A aisis then arisesnin the form of an operation that must benperformed or a gang riding in at sunup.nSaid professional is aided by an agreeablenmale companion who serves as a nursemaid,nthen a shoulder to lean on. Thisncompanion’ s role is slowly but inexorablynusurped by a beautiful woman. As thenstory unfolds, the question is whethernthe professional’s hand will be steadynenough to manipulate the scalpel or tonsqueeze the trigger. However, eachnmember of the audience knows thatnthere will be a successful outcome.nDefeat, if there is any, takes the form ofnthe male companion’s death (this isnnnbackground, satire might seem to be thenobjective. However, there are no realnfollies exposed, as is necessary for satire;nthere are no oppressive ERA statements,nfor example. So it might seem that Pollack’snobjective is to make a light comedynof manners. But that’s not quite it,neither. Indeed, there is little directionntoward any defined end; the film isnsomething of a ragout that requires morenspice to achieve the level oiSome Like ItnHot—to say nothing of Messrs. Shakespeare,nVoltaire, and Addison. Dnmore typical of Western or detectivenstories than medical thrillers) or thendeparture of the woman. Whereas eithernevent would have led to a deep pull onnwhat is inevitably rotgut at the openingnof the picture, by the time the credits rollnthe professional is redeemed.nSidney Lumet, for some bizarrenreason, has decided to give this stmcturena bit of shoring up in The Verdict. Thatnis, he makes the hero a lawyer, one whonlapsed because his ideals were cmshed bynhis mentors’ act of jury tampering, fornwhich the hero had to take the fall. Hisndescent is precipitous. The challenge innthis movie is a bit more than that of anbrain tumor or three dozen thugs. Thenblear-eyed lawyer must take on (1) thenmedical profession, (2) the CatholicnChurch, (3)the court system, all ofwhichncan be characterized as a priesthood, allnof which can be simplistically taggednwith the adjective corrupt. Few thingsnpresented on a screen are more banal,nperhaps only home movies of the GrandnCanyon. The Verdict is nothing morenthan a vehicle for Paul Newman drivennby Lumet. Lumet’s credentials havenalways been in order. Newman, however,nmust think it necessary to brush hisnoff, lest people think he’s more con-n