SCREENnA Lark from the Hollywood HillsnMy Favorite Year; Written by DennisnPalumbo; Directed by Richard Benjamin;nMGM.nWhen television became a viablencommercial medium, there was justifiablenconcern in Hollywood. The primarynfear was that movie audiencesnwould desert the palace aisles for thencomfort of their living rooms. Compoundingnthings for the then-shrinkingnmoguls was the 1949 Supreme Court decisionnthat companies which made filmsndidn’t have a monopoly on distribution;nthe studios were forced to give up theirntheaters. Prior to the advent of television,nthe only real competition to movies wasnput forth by radio (radios were a commonnfixture in homes) but to imagine isnto work, and people, in their leisurenhours, tend to prefer entertainment thatnis laid out complete for them. (Thisndesire for ease also helps explain thenrelative nonsuccess of the foreign filmsnthat began to find their way into theatersnthanks to the Court’s decision.) Obviously,nmoviemakers in the 50’s had angreat deal of work to do, and they camenup with things like 3-D and Cinerama tonentice patrons. The television industryneventually countered with affordablencolor sets, which sent the film industrynback to “Go,” without its $200. Asnthings have shaken out, the movie screennis the medium for the giant, expensive,nS(ar IVars-type blockbuster; TV is thenmedium for everything else. Whennaction-packed film adventures of the StarnWars variety aren’ t made, then a musicalnis filmed—such as Grease, which had asnits stars a TV personality and a successfiilnfemale singer—or a “sensitive” story isnshot, but only with certified stars, as innOn Golden Pond, or a comedy is castnwith Burt Reynolds and his gang ofnpranksters. Comedy, I think, is sufferingnmost on the silver screen. If the idea isn’tna big one, then that idea seems to benreduced to the plot for a television “sitcom”n(a jargonlike appellation that in­ndicates that the form is a tactic).nAn exception to this state of affairs isnMy Favorite Year, a light comedy. Interestingly,nit takes as its setting television inn1954. Chances are, when the words televisionnand 1954 are yoked, synapsesnspark and the mental IBM punched cardnis emitted reading: “Army-McCarthynhearings.” My Favorite Yif^fis not a variationnon the 1976 film The Front, whichnmany moviegoers thought was going tonbe funny, based on the fact that WoodynAllen is the lead actor (the term j^^rcan’tnbe used with regard to that patheticnfilm). Indeed, it is impossible to tell whatnis going on in Washington during thenAn Incomplete BeautynRobert Philippe: Political Graphics:nArt as Weapon; Abbeville Press; NewnYork.nHere is a superb collection of drawings,nsketches, engravings, paintings,nand various other forms of visual expressionnthat serve ideologies, social concepts,npropaganda slogans, electoral battles,nand wars of ideas. Some of thenimages, pictures, publicity posters,nprints, lithographs, and chromatic platesnhave been rescued—mercifully—fromnthe oblivion of archives and museums;nthey provide fabulous insight into thennever-changing techniques of politicalnprevarication elevated to heights atnwhich art becomes political argument,nthus abandoning claims to feeling,nsagacity, and credibility. Characteristically,nduring the early stages of Westernncivilization in Europe, the moral and dialecticalndepth of political caricature stillnheld some title to the pursuit of truth andnARTnnnunfolding oiMy Favorite Year; like anyngood comedy, it avoids overwhelmingntopicality so that its humor can be discernednin another time, another place.nThe required coordinates are simply thatnin 1954 variety shows were broadcast livenfrom television studios, that swashbucklernmovies were big (e.g., Errol Flynnnstarred in both The Master ofBallantraenand Crossed Swords in 1953), and thatnTV was becoming increasingly importantnto survival on the silver screen. There isnonly one astounding thing about MynFavorite Year: it is a genuine whimsy, anwelcome change from the sex-fillednPunch and Judy, Punch and Punch, Judynand Judy (and other permutations)nspoofs creeping on the screens today.n(SM) nnwisdom: graphic and intellectual ironiesnabounded, a larger sense of venality thannclass enmity or antiprogressivism comesnto the fore. Further into the 19th andnthroughout our own century, the leftliberalnbias of the album’s editors is discerniblenin their choices of names and exemplifications.nThe author. ProfessornPhilippe of the French Ecole des HautesnEtudes and University of Le Mans, triesnto preserve some note of objectivity, butnthe very selection of only American contemporaryngraphic artists indicates a sortnof hatchet job. Anyone with leftish credentialsnis presented; Jules Feiffer thenhysterical “progressive,” Edward Sorelnthe Village Voice beacon, or RalphnSteadman the practitioner of mindlessnvenom, are loudly celebrated. In contrast,nOliphant is reproduced, but withoutna by-line, and he is not mentioned innthe index; people whose persuasionsnresemble those of MacNelly go uruegistered—readohMtttzxtdi.nAnd one minornflaw that should be pointed out is thatnthe index of names does not always furnishnthe correct references, nn141nJanuary 1983n