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  • Trafic

    Trafic

    “New Thresholds, New Anatomies”

    Jacques Tati is praised so extravagantly by others that maybe I will be forgiven if I say that he lost me on MON ONCLE and that his new film, TRAFFIC, could be a whole lot funnier. Tati has a nice spare buoyancy in JOUR DE FÊTE and was poignantly quick and eccentric in MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY, but he really isn’t much of a performer, and by the time of MON ONCLE his spontaneity had vanished. At…

  • Child's Play

    Child's Play

    “New Thresholds, New Anatomies”

    Making his debut as a motion-picture producer with CHILD’S PLAY, David Merrick does not exactly arrive in style; in fact, it's hard to believe he traveled first class. The Robert Marasco play is a stylish bit of artifice—evil on the loose in a Catholic boarding school for boys. The trouble with this kind of Victorian gothic job is that there's never any way to resolve the situation satisfactorily (the explanations are always a let-down), and so…

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  • A Woman Under the Influence

    A Woman Under the Influence

    The Theories of R.D. Laing, the poet of schizophrenic despair, have such theatrical flash that they must have hit John Cassavetes smack in the eye. His new film, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, is the work of a disciple: it's a didactic illustration of Laing's vision of insanity, with Gena Rowlands as Mabel Longhetti, the scapegoat of a repressive society that defines itself as normal. The core of the film is a romanticized conception of insanity, allied with the ancient…

  • Something Wild

    Something Wild

    "Doubling Up"

    For seven decades of romantic screwball comedies, sexy, smart, funny women have been waking up heroes who, through fear or shyness or a stuffy educational background, were denying their deepest impulses. The women perform a rescue mission. Sometimes, in earlier eras, they did it in the guise of dumb blondes (like Marie Wilson) or dizzy dames (like Katharine Hepburn in BRINGING UP BABY), but mostly they were wisecracking broads, like Mae West and Joan Blondell, and Jean Harlow…