West Coast film critic Pauline Kael inveighed against the Beatles to a defensive audience at Kirkland House last night.
"One thing is wrong with Richard Lester, a big thing," she said of the four some's two-time director, "his content is the same as that of TV commercials."
Most of the prepared speech she read "Movies: the Cool Art," dealt with the decline of the American cinema, which she attributes to a timidity forced on Hollywood by soaring production costs which must attract huge audiences to break even. "What is there that's geared for the mass market that's any good?" she asked.
Miss Kael proposed Marlon Brando's career as a thermometer to the general decline of our film industry. His "On the Waterfront" lament "Oh, Chollie I cudda had class! I cudda binna contenda!" she called "The Great American Lament." She feels that his recent career has mocked this early promise as a tragic hero.
Asked about her concept of criticism she maintained a distrust of formula criticism and a faith in a frankly subjective response. When F le lovers demanded why her subjects response to rebellion in Vigo (whom she admires differs from her reaction to rebellion in the Beatles, she wittily evaded the point.