The Thin Man. If you haven't, you must. It's as tight as the book and moves with a drive which insures that its charm is never static. Everything in this picture seems always to be in mad, advancing motion: elevators, eyebrows martinis--all pushing to the final clinch. The movie looks wonderful, so does everyone in it. When Myrna Loy wrinkles her nose it makes you wait for weeks to see a girl at a party who's got that talent. Nick and Nora Charles, it's repeated often, were modeled on Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman. That spirit made it as far as the book, but the film's a whole different deal. For one thing, it's hard to imagine Hellman being cute by wrinkling the nose she once threw herself from a tree to break for an excuse to have it reset: afterward, she said, "it looked different but not different enough." As much in evidence as the celebrated leads William Powell, Loy and Asta are a bunch of little performances which let you take away as much as you might have from big ones.
Family Plot. (at the Sack Savoy, Boston). Hitchcock at 78 is still better than anyone else, anytime. This film combines dextrous suspense with a broad humor uncharacteristic of Hitchcock's usual perverse sensibilities. Bruce Dern seems to finally ascending to the position as a major American star that has been predicted for him for years. Dern has cornered the market on self-conscious, self-deluding characters; the locus classicus of such types is California which Hitchcock has portrayed as a land of fast-food joints, endless highways and depraved small towns--in other words, accurately.
Frenzy. After a stretch of bombs (Marnie, Topaz, Torn Curtain, it hurts to even list them) Hitchcock came up with this solid, funny, return to the theme which has obsessed him since the beginning of his 53 film career. Blackmail (1929) the first British talkie, dealt with the problem of an innocent man suspected of a murder he, of course, did not commit. Frenzy too, has a nabbed innocent--only by 1973 the crimes shown had grown more lurid and gruesome: rape and strangling (with neckties). Hitchcock seems to be leaning more and more to overt comedy in his second half-century of film directing; the gourmet scenes in Frenzy will make you grateful for the central kitchen at Harvard.
Marnie. Since we don't have anything good to say about Marnie we'll let noted Hitchcock authority Robin Wood speak for it. He calls this dismal work "one of Hitchcock's richest, most full achieved and mature masterpieces." There is, it seems, no accounting for taste--after all, Stanley Cavell believes that L'Atalante is one of the greatest films ever made and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thinks that Milos Forman is a better director than Robert Altman. So go know.
The Battle of Algiers, Friday and Sunday at 8 and 10:15.
Documentaries on Religious America (Revivalists and Hassids), next Wednesday at 7:30.
East of Eden (Kazan, Dean, Steinbeck), Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10.
Giant (Dean, Taylor, & Roy Fitzgerald), Friday and Saturday at 8.
Frenzy (Hitch & ties), Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10.
SCIENCE CENTER A
Nayak (The Hero) by Satyajit Ray, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10.
SCIENCE CENTER B
Michael Rubbo's Waiting for Fidel (Imaginary interview with Castro) Sunday at 7:30 and 9:30.
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10.
SCIENCE CENTER C
The Daughter-in-Law (Take mine, please) Soviet film, tonight at 7 and 9.
Monday Morning Pronouns and Black Star (Gay flicks) Friday and Saturday at 8 and 9.
Marnie (Hitch's klepto) tonight at 8. Nada (Chabrol) Sunday at 8.
Little Big Man and Straw Dogs (Penn and Peckinpah), Friday and Saturday, call 495-4731 for times.
The Thin Man, Saturday at 8 and 10.
King Lear at 6:45 and 8:45.
The mystery of Kaspar Hauser (Werner Herzog--new German wunderkind), 6, 8, and 10.
The Magic Flute, 2:30 and 7:30 and Romeo and Juliet (ballet) 5 and 9:50.
ORSON WELLES I
Intercat (Bicentennial Pussy Show--proceeds to feed strays) 4, 6 and 8.
The Two Kennedys (A View From Europe) at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.
Mr. Arkadin at 4 and 7:35 and The Killers (from Hem) 5:45 and 9:25.