A Doll's House. Christopher Hampton adapts Ibsen's play and refuses to capitalize on its Feminist aspects; he doesn't have to, they are built in. But when Patrick Garland brings it to the screen he cops out in the film on what is most effective in the play. Nora (Claire Bloom) has that sort of perfect fine-featured face with lines of tension at the edges that tell you about the anxiety she suffers in living up to the Victorian ideal of feminity: women should be seen and not heard. She finally slams the door on it and, to boot, on children and her husband who is insufferably male with a vengeance. Cheri II. 1:15, 2:50, 4:35, 8:15, 10.
The Day of the Jackal. Fred Zinneman directs a thriller about the attempted assassination of de Gualle by a hireling of the OAS (with Edward Fox looking like the Englishman's version of Robert Redford). The movie teases you, catapulting from one possible peak finish to another, and ends like a snowball that has suddenly mushroomed into an abominable snowman. Pi Alley. 2:45, 5:15, 7:45, 10:15.
Paper Moon. Lots of tears wrung out of the story directed by Peter Bogdanovitch about the chumming up of a team as old and as wet as the thirties. Ryan O'Neal plays a con man who makes a fast-talking living by selling just-widowed, bereaved old ladies Bibles that he has personalized in gold on the covers after gleaning the victims' names out of the local want ads. His real-life daughter (Tatum O'Neal) is an 11-year-old tomboy, and a leech so tough that she pulls a quicker con over her big-mouthed but slow-witted Daddy than he'd be willing to admit was possible in real life. Cinema 57. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. every two hours.
Fantasia. A Walt Disney animated extravaganza that has to be tripped through to be borne at all. Cinema Kenmore Square, 2, 7:15, 9:30.
Last Tango in Paris. "A movie that people will be arguing about as long as there are movies. Bertolucci and Brando have altered the face of an art form." Cheri I. 2, 7, 9:30.
State of Siege. Costa-Gavras's latest political drama (following Z and The Confession) written by Franco Solinas who scripted The Battle of Algiers. Yves Montand has the sort of impeccably cool, unimpeacable face which is perfect for the part he plays. His role is recognizably based on the life and death of assassinaaed AID official Dan Mitrione, who was trained in the U.S. to operate in close undercover conjunction with the repressive policy in Brazil and Uruguay. Montand is perfect because this dream of a family man, whose actions are propelled by a pure form of bourgeois liberalism, is so unconscious an oppressor. Charles West. 2:30, 5, 7:45, 10.
Scarecrow. The Easy Rider of 1973, two down-and-outers working their way east toward money and destruction in an inversion of the Westward push myth with the rainbow pot of glory at the end. The movie not only lacks coherent narrative, it lacks any form at all. Rather, for whatever success it may have trained its sights upon, the film seems to depend heavily on audience gullibility vis a vis "art at the movies" built up by the new media hypes. Ten from VYour Show of Shows. A sampling of the 160 90 minute weekly shows directed and produced by Max Liebman from 1950 to 1954, starring Sid Ceasar and Imogene Coca, with Carl Reiner and Howard Morris. A few classic comic skits from one of the greatest clowns in the business.
Sleuth. Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award winner directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, in his own words "the oldest whore in the business," starring Laurence Oliver and Michael Caine. It is an actor's movie. A highly crafted mystery of a movie whose lesson seems to be that crime doesn't pay. Harvard Square Cinema, 1, 5:05, 9:10.
McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Robert Altman (M.A.S.H., Brewster McCloud, Images, The Long Goodbye) directs this gruff hearted Western story and turns the tables on who's who as hero--this time it is a tough talking opium smoking prostitute (Julie Andrews) who has a business sense shrewd enough to muddle the head of the small time gambler (Warren Beatty) by teasing the needs of his gullible ego. Altman has done something radical with the use of sound--the voices mingle indiscernibly to effect a new sort of realism. Brattle Theatre, 5:30, 9:30.
East of Eden. 1955 with Raymond Massey, J. Harris Dean, Burl Ives, directed by Elia Kazan. James Dean's best performance in which his capacity for portraying a rebel youth is fully used, unlike the more acclaimed Rebel without a Cause, which was a spinoff of Brando's prototypical 50's motiveless wandervogel in The Wild One. Set on John Steinbeck's 30's Northern California farmland, Kazan strips the Nobel Prize winner's story of all its forced Biblical parallels. And in focussing the story upon the character played by Dean he creates the sort of lean, energetic, powerfully dramatic work which the author's plodding traditional allegory failed to produce. Here Dean is an actor of Brando's power without the cheap mannerisms. See it. Brattle Theatre, 7:30.
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeousie. From the first scene of his first film (the surrealist Un Chien Andalou, 1928) Luis Bunuel has shocked--much less attacked--his audience. He continues to surprise here, but his digs are playful. He manipulates a half dozen characters in an ironic world of distorted time and confused identity to create an aesthete's version of his past social bites. At 72, he is like the Nabokov of movie-making. Central Square Cinema.
Walkabout. A fitting title to a movie whose narrative never seems to go anywhere at all. Central Square Cinema.