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IPHIGENIA (U) Directed by Michael Cocoyannis
With the popularity of free-wheeling, nonthinking films such as "Star Wars" and "High
Anxiety," which are made strictly for fun,
it's nice to-have a "thinking man's" picture
out, even if/JPHIGENIA is not a complete
success. The f. ilffl,was~noraj,nated for "Best
Foreign Language'Film" at this years Academy
Awards. The film lost, however, to an unheard of film, "Madame Rosa."
Michael Cocoyannis has filmed two earlier
Greek tragedies, "Electra" in 62, and "The
Trojan Women" in 71. IPHIGENIA is based on
the play, IPHIGENIA AT AULIS by Euripides,
and quite often, the film seems somewhat
stagey. Of course a lot of the acting is
(overly) melodramatic, but you must take
into consideration the time and place.
Cocoyannis has not made his own version,
he has kept it in its nearly exact original
writing. And for that he is to be commended.
The story concerns the demand, by the
Greek fleet, assembled to sail for Troy,
that'Agamemnons• daughter be sacrificed and
killed. In their belief that her death will
bring wind for their ships to sail by,
Iphigenia is brought to her father, by her
mother, under the impression that she is to
marry Achilles, a young, attractive hero. In
actuality,, of course, her marriage will be a
wedding with death. In feeling sorrow for
the beautiful 13 year old, Iphigenia, one
cannot help but feel that Euripides story is
somewhat ludicrous, and that the films intentionally depressing mood is a bit muchj^^
Irene Papas is impressive as the mother,
though occasionally she is forced to deliver
a rediculous line, which prompts unkind and
nervous laughter from the audience.
As Agamemnon, Costas Kazakos, is rough
and unloving. He cares for *yj3 daughter,
possibly, but the Greek fleet come f iFSt",
and though he contemplates the decision of
the sacrifice, you are always certain that
his final decision will result'in death for
The most brilliant of the cast is Titiana
Papamoskou as Iphigenia. Her beauty and innoe
cence is incredibly touching. Her performance
is the most controlled, making her role seem
the most natural.
IPHIGENIA is the best screening of this
type that I've seen. However, its long length
and numerous boring sequences go on too <long
and keep it from being the perfect picture
that it might have been. In seeing it once,
one can marvel at its eagle-sharp photography
and the sensitiveness of its tittle character.
But to set through it another time, would be,
quite frankly, a chore. (**i)
"CROSSED SWORDS" Directed by Richard
Pleisher, based on Mark Twain's THE
PRINCE & THE PAUPER (PG)
I have to admit right out front that
when I was a child, Twain's PRINCE &
THE PAUPER was one of my favorite '
stories. Also, when I was ten, I discovered a musical movie titled OLIVERI
and from that point on, Mark Lester,
who played Oliver Twist in the film,
(he plays the prince AND the pauper in
CROSSED SWORDS.) became my idol,(or
hero, whichever you prefer,) and OLIVER1
will always be one of my very all time
favorite movies. So, in reviewing
CROSSED SWORDS, keep in mind that my
opinion is somewhat biassed. a
My god, what has happened to Mark
Lester! In his youth, his looks personified perfection. Perfect facial features-;
perfect blonde hair, perfect innocence.
Now he's twenty years old and he's about j
six feet tall, and weighs about 60. I
swear he is so skinny that he looks like
a polio victum. His door knob looking
knee caps simply beg to be turned. His
acting performance here fluctuatessbe-
tween clumsy and just plain awful. Can
this be that beautiful, promising little
boy from OLIVER! ?
The film is creatively photographed,
and it captures the period wonderfully.
But into this is thrown the, most rediculous all-star cast* ever assembled.
Ernest Borgnine, Rex Harrison and George
C. Scott are at their all time low.
Raquel Welch is the token woman, though
her character isn't even remotely believe-ri-. _.
able. Oliver Reed is the best of the mess,' -■"
(he played Bill Sykes in OLIVER!) but he -lv
can't begin to save it.
Actually, reviewing this is hard on \
me- I've been anticipating its arrival
for over a year - and I thought I would \.x
love it, (I wanted to.) But it is, I
regret to say, the pits. (0)
"RABBIT TEST" (PG) Directed by Joan Rivers
Either Joan Rivers doesn't write her own
jokes when I see her on television talk
shows, or she didn't write this film.
The credits say she did, and I just can't
believe it. I have always felt that she
irssthe greatest female, comic in America.
But her new movie, RABBIT TEST is in-
concievably unfunny and nauseating.
The film should have been titled RABID
TEST, as I would rather suffer through
rabies twice, than set all the way through
this even once.
Billy Crystal (of SOAP fame,) is
Rivers' starring victum, and though he's
charming and sensitive, his "throw-away"
one-liners are far from showing any talent.
Rivers throws so many silly gags at
her audience in every second, that I had
just flat o.d.'ed after the first tKirty
minutes. I saw the next thirty minutes
in a disbelievable coma. All of middle *-^3
class America was laughing around me,
but I was just amazed at their stupidity.
To save my life, I just could not find
angt of it funny, it was just one little
skit after another, no worse or better
than T.V.'s "Hee Haw" and "Laugh-In."
After one hour, I could stand no
more, and fled from the theatre, and as
I walked out I could hear the audience
laughing. And for just a moment, I imagined them "to be laughing at me. Joan
Rivers had played an ultimate joke on me:
She had tricked me into seeing her film.,.
Too nervous to walk very far,(because I get upset when I think about
there being movies that bad,) I snuck
into the theatre next door, where a
very familier favorite of mine was play- 1
ing to a practically empty house,(even
though it had won "Best Picture Of the
Year" at the Academy Awards four nights
earlier,) All I can say is, thank god
for people like Woody Allen and Diane
Keaton, and movies like ANNIE HALL.
For those of us who are amune to a
"television society," movies like this ^Ofc
are all that keep us from going totaly