DECEMBER 20, 1985/MONTROSE VOICE 11
Rounding out the trio is Lesley Ann
Warren as the voluptuous and sexy Miss
Scarlett who runs a "quiet"escort service.
Spouting sexual innuendos and throwing
herself at the men, Scarlett is a high class
tramp somewhat in the Rita Hayworth
mold. She meshes well with other women,
forever throwing them off-guard with her
Clue is so funny that it catches us quite
off guard and knocks us to the floor laughing. Unlike other movies of this type,
about 90% of the jokes are really funny
here. You almost want to go back a second
time just to catch the funny lines you
missed while watching the looney characters, or maybe just to catch one of the other
two endings. Clue isn't just a game any
more, because now it's been made into a
crazy but skillful comedy that should be a
Christmas smash. Don't miss it.
d The Color Purple
Steven Spielberg is probably a little edgy
about the release of his newest effort.
Unlike Goonies, Young Sherlock Holmes,
and TVs "Amazing Stories," this film is
his first seriously dramatic, adult effort in
quite some time. Also, the movie is based
on a beloved best seller that just happened
to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature several years ago.
It's nice to report that Steven gets a B-
plus on his report card this time around.
He has assembled a superb cast (mostly
unknowns) and has a screenplay by
Menno Meyjes that follows the book pretty
closely (but has softened it quite a bit). It is
epic-sized like the "Roots" mini-series, but
also tender and warm like Sounder. With a
universal theme of love and maturing,
Spielberg probably has nothing much to
The Color Purple is actually a very troubling tale that has been toned down for
general mass consumption. There is adultery, incest and abuse, but it is rarely up
front or forceful towards viewers. Not that
life of young Celie in a 1906 Georgia town
is very sanitized. The facts are there, but
the film never dwells on the bad; instead
we are always looking for a better tomorrow, just like in all of Spielberg's films.
Our heroine is Celie (played by newcomer Whoopi Goldberg), who has two children by her father and then is given to a
widower with four wild children. "Mr." (as
she calls him) never marries her, treats her
like low dirt, and keeps letters that are sent
by her beloved younger sister. Celie plays
the quiet wife who is obedient to her husband, but we know that she is longing to
break out for the freedom that she
deserves. Her husband (played gruffly by
Danny Glover from Silverado) doesn't see
any potential in Celie, and basically treats
her like a slave.
Various characters begin to drift in and
out of her life. A dance hall singer named
Shug Aver (played to perfection by Margaret Avery) is the woman that "Mr."
always wanted to marry. When "Mr."
brings her to the house when she is ill,
Celie falls in love with her and the two
have an affair, Their love is muted, but
their revealing scenes together tell us a lot
about these women and their problems.
Other minor characters include Oscar
nominee Adolph Ceasar as "Mr.'s"
grumpy father, and Rae Dawn Chong as
the girlfriend of Harpo—one of "Mr.'s"
sons. Harpo (Willard Pugh) is first married to Sofia, a large, robust woman played
by talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey's character is phenomenal, moving
from proud to downtrodden, and finally—
in the end—triumphant.
As Celie, Whoopi Goldberg is very good.
It is a quiet sedate role that requires deep
feelings more than elaborate actions or
speeches. Goldberg builds the character
very slowly as she comes out of her shell,
serenely revealing a strong woman who
can finally stand up for herself. We don't
Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg star as the ill-tempered "Mr." and Celie,
in "The Color Purple"
get to see a lot of the "strong" Celie until
late in the film, but when she starts blooming we realize what potential Celie really
The negative aspects of Purple are minute, but they downgrade the film to a sentimental level. Many scenes are overplayed
to get some emotional reaction from the
audience. Spielberg throws in unneeded
comic relief (see people fall from the rafters unhurt) or tearful overtures at the
drop of a hat. Not helping things is Quincy
Jones' score, which rises to horrendously
soaring heights at major dramatic points
in the film.
One thing that really annoys me is having my emotions artificially stirred up. I
wanted to enjoy the simple and moving
scenes by themselves, but the swelling
music and the swirling photography
really knock the wind out of the effect. It's
as if Spielberg doesn't trust the power of
the actors or the script and has to juice it
up to make it effective.
It will be easy for some to call this a
"great" film just because there aren't very
many black films made. Unfortunately,
Spielberg's effort loses some emotional
impact and intensity of the Alice Walker
characters and scenarios because he overdoes it. The Color Purple is a very good
effort and audiences will no doubt be
affected by it. It's just that it could have
been so much better with "less" instead of
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