Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 25. October 8, 1968
The facade of the Cross is sometimes a great bourgeois cover with 90% of the people there to look at the other 90% causing a 1007c traffic jam eternally. The customs are busy reading Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal, a book you'll hear about and if the NZ tribunal are laughing themselves sick, reading it soon. What can't we get here I asked a meagre miss in one of the cities scungier caves. "Jean Genet, he's banned, but you can buy books about him" And Couples by John Updike? "Oh the customs have got that too." Never mind, the full quota of Panther, Olympia Press and Evergreens are in full view in all shops.
Recently, however, in a performance of the play America Hurrah, the cops raided the theatre during the "Motel" sequence. Several of the cast are still missing. Obscenity, it would lead one to believe, does not, in refrain, seem to be manifest in the glorious Aussie public's entertainment. And so, inevitably, it has lead to an expurgated edition (or version) of the new American play The Boys In The Band by Mart Crowley (with Wellington actor Kuki Kaa), a hilarious homosexual birthday party orgy, brought to the Sydney entertainment world through the courtesy of yours truly Harry M. Miller.
Cinemas are nearly at all times deserted and unjustly costly. The ads now take on an entire concept and length. After interval, everything dowsed, I saw yesterday something's fine drink sponsoring a 6 minute load of crap on the Metamorphosis of Chrysalids. Curtain across, darkness before main film. This is the height of absolute insanity. There's a 5 minute Craven A using Grand Prix stock, a Dubonnet where the femme-fatales looking like anaemic fish spout phlegm-scandale, and the Astro fuel teaser is straight out of a Lelouch bowser wowser.page 12
Not that the Australian censor is no mean back. Not being fully up to date with his fresh disasters, I have noticed with distaste his banning of nearly every Corman film, entirely mutilating the fabulous Leone Italian westerns and outright banning The Penthouse, Dutchman and The Incident (how thoughtful) and am not sure yet about The Detective. No films are restricted, just SOA (Suitable Only Adults) which was flashed during The Graduate. The St Valentine's Day Massacre appeared in a reconstructed version and no doubt For A Few Dollars More as a trailer.
The Gala is the most interesting cinema. While the degenerate 17 clogs up the NZ circuits for many months, a beautiful, but boring little Swedish epic Elvira Madigan would be more in the line of honest distributing. Its extraordinary colour, repetitive Mozart, Vivaldi and non-happenings, make it the pleasantest snore-off in years. It contains (for me) my first movie chunder, and it wouldn't hurt a fly.
Out or sheer boredom Mike Nichols's The Graduate seemed yet another hit and run, with hardly any hit and it runs too far. An oddly sombre little film, its commercial bearing has been staggery-plus. It stars Anne Bancroft and superb newcomer Dustin Hoffman (he will be soon appear ing in John Schlesinger's film of Midnight Cowboy) who makes the most marvellous terrier whimpering noises. It is very sad and wants to make you cry, and only at the end does it really sparkle, but then it will remind you of another film.
Re-runs(?) of Jean-Luc Godard's have been Vive Sa Vie (which I missed), Bande A Part (which has been to NZ) and recently I saw the science-fiction op-pop-plop-arty farty Alphaville. It is the most "intellectually dumb and unprofound load of bullshit I have ever seen. Taking for granted the neglect this now jet-set anarchist of the coming 70s has had in New Zealand (he has made 16 full-length features plus, recently, his first film in English One Plus One with the Rolling Stones) and the amount written on him (let's face it he is the most written about today) by the almost ritualistic devotees, I cannot really see myself bothering about all the others, for I know they won't be as bad as Alphaville now.
The most refreshing film I've seen is Michael Winner's I'11 Never Forget What's 'is Name, shortly to be seen in Wellington, I hope. Refreshing because it is so competently outspoken with a wise and beautiful script by Peter Draper and superb style, offset between the nauseous and witty. Orson Welles, tycoon of the ad world, and Oliver Reed a gorilla hunk of society's child weaned and extortioned by the demands and disintegration of the female bait. Winner, fortunately, laces his early Donner-ish tale, or rather metamorphosis of evil, with some sardonic and scalptickling scenes, some of which I know caused the NZ censor to be rather reckless. If you don't see Reed directly booting someone in the face, or Miss Marianne Faithfull bellowing an obscenity, there is still enough unnerving dialogue, pastry-visions of satire, and gradual discent into the origins of society—sideness (at home and at school!) to make it a marvellous moive, which I urge you to see.
There have been and still are some famous people in our midst. I could mention actor Rod Taylor's homecoming to launch a bilious thing called The High Commissioner and gave some poor Tumbarumba virgin a night on the town by naming Taylor's films in order of aescetic-puke, and then there was the Maharishi who preached with the usual bunch—of flowers—and giggled away on what he called his last trip (giggle) to Australia. Spike Milligan's here, living with his parents out at Woy Woy, and contributed a halfhour television programme that contained according to critic Phil Adams "naive Christianity, his Thoreau-like love of nature, his delight in children, and the sadness that permeates his humour". It was a bit too much to see this noisy clown in a deeply moving programme, the regular scungy Aussie must have thought.