Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 13. 1970
Mazursky's Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice is another of Hollywood's affectionate self satires, but one that remains indecisive.
Bob (Robert Culp), a documentary film maker, and his wife Carol (Natalie Wood) attend a therapeutic group-confession clinic and return to their lives enlightened by a desire for total honesty and universal love. They embaress hotel waiters with their frankness and amaze their closest friends, Ted (Elliott Could) and Alice (Dyan Cannon) by openly accepting each other's one night stands.
Alice takes some time to adjust to the new outlook, yet despite her initial disgust, it is she who encourages the group to conduct an orgy in their has Vegas hotel room. They refuse. "Cop out!" she yells. Later, after arguments and successive 'insights', they all climb into the double bed, and 'cop out' they did.
All this I suppose was intended to be a send-up of wife swapping and the morals of affluent high life (or something) but the script,. while clever at times, has no real incisive strength. For most of the time it drifts. The story-line travels full circle from soul-searching type gazing at the therapy resort to the intense eye locking in the closing shots outside the hotel. What fills, in between is generally mediocre and vague, and the standpoint is extremely ambiguous (give or take an obvious snigger).
There are some good scenes, Bob's benevolence to Carol's astonished lover, the local tennis coach (and foreign too). Alice's consultation with a psychoanalyst concerning her sexual hang ups, with Donald Munich cleverly under-playing his role. And the superb bedroom scene between Ted and Alice where the dialogue at last rings authentic.
Bob and Carol must always be telling each other, and anyone else within earshot, how they feel. Steeped in their psychology orientated milieau, they reduce everything to the conscious intellect. For them the way to honesty is through a continual monotonous verbal strip-tease. Sterile and pointless. Nothing is left to intuition or spontaneous awareness. What they think they feel is all-important. We are left in doubt as to whether the film laughs at this or condones it, for in the final menage a quatre the feeling is not one of real insight but simply that things would have been different if they had had two bedrooms instead of one.
The result is almost total absence of any body or substance for satire to exist in. Is Mazursky being fervently moral or cynically liberal? It is very easy to move from the question 'what is being laughed at?' to the view that nothing is being laughed at. It is almost as if Rock Hudson and Doris Day have teamed up again after reading Couples. The result—another cop out!
Incredible String Band I Looked Up: Electra
Light that is one
Though the lamps
The Incredible String Band is a history of progression from the "Layers of the Onion", through to this latest trip.
Coming from a fairly standard folk background they have gone through a fusion of blues, Indian and in fact just about everything, bringing their own sound into the world, peaking with "Wee Tarn" and "The Big Huge".
Those two albums took two years to produce, and showed it, but after a break of about six months, "Changing Horses" was unleashed on an innocent world which dutifully ignored it. This was not surprising—it had none of the perfection of the previous albums and sounded like a live take in the studio. Now after another six months we have a new thing, with the epitomies of Robin Williamson and Mike Heron. Heron's soul and Williamson's hang-up on Indian-blues arc all there, to the Finest point of expression yet.
There are only six tracks on the album, four Heron and two Williamson, but all are the best they have done. As in early times a heavy reliance on tradition is observed, the first Heron track, "Black Jack Davy" is just another "Gipsy Rover" complete with fiddles and trad, harmonies and Williamson's 10 minute "Pictures in a Mirror" is based on the "Lord Randal" ballads. The one electric track is excellent, using guitars, harpsichord, and drums supplied by Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention.
Both lyrically and musically there is a definite progression, in Heron's "This Moment" one can hear the search for perfection in guitar work, vocals and harmony.
This moment is different
From any before it
This moment is different
Its now. (Its now)
And if I don't kiss face
That kiss is untasted
I'll never, no never
Get it back, no."
There is no middle of the road with the Incredibles, they are loved or hated, turned on, or off.