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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 8. 19th April 1973



Flicks header

'Butterflies are Free' is a better film than its title suggests, even if it is no more honest in its sentiment. Transposed by Milton Katselas from the very successful Broadway play of the same name, this film is like the many well made American comedies that find their way to the screen for no other reason that there's a quirk buck to make out of it, but better in that the buck's well deserved. For, although the visuals remain oppressively theatrical, the film has a soundtrack with sufficient verbal felicity to make a visit to the Embassy worth one's white.

To be quite fair, this is not the greatest story ever told - films about the blind never were, 'Jane Eyre' included. Instead, this is the modest but touching tale of Donny, the bravest blind boy in the whole world, and his attempt to go it alone. We sec, and so does he, in his Way, his apparent success, his real failure, and his dubious compromise with the bane of sightlessness that's moving isn't it? Ah well, there is more: there's Donny's supermom, she gets hurt, when she learns that Donny no longer needs a mothers help, but Jill's instead. Jill? Yeah well Jill, she's a frivolous dolly with an emotional credibility gap about seven miles wide, and more to the point, she can be a butt for Donny's philanthropic tendencies, which is more than can be laid for his Mom. I mean she's been giving Donny blood sweat and fears since the day he was born - why change the habit of a lifetime?

Like I said, its not a story to write home about, but i makes up for this lack by disguising it in a string of tightly scripted and expertly handled singing matches. Donny's Mom, who has a mouthful of daggers, takes on her son's snappy sarcasm and Jill's blatant contempt like they were conversational gambits at a colonial garden party: or what the pleasure people take from watching quick wilted antagonists pull each other to bus. The film's success stands firm. That something is really happening behind this barbed wire exterior, is evident; but its plausibility is not enhanced by the quality of the repartee. If you can imagine a combination of 'A Patch of Blue' and Edward Albee, you have both the good and bad of this film, excepting the excellence of the acting. Edward Albert struggles with the soap opera in Donny, but handles tongue flailing with finesse. Goldie Hawn prances around in her underwear with her typical Fey abandon admittedly it is the only card she plays, but this is the very reason she plays it so well, However it is Eileen Hackett who steals the show: looking very relaxed in Katy Hepburn's old pumps, she is Utterly convincing, and, making a virtue of necessity, touches on the conflicts that inform the bellicose condesension associated with contemporary American motherland.

This may not be a film for everyone, espectally those who demand insight into social processes, or those more sensitive about blindness than the makers of the Film; for others there's a laugh to be had, and a little something to ponder. For those who want more, Alan Arkins moving but very depressing portrayal of a deal mute in Heart is a lonely Hunter' (shown at the Union on Tuesday), was the job.

Something lighter, and less likely to offend sensibilities of any kind is 'The Mechanic ', now showing at the Majestic. A pot-boiler from Micheal Winner, this straightforward gangster idy II consists of Charles Bronson scowling around a lot of dark alleys, and a fresh faced freak by the name of Jan Micheal Herbett impersonating David Cassidy: both of them to relatively little purpose. With a host of low key action sequences the film proceeds at a sure and entertaining pace but to nowhere in particular Gangster films generally don't, but then they usually exhibit a little more flare than this one does. All that needs to make it work is a shot in the arm in the form of Alain Delon and John Cassevetes; Considering the amount it owes to the work of these two excellent gangland champs, the Mechanie might as well have got them right into the act.

Coming Films at the Memorial Theatre:
April 19 The French Connection
April 26 One Potato, Two Potato
May 1 Le Mans
Mar 3 Duck Soup/Monkey Business
May 22 Z
May 24 Women in Love all — 2pm