Oct. 27. 1969
The N.C. Essay
looking and listening . . .
John E. Fitzgerald
WHEN you decide to say that black’s white
or that day’s nighti you’d better do it
as deftly as did Jean Giraudoux in his 1943
play, The Madwoman of Chailot. (Say SHY-O,
say the ads for the new film version which also
say: “This is a §tory of the triumph of good
bvCT evil. Obvioudy' this is a fantasy.”)
- As with others before him, Monsieur Gi
raudoux, who was a master of mjrth and a
skilled fabricator of lacy graceful fantasy with
ironic reversals, knew that there’s a touch of
madness in those called sane and a touch of
sanity in those considered mad. His play, a fluf
fy bit of lYench JcDoking, tells of a pitiful poor
old madwoman, dwelling in the past and long
ing for the return of her lost lover and her
feather boa; she is the, only person “sound
enough to frustrate all the madness in the
“Why wasn’t I told?” she sputters to her
,street friends, indignant at hearing of the plan?,'
of a group of greedy leaders to exploit Paris
and its people, sacrificing beauty to business
in prospecting for, the oU discovered beneath
the and thereby turning the City of Lights
into a field of miniature Eiffel Towers, all
In the play the obj^ of attack was greed.
In the - film Katherine Hepburn, in wide-
brimmed hat, chiffon and feathers, tells her
fellow street people, “If they’re gree^, they’re
lost ... if they’re greedy, they’re stupid ... if
they’re greedy, don’t worry.”
The “they^’ concerned here is a large all-
star cast of conspirators. Thus, with the inexor
able logic of the mad, rieeding no laws but their
own, she convenes a mock trial with her
friends, one of whom, “The Ragpicker” (Danny
Kaye) represents in absentia the “defendants.”
The verdict is, of course, guilty. These people
must be eliminated. ,0n behalf of humanity’s
future, of course. So she lures the double-cross
ing conspirators to her home and tricks' them
into descending a bottomless staircase, thus
making the world a better place for lovers.
The story at its barest is one of discreet vio
lence asL a plot solution and of vigilante justice
dressed in faded feathers and served, with a
ST>rinkliiig of powdered sugar. But with charm.
KATHERINE HEPBURN as the "A/ladwcm»n"
The “good guys” — or good girls — are not
only Chaillot’s madwoman, but three other
dotty ladles: Giulietta Masina, Edith Evans and
Margaret Leighton. And Nanette Newman is the
lonely waitress who loves the young student.
However, miscast Katherine Hepburn is rather
unconvincing; who can accept that the sharp,
caustic amd keen-witted Kate is a deUghtfioUy
daft old lady?
Since Giraudoux died in 1944, this, hjs
last play, has b^n “improvrf” by Edward An
halt’s screenplay and Director Bryan Forbes by
“updating” it with ballistic missiles, student-po-
lice street riots, A-bombs, planes, computers,
etc., to be fashionably anti-Establishmenit rath
er than universally anti-greed.
The resulting film is as might have been
expected: presumptuous rather than unassiun-
ing. Giraudoux assumed that you knew cor
ruption was not a matter of place or time, and
then, and with style, shared his particular view
point of the obvious with you. Whereas Forbes
and Anhalt and Producer Ely Landau presume
you don’t know and explain the obvious to you
in what turns out to be without any of Girau-
doux’s charm, sparkle or humor, a flat souffle.
A topical treatment instead of an artistic treat.
The result? ^
The story on screen is a triimiph of evil
tamperings over a good play. Regrettably the
fantasy has become obvious.
Tony Senter- Editor
Valerie Parker - Typist
Anthony Fragola - Advisor
Letter to the Editor
of the W-S Journal
Tuesday, Oct.21, 1969
Monday, Oct. 13, a group of
us learned that Mister Roberts was
to be presented by the School of
Drama at the School of the Arts. We
enjoyed the movie and were anticipa
ting a night of good clean enter
tainment as well as learning more,
of the training and activities
of the school.
When entering the theater
we were delighted with the settings
and atmosphereyealizing it was all
craeted by the students. Tlie cast
was well selected and the acting was
excellent, but we were amazed and
astonished at the profanity and
vulgarity used throughtout the whole
play. It was not enough to throw in
a filthy word just once, they kefit
repeating them to make sure they
were understood. Is this an example
of what the students are getting?
449 M. TRADE
THE SHAPE OF
SHIRTS TO COME
Authentic styling with torso fit.
Long point collar. A large selec
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