North Carolina Newspapers

    February 24, 1970
The N. C. Essay
Page 2
uuincenT cflnev
PATTON: A Salute to a Rebel
looks and sounds like the epic Ameri
can war movie that the Hollywood
establishment has always wanted
to make but never had the guts to
do before. The film, is 20th
Century-Fox's $12-million tribute
to the late General George S.
Patton, Jr., the brilliant,
unstable World War II tactician who
saw himself as nothing less than
the divine instrument for making
the world safe for future wars.
The fact that a supposedly
sympathetic character, in a
superspectacle such as this, will
admit to loving war is, in a negative
way, a refreshing change from the
sort of conventional big-budget
movie claptrap that keeps saying
that war is hell, while simu-
taneously showing how much fun it
really is. The existence of a movie
like "Patton" does not necessarily
mark an advance in the civilizing
processes of our culture, but it's
a good deal less hypocritical than
most patriotic American war movies.
If I sound ambivalent about
"Patton", it's because the movie
itself is almost as ambivalent about
its hero.
The opening of the film, which
is really all overture, comes very
close to being conscious Camp.
Patton (George C. Scott) stands on a
stage addressing us, the people in
the movie audience who have become,
apparently, his troops, He is a fine,
overly virile figure of a man. riding
crop in hand and with so many medals
on his chest, that he could be a
member of the chorus of The Student
Prinae. He exhorts us, with manic
intensity, not simply to kill the
enemy, but "to tear his guts out".
"All Americans love the sting of
battle", he says, and the
audience giggles in embarrassment.
"That's why we've never lost a war
(the giggles stop)..-We're going to
go through (the enemy) like crap
through a goose!"
Thus, consciously, I'm sure
the contradictory tone of the film
is set. "No bastard ever won a war
by dying for his country," he says.
"He won it by making some other poor
bastard die for his country."
Although the military reasoning
is sound, the speech is one of
astonishing arrogance, a jingoistic
tour de force, full of enthusiasm
for the butchery to come and reeking
with the assumption that there is a
God who is, of course, on the side
of the Allies.
The almost three-hour film
follows Patton's career in what is
essentially a series of magnificently
photographed tableaux vivants de-
repnhWW n.V. TlfDES
picting the North African campaign,
the assault on Sicily (including
the incident in which Patton
slapped a shell-shocked soldier for
being a coward), climaxing in
the brilliant sweep of his Third
Army through France some weeks after
the D-Day he was not allowed to
participate in.
Patton's private live> his
relations with his wife and
family, are not even hinted at.
Instead, the film presents what
could be called an intimate por
trait of a public figure. The
portrait does not really change in
the course of the film; it is simply
filled in with additional details.
Depending on your point of view,
these details show Patton as the
embodiment of all of one's fears
about the rich, white, Protestant
military establishment, a man who
confidently believed that America
and England should rule the world,
or, as a ruthlessly dedicated, eccen
tric genius, described with great
affection as "a 16th-century man
lost in the 20th century."
The film is shot in 70-
millimeter. A film process called
Dimension-150, it is extraordinarily,
almost unrealistically, beautiful -
the epitome of Pop movie epic
with lots of broad vistas caught in
clear, deep focus. The battle
scenes, including desert confron
tations as well as Patton's dash
through France in the deep of winter,
are always more spectacular, than
bloody. In one frame, you might
have Patton in foreground, a tank
attack group in the middle ground,
and a line of fighter planes flying
in over the horizon. A sense of
the true horror and panic of battle
is thus distanced, replaced by the
awe one has of such carefully
coordinated, logistically complex
film-making. Schaffner shoots his
interior scenes - mostly the
cavernous castles and baroque pal
aces in which Patton was bivouacked -
with a similar eye for grandeur.
More than one scene opens with a shot
of a frescoed ceiling, followed by
a slow pan that carries the eye
down to the action below. It's
almost as if the director, like
Patton, were constantly paying his
respects to God.
fvom The N.Y. Times
this week's staff box is
naught but a nondescript ,
nonsensical nattering,ie.
list , of those same names
you've seen before
editor - anthony senter
michael ferguson
sandra williams
gwen spear
kathleen fitzgerald
sam barceiona
advisor - anthony fragola
cortV. ^rom\
ector for the production and con
ductor of the orchestra. Michael
Colina of Charlotte, a music major,
is assistant musical director, and
Sandra Williams of Mobile, Ala., a
dance major, is dance assistant to
Scenery and costumes have been
designed by Christina Giannini of
New York, a member of the visiting
faculty at the School of the Arts.
Costumes have been executed by Linda
Rogers, resident faculty costuiiie
Richard Spock of the design and
production faculty has designed the
lighting and is production manager.
Susan Palmer, also of the design’and
production faculty is production
stagemanager. f
Diction Coach is Lesley Hunt,
teacher of speech in the school of
drama. Vocal coachers are George
Trautwein, teacher of voice for drama
students and a member of the visit
ing faculty, and Cynthia Siebert of
Richmond, Va., a music major.
"Guys and Dolls" which has been
called a musical fable of Broadway,
is based on a story and characters
by Damon Runyon. It began a nearly
three=year run on Broadway in Novem
ber, 1950. That year it received e
eight Tony awards. The movie, "Guys
and Dolls," was released in 1955 by
Metro Goldwin Meyer.
Principal roles (in order of
appearance) will be played by:
Stanley Bernstein of Flushing, N.Y.
as Nicely Nicely Johnson.
David Sutor of LYnchburg, Va. as
Benny Southstreet. Randall Rich-
man of Raleigh as Rusty Charlie.
Joanne Greene of Augusta, Ga. as
Sarah Brown. James Stubbs of Rock
ingham, as Arvide Abernathy. Michael
Zande of Asheville, Mona Hanes of
Clemmons, Lois ARtis of Goldsboro-
Mission Band.

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