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October 21, 1970
The Daily Tar Heel
t Syndicate Inc 1970
'You're A Good Man,
Carmichael's Abyss Ruins Music
by Frank Parrish
Ten Wheel Drive zapped everybody
with volume. The group was loud enough
to shake Carmichael's rafters. Richie
Havens danced exuberantly, using his
guitar as a prop. The Ike and Tina Turner
Revue left some onlookers with
impressions of flickering lights and
Concert-goers were treated to
spectacle but bedeviled by sound, either
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nonexistent, excessive or sporadic. Ten
Wheel Drive, which produced abundant
decibels, br. ught its own sound system.
Its set completed, the outfit left stage and
took amplifiers with it.
Enter Richie Havens. The directional
miking had been shifted. Amps had been
hurriedly placed. It was virtually
impossible to mix sound in the confusion.
Richie Havens had to rush on stage. His
voice was heard occasionally by those in
the more distant seats.
Then, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue
came to Carmichael for the second fall
concert. The Turners' act had lots of
instrumentation and no less than .five
voices. Result: lyrics Were garbled or
unheard and the band played on.
The Carmichael experience has belied
rumors that musical concerts entertain
the ears. After the first two concerts,
some savage beasts left unsoothed and
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Yet it would undoubtedly be unfair to
curse the wretched sound system. The
problem of seeing and believing but not
hearing in Carmichael is a longstanding
According to Howard Henry, Director
of the Carolina Student Union, the
difficulty in hearing is essentially caused
by Carmichael. "It was built for
basketball," Henry said. He observed that
the stage's location tends "to compress
sound rather than expanding it." The
Union owns eight A7500 speakers which
admittedly are not "totally adequate for
the hardest driving rock group outside."
Indoors, within Carmichael's confines,
Henry " said; "There is' difficulty regardless
of who plays there." The Union director
said the acoustical problem would be
self-evident if you went into an empty
Carmichael, snapped your fingers and
listened to the three-second echo. "I
don't think that the room will ever be
worth a damn until it's completely
deadened. If you could kill all the reverb
iri the room, the sound system would
work much better, Henry said.
He estimated it would cost between
$60,000 and $70,000 .to put acoustical
tiling on the ceiling. Painting the beams
with acoustic paint would cost about
$15,000 or $20,000. "The ceiling is a
peculiar material," Henry said. It shifts
during the summer. A paint job might
end later in "flaking" and "it might not
last," according to Henry. Henry said the
only be a "temporary
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ucacic 10 ds. erxauuy n is one 01
best films to come to Chapel HZ1 this
"Patton's" subject is pretty well
expressed in its title. It's about General
George Patton, an American general,
lover of military pomp and ceremony,
aristocrat, authoritarian, poet, mystic,
and glory-seeker; a truly religious, truly
profane man; and a man, ultimately, who
combined the technical expertise of a
tank commander with a yearning for "the
medieval graceOf iron clothing." Patton
is the stuff adventure films-and
tragedies-are made of. That the movie
"Patton" hesitates and then commits
itself to the first category is perhaps
indicative of the tastes of today's
movie-going audience. But, considering
the usual Chapel Hill fare, who are we to
George C. Scott turns in an
Oscar-caliber performance as the general
Scott is at stage-center for nearly all the
three hours of the film. But he fills that
stage, and manages to catch the nuances
of Patton's personality as well as its
titanic force and magnetism.
Director Frank Schaffner has done a
fluent, sometimes brilliant job. Patton is a
believer in reincarnation; and Schaffner,
especially in the North African part of
the film, communicates a sense of the
enormity of time: that Patton's war is
merely one of many that have been
fought, bled for, and forgotten on the
unchanging face of the Tunisian desert.
Jerry Goldsmith's music is also
particularly effective. His slightly off-key
and distant trumpet strikes exactly the
right mood, as Schaffner's camera focuses
on the salient detail or image: the
Kasserine Pass, in Tunisia, where an
Is there any other logical place to hold
concerts? Probably not.
"We're stuck for big acts," Henry said.
"We made Led Zeppelin a $25,000 offer
and they weren't even mildly interested,"
Top acts demand top dollar.
Heavyweights like Zeppelin don't want
their pockets lightly touched. Ticket sales
must match a group's reputation and its
corresponding worth. The paying
audience must be seated somewhere.
"There's no other place for concerts,"
Henry said. He noted that Memorial Hall
only seats about 1640 although it was
designed with listening in mind. Anyway,
the sound hasn't been consistently
atrocious in Carmichael. Henry
remembered, 'The Fifth Dimension used
some of their sound equipment and a lot
of ours." Their sound, he observed, was
not lost. . .
Chicago will bring its own system. The
throng which waited patiently for tickets
might anticipate improved hearing at
Carmichael itself remains the chief
obstacle. The Union director said there
has never been any friction between an
act's sound crew and the Union's. "In
fact, we have tried to incorporate their
suggestions," Henry said.
In the meanwhile, sound men will
continue to roll their systems into
Carmichael's waiting abyss. Unlike
Sisyphys, who rolled stones uphill in
Greek mythology, they will probably
achieve their goal occasionally.
The Old Book Corner presents
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annihilated. The camera focuses first o
small hillock topped by a -uIture. then
moves to a dead and partially stripped
soldier, with scorpions crawLne ow
Only then does it scan the entire, eeruy
quiet scene: wrecked tanks. g"ur.s.
armored vehicles; and dead, almost
non-human soldiers, being stripped by
Bedouin women. Last, the camera moves
back to a dog tied to a now disabled tank,
its master dead. The scene is almost
unlocated, or located only in time, as an
emblem of war.
Similarly effective are the film's battle
sequences. There are just two. The second
is a night battle. We see only the
beginning of the fighting, the glare of
explosions, and the terrifying image of
soldiers hurrying through the darkness,
lighted only by the bursting shells. The
first battle is brilliantly executed but it's
also the key to Patton s extreme
This sequence is a general's-eye view of
an ambush Patton's tanks by for a
German panzer battalion. As far as it
goes, it works. But it raises the question
of how well and to what purpose the
movie comments on Patton's personality.
No observer, and surely no movie, can be
completely objective, if only because
both are finite. "Patton" tries to be
objective about its protagonist's
character, and, on one level, succeeds
about as fully as possible. But on a
second level it fails totally. It fills the
screen with the multifaceted character
into the world, how it is affected by and
how it reacts to the man.
Hence, the battles take on an
impersonal quality. By battle, I mean
those presented and those many more
talked about. Patton's great drive through
Sicily, for instance: it is strongly implied
that the drive conduces to nothing but
Patton's glory, and to human suffering in
general. It is implied, but the point is
never driven home. The movie sweeps us
on so quickly that we soon forget about
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it tn the r.c :e and spectacle of Patton's
This points up a second problem in the
film: the unnatural defeneration of
everyone ele. As Patton becomes more
formidable, his subordinates superiors,
friends, rivals, and enemies all cease to act
as human beings; they become images.
and in t!
imrrcp-er ones, of the
every day world uhica Patton is bucking,
and which eventually will destroy him.
General Montgomery becomes a squirt
in short pants. Rommel re ruins a name
to conjure with, but only a cardboard
r.val for the American general. The film's
signal failure in casting the role of Gen.
Omar Bradley is rooted in this bus.
Bradley is played by Karl Maiden, who
b-well, Karl Maiden, lie is simply
ineffectual. Yet, Bradley is the closest the
movse comes to having a raisonneur, a
voice of reason. When Bradley tells his
brilliant but erratic subordinate, "George,
you are a pain in the neck!" the result is
only the enlargement of Patton's
character. If you didn't know he was a
genius, you know now.
I don't mean to make either too much
or too little of these criticisms. They call
attention to major flaws in "Patton,"
flaws which keep it from even
approaching a great film. They cripple it
It has been said that "Patton" is a sop
to the silent majority; and it's a fact that
President Nixon has seen it two or three
times, and made his advisers see it,
because he finds a moral in Patton's sense
of leadership and vigor. Yet, for all his
magnetism and ability, Patton is also a
confused child. He loves playing at war,
ordering people around, dramatizing his
own personality. He is, as his first
marvelous speech shows, an incipient
It's all there in George C. Scott's
portrayal. "Patton," for all its faults, is a
very good movie, just as its subject, at his
chosen profession, was a professional. But
Patton would have recognized why the
movie never realizes or even approaches
its potential. It doesn't try. It hasn't got
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