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January-February 1987

1986 in review, Oliver Stone on Platoon, Jean-Jacques Beineix’ Betty Blue, Armond White on directors and their muses, special midsection on what it means to be “in development,” Stuart Gordon and Re-Animator's special effects, colorization debates, Cary Grant

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With Platoon Oliver Stone gets nearer the heart of the darkness that was Vietnam than any director to date. The platoon of selves that Stone has placed onscreen from Midnight Express through Scarface and Salvador is a mix of mythic characters as true as they are banal; they’re itchy. Pat McGilligan lures Stone into the open and listens to his war stories—hand-to-hand in Hollywood for the right to tell the ugly truth.

Though homey pieties persist even in “liberated” love stories, the muse has made her return. Jean-Jacques Beineix’ Betty Blue is the latest flash from the front, or is that the edge, between man and muse, and Marcia Pally hones in on the border between his life and lens. And Armond White turns with a dirty dozen directors and the actresses they shot and cut to pieces.

Since the studio system capsized, writers have become peddlers and production “chiefs” stoplights: red on forever, green once in a blue moon, and yellow an arrow into a parking lot in Hell, known as “in development.” Bev Walker dopes out the majors’ La-la-land limbo; Len Klady examples how it “works”; Dan Kimmel eyes John Cleese’s ideas for industrials; and Harlan Kennedy sees Britain betwixt and between.

The lonely film critic struggles out of bed, looks at two days of stubble (chin or legs) in the mirror, and asks him/herself: “Should I write smart about this drivel or get my MBA like Pa warned?” Mirabile dictu, they handed in manuscripts: Anne Thompson has the morning line on the Oscar nags; Lawrence O’Toole likes this year’s mug shots; and Stephen Harvey and Richard Corliss 86 the year.

Director Lindsay Anderson took filmdom's lions of winter—LilIian Gish, Bette Davis, Vincent Price, et. al—to Maine to shoot David Berry’s The Whales of August; Joanna Ney records the roars. Elliott Stein and Harlan Kennedy respectively note the graying of Cartagena and Edinburgh, two festivals on pentimento journeys.

Us sell-out? Never. We just wanna sell some. So we salute Klassik Klassix and Avi Timmel, and don’t think it doesn’t cost to put a slogan like “You Can Smell Our B.O.” up here. When Jack Barth and Mike Wilkins found this Timmel guy, they told him it was a paid article and us it was a commission ad. Hmmm.

Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon tells Meredith Brody about his pre-film life in the theater and great green gobs of greasepaint grimey gopher guts.

One picture is worth a thousand wars.

Inside, we all have the silky graces of wit, beauty, and danger that Cary Grant radiated, devil-may-care. Richard Corliss pays tribute to the man every man wanted to be, including Cary Grant.

Tie-ins we'd like to see.