November/December 1985

Looney Tunes, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, women in Hollywood, Emilio Fernandez, Jewel of the Nile, Jean-Luc Godard's Hail Mary controversy, hillbilly movies

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THE BOYS FROM TERMITE TERRACE
If ever a bunch of movies exemplified Manny Farber’s definition of Termite Art, it was the 1,003 cartoons produced for 40 years at Warners Bros. Inside the Hollywood narrative beast, they gnawed away with surrealist subversion. Now the work of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and the other denizens of Termite Terrace is being recognized s at The Museum of Modern Art and peddling in nine videocassettes. Richard Corliss pays homage to the merrie menagerie, while David Chute metes out praise and caveats.

 

WOMEN IN FILM (JUST BARELY)
Susan Seidelman hatched a hit with Desperately Seeking Susan; Patrizia von Brandenstein won an Oscar for designing Amadeus; Dawn Steel and Lucy Fisher are powerful execs at Paramount and Warners. The dawn of a new age, in which women are accepted as Hollywood equals? Maybe, but with heavy cloud covering. Ask a dozen women on various rungs of the film-production ladder, as Marlaine Glicksman did, and hear the same sad story of old with poignant new twists.

 

HILLBILLY HEAVEN
Smokey and the Bandit and the Walking Tall series were the upscale versions of the species Cornporn: fetid morality plays about moonshine, lust, miscegenation, shotgun justice, and women with humungous breasts. Jimmy McDonough and Bill Landis survey this hilly terrain and talk with some of the survivors.

 

THE 1985 BOOK REVUE
Read all about it! Richard Schickel reappraises Preston Sturges; David Thomson flashes back to the birth pangs of Cahiers du Cinema; Daphne Merkin monitors those Bette Davis sighs; David Bianculli chats up Kurt Vonnegut on all those squashed movie projects; John Powers essays the MTV novel; Jay Cocks reviews John Boorman’s jungle horror stories; and Anne Thompson has the final word on Final Cut.

 

JOURNALS
Savage Steve Holland has a weird name and lofty Hollywood ambitions; Savage Steve Schaeffer reports. J. Hoberman went into the mountains of Telluride and found a Mexican treasure: actor-auteur Emilio Fernandez. In Tel Aviv, Dan Yakir discovered a West Bank movie romance stirring political controversy.

 

UP FROM ‘ALLIGATOR’
A B-movie craftsman hits the big time as Lewis (Cujo) Teague directs Jewel of the Nile, the sequel to Romancing the Stone. By Dan Yakir.

 

REEL HELP
Suffering from “compassion fatigue” over all those celebrity hootenannies for noble causes? Then pin the picture Bob Geldof is putting together with Hollywood’s top stars and directors. A scoop by Jack Barth and Mike Wilkins.

 

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
Suddenly it’s 1950! Irate Catholics picket a “blasphemous” film about the Virgin Mary—not The Miracle but Jean-Luc Godard’s Hail Mary. Critics Elliott Stein, Stephen Harvey, and Harlan Jacobson pick at the 23rd annual Lincoln Center bash.

 

FESTOMANIA
Telluride, New York… wait, there’s more. We’ve got Harlan Kennedy in Edinburgh, with a haggis of international film fare, and Dave Kehr in Toronto, where old films outshone the new. Next issue we’ll print their expense accounts.

 

VIDEO: VCR FEVER IN BRITAIN
Nobody goes to the movies on the scepter’d isle any more, but everybody sees them. Harlan Kennedy unravels the home movies riddle.

 

BACK PAGE: QUIZ #16

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