A critical glance at the things Canadians will watch, read, listen to and talk about this month
James S. Rand says his Run For The Trees (General Publishing $6.95) is an adventure story for adults, and that it isn't dirty. He’s right. It isn’t dirty. It’s filthy. Set in South Africa, its central characters are a South African landowner and a British professional hunter, who meets the South African hunter by saving his life. The hunter is gratified to find that his new friend considers women brood mares, and stands stud to the herd of them he keeps. The adventures of the two men are a revolting display of sadism, masochism, lechery and stupidity.
** A Long Way To Shilo, by Lionel Davidson (Doubleday, $5.00), is not, as the title suggests, concerned with the American Civil War. It’s a suspense novel which tells what happens when a young English archeologist is asked by the Israeli government to find the ancient and original Menorah, the sevenbranched lamp which is a symbol of Judaism, before the Arabs find it. This is one of the best, wittiest and most exciting novels in its category.
If you don’t know the differences between Korea, China and Japan, you can learn the chief ones, and at the same time be thoroughly diverted in The Grass Roof, by Younghill Kang (Ryerson, $6.25). It combines the autobiography of a born writer with sociology, literary criticism and travel notes, and is warmly commended.
* Vimy Ridge, by Alexander McKee (Ryerson, $7.75), is an admirable account of one of the most fateful battles of the First World War, in which the Canadian forces triumphed after other Allied attempts had failed.
It's hard to see why Nicholas Monsarrat thought it worth while to write an autobiography, Life Is A Four-letter Word (Longmans Canada, $9.25). It’s still harder to see why he’s concerned with himself at such length — this is only the first volume and it’s more than 500 pages long — but he seems de-
termined to chronicle his not-very-remarkable life for the benefit of his public. Well, he's readable anyway . . . ^ An autobiography which seems to have been well worth writing is The Best Of Times, by John Dos Passos (General Publishing, $6.25). Dos Passos, who in the 1930s stood very high in the estimation of liberal-minded people but who has recently been in a kind of literary limbo, makes it obvious, without complacency or conceit, that his life has been remarkable indeed. The book as a whole is not up to the wonderful first chapter about his father, but it never sinks far below it.
A Tribute To Glenn Miller: All-star analysis of ‘‘the most popular bandleader of all time” killed Christmas 1944 flying from England to France to entertain the troops. (CBC, Mon. Dec. 26, 8 p.m. EST).
* Court Of Opinions: Whom would you nominate as the Canadian of the year? What was the Canadian achievement of the year? You have read the Maclean’s answers; let’s hear what the CBC panelists think. (CBC, Fri. Dec. 30, 1:30 p.m. EST).
*" CBC Tuesday Night: West Coast
Jazz with trumpeter Bobby Hales’ band. Followed by the Centennial Edition of Old (Mavor) Moore’s Almanac. (CBC, Tues. Jan. 3, 8 p.m. EST).
*•" Christmas Day on television is traditional, musical and — best of all — Canadian: A Christmas Greeting with hostess-singer Juliette, Max Ferguson, Kate Reid reading Prairie Winter, La Famille Brassard, Eleanor Collins, and from Winnipeg The Hootenanny Singers (CBC, 12 noon EST); Christmas Lost And Found, an animated color program traces the quest of a boy (Davey) and his dog (Goliath) for the real spirit of Christmas (CTV, 1 p.m. EST); A Christmas Carol, the movie version with Fredric March as Scrooge (CBC, 3:30 p.m. EST); Love And Variations, readings by Barry Morse and Zoe Caldwell on the theme of love interspersed with music (CBC, 5 p.m. EST); A Gift Of Music, the Toronto Symphony presents classical and contemporary selections in the Christmas spirit (CTV, 10 p.m. EST).
* Festival—The Blues: An informal session of sirigin’, playin' and talkin’ the blues with veterans Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry and others. (CBC, Wed. Dec. 28, 9:30 p.m. EST).
*•" Canadian History Test: Illustrated by cartoonist Duncan Macpherson, and with such guests as Prime Minister Lester Pearson, NDP Leader T. C. Douglas
and novelist Hugh MacLennan, this little 20-questions game on Canadian history should be pretty funny (CBC, Sun. Jan. 1, 9 p.m. EST).
* Festival—The Taming Of The Shrew: Shakespeare’s play, adapted for television, stars Susan Clark and David Buck in the battling roles of Katherina and Petruchio (CBC, Wed. Jan. 11, 9:30 p.m. EST).
The Avengers returns at last after the network was harassed by loyal followers of this satiric spy-adventure series. Now in color and with more science-fiction themes, the series promises to be better than ever (CTV, Tues. Jan. 17, 8:30 p.m. EST).
* The Bible: The first 22 chapters of Genesis seen as a good three-part yarn. The Creation is poetic, the Flood is humorous and the rest is blood and thunder. Director - actor John Huston accomplishes minor miracles: it’s neither offensive nor boring, just a little too much like a bedtime story. (Maclean’s Reviews, Nov. 5).
^ Hawaii: Film version of part of
James Michener’s novel with Max von Sydow as a Yankee missionary whose puritan justice is gradually tempered by
Julie Andrews’ feminine mercy and the gentler virtues of the native Hawaiians. First half promises an epic struggle of cultures and morals. The second finks out. (Maclean’s Reviews, Dec. 3).
Georgy Girl: Tale of a plain girl who makes good. Lynn Redgrave doesn’t get her prince charming, but she steals everyone else in sight, and runs away with the show. Funny and peculiar. (Maclean’s Reviews, Dec. 17).
^ Diabolique: Late North American release of a 1954 thriller by the man who made Wages Of Fear, Henri - Georges Clouzot. Worth waiting for.
Percy Rodriguez is rapidly becoming known as the Alec Guinness of the Montreal slums. A former light-heavyweight boxer, Negro actor Rodriguez, 48, plays seven parts in an upcoming NFB feature about West Indians in Canada. That was peanuts compared to Percy’s American triumphs: he’s been the actor in demand on the Hollywood
TV stages since last August (Wild, Wild West, Mission Impossible, Tarzan, The Invaders, and Lost In Space). Not that he’s a newcomer. His Broadway shows include Blues For Mister Charlie and Lillian Heilman’s Toys In The Attic. He also has a feature role in the new movie Chubasco. Rodriguez, married with two children, still lives in Montreal but does "a hell of a lot of flying" because of his multiple commitments.
Movie fans flocked to the muchpublicized Toronto premiere of David Secter’s new film The Offering (it was panned by the critics) — and discovered the most interesting event was happening outside the theatre. Five people were picketing the arrival of the film’s male star — Ratch Wallace — with signs reading: "Wretched Ratch,” "Ratch Fink” and “Ratch is a Creep.” The reason: ungallant Ratch had previously invited jet-haired Dany Kuennet, a 20-year-old Parisienne, to be his date at the premiere. Dany blew her month’s allowance on a $50 mini-skirt evening dress only to be told by Ratch: “You can’t come with me in that.” By the time Dany had borrowed a formal gown, Ratch had dated another girl. Outraged, Dany and four friends decided they would come to the premiere anyway — if only in protest.
*-* Chile Con Soul: Exotic fare distinguishes a recent album for Pacific Jazz by the Jazz Crusaders, erstwhile exponents of the searing Texas sound who decided to jump on the Latin jazzwagon. Flutist Hubert Laws lavishes plenty of golden fluting to decorate a somewhat ponderous combination of funk, bop, timbales and cowbells. (PJ 10092)
Nicolai Ghiaurov: From the Balkan wilds of Bulgaria comes an heroic bass voice that captivated Salzburg last summer and is all the rage in New York this winter. His first solo recording for London Records reveals a voice with all the ingredients of greatness: vibrant, velvet tone, majestic color and torrential range in Russian and Italian opera arias. London’s luxurious stereo flatters both Ghiaurov and the London Symphony. (OS 25769)
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