A critical glance at the things Canadians will watch, read, listen to and talk about this month
Reflections In A Golden Eye: John Huston’s washed-out-color version of Carson McCullers’ sour Southern story of army camp life. Marlon
Brando plays an officer who lusts after a private (Robert Forster) who lusts after the officer’s wife (Elizabeth Taylor) who lusts after her husband’s best friend (Brian Keith) whose wife (Julie Harris) doesn’t lust after anybody. Intriguing but repellent.
*" The Whisperers: A picture of the ain’t-Iife-awful school, directed by Bryan Forbes, made interesting by Dame Edith Evans as a pitiable old creature with fine fantasies. The British welfare state helps to bring a little grim reality into her life.
* Rosie: Old age is just another star turn for Rosalind Russell. Her middleaged daughters lock her up for her lolly when she heads into second teenhood with granddaughter Sandra Dee. But life can still be sappy when you’re 69 and loaded. A double wedding is the living end.
Who’s Your Fat Friend? by James M. Minifie (McClelland and Stewart, cloth $5.95, paper $2.50): The CBC’s Man in Washington (by way of Vanguard, Sask. and Oxford University) has produced an urbane and highly readable little book about style in politics. Some splendid insults including Beau Brummel’s crack about the Prince Regent — used as the title. *" Japan in Colour by Roloff Beny (Longmans, $30): One of the most handsome of the big picture books that brighten this season. Beny has said privately that he shot the photos for this book in between photographing Canada for his centennial book as a sort of relief from all that space.
His camera has caught some of the misty mystery of Japan. And Sir Herbert Read tries in an introduction to explain why it looks that way.
^ The Search for Indentity by Blair Fraser (Doubleday, $6.75): Maclean’s Ottawa editor handles with skill the difficult assignment of blending history and developing current events in the sixth and last of the Doubleday Canadian historical series. There are rewarding looks at Howe and Diefenbaker, but the book could have done with more of Fraser himself. Bringing his story from postwar to the present he ends on a rising note: Canada will be held together by the land itself, the northland.
The Cat by Georges Simenon (Longmans, $5.25): Sex among the sexagenarians would be an unlikely theme for a novel for almost anyone but this French master story-teller who still dawdles as long as two weeks over the writing of a book. He has published about 500 and despite his amazing output some readers think he is the best writer in France today. Some even think he’s as good as Flaubert when he’s going well — and in his latest he’s going very well indeed.
^ The Medium Is The Massage: Toronto prophet Marshall McLuhan cries out his tribal message amid a jungle of electronic babble and media puns on a new Columbia record which is an aural analogy to the recent Massage picture book. McLuhanatics will hail the release as the
ultimate mind-blower. The disc stresses the massage theory — a complacent acceptance of western technology, devoid of genuine social criticism. Perhaps that’s the price McLuhan had to pay for success in the U.S. (CS 9501) Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles): Their first release since Sgt. Pepper includes five previously recorded singles and six new show songs from the TV special of the same name. A 24page insert of photos and cartoons
explains the story of the tour. Unfortunately, scant attention has been paid to new musical creations: not one track is a real stand-out, and most of the new songs are bland. (Capitol MAL 2835)
** Their Satanic Majesties Request:
The Rolling Stones demonstrate that nothing in today’s pop-rock music is simple. Many of their various effects only border on music: the noise of a Hyde Park scene on a Sunday, various electronically produced sounds, snoring, coughing, laughter, talking, and a scream. They all add to the complexity of this disappointing but beautiful-looking package, including a 3-D picture effect on the cover. (London NPS-2)
Pleasures Of The Harbor: Phil
Ochs does a complete turn-around musically by adding various orchestral accompaniments to his provocative lyrical messages. Before this release he was well known as a social protester strictly adhering to one acoustical guitar. Traditionalists will feel he has sold out, but his imaginative arrangements of a crop of new songs say a lot with less bite and more taste than ever before. (A & M SP 4133)
* Shepherd on The Rock: Unknown, unloved and syphilitic, the dying Franz Schubert produced in his last month of life a magical plaint, a mystical lament on nature. The Shepherd on the Rock, for voice, clarinet and piano. On a new Angel release, mezzo - soprano Christa Ludwig and clarinetist Gervase de Peyer indulge in a pastoral ecstasy à deux, somewhat embarrassing pianist Geoffrey Parsons. Not even harsh and brittle recorded sound can ruin this rapturous hymn. Songs by Ravel. Rachmaninoff and Saint-Saëns fill out the disc. (S-36352)
* Le Centre, in Old Montreal, is the place where the opening-night performance of Fortune and Men’s Eyes was delayed nearly three hours by an internal dispute. Thus did a night at the theatre become a Happening for playgoers waiting it out bravely at the bar. Now artistic director Jacques Languirand promises more of the same environmental excitement. Plays, media - mixes and films, including “breakfast specials” Sundays at 4.30 a.m., are presented in the two flexible studio theatres. If the play's a drag, theatregoers may seek their drama in the pub, discothèque, or smart-set bookstore.
* A Conversation With the Prime Minister is a New Year’s Day special, with host Charles Templeton. (CTV, Mon., Jan. 1, 10.30 p.m. EST.)
International hockey: Following
broadcast of two games on a limited hookup of stations, this tournament goes on the full CTV network with the final four games, all live from Winnipeg: Canada vs. USSR, Wed., Jan. 3, 11.40 a.m., EST; Canada vs.
Sweden, Thurs., Jan. 4, 11.40 a.m. EST; Sweden vs. USSR, Fri., Jan. 5, 9 p.m. EST; Canada vs. USSR, Sat., Jan. 6, 10 p.m., EST.
^ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a Dan Curtis-CBC Produc-
tion, stars Jack Palance in the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. (CBC, Wed., Jan. 3, 8 p.m. EST.)
Festival presents Mayor Moore’s interpretation of Voltaire's Candide, called The Best of all Possible Worlds. Stars are Edward Evanko (Candide), Dinah Christie (Cacambo) and Joseph Shaw (the narrator, Voltaire). (CBC, Wed., Jan. 17, 9.30 p.m. EST.)
^ Alexander Brott, conductor of the McGill Chamber Orchestra and sometime composer, has found himself a famous collaborator: Ludwig van Beethoven. On January 16 the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Roberto Benzi, will give the premiere performance of a Brott - Beethoven composition, Paraphrase in Polyphony. Actually, it’s far more Brott than Beethoven. Beethoven’s portion is an eight-bar passage which the great composer dashed off in 1825 as a gift to a Canadian visitor, a Quebec City music teacher named Theodore Molt. Lawrence Lande, a Montreal collector
who acquired the manuscript two years ago, commissioned Brott to elaborate the score — now a 16-minute symphonic work.
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