It was no honeymoon for actor Art Carney, when he and co-stars Maureen Stapleton (Interiors), Lew Ayres
(Damien-Omen II) and Margaret Hamilton arrived in Vancouver to find themselves four characters in search of a set. They were there to shoot Letters from Frank, a TV movie in which Carney plays the part of a newspaper employee being forced into retirement. Naturally, they needed a newsroom and when the movie was first planned, producers had arranged to use the offices of The Vancouver Sun. However, when the cast and crew finally showed in Vancouver and discovered both the Sun and The Vancouver Province closed by strikes, it was a situation akin toLoisLane’sbeing locked out of the Daily Planet.While a search went on for a new location (they eventually settled on the Dominion Bank Building), Carney spent the time in other pursuits. A proficient pia-
nist, he took to tinkling the ivories in the lounge of the Palisades Hotel where he was staying and even pocketed $100 when a patron tossed a C-note in his brandy snifter atop the piano.
r\n oting that the shift in the pop muLKJ sic wind was to disco, Canada’s Cherrill and Robbie Rae took a flyer six months ago hoping disco would take their careers higher and higher. It has. Once a bland husband-and-wife team singing in a style compatible with Lawrence Welk, The Raes have suddenly become a big disco draw in the U.S. and will be seen lip-synching their hit song A Little Lovin' everywhere from Studio 54 to The Merv Griffin Show. What with artists such as Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton and The Rolling Stones trying disco, The Raes believe that their mu-
sical future is fixed and that their new album Dancing Up a Storm will be golden. Still, even the starriest balloon is easily burst. “Our faces aren’t all that well-known in the States yet,” said Cherrill. “There are lots of people who still think The Raes are three black women singers.”
jit was cinéma vérité when resident (conductor Kazuyoshi Akiyama led the
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra through the last bars of Brahms’s first symphony in a scene from the Vancouver-based movie, The Changeling. But when he put down his baton and had to shake the hand of George C. Scott (Patton, Movie Movie) during intermission, director Peter Medak kept yelling “Encore.” For Akiyama and the VSO, it was their second movie appearance in the last six months. In August, they provided background and music for the movie Prophecy, in which Talia Shire (Rocky) played a cellist. In The Changeling, also starring Scott’s wife Trish Van Devere and Canadian Barry Morse, Scott plays a composer. All things considered, there’s little doubt that Akiyama and his orchestra are better music-makers than movie-makers. It took the 90-piece ensemble three hours to shoot the Brahms segment. It took Akiyama two days of filming before he got the handshake right.
n what could be considered a realistic rendering of contemporary Canadian politics, the Liberal party is portrayed as a bunch of idiotic acrobats, Parliament is seen as a circus and the press is portrayed as a ventriloquist. Tempting though it be to look for present-day comparisons, that is simply a scenario from author Timothy Findley’s (The Wars) new play entitled John A.—Him-
self!, which opened last week at Theatre London. With William Hutt in the title role as the sometimes tipsy Father of Confederation, Victorian politics gets a vaudevillian send-up. But it’s not without bite. Commenting on the execution of Métis rebel Louis Riel, John A. says: “He must be seen to hang forever around my neck.”
crphe Edmonton Art Gallery, which U has three Frederick Varleys in its
Group of Seven Collection, has just acquired a fourth—Chris Varley, the 28year-old grandson of the artist. Varley, who only became actively interested in art after he had graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in history, will be in charge of the gallery’s historical Canadian collection based on a 100work bequest by Edmonton building magnate Ernest Poole. Having worked previously at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery and Stratford’s The Gallery, Varley’s late-blooming involvement with art may have been genetically predetermined, but it was never given familial encouragement. “My grandfather didn’t wave brushes at me and warn me off,” said Varley, “but neither he nor my father saw it as a likely way to earn a living.”
aving left Canada 11 years ago to further her acting career with Universal Studios in Hollywood, Toronto’s Susan Clark, a veteran of 20 movies and the Emmy-award-winning Babe, has returned to admit that the grass can be
greener on the other side of the 49th parallel. Clark, 35, is currently in Toronto filming Double Negative with another expatriate, Quebec-born Michael Sarrazin (They Shoot Horses, Don't They!), making this her third consecutive Canadian flick after Murder By Decree and City on Fire. And although she finds it easier making movies on a Hol-
lywood sound stage than in the inhospitable streets of Toronto, where production has been twice snowed out, she’s glad to be home. “I guess there’s finally a movie industry here,” said Clark, puffing one of her trademark Havana cigars. “After all these years bitching about no work, a lot of us are coming back here to put our time and energy where our mouths were.”
On his search for off-beat historic acoustics, Victoria, B.C., flutist Paul Horn has played mantras in the Taj Mahal and serenaded the ghosts of Egyptian royalty in the Great Pyramid at Giza. But those experiences pale in comparison with Horn’s latest musical voyage behind the bamboo curtain, where he gained a reputation as the pied piper of the People’s Republic of China. Accompanying Horn on the three-week trip were Canadian filmmakers Peter and Frances Mellen who had cameras rolling when Horn stopped traffic and amassed crowds of curious Chinese to his ad hoc jazz concerts in the streets. Admitting they had to “jump ship” from their Chinese guides in order to get the unprecedented footage, the Mellens plan to sell the film to U.S. TV in the spring. “It was like guerrilla film-making,” said Peter Mellen, author of Landmarks of Canadian Art. “Like filming in a sea of bodies all swaying to the jazz.”
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