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Archive for the ‘Gena Rowlands’ Category

Tempest

10 Mar

Tempest – directed by Paul Mazursky – Drama. Modernization of Shakespeare’s play but without his dialogue. 2 hours 24 minutes Color 1882

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For our sins, we sit through the inept longeurs of this piece, and wonder how temperaments so disaffiliated with the underlying dramaturgy and voice of the original could have ventured into this teapot. It now has to do with a famous architect, whose wife finds him, in middle age, inadequate. So he takes his teen-aged daughter off to an isolated Greek island. There he twiddles his thumbs while his new girlfriend lusts for his now chaste form. I say no more. No one in the piece seems to know exactly what to do next, and John Cassavetes as the lead flounders in the part, to which he brings neither the magic nor the authority necessary to it. His mind seems elsewhere. Mazursky has a gift for lower class comedy, which category this material cannot be dragged down to. Scenes are allowed to be improvised, one senses, as actors loose grip on their characters and fall back on their generic brand. Chaos is not the same thing as a tempest. The exception to this might be Gena Rowlands, but with no script, even she cannot get out alive. Susan Sarandon, as the Ariel character, now a nightclub chanteuse, plays her character as awkward, which is perhaps meant to etherealize her titties and big hot brown eyes. The performance looks uncertain. Raul Julia is the only fully experienced Shakespearean in the bunch, but even he, as Caliban, is only improvising  in a mop closet. Vittorio Gassman is, of course, famous for his Hamlet, but he is not welcome as a hyped-up, hypchondriacal magnate. Indeed, the whole venture is artistically undignified for the actors, with one exception.  It does bring to the screen for the first time Sam Robards, in a hair-do fatal for a debut, but Mollie Ringwold alone holds her own in this sea of tripe. I don’t know whether she is in character, but she sure has character. She was to have a huge film career, and judging by this performance, she well deserved it, by way of retaliation.

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