Bless the Beasts and Children Odeon
produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, is, in the words of the accompanying ptiess kit:
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“A tale of six young boys, misfits all, progeny of affluent parents, stuck in a summer camp they hate. They are desperate, pitiable, and heart-touching. .... Their big breakout leads to a determined mission, an effort to save a buffalo herd from brutal “thinning-out by hunters ... The boys identify with the doomed herd.”
There is no question that the boys are “desperate” and “pitiable” : short flashbacks establish that they are the victims of the complete range of parental incompetence, from over-protection to gross rieglect. They are definitely not “heart-touching”, however, and it is the central failure of Bless the Beasts and Children that Kramer’s emphasis on the comic elements of his story renders the final tragedy-the shooting death of one of the boysdramatically arbitrary and emotionally unaffecting. The boys. never, in other words, attain the stature of tragic figures. We spend too much time laughing at them as they screw up in camp, and not enough finding out what lies at the core of their failure. All
of the boy actors have previous theatrical experience, and the slickness and sophistication of their characterizations becomes an insurmountable barrier to any acceptance of them as fellow human beings. Their selection reveals an inability to deal with reality by any means other than selective falsification : one need not have seen Warrendale to know that social “misfits” are not always cute or physically attractive. . The formal structure of the film, strongly resembles the “mission behind enemy lines” of so many war movies : there‘ are several more or less preposterous vicissitudes along the way, notably a pair of peckerwood cowboys who are finally frightened off by a B-Bgun, which serve only to attenuat.e whatever suspense has been created by the intentiqn of freeing the buffalo. Although Kramer &es flashbacks, slow motion, and other devices in an attempt to break up ,the linear narrative, Bless the Beasts and Children is an extremely slow-paced hour and forty minutes. Even lowever,
when Kramer fails, he succeeds in stim-
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On October 21, Cat Stevens brings his quiet, relaxed style to the physed barn. Again, there’s not much to say about the artist. He has top selling albums, is a personal artist and, like Melanie, has risen onto the pop scene quickly through extensive promotion and no lack of talent. A note of interest in the Melanie concert. A local group, Kit Carson, will be performing as the warm-up act for the October 9th show. The group performed three concerts in the campus center during orientation at the U of W this year. Kit Carson is an acoustic group, a band tie11 worth hearing.
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,The federation of students have announced bookings of two major acts ‘for October concerts in the physed barn. Saturday,october 9 at 8: 30, -it’s Melanie, the singing autobiographer and...well, it’s all been said by others elsewhere. . Look magazine put it this way; “Melanie’s songs spring from her own life, but they belong to you too.. ..She sings like Piaf or Lenya, or ‘Soul Sister Annie’ “. She’d be disappointed with any sales pitch other than, “Go”, so we’ll leave it at that.
Tickets for the Melanie concert are available at the federation of students’ office in the campus center and at the usual commercial locations. Cat St&ens tickets will be available from the same places soon.
ulating reflection upon the themes he attempts-and how many films have done that for you lately?’ Despite the shallowness of his protagonists and the turgid plot, there are individual scenes which indicate that this could have been a much more satisfying film. The boys’ initial discovery of the fa?e of the surplus buffalo is a masterful indictment of the “gun culture”, and the humiliation inflicted upon them by their peers are as terrifying as those of Lord of the Flies. Several of the adult actors contribute striking, although often unfortunately brief, characterizations, and the Arizona landscapes are also very attractive. In summary, Bless the Beasts and Children is a seriously flawed work which, as has occassionally been the case with Kramer, reveals a rather large gap between laudable intentions - and the techniques and materials available to a man who has spent most of his creative life in the Hollywood milieu. Comic and tragic elements have ‘been thrown together here with little regard for any consistent artistic purpose, and the resulting mixed grill can be recommended only to those for whom the “message” completely overrides all other considerations.
Concerts in Toronto Martin On rot Associates have booked two “sure thing” concerts in Toronto featuring extremes in the rock music world. On Saturday. October 9th, every heavy-bopper in the area south of Moosenee and east of Sarnia will defile his way into maple leaf gardens to catch Grand Funk Railway and side act Pepper Tree. If money speaks, Grand Funk is the most popular group in rock_ today with five gold albums and sell-out crowds wherever they play. But if you’re the kind of musically minded person who finds the critics generally lenient when panning acts (and Grand Funkthey unanimously pan), keep miles away. On a brighter note, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention play massey hall on Wednesday october 13 at 9 pm. Zappa has added AINSLY Dunbar at drums and Howard Kalen and Mark Volum on vocals to the already powerful Mothers crew. Dunbar spent some time with John Mayhall and with his own group, the Ainsly Dunbar Retaliation, before coming to Zappa. Kalen and Volum were the front men for the Turtles during the era of “Happy Together”. (The tune, by the way, has been incorporated into Zappa’s new act.) This is a set worth catching. Tickets for both concerts are not yet available but prices have been announced at $6, $5 and $4 for Grand Funk and $6, $5.50 $4.50, $3.50 for the Mothers.