Fri. Oct 30th, 2020

Media: Film Takes | 7/1980

Billy Dee Williams

The Empire Strikes Back is billed as the fifth episode in a triple trilogy. It is a more serious film than its predecessor Star Wars(heavy on the ritualistic, Spiritualistic and philosophical side), and the second car in what will apparently be a long train of Star Wars chapters scheduled to arrive at your neighborhood movie station periodically —perhaps for the next twenty years.

Billy Dee Williams, as Lando Calrissan, and Yoda, a spiritual guide, are the new additions to the previous Star Wars cast of characters that included Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, etc.

Fortunately, the old good-versus-evil plot has been avoided in this new contender for the financially most successful film of all time. In the flick, Luke Skywalker begins to learn that the distinction between good and evil has lots of shades of gray. The twists in the plot are quick, the special effects are so astounding that the pace never dies down. In fact, the film never really draws to a conclusion, leaving one completely starved for another episode in the trilogy, or chapter in the story, or sequel in the saga, or…The Empire Strikes Back — 20th Century Fox release — George Lucas, executive producer—Irvin Kershner, director.

My high school days look pale and simple compared to the swinging, frantic, swashbuckling antics at the New York High School of the Performing Arts, as portrayed in Alan Parker’s Fame. Dancing in the lunchroom, sightseeing at the peephole between the boy’s and girl’s bathroom, breaking windows in fits of anger, sex after school in the locker room in fits of passion! Boy, did I miss out!

Actually, it’s questionable whether the real high school offers all the glitter and tarnish this film would have us believe. Rather, this is a vision of a foreign director — his look at the seamy, yet illustrious lives of a bunch of performing arts students.

The characters sing, dance, and act their way through what has got to be one of the hottest films of the summer. It’s easy to become attached to them. To be jubilant when they’re up and disappointed when they take their hard knocks. But who didn’t get scars at seventeen?

Fame possesses the electricity that eluded Hair the movie. The audiences here are half the fun as they just talk to the screen. Fame — A United Artists release—De Silva and Marshall, producers — Alan Parker, director.

Ralph Waites, the Waltons’s father, has produced a sensitive film about the human spirit in the very basic struggle for survival. On The Nickel is a skid row in Los Angeles. Singing Sam (Donald Moffat) is an ex-alcoholic and an alumnus of the ominous LA strip. He returns to his old surroundings to reunite with his purportedly dying buddy, C. G.

Waites, himself a recovered alcoholic who came very close to being one of the skid row victims in his day, does a believable characterization of C. G.

Sam’s awkward adjustments to his new, sober life, his venture to the old stomping grounds and his allegiance to the decaying King of the Street People, is the basis for this introspective look at the fallen angels we so commonly call bums. On The Nickel — Ralph Waites, producer and director

Yaphet Kotto, last seen in The Alien, is featured in the new Robert Redford film, Brubaker, for 20th Century Fox.

Vivian Reed
Vivian Reed

Vivian Reed, star of Broadway’s Bubbling Brown Sugar, has a major role in the new movie, Headin’ For Broadway.

Pearl Bailey, Mickey Rooney, and Sandy Duncan will lend their voices to Walt Disney Production’s new animated feature, The Fox And Hound.

Jazz musician George Byrd played the black soldier lover of Hanna Schygulla in the German film, The Marriage of Maria Braun, by Rainer Fassbinder. There is another fine actor who has joined the Fassbinder family. He is Guenther Kaufman, who will appear in The Third Generation, scheduled for release in September, and The Year of the Thirteen Moons. Both are Fassbinder productions.

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