Maurice (15) (James Ivory, UK, 1987). James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves.140 mins. Fortheir silver anniversary presentation, the Merchant-Ivory team have chosen to lilm another E.M. Forster novel, one less renowned lor its literary pedigree than the tact that it was suppressed tor over hall a century to spare the embarrassed blushes ol the author's nearest and dearest. The reason, oi course, was the autobiographical nature at a story in which an Edwardian man comes to terms with his homosexuality and decides to recklessly risk all tor a love that is good and true. Seventy-live years alter its publication, Jill Knight would still like to see its innocuous content denied a place in the school curriculum. Plus ca change...
Maurice Hall is an ordinary middle-class boy who lives with his widowed mother and works hard at his studies to earn a place at Cambridge. Among the llamboyance oi the aristocratic elite he ialls in love with Clive Durham and they share an inseparable bond ot platonic atlection. However, Edwardian England regards homosexuality as the love that dare not speak its name and Maurice laces a climate oi intolerance, stupidity and harsh legal restraints. Through the various subplots his options are outlined; like Clive he can marry and embrace the alien respectability that is expected of him, like one contemporary he can covertly trawl the rough trade at the streets and endure a spell ol hard labour it he chooses wrongly, or, in the noblest choice oi
all, he can fly in the lace of contemporary mores and find someone to share his bed and his love. Maurice bravely chooses the latter course and ultimately iinds an unlikely partner in Alec Scudder, the young underkeeper at Clive’s estate. But, can they happily overcome the social pressures exerted on their passionate union?
Although redolent of a gay Lady Chatterley’s Lover and indulgently overlong, Maurice uses its beautilul locations, Brideshead-style cast and langorous evocation ol pre-war Britain to sweeten an angry pill about the strictures ol the class system and the unchanging lace of a senseless bigotry that prevents people being true to themselves. A timeless statement that is no less valid or pertinent tor being lirmly spoken rather than deliantly
shouted. A cast of reliables like Simon Callow, Denholm Elliott and Ben Kingsley expertly flesh out the succession ol cameo roles but the real acting revelation is the relatively inexperienced James Wilby in the title role. An assured and intelligent portrayer oi a dillicult character he is wonderlully adept atsuggesting the emotional complexity at the traumas Maurice endures; impetuously youthlul in the tirst llush ol sell-realisation, unexpectedly lorcelul in his determination to stand convention on its head. It is an absolutely superb performance that marks Wilby out as a young talent oi extreme promise and provides another reason why Maurice should be sought out and seen.
EL'FS I Roxanne (PG) (Fred Schepisi. US. 1987) Steve Martin. Daryl 1 lannah. Shelley Duvall. 107 mins. Witty. tender and charming reworking of (‘yrario dc Bergerac deploying a range ofcomcdy techniques as fire chief Martin ofthe enormous proboscis copes with life and lovestruck romance. Edinburgh; Dominion
I Ruthless People ( 18) (Jim Abrahams. David and Jerry Zucker. US. 1986) Danny De Vito. Bette Midler. Judge Reinhold. 9-1 mins. lnsultingly unfunny satireon something or other has spandex mini-skirt king De Vito gleefully losing his wife to inept kidnappers. Wearisome and unfunny in the extreme. Edinburgh: Cameo
I The Sacrifice ( 15) (Andrei Tarkovsky. Sweden. 1986) Erland Josephson. Susan Fleetwood. Allan lidwall. 149 mins. Set on a remote island and focusing on a twenty-four hour period of action. Tarkovsky‘s last film and testament concerns itself with one man‘s response to the oncoming apocalypse. The title refers to the deal Josephson conducts with the divine wherein he offers up himself as a supreme act of atonement in order that the world be restored. An overwhelmingly poetic experience although inevitably overrated. Edinburgh: Cameo
I Salvador(18) (Oliver Stone. US. 1986) James Woods. Jim Belushi. John Savage. 122 mins. Raw. abrasive reportingof journalists under fire as sleazy ‘war junkie‘ photojournalist Woods travels to Salvador and finds his senses assaulted by the fear and corruption perpetrated by the ruling elite. Exceptionally well-acted. angry. bravura filmmaking that not only demands your attention but deserves it.
Edinburgh; Edinburgh Film Guild I Série Noire (Alain (‘orneau. France. 1978) Patrick Dewaere. Bernard Blier. ‘A superb thriller but also a very strong social satire’. Edinburgh; French Institute I Shakespeare Wallah (PG) (James lvory. lndia. 1965) Shashi Kapoor. Felicity Kendal. Geoffrey Kendal. 122 mins. A troupe of Anglo-lndian strolling players perform Shakespeare throughout the length and breadth of India. Teenage daughter Kendal falls in love with rich lndian playboy Kapoor who already has an actress mistress. Dusty. autobiographical drama with modest intent and simple execu'tion. Edinburgh; Filmhouse I Something Wild ( 18)( (Jonathan Demrne. LS. 1986) Jeff Daniels. Melanie Griffith. Ray Liotta. 113 mins. Best ofthe burgeoning yuppie-in-peril genre as business executive Daniels is willingly led astray by the irresistible charms ofGriffith only to find himself involved with genuine love and the frightening possessiveness of a psychotic ex-beau. Kooky comedy and genuine thrills are artfully blended witha non-stop soundtrack ofeclectic treats. Not to be missed. Edinburgh; Filmhouse I Sophie‘s Choice ( 15) (Alan Pakula. US. 1982) Meryl Streep. Kevin Kline. Peter MacNicol. 157 mins. Terrific all round performances and studied direction make this a slow but vibrant adaptation ofthe William Styron novel in which a Polish woman in post-war America is tormented by the secret horrors of how she surived life in a Nazi concentration camp. Strathclydc; ()deon Ayr I Spaceballs(18) (Mel Brooks. US. 1987) Mel Brooks. Rick Moranis. John Candy. Feeble Brooks take-off of Star Wars and
the space genre that relies heavily on weak punsand juvenile jokes. Intergalactic garbage. Glasgow; Salon. Central; Cannon
I Stand By Me ( 15) (Rob Reiner. US. 1986) Wil Wheaton. River Phoenix. Richard Dreyfuss. 88 mins. Looking back to a special summer in his youth. middle-aged writer Dreyfuss recalls the camaraderie of his childhood chums as they brawled. bragged and traded ingenious obscenities during a vital weekend in his growing up and future development as a storyteller.
A near perfect evocation ofchildren on the brink ofadolescence. beautifully judged. immaculately acted. touching and funny. A complete winner. Edinburgh; Cameo I Starman (PG) (John Carpenter. L'S. l98~1)Jeff Bridges. Karen Allen. 115 mins. An alien crashlands in an isolated area of Wisconsin and recreates himselfas the recently deceased husband of a local woman. Warmly affectionate intergalactic love story. with Bridges particularly appealing as the extra-terrestrial encased in a human body. Glasgow; GFT I Jan Svankmaier 2 ( 18) Further examples of the surreal work ofthe Czechoslovakian animator complemented by selections from other filmmakers including Chaplin's ()m’ run. . Georges Fran ju‘s La Premiere Null and Caroline Lea f 's The Metamorphosis 0 f Mr Swm‘a. Edinburgh: Filmhouse I The Thiel ot Baghdad ( U) (Ludwig Berger. Tim Whelan. Michael Powell. UK. 1941)) Sabu. Conrad Veidt.June Duprez. 106 mins. Unsurpassed Arabian Nights adventure as a young boy‘s quest for a magic chest pits him against an evil magician. Edinburgh; Filmhouse
I The Thing ( 18) (Christian Nyby. US. 1951) Robert Cornthwaitc. Kenneth Tobey. Margaret Sheridan. 87 mins. Scientists on a project in the Arctic are menaccd by an alien being they have discovered and thawed out. Seminal horror picture. the forebear of bothJohn Carpenter's glossy remake and movies like Alien. and quite sprightlyin itselfaftcr a slow start. The ‘Keep watching the skies‘ climactic monologue is also well worth waiting for. Glasgow; GFI” I The Third Man (PG) (Carol Reed. UK, 1949) Joseph (‘ottcn. Orson Welles. Alida Valli. 100 mins. Writer llolly Martin comes to post-war Vienna and unravels the strange demise of his friend Harry Lime. Sublime Oscar-winning classic made when Reed was at his peak. with the famous zither music. chase through the sewers. philosophical chit-chat on a ferris wheel. arresting photography and an impish performance from Welles. Edinburgh; EUFS I The Three Amigos (PG) (John Landis, US. 1987) Steve Martin. Chevy Chase. Martin Short. 105 mins. A rare Martin misfire as Steve and the boys go vainly searching for laughs in old Mexico as silent screen stars mistaken for real cowboy heroes. A dreadful comedy-musical fiesta turkey that barely musters a sympathetic chuckle. Edinburgh; Filmhouse I To Be Or Not To Be (PG) (Ernst Lubitsch. US. 1942) Jack Benny. Carole Lombard. Sig Ruman. 99 mins. Deliciously black wartime satire as a troupe of Polish actors in occupied Warsaw help the local resistance by impersonating Nazi officers. Edinburgh; EL'FS I Tough Guys Don’t Dance ( 18) (Norman Mailer. US. 1987) Ryan O‘Neal.lsabc11a Rossellini. Lawrence Tierney. 109 mins. A murky. messy brew as Mailer brings his 1984 thriller'potbollcr to the screen whilst displaying very little evidence ofknowing how to make coherent movies. O‘Neal is surprisingly effective as the booze-befuddled writer implicated in some vicious murders. Glasgow; Cannon Sauchiehall Street I The Untouchables ( 15) (Brian De Palma. US. 1987) Kevin Costner. Sean Connery. Robert De Niro. 119 mins. The best American drama of 1987 as naive Treasury ()fficer Eliot Ness. gritty lrish cop Connery and a group of uncorruptibles tackle the bloated criminal empire of Prohibition kingpin Al Capone. Edinburgh; Dominion I What Happened to Kerouac? ( 15) i? (Richard Lerner. Lewis McAdams. US. 1986) With contributions from Allen Ginsberg. Gregory Corso. William Burroughs. Jan Kerouac. 97 mins. Creditable documentary on ‘the Beat Generation‘s favourite son. combining reminiscences from a host of fellow literati. some fascinating archival footage from TV talk shows of the writer himself. and a splendid amount ofThelonius Monk on the soundtrack. Glasgow; GFT I Wish You Were Here(15) (David Leland. UK. 1987) Emily Lloyd. Tom Bell. Geoffrey llutchings. 92 mins. Sexual misadventures of a precocious teenager in a drab 195(1s' seaside town. include an ill-fated relationship with a sleazy older cinema projectionist. an unwanted pregnancy. and many rousing cries of‘L'p Yer Bum!‘
Vastly enjoyable. bittersweet treatment of the sexual mores ofdays gone bywith an energetic performance from perky newcomer Lloyd. Glasgow; Odeon. Edinburgh; Odeon. Strathclyde; Rialto I The Witches ol Eastwlck ( 18) (George Miller. US. 1987) Jack Nicholson.Chcr. Susan Sarandon. 118 mins. Diabolical romp with Nicholson as the devil incarnate charming the pants off a trio ofNew England women who yearn for the man of their dreams. Glasgow; Cannon Clarkston Road. Strathclyde; Kelburnc. Odeon llamilton
16 The List 5 — 18 February 1988