Movies

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• James Brolin and Jill Clayburgh are not look-alikesâ€"or act-alikesâ€"for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. And the film GABLE AND LOMBARD can be faulted for its Hollywood gloss and soap-opera plotting. But despite these drawbacks, it is an enjoyable movie in its own right, full of humor and an old-fashioned romanticism that have been missing from most movies of late. The film traces their relationship from an inauspicious meeting at a Beverly Hills party, through a stormy courtship and secret affair, to their public confrontation with Hollywood's then-puritanical moral code. Jill Clayburgh as the salty, acid-tongued, iconoclastic Lombard has by far the better of the two roles. She is daring, adventurous, and more than willing to risk her career for the right to live her own private life. James Brolin, by contrast, plays Gable as somewhat of a self-sacrificing boob, lacking much of the charisma of the genuine article. Allen Garfield plays Louis B. Mayer as if he were a fussy, nagging mother. Effective in supporting roles are Red Buttons as Gable's loyal friend, and Joanne Linville as Gable's embittered wife, who refuses to give him a divorce. The photography is evocative of an earlier and more glamorous Hollywood, and Sidney Furie's direction flows smoothly from scene to scene. The historical accuracy of Gable and Lombard is open to question, and fans of the two stars may have some legitimate complaints about the respective portrayals. But taken for no more than what it isâ€"a Hollywood biography of a famous Hollywood coupleâ€"the movie is good, solid entertainment. Rated "R." â€"Charles F. Barr

• One of the more serious defects of the MPAA rating system is its tendency to arouse false expectations. Take, for example, INSERTS, John Byrum's film about a pornographer in the early days of Hollywood that has managed to acquire an inappropriate "X" rating, no one under 18 admitted. But for this rating, it is doubtful that there would be as many people over 18 as there are lined up to get in to see it. To be fair, the makers of Inserts did not seek the "X" rating and fought unsuccessfully to have it changed. The reasons for their failure are far from clear, since the film's greatest transgression from the MPAA's viewpoint seems to be an overindulgence in what must be admitted are pretty small breasts and a few too many rude words. As for the simulated sex, there is hardly a film released today that does not offer this spectacle in varying degrees. None of this is to say, however, that the film should be overlooked. Byrum has assembled a cast of five actors, each of whom gives a remarkably fine performance. Especially noteworthy are Richard Dreyfuss and Jessica Harper. Dreyfuss is Boy Wonder, a young director whose life and career are on the skids. A former prodigy of the silent screen, he now spends his time drinking brandy out of a bottle and shooting stag films in his home, which is about to be condemned to make room for a freeway. Jessica Harper plays Miss Cake, the girlfriend of Dreyfuss' producer, whose ruthless ambition to become a star hides behind a teasing innocence that succeeds briefly in seducing the cynical Boy Wonder. But while the performances are uniformly gratifying, the film itself is disappointingly superficial, a pretentious one-act comedy instead of the fascinating story behind the Boy Wonder's decline that should, but never does, emerge. Fortunately, Dreyfuss is an actor of substantial talent who, much like Gene Hackman, is able to command attention in spite of weak material. It is the strength of this talent and that of the supporting cast of Inserts that makes the film worthy of recommendation. Rated "X." â€"James F. Carey