Movies

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• OBSESSION is not an Alfred Hitchcock film, but it could easily pass for one. This eerie romantic drama, reminiscent of both Rebecca and Vertigo, stars Cliff Robertson as a successful New Orleans land developer, haunted by the memory of his long-dead wife, and jolted by the discovery of her exact look-alike (Genevieve Bujold) during a visit to Italy. Although events move slowly at first, Robertson's pursuit of Bujold, and his insistent attempts to recapture and redeem his past, eventually lead to a dizzying series of plot twists and revelations that create an almost unbearable suspense at the end. An ethereal, almost surrealistic atmosphere is created by Brian de Palma's controlled direction, aided by Bernard Herrmann's ghostlike music. Paul Schrader's screenplay creates a fascinating counterpoint, etching out efficacious, purposeful characters against a subtly malevolent background. The economy and precision of the dialogue are remarkable; hardly a word is wasted. Cliff Robertson turns in one of the best performances of his career, saying more with a single expression than many actors are capable of doing with an entire script. Genevieve Bujold develops her role with an easy, relaxed naturalness which only partially masks a quiet intensity underneath. John Lithgow, as Robertson's worldly partner, heads a capable supporting cast. For lovers of well-plotted drama, Obsession is a movie that should not be missed. Rated "PG."

• If you can imagine Paul Newman being chased around in a wheelchair by three zany moviemakers who want him to star in their film, then you have captured the flavor of SILENT MOVIE, Mel Brooks' latest foray into the sublimely ridiculous. Aided and abetted by Marty Feldman and Dom DeLouise, Brooks turns Hollywood on its ear as he pursues celebrities to star in his silent epic. This film-about-a-film really is silent, with imaginative sound effects and old-fashioned title cards substituting for the real thing. Much of the humor is visual slapstick, but so original and inventive that Silent Movie bears more resemblance to the Marx Brothers than to the Three Stooges. The film is chock full of cameo appearances: Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds, Anne Bancroft, James Caan, Liza Minnelli and mime Marcel Marceau (who, appropriately enough, has the only speaking line in the picture). Sid Caesar as a broken-down producer, Harold Gould as an evil financier and Bernadette Peters as a seductive siren all contribute effective bits to this wild and wooly comedy. Rated "PG."

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