Remember: Getting Straight (1970)

getting-straight.jpg

for Cinetalk.net

In the 1960’s, back from Vietnam, a former radical, sort of a hero among the students of his university,  is torn between his studies for a master degree, which will lead him into the establishment, and his sympathies with current student protests . In the middle of his own personal crisis he witnesses what he considers absurdity from both sides while the latest protest heats up.

Getting Straight is directed by Richard Rush (The Stuntman) on a screenplay adapted by Robert Kaufman from from the Ken kolb novel with stars Elliott Gould and Candice Bergen. The cast also includes, among others, a very young Harrison Ford.

Like for The stuntman (1980), Rush’s general organization of time and space (in Stuntman a movie set this time the university) is his main force. Orchestrating on catchy B-Movie music by pioneer Ronald Stein, he elaborates great camera angles, moves and various alternate framing on long sequences (the great opening credits scene with an apple going from hand to hand being a great example), thanks to legendary cinematographer László Kovács (Easy Rider, New York New York, Ghostbusters, etc) and great editing duty by Maury Winetrobe. In their hands cinema is a structured and evocative language.

All the mechanic of Getting Straight generates a story on its own. It also creates some flaw as the actors are obviously meant to overdoing it with their line delivery. It sounds at times like reading and can get on the nerves. But as a cynical account of an era, the film is an highly instructive and vivacious personal reading of it.

Yours to discover.

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