HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Relic
Nobody
Now, At Last!
Tales from the Hood
Radio Parade of 1935
Dead
Death at Broadcasting House
Huracan
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
   
 
Newest Articles
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
   
 
  Slaughterhouse-Five So It Goes
Year: 1972
Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman, Eugene Roche, Valerie Perrine, Sharon Gans, Holly Near, Perry King, Kevin Conway, Frederick Ledebur, Sorrell Booke, Roberts Blossom, John Dehner, Gary Waynesmith, Richard Schaal, John Wood, Stan Gottlieb, Henry Bumstead
Genre: Drama, War, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) composes a letter on his typewriter detailing his unusual condition: he has become unstuck in time. This means he can travel from his present to his past to his future without any warning and while his present is largely uneventful, his past contains horrifying memories of being a prisoner of the Nazis during World War Two and his future sees him kidnapped by impassive aliens from the planet Tralfamadore and kept in a large clear dome for observation. But its his war experiences which haunt him more than any, as he was separated from his unit behind enemy lines and met up with fellow, equally lost American soldiers who believed him to be a spy until they were all captured by the Germans shortly after.

You have to admire, however grudgingly, filmmakers who attempt to film unfilmable novels, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr's "Slaughterhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade" was one of those novels, an anti-war meditation on the nature of life and death in the twentieth century. This reflective effort was scripted by Stephen Geller, and kept the book's device of throwing its protagonist around his lifetime at seeming random, although actually every part of his story is presented in linear fashion, they're simply edited together (by Dede Allen) to create a mishmash of experiences. Sacks, in his screen debut, convinces as a man with no real personality, a nobody who events happen to rather than making them happen himself.

When Billy is being marched towards the train carriages that will take him to the prisoner of war camp, he is so overwhelmed by his circumstances that he keeps treading on the infected feet of the soldier in front of him. This makes for him a lifelong enemy in the shape of the dying man's friend, Paul Lazzaro (an abrasive Ron Leibman), and when the train reaches its destination and the man has passed away, the aggressively crazed Lazzaro promises to kill Pilgrim one day. However, it's not all bad as Pilgrim, after fainting into his soup and carried to bed, makes a good friend of his own, Edgar Derby (Eugene Roche, possibly the film's most humane performance) who becomes his a father figure in many ways and protects Pilgrim as best he can.

The point the film makes is that the most vivid experiences of your life might as well have happened yesterday because they will stay with you for as long as you live, but goes one further and says the most important times in your future make you what you are as well, even if, unlike Billy, you haven't gone through them yet. During the fifties and sixties, Pilgrim finds work as a optometrist, a suitably nondescript occupation, and marries the plump, mediocre but loving Valencia (Sharon Gans) with whom he has a son (Perry King) and a daughter (Holly Near), although you get the impression he really loves his loyal dog Spot the most.

However, it's the terrifying bombing of Dresden, where Pilgrim was being held, that commands his memories. Time heals all wounds, the cliché goes, but this film disagrees, saying although you may accept the most harrowing of personal ordeals they won't drift away from your life. The war scenes are the most successfully realised, both grimy and desperate in their persuasiveness, with senseless violence never far away. The present is approached with wry humour, but the future, with its themes of coming to terms, seems artificial, which was probably unavoidable as it features Pilgrim and movie starlet Montana Wildhack (Valerie Perrine) prompted to "mate" by the aliens in a fishtank environment. If anything, the film is as hazily formed as Pilgrim's character, but as an experimental one-off it has merit and the fatalistic inevitability of the deaths, both peaceful and otherwise, are well portrayed. The music is Bach performed by Glenn Gould.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4855 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

George Roy Hill  (1921 - 2002)

American director, more at home with character than story, with a wide range of subjects under his belt. He started in television and theatre, and his first films were stage adaptations, but with The World of Henry Orient he appeared to find his voice in film. Other nineteen-sixties work included the epic Hawaii and musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, but he enjoyed a monster hit with light hearted western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

It's this mixture of the serious and resigned humour that saw Hill make his best work in the seventies: Vonnegut adaptation Slaughterhouse-Five, Oscar winning caper The Sting (reuniting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford), flop aviation drama The Great Waldo Pepper, crude comedy Slap Shot and uncharacteristically sweet A Little Romance. Irving adaptation The World According to Garp was his best work of the eighties, with only confused thriller The Little Drummer Girl and comedy Funny Farm to end his career, whereupon he retired to teach drama.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: