(director: Richard Rush; screenwriters: Robert Kaufman/from the novel by Ken Kolb; cinematographer: Laslo Kovoacs; editor: Maury Winetrobe; music: Ronald Stein; cast: Elliott Gould (Harry Bailey), Candice Bergen (Jan), Max Julien (Ellis), Robert F. Lyons (Nick), Jeff Corey (Dr. Wilhunt), Cecil Kellaway (Dr. Kasper), Jon Lormer (Vandenburg); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Richard Rush; Columbia Pictures; 1970)
“It’s an irritating and shallow film that sends the wrong message on college protests and proves Hollywood has little understanding of the counter-culture movement.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A mod attempt by Hollywood to capture the Vietnam War protests on campus. The dramedy is weakly helmed by Richard Rush (“Too Soon To Love”/”Thunder Alley“). It’s based on the novel by Ken Kolb and the fake hipster screenplay is by Robert Kaufman. It’s an irritating and shallow film that sends the wrong message on college protests and proves Hollywood has little understanding of the counter-culture movement.
Harry Bailey (Elliott Gould) was a vocal political activist as an undergrad. After serving in the military in Vietnam, Harry returns 6 years later to the same California campus to pursue a master’s degree to become a teacher. While trying to go straight he encounters draft-dodger students, vocal anti-war student protests, black militants, timid professors, cunning administrators and violent police. While bringing up real social issues the director chooses to bury them in exploitation scenes such as the not plausible riot scene over a civil demonstration.Candice Bergen is not asked to act much playing Gould’s political activist girlfriend. Max Julien gives a shrill performance as a chatty black militant leader calling for violence. Robert F. Lyons delivers a few funny lines as Gould’s draft dodger pot smoking friend. And the supporting cast are all forgettable. This is a superficial political film that has the ability to get under the skin of both conservatives and radicals.
It seemed dated when I saw it in the theater upon its release, but when viewed now on cable it seemed ridiculously outdated.
REVIEWED ON 5/11/2018 GRADE: C