Yanks

After I gave my last lecture before spring break, I hurried home in the miserable rain.  I went over to the record store and browsed for a while before buying a Chuck Berry CD box set and the Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of “Rosemary’s Baby.”  The cashier told me that when she was 13 years old, she saw “Rosemary’s Baby,” and it scared her for six months afterwards.  I didn’t want to walk out in the rain to get something to eat, so I returned home and ate a salad, and I sat down to watch John Schlesinger’s “Yanks” with Richard Gere.  According to IMDB, the main role was offered to Jeff Bridges, but he didn’t want it.  I could see the movie as possibly being better with Bridges in it.  Gere had a couple of brooding moments that I could barely stand, and the scene with the news of a death made me squirm a bit.  It felt like there were elements of “An Officer and a Gentleman” in this film.  “Yanks” is a story of Americans GIs arriving in Great Britain in 1943.  One of my favorite scenes is the movie theatre with the organist and the audience singing along to different songs, including “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”  I wondered what these British moviegoers knew about Texas.  I liked watching William Devane.  His calmness contrasted with the hysteria of the others.  I thought this was a good movie for Vanessa Redgrave, too.  I thought that the ending scene at the train station was remarkable and very moving.  During the entire movie, there is the feeling that many of these Americans are going to be shipped out to face death.  A question that the locals have is why the women go crazy for the Americans.  I thought it was all the attention they were getting, with eagerness and extroverted behavior.  There are a lot of details I remember in this movie, like the donuts, the oranges, the comic books, the slot machine, and the son who was miserable at boarding school.  John Schlesinger made some memorable movies during his career, and I wish he was still around.  I read Vincent Canby’s unenthusiastic review of “Yanks,” and Roger Ebert’s interview with Lisa Eichhorn.  They reminded me of how the years have passed since 1979.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 7, the Prince debut album “For You” was released in 1978.  Also in 1978, The Band’s triple album “The Last Waltz” was released.  In 1995, the Disney feature “A Goofy Movie” was released.  In 1998, Tommy Lee pleaded no contest to spousal abuse.  In 2003, Russell Crowe married Danielle Spencer.

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