THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Tuesday, August 22, 1995 TAG: 9508220065 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E1 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: Craig Shapiro LENGTH: Long : 160 lines
MONTHS BEFORE receiving an Oscar nomination, Rosemary Harris did her part to get ``Tom & Viv'' the notice it deserved. It was when the film, about the marriage of T.S. Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood, had finished production in Harris' native England.
Harvey Weinstein purchased it for Miramax after seeing a trailer.
``I think if he probably hadn't done that, the film wouldn't have left these shores,'' Harris said from London. ``I think my packing scene was on the trailer, and he said, `Well, Rosemary, I'm going to buy the film on the strength of your performance.'
``He was sort of joshing me, but it was a wonderful trailer. He thought it was splendid, and I did have a scene in it, so I feel like I sort of helped it along.''
That scene is among the most moving in the new video. Eliot, who swore to his mother-in-law that he would always look after Vivienne, has had her committed. Rose Haigh-Wood, trying to maintain her composure, is packing a suitcase for her daughter.
``I've lived all my life in the hope that Vivie would be acceptable to someone,'' Harris says, her voice cracking ever so slightly. ``It's not quite the moment to give me the benefit of your mind.''
Today, Vivienne Haigh-Wood would be treated for a hormonal imbalance. In England in the 1930s, she was committed for moral insanity, a rebellious and vulgar disregard for propriety.
Miranda Richardson received a best-actress nomination; Harris was nominated for supporting actress.
The role, Harris said, touched something in her childhood.
``Miranda did have copies of these diaries, which were very revealing and poignant,'' Harris said. ``I don't know what one brings to a role, but there was a slight parallel in my family. My grandmother suffered pretty much the same kind of illness, which was equally as misunderstood, and she was put away for 18 years.
``She sort of went off her tracks (after giving birth). Her hormones got all mixed up - post-partum blues I think they call it. Women couldn't really talk about things like that. There weren't any women doctors, and I think it was all rather a mystery to men anyway.
``So I just thought about how helpless Viv's mother must have felt.''
A distinguished stage actress, Harris won a Tony as Eleanor of Aquitaine in ``The Lion in Winter.'' Among her other credits are ``Othello,'' starring Richard Burton, and Laurence Olivier's production of ``Hamlet,'' with Peter O'Toole as the Danish prince. On film, she appeared in ``The Boys From Brazil'' and ``The Ploughman's Lunch.''
It was hot in London when Harris sat down recently for a phone interview - almost as hot as it was back home in Winston-Salem, N.C., where her husband teaches at Wake Forest University. She had just completed ``The Women of Troy'' at the Royal National Theater and would next be off to the Netherlands to film a TV movie for Disney with Paul Scofield.
Does she have a preference?
``I think if you boil it down, I've played more interesting parts on the stage,'' she said, pausing to laugh. ``Sir Laurence used to think that, while films were not beneath him, they certainly were second-class citizens. Then he lived to eat his words. You know, he simply adored the film.
``I admire film actors so much. I think they have such extraordinary technique and skill. Of course, it is fun going out (on stage) every night, but I love film equally. You've got the same sort of canvas to work with.''
SPACED OUT: Alien life. Supernovae. Black holes. ``From Here to Infinity'' uses high-tech computer graphics and high-resolution imaging on its tour of the cosmos. Paramount has signed up the right man to host it, too: Patrick Stewart of ``Star Trek: The Next Generation'' ($14.95).
SUCH A DEAL: Looks like everybody's getting the jump on Halloween.
MGM/UA: ``The Beast Within,'' ``Burnt Offerings,'' ``Child's Play,'' ``Children of the Damned,'' ``Dead of Winter,'' ``The Fearless Vampire Killers,'' ``The Hunger,'' ``Invasion of the Body Snatchers,'' ``Motel Hell,'' ``Poltergeist,'' ``Poltergeist II,'' ``Pumpkinhead,'' ``Theater of Blood,'' ``Village of the Damned'' ($14.95)
Columbia TriStar: ``Wolf,'' ``Brainscan,'' ``Children of the Night,'' ``Severed Ties,'' ``Mind Warp,'' ``Nightwing,'' ``The Gate II'' ($19.95)
Republic: ``Amityville: A New Generation,'' ``Ticks,'' ``Invasion of the Body Snatchers'' (colorized), ``The Paperboy,'' ``Night of the Demons,'' ``Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway'' ($9.98)
Make that almost everybody.
Paramount: ``Andre,'' ``Lassie,'' ``DragonWorld,'' ``Prehysteria! 2,'' ``Remote'' ($14.95)
Live: ``Remembering Marilyn,'' ``Madonna: Truth or Dare,'' ``And God Created Woman,'' ``Blood Feud'' ($9.98)
TOP TAPES (in Billboard):
Sales: ``Playboy: The Best of Pamela Anderson,'' ``Forrest Gump,'' ``Pink Floyd: Pulse,'' ``The Swan Princess,'' ``The Lion King''
Rentals: ``Star Trek Generations,'' ``Dumb and Dumber,'' ``Disclosure,'' ``Boys on the Side,'' ``The Brady Bunch Movie''
The Couch Report
``Tom & Viv'' (Miramax, 1995). ``Poetry is not an expression of emotion but an escape from emotion.'' Willem Dafoe's mannered performance as T.S. Eliot is a stark contrast to that of Miranda Richardson as his first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood. Theirs was a tragic romance, one compounded by false expectations and the constraints of propriety. Dafoe embodies the torment of the genius who created ``The Waste Land.'' Today, Vivienne's behavior would hardly raise an eyebrow, much less warrant confinement. Who suffered more? Literate and exquisitely detailed, the film lets you decide. Videomatic says: A
(CAST: Willem Dafoe, Miranda Richardson, Rosemary Harris, Tim Dutton. RATED: PG-13 for language, themes; 115 mins.)
``The Mangler'' (New Line, 1995). A Tobe Hooper film based on a Stephen King story about a possessed steam iron? Its dumb premise is the reason it's campy fun. Robert Englund goes waaaay over the top as the crazed laundry owner who sacrifices virgins to the machine that maimed him and pressed his daughter. Give points to the FX crew. The huge, hissing, sinister Mangler could've come from the Spanish Inquisition. No one expected that. Videomatic says: C
(CAST: Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Vanessa Pike, Daniel Matmor. UNRATED, violence, gore, language; 105 mins.; also, R-rated version)
``Circle of Friends'' (HBO, 1995). Three girlhood friends are reunited in college, where modest, self-conscious Benny (Minnie Driver) falls for Jack (Chris O'Donnell), a med student and star rugby player. The religious and societal mores of 1957 Ireland figure prominently, as do betrayal and trust. Newcomer Driver and O'Donnell create real chemistry; a strong supporting cast and picture-postcard cinematography add to the charm of what is a sweet, but not sugary, coming-of-age love story. Videomatic says: A
(CAST: Chris O'Donnell, Minnie Driver, Geraldine O'Rawe, Saffron Burrows, Alan Cumming. RATED: PG-13 for themes, situations, mild language; 112 mins.)
``Tank Girl'' (MGM/UA, 1995). Taken from the Dark Horse comic, this sci-fi tale, set in the arid, post-apocalyptic future when water rules, doesn't hurt for FX wizardry. And the soundtrack kicks. The problem is Lori Petty, whose flat title character is all attitude. Ice-T is a hoot as a gangsta Ripper - the human-kangaroo mutants who help whup the bad guys. Videomatic says: C-
(CAST: Lori Petty, Malcolm McDowell, Naomi Watts, Ice-T. RATED: R for violence, language, brief nudity; 120 mins.)
``Wicked City'' (Orion, 1994). On the eve of a peace-treaty signing, agents of the elite Black Guard must protect an emissary from radicals opposing the accord. This Japanese import is too violent and sexy for kids; adults, though, will appreciate the sophisticated story and stylized animation. It's equal parts James Bond, ``Blade Runner'' and ``Aliens.'' Videomatic says: B-
(UNRATED, violence, language, nudity; 50 mins.)
``Vibrations'' (Dimension, 1995). An uninspired romance, and proof that Christina Applegate's future is in TV. Her kharma inspires a once-promising musician (he lost his hands in a brutal assault) to get it together - only it comes off as calculated and unoriginal as the techno raves it's set against. Love or music, ya' gotta have soul. Videomatic says: D
(CAST: Christina Applegate, James Marshall. RATED: R for language, situations, violence; 104 mins.)
Also: Chuck Norris in ``Top Dog,'' another cop-canine flick (PG-13); three imports: ``Provincial Actors'' (Poland), ``Record of a Tenement Gentleman'' (Japan) and ``How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman'' (France, all unrated); the Sharon Stone Western ``The Quick and the Dead'' (R); ``The Expert,'' a Jeff Speakman butt-kicker (R); love and rock 'n' roll behind the Iron Curtain in ``Red Hot'' (PG); Patrick Bergin in the thriller ``Soft Deceit'' (R), and ``The Langoliers,'' the horrid Stephen King miniseries (unrated)
NEXT TUESDAY: ``Kiss of Death'' ``Major Payne,'' ``Freddy the Frog,'' ``The Hunted,'' ``Hideaway,'' ``No Contest,'' ``Excessive Force II: Force on Force,'' ``Mortal Kombat: The Animated Video,'' ``Temptation of a Monk'' ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
Rosemary Harris and Willem Dafoe...
NEW LINE CINEMA photo
The evil owner of the Blue Ribbon Laundry Co., Bill Gartley (Robert
Englund), and his co-conspirator, Lin Sue (Lisa Morris), plot to
make human sacrifices to a machine in ``The Mangler.''