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Getting Straight (1970)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  13 May 1970 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 644 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 14 critic

A Vietnam vet and former social radical is conflicted by his desire to become a teacher and his sympathy with anti-establishment student protests.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Harry Bailey
...
Jan
...
Nick
...
Dr. Edward Willhunt
Max Julien ...
Ellis
...
Dr. Kasper
Jon Lormer ...
Vandenburg
...
Lysander
William Bramley ...
Wade Linden
...
Judy Kramer
...
Herbert
Richard Anders ...
Dr. Greengrass
Brenda Sykes ...
Luan
Jenny Sullivan ...
Sheila
...
Garcia
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Storyline

Harry Bailey has returned from Vietnam and returns to college to earn his masters degree so he can teach English. He is considered a hero among the radical student body, but still sees the absurdity on both sides of the fence. He contends with the reactionary administration and the impetuous, often futile objectives of the restless students. He acts as a mediator between the two feuding bodies. On top of everything else, his girlfriend Jan wants to marry him and live a life in the suburbs. He is cornered and finally lets loose at his own masters degree dissertation meeting, just as the latest protest heats up. Written by thustlebird

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

America's children lay it on the line.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 May 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Camino recto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elliott Gould's character Harry Bailey has the same last name as the protagonist George Bailey (James Stewart) from Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). See more »

Quotes

Dr. Kasper: You know, I worry about you, Harry. How are you going to survive teaching in high school where the pupils are really stupid?
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Crazy Credits

A film by the organization See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.18 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Shades of Gray
Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil
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User Reviews

 
stands the test of time
9 April 1999 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

Considering what this film was about I was quite surprised how well the film and its ideology stand up today.

There are several reasons why. Firstly, the film doesn't present the student establishment as 100% right and the establishment/teachers as 100% wrong. This is because the film's central character Harry Bailey is presented as belonging somewhere in the middle. On one hand he's dismayed by the establishment's inabilities to understand what the students actually want but on the other hand he's dispirited by the students protesting on frivolous issues as well as a hint of double standards within the movement.

A good example of this is the character of Dr. Wilhunt who opposes Harry's move into teaching. While portrayed in the wrong, he's not a one-dimensional monster but someone who is realistic about how much a teacher can change students' morals while teaching english grammar.

In fact it's Harry's friend, hippie Nick Philbert, who brings him down when after attempting to avoid the draft, he joins the Marines and turns into a moralistic, gung-ho youth. Only at the end of the film does Harry realise what an unworthy, crazy person he is. It could've been easy for the film to make Dr. Wilhunt as the one who brings Harry down but it avoids the easy path and shows us that there are untrustworthy people everywhere in society whether they be young, old, conservative or radical.

Then there is the character of Harry Bailey who's in virtually every scene in the film. Again the film doesn't portray him as some flawless character who fights against the conservative establishment for noble causes. Instead we get someone who's intelligent, compassionate and idealistic but who also has traits of selfishness and foolishness. That he's a realistic, believeable, flawed but likeable person helps the film immesuarably. A lot of this credit must go to Elliott Gould who's excellent in the role.

Special note must be of the direction and cinematography which make the film look both stylish and fluid.Particularly impressive is the use of focussing on more then one object or character in the same shot as it's cleverly used to make points about events or people in narrational terms instead of words.

All in all a superb film and especially so when compared to another student film of the same era, the inept RPM.


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