Using his own terminology, Billy Pilgrim is "unstuck in time", which means he is moving between different points in his life uncontrollably, although he is aware of it at certain of those points as witnessed by the letter to the editor he writes to the Ilium Daily News about his situation. Primarily, he is moving between three general time periods and locations. The first is his stint as a GI during WWII, when, as a pacifist, he was acting as a Chaplain's assistant for his unit. This time is largely as a POW, where he was in Dresden the day of the bombing, spending it with among others an older compassionate GI named Edgar Derby, and a brash loudmouth GI named Paul Lazzaro. The second is his life as an optometrist in Ilium in upstate New York, eventually married to the wealthy and overbearing Valencia Merble, and having two offspring, Robert, who would spend his teen-aged years as a semi-delinquent, and Barbara, who would end up much like her mother. And the third is as an abductee on... Written by
An aerial shot of the aeroplane in which Pilgrim is flying is reversed to make it appear to be flying left-right. The registration is reversed as it's actually a shot of the left side of the aircraft. See more »
Mr. Pilgrim, a pleasant way to spend eternity is to ignore the bad times and concentrate on the good.
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Like most of those who have posted before me, I am an avid Vonnegut fan and went into this movie with a guarded optimism that it would just be decent.
But George Roy Hill did an excellent job conveying the overall feel of the book -- the time jumping was flawless and I didn't find it hard to follow at all. The actor who played Billy Pilgrim captured Billy's passive, calm and vaguely anti-social demeanor. Lazarro, Montana and Billy's wife are also well played.
George Roy Hill had a knack for directing movies made from great books -- e.g., "The World According to Garp" -- and in the end, I was pleasantly surprised how well this movie turned out.
As far as the Vonnegut adaptations go (I know of four -- this one, "Mother Night," "Breakfast of Champions" and the god-awful "Slapstick") this one is the best of the bunch.
I've always wanted to see a movie version of "Sirens of Titan," but it'll probably never happen -- so "Slaughterhouse Five" is my only chance to "see" Trafalmadore.
Recommended to any true Vonnegut fans. Other people probably won't appreciate it.
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