A biplane pilot who had missed flying in WWI takes up barnstorming and later a movie career in his quest for the glory he had missed, eventually getting a chance to prove himself in a film ... See full summary »
A French boy (Daniel) and an American girl (Lauren), who go to school in Paris, meet and begin a little romance. They befriend Julius, who enchants them with his storytelling. In an attempt... See full summary »
George Roy Hill
Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.
Newlyweds Julian and Lily Berniers have been in Chicago on business before returning to their hometown, New Orleans, where they'll meet with Julian's older spinster sisters Anna and Carrie,... See full summary »
George Roy Hill
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
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author of the book this film was adapted from, was a prisoner of war in World War II. He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge while a battalion scout with the 106 Infantry Division on December 22, 1944, and used these experiences in his novel when Billy Pilgrim is captured by the Germans and sent to a POW camp. Vonnegut also lived through the bombing of Dresden and used that experience in the book. See more »
At the beginning when Billy Pilgrim is typing in the house, the letter "A" in the word "what's" did not fully get typed onto the paper, but when it shows him typing the next line, the letter "A" is fully inked in without any trace of error correction. See more »
Concerto No 3 for Harpsichord in D major, BWV 1054 - 3rd movement 'Allegro'
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach) Glenn Gould, Piano
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Goldschmann, Conductor See more »
The realization of this glimpse into the mind's eye of a man unstuck in time is brilliant to behold. Yes, the book is a brilliant work in its own right, and open to interpretation, as a truly complex work must be. The movie is not the book. It is Hill's interpretation of the book, and a brilliant and viable one it is.
Hill won the best Director Oscar the next year with "The Sting". He later filmed the similarly unfilmable "World According To Garp" and also did a brilliant job with it, partially by letting go of John Irving's more depressing side. Other notable credits include Butch Cassidy... and The Great Waldo Pepper.
Michael Sacks, in his first movie, and only starring role at the tender age of 24, is completely convincing and natural. He is equally effective, compelling, and believable at the six distinct stages of Pilgrim's life memorialized herein. If he weren't up to the six-in-one role, the film wouldn't work, but he is, and it does. (I wonder why he has no other major credits, and ceased acting altogether in 1984. If anyone knows, please e-mail me.)
Valerie Perrine is fine as Montana Wildhack. The other characters are all played for maximum irony and effect, and the cast delivers beautifully, without exception. Eugene Roche is the epitome of kindness as Edgar Derby, the yin, to Ron Liebman's yang, a twisted ball of anger named Paul Lazaro. John Dehner is brilliant as a war-hawk professor upset at the Vietnam protesters. His character would be as appropriate amidst today's global conflagration as it was in 1966. Lucille Benson, Kevin Conway, Sorrell Booke, Holly Near, Richard Schaal, and Perry King are the more familiar names in a uniformly excellent cast, including the German actors.
The musical score is also perfect, both in tone and substance. Vonnegut is a master of superimposing satire over irony over futility. The movie does a marvelous job of blending these contrasts and making its audience feel enriched. The music underscores all of these contrasts. The cinematography also is magnificent.
Searching desperately for something to say to show that the movie cannot be 100% perfect, the only thing I can come up with is that the pacing of the movie drags slightly when the soldiers leave the first camp for Dresdner until their new Kommandant gives his "welcoming" speech. It might have played better with about three minutes cut from that sequence. So what?
I recently saw Slaughterhouse Five for the fifth time in 27 years since I originally saw it at my college campus -- this time on DVD. I never fail to catch something new, and I never fail to enjoy it all the more.
Given how many 70's movies have failed miserably to withstand the test of time, Slaughterhouse Five is a true treat to be savored.
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