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Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 13, 1980     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 13, 1980

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Page 12. HERITAGE. Florida Jewish News, June 13. 1980 Critics Say 'Death of a Princess' Is 'Fascinating Entertainment' by Herbert G, Loft (Copyright 1980, JTA, Inc.) "Death of a Princess," the thought-provoking two-hour documentary-drama that caused a storm of protest by the government of Saudi Arabia when first presented on British television and subsequently was shown throughout the Clnited States via our own Public Broadcast- ing Service (PBS), was viewed by the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press at KCFI-, the Los Angeles PBS outlet. Appraising the motion picture in the privacy of a projection room, without interruptions of any kind, on a large screen in perfect colors, we found it to be a work of lyrical beauty and in the main fascinating entertainment except for some overlong, tedious re-staged interviews of eye-witness reports. We don't know whether all the details are accurate though the joint scenario by British executive producer David Fanning and director Antony Thomas makes a point that "Death of a Princess" is a faithful reconstruction of the events from transcripts of revelations of those on the scene. This is not a melodramatic, romantically embroidered movie, dreamed up by Hollywood screen writers. No one denies that in 1977 the 19- year-old Princess Misha'al was executed in public by a firing squad while her youthful lover was forced to look on before being beheaded by the sword; upon orders from Prince Mohammed, older brother of Saudi King Khadid, the grandfather of the Princess -- (insist some of those on the inside) because he felt offended by her behavior. For six months following the double execution, no reports surfaced in the news media. Then a brief article in a British newspaper identified the victims and their crime: adultery, seemingly a capital offense under Islamic law -- at least when committed by a woman. "Death of a Princess" basically is the account of a search that took journalist-film director Antony Thomas from London, to Paris, Cairo, Beirut and finally into the inner circle of Riyadh, where the mystery begins to unfold though nothing is absolutely sure except that a teen-aged princess was killed for her first love. Now you can enjoy ... Complete Dinners with a 'Tam' Roast Chicken Stuffed Cabbage Beef Stew Turkey ... and more! ... and now we are serving ICE CREAM The film shows us the free and easy life of Arab officials in the clubs of London and Paris, drinking and smoking -- not in the ascetic tradition of their faith: war-torn Lebanon where strangely enough some Palestinians equate the execution with actions of the Israelis though there is no logical connection. "Death of a Princess" presents the Arab people in a fair light, most f them are dignified and restrained; there are no cartoon characteri- zations. Yet, the film implies that not all is well in a country with too much money, too much land and a rather small population of uneducated, backwards citizens who have no part in the government and in the riches of the very few. The picture was shot on locations with Egypt substituting for Saudi Arabia except for some glimpse of Riyadh, with huge construc- tion projects and lavish, modern hotels. The contrast in life-style is effectively illustrated by th e filmmaker, with Ivan Strasburg's vivid photography adding brilliant color to the Oriental street. Antony Thomas views the trek of the investigator with cinematic fluidity. On camera, he is portrayed by actor Paul Freeman whose sincere face, deeply searching eyes, gives us the feeling of a man who is much concerned to uncover the truth about the affair. In fleeting scenes, we catch the staccato, image of the princess, portrayed with natural grace by Egyptian actress Suzanne Abou Taleb. Mohammed Tewfik is the BREAKFAST SPECIAL Sat. & Sun. only, 8-1 LOX, Eggs & Onions ........... 1525 i DELl TOWNE I ! ........ i fin the new SPRINGS PLAZA, Hwy. 43:4, Longwood . Mondays 8-7 FN-Sa, 881. 869-5900 Tue-Thu 8-9 Sundays - Kosher, Kosher Style Dell, Appetizers I Catering Specialist - yigHiiHiiHiinHHHmni, I II I I1" IIIHI[ - I III Think bagels with cream cheese and lox. "  ._' Crepes. All kinds of salads. Luncheon and i' breakfast spec!als galore. , -,L It s Marriott s champagne buffet, so there's v._i something for everyone. Like sausage and .-..-/.L eggs for the kids. *-- But best of all, you can satisfy your  #' whole family s appetite without spoiling '-. x-\\; your own. Because Marriott's Sunday /' t' ''%_ Brunch is only $5.95 for grownups. And/..l,.J " mml v 30' per year of age up to 10. At our  i Marmalade Tree Restaurant every A' .'. Sunday 11:30 am - 2:30 pm. Orlando .00nrriott Inn ..... .,.. ,,. 6700 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32809 lhev do it right.  (305) 351-2420 II IIII I I II II II I II II elderly Prince Mohammed; Hatem Fakhr, the hapless lover: and Judy Parfitt the strong-willed nanny. "'Death of a Princess" is part of the "World" series, produced by WGBH in Boston, in association with ATV/England and Tele- pictures Corp. of New York. The World series is made possible by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public tele- vision station, The Ford Foundation and the German Marshall Fund of the United States -- that means in the main by you and me, the taxpayers, and not by Saudi Arabia. 'THE JAZZ SINGER" has been completed at the Goldwyn Studios and now is in its final stage of editing and scoring. Excerpts were shown with enthusiastic response of the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. The title role, in the early talkies created by AI Jolson, is now portrayed by Neil Diamond, who on the screen shortens his name from Yussal Rabinovitch to Jess Robin much to his father's dismay. The elder Rabinovitch, a cantor who survived the Holocaust, iS essayed by Sir Laurence Olivier (in a part originally played by Warner Dry Bones Oland). May McAvoy appeared opposite Jolson; now Lucie Arnaz is his manager and love interest. EugeNe Besserer's role as Jolson's mother has been written out and Diamond's mother supposedly died in a concentration camp. The most dramatic change is the blackface aspect for the film set in our days. In 1927, minstel shows were the order of the day. In 1980, Diamond appears in black makeup and Afro wig, but only at the pleading of three close Black friends who desperately need him as a fourth man in their nightclub act for an all- Black audience. The story of a son who tries to break away from tradition is as valid today as it was in the mid-1920s when George Jessel Created the character of "The Jazz Singer" on the Broadway stage. One song has remained from the Jolson. film, "Kol Nidre," intonated by five generations of cantors of the Rabinovitch clan on Yore Kippur. Richard Dreyfuss portrays a dedicated young pianist whose chances are running out in the motion picture, "The Competition." He is pitted against the woman he loves in a game of musical proficiency, with only one winner and no door prizes. The losers in the piano competition with the world's finest music experts as judging panel may be destined to artistic oblivion, at the least will not have a chance for a second try in the foreseeable future. The artist portrayed by Dreyfuss will have to compete with his girl and win, in order to absoh,'e himself of all the guilt- ridden years in which his parents sacrificed everything to make him develop his talent. His ailing father is forfeiting his last years to see the son's victory. The young man must prove to himself that it wasn't some dillettante's dream. There's only one problem -- he has fallen in love with his strongest competitor. This is a novel part for Richard Dreyfuss whose trademark to date was a pose of self-assured righteousness, a positive thinker who never hesitated with his decision in any of his screen portrayals, from "American Graffiti," A FINE CHINESE RESTAURANT Daily LUNCHEON $199 SPECIAI,S I)INNER -- TAKE-OI;'F 1410 Montgomery Rd. Nunday 4- 10 (Springs Ph,/a) 862-1609 rues.- Sat. I.ongv,ood. I:l 327511 I I a.m. - Ill p.m. MSS'I Sweetheart, this joint's got really great food BEST Open Sunday 671 NEW YORK STYLE Oiscover why people prefer us. Conveniently open Sundays and evening, Over 60 giant New York Lunch specials every day. Mon-Thurs: 8-8 Fri: I] Sun: 8-2 "Jaws," the Third Kit Goodbye Girl" t0! of the Big Fix." Richard is image, but in choices. last picture Competition"), himself to the assuming rdles as la "Othello," just a play within Goodbye Girl." "The Com the editing filming in February 20. being handled in! tan .manner with! on depicting a dealing in truth During three principal cameras Street, the Fisherman's key location. were completed Angeles and Studio lot. Joel the novel, television scree unreleased epic, six-hour original Competition" his bow as a director. He says that "The Corn levels, one with penetrating p hu the dialogue of EB DELLY