One of the most refreshing of the seemingly innumerable commentaries on Playboy appeared recently in the supah British men's magazine Town, under the by-line of Nick Stacey, the rector of Woolwich: Playboy, the parson wrote, "is helping to break the Puritanical tradition that leisure plus pleasure equals evil. It is making questioning attitudes in a highly conformist society socially acceptable. Its sophistication, its irreverence, its humor, its exposure of sacred cows ... hypocrisy and double think has let a lot of fresh air into American ... society." Such kudos are appreciated and lived up to, we think, by the pleasures within.
Playboy, February, 1967, Vol. 14, No. 2, Published Monthly by HMH Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the U. S., its possessions, the Pan American Union and Canada, $20 for three years, $15 for two years, $8 for one year. Elsewhere add $4.60 per year for foreign postage. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Associate Advertising Manager, 405 Park Ave., New York, New York 10022, MU 8-3030; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, MI 2-1000. Detroit, Joseph Guenther, Manager, 2990 West Grand Boulevard, TR 5-7250; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard, OL 2-8790; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 110 Sutter Street, YU 2-7994; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Atlanta. GA. 30305, 233-6729.
With the Continental tourist season coming upon us once again, it's our opinion that U. S. travelers headed overseas should seize every opportunity to win friends and influence Europeans by communicating with them in their native tongues. Unfortunately, most international language guides--serviceable as they are for inquiring if the water is fit to drink--arm the visiting American with a glossary of platitudes that are wooden and utilitarian but lack the élan, style and verve that may characterize one's native speech. This deplorable situation, however, has been corrected. A British book company, Wolfe Publishing Ltd., has released a five-shilling linguistic lexicon entitled The Insult Dictionary. Aptly subtagged "How to Be Abusive in Five Languages," it supplies the innocent abroad with a veritable arsenal of snappy comebacks (in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German) designed, when delivered with suitable insouciance, to disarm the most xenophobic native. For example, after being shown minisized quarters in a Parisian hotel, the timid American might mumble to the concierge, "Merci, beaucoup." What he should say, according to The Insult Dictionary, is: "J'ai demandé une chambre pour deux personnes, pas un cagibi" ("I booked a double room, not a water closet"). The next morning, in a Gallic restaurant, if the waiter brings an inedible plate of buckwheats, the recommended riposte is: "J'ai demandé une crêpe, pas une crotte!" ("I asked for pancakes, not cow cakes!"). That sets the heart-warming tone of the entire tome.
Cabaret is a taut, pulsating musical, despite the fact that it shortchanges its heroine. In Christopher Isherwood's original Berlin Stories (and John van Druten's play I Am a Camera), soulless Sally Bowles was the central symbol of decaying Berlin in the late Twenties and early Thirties. In the new musical, the symbol is a flashy, seedy Berlin night club. As the title song says, "Life is a cabaret, old chum." The stage is curtainless; the audience stares into a huge, tilted mirror, which reflects but also distorts. Kit Kat Klub emcee Joel Grey struts out and sets the tone of the show. His face chalk-white, his lips reddened, his hair slick, his manner mincing and Devillike, Grey introduces the morally bankrupt city and its sleepwalking citizens with malevolent amusement. The girls, in thigh-high black-net stockings and satiny mini-costumes, are brazenly sexy. An air of casual carnality infects and enriches the proceedings. John Kander's music is, by turn, tinny and harsh, a little Kurt Weillish. Fred Ebb's lyrics are full of bite and wit. Lotte Lenya, as an accommodating landlady, sings the bitter So What, in which she shrugs that you "learn how to be satisfied with what you get." Grey himself runs through an entire side show of malicious music-hall turns, including one blatantly erotic song and dance with his two lady bedmates. As Isherwood's mouthpiece, played by Bert Convy, says about the curious life around him, "It's tacky and terrible and everybody's having a great time." The show's creators--Kander, Ebb, author Joe Masteroff, choreographer Ronald Field, set designer Boris Aronson, costumer Patricia Zipprodt, director Harold Prince--collaborate masterfully in evoking the mood of Berlin under the growing cloud of Nazidom, a mood of blissful ignorance and sickly sadness. The cast--Lotte Lenya, Joel Grey, Jack Gilford as a passive Jewish shopkeeper--is brilliantly in tune with the out-of-tune atmosphere. There is but one exception. Jill Haworth, a pretty young lady with a passable voice, simply can't swing it as the irredeemable Sally Bowles. She fumbles her comic moments, tries to make up for her deficiencies by pushing her limited talent too far. But even if this Sally isn't "rather strange and extraordinary," as she claims to be, the show most certainly is. At the Broadhurst, 235 West 44th Street.
Gaul is divided into two parts this go-round. Aznavour (Reprise) and Je m'appelle Barbra (Columbia) are a boon to Franco-American relations. As is his wont, Aznavour sings only Aznavour. and who could do it better? La Bohème, Plus Rien, Aime-Moi--all are handled in the superlatively sad style that is a hallmark. Miss Streisand has put herself in the hands of conductor-arranger extraordinaire Michel Legrand. And the amalgam of French and English lyrics with Gallic melodies proves that, in any language, Barbra spells success.
Falstatt is a terribly flawed, terribly interesting film. Directed by Orson Welles over a period of years as money became available, the improvisatory nature of its financing has led to an improvisatory artistic quality as well. Sometimes this is welcome--leading to a freedom from the formalism that has stiffened some previous attempts to cinematize Shakespeare--but sometimes the seams show. The biggest seam is Welles' own performance in the title role. Like most of his Thespian endeavors, it is a mixed--if well-stuffed--bag. He has Falstaff's cunning down pat, but somehow he never quite gets hold of the low joie cle vivre that saves the character from being merely a boor. Indeed, as a director, Welles seems least at ease when called upon to re-create the passions of life among the Elizabethan lowly; his tavern scenes are positively prudish. With material better suited to his style--a battle scene alive with the rhythm of violence, the rich yet lonely pageantry of court life (where, as Henry IV, Sir John Gielgud makes his most effective screen appearance to date)--the film has that brilliant finish one expects of Welles. He is also good with the clowns: The sequence where Nym, Bardolph and Pistol are recruited for Henry's army is the film's comic high point. In the last analysis, however, Welles' attraction to Shakespeare comes through as more willed than felt; his least successful efforts on both stage and screen have been his bard beardings. He is a director who must make a property his own; and Shakespeare does not yield gracefully to his tamperings, just as Falstaff does not easily allow himself to be changed into a leading man. Still, any movie by Orson Welles is an event of sorts. Even at his most self-imitative and awkward, there is always present a spirit of artistic daring, of joy in creating a movie, that forces you to sit up and pay attention for that brilliant shot or two that makes the whole business worth while.
As a man who went out into the Cold War--not as a spy but as a diplomat--writer John Bartlow Martin came back with a writer's dream: a personal account of what it was like to be U. S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic after the assassination of Trujillo, to return home after the ouster of democrat Juan Bosch, and to rush back when the tragic island nation was being ripped apart in the civil war of 1964. In Overtaken by Events (Doubleday), Martin presents his account in what seems to be excessive length (almost 800 pages) and with a chronology that frequently begs for a calendar. But he compensates for these sins by employing a plain-English narrative style that will spill some sherry at the State Department. Martin was caught in a rugged affair, and he has emerged from it with some rugged ideas for Americans to consider. Briefly, Juan Bosch assumed the presidency after a stormy election, as the country's first nonmarionette chief of state since the onset of the affliction known as the Trujillo Era. Besieged by demands of the left for drastic economic reforms and by the insistence of the right that he resist, and powerless to govern firmly, Bosch was a study in futility. Aghast at the imminent political demise of this strange and stubborn figure, Martin counseled him to save the Dominican opportunity for democracy by demonstrating to military politicians that he was no friend of Communists: "I know it isn't true, you know it isn't true, but you've got to prove it isn't true." Bosch could prove it, thought Martin, with laws permitting wholesale arrests and deportations. The president refused--out of weakness, in Martin's view, out of principle, in Bosch's--and shortly afterward was ousted by a military junta. This is but a part of Martin's story, but in it he poses the old dilemma of might and right that continues to trouble America's global policy makers.
[Q] I'm an 18-year-old boy working at a school for girls two or three years younger than I am. It's a nice situation, but I must exercise great restraint, especially when they try to outdo one another throwing themselves at me. Can you tell me if there's anything I can take to keep myself from being aroused?--M. B., Frankfort, Michigan.
Bermuda, once again, is bracing for the annual bash known as "College Week." It works this way: Each week from mid-March to early April, a seven-day frolic that's literally free for all is sponsored by the local authorities. Monday morning begins with a tremendous party at Elbow Beach that includes lunch on the house plus a big-beat band for dancing. Tuesday's schedule takes you to the Bermudiana Beach Club for lunch, followed by a limbo contest. During the remainder of the week you'll attend calypso cruises, tennis and sailing tournaments, as well as dig gombay dancers and steel bands-- and every bit of it is on the cuff. All you pay for is your hotel room, travel expenses and whatever sport you have on your own. And if you consider that this romantically flowered Atlantic island is only 90 minutes (by air) and $95 (round-trip) from New York, you can see why girls from Vassar and Smith, Holyoke and Swarthmore and their sister schools all swarm there.
<i>the author-comedian-actor, with a visual assist from our photographers, offers antic comments and ample evidence that these femmes--fatale and fabulous--are the most plenteous and pulchritudinous to appear in a james bond flick, the nuttiest ever filmed</i>