Scott Marks 11 a.m., Nov. 8
Lovers' tragedy about a Rimini university professor whose aspirations as a poet were an early, long-turned page in his life and who now devotes his time to debauchery, and a female student of his who is the sort naturally to catch a teacher's eye and who, for precisely the same reason, is naturally a bad risk ("She has a lot of past, not much present, and no future"). Alain Delon, as the professor, is an actor who, owing to excessive handsomeness, is seldom given his due, but his bravery in undertaking so somber and uncommercial a project as this ought to mitigate somewhat the inevitable complaint that he lacks the intellectual air proper to a poet and literature professor, a charge which will tend to be brought by people whose image of intellectuals comes from watching Carl Sagan on television rather than actually having looked in on college classrooms lately. The Delon character's intellectualism is, in any case, well behind him, and there are few people in movies better equipped than he to convey a quality of wastedness, or not in spite of, but because of, his excessive handsomeness better equipped to convey the reverse vanity and glamour of artfully mussed hair, stubbled chin, dangling cigarette, and bleary eyes. (This professor is the up-to-date, anti-Establishment type who prides himself on being at one with his students, who, for instance, encourages his students to smoke in the classroom in spite of its being against the rules, whose tolerance of youthful rebelliousness is almost without bounds, just so long as no one makes any wisecracks when he is turning on his supplicatory eyes and actively flirting with the prettiest girl in class.) Regrettably, the brutally-edited, American-release version of the movie is a bit choppy (Alida Valli, as evidence, appears in the opening credits and nowhere else), though the extant pieces, beautifully crafted individually, are nonetheless of great value. Directed by Valerio Zurlini. 1973.