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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Save the Tiger
Directed by John G. Avildsen
Paramount Home Entertainment 2/73 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Los Angeles morning haze. A Beverly Hills house with a swimming pool. A rubber swan, its neck twisted out of shape, bobs on the surface. Welcome to Harry Stoner's kingdom. The master bedroom. Harry comes out of a bad sleep. The TV is snapped on. Shower. His wife Jan awakes. News of a war plane being retired, air pollution warnings, a report on a gas line rupture that has caused eight deaths. Then, with no break in continuity, a dog food ad for Grandy's Grenadine Beef. A maid brings in breakfast. Husband and wife chat. She will be leaving for New York to attend the funeral of her uncle. He will face one of the most important days of his life.
In twenty-four hours, Harry Stoner, President of Capri Inc., a garment company with two plants, will be insulted by the car park near his factory who recklessly handles his car; try to patch up a personality conflict between his cutter Meyer, a Russian immigrant, and Rico, a homosexual designer; debate intermittently for six hours with his business partner Phil Greene about the best way to solve the company's financial difficulties; set up a buyer from Cleveland with a prostitute; go out to lunch with Phil and be cursed by an irate taxi driver; give a brief speech to a gathering of buyers come from all over the country to view Capri's new line of fashions; set up a deal with Charlie Robbins, a professional arsonist; and have an encounter with a young girl who hasn't even heard of Hermann Goering.
Save the Tiger is the story of a middle-aged Middle American who's made it but lost something important along the way. Save the Tiger is about the mood of America today and the state of affairs that has made life unmanageable. Save the Tiger is about the high cost of success, morality under fire, nostalgia, the generation gap. It is the kind of movie that takes guts to make and even more guts to face squarely/.
We strongly recommend this film for discussion by adult groups, campus ministry associations, and clergy gatherings. It is cathartic in that it offers people the opportunity to (1) bring their fears and anxieties out into the open, (2) share their ideas and personal responses to the explosive ethical situation of our era, and (3) begin to break through the stereotypes that have locked people into positions where they cannot understand their neighbors and fail to realize the complexities comprising the fabric of daily life.
The acting is superb. Jack Lemmon won an Academy Award for his depiction of Harry Stoner. Jack Gilford is excellent as his partner Phil. Laurie Heineman as Myra, Patricia Smith as Jan, and William Hanson as Meyer provide good support. John G. Avildsen directs.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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