Between the Lines (1977)

between the lines

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Newspaper get corporate takeover.

This is a look at an underground/counter-culture newspaper staff and the conflicts and concerns that they have at being taken over by a no-nonsense corporate owner (Lane Smith).

The film almost immediately takes you back to the bygone era of the late 70’s. The attitudes and conversations are realistic for that period and anyone who lived through it will most assuredly feel nostalgic .John Heard, Jeff Goldblum, and Bruno Kirby are engaging in their respective parts as is most of the cast. Stephen Collins is good also, but in an unusual role for him as he usually plays nice sensitive types, but here is a more driven, intense, and confrontational. This also works as a good unofficial statement to the death of the counter-culture movement and the eventual rise of materialism.

The story starts out well as it looks at the inside workings of an underground newspaper, but then spends too much of the middle part focusing on the relationships of some of the characters. Only at the end when the new owner takes over does it get back to the newspaper angle. Unfortunately it concludes just as things are getting interesting and we never get to see how the characters survive and adjust to the takeover. The film would have been much stronger and original had it stuck to scenarios involving the newspaper business and scrapped the relationship stuff, which tended to be derivative. Jon Korkes and Michael J. Pollard’s characters are seen too little and needed more screen time.

Also, when the film deals with the relationships there seems to be too much of a feminist bias as the men are always shown to be the ones at fault due to their ‘insensitive and selfish natures’ while the women come off the ones who are ‘reasonable and unfairly neglected’. This could be a product of the fact that it was directed by a woman as well as the era where men were somehow supposed to feel guilty simply because they were men.

This is fun as a time capsule as well as a great chance to see young stars in the making. However, the story does not take advantage enough of its original concept and ends up dealing with a lot of the same old scenarios and story lines that we’ve all seen before. Director Joan Micklin Silver and John Heard teamed up again two years later for Chilly Scenes of Winter, which I felt was better.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released:  April 27, 1977

Runtime: 1Hour 41Minutes

Rated R

Director: Joan Micklin Silver

Studio: Midwest Films

Available: DVD (MGM Vault)

One response to “Between the Lines (1977)

  1. Pingback: Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979) | Scopophilia

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