Slaughterhouse-Five

Tagged: Film

Film (1972). Vanadas/Universal. Directed by George Roy Hill. Written by Stephen Geller, based on Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Cast includes Sharon Gans, Ron Leibman, Valerie Perrine, Eugene Roche and Michael Sacks. 104 minutes. Colour.

A middle-class, middle-aged American (Sacks), dissatisfied with his job, marriage and life in general, starts to experience sudden shifts in time, mainly back to when he was a PoW in the German city of Dresden before its fire-bombing on a massive scale by the Allies. He later experiences forward shifts in time to when he has become a prisoner of the Alien Tralfamadorians, who keep him in a Zoo on their planet and provide him with a half-naked Hollywood starlet for company. The novel's Absurdist disjunctions between the real horrors of war and the minor horrors of suburban life are arguably satirical, and certainly agonized, though arbitrary; here, with quite extraordinary vulgarity, they become merely flippant, especially in the context of the Tralfamadore sequences, where what is black in the book is merely whimsical in the movie, which nevertheless won a 1973 Hugo. [JB/PN]

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