Friday, January 22, 2010

If You Could See What I Hear

(Eric Till, 1982)
What's good about this movie is the calculatedly straightforward treatment of Marc Singer's blind protagonist. He's introduced as a freewheeling, horny, immature charmer with an arbitrary affliction that doesn't define who he is - the inevitable "he's blind, not deaf" doesn't come until late in the third act. Nor does it begrudge Singer his tail-chasing antics, except inasmuch as he's obliged to settle down and get married at the end. Still, the Supercrip stuff is pretty extreme - he drives a car, he goes skydiving, he plays a mean game of golf. His near-failure at rescuing a drowning child does suggest a reckoning with the physical limits he's been pushing, but the articulation is bizarrely weak ("I'm blind...that's how everybody sees me"). The comedy gets better as the movie goes along - the first act almost has a hernia trying to be 'fun', but I like the business with the landlady, and R. H. Thompson smartly underplays the amiable sidekick role. Shari Belafonte-Harper is magnetic as his girlfriend - until the movie disfigures itself by copping out of their interracial romance with some arbitrary ableism. And every challenge the script makes to treacly sentiment is matched and undone by the overbearing, syrup-sodden musical score.

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