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BOOK CLUB MOVIE NIGHT: Catch 22
Sun Dec 1
|Public details: The first time I saw it, I laughed often, but not really a great deal; I was somewhat confused by the framing flashback, and the flashbacks-within-the flashback; I was dazzled by the beauty and scope of the physical production, and by the performances of everyone from Alan Arkin to Suzanne Benton. But mostly I was horrified and troubled and moved, for "Catch-22," more effectively than any other movie that I can remember, defines sheer, absolute panic in a universe without options, in which rewards and punishments are systematically muddled.
Having read the novel when I saw the film the second time, I was able not only to make bridges in the continuity that is otherwise unnecessarily obscure, but also able to marvel at how closely Mike Nichols and Buck Henry, his screenwriter, have been able to approximate, on film, the novel's mood of triumphant madness. They've also been able to retain an extraordinary amount of the narrative that details the terrifying plight of Yossarian, the World War II bombardier stationed on the tiny Mediterranean island of Pianosa who decides that, at all costs, he will survive. (Vincent Canby NYT)|