'Stars and Bars,' U.S. As Land of the Odd
By VINCENT CANBY
Published: March 18, 1988
LEAD: Toward the middle of ''Stars and Bars,'' Henderson Dores (Daniel Day-Lewis), a New York art-auction-house representative, arrives in Atlanta to register at one of those multi-story theme parks that are now the fashion in hotels in this country. The room clerk, smiling, gives Henderson his key and says, ''Follow the path through the atrium, then take the scenic elevator to the 35th floor.
Toward the middle of ''Stars and Bars,'' Henderson Dores (Daniel Day-Lewis), a New York art-auction-house representative, arrives in Atlanta to register at one of those multi-story theme parks that are now the fashion in hotels in this country. The room clerk, smiling, gives Henderson his key and says, ''Follow the path through the atrium, then take the scenic elevator to the 35th floor.''
It's another adventure for the impeccably tailored Henderson, an upper-middle-class Englishman for whom America is a coast-to-coast Disneyland. He makes his way through a man-made jungle of flora and chirping fauna to arrive at a boat landing. A smiling attendant greets him, draws up a canoe and directs him to paddle across to the elevator bank.
Henderson is contained by the canoe but, in the American sense, he's not really into it. Ever game, he attempts to cope with the paddle, his briefcase and the confusion caused by the other canoes, each going in a different direction. He frowns slightly. The paddle seems very long and awkward. The canoes bump and get turned around. Traffic becomes snarled. Canoe-gridlock threatens. When he reaches the far side and the canoe capsizes, Henderson steps into the stagnant lagoon, into calf-high water, and strides toward dry floor as if crossing a street in Belgravia.
It's a short, virtually throw-away sequence that briefly recalls the elevated nuttiness of William Powell in ''Libeled Lady'' and Cary Grant in ''Bringing Up Baby.'' It's also further confirmation that Daniel Day-Lewis (''My Beautiful Laundrette,'' ''A Room With a View,'' ''The Unbearable Lightness of Being'') is well on his way to becoming the actor who really can do anything.
In ''Stars and Bars,'' opening today at the Embassy 72d Street, he gives a heroically funny, high-style comedy performance that's up to its knees in slapstick.
Just how he pulls it off is not easily analyzed. His role, written by William Boyd, is a good one, and Pat O'Connor, the director who earlier did ''Cal,'' appears to respond to him. Yet there's a streak of intense, cockeyed, singular sensitivity in Mr. Day-Lewis's performance that sets him apart from all his contemporaries, and keeps ''Stars and Bars'' in focus even when its comic points become a bit blunt.
The screenplay, adapted by Mr. Boyd from his own novel, is full of funny moments that, as the film proceeds, seem increasingly isolated from each other. ''Stars and Bars'' never gathers comic momentum. It's difficult to tell whether this is the result of the writing or the direction, or of some combination of each, even though the individual scenes sometimes work beautifully.
It may have something to do with the form. In ''Stars and Bars'' Mr. Day-Lewis plays yet another variation on the sophisticated European traveler in the land that, not by chance, gave us Oz and its phenomenally successful, phony wizard. Most of the people he meets are so broadly eccentric they could well inhabit another form of fiction.
''Stars and Bars'' is about the education (and liberation) of Henderson Dores when he's sent into the Deep South to acquire a long-lost Renoir from Loomis Gage (Harry Dean Stanton), the patriarch of a relentlessly oddball, aristocratic Southern family. Complicating the negotiations are Henderson's New York fiancee, her teen-age daughter, another young woman with whom Henderson has recently fallen in love, and some New York lowlifes representing a competing auction house.
The excellent supporting cast, whose material never quite matches that given the star, includes Spalding Gray, Glenne Headly, Matthew Cowles, Maury Chaykin, Laurie Metcalf, Martha Plimpton, Joan Cusack and Will Patton. They're some of New York's finest.
Henderson Dores is no Tocqueville. He's too innocent. Criticism never passes his lips. He's also too polite and well bred ever to express anything but determined, sometimes delighted bewilderment, whether being attacked by a paranoid New Yorker or walking down Broadway wearing nothing but a piece of cardboard. Through it all, Mr. Day-Lewis remains a figure of true comic stature. EXPERIENCING AMERICA - STARS AND BARS, directed by Pat O'Connor; screenplay by William Boyd, from his novel; director of photography, Jerzy Zielinski; edited by Michael Bradsell; music by Stanley Myers; production designers, Leslie Dilley and Stuart Craig; produced by Sandy Lieberson; released by Columbia Pictures. At Embassy 72d Street, at Broadway. Running time: 98 minutes. This film is rated R. Henderson...Daniel Day-Lewis Loomis Gage...Harry Dean Stanton Sereno...Kent Broadhurst Freeborn...Maury Chaykin Beckman...Matthew Cowles Irene...Joan Cusack Teagarden...Keith David Reverend Cardew...Spalding Gray Cora...Glenne Headly Melissa...Laurie Metcalf Duane...Will Patton Bryant...Martha Plimpton
http://www.filesonic.com/file/46636038/Stars and Bars vhs.avi
http://www.filesonic.com/file/46634664/Stars and Bars vhs.part1.rar
http://www.filesonic.com/file/46634590/Stars and Bars vhs.part2.rar
http://www.filesonic.com/file/46635583/Stars and Bars vhs.part3.rar
http://www.filesonic.com/file/46634921/Stars and Bars vhs.part4.rar