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FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

By David Sterritt / May 28, 1993



* CHILDREN OF FATE

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In the early 1960s, the filmmaking team of Michael Roemer and Robert M. Young made a documentary about Sicilian poverty for NBC television, which then refused to put their disturbing depiction on the air. Two years ago another team composed of Susan Todd and Young's son, Andrew Young, made their own visit to the Italian locations where the earlier group had filmed; there they created an updated report on the situation, centering on the same homemaker whose challenges and sorrows had been the main focus o f "Cortile Cascino," the original movie. Representing two generations of American filmmakers exploring three generations of an Italian family, the new picture is deeply compassionate and superbly photographed, even if it doesn't make many truly memorable observations about its many-faceted subject, which has political and sociological implications as well as a great deal of emotional impact. (Not rated) * THE CHARGE AT FEATHER RIVER - Guy Madison and Vera Miles star in this 1953 western, now reissued in its original 3-D format, about a handsome hero and a band of slovenly soldiers who ride to the rescue of two white women who've been captured by Indians, only to find that one of the captives doesn't want to be saved at all. The plot recalls one of the greatest westerns ever made, "The Searchers" with John Wayne, and while this picture isn't nearly as brilliant, it was made three years earlier and may have influenced some aspects of the classic that followed in its footsteps. Directed by Gordon Douglas, one of the most solid and underrated of Hollywood professionals. The vintage supporting cast includes Frank Lovejoy and Henry Kulky, and the 3-D cameras have a field day with flying spears, galloping hooves, and various other items aimed in the general direction of the audience. (Not rated)