short takes (2)

One of the more promising films due out shortly is The Formula, starring George C. Scott and Marlon Brando. It was written and produced by Steve Shagan, based on his own rather sensationalistic novel about a Los Angeles detective who stumbles on information indicating that a formula for synthetic fuel -- missing since the Nazis were defeated in World War II -- is now being withheld by the big oil companies. "It's not a conspiracy theory," Shagan told me not long ago, "it's a cartel theory. But the picture just points out the problem, it doesn't try to give all the answers. That's why Brando agreed to be in it -- he liked the film because it doesn't have ribbon around it, it doesn't pretend to solve everything. If it did, it would be a fake. All we wanted to do is show there's an overworld that's even more dangerous than the underworld. If we're not careful, and if our bickering over energy continues, the world as we know it could blow up right before our eyes. We've got to realize this before it's too late."

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