short takes

Eye of the Needle is a textbook example of classical Hollywood traditions colliding with dubious contemporary fashions. The plot is an old-fashioned stew about a spy (Donald Sutherland) with a message for the Fuhrer, and an ordinary but heroic woman who unwittingly becomes his adversary -- facing him down during a climactic battle on a lonely island, with the fate of the Allied cause hanging in the balance. What's new -- and objectionable -- about the treatment is the explicitness of the violence and love scenes, which fill the eye with details that used to be left to the imagination. Result: a yarn that would have entertained whole families 20 years ago is now rated R and off limits (in theory , at least) to most children. For the record, director Richard Marquand moves the action quickly and expressively -- which is of special interest since Marquand has been selected to direct "Revenge of the Jedi," the next episode in the "Star Wars" saga. A capable craftsman, he should make a good choice for that enviable assignment.

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