Cinema: Rushes: Oct. 13, 1986


Umberto Eco's novel was a deliciously complex academician's joke: a multiple- murder mystery set in the Middle Ages and starring a Sherlockian monk with the mind-set of a modern semiotician. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud's pale "palimpsest" of the novel opts instead for rolling around in the muck, blood and superstitions of primitive societies -- a sort of Quest for Friar. Annaud goes about his task with the self-satisfied air of an anthropology professor shocking the freshmen out of their complacency. His reversal of the tale's priorities dulls its point and dims the mature, intelligent presence of Sean...

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