Cinema: The Moonchild and the Fifth Beatle

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New myths for old. The Graduate and Rosemary's Baby spin a new myth of lost innocence, of the individual against the wicked system. The new young actors themselves represent the death of many myths—among them, the one of the movie star. The big press buildup, the house in Beverly Hills baroque, the ostentation and the seven-picture commitment are giving way to a stubborn kind of performer who is as suspicious of the Hollywood system as a student rebel is of the university trustees. Many of the young stars are, in fact, anti-stars, who fight against the inducements and erosions of the big time. People like Olivia Hussey, Robert Redford and David Warner have nothing against fame, but they trade on it to gain freedom—the freedom to choose their roles and their directors. The once-desirable studio contract now looks like slavery.

Did You Touch Him?

The anti-star attitude itself threatens to become a new pose or convention in which the Hollywood swimming pool is replaced by the interesting East Side pad, the Valley ranch by a Martha's Vineyard retreat, the antic table-hopping by frantic political activism. At any rate, both Farrow and Hoffman live and breathe the new freedom; both have opted for the small apartment over the big house, the East over the West, Both feel that though there may be New York and New York, and Chicago and Chicago, there is only one Los Angeles. "I'm not connected with it," says Mia, who was born there. To Dustin, who was raised there, "there's this great emphasis on the external: the automobile you drive, the house you live in. The day The Graduate was finished shooting, I flew back to New York. I just couldn't wait to get back."

Together, Mia and Dustin represent a coincidence of other myths: the airborne colleen and the earthbound Jew, Peter Pan and Peter Schlemiel, the miserable winner and the happy loser. Like most myths, they contain an indissoluble grain of truth. Mia Farrow has been cowering from show-business success like a cornered rabbit. Hoffman has been swimming backward in it like a lobster. To Mia, life is colored with pastels and studded with magic stones; to Hoffman, it is a black-and-white documentary. She can skip down Manhattan's Third Avenue without creating a ripple. When Hoffman is recognized, he becomes a fifth Beatle; every night outside his dressing room is a hard day's night. Girls choke up and babble when he walks by: "Oh my God, it's him . . . What a groove, look at that nose . . . It's so beautiful. Did you dig those muscles? . . . Did you touch him? Yes. Oh my God . . ." Dustin hates it, he says, yet stays the departure of his manager's limousine to scribble his name on Playbills slipped through the crack of the electric window.

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