Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Everyman Triumphs to a Degree

Cleveland Press 1966

Once upon a time a baby was born who grew up to be a man without illusions. He believed in nothing -- happiness was a myth and despair a pose, and he figured that vice was no more interesting than virtue.

And so he became a termite exterminator.

One day this man, named Henry, met Lorabelle. Now Lorabelle believed in everything as much as Henry believed in nothing. She believed in God and flowers and butterflies and beauty.

In short, they were incompatible. And so they got married.

NOW LORABELLE believed in the myth so common to women, that you can marry a man and then change him. Henry became a little less surly when he grunted, but he never stopped grunting.

There was a crisis and Lorabelle left, meeting one beautiful man after another, all of them with the same ideas of beauty that she had.

But while none was a clod like her husband, each was a complete heel in his own way. Poor Lorabelle.

And so she and Henry got together again and there were more crises and moments of happiness and some despair. There was a child and they grew old.

AND HENRY tried to make things better, though he still had no illusions; and Lorabelle settled down but was still a little dreamy-eyed.

Producer - director - photographer John Korty has tried to capture all of a man's life in a brief film and has succeeded to a remarkable degree.

The performers, Tom Rosqui and Ina Mela are perfect as the couple. They have very few lines of dialog, the story being told in a delightful narration ingenuously presented by Burgess Meredith

BUT THIS is a story essentially told through photography, underlined by a simple yet provocative musical background by Peter Schickele. Korty's camera pauses and zooms, dwells on details, moves waveringly along as it follows his characters. But never are the scenes obscure for the sake of obscurity, tricky for the sake of effect. They are used to capture moments of emotion, a bit of pathos, a quick sight gag.

And like all fables, this one has a moral of sorts; or if not a moral then a reflection -- half cynical, half compromised -- of how a man with no beliefs finally copes with life.

"And in all that he did he could see himself striving toward a condition of love or goodness or purity that didn't exist. But he stayed with it, because there wasn't anything else."