George Roy Hill Richard Whitehall - Essay

Richard Whitehall

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Period of Adjustment] is a fine example of the schizophrenic cinema, teetering uneasily between cinema and television, the forerunner of a completely new genre perhaps (the tele-cinema?). It could just be that George Roy Hill has not shaken off his television influences, but this feature looks exactly as if he were trying to please two separate audiences—the cinema audience now, and the box watchers when at some future date the 1963 film catalogue is sold to the TV channels. It will, I think, look more at home on the small screen than it does on the large one. There have been a number of notable recruits from the television to the film studios but, on the available evidence, George Roy Hill isn't one of them.

The small-sized compositions cramped in the centre of the screen fit uneasily into the larger playing area; there is too much inter-cutting of static close-ups; it's all too studied, somehow, all too telegenic. Sometimes, it is true, Hill gets bitten by the movement bug and we have two men standing at either end of a room passing a football between them as they talk, with the camera following the movement of the ball. This isn't what Sergei [Eisenstein] thought cinema should be, nor [Jean] Renoir either and, visually, I found the film a constant irritant like a mote of dust under the eyelid.

Richard Whitehall, in his review of "Period of Adjustment" (© copyright Richard Whitehall 1963; reprinted with permission), in Films and Filming, Vol. 9, No. 6, March. 1963, p. 38.