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4.1 out of 5 stars
Getting Straight
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Don't let anybody else's review of this fool you. First of all, it's NOT THAT DATED. Secondly, after not seeing this movie since it came out in 1970, I was able to view it with the eyes of an adult instead of a 14 year old young girl.
I first saw this movie in the Summer of 1970, at a Drive-In Theatre with my parents. We went to the Drive-Ins every Saturday in the Summers. This was when they showed first run movies that were popular and had quality. (of course they showed all the other stuff too)
But there was something about GETTING STRAIGHT that has haunted me since 1970. The movie has always been in the back of my mind, so I finally got straight myself, and purchased a copy. And here goes.....
This movie should have been nominated for some Academy Awards back then. It is a terrific movie, directed by Richard Rush, who made another favorite of mine.... "PSYCH-OUT". But that's another review. Elliott Gould was at the top of his game at the time this movie was made. Harrison Ford??? (plays a bit part as a student in this film) Who was he???? Well, we found out later, didn't we? He must have been in his late 20's when this was filmed.
The Harry Bailey (Gould) character was a "down on his luck kind of guy", living on the fringes of life and society. In the film, he is a Vietnam Veteran, returning to get a Master's Degree. He wants to be a teacher.
If you think his car is a "classic", then you have no idea of being poor. This guy is so at the edge, he'll do anything to survive. He's not a bad person, but he takes too many shortcuts, and in the end, his integrity is at stake. You will see this yourself. The scene with Cecil Kellaway in a cafeteria where he makes tomato soup out of hot water and ketchup should have gotten him the Oscar right there! Not that it hasn't been done before, but this is no comedy. This is REAL LIFE, and it shows what you have to do just to make it every day! Gould crushes the crackers in the glass as if he has done this in his sleep!
Candace Bergen is his "love interest" and also in the end, she makes the right choice.
What was very real to me at the time in 1970, was the Campus Unrest, Protests, Barbed Wire, and the National Guard. Like Vietnam comes to College. Those scenes were "right on" at the time, because we were embroiled in so much. Kent State had just happened on May 4, 1970; we had Nixon/Agnew in office, Vietnam, Conscientous objectors (Can you say Canada?) Campus Unrest, and Tear Gas, Tear Gas, and then more Tear Gas.
This movie ends on a "high note", although smashing up the building isn't an option I favor highly. But you will get the point.
Well I guess I have rallied on long enough. This is a great movie, with some humour, but just to see Gould try to get through every day alone is worth watching. I am sorry he and Mr. Rush didn't get some well deserved Oscars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
Synopsis: Harry Bailey (Elliot Gould) is a Viet Nam veteran, student-teacher and graduate candidate working on his Masters Degree in English. With a career path clearly set before him and Jan (Candace Bergen) a beautiful, adoring girlfriend by his side a sedate, middle class future appears secure.

However when Viet Nam War protests break out on campus dividing the student body and the pressures and absurd expectations put on his thesis dissertation by pretentious professors becomes evident Harry begins to doubt the necessity for his long sought after graduate degree. Will Harry play by the rules of the establishment and maintain the status quo, or will he march to the beat of a different drummer? How will he ultimately define his need for `Getting Straight'?

Beyond all the craziness `Getting Straight' is an intelligent thoughtful film with a solid script exploring the absurdities of life inside and outside of the university setting. If you enjoy movies like `The Hospital' and `Network' you'll enjoy this one too.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
...you fail to realize that, to the extent that you are conveying anything meaningful at all, you are paying it a compliment.

The film captures, as well as any film I've ever seen, the disintegration and the insanity of its specific moment. Compare Richard Rush's visceral staging of the campus riots here to any fictional or documentary footage you've run across; even "Medium Cool", the legendary fiction-doc hybrid, comes up feeling distant and tentative. If "Getting Straight" were not so steeped in sweat, incense and tear gas; if it didn't fill the viewer with the dread and danger of the social rift it depicts; if it were lazy, unfocused, generalized, no one would think to apply the term "dated".

The film was not just released in 1970. It is 1970.

Of course it's dated.

It's possible that your use of the term is meant to imply that the film is dumb or corny, but if it were either of these things, it would have been dumb and corny on the day it was released, two years after it was released, and yesterday. If the film didn't have several dozen thoughtful things to say about its milieu, if it were in fact just striking fashionable poses ("Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice" comes immediately to mind as an example of an empty-headed, would-be-"relevant" film of the same era), when its supposed "shock of the new" had worn off, "dated" in this particular derogatory sense might well apply.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
For anyone who has wondered how the 60's turned into the 70's this movie should be the answer. Getting Straight personaifies the transition from extreme activist to pratical adult in Gould's character. This movie is a must for any college student annoyed with what seems to be pointless protests to stupid issues like dorm hours.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
During the riot scene, the white vans that the "cops" roll up in were actually old milk trucks from Echo Spring Dairy in Eugene. They painted over the dairy signage and put police dept graphics on the sides. The "cops" were some students who didn't get to be part of the "riot".

During the riot, you see office file cabinets and desks being thrown over a balconey. That wasn't scripted. The students got carried away. The office furniture was rented from Chapman Brothers Stationery in Eugene and the movie company ended up having to buy most of the stuff because it was so banged up. The recruiters office scene was filmed on sixth street

where the sixth street grill is located now. Some of the professors seen in the conference room scene were actual teachers at Lane Community College. I had several of them for instructors. The first term for students at the new Lane Community College campus was Fall 1968. Prior to then, we had to attend classes all over town. (Wherever they could rent rooms.) This film was shot during the summer of 1968. I was in that first graduating class. This movie pretty much captured the atmosphere at the time. Every night on the evening news, they would show the running total of US military killed in Vietnam. By 1971, we were marching in the streets and burning the University of Oregon's ROTC building.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Interesting review of the 70s and the sexual revolution on a college campus somewhere in California. Amazing crystal clear print, letter-boxed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2007
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
It had been about twenty years since I had seen this film, and I found it to be a great way to recall the issues of the late sixties/early seventies and feel a nostalgia for the "Revolution." The best elements of the film in my view are as follows: Elliot Gould's tour de force performance is unlike anything you can see in film; the campus demonstration scenes are very well done and realistic (the cops are pretty brutal); the teaching episodes are funny and meaningful; if you've ever had to drive a junky car you'll love Gould's contraption; the oral examination near the end of the film should have earned Gould, the director and/or the screenwriter an Oscar(s). Additionally, it was interesting to see a youthful Candice Bergen and a youthful Harrison Ford. If you want to (re)live a very special time--whether you were around then or not, you owe it to yourself to watch this movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
In May of 1970, prior to my intended enlistment in the military immediately after graduating from high school in just a few days, my girlfriend and I saw this movie at the theater, and it literally changed the course of my life. Went off to college instead of Vietnam. This movie accurately captures the wonderfully exciting and electrifying student mood on U.S. college campuses at that point in time. I just ADORE this film, but of course I am biased, having lived through many similar moments as shown in the film, and having had an absolute blast doing it. If you went to college during the late 60's and early 70's, this is a great "trip" down memory lane.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The last time I saw this film was 40 years ago when I was a college student during the Vietnam War protest era. It seemed like the heavily-moustached Elliott Gould was in every other movie during that period. This time he was joined by Candice Bergen, Jeff Corey, and a very-young looking Harrison Ford. It's definitely a period piece that does not really capture the zeitgeist pervading the late 60's and early 70's as much as mainstream Hollywood's attempt to cash in on it. The movie's climax comes when Gould, as a befuddled, former Berkeley-era protester and Vietnam vet who is trying to earn a graduate degree to become an English teacher, blows his oral exam during a discussion of the sexual orientation of F. Scott Fitzgerald as the campus around him erupts. Unfortunately the film's final scene is a let-down as Harry and his preppy girlfriend, Jan (Candice Bergen previewing her role in Carnal Knowledge), exclaim that they "don't belong there", meaning the establishment, and join in with the rioting protesters. Better dialogue may have saved the scene, but what it really needed was a darker ending that brought out Harry's frustration and anger. Nevertheless you can enjoy this vintage Elliott Gould performance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
It had been many years since I had seen this film. I had forgotten the 'feel' of America at this time. It expresses the students' constant struggle where societal and real world survival pressures collide all while he and she are trying to discover who they are and where they 'fit' into the world. I suppose it helped me to remember the confusion and to be able to better appreciate what's going on with my son (the junior at university).
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