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Slaughterhouse Five

Year: 1972
Studio: Universal
Director: George Roy Hill
Writer: Stephen Geller
Cast: Michael Sacks, Valerie Perrine

I imagine Kurt Vonnegut would have been as happy with this adaptation as it's possible for an author of his standing and style to be. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid seems to have retained the weird mood that goes along with the premise, and the result is a headtrip that contains a series of subtexts and comments on man's inhumanity to man.

Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) is an elderly man writing a letter to a newspaper explaining about how he's decoupled from time, jumping back and forth from one point in his life to the next with no warning.

While his daughter and son in law try to get him to answer the door from outside, he jumps back in time to when Nazis captured him and two other soldiers in the snowy battlefields in the Battle of the Bulge.

He then jumps from there to his happy middle years as a family man and optometrist in suburban New York, and finally to a far off planet where he's kept in a luxurious living pod with a Hollywood starlet he's always liked (Perrine).

The pivotal device in the film is the firebombing of Dresden, which Pilgrim survives while he and his fellow captives are kept in a basement (and which Vonnegut himself lived through), and while it's no more clear what the movie's ultimately about than it was in the book, Slaughterhouse Five is well worth seeing for some very left-of-centre ideas.

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