UH FUNDING BECOMES FOCAL FOR STATE SEATS

by Tawanta Feifer

News Reporter

Funding for higher education is one issue in the battle between incumbent Democrat Al Edwards and Republican candidate David Fuson over the state legislature seat of district 146.

Edwards, who is running for his ninth term, said the Harris County delegation that represents UH interests in Austin, retrieved $15 million that had been cut from UH budget last session.

When UH submits its budget, the delegates from Harris County do fight for more funding, Edwards said. The University of Texas and Texas A&M receive more funding because they are larger universities, he said. "The needs are always greater, they (UH) just don't get what they want," Edwards said.

David Fuson, a UH graduate said that UH is not the only place with funding problems. "A lot of Houston is underfunded," he said.

However, he did say that every school should receive the same amount of funding for the same number of students.

Fuson said he is interested in luring more businesses into Texas because that would mean more jobs and more revenue for the state.

"The Texas taxpayer pays about $110 billion per year. Forty-five billion is returned to the state, the rest goes to the other states. We're not lobbying for our own money back," Fuson said.

In support of secondary education, Fuson said Third Ward community leaders should advertise college as a way of getting ahead. The fears people have about paying for an education through borrowing money need to be dispelled, he said.

Fuson said he believes that many people are afraid they won't be able to pay off the loans with the money they earn now. "They don't realize in the long-term that getting an education will increase the amount of money they earn."

Edwards said he encourages students to pursue a secondary education by supporting legislation that would provide money to schools through bonding issues.

While Fuson's campaign focuses on the economy, Edwards' campaign is focused on combating crime.

Edwards said he has been carrying a bill for the last three sessions which would reintroduce prayer in public schools. He said that teen pregnancies and teen violence have both risen since prayer in school was revoked. Prayer is needed to bring students to their "spiritual consciousness" so that they may devote their attention to learning, Edwards said.

"America was founded on religion and religious principles. We pray everyday in congress. Why can adults pray (but) there is something wrong with children praying?" Edwards said.

He said that he is in favor of corporal punishment being reinstated in schools and prisons. Edwards introduced a bill in 1989, that would punish drug dealers by cutting off their fingers.

He also introduced a bill last session that would make it a felony offense if a child used a weapon in a criminal offense as a result of adult negligence. The bill passed in the house but died in the senate. Edwards said, "The National Rifle Association influenced some of the senators. They must have because we passed it in the house."

Fuson said he is also in favor of corporal punishment and a return to many of the values discarded 30 years ago. "If it (reinstatement of corporal punishment) would lower crime, it would be an improvement, but that would have to be decided by a referendum," he said.

He said that students need to be taught about civic duty earlier than high school. Fuson, a juvenile court volunteer for three years, said "I'm amazed at the amount of kids who don't realize they've committed a crime."

 

 

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PICKERING DENIES ALIGNMENT SEALED

 

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

While dealing with recent reports of a two-year, self-imposed probation of the Cougar football program, UH President James H. Pickering met with the other five presidents of the schools involved in negotiations for a new all-sport conference.

As of now, the University of Memphis, Louisville University, University of Cincinnati, Tulane University and the University of Southern Mississippi are involved in the negotiations.

"We did meet today, and we had a good meeting," Pickering said Monday night. "It lasted about two hours."

Despite reports that the presidents had formally signed an agreement, Pickering denied that anything was signed.

Any contract involving the school would have to be approved by the Board of Regents, Pickering said, and it does not meet again until February of next year.

Asked if there was anything that would be presented to the board, he said, "We're a few weeks away from that," but added that he would keep the regents appraised of the situation.

"(To say it was officially approved is) a little premature," Pickering said. "We agreed to take the next step."

Pickering would not comment on what the specifics of the meeting entailed, but did say the presidents discussed other schools that could be considered for the new conference.

"I can't say (who will be asked to join) until invitations are said," Pickering said.

DePaul University St. Louis University, Marquette University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham have been rumored as possible additional schools.

Friday, Pickering said the new affiliation would not remain a six-team conference. East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the University of Dayton and the University of South Florida have been mentioned as possibilities to fill in the two additional slots if the presidents reach a decision to go to a 12-team division.

Pickering did not say if any decisions were reached at the meeting or what else was on the agenda.

The negotiations are being advised by Chuck Neinas, executive director of the College Football Association. The CFA has the duty of working out TV contracts for college football conferences, and it is reported that he is doing the same for the new conference.

In a story written in Monday's Houston Chronicle, a Louisville official said the presidents would discuss membership and revenue-sharing.

This is the second meeting of the schools; the first occurred in Atlanta on Sept. 22, where they agreed to form an all-sport conference to begin play in the 1996-97 school year, after the breakup of the Southwest Conference.

"I think this is going to happen," Pickering said.

 

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DISTRICT 11 CANDIDATES COURT UH VOTE

by Farnaz Dandia

News Reporter

With today's election, both Republican incumbent Jerry Patterson and Democratic challenger Mike Martin reach for the student vote through their positions on federal funding for UH as they vie for the office of state Senator.

The two candidates are participating in the District 11 race. This district has recently been re-configured and now includes Galveston County, parts of Brazoria County and parts of Southeast Harris County, including Pasadena, Deer Park and La Porte.

Martin has served as a member of the Texas House since 1990 and was a part of the Appropriations Committee during that time. He participated in the decisions which resulted in the budget cut for UH last year.

The University of Houston is the largest university in a city which consists of 30 percent of the state's taxpayers yet, last year, $8.5 million was cut from the school's budget. In addition, the forecasts for 1995 show further budget reductions.

However, Martin said, "I think the University of Houston has stepped up and paid its dues. It's time for another university to step up. University of Houston's cuts were more severe than those of other schools. U of H is in a position where it came up and sacrificed so now it is someone else's turn to sacrifice."

He added that he thought UH was penalized unnecessarily last year. He said that from an Appropriations Committee member's perspective, he realizes that UH made a sacrifice last year. He also explained that unlike last year, this year the Legislature will be starting out with a budget surplus that he said should help UH's situation.

Patterson, who has served as senator for two years, said that, if elected, his treatment of UH will be the same as that of University of Texas Medical Branch, Texas A&M and all other universities that have taken a hit.

He added, "My mission is to make sure UH is not singled out."

UH also serves a large concentration of minorities because Houston has the largest number of minorities in the state.

Martin said, "What is important is that we have an institution in terms of education that will create an opportunity for everyone. We need to stress education opportunities for minorities."

Patterson said, "I will do for minorities the same as what I will do for those without employment – get better, higher paying jobs."

A majority of the students at UH hold down jobs while obtaining their education. For this group of people, Martin said he would attempt to preserve decent wages, increase graduate student loans and fight against a tuition increase.

He added, "I went to school myself on loans. Even in college I fought against tuition increase."

Patterson said he would try to keep employment up and end lawsuit abuse. He explained that ending lawsuit abuse would help all workers.

He added, "It will create an environment where business and industry can create jobs so people who graduate from college can get jobs."

Martin has stressed juvenile crime in his campaign for senator. He favors reforms such as a regional boot camp for juvenile criminals.

Patterson also stressed the importance of juvenile crime issues but he said his first priority will be ending lawsuit abuse and creating jobs.

 

 

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UH FORENSIC TEAM TALKING ITS WAY INTO NATIONAL POWERHOUSE

Students dominating field despite frugal funding

by Lisa Mahfouz

Daily Cougar Staff

There are no bands, cheerleaders or screaming fans supporting the UH forensic team, yet it is winning first place in tournaments across Texas.

No, these students don't argue about how to carve up cadavers. They use their eloquent verbal skills and enormous brain power to out-speak, out-smart and out-perform other competing forensic teams from universities like Rice in poetry, prose, dramatic, dramatic duo interpretation and several programs of oral interpretations.

The team recently won first place in parliamentary debate and team individual events at the Texas Two-Step Swing Tournament – Part I, hosted by UH. This is the highest finish for UH since 1983.

Team captain Chris Aspdal and his dramatic-duo partner, Jason Cryer, shut out Rice in a 3-0 decision in the first semi-final rounds. Gretchen Denker and Tony Sullivan also defeated St. Mary's University in a 2-1 decision in the second round to close out the final rounds. Charity Lakey qualified to represent UH in the national competition.

On Oct. 21-23, the UH forensic team continued its winning streak by placing first in individual events at the Texas Two-Step Swing Tournament – Part II, hosted by McLennan Community College. Schools from throughout the nation competed in both of these tournaments.

Aspdal, ranked eighth in the nation last year, finished as top speaker with co-captain Latasha Smith, who was second right behind him in both competitions. Aspdal also won first place in five of the 11 individual events.

"Chris accomplished something I have never seen at any forensic tournament, and I've been doing this for 22 years," said Michael Fain, director of individual events. "UH dominates dramatic, prose and poetry events so badly, it's not even funny."

Four tournaments into its season, UH has placed first overall in the past two. The debate team is well on its way to winning the "Super Bowl championship" – the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament later in the season.

The team placed fourth in the first competition and third in the second behind schools ranked 11th and 14th in the country. UH is ranked fourth in Texas and 21st in the nation, according to the 1993-94 final standings of the Cross Examination Debate Association.

Not bad for a team that is restricted by funding to compete within a 250-mile radius, says Martha Haun, director of forensics and speech communication. The forensic team selects 22 out of the hundreds of tournaments nationwide in which to compete. Its schedule is rigorous, with competitions almost every weekend if school or work does not conflict. Off-campus competitions can cost up to $2,000 for hotels, gas and food, Aspdal says.

The UH Student Fees Advisory Committee gives debate $16,180 to operate on for the school year. Six to eight UH debate team students split one $2,000 scholarship donated in part by Fain and Exxon.

Out of the total SFAC fees of $6,655,017, athletics bites a $2,329,256 chunk out of the budget, which translates into $35 of every $100 students pay in tuition. Although debate received an increase to 24 cents per dollar from 11 cents from SFAC, forensics says more funding is needed.

The forensic team raises money to compete by hosting tournaments (about six per year), bake sales, begging, borrowing and anything short of stealing, Fain says.

Like many other UH students, forensic members like Aspdal and Cryer work and go to school full-time. However, these students maintain a high grade point average, about 2.9 or above (Aspdal 3.74), and raise their own money to represent UH on a national scholastic level.

"First and foremost are grades," Aspdal says. "Students with a GPA of 2.55 and above are considered in the top third of their class at UH. Unfortunately, GPAs at UH generally run lower than other universities," Aspdal says.

Cryer transferred from the University of Texas at Arlington because of the forensic program here at UH, Cryer says. Hosting and winning tournaments attracts students to the university, Fain added.

The debate team all but dispersed from UH in 1985. It wasn't until 1988 that a concerned Houstonian, Mark Lay, wanted to donate a $10,000 grant from Enron to the forensic debate team. Lay found out there wasn't a team on campus. The president of UH at the time, Richard Van Horn, called Haun and asked if she would head up the debate team so that UH could receive this generous donation.

Last year was the first year UH has had a full comprehensive individual and debate team, Haun said.

Five dedicated people volunteer their time and energy to the new and improved UH team: Haun, director of forensics; Fain, director of individual events; Ron Ragston, assistant director; Bowie Hinger, assistant and office manager; and cookie baker Ginger Yocum.

The UH forensic team pulls in hundreds of high school students, and soon, junior high students, by holding debate competitions at the university.

 

 

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TWO LOCAL POLITICAL GROUPS PROVE GAY VOTE NOT MONOLITHIC

by Kim Antely

News Reporter

While the various wars rage on for public office this election year, the biggest war being waged within the gay and lesbian community is not between two candidates as might be suspected, but between the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) – Houston, a progressive gay rights organization, and the Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

The main objective of each organization is the advancement of civil rights for gays – rights enjoyed by every American citizen. The political ideology of each group is different, but the goal is the same.

According to LCR President Kenneth P. Wilk, Log Cabin chose not to make any formal endorsements this election year. It decided instead to work on "overall education of the (Republican) party." LCR decided it is "more important for people to know what we're about." As a result of national LCR efforts, "Republican candidates are talking about gay rights nationally," Wilk said.

"HGLPC is one of the oldest endorsing organizations in the state," said Keith Stewart, vice president of HGLPC.

Every candidate running for an office is invited to screen with HGLPC. Each candidate is sent a written questionnaire, which varies according to the race and must be submitted prior to screening.

One rule of the HGLPC is that it does not endorse any candidate who does not screen. The group did make an exception this year in the governor's race only because Ann Richards did not screen with any organization. Also, if only one candidate screens in a particular race, he/she may or may not be endorsed.

"We (gays) need to stop worrying about all these little things like gay-baiting when we still don't have basic, common, civil rights," Wilk said. "Right now, caucuses are a tool of the '70s and '80s. The caucus (HGLPC) needs to be more sophisticated."

HGLPC, on the other hand, views gay-baiting (especially in the race for Harris County judge) as a "relevant consideration because he (Robert Eckels) is asking us to vote for him when he makes blatant homophobic remarks," Stewart said. "I think it will make a big difference in the way lesbians and gay men vote. I think it will make more people vote."

There are other differences between these two organizations. Members of LCR view HGLPC as a "liberal Democratic organization," Wilk said, while Stewart admitted that the "Democrats have not given us (gays) much."

He also said most members of HGLPC would identify themselves as Democrats. However, there is a conservative coalition within the caucus, "The Lincoln Project," which is garnering some support. "The caucus is not a partisan organization, period," Stewart said. "We are not wedded to the Democratic Party."

Stewart said LCR is seen as "putting the Republican Party before gay rights." This is denied by Wilk. "We are a gay rights organization. We must work within the party (Republican) to change people."

"I think it's commendable and courageous what they're doing," Stewart said of Log Cabin efforts to change political views concerning gay rights within the Republican Party. "I'm not sure it will do any good, but they should try."

On their behalf, Stewart said, "They are involving people in the process that might not ordinarily be involved."

Each organization does believe, however, that for gay men and lesbians to be afforded equal opportunity under the law, a nonpartisan effort must be established.

Both organizations view the Harris County judge race as the most important to the gay and lesbian community, but neither group agrees on a candidate.

The county judge ultimately controls the Ryan White Planning Council, which distributes national funding for AIDS care and research to Harris County. On the chances of the Libertarian candidate being elected county judge, each group agrees that most people feel that voting Libertarian is a throw-away vote. "Libertarian candidates are frustrated" with the Democratic and Republican parties, Wilk said.

According to Stewart, the family courts and state legislative candidates have a more direct impact on daily life than that of governor or lieutenant governor, and that these are races to watch closely.

LCR and HGLPC both view the elections for City Council positions next year as important because everyone is directly affected by these positions every day. Wilk said the mayoral race will be one to watch because the only thing Lanier has done for our community is to "be polite."

One last difference between LCR and HGLPC: "If you want to be a good voter, educate yourself," Wilk said. He suggests investigating endorsements and comparing several of them, not just taking them at face value. "Vote the block," Stewart said. If you don't, you are only diluting the effectiveness of the vote, he added.

 

 

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GOLF TEAM WINS FINAL FALL TOURNAMENT

Cougar Sports Service

The University of Houston golf team found a nice place to stop for the fall season when it won the Harvey Penick Intercollegiate Golf Tournament at the Morris Williams Golf Course in Austin this weekend.

The Cougars beat a field of 12 that included Southwest Conference foes like Texas, Texas Tech, Texas Christian, Rice and Baylor. (The teams finished second, third, fourth, sixth and eighth respectively.)

With a three-round score of 858, the Cougars finished three strokes ahead of the Longhorns. Houston was led by Anders Hansen, who tied for first place with a 210. He lost a four-hole playoff to winner Marcus Jones from Texas. Hansen shot a 69, 69 and a 76 over the three-day tourney.

This is the second tournament of the season won by the Cougars, the first being the Woodlands Intercollegiate, and they have not placed lower than sixth this season. They were second in the Red River Classic, fourth in the Fresno Classic and sixth at the Nicklaus Invitational.

The golf team, which has won 16 national championships, will resume play next semester.

 

 

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COUGARS PRACTICE A LITTLE REVISIONISM

Volleyball team sets standard with history-making season

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston volleyball team is having one of its best seasons ever, and the UH record book is being rewritten while the Cougars advance toward the Southwest Conference Tournament.

The most impressive fact to fall by the wayside was Texas' dominance in the SWC. The league has been holding varsity-level volleyball competition since 1982, and for 12 seasons, the Longhorns have won the SWC title 12 times. With the demise of the SWC, it seemed as if Texas would be the only team to ever win the league championship. Instead, the Cougars made their dent in the SWC record book. Not to mention they were the first team to ever beat the Longhorns twice in one season.

The team also set the record for the longest winning streak. In 1979, the Cougars won 15 matches in a row. This season, they have won 17 in a row, and the streak is still alive. If the Cougars do not lose another match this season and win the national title, they will have won 29 straight. It will also be the first time they will have advanced past the second round.

As far as individual records go, senior hitter Lilly Denoon-Chester has done some revisions herself, the most prominent being the career-kill record.

Denoon-Chester broke the old record of 1,225, held by Julie Gates, Oct. 23 against Arkansas State. Through today, she has 1,335 with five matches, plus postseason tournaments.

She has also broke the record for kills in SWC matches for a season, which stood at 150. This season, she has 167 kills against SWC opponents, with one conference game and the SWC Tournament to go.

Going into this season, Denoon-Chester had the current record for best hitting percentage in a SWC career with a .295. As of this very moment, she is hitting .302 this season against SWC teams.

Despite what may come of this team, the record books will show its legacy.

Editor's note: I apologize for any records I may have missed.

 

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NEW JERSEY BOYS TAKE FANS DOWN MEMORY LANE

Bon Jovi has released <I> Crossroads <P>, a compilation of past hits and new songs.

Photo by Mark Weiss/Mercury

by Rosario Peña

Daily Cougar Staff

It is a bit early for Christmas; nonetheless, this is a great stocking-stuffer for Bon Jovi fans. The New Jersey boys have released <I>Crossroads<P>, their 14-track CD compilation of past chart-climbers and a couple of new tracks.

Fans should enjoy reliving Bon Jovi's climb to the top of the charts. The band goes so far as to include "Runaway," off its first album in 1986. Other '80s tracks include "In and Out of Love," "Bad Medicine," "You Give Love A Bad Name" and " Livin' On A Prayer." The Jersey boys also added in Jon's solo effort, "Blaze of Glory."

This is a great CD with one classic tune after another, with a fast momentum that leaves you wanting more. The boys rock through the majority of it, but do slow down the tempo for the favorite, "I'll Be There For You" as well as "Bed of Roses," and the latest release, "Always."

New material also includes "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night." A particularly interesting cut is "Prayer '94," a nicely done unplugged version of "Livin' on a Prayer."

For good-sounding rock and pop, check this CD out. It should hold die-hard fans for a while, at least until the next CD, if any, is released.

 

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CHURCH GIRL RISES TO QUINTESSENTIAL CARMEN PERSONA

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

When Denyce Graves steps on stage, it's hard to notice anyone else. Her movements, majestic appearance and especially her magical voice are enough to cast a spell on even the most minute of opera connoisseurs.

But this opera diva was not always the spirit of the powerful gypsy, who she is performing in the Houston Grand Opera production of <I>Carmen<P>.

She grew up in Washington, D.C., with her brother, sister and parents. "We were by all means very far away from being wealthy. My father died when I was very young, so my mother worked two jobs to support us," she said.

With a mother who was a missionary and a father who was a minister, Graves was immersed in a religious life that would later be a great influence in her singing career.

"My musical experience and my roots are in the church. As a small girl, I was very shy and not popular. My mother would sing a lot, so I constantly heard music. It was a part of my life. That's how it all started. I don't think that I was unusual, I was just like anybody, singing around the house or in front of the mirror with a brush."

Her awakening into the world of opera occurred because of an elementary school teacher who saw great potential in Graves. She suggested Graves audition for a performing arts high school.

"I thought, that's not really what I want to do, but I do want to be an actress, so I auditioned for the theater department. We had to sing and dance, and everyone was saying, 'Oh, what a pretty voice. You should audition for the musical.' So there seemed to be all of these different forces, pushing me in this direction. It was divine somehow."

For the first time, Graves was introduced to music other than gospel. However, her dreams were completely realized when she was given a copy of a Mascagni piece called <I>Cavalleria Rusticana<P>. "When I heard this piece, I fell in love with it, and I said, 'That's what I want to do.' "

She went to college, where she continued studying music. "It was at the conservatory that I completely submerged myself. I was at this place where there was music all the time. It was like a new world for me. Music around the clock, and that excitement of discovering something new. Staying up until six o'clock in the morning, playing the same LP over and over and over and over, thinking we had discovered this treasure, this great love and fascination that no one could take away."

Even though she managed to reach the almost unattainable dream, Graves finds being a successful opera singer and No. 1 Carmen worldwide to be a difficult task at times.

"Personally, it's easy to say what I feel my greatest accomplishment is: keeping my feet close to the ground and maintaining my relationships with my family and friends because it's really hard. You're traveling so much, and your world is constantly expanding. It's hard to go back and meet those people where you stood together before. Your life has changed so much."

Although she has traveled around the world countless times, performed in the greatest opera houses and become the definition of "Carmen," Graves says the one experience she treasures to be most memorable and most beautiful for her was performing in a prison.

"It was an educational outreach program, and I didn't want to do it. It cost so much from me personally to do it, and I was afraid. I had an attitude of failure before even going to do it. Secondly, there were these human beings with faces of stone ... of rock. I told myself that if they see that I'm afraid, then I'm not going to get anywhere.

"When people come to the theater, they want to come to the theater. They pay their money.

"These people didn't want to be there. My job became that much harder, trying to sell them, trying to win them over. Watching a face come from something so negative, so resistant and so hard to light, and to see some of the guys smile, it was the greatest thing. This was something really great, and I felt like I did something really good with my life. This was not something for the blue-haired old ladies, God bless them all, but this was something really for humankind."

Singing the seductive Carmen, mezzo-soprano Graves has created a new standard for other singers.

"She (Carmen) is developing all the time, and she is showing me what she wants. If I feel it, I know it's right. That has to be the way, because if you don't feel it, you don't sell it. I can't talk you into something I don't believe in. It's important for me to work with people who are interested in exploring their honesty. To get inside the character and out of yourself and get over yourself; you need the honesty."

Graves advises music students to look to themselves for their success and their goals.

"Everybody has to find their own survival system. There is no formula and no easy road to success. They don't hand out careers. You've got to work hard and have unshakable faith because your faith is being tested all the time. Careers are made in 1000 different ways; you have to find your own survival system and be original and unique."

Perhaps the one thing that has helped her succeed so tremendously in the opera world is her strong belief in herself.

"You have to know yourself and listen to your heart. All of our lives we are taught not to listen to ourselves. You listen to your teachers, you listen to your parents. We are taught that somebody else has the answer. We all grew up believing that the answer is outside of us. But everything you need to know is here, inside of you. It's hard to stand up for what you believe in when everybody is saying, 'No, do this.' "

Graves said opera has changed her life so greatly that she hopes people who have never given that spectacular world an opportunity will give it a chance.

"Opera can be a life-changing experience. It is a healing art. I believe that. I know it to be true because I know its effect on my life. I hope that through the pleasure and peace it brings to me, I can transfer that to other people."

 

 

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<I>FRANKENSTEIN<P> AN INTELLECTUAL MONSTERPIECE

 

by Robert L. Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

The power to cheat death by creating life has been a subconscious dream of mankind for centuries, but if this power is ever revealed to the human mind, will it be a milestone of genius or a downfall for the soul?

This is the main question asked in Tri-Star's latest release, <I>Mary Shelley's Frankenstein<P>, a terrifyingly realistic tale of love and the eternal soul.

Set in the Swiss Alps at the end of the 18th century, <I>Frankenstein<P> chronicles the life of Victor Frankenstein, played exquisitely by Kenneth Branagh, as he attempts to create life.

This piece of celluloid history contains a script that takes a tale of unconditional love and interweaves into it the essence of true horror.

The obsession with creation begins for Branagh when his mother dies tortuously during childbirth, thereby instilling a need to create life so people would never lose the ones they love. Adding fuel to Branagh's creative fire is Professor Waldman, played by John Cleese.

The collaboration of these two characters during a cholera outbreak increases the pressure of the film's dark side, which gives the film a lightning-quick pace.

Delving into anatomical accuracy, Frankenstein's creature, played by Robert De Niro, is a tumultuous mix of strong intellectualism with a primal urge for revenge.

The script also fully develops the plight of Branagh's creation by adroitly capturing the creature's emotional struggle through a mix of action and dialogue.

De Niro throws his years of acting experience into the role of the creature, bringing out the human, as well as the animal side of the character.

Those movie-goers expecting the typical monster movie may be disappointed with the intellectual aspects of the film. The creature is a being of extreme intelligence who sets off on a tangent of revenge.

The driving force behind the creature's actions is expressed by the poet John Milton's question to God: "Did I request thee, Maker from my clay to mould me man? Did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?" he wrote.

Through Branagh's "directorial eye," coupled with Robert Darabont's and Steph Lady's screenplay, certain early Hollywood creations have been blotted out to make room for the original vision Mary Shelley had forged almost 200 years ago.

<I>Frankenstein<P> also offers wonderful settings that serve to heighten the realism of the story and take the viewer on an odyssey of the human soul.

The questions raised in this period piece are designed to cause introspection within audiences. The picture ends with more of an understanding of the self, rather than a distinction between good and evil.

 

 

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