A ChucksConnection Film Review

Vincent Spano wears black high top Converse “Chuck Taylor” All Stars in the film.


by Hal Peterson


Harry signs on Boris as his new graduate assistant

Harry signs on Boris as his new graduate assistant at the university.

Creator stars Peter O’Toole as a charmingly obsessed college professor of medicine who hopes to someday successfully clone the cells of his dead wife, Lucy, who tragically died many years before. Dr. Harry Wolper, who insists everyone call him by his first name, is a Nobel Laureate and so can command the attention of everyone and more importantly, get the all-important grant funding required to complete research at the university. For this reason, Harry can get away with all kinds of irregular behavior and can appropriate university equipment to pursue his private research goal. Into this scene walks Boris (Vincent Spano), a new graduate student at the university who is originally assigned to Harry’s chief rival, Dr. Kuhlenbeck (David Ogden Stiers). But Harry is desperate for a full time assistant to work on his experiment, and so when Boris accidentally walks into his lab because he has been following a very attractive coed he hopes to meet and date, Harry tears up Boris’ assigned schedule of classes and tells him that he must work on Harry’s project instead. Boris is reluctant to do so, but Harry has an ace up his sleeve — he knows the name of the girl that Boris is infatuated with. So Harry now has someone to help him with his secret project to clone Lucy, and Boris is able to pursue the beautiful Barbara (Virginia Madsen).

An infatuated Boris volunteers to carry Barbara's refrigerator

An infatuated Boris volunteers to carry Barbara’s refrigerator up to her apartment.

As the film progresses, two romances develop. One is between Boris and Barbara, which quickly develops from platonic roommate status to a full-blown passionate affair, thanks to a weekend at Harry’s beach house. Meanwhile, a young student named Meli (Mariel Hemingway) has a problem: she is pregnant by an unknown boyfriend and doesn’t know what to do. But she hooks up with Harry at a coffee shop and her problem becomes the solution to Harry’s need for a fertilized human egg for his cloning experiment. Meli develops an immediate crush on Harry, and actively pursues their relationship, trying to get Harry to reciprocate, and also get him to forget his fixation on his former wife. At the same time, Dr. Kuhlenbeck is plotting to get rid of Harry, and have him transferred to the university’s Livingston campus, a virtual “retirement school” for academics who have outlived their usefulness at the main university.

Boris and Meli bicycle back to Professor Harry's house

Boris and Meli bicycle back to Professor Harry’s house.

Creator gives us a lot to deal with. The romance between Barbara and Boris becomes more and more intense, and soon they are talking marriage. Suddenly tragedy hits them hard, as Barbara comes down with a mysterious disease, slips into a coma, and is pronounced brain-dead by Dr. Kuhlenbeck. But Boris never gives up on her, and gets Harry to block the pulling of her life support for two days, which he spends literally talking and cajoling her back into consciousness. And Mariel is able to convince Harry to give up his quest to clone Lucy, especially after Kuhlenbeck convinces the university to search his place and take back all of the equipment he has borrowed, and the embryo he has created with some of Lucy’s cells is destroyed. This allows their relationship to finally flower. Finally, Harry must deal with the conniving Dr. Kuhlenbeck who is also trying to steal away the grant funding that Harry has brought to the department. There is a lot of passion in this movie, and the unexpected combination of characters that you see is refreshing. Spano and Madsen are great together as the young lovers. O’Toole’s performance gives us a typical combination of eccentric behavior along with droll and apt commentary on life, but he always retains your interest as character, because whenever the chips are down, he is there in support of his people. Mariel Hemingway is surprising good as the young Meli, with an iconoclastic wit and sexuality that reminds you of a young Mae West. And anyone who has seen the M.A.S.H. television series will know that Stier’s portrayal of Dr. Kuhlenbeck is a screen version of his pompous Charles Winchester role. Director Ivan Passer deserves some credit for getting some interesting and moving performances out of his ensemble.

Boris doggedly stays by Barbara's bedside

Boris doggedly stays by Barbara’s bedside when she falls into a coma.

Best Chucks Scene

Boris quarterbacks the touch football game

Boris quarterbacks the touch football game between Harry’s and Kuhlenbeck’s students.

Well, guys, if you ever get a chance to date Virginia Madsen, be sure to wear your black high tops, because this is the second film reviewed on this site (see also Fire with Fire) where she falls instantly in love with a guy wearing chucks. Vincent Spano wears them in most of his scenes in Creator, and you have to relate to the turmoil of emotions he goes through, during their courtship, and most wrenching, during the hospital scenes where he is the only person who believes that she will come back to life, and you see this chucks guy begging and pleading for her life. But still the best chucks scene in this film is during the touch football game between the staffs of the two rival professors, where Boris quarterbacks Wolper’s Wonders to their first ever victory over Kuhlenbeck’s team, due to an unexpected pass play brought into the game by Meli.

Boris at the game

Boris is wishing that Harry had cloned some of Ronnie Lott’s DNA.

Creator. (1985) Peter O’Toole, Vincent Spano, Mariel Hemingway, Virginia Madsen.
Directed by Ivan Passer.Categories: Drama, Romance
ChucksConnection Rating: 3 chucks ratingMPAA Rating: R

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