Thursday, February 1, 2018


FILMS OF 1972 

The 1001 Book lists 18 (19 with the later addition of The Lady Vanishes) Alfred Hitchcock movies on the essential viewing list-by far the most of any director. The first is Blackmail (1929) and the last is Frenzy (1972). Quite a time span of influence! I’m pretty sure I first saw Frenzy on TV during the 70's. Watching it now, I do like the film, though I wouldn't put it in the top echelon of Hitchcock films on the list. It feels like a good BBC procedural, with little extra twists of violence thrown in.

Here is the 1001 Hitchcock list:
Blackmail (1929)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Sabatoge (1936)
The Lady Vanishes (1937)
Rebecca (1940)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Spellbound (1945)
Notorious (1946)
Rope (1948)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Wrong Man (1957)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)
Marnie (1964)
Frenzy (1972)

After you've gone through the 19 films on the 1001 list, there are plenty of others left (To Catch a Thief, Lifeboat, I Confess etc.), and try to catch a couple of episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents while you're at it!

A crowd of people stood and stared...
Mr. Hitchcock (with the bowler hat) 
looks over the crime scene in Frenzy

Gordon Parks Jr.'s Super Fly is about as far away from Frenzy as you can get, other than the fact they came out the same year. Though Super Fly  is part of the culture of the 70's cinema, (Blaxplotation cinema specifically), I had never actually seen it before! The plot involves Youngblood Priest (Ron O'Neal), a drug dealer trying to get out of the business and go legit. It is essential seventies viewing, enhanced by Curtis Mayfield's score and ongoing chorus-like descriptions of the actions. Maybe the first movie use of the phrase “pops a cap on your ass," but I have no historical documentation of this. My favorite quote from the film, "Eight-track stereo, color TV in every room and can snort half a piece of dope every day! The American dream!"..."Cadillac, El Dorado...You always got some super fly shit!"

Ron O' Neal and Sheila Frazier discuss the American Dream
in Super Fly

Here are 25 movies released in 1972 not on the 1001 movie list that I have seen at some point. I've listed where or when I first saw them as far as I can recollect.

1. 1776
Where or when did I first see it? At an Atlanta theater during the 1976 school year.
Our middle school had a field trip during the bicentennial year to see the then four-year old musical film adaptation of the Broadway musical 1776. Our class really did get into it applauding and cheering at the appropriate times (I remember special applause for the home state Georgia boy Lyman Hall!).

Since that time, I've seen the film many times and it is one of my favorite musicals. Who wouldn't love a musical about the founding fathers, eh? Well, I've always loved the songs. The picture below is my own poster of 1776. You have one too, don't you? Well, don't you?

2. Blacula
Where or when did I first see it? I'm hazy on the facts on this one.
I'm sure I've seen this 70's black version of Dracula…I think I have anyway. Or maybe I'm thinking about the David Niven movie Old Dracula, where Niven becomes black at the end. to mate with his mate Teresa Graves? But I digress.

3. Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask
Where or when did I first see it? Midnight movie at Perimeter Mall theater.
Woody Allen comedy of vignettes has many highlights: Gene Wilder falling in love with a sheep, a mad scientist movie re-imagined with the mad scientist (John Carradine) as a sex researcher and the inner workings of what goes on in your body while you are in the state of arousal.

4. Play it Again, Sam
Where or when did I first see it? Network TV premiere.
Based on Woody Allen's play and starring Allen, but directed by Herbert Ross. Lonely schlep Allen is haunted by the ghost of Humphrey Bogart to show him how to deal with women in a more effective way. Another Allen favorite from the 70’s. First teaming of Allen and Diane Keaton.

5. Man of La Mancha
Where or when did I first see it? TV in the 70's.
There are some great songs in Man of La Mancha, with The Impossible Dream being the signature song. A local production I saw actually made a greater impression on me than this film did.
6. Now You See Him, Now You Don't
Where or when did I first see it? Atlanta's Plaza Theater, 1972
Another one of those Disney/Kurt Russell movies from the early 70's. The real story of this movie for me was the trip back home from the theater on the bus. I was riding home with my brother when I noticed a woman a couple of seats ahead of me who seemed to be very upset. She left her seat and went to complain to the bus driver (a big fellow from what I remember) about a man that was harassing her. The bus driver pulled the bus over and confronted the man. The driver called the police in and locked the doors so the man couldn't escape. The man tried to kick his way out of the door to no avail. The police came quickly and took the man away. This event obviously made a strong impression on a nine-year-old for me to remember it so vividly so many years later.

7. Kansas City Bomber
Where or when did I first see it? TV in the 70's
A growing boy in the 70's is going to take notice of sex symbol superstar Raquel Welch. And I suppose Raquel as a roller derby queen was probably as good a vehicle as she ever had (Other than the cavewoman in One Million Years B. C.). 

8. Private Parts
Where or when did I first see it? Silver Screen Theater in 1980.
I can't remember what was on the second part of this double feature, but Private Parts is a weird, campy and strange movie. Since I was seventeen when I saw it, it would be interesting to see it again through a slightly older lens.

9. Snoopy, Come Home
Where or when did I first see it? Pretty sure on CBS television.
I watched an awful lot of Peanuts during the 70's. It does seem the seasonal Peanuts specials have had more staying power than the feature films.

10. What's Up, Doc?
Where or when did I first see it? TV during the 80's.

It seems like an updated screwball comedy from devoted movie lover Peter Bogdanavich would have resonated with me more, but I remember being a bit disappointed in it. It may be one to see again.

11. Canterbury Tales
Where or when did I first see it? The Silver Screen Theater in 1980.
Pier Pasolini's Canterbury Tales  is a movie I went to see during the period I was reading it in school, which was interesting. My teacher found the bawdy tale offensive, but I found it rather ribald and funny.

12. Butterflies Are Free
Where or when did I first see it? Televison during the 70's.
I wish I had more memories of this cute Goldie Hawn falling for the blind Edward Albert vehicle other than it's about the cute Goldie Hawn falling for the blind Edward Albert, but so it goes.

13. The Candidate
Where or when did I first see it? TV during the 80's.
I believe I watched this “How to market a political candidate” movie while I was taking similar classes in college. Jerry Larner won a Best Screenplay Academy Award for his insightful screenplay.

14. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
Where or when did I first see it? TV during the 70's.
I went to a panel at last year's Dragon Con that celebrated the 45th anniversary of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The Panel made some good observations about the film. It really does come across in retrospect being about revolution with revolutionary ape Roddy McDowell leading the way

There are actually books in the series based on Conquest of the Planet of the Apes that sound interesting.

15. The Cowboys
Where or when did I first see it? Ed Howell’s Halloween party
What better movie to dress up for Halloween and go to than a John Wayne Western! I guess it's okay
if you happened to be dressed like a cowboy (I wasn’t. I was dressed as a little league baseball player). Enjoyed The Cowboys at the time. Basically known as John Wayne trying
teach a bunch of kids to be grown up cowpokes. Movie also featured Roscoe Lee Browne playing a character with the wonderful name of Jebediah Nightlinger…And Bruce Dern taking an interesting turn as a particularly slimy villain who
SPOILER...shoots John Wayne in the back.

I also remember the short-lived television series based on the film which didn't have Wayne, Dern or Browne return. It did have a lot of the kids...and was short lived…so it goes.

16. Deep Throat
Where or when did I first see it? The Playboy Channel in the late 80's
Oh, those innocent days of The Playboy Channel where you got to see R-rated versions of X-rated films if you set your antennae just right! I knew about Deep Throat (Not the Watergate informer) long before I was old enough to see it. I remember looking at the Atlanta Constitution movie page and seeing the same add for Deep Throat playing at the New Glenn Art Cinema for the 50th...100th...200th...week! Though I've only seen the R-rated version (which must have been a really short feature now that I think about it.) I don't have any desire to see the unedited and (ahem) uncut version.

Not the exact Deep Throat ad 
I'm referring to-but pretty close

17. Frogs
Where or when did I first see it? Orlando, Florida, 1976.
Went to Disney World with a church youth group  and what did we do after visiting The Hall of Presidents and riding on The Dumbo ride during the day? Why spending that night watching a campy horror film about killer frogs! I can't remember much of the plot...but it certainly was no Night of the Lepus!

Note to film buffs: Disney had a great attraction in those days where you could go in and watch silent films. It was replaced I'm guessing by something a little more commercial. Damn society.

18. The Getaway
Where or when did I first see it? Pretty sure it was on Network TV sometime in the 80's.
Sam Peckinpah and Steve McQueen in an action thriller seems like a great combination, though memory on this is a bit hazy. I feel this is one I need to revisit.

19. The King of Marvin Gardens
Where or when did I first see it? Part of a film class at West Georgia College, 1981.
Presented in that class as typical of 70's loner type films, I really thought this was an excellent and underrated film. Definitely need to revisit this one because some films you should watch at LEAST once every 35 years!

20. Night of the Lepus
Where or when did I first see it? TV during the 70's, also saw the version on Rifftrax.
The best way to catch giant killer bunnies is to build a giant Elmer Fudd...I think this was one of the lines on this movie from Rifftrax. The film was also featured in an influential movie book (At least for me) The Golden Turkey Awards. It's pretty silly stuff and if you’re looking for weightier rabbit fare, I'd recommend Harvey or Watership Down instead.

Star Trek alert: Night of the Lepus features Dr. McCoy (DeForrest Kelley) and Paul Fix who played the ship's doctor in the pilot of that series.

21. The Poseidon Adventure
Where or when did I first see it? Network TV premiere.
By the time I got into going to see disaster movies at the theater, The Poseidon Adventure had already passed its theatrical run. But I was ready for the TV premiere!I hear the song "The Morning After" being triggered in my brain as I type! I know with these disaster films it was often a sort of scorecard game keeping track of which celebrities will live and who will die, but the concept of a ship turning upside down and people trying to make their way to the bottom is still a pretty cool concept to me. I still don't understand the thinking behind Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), but that's another story.

21. Silent Running
Where or when did I first see it? At the Silver Screen Theater in the early 80's, might have been on a double feature with Slaughterhouse Five.
The ecologically friendly outer space botany epic Silent Running, has more in common with the cerebral 2001: A Space Odyssey than future adventuresome space epics like Star Wars, but I'm pretty sure George Lucas got his cute droid idea from Silent Running.

Note: A nice trio of 1972 film roles for Bruce Dern: the villain in The Cowboys, a fine acting turn in The King of Marvin Gardens and the botanist hero in Silent Running.

22. Slaughterhouse Five
Where or when did I first see it? At the Silver Screen Theater in the early 80's, might have been on a double feature with Silent Running.
Kurt Vonnegut's off-beat time travel Tralfamodore/ World War II cerebral book seems unlikely to spawn a successful feature but George Roy Hill manages to pull it off quite well in my estimation. This is still one of my favorite films. So it goes.

23. Marjoe
Where or when did I first see it? Library DVD recently.
The first time I remember seeing former child TV evangelist turned actor in was as a closeted homosexual in Earthquake. Or maybe it was as one of the macho motorcycle gang in the campy but fun macho TV movie, Pray for the Wildcats?  He later starred in such 70's "classics" as Viva Knievel!, Sidewinder One and Food of the Gods.

But you can't join the Marjoe appreciation society unless you watch the Academy Award winning documentary about his rise as a boy televangelist simply titled Marjoe. It's a fascinating look at his life in front of the audience as a kid and later as someone just trying to manipulate the masses for a buck as a young adult before he got the call to Hollywood. I know he has plenty of detractors, but I can't help but like the guy. So it goes.

And Marjoe's record album
Bad, but Not Evil
(How he defines himself in the documentary)
has got to be a collector's item.

24. The Legend of Boggy Creek
Where or when did I first see it? Recently on YouTube
There have been several Boggy Creek movies about the Fouke monster or a Bigfoot type creature throughout the years, but only one original Legend of Boggy Creek. It was certainly a buzzworthy movie from my elementary school class, thought I don't think many of of us actually ever saw it at the time! I'm surprised it took me this long to see it and in a way I have to admit I kind of like it. It has an I can't decide if it's a documentary or a feature film feel to it and it often veers way off the subject to just show some of the locals talking..but this does provide some interesting context and atmosphere. We also get to here "The Ballad of Travis Cunningham," though young Travis doesn't seem to have a lot to do with the overall plot. Charles B. Pierce is the auteur behind this odd franchise which includes Charles and his often shirtless son Chuck starring in Boggy Creek II: The Legend Continues (1985) which was riffed on MST3K and the awful but not in a good way Return to Boggy Creek (1977), which is colossally boring despite a rare starring role for Dawn (Mary Ann) Wells.

25. Jeremiah Johnson
Where or when did I first see it? Recently on DVD
One of the most popular movies of 1972 and one that I never got around to seeing before, I finally popped it in the DVD player and thought it was a pretty good starring role for Robert Redford and another in a series of films of the era about a guy just wanting to get away from it all. He meets good injuns, bad injuns, falls for native American girl (eventually) and adopts a son, meets a wise mountain man, an eccentric mountain man, seeks revenge on those that harmed his family...a lot of the usual tropes. I thought it was well done, though. 

Oh, those long ago days of 1972
when a game of Chess could make
the cover of TIME magazine

Until next time!

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