Thursday, February 8, 2018



Elliot Gould as Marlowe and Arnold as Arnold in The Last Goodbye

Robert Altman's take on Phillip Marlowe with Elliot Gould as the detective I think may appeal more to Robert Altman devotees more than Raymond Chandler fans. I think Gould does a pretty good job as the grouchy detective who never seems to let anything ruffle his feathers too much. One Altman touch in The Long Goodbye is that he really lets his actors go on with their dialogue longer than anyone this side of John Casavettes. One oration by Sterling Hayden did make me ask if this scene would ever end! Hey, but got to appreciate any movie with a supporting part from Ball Four author Jim Bouton and an early role for Arnold Schwarzenegger as a hood!

Bob Dylan shows his angry side in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

Probably the most prominent role in a feature film for Bob Dylan is the part of Alias in Sam Peckinpah's Western, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. In the screen shot above, we have Dylan performing perhaps the only action scene of this movie career, knocking out a bad guy in front of Sheriff Pat Garrett… (His major action scene only if you don't count his rage over who broke the glass in Don't Look Back). And what Dylan fan can ever forget the scene when Alias is forced to name all the cans on the general store shelf?

I think the film looks good overall, as most Peckinpah films seem to date well to me. They were often criticized for their violence during their initial release, but do they even come close to the violence in a Tarnatino movie? I think his violence is well played and the way he handles it is effective. James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson star in the title roles to good effect. Thanks 1001 book for including this one and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia!

The Long Goodbye and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid made the 1001 list. Here are some other movies from 1973 that I've seen in the past that did not make the 1001 cut.

Hippie Jesus musical, Part 1…This sort of retelling of the Christ story in a contemporary early 70’s setting may seem a little dated today, but I still think the last supper with Dixie cups is kinda groovy. I haven't seen it since it premiered on television in the 70's..and it may be one to see again. I did watch the video for the signature song of the film, Day by Day this morning and currently have an earworm because of it.

Godspell: Follow Thee More Nearly

2. Jesus Christ, Superstar
Hippie Jesus Musical, Part II…Norman Jewison's take on Andrew Lloyd Webber is high on the hippie factor, but misses the boat on most of the music. I wasn't a fan of the musical until I saw it on stage in the late 90's (With original movie Jesus Ted Neely still playing the role!). I also like the 2000 theater adaptation available on a youtube screen near you.

Ted Neely as Jesus in Jesus Christ, Superstar-
He resurrected (sorry) the role for the stage
in a 1997 stage adaptation I went to.

3. Bang the Drum Slowly-Pretty cool to see Robert De Niro as a young, hick baseball player. Also, pretty depressing to see Robert De Niro as a young, hick, terminally ill baseball player. It's sad, but has something to say about unlikely friendships and coming through for your mates. (Sorry if that sounds cornball, as Michael Moriarty's character from the movie says about the song The Streets of Laredo). And don't call it a baseball version of Brian's Song or I'll have to throw you one high and inside.

Now catching 
for the New York Mammoths...Bobby De Niro!
in Bang the Drum Slowly
4. Scarecrow
Probably the prototype of a low-budget, early seventies, indie-type, character study picture with big stars in humble roles (Gene Hackman and Al Pacino in this case). I’ve seen this again recently and it wasn’t bad, but honestly didn’t blow my away, but I think it's still worth a watch.

Hackman! Pacino! Scarecrow!

5. O, Lucky Man!
When I think of the offbeat Lindsay Anderson film O, Lucky Man! starring Malcolm McDowll, I think of my friend who took a date to this movie only to have her begin punching him in outrage over a lost two hours after they left the theater. I guess she wasn’t looking for something quite that different. The highlight for me are the collection of fine songs by the film's musical troubadour, Alan Price..

If you have a friend of whom you think you can rely
you are a lucky man...Alan Price in O, Lucky Man

6.Cinderella Liberty
One of those that been so long since I've seen it that I don't remember that much about it other than I really liked Marsha Mason in it.
James Caan and Marsha Mason
in Cinderella Liberty

7. Battle for the Planet of the Apes
The fifth and final leg of the original Planet of the Apes film series brings back memories of diminutive singer Paul Williams singing a romantic ballad on The Tonight Show decked out in full ape makeup.

Not the best of the series, but it does at least tie things together fairly satisfactorily.

Roddy McDowell, Austin Stoker and Paul Williams
in Battle for the Planet of the Apes

All the ape movies were satirized in Mad
in the March '73 issue.
8. Ssssss
And NOW…(imagine this followed by a hissing sound)…That's what I remember about the introduction to the network premiere of this film about a guy that turns into a snake...I think. I don't remember too much about this, but I have seen the 50's B-film  Alligator People fairly recently and it seems like roughly the same plot.

Ssssss...reminding me a bit of Tod Browning's
Freaks in this still.

9. Class of '44
The largely forgotten sequel to Summer of '42, features the boys from the original film (Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser, and Oliver Conant) making their way to college this time out. This sequel has seemed to largely be forgotten, though the fact that it was parodied in MAD magazine in 1973 as Clods of '44 is worthy of note.

Life after Jennifer O'Neill...Gary Grimes looks for love
in Class of '44
9. Magnum Force
Clint Eastwood's second go round as Dirty Harry about Callahan dealing with renegade cops may be the best written (John Milius and Michael Cimino) of all the films in this series. "Man's gotta know his limitations.”

Clint Eastwood and friend in
Magnum Force

10. Manson
Insightful documentary on the Charles Manson murders that really couldn't have been made the way it was if it had come out later than 1973, as it still had a certain “hippie” vibe to it. Former Manson follower Paul Watkins embodies this in his admission that he followed Manson because he thought Charlie was Jesus Christ! But Paul turned  against Manson and even performed a folk song in the documentary. We also get to see several at large Manson girls interviewed, including the pretty darned frightening Squeaky Fromme, a couple of years before she attempted to shoot Gerald Ford.

Manson: Squeaky Fromme and friend during her post Manson family,
pre-assassination period

11. Theatre of Blood
Vincent as a high strung actor seeking revenge on his critics makes for very creepy fun. I'm hopeful no dogs were harmed when Vinnie makes one of the critics eat his own....well, never mind

I don't remember the context of this scene with
Vincent Price from Theatre of Blood,
but it definitely makes me
want to revisit.

12. The Paper Chase
Drama about one student's (Mr. Hart) rigorous first year of Harvard law school and his dealing with larger than life legal professor, Kingsfield. One of my favorite films of the seventies and I also watched the series of the same name which began on network TV in the late 70's and finally got Hart graduated on Showtime during the late 80's. Also, check out Scott Turow's book, One L, for a real life version of The Paper Chase.

Kingsfield gives Hart a dime to call his mother
in one of my favorite moments from The Paper Chase

13. Sisters
Hey! This Brian De Palma movie had me at Margot Kidder as Siamese Twins!

Margot Kidder and friend
in Sisters

14. The Neptune Factor
Don't honestly remember much about this film about an underwater rescue mission. I so associate Ben Gazzara for John Cassavetes movies that I might have trouble accepting him in a more commercial type movie if I watched it now. Having Yvette Mimieux is along for the ride is always a plus..

Ernest Borgnie, Yvette Mimieux and Ben Gazzara discuss
different acting techniques in The Neptune Factor

15. Soylent Green
Futuristic tale based on Harry Harrison's Make Room, Make Room depicts a future where there are immense shortages of food…But everybody sure seems to like these Soylent Green bars! Charlton Heston stars in one of several Sci-Fi films he made during this period. Edward G. Robinson (in his last film) has a death scene that I found quite moving and is probably the best scene in the whole movie.

Edward G. Robinson and Charlton Heston
discuss the limited dinner options in Soylent Green

16. Westworld
Michael Crichton's original "amusement park gone horribly wrong" movie was a film that I was very excited about seeing at the time. After my most recent viewing, it didn’t quite hold up as well as I would have liked, but how can you beat Yul Brynner as the robotic gunslinger? It's definitely better than the sequel, Futureworld.

"Draw!" Yul Brynner is Westworld

17. Walking Tall
Joe Don Baker as the ass-kicking sheriff Buford Pusser was definitely a movie to go to at the time. Joe Don magically disappeared from the sequels (I guess to make Mitchell?) and Bo Svenson took over the ass-kicking sheriff role.

For lack of a more acceptable term, I called the 70’s movie genre of Walking Tall…redneck movies. Maybe they were a counterweight to blaxpotation movies of the same era. Burt Reynolds was in most of them, but a few of them, like Dixie Dynamite, Sixpack Annie and High-Ballin’ were Reynoldsless.

Joe Don! Walking Tall! Any Questions?

18. White Lightning
...and speaking of rural heroes...You can't list movies from 1973 without having at least one Burt Reynolds movie. Burt is Gator McKlusky in White Lightning and is an ex-con moonshiner going after redneck sheriff Ned Beatty (Burt and Ned have a different interaction dynamic here than in Deliverance, of course). Gator survives  his ordeals in this film and returns in a 1976 sequel just called Gator.

Note on Bo Hopkins: It really seemed liked actor Bo Hopkins popped up with great frequency in many a movie and TV show during the seventies. He almost always seemed to play a ne'er do well with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth (Like below). Bo's most memorable role to me is as the leader of the gang that harasses Richard Dreyfuss in American Graffiti. Also look for Bo in The Wild Bunch, Midnight Express and a slew of TV shows.

Burt and Bo in White Lightning

Bo Hopkins doesn't like that Richard Dreyfuss was
sitting on the hood of his car in American Graffiti.

19. Paper Moon
I'm a bit surprised Peter Bogdanavich's nostalgic black and white ode to a father and daughter con team didn't make the 1001 movie book.

Tatum O'Neal and Ryan O'Neal in Paper Moon
Tatum picked up an Academy Award for this at age 10

The 1974 TV show version of Paper Moon
starring Christopher Connelly and Jodie Foster
lasted 13 episodes. Foster's Academy Awards
would have to wait for a few years.

Like Class of '44, Paper Moon made the cut for being satirized by MAD magazine.

 The cover of my January 1974
issue of Mad magazine

 which featured a classic
Siegel/Drucker satire
of Paper Moon.

This issue also features a
Torres/De Bartolo satire
of Kung Fu...but I digress

 20. The Last Detail
Speaking of movies that should have made the 1001 movie cut...How about this Hal Ashby comedy with Jack Nicholson as a foul-mouthed sailor on leave film for inclusion next time?

Introspective Jack Nicholson in 
The Last Detail

21. Charlotte’s Web
The beloved E. B. White classic found an animated home in this film which featured Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte, Henry Gibson as Wilbur the pig, Paul Lynde as Templeton the mouse and Agnes Moorehead as The Goose. Waltons creator Earl Hamner Jr. is listed in the screenplay credits. For extra credit read the book. For extra EXTRA credit read The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Skrunk Jr.!...Or at least watch Babe again.

Animal Farm...I mean Charlotte's Web

22. The World’s Greatest Athlete
This had to be about the only Disney movie from the era that didn't have either Kurt Russell or Dean Jones in it. It did have John Amos and Tim Conway as a couple of coaches who discover Jan-Michael Vincent in Africa who they recruit to become the titular character. He comes equipped with a pet tiger and develops a romantic interest (Dayle Haddon, who of course is named Jane). When I first saw it, I still remember the biggest laugh of the movie comes when Howard Cosell has a basket of trash dumped on his head.

This might not be one to rewatch...I don't know if the positive memories will hold up.

White men can run.,.
Jan Michael-Vincent in The World's Greatest Athlete

23. Robin Hood
Disney's animated take on Robin Hood was one I missed the first time out, but I saw it plenty of times years later with my son when he was little (Ah, the magic of VHS). It's fun, highlighted by Phil Harris bascially resurrecting his Balou the Bear role from The Jungle Book as Little John.

Robin Hood and Little John appear to be about
to sing The Bear Necessities in Robin Hood...but
I'm pretty sure they aren't

24. Live and Let Die
My first theatrical James Bond experience was a double feature of Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun...Roger Moore's first two go rounds as 007. I still like Moore in the role, though he certainly has his detractors. (Yes, you can like Roger Moore AND Sean Connery. You can even like Timothy Dalton if it pleases you to do so!) I did think it interesting for the time that the heavies in Live and Let Die were black. 

Roger as 007 and Jane Seymour as the Bond Girl
in Live and Let Die

As a Beatle fan, I did get own the McCartney/Wings
45 of course!

25. Lost Horizon
I'm sure doing a musical adaptation of Lost Horizon seemed like a good idea at the time.

I'm sure having Michael York, George Kennedy, Peter Finch and Sally Kellerman (pictured below) in a musical seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm sure having award winning composers Burt Bachrach and Hal David doing the music seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm sure having successful producer Ross Hunter at the helm seemed like a good idea at the time....But they were wrong...I do want to see it again just to see if it somehow looks better after all this time.

Lost Horizon: Bobby Van (far right) at least had some musical background

Lost Horizon did get the Mad Magazine (Least Horizon) in the December 1973 issue.

This MAD issue featured a spoof
on Lost Horizon AND Class of '44!
Wish I still had my copy.

26. My Name is Nobody
After listing this...I realized I might be thinking of another Terrence Hill spaghetti Western call They Call Me Trinity or Trinity Is Still My Name starring Hill and his longtime screen partner Bud Spencer. My Name is Nobody co-starred Henry Fonda...just a couple of years removed from this great villainous performance in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. Bottom line is I need to see My Name is Nobody soon and remove all doubt!

Terence Hill's name is nobody...or is it Trinity?

27. Scenes From a Marriage
Ingmar Bergman's Scenes From a Marriage came out as a multi-part television show in 1973 and was edited down for theatrical release the following year. The DVD I had had both versions, but I found the full TV version pretty dramatically and emotionally riveting. I'd like to get my wife to watch it with me soon. I may need a better way to sell watching it to her than a five hour Swedish television series about a dissolving marriage. We'll see

Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson
in one of the more somber moments from
Scenes From a Marriage

28. The Devil in Miss Jones
The infamous X-rated movie from this era not titled Deep Throat. I saw it in the late 80's on the Playboy channel which basically meant it was an R-rated version of an X-rated movie. It didn't really make a lasting impression on me, to be honest.

Like, Ssssss before it,
The Devil in Miss Jones does involve a prominent scene
with a snake.

29. The Three Musketeers
Richard Lester actually made a pair of musketeer films together, the latter being The Four Musketeers which was released the year after The Three Musketeers. I made the mistake of going to see The Four Musketeers at the theater before I ever saw The Three Musketeers and quickly realized I should have watched them in order.

The Three Musketeers had a very interesting cast: Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York and Frank Finlay as the musketeers, as well as, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway and Charlton Heston, Simon Ward and Geraldine Chaplin in supporting roles

Richard Lester's fab four of 
Reed, Chamberlain, York and Finlay

30. The Day of the Jackal
Frederick Forsyth's top-notch spy thriller about a lethal killer hired to assassinate Charles De Gaulle is adapted very well in this Fred Zinneman action piece. Part of the fun (if fun is the right word) is piecing together the clues to hunt down the assassin and Edward Fox is well-suited as the cold blooded killer.

Edward Fox about to fire in The Day of the Jackal

Goodbye, 1973. There were some happy moments
to be had here.

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