Sunday, January 14, 2018



Love means never having to say you're sorry
Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw in Love Story

There really wasn't a movie out there in year of 1970 bigger than Love Story. Based on the best-selling Erich Segal book and with its somber musical theme, romantic New England setting, and likable leads of Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal and the catchphrase "Love means never having to say your'e sorry," and did I mention that the leading lady gets a terminal disease?... this was the movie to see...though I was too young at the time to really be interested in it. I finally watched it all these years later and though it does look a little dated, it still had a certain appeal to it...though that appeal may be slightly nostalgic to a time and a movie galaxy far, far away… 

You have just entered the strange world of El Topo

Alejandro Jodorowshy's El Topo may be the most famous cult film of the 70's that I had never seen before and it is quite a head trip.In fact, it's pretty much like Sergio Leone and Federico Fellini went to Mexico and had a love child and named it El Topo. It is one of the most bizarre Westerns (if you want to label it as such) that you will ever see. Personally, I thought it well worthy of the cult status it has, though I probably would have liked it even more if I had seen back in the day...

Here are a list of other films released in 1970 that I have seen but are NOT listed in the 1001 Movies Book.

1. Airport-The first of the disaster films of the 70's and formula setter of having an all-star cast, an airline in peril (or building, boat or entire city as the case may be), placing a high priority on special effects and for some reason, George Kennedy in a supporting role.

Dean Martin tries to charm his way out of trouble in Airport

2. The Baby Maker-Hippie chick agrees to give birth to a baby for a square couple. Would probably be interesting to go back and watch a young Barbara Hershey in the title role.

3. Beneath the Planet of the Apes-My least favorite film in the Ape series did have some cool mutants and end with a bang (the destruction of the earth). Obviously since there are three more films in the series, the earth did return in Escape from the Planet of the Apes.

The mutant choir in Beneath the Planet of the Apes

4. Bloody Mama-One more time so I can keep it straight. Cloris Leachman was Crazy Mama, Angie Dickinson was Big, Bad Mama and Shelley Winters was Bloody Mama. During this period, Cass Elliot released an album called Don't Call Me Mama Anymore...though that may be beside the point...What was the point again?

5. Getting Straight/The Strawberry Statement/ R. P. M.-The three films listed here are what I refer to as the Student Protest Film Trilogy. I admit to having an affection for these movies that may or may not be warranted. From what I remember, Getting Straight was the most commercial of the three, The Strawberry Statement was the most radical of the three and R. P. M., the story of the cool teacher who eventually sells out to the establishment, was probably my favorite of the three...though no one else I know seems to like R. P. M. very much.

Elliot Gould sees the light in Getting Straight

 The students accelerate their protest in The Strawberry Statement

Anthony Quinn inspires the students until he sells out in R. P. M.

6.Flap-During the 70's and before movies on cable were in the picture, it use to be a big deal when the network would present the television premiere of a film that had been in the theater a couple of years (or sometimes longer) before. I remember the ABC movie of the week was always presented as a big deal along with a mini-trailer and dramatic music. It certainly worked on me. By the time the network got around to showing Flap (a so-so movie featuring Anthony Quinn as hard drinking Native American who eventually comes around to being an anti-establishment protester) the build-up did make me want to watch...but I remember the buildup as being better than the film. I wouldn't mind seeing Flap again, though.

Tonight on the ABC Monday Night Movie of the Week
we present Anthony Quinn as FLAP! Dramatic music ensues
over flashing credits...Those were the days...

7.House of Dark Shadows-As someone who was under the hypnotic spell of the creepy, campy soap opera reruns of Dark Shadows during the late 70's, I found it interesting that the movie House of Dark Shadows managed to encapsulate the entire run of the hundreds and hundreds of episodic shows into a two-hour movie that was actually pretty good. 

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins in House of Dark Shadows

And an autographed picture to me from
House of Dark Shadows star Katherine Leigh-Scott

8. C. C. and Company-That brief period when the powers that be decided to try to make Joe Namath a movie star. This one did have Ann-Margaret and a cool chopper. Does anyone else remember Namath's series The Waverly Wonders? Where he was a basketball coach? Just a random thought.

9. Let it Be-The Beatles documentary swan song that did feature some good songs, a lot of the lads griping at each other and that memorable rooftop concert. Not the Beatles finest hour, but still worth seeing.

Free concert! The Beatles in Let it Be

10. The Adventurers-The reputation of this epic South American set soap opera is not particularly a good one. I remember watching it many (many!) years ago. I can't remember why I even watched it, maybe it was a Candice Bergen thing? Or even a Leigh Taylor-Young thing?

11. Brewster McCloud-Robert Altman cult classic about...well, its about a young guy that wants to fly...and he's in the Astrodome...and...a plot description doesn't do it justice but it should really be in the top ten of any list of cult/midnight movies (I'd now include El Topo in that top ten list as well). I'm also glad we finally get to see Margaret Hamilton finally get the ruby slippers here!

I believe it's time for me to fly...Bud Cort as Brewster McCloud

12. Tora Tora Tora-Movie that gives us both sides of Pearl Harbor. I just remember it was a cool movie to say that you had seen when you were in elementary school.

13. The Aristocats/The Boatniks-I mentioned that this was a time period that I might have watched The Aristocats and The Boatniks....Hmmm. Did I really see both of these? Maybe I'll look at the movie posters to jog my memory...Looked at the posters...still not sure.

14. The Owl and the Pussycat-Barbara Striesand is a hooker and George Segal is a writer. I remember it being kind of funny...

15. Where’s Poppa...Though of the George Segal 1970 comedies, I much prefer Where's Poppa where the constantly flustered Mr. Segal tries to deal with his hopelessly nutty mother (Ruth Gordon). I saw this as a double feature at The Silver Screen theater during the 80's with A Thousand Clowns, another favorite of mine.

George Segal tries to reason with mama Ruth Gordon
in Where's Papa

16.Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County-I remember watching this Western comedy with Mickey Rooney and Dan Blocker and Nanette Fabray but remember next to nothing about it.

17. Catch 22- Underrated

 Bob Balaban, Arthur Garfunkel, Alan Arkin and Martin Sheen
in Catch-22

18. The Boys in the Band-Interesting film based on the play featuring the lives of a group of gay men in New York. Lots of strong, dramatic moments from what I remember. Directed by a pre-Exorcist and French Connection William Friedkin.

19. Myra Breckinridge-Often noted as one of the worst movies of all-time. This Mae West sex-change comedy based on the Gore Vidal book features a most unusual cast combination that included" Raquel Welch, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett, John Carradine and film critic Rex Reed! I saw this in a double feature with West's later Sextette, with the later film looking like Citizen Kane compared to Myra Breckinridge.

American woman...Mae West in Myra Breckinridge

20. There's a Girl in My Soup-According to Frank Sinatra's biography by James Kaplan, this Peter Sellers/Goldie Hawn comedy was at one time supposed to be a Sinatra/Goldie Hawn comedy. I bring this up only because I can't think of anything else to say about it.

21. The Twelve Chairs
-This Mel Brooks comedy made in-between The Producers and Blazing Saddles is definitely one I need to revisit.

22. Jenny-I remember this partly as being a sort of an attempt at a hip comedy with Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda. The other thing I remember about this is that I watched this at my Aunt's house and she was absolutely outraged that they showed a breast feeding scene (gasp!) at the end of the movie!

An introspective Alan Alda in Jenny

23. The Moonshine Wars-The thing I remember the most about this film is that it included a pre-MASH Alan Alda as a redneck moonshiner. It seems I may have also been partaking something akin to moonshine as I was watching it if memory serves, but that's neither here nor there.

A redneck Alan Alda in The Moonshine Wars

24. Husbands-John Cassavetes's deeply introspective film about three guys approaching middle age and trying to deal with the death of their friend and other life and family issues. After seeing a few of theme now, I've come to really like Cassavetes's films. They aren't exactly easy to get into, the plots are never laid out easily for you to follow and scenes at times seem to go on and on, but they often take you to emotional places that a lot of more mainstream movies can't reach.

A long, uncomfortable (but effective) scene from Husbands

25. Chariots of the Gods?-Did alien cultures come to earth and influence our culture in ancient times? Erich Von Daniken's book was the most famous of this series of seemingly endless paperback books with similar themes that came out during the 70's. I remember fondly that my father read many of them.

As far as the documentary film goes, Chariots of the Gods? looks today like pretty cheesy stuff- promoting the pretty far-fetched premise of ancient aliens building the pyramids and such. I was surprised after looking it up that the film was one of the top ten box office hits of the year (and with a minuscule budget) and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars that year! It led to many low budget conspiracy documentaries that decade (many of which I saw, I admit) from In Search of Noah's Ark, In Search of Historic Jesus, Beyond and Back and The Mysterious Monsters, which convinced me at the time that Bigfoot was out there.

Goodbye 60's and Hello 70's

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