The Good, The Bad and The Strange
Discuss this series with other film fans on:
Additional Screenings in this series will
take place at the Egyptian Theatre May 4 - 31!
In case you hadnt guessed it already, we love The Seventies at The American
Cinematheque. All over the world, it was one of the greatest decades ever for making
movies. Although groundbreaking changes and landmark films of the New Hollywood (as well
as great last gasps of the old-style studio system) were showing up at theatres from the
mid-1960s on, it really was not until the 1970s that everything truly
coalesced. The Seventies saw the film industry metamorphose into an entirely new animal.
Many steps tentatively taken a few years earlier were now accomplished with more
confidence, more daring and more disregard for the old formulaic way of doing things.
There were also studio entertainments transformed and unshackled by the new freedom of
expression and relaxation of censorship. By the same token on the negative side, a few New
Hollywood directors, after one or two universally acclaimed efforts, miscalculated with
self-indulgent pet projects. Some studio heads not only blindly courted the New Hollywood,
not knowing just why or what was attracting younger audiences, but they also continued to
desperately chart box office success by creating all-star disaster pictures and adapting
scandalous bestsellers aimed at the lowest common denominator. (Just a note: we would have
included two of our favorite disaster films here, AIRPORT and THE TOWERING INFERNO, but
there werent any screenable prints!) As our series title The Seventies: The Good,
The Bad and The Strange suggests, we have samplings of all three kinds of movies -- from
acclaimed as well as underrated, obscure films of the New Hollywood to fascinatingly
so-bad-theyre-good blockbuster guilty pleasures (and sometimes hybrids of the two!)
Including, at the Egyptian: FIVE EASY PIECES, LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR, STRAIGHT TIME,
HUSBANDS, MANDINGO, DOCTORS WIVES, THE LOVE MACHINE, LADY SINGS THE BLUES,
MAHOGANY, BLUE COLLAR, PORTNOYS COMPLAINT, EXECUTIVE ACTION, GUMSHOE, FREEBIE AND
THE BEAN, THREE WOMEN, and an encore double feature of DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE
and PLAY IT AS IT LAYS and more! And at the Aero: BOB & CAROL & TED
& ALICE, THE DEER HUNTER, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, BIG BAD MAMA, THE TOGETHER BROTHERS,
SHAMPOO, THE LAST OF SHEILA, THE OTHER, THE DION BROTHERS and more! One thing we can
truthfully say about all of the films in this series, every single one of them is
Thursday, May 10 - 7:30 PM
Paul Mazursky Double Feature:
BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE,
1969, Sony Repertory, 101 min. Dir. Paul Mazursky. Kicking off our Aero seventies
series is what could be called the LAST film of the 1960s and the first film of the
1970s. A ground-breaking, hilarious and still-pointed satire of sexual hang-ups in
America. "We came here for an orgy, didnt we?" says repressed
housewife Dyan Cannon, just before she joins Natalie Wood and husbands Eliott
Gould and Robert Culp in some classic, late 1960s wife-swapping,
hot-tubbing action. "
the dilemma of the in-between generation, the one we
overlook in the generation gap, the couples who are too young to be the parents of the
revolutionary kids, and too old to be the kids
The genius of BOB & CAROL &
TED & ALICE is that it understands the peculiar nature of the moral crisis for
Americans in this age group, and understands that the way to consider it is in a comedy.
What is comedy, after all, but tragedy seen from the outside?" -- Roger Ebert, Chicago
BLUME IN LOVE, 1973, Warner Bros., 115 min. One of
director/writer Paul Mazurskys most rewarding films. Divorce lawyer George
Segal and social-worker wife Susan Anspach grow apart as the 1960s
counterculture makes them increasingly aware of their shallow lifestyle. However, Segal
refuses to give up on winning back Anspach from new, easy-going hippie beau Kris
Kristofferson (in a gentle, hilarious performance). A warmly funny, insightful
reflection on the nature of conjugal bonds, true love and spousal devotion. Elliot Gould will not appear in person as was previously announced.
Friday, May 11 - 7:30 PM
THE DEER HUNTER, 1978, Universal, 183 min. From the
opening scenes of hunter Robert De Niro and friends Christopher Walken, John
Savage and John Cazale stalking deer in the mist-shrouded Pennsylvania hills,
to the shattering prisoner-of-war games in the Vietnam jungles, director Michael
Cimino's masterwork is a sprawling, ambitious epic of men wounded by pride, country
and friendship, struggling to drag each other back to a place of safety. Co-starring Meryl
Streep. Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best
Supporting Actor (Walken). "Its feelings for time, place and blue colar people are
genuine, and its vision is that of an original, major new filmmaker." -- Vincent
Canby, The New York Times
Saturday, May 12 - 7:30 PM
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, 1971, Sony Repertory, 118
min. Based on Larry McMurtrys elegiac, autobiographical novel of north Texas
in the late 1950s, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW stars Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms and
Cybill Shepherd (in her first role) as a trio of sexually-confused teens trapped in
a dying, dust-blown town. Flawlessly directed by Peter Bogdanovich and photographed
by Robert Surtees, with a letter-perfect supporting cast led by Ben Johnson (Best
Supporting Actor Oscar winner), Cloris Leachman (Best Actress Oscar winner) and
Ellen Burstyn. "
an adventure in rediscovery - of a very decent,
straightforward kind of movie, as well as of - and I rather hesitate to use such a square
phrase - human values."-- Vincent Canby, The New York Times
FIVE EASY PIECES, 1970, Sony Repertory, 96 min. Dir.
Bob Rafelson. Hard-hitting, brilliantly sarcastic drama of Bakersfield oil-rig
worker Jack Nicholson on the run from his former life as a concert pianist (!),
with country waitress girlfriend (and Tammy Wynette fan) Karen Black in tow.
Returning to visit his Washington island home after his father has a stroke, things come
to a head when he seduces the fiancee (Susan Anspach) of his better-than-thou
brother (Ralph Waite). One of the defining films of the New Hollywood, stunningly
directed by Bob Rafelson and written by Carole Eastman (under aka Adrien Joyce).
Co-starring the great Billy Green Bush as Nicholsons hapless, redneck friend
and Fannie Flagg as Bushs loyal spouse. "
a masterpiece of
heartbreaking intensity." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Sunday, May 13 - 7:30 PM
Monte Hellman Double Feature:
TWO LANE BLACK TOP, 1971, Universal, 102 min.
Dir. Monte Hellman. Two motorheads in a supercharged Chevy (singer James Taylor and
Beach Boy Dennis Wilson) take on Warren Oates and his monstrous Pontiac GTO
in a cross-country race. Haunted by the vast, open spaces of the Midwest and an addictive
sense of speed, TWO-LANE BLACKTOP is the essential American road movie Hellman
calls it "the last movie of the Sixties." One of the amazing things about the
film is its Bressonian simplicity in following its protagonists here the
universe itself is stripped-down-for-maximum-velocity to an astonishingly bleak and lonely
microcosm the hard, spartan interiors of Taylors and Oates cars. With Laurie
COCKFIGHTER, 1974, Concorde-New Horizon, 83 min. Director
Monte Hellman, adapting the novel by Charles Willeford (MIAMI BLUES), follows stubborn
loner, Warren Oates, who had been disqualified from receiving a Cockfighter of the Year
award due to his boisterous, intoxicated behavior during a match. Oates takes a vow of
silence until he wins again, and we follow him on his lonely odyssey, trying to regain his
lost sense of worth as he partners up with fast-talking gambler, Omar (Richard B.
Shull) and plans for the future with his sweetheart (Patricia Pearcy). Filmed on Georgia
locations (cockfighting was reportedly still legal there then) by Nestor Almendros,
director Hellman creates another austere slice-of-life road saga, remaining true to the
seedy milieu but bringing a compassion and insight to the characters indicative of his
agile and elegant strengths as a filmmaker. With an exceptional cast that also includes
Harry Dean Stanton, Millie Perkins, Troy Donahue, Laurie Bird, Ed Begley, Jr., Steve
Railsback and a cameo by writer, Charles Willeford. Discussion
in between films with director Monte Hellman.
Wednesday, May 16 - 7:30 PM
Drive-In Double Feature:
BIG BAD MAMA, 1974, Concorde-New Horizon, 83
min. "The family that slays together, stays together." Pull your car into
the Aero, attach the speaker to the window, let your teenage cousin and his girlfriend out
of the trunk, and enjoy one of the greatest drive-in movies ever made. Director Steve
Carver (CAPONE; LONE WOLF MCQUADE) pulls out all the stops in this classic Roger
Corman- produced blood, bullets, and breasts extravaganza. Angie Dickenson has
never been sexier, William Shatner has never been crazier, and Tom Skerritt
gets numerous romps with Angies jailbait daughters. Great support work from Dick
Miller as a hard-charging G-Man, Royal Dano as a fire-and- brimstone preacher
and Noble Willingham (PAPER MOON, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) as a bootlegger with a
leggy wife (Sally Kirkland).
BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA, 1972,
MGM Repertory, 87 min. Dir. Eddie Romero. "Nothing Behind But Prison Bars. Nothing
Ahead But Trouble... Chicks in chains!" Pam Griers breakout performance
elevates this Roger Corman-produced, Jonathan Demme co-written dry run for their later
CAGED HEAT. Part jungle action movie, part women's prison film, its complete with an
outlandish exploitationesque shower scene and a stern, over-the-top, leering matron played
with gusto by Lynn Borden (WALKING TALL) An outright insane remake of THE DEFIANT ONES,
with a sexy Patty Hearst-type revolutionary (Margaret Markov) chained to a sexy call girl
(Pam Grier) and a not-so-sexy bounty hunter (Sid Haig), with busloads of revolutionaries
and assorted gangsters chomping at their heels. Discussion
between films with director Steve Carver.
Thursday, May 17 - 7:30 PM
Hal Ashby Double Feature:
SHAMPOO, 1975, Sony Repertory, 109 min. Director Hal
Ashbys classic mid-seventies comedy is a harsh and funny time capsule stuffed
full of great performances. Warren Beatty excels in perhaps his best role, as an
amorous hairdresser sleeping with every woman in sight, from the wife (Best Supportng
Actress Oscar winner, Lee Grant) of his business advisor Jack Warden (THE
VERDICT; BEING THERE) to Wardens mistress (Julie Christie) and teenage
daughter (Carrie Fisher in her first role) Screenwriters Beatty and Robert Towne
provide the brave and challenging, Oscar-nominated script that has stood the test of time.
With a great soundtrack by Paul Simon, welcome use of incidental music (including tunes by
The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, The Beach Boys and Jimi Hendrix) and
fine camera work by Laszlo Kovacs.
COMING HOME, 1978, MGM Repertory, 126 min. Dir. Hal
Ashby. As timely as ever, this moving and uncompromising film about the Vietnam War
and the brutal struggle at home won Best Actor and Actress Oscars for stars Jane Fonda
and Jon Voight. Fonda is left alone for the first time as her husband Bruce Dern
is fighting in Vietnam. She falls in love with Voight, a paraplegic vet whom she had known
briefly in high school. Highlighted by one of the most tender and emotional love scenes in
film history, with performances so real you almost want to look away from the screen.
Nominated for eight Academy Awards and winner of three, it also took home a Best Story
& Screenplay Oscar for Nancy Dowd, Waldo Salt and Robert C. Jones (who was also
Ashbys longtime editor.) Beautifully shot by legendary cinematographer Haskell
Wexler. Also featuring Robert Carradine and Penelope Milford.
Friday, May 18 - 7:30 PM
William Friedkin Double Feature:
THE FRENCH CONNECTION, 1971, 20th
Century Fox, 104 min. Dir. William Friedkin. Arguably the greatest American crime
film ever made: Gene Hackman stars as Detective Popeye Doyle, muscling minor hoods
in NYC (the "did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?" scene is still
a classic) -- when he catches the trail of a huge shipment of French heroin. With partner Roy
Scheider, Hackman dogs Marseilles-based drug-kingpin Fernando Rey through New
York Citys concrete jungle -- highlighted by a brainjangling car chase that still
hasnt been topped (except perhaps in Friedkins own TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.)!
THE BRINKS JOB, 1978, Universal, 104 min. Director William
Friedkin followed up THE EXORCIST and SORCERER with this hilarious, yet suspenseful
caper film. Shot on location and based on the real-life, $2 million robbery of the
Brinks vault in Boston in 1950, Peter Falk plays Tony Pino the mastermind
behind it all. Pino assembles a motley crew of third rate thieves, thugs and misfits to
attempt the perfect crime. Featuring some of the 1970's greatest character actors
including Warren Oates, Peter Boyle, Gena Rowlands, Alan Garfield, Paul Sorvino and
Sheldon Leonard as J. Edgar Hoover. Based on the book The Big Stick-Up At
Brink's by Noel Behn. NOT ON DVD
Saturday, May 19 - 7:30 PM
Avenue Summer Sidewalk Sale! Double Feature:
THE DION BROTHERS (aka THE GRAVY TRAIN), 1974, Sony
Repertory, 94 min. A once in a lifetime chance to see a totally lost and truly great film.
Frederic Forrest (THE CONVERSATION; APOCALYPSE NOW) and Stacey Keach (FAT
CITY) play West Virginia coal mining hicks who hit the big city looking to score.
Robberies, betrayal and gunfire ensue. Directed with psychotic glee by the late great Jack
Starrett (THE LOSERS; SMALL TOWN IN TEXAS), the film is a brutal and hysterical
masterpiece. Wild, madcap, totally out of control, sidesplitting and terrifying. The great
script is an early effort from Terrence Malick (BADLANDS) and Bill Kerby. Great supporting
turns by Barry Primus, Denny Miller, Margot Kidder, Richard Romanus and
Starret himself. (This only surviving 35mm print is faded.) NOT
RACE WITH THE DEVIL, 1975, 20th
Century Fox, 88 min. Buddies Peter Fonda and Warren Oates take a
state-of-the-art RV and their wives, Lara Parker ("Dark Shadows") and Loretta
Swit ("MASH") on the road for the vacation of a lifetime. When they
accidentally stumble upon a satanic, Bohemian Grove-like ceremony hostile to unwelcome
strangers, the chase is on. Director Jack Starrett's biggest hit is this
over-the-top chase movie, which later inspired everything from THE ROAD WARRIOR to
JEEPERS CREEPERS. Starretts stunt man mentality and gutsy camera work combined
with a star willing to do some of his own dangerous stunts make this a classic. The
rooftop RV scene has the kind of guts and bravado that would not be matched again until
Mel Mad Max Gibson and director George Miller tackled a gas tanker in the
1980s. Discussion between films with actors Fredric
Forrest and Mark Rydel and Barry Primus. Stacey Keach will not appear in person as was
previously announced. Come early and enjoy the Montana
Avenue Summer Sidewalk Sale and enjoy the films with free popcorn!
Sunday, May 20 - 7:30 PM
TOGETHER BROTHERS, 1974, 20th Century
Fox, 94 min. An ultra-rare, studio-produced, early 1970s gem, shot on location in
the slums of Galveston, Texas. An inner-city gang made up of both black and Chicano kids,
must solve a murder and protect one of their own (five-year-old Anthony Wilson, the
only witness to a murder.) Director William A. Graham (WATERHOLE #3) shoots the
largely non-professional cast with an almost documentary feel that seems fresh even today.
Great support from Lincoln Kilpatrick (THE OMEGA MAN), Glynn Turman (COOLEY HIGH)
and a seminal soundtrack by the late Barry White (the theme was the basis for Quad City
DJs dance hit, "C'Mon 'N Ride It (the Train)" some 20 years later.) A
picture that has a lot in common with 1953s THE LITTLE FUGITIVE, this film begs for
rediscovery. NOT ON DVD
CRY FOR ME, BILLY, 1972, Warner Bros., 93 min. William
A. Graham directs this fascinating and trippy, long lost western. A gunslinger, Cliff
Potts (SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION) wants out of the killing business. He rescues, then
falls in love with an Indian girl, the beautiful Xochitl, then is hellbent on revenge
after she is attacked. With great supporting work from Harry Dean Stanton and James
Gammon. Longtime Graham cameraman Jordan Cronenweth (BLADE RUNNER, BREWSTER MCCLOUD)
helps give the film a truly unique look. Discussion in between
films with director William A. Graham. NOT ON DVD
Wednesday, May 23 - 7:30 PM
DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE, 1970, Universal,
103 min. Director Frank Perrys brilliant comedy-drama satirizing the
psychological rat race of a middle class married couple in New York City, circa 1970. Carrie
Snodgress Oscar-nominated performance as abusive Richard Benjamins
isolated wife is one of the standout portrayals of the New Hollywood. As Snodgress
marriage continues to disintegrate, she takes a lover (Frank Langella) to fill up
the emotional vacuum. Before long, she finds that this solution is no solution at all.
Frank Perrys spouse and frequent writing collaborator, Eleanor, adapts the
best-selling novel by Sue Kaufman. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Alice
Coopers performance in a swinging party scene. "
making." Roger Greenspun, The New York Times. NOT ON DVD
THE LAST OF SHEILA, 1973, Warner Bros., 120 min. Herbert
Ross directs the ultimate puzzle movie, a who-done-it that could be described as
SLEUTH on a boat. Concocted by friends and puzzle lovers Stephen Sondheim and Anthony
Perkins, the film is sexy, smart, sinister, and makes Robert Altmans cynical view of
the Hollywood fraternity in THE PLAYER look downright quaint. Producer James Coburn
throws a party on his yacht for his friends and enemies, a struggling screenwriter (Richard
Benjamin), his rich wife (Joan Hackett) a down-at-his-heels former A-list
director (James Mason), a fading starlet (Raquel Welch), her gigolo
boyfriend (Ian Mcshane, of "Deadwood") and an acid-tongued agent (Dyan
Thursday, May 24 - 7:30 PM
FAMILY PLOT, 1976, Universal, 121 min. Director Alfred
Hitchcocks dazzling, masterful and overlooked final film. A phony medium (Barbara
Harris) and a dim-witted cab driver/out-of-work actor (Bruce Dern), cross
swords with a ruthless, duplicitous criminal couple (William Devane and Karen
Black). Greed, kidnappings, jewel heists, and car chases ensue. Also featuring Katherine
Helmond and the silhoutte of Alfred. The score was composed by John Williams.
DRIVE HE SAID, 1971, Sony Repertory, 90 min. Jack Nicholsons first trip behind
the camera as director is a subtle character study about basketball, college and Viet Nam.
It stands as one of the best sports-related movies ever made and captures the true
feeling of the late sixties and early seventies college experience. William Tepper is a
star basketball player with a drug-addled best friend (Michael Margotta) who is dodging
the draft and a faculty wife girlfriend (Karen Black) bent on giving him the boot. Bruce
Dern's performance as the snide, take-no-prisoners coach is masterfully hard-nosed. With
Robert Towne and Henry Jaglom in prime supporting roles, and cinematography by Bill
Butler. "Nicholson deftly illustrates the background cynicism of big time sports
against the more obvious cynicism of college life." Variety. NOT ON DVD
Friday, May 25 - 7:30 PM
THE OTHER, 1972, 20th Century Fox, 108 min.
Actor-turned-novelist Tom Tryon scored his first hit with this subtle 1930s, rural
New England horror movie about mischievous twins Niles and Holland Perry (Chris and
Martin Udvarnoky). Director Robert Mulligan (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD) brings a
real sense of time and place to this genuinely frightening story. Along with DONT
LOOK NOW, it stands as one of the scariest movies ever made. Famed acting teacher Uta
Hagen gives perhaps her greatest, most well-known performance on film as the
twins wise, decidedly-Old World grandmother. Look for Victor French, John Ritter
and Diana Muldaur in key supporting roles. Beautifully shot by cinematographer
Robert Surtees (THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) and scored by the great Jerry Goldsmith.
THE WICKER MAN, 1973, Studio Canal +, 95 min. Dir. Robin
Hardy. Puritanical policeman Edward Woodward investigates a girl's
disappearance on a Scottish isle and has his world turned topsy-turvy when he confronts
the natives' truly primitive natures, in this rarely-screened supernatural classic from
writer Anthony Shaffer (SLEUTH). Christopher Lee co-stars as the enigmatic head of
the local community, who plays an ancient and all-too-horrifying cat and mouse game with
the idealistic policeman, with help from erotic nymph Britt Ekland.
Saturday, May 26 - 3:00 PM
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, 1971, Walt Disney,
117 min. Dir. Robert Stevenson. An overlooked live action/animated gem from the
team that made MARY POPPINS. Eglantine Price (Angela Landsbury), an apprentice
witch taking correspondence classes, looks after three orphans during World War II.
Traveling on a flying bed in search of a magic spell book, the team, along with Brownie (David
Tomlinson) must fend off an evil king as well as Nazi soldiers. An enchanting film
highlighted by an animal soccer match and a beautiful dance contest. Featuring the songs
"Portobello Road," "The Old Home Guard" and "Beautiful
Briney" (which is sung as Elglantine and the kids are bobbing along under the sea on
the flying bed) by the always wonderful Sherman Brothers. An Academy Award winner
for Best Special Effects. As well as a nominee for: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration,
Best Costume Design, Best Music, Original Song (The Age of Not Believing) and Best Music,
Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score.
Saturday, May 26 - 7:30 PM
THE CONVERSATION, 1974, American Zoetrope, 113 min.
Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Sandwiched between THE GODFATHER and GODFATHER II, THE
CONVERSATION is Coppola at his very best, a sinister, unstoppable portrait of moral (and
physical) violence and the sheer paranoia of living in the modern world. Gene Hackman is
tremendous as fly-on-the-wall surveillance expert Harry Caul, drawn into a murderous
whirlpool when hes hired to bug lovers Frederic Forrest and Cindy
Williams. Co-starring John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Teri Garr and Harrison
CHINATOWN, 1974, Paramount, 131 min. Dir. Roman Polanski.
Jack Nicholson gives his greatest performance as 1930s private eye J.J.
Gittes, maneuvering through a nightmarish L.A. netherworld of cheating husbands, stolen
water rights, incest, murder and more, as he desperately tries to save beautiful Faye
Dunaway from her raptor-like father John Huston. Writer Robert Townes magnificent,
labyrinthine script has been widely hailed as the best of the decade.