best film: Jaws but there’s times over the past decade where I would’ve answered The French Connection and All That Jazz. I’m confident now it’s Spielberg’s masterpiece but it’s close. It’s not quite Scheider’s best performance but he’s splendid here in Jaws. He’s the center of the film as we observe this crazy town, Dreyfuss’ cerebral intellectual and Shaw’s ex-Navy bastard of a man. The back half of the film the tension and Shaw take over the film but I actually think the first hour of the film is superior and it’s largely centered on Scheider’s work (and Spielberg of course being pretty bold with his choices behind the camera).

best performance:  All That Jazz. Scheider had to watch in French Connection, Klute, Jaws and other films earlier in the decade as Fonda, Hackman and Shaw had all of the good scene-chewing. He even largely underplays his lead in the flawed epic Sorcerer where he’s the main lead. But here, he’s able to go for it playing a very loud character with a wide range of emotions and rich complexity. He kills it—and it’s his best performance.

stylistic innovations/traits: It’s a brief filmography that keeps him from entering the top echelon of actors but he’s crucial in three major films in the 1970’s. In addition to those three films he steals key scenes in Klute and Marathon Man and I don’t know what to do with amount of oddness in his Naked Lunch performance with Cronenberg.

directors worked with:  Friedkin (2) and then once a piece with Spielberg, Fosse, Pakula and Cronenberg

Top 5 Performances:

  1. All That Jazz
  2. Jaws
  3. The French Connection
  4. Sorcerer
  5. Naked Lunch

Archiveable films

1971- Klute
1971- The French Connection
1975- Jaws
1976- The Marathon Man
1977- Sorcerer
1979- All That Jazz
1990- The Russia House
1991- Naked Lunch