Schaffner. He’s far from the greatest auteur working in Hollywood from 1968-1978—but the run Franklin Schaffner went on from Planet of the Apes through The Boys from Brazil (especially the stretch from 1968-1973 with four films in the archives) is very impressive. He’s a style-minus director though, his strength here is inarguably the filmography. He does have a consistency though—Schaffner made epics—just a few years removed from when they largely fell out of favor.
Best film: Patton. Schaffner is a bit in the shadows of George C. Scott’s towering performance and rising star Francis Ford Coppola’s screenplay. But the opening giant American flag set-piece puts forth the tone for the film.
total archiveable films: 6
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 0
top 100 films of the decade: 1 (Patton)
most overrated: I don’t have an overrated film for Schaffner. Planet of the Apes is doing pretty solidly on the TSPDT consensus list- it sits at #1324—a good spot. Patton is the only other film that shows up at all—and that’s underrated.
most underrated : Papillon should be somewhere in the TSPDT top 2000 and isn’t—but the big travesty here is definitely Patton– it sits at #1810 on the TSPDT consensus list.
gem I want to spotlight : Papillon. It is a story of endurance, and Schaffner takes his time, so that will be a test for many. However, for those with a little patience, there’s much to admire in the big epic world Schaffner creates, and in the strong dueling lead performances from Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
- Big brilliant set pieces— big ones, the American flag in Patton, the statue of liberty finale in Planet of the Apes
- Maker of epics– big budget prestige pictures
- He’s an old-school director who worked in the middle of the American Movie brat new wave era. These films could have come out from 1968-1978, or easily could have come out from 1938-1948, or 1988, etc
- The Planet of the Apes
- Nicholas and Alexandra
- The Boys from Brazil
- The Best Man
By year and grades
|1964- The Best Man||R|
|1968- The Planet of the Apes||HR|
|1971- Nicholas and Alexandra|
|1978- The Boys from Brazil||R|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives