best film: The Godfather: Part II from Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather: Part II is a miracle of structural editing and narrative storytelling that surpasses the original in terms of size, scope and ambition (if not originality)—and that’s not half of it. It features brilliant lighting, montage editing (including another fantastic closing killing montage) and individual sequences (the Fredo kiss scene, the roof stalking scene and the tremendously heartbreaking final scene) that rank amongst the best in cinema history. Below the best actors part of the 1974 page (from either sex) I picked five from The Godfather Pari II and could’ve easily went for six or seven.
- It is a massive production. I forgot about that over the years. It has hundreds of extras, vast production detail, five locations- Miami, NYC, Tahoe, Cuba and Sicily… the scope reminds of Griffith, von Stroheim, David Lean and it never feels overlong or bloated.
- The opening Lake Tahoe confirmation celebration certainly mirrors the wedding for the first film
- De Niro won the Oscar for supporting. He’s superb as is every other secondary character from Diane Keaton to John Cazale to Michael Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli and Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth
- Pacino is the show though- as good as De Niro or anyone else is, it’s his film—it’s disciplined and probably his best work
most underrated: The TSPDT consensus has seventeen (17) films from 1974 in the top 1000—and Alan Pakula’s The Parallax View is not among them-vexing Pakula’s middle film in the paranoia trilogy should be in the top 500. Warren Beatty is great and the opening Space Needle section (pure Hitchcock- a monument set piece) is just one of the many great set pieces (the dam sequence and finale may be even better). It’s also the second of two films here on this page to feature the work of Gordon Willis as director of photography (The Godfather: Part II).
- Pakula’s paranoia trilogy includes Klute (1971), this (1974) and All the President’s Men (1976)
- Rightly so, this films comes up often when critics talk about the best political or paranoia films of all-time
- The eerie score certainly adds to the atmosphere
- There is just one wonderful set piece after another ( space needle, gorge dam, the yacht, the parallax corporation building (the architecture here looks like it’s from Tati’s Playtime))
- Long silent chase sequence, followed by a Manchurian Candidate and JFK inspired finale… it’s a stunning ending with the long shot of the tables at the convention
- Reverse-dolly warren commission finale shot is a wonderful bookend to the opening and a massive middle finger to the establishment
- One of Warren Beatty’s best films
most overrated: There are a few options here. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre should not be in the top 200 of all-time and it currently sits at #179 on the TSPDT consensus. Celine and Julie Go Boating from Rivette at #213 may be an even bigger miss.
- Rivette’s fifth film- a 193-minute comedy shot in a grainy crude 16mm
- Mixes the comic whimsy of Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier (they have an undeniable chemistry), mystery and magic, and an airy self-awareness (they are having some laughs watching a film (albeit not a good one)
- Repeated titles “but in the next morning…”
- There’s some debate on how much of the film is improvised
- Sloppily edited, and I don’t think this is the equivalent of Godard’s jump cuts skipping the fluff in Breathless– this is Rivette with a very long form and he’s piecing it all together
- Fragmented splice editing- sometimes a cutaway and sometimes a simple, black frame
gems I want to spotlight: Bob Fosse is best known for Cabaret and All That Jazz and that’s fine—but Lenny – the biopic on Lenny Bruce starring Dustin Hoffman as the famous comic- should not be overlooked. It is overlooked by the consensus for sure- it isn’t in the top 1000 on the TSPDT list. Bob Fosse’s Lenny was proof that he could direct the hell out of a non-musical (though music plays an important role in the film). It’s in gorgeous black and white and Hoffman and Valerie Perrine are absolutely fantastic in the two leads. It has a faux documentary style and structure with the interviews of those close to Lenny Bruce. If you want to go outside of the top 10 (and these two are a ways down the list)- though it isn’t an amazing film- there’s something about The Towering Inferno. It is like genre (disaster film) comfort food—and there are big stars galore (McQueen, Newman, Dunaway, Holden, Astaire- wow).
trends and notables:
- As strong as Chinatown is, 1974 is Coppola’s year. It is bigger than even 1972 with The Godfather or 1979 with Apocalypse Now because in 1974 delivered on not one, but two masterpieces. The sheer ambition of The Godfather Part II makes it seem like that should have been a project that took years to create– and to pull off The Conversation almost simultaneously is… well… ridiculous. Both films are auteur driven (not to say he didn’t benefit from talented collaborators) and wonders of film montage and editing.
- Whether it is the documentary or the book- The Kids Stays in the Picture is worth checking out for a look at Paramount producer Robert Evans. 1974 is Paramount’s zenith as well (Evans had a run of success going back to The Godfather and Love Story in 1970). Evans is the producer behind both The Godfather Part II and Chinatown.
- The Germans are here- The New German cinema has a big year in 1974 with Fassbinder (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul), Herzog (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser), and Wenders (the beginning of his Road trilogy- Alice in the Cities)
- It isn’t Kurosawa/Mifune or what would become Scorsese/De Niro—but it is worth recognizing and praising the work of Altman and Gould as a collaboration—MASH in 1970, The Long Goodbye in 1973 and here with California Split. There’d be a quick cameo in Nashville for Gould but it is too bad this collaboration didn’t continue. Altman is crushing it—two more genres taken down in 1974 with Thieves Like Us as well.
- In his own way Mel Brooks is taking on genres as well in 1974- it is massive year for Brooks. I prefer the work of Woody through the early 1970’s but you can’t deny Brooks’ 1974- both Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. These films are not only hilarious, but they are two of the biggest box office smashes in the US.
- The disaster film is going very strong- Earthquate, Towering Inferno and Airport 1975 are all in the top seven at the box office
- Michael Cimino’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is the big 1974 archiveable debut for auteurs—talk about young star power with Eastwood and Jeff Bridges- they’re trying to recreate the Newmna/Redford and it didn’t wholly work- but still an interesting film
- As far as acting firsts in the archives, I remember Jodie Foster but I think if you blink you’ll miss Laura Dern’s first archiveable film—both in Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (actually I think Laura Dern has a quick role as an extra in 1973’s White Lightning which also features her mother Diane Ladd (her dad is Bruce Dern) as well but whatever- they’re both just tiny little extra roles). Dern and Foster would go on to be two of the better actresses from the 1980’s to contemporary era—clearly child actors and very young here. Jeff Goldblum would also appear in the archives twice in Altman’s California Split and as a villain in a quick scene in Death Wish. Goldbloom would have very, small roles in Nashville and Annie Hall in subsequent years in the 1970’s but wouldn’t get his big break until 1983’s The Big Chill– talk about paying your dues
best performance male: This category is just spilling over again because I have to recognize some of the supporting work in The Godfather: Part II. Robert De Niro won the Oscar for supporting in 1974 and deservingly so (back-to-back years in this category) and John Cazale may win every scene he’s in but I’m giving the performance of the year in this category to Al Pacino for his brilliant performance as perhaps cinema’s greatest single character: Michael Corleone (I think you could also argue it’s Vito Corleone as cinema’s greatest single character just to show you how momentous these Godfather films are). Nicholson in Chinatown continues his dominant run—he’s here in 1969, 1970, 1971 and now 1974– impressive. Gene Hackman gives such an atypical (important for Hackman’s resume/range) introverted, silent rage performance in The Conversation. Hackman’s work is so nuanced. Lastly, Dustin Hoffman continues his streak run of terrific work in Lenny. I do think Warren Beatty benefits a little from casting here with Pakula’s The Parallax View– but Beatty deserves credit for that. Picking the right role or the right director to work with is more important than acting talent.
best performance female: Gena Rowlands’ performance in A Woman Under the Influence is one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema so despite some worthy competition (especially from Dunaway) she’s far and away my choice here for this category in 1974. It is a ballsy performance—tightrope walking without a net. Faye Dunaway is another very easy choice for this category and her key mother/sister scene would probably be enough to win top honors in most years that don’t have Rowlands’ tour-de-force. Behind Rowlands and Dunaway we have the supporting work of Talia Shire and Diane Keaton in The Godfather Part II. They are not on screen for a lot of time but their work in key scenes with Pacino make them both worthy in this category. Valerie Perrine may not be a household name especially in comparison with these other four actresses here. She is best known for the Superman films as the sidekick to Gene Hackman’s Lex Luther, but her best work is here in 1974– she’s so tragically sad in Lenny alongside Hoffman.
- The Godfather: Part II
- Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
- A Woman Under the Influence
- The Conversation
- The Parallax View
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
- California Split
Archives, Directors, and Grades
|A Woman Under the Influence- Cassavetes||MP|
|Ali: Fear Eats the Soul- Fassbinder||MP|
|Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore – Scorsese||R/HR|
|Alice in the Cities- Wenders||R|
|Black Christmas – Clark||R|
|Blazing Saddles- M. Brooks||R|
|Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia- Peckinpah||HR|
|California Split- Altman||HR|
|Celine and Julie Go Boating – Rivette||R|
|Chinatown – Polanski||MP|
|Conversation Piece – Visconti||HR|
|Harry and Tonto- Mazursky||R|
|Lacombe, Lucien- Malle||R/HR|
|Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance – Fujita||R|
|Lancelot of the Lake- Bresson|
|Murder On the Orient Express- Lumet||R|
|Phantom of Liberty- Bunuel|
|Promised Land- Wajda|
|The Conversation- F. Coppola||MP|
|The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser – Herzog|
|The Front Page- Wilder||R|
|The Gambler- Reisz||R|
|The Godfather: Part II – F. Coppola||MP|
|The Great Gatsby- Clayton||R|
|The Night Porter- Cavani||R|
|The Odessa File- Neame||R|
|The Parallax View– Pakula||MS/MP|
|The Taking of Pelham One Two Three- Sargent||R|
|The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Hooper||HR|
|The Towering Inferno- Guillermin||R|
|The Yakuza – Pollack||R|
|Thieves Like Us- Altman||R|
|Thunderbolt and Lightfoot- Cimino||R|
|Young Frankenstein- M. Brooks||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
Godfather Part 1 or Part 2? Which do you prefer? Your top 2 from ’74 are identical to mine. We are in agreement there. 2 American masterpieces. 1974 has a really strong top 5.
I know this a rather random question but how long do you wait before rewatching a movie? A year? 2 years? I owe both these films a rewatch.
I know this is really random but approximately how many movies you watch are rewatches? Out of 10 about 2 for me. What about you?
What random generator do you use?
How about James Caan in the Gambler.It’s an underrated film and performance.
Just HR for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I think it’s a MS at the very least and I’m not ruling out a MP rating either.
There are just so many things about it I think are incredible. It’s absolutely nightmarish, more so than even a film like Suspiria in my opinion; it is wholly committed to scaring the audience effectively throughout its entire duration and it does so very effectively. It’s a great homage to Hitchcock: the isolated bit of Texas where the film takes place is clearly inspired by Psycho, Leatherface and Norman Bates share various similarities as well, such as both inhabiting said isolated locations and waiting for victims to pass by, and both are motivated to kill by their families, doing the dirty work whilst not being in charge. Prior to the actual killing happening you do constantly feel a sense of unease, and that the characters are being watched by something. The movie doesn’t really make you think while watching, but it makes you feel a whole lot, a complete sensory experience. I’ve heard the killer family described in parallel to the traditional family unit as well: the gas station owner as the working father, Leatherface as the housewife preparing the food, and the hitchhiker (guy who cut his own hand) as a rebellious teenager, but they’re all twisted versions of those archetypes which I think is amazing. The final scene of Leatherface swinging his chainsaw around in anger is absolutely beautiful and reminiscent of the opening of Raging Bull with De Niro in slow motion in the ring, which it actually precedes by 6 years. Again, I’ll repeat that the film achieves its success through atmosphere and suspense, not through mindless gore and viscera; there is almost never a moment in the film that you feel relaxed and unengaged.
Personally, I am a bigger fan of the more intellectual side of films, and most often feel that there should be some possibility of analyzing the reasons and such of things that happen in various films, but when films are as wonderfully shot and directed as this one, what’s there not to like? My rating is MS.
I’m not sure if you still view this site but I’ll give my 2 cents here:
I do think that I would probably agree with the MS rating. (I watched it twice over the last month for the first time ever) Sure it doesn’t have the amount of awe inspiring compositions that you come to expect for a MS, but neither does Halloween (or even The Thing), really (granted this doesn’t have that score, but you’ll see my point). I actually think Chainsaw might be a little stronger in this department (?). The dinner shot has some incredible mis en scene. I also really like the final frame with the truck obstructing the screen. It’s obviously not known for a lot of shots like these (it uses it’s camera in more creative, immersive, documentary like stalking ways (similair to Halloween I would say), but there are more shots like this than one would think based on what the film is known for. There’s also a very reoccurring sun glare motif that looks beautiful (especially in the finale) and plays well formally. The editing is really experimental, and I believe the documentary-like filming style was the first for the horror genre (if I’m in incorrect here, someone tell me). The production design (that house is a marvelous set piece) is incredible as well. There’s a lot here from an objective artistic merit standpoint, on top of being one of the most utterly terrifying, engaging, and (in a sick way) entertaining horrors ever. And this is a horror film after all, the main objective is creating a uniquely terrifying atmosphere through cinema aesthetics, and I think Chainsaw is a major triumph for this. So a MS for me
I’m also not saying this is stronger than Halloween (or The Thing). I don’t think it is
Aren’t there an image from Visconti’s Conversation Piece on this page? There are some stunning images in that film.
@Anderson- there are not
Maybe the gold veranda shot from Conversation Piece would be a great addition to the page.
@Anderson- thanks. I considered it… and decided to keep it out.
Godfather 2 has amazing scene after amazing scene after another amazing scene. But there’s two scenes that really stand out above the rest for me. # 1 is the “your nothing to me now Fredo” scene, this is one of the most emotionally devastating scenes in film history. It’s so perfectly done, the two brothers in the dark cabin on an icy winter day. Because Fredo has become synonymous with being the black sheep I think it’s easy to forget that he’s a genuinely likeable character (for a mobster). John Cazale’s acting in “I’m your older brother Mike and I was passed over” is so powerful. # 2 is the final scene and part of it’s devastation is the link to the previous scene I mentioned. Fredo was the only character to congratulate Michael on his decision to join the Marines. Juxtaposing this scene with the final image of Michael sitting alone in the dark cabin is beyond brilliant.
@Drake-Do you think it would have been deserved if Faye Dunaway was nominated for best supporting actress and won in that category insead of going up against Gena Rowlands in the lead category? Because when compared to Nicholson she definitely is supporting.
@Malith- that seems fair to me– but I don’t really care about supporing/lead
I mean, I disagree with you very strongly, I think she’s clearly co-lead, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the film so I won’t get into an argument over it.
@Zane-No. She got a lot of screen time. But she is supporting compared to Nicholson. Nicholson is in every frame and there are a lot of scenes without her. It doesn’t really matter though. She don’t deserve to win beating Gena Rowlands in the lead category. So I would have been very happy if she won for supporting beating the greatest actress of all time. Haha.
Would you nominate Anne Bancroft for support in The Graduate? I wouldn’t – 10 out of 10 times I’d nominate her for the lead, and she gets a similar proportion of screen time to Dunaway in Chinatown, for whom I’d do the same, and so did the major awards associations.
I haven’t seen The Graduate. So I can’t really say anything about it. Then De Niro should be lead in Godfather Part 2 because he got a lot of screen time. De Niro is more of a lead to me in GF2 than Dunaway in Chinatown. He got scenes centered on his characters journey. Unlike Dunaway who whenever she appears on screen Jack is always in the scene and there are a lot of scenes without Dunaway with Jack. I have no problem with her getting nominated for lead though. She got screen time. But certaily she don’t deserve to win in the lead category in 1974.so it would have been great to see her winning the supporting actress oscar. Again compared to Jack she is supporting even though she got a decent amount of screen time.
I’d nominate Bancroft for support in The Graduate, and I think you are probably not correct about her proportion of screen time being equal to Dunaway in Chinatown (who I think could go either way, supporting or lead). I don’t think Bancroft has quite as many minutes onscreen as Dunaway.
All right, I’ve just looked it up and actually you’re not that far off about their screen times being equal – Dunaway in Chinatown is 29.43% and Bancroft in The Graduate is 28.15%. However, regardless of where Dunaway should go (as I said, either is fine, though I think supporting is better), I think Bancroft definitely should have been nominated for supporting.
Drake is probably correct in not caring.
I thought I’d hop in the supporting/lead discussion here. It is clearly about presence more than it is about screen time. Nobody (or else, hardly anybody) complains about Anthony Hopkins winning in lead for the Silence of the Lambs. He is in about, what, 10% of that film? He’s still, very clearly, lead. He just is, that’s what it feels like. Dunaway definitely feels like a lead in Chinatown and her character has an immense impact. Think back to at least five scenes in Chinatown, and I’d bet three or four of them feature Dunaway. Same goes for Anna Bancroft. She is technically supporting, but Katherine Ross does feel more supporting than Bancroft does. Plus, there is no way you look at anyone else in the frame when Bancroft is a part of it. Olivia Colman is the lead in the Favourite, Nicole Kidman is the lead in the Hours, not because they have the most screen time, but because those films and narratives are built around their characters. You may have characters with an abundance of screen time, like Alicia Vikander in the Danish Girl, that are still, in essence supporting characters, though I could also see placing her in lead. So, to me, category fraud is rarely a thing, because it’s much more subjective than the amount of screen time.
Yep. Katharine Ross is never the center of her own scenes in The Graduate. It’s always Hoffman (she doesn’t have a lot of scenes with Bancroft as I remember actually except for the big reveal and the wedding). Bancroft, however? She often steals control of the scenes from Hoffman and makes herself a lead with him. It’s the same in Chinatown. Huston is never the central figure of his scenes with Nicholson, but Dunaway wrestles with him for taking that position. And who takes the decisive action in the final scene of Chinatown? It’s Dunaway.
I definitely agree with you about them being the lead because the stories are built around their characters. Another film that has this same debate (which isn’t on their level) is Foxcatcher, as a lot of people seemed to object to Carell’s nomination for Best Actor for his performance there instead of Best Supporting Actor. I was in the latter camp at first, but after reflection I came around to supporting his nomination in a lead category as he is the central character of the story and it is he who drives the narrative forward, more so than either Tatum or Ruffalo do.
No I said compared to Jack Dunaway is a supporting character. We are following Jack and throughout his journey we meet these other characters. We never follow Dunaway on her journey. Like with Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or De Niro in GF2. They are more of a lead than Dunaway. It’s perfectly okay her getting nominated for lead but since Gena Rowlands is in the category in 1974 she don’t deserve to win. That’s why it would have been great for her if she won for supporting instead. Tell me a single scene featuring her that don’t have Jack? There are none. I am not talking only about Chinatown not comparing it to other movies. Actually this is a pretty obvious choice. For the whole time I was hoping Dunaway will become a lead and we will follow her on her journey. And have at least a single scene featuring only her character without Jack in the scene. There are none. Lol. Even in The Irishman there is a scene between Pesci and Pacino without De Niro in that scene. Even they are more of a lead. And all 3 are in the cover photo.
@Zane – I agree. I watched Foxcatcher when it was released over here and I don’t think that the categorisation was wrong. Carell is something of a Hannibal Lecter here, to a lesser extent.
@Malith – I definitely understand your point, but I’m not sure I agree with it. It would have been okay if Dunaway went supporting (she would have won), but I don’t think of her as a supporting character at all. Since you mentioned posters – the original cover for Chinatown (one of the more iconic ones) features Nicholson and Dunaway’s eyes above him, or something of the sort, if my memory serves me well. She is a big presence throughout the film and her scenes (and I mean, nearly all of them) are major plot points. Her impact is just too great to place her in supporting. I see it like this: if a character/actor heavily influences a portion of the film or is a strong backbone character, but never takes centre stage, that is supporting for me. First scenario is Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight in Network, second scenario is someone like Viola Davis in Fences (though I do see her as semi-lead, and she gets her fair share of significant scenes). When they influence the entire picture and their presence, either physical or not so, is felt throughout, that is lead. That’s why I think of both Nicholson and Dunaway as leads here. Dunaway would have been better benefited from a nomination in the supporting race, which, I don’t believe must have been really strong (I love Ingrid Bergman, but I don’t really see Orient Express as an important moment for her). She would have won, which would have been nice. But she did win anyway, two years later, for a marginally better performance (in my opinion) so it’s not as if she was wronged due to categorisation. I don’t really care for lead/supporting divisions and I like how Drake here just gives a mention to anyone regardless of that (which definitely hurts supporting turns, because we usually don’t get to see as much of them). But still, it is a very fair way of assessing performances. That said, my counterpoint is always Hopkins in the Silence of the Lambs. There is one scene of his without Jodie Foster, then half a scene in the ambulance and the final one, via telephone, counts to me as one they shared. So he’s on his own for 1.5 scene, and those are all narrative driven – we never get a better perception of his character (we don’t need to). So if we accept a lead/supporting division, the right way to do it is in my mind based on presence.
@Georg-Then how on earth is De Niro supporting in GF2? He got so many scenes focusing on him. Back to Dunaway here. You do believe that there is a compelling case to be made that Dunaway is supporting right? I haven’t watched Silence of the lambs or The Graduate. I have to lean towards Dunaway as a supporting character here. Because we follow Jack on a journey. Going from place to place observing. And me meet Dunaway on Jack’s Journey. So it is pretty obvious to me that Dunaway is a supporting character compared to Jack. About her win for Network that doesn’t make any sense. So according to your theory it is alright that De Niro didn’t win for Taxi Driver because he won for Raging Bull anyway. Haha. The case for Dunaway as supporting is stronger than lead. Actually Diane Keaton not getting nominated for GF 2 as supporting is bullshit. So that’s 3 strong nominees. Keaton, Shire and Dunaway getting nominated with Dunaway winning.
@Malith – yes I definitely think a case is to be made that Dunaway is more supporting than lead. But, personally, I believe she is lead and that was the point I was trying to make. Robert De Niro is a strange case. I don’t think of him as lead. I think supporting suits him alright, but clearly a case is to be made here as well that he belongs in the leading category. It’s a matter of perception. I guess what you’re saying is, how do we place Dunaway in leading because of presence, and then de Niro, with the same kind of presence, in supporting. It may have to do with the dynamics of each situation. Chinatown is Nicholson, a male actor, and Dunaway, a female actor. So, in essence, you have actors of different gender and that places them in a different race. If you had to pinpoint to a leading actress in Chinatown, it’s obviously Dunaway. Suppose now that Evelyn Mulwray is a different character, played by a male actor. The supposed actor would have gone supporting, because there is one leading male actor in Chinatown, and that is Jack Nicholson. You see the point I’m trying to make? Point to one leading male actor in The Godfather Pt. II, and that is not de Niro, it’s by a fair margin Al Pacino. So, de Niro is by virtue of not being the (or a) leading actor, a supporting actor. Let’s do the reverse gender scenario here as well. De Niro’s character is different, and played by a female actor. With the same amount of screen time, presence and impact, she would have gone lead, because she’d be the leading actress in the Godfather Pt II. This obviously brings up a very timely and long existing problem, that of the lack of representation of women in film. There aren’t as many great parts written for women, unfortunately. So an actress whose performance could be categorised either way, is likely to go lead, simply because the character and performance is so great and the standards are different. It’s also a matter of space – when it is largely a two hander, as is the case with Chinatown, and the two main players are male and female, they tend to both be considered lead, even if the two hander in question is uneven. When they are of the same gender, there will be a difference in categorisation – think of Carol and Rooney Mara going supporting whereas Cate Blanchett went lead.
Personally, all of this leads me to the conclusion that lead/supporting divisions are of little importance and highly subjective. So they only really matter in awards season and when it comes to the ever tormenting question of who will walk away with the Oscar. Well, the answer is probably not the person who deserved it, so I don’t see much of a point.
@Georg-You are absolutely right. Usually the female leads get less screen time than their male counterpart. But considering the circumstances Dunaway should have went supporting and won. Again the case for her as supporting is greater due to the fact Nicholson is in every scene and she simply isn’t. I don’t think there is a single scene without Nicholson. Certainly you don’t object if Dunaway won supporting and Rowlands win Lead do you?
@Malith – of course I don’t. I still believe Dunaway is lead, so I think the categorisation was correct. But that would be a nice scenario, and I don’t think many would take issue with it. Rowlands having lost though. It’s truly frustrating, considering what an acting titan and a monumental figure in American independent cinema she is.
But Faye Dunaway winning for Chinatown is better than Ingrid Bergman winning for Murder on the Orient Express right? Oscars made so many blunders in the acting department in this ceremony though. De Niro won so that’s a positive. But other than that. Cazale wasn’t even nominated. Diane Keaton wasn’t even nominated. Pacino didn’t win. Gena Rowlands didn’t win. Hackman wasn’t even nominated for The Conversation. I would have sneaked in a nomination for John Huston in Chinatown actually even ahead of Strasberg and Gazzo. Maybe all 3 should have been nominated along with Cazale and De Niro.I love his line about wanting to own the future.”the future mr. Gittes the future”. haha. I guess you left Huston off the mentions because of his limited screen time.
@Malith – Pacino not winning best actor is a merely a mistake but indeed a crime. It’s one of the 5 greatest performances ever. There are just so many amazing scenes:
– his face upon learning his child was aborted
– the “your nothing to me now Fredo” is one of the saddest and most heartbreaking scenes is
– despite is amazing verbal abilities so much of the acting is internalized, Michael Corleone is
ultimate chess player who often communicates more by what he doesn’t say in many of his
conversations, especially the scenes with Hyman Roth
– the final scene from the flashback to Michael sitting all alone in his cabin at Lake Tahoe is
* is not merely a mistake
@James Trapp-Gene Hackman not getting nominated is maybe an even bigger crime. There is a compelling case to be made this is Hackman’s best work.
I’ve seen The French Connection, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Unforgiven, and can agree that The Conversation truly is his greatest work, and one of the greatest performances of the 70s. Few people can internalize frustration and obsession so well (though in other roles he mostly externalizes it). I think one could argue his work matches or surpasses Coppola’s direction of the movie.
Yeah I’d say The Conversation is probably his best performance but he’s really strong in The French Connection; there’s a chance I’ll say that’s his best in the future.
@Malith – You may be right, it’s neck and neck with The French Connection and an atypical role for the normally extroverted Hackman. It’s a haunting role, one of those films that leaves you thinking about it for days. The fact that it’s such an internalized role might explain the Academy overlooking it although that’s no excuse. It’s also possible that GF2 caused The Conversation to be overlooked in general.
I don’t think it was overlooked. Got nominated for best picture. What’s more dissapointing is Hackman got nominated at every other award ceremony. This is just a mindless omission. Actually I feel like Hackman deserve to win in every year in the 2010’s except 2012 if The Conversation was released in the 2010s. But the period from 1967-1976 is stacked with great male acting performances.
@Georg I agree .. that lead or supporting doesn’t only depend on screen time. I guess Dunaway is lead because its not just gittes’ story but i think Valerie Perrine is supporting in Lenny , do you guys think so.
Then how is De Niro supporting in GF2. Doesn’t make any sense to me. My point is Dunaway didn’t have any scenes without Jack. And Jack is in every scene. So the case for her as supporting is stronger than as lead. You also don’t object to Dunaway winning supporting right?
I think if you remove Dunaway the story doesn’t begin let alone move forward. Like in 1975 Fletcher didn’t have any scenes without jack either in cuckoo’s nest but ditto for her.
In GF2 de niro’s story is a sub-plot to pacino’s main storyline.
And yes if rowlands wins lead i think dunaway can win supporting (just for the sake of her having an oscar for this role).
@M*A*S*H- Your above quote didn’t make any sense to me. I think this is ridiculous. Of course if you remove Joe Pesci in Raging Bull the story doesn’t begin let alone move forward. If you remove Al Pacino in The Irishman the story doesn’t begin let alone move forward. That is a ridiculous quote.
I wasn’t generalizing that, it was just in dunaway’s defense.
And now i realize the ridiculousness of “my quote”. If you go by “my quote” then J.J. gittes’ mother should also have a leading role bcoz if she wasn’t there we won’t have gittes or Chinatown.
@Drake – good call on Strasberg, that kid was Mor Greene and the city he built was Las Vegas speech is amazing. GF2 needs a worthy adversary for Pacino’s monster performance and Strasberg delivers, its a chess match between them
No I don’t think that Valerie Perrine is supporting in Lenny. in fact I do think her work is slightly better than Dustin Hoffman’s.
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest is largely confined to one setting. I don’t think they are comparable. We follow Jack on a journey in Chinatown going from place to place. I don’t think the amount of screen time matters. Chinatown is all centered around Jack. You do have to admit The case for Dunaway as supporting is stronger. Someone like Cazale is the real supporting in GF2. We observe the journey of De Niro and he has several standout scenes centered on himself. I will not be suprised if someone said De Niro has more screen time in GF2 than Brando in GF1. There definitely is a case for De Niro as a lead in GF2.
I saw Ali today, don’t you think Brigitte Mira deserves a mention?
@M*A*S*H – I don’t actually. I think both Mira and El Hedi ben Salem are perfect for what Fassbinder is going for– but fall short of being worthy of a mention.
What do you think of John Huston as a supporting mention for Chinatown?
@Zane – in the middle of a Polanski study right now and Chinatown is one of my 10 favorite films of all time so forgive me for jumping in but I love Huston’s performance which is excellent on a per minute basis. What makes it so impressive is the screen presence even when going mono e mono with Nicholson. Furthermore you know Cross is a bad guy immediately even if your a first time viewer and have no logical reason to know this, he achieves this just in the way he carries himself and the vibe he gives off. He’s a perfect villain and really the embodiment of opportunistic evil who can self rationalize anything. I don’t think this film works nearly as well without this strong performance since Cross functions as the heavy pulling all the strings you need a strong performance here and he more than delivers.
With all that said it’s a crowded year but I think he does give the 3rd best performance in Chinatown after Nicholson and Dunaway.
@Zane- I like this suggestion. I may go with Lee Strasberg or Michael Gazzo first if I were to add a name to the 1974 list here but you wouldn’t got a long argument from me at all against Huston.
How does everyone feel about Polanski’s acting in Chinatown too? Unlike The Tenant I love his scene here and think he’s a brilliant fit for this 1-minute role.
@Harry- yeah he’s solid here- @James Trapp is right that Huston is the third best performance- so Polanski is down there at 5th or 6th or so in a film that really isn’t about the ensemble.
@Drake-Why did Cazale and Huston not get nominated for best supporting actor?
Truly bizarre to nominate Fred Astaire for Towering Inferno and Jeff Bridges for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot instead of them.
@Malith- these are silly- I forgot Astaire was nominated for The Towering Inferno.
Drake, say you’re reading a critic’s review of The Godfather Part II and they say something like “The weakness of the final scene with Pacino alone is exposed by the fact that it requires having seen the first film to feel the impact of Brando and how beloved he is by the family relative to Pacino left outside the gates.”
Now, keep in mind I do not hold this opinion myself – if I ever heard someone saying this (and also keep in mind this is a hypothetical, I’m not talking about any critic in particular) I would probably tell them they can fuck off with that opinion of theirs if think that means The Godfather Part II has a weak ending that is contingent on the first film. But I wonder what would you think about this?
@Zane- I mean if someone wanted to use that for their argument on why Part I is superior to Part II or that the ending to Part I is superior to the ending of Part II- I may listen to that. But there is a massive gulf between that and “weak ending” (which is just incorrect). They also don’t use footage of the first film of course in Part II– and Brando is not in Part II- even in that scene.
@Zane – I kind of assume someone would not watch Godfather II without watching the first one so this is something that should not really come up. Or to be more specific I don’t think any serious cinephile would watch the second film before the first.
I suppose they’re are scenarios where someone would watch Godfather II before the first, maybe they are watching with a friend or family member or just watching on TV, but these types of viewers would probably not care enough to make a big deal over it.
@Drake-How do you feel if the whole supporting actor category in 1974 at the oscars was filled with The Godfather Part 2(a complete whitewash) actors? With De Niro,Cazale,Strasberg,Gazzo and Duvall all being nominated. Duvall maybe the odd one out but I love his presence in the film. And especially his conversation with Frank Pentangeli towards the end of the film.
@Malith- indeed- what a collection of strong performances!
@Drake- do you agree that Valerie Perrine is slightly better than Hoffman in Lenny. I found her work to be more emotionally affecting and deep. She carries incomparable depth and vulnerability. Ofc it’s she’s a part of lenny’s story but it’s her story as well.
She won best actress award at the Cannes Film festival.
@Ric – I think they are both worthy of mention as two of 1974s best acting performances- http://thecinemaarchives.com/2021/05/07/1974/ but no, I wouldn’t go so far as to say she is better than Hoffman
You have Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore as a R/HR on it’s individual page and a R here so what is it’s actual grade?
P. S. I love this movie. Very underrated.
@M*A*S*H- Good catch here, I had updated the Scorsese page on my end but not the 1974 page evidently. Should be fixed now- R/HR