Monday, May 31, 2021

The 1972 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part Two

Our final day of looking at the films of 1972. With three (performance-based) wins for 1776 yesterday, three for Cabaret, and one apiece The Poseidon Adventure and Super Fly (in its only nomination), here are the remainder of the 1972 Retro Hollmann Awards winners. As always, re-familiarize yourself with the Top Ten and nominees, then come back here to witness:

Best Cinematography
1. 1776
Harry Stradling, Jr.
2. Across 110th Street
Jack Priestley
3. Cabaret
Geoffrey Unsworth
4. The Godfather
Gordon Willis
5. Lake of Dracula
RokurĂ´ Nishigaki

The remaining eight awards, after the jump...

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The 1972 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part One

The Top Ten is done, you've seen the nominees - now the winners of the 1972 Retro Hollmann Awards...Part One:

Best Original Song
1. "Pusherman" from Super Fly
music and lyrics by Curtis Mayfield
2. "Money, Money" from Cabaret
music by John Kander
lyrics by Fred Ebb
3. "Sister" from Black Girl
music and lyrics by Ed Bogas and Jesse Osborne
4. "Mein Herr" from Cabaret
music by John Kander
lyrics by Fred Ebb
5. "The Song from The Poseidon Adventure" from The Poseidon Adventure
music and lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn

Eight more categories, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Director, after the jump...

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Top Ten Films of 1972

Here it is, finally: my Top Ten Films of 1972! With apologies to Buck and the Preacher, DeliveranceFrogsThe King of Marvin Gardens, Malcolm XMurmur of the Heart, and What's Up, Doc?.

Now, without further ado, in alphabetical order:

Monday, May 24, 2021

1972: The Watchlist

The 81 films I watched for 1972:

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

1972: The Best Picture Oscar

The evening ends with Clint Eastwood (of Joe Kidd) presenting Best Picture, with, as he points out, a diverse slate of nominees. Cabaret (ten nominations, eight wins so far) is a musical about a showgirl and a tutor living it up as the Nazis rise to power in Germany. Deliverance (three nominations) is a thriller about a group of friends from the city who go camping and wind up in a fight for their lives against backwoods locals. The Emigrants (four nominations) is an epic about Swedish farmers who make the desperate decision to immigrate to the United States. The Godfather (ten nominations, two wins so far) is a family saga about a crime family adjusting to a new age. Sounder (four nominations) is a drama about a family of Black sharecroppers and their dog just trying to live with some dignity against the odds.

Man, The Godfather really made it count with those last categories! Did it deserve the win? Tell me what you think - I know what I believe, which you can read after the jump:

Thursday, May 20, 2021

1972: Liza Minnelli and Best Actress

Now that Sacheen Littlefeather was off stage, Rock Hudson and Raquel Welch (of Kansas City Bomber) came to present Best Actress, and were very harrumph-y about what just happened. "Hope none of them has a cause," Welch said. Unfortunate!

As far as people go, it's a good lineup. A past winner, Judy's daughter, a foreign language performance, and, for the first time, two Black actresses nominated (the next time it would happen was...just this past year, Viola Davis and Andra Day). The actual performances in the films? Let's talk:

1972: Sacheen Littlefeather and Best Actor

In a category where The Godfather had no competition from Cabaret, it was an easy win for leading actor Marlon Brando. Yet, famously, it was not he who received the trophy from Liv Ullmann (nominated for The Emigrants) and Roger Moore (currently filming Live and Let Die). Instead, Sacheen Littlefeather took the stage, and delivered remarks protesting the treatment of the Indigenous communities by the United States and Hollywood.

It was a moment that was a punchline for decades afterward, though I think history has since vindicated Brando and Littlefeather, especially since, 50 years later, Hollywood still hasn't gotten its shit together and the nation's gnat-swatting treatment of the First Nations people continues unabated. For years afterwards, however, there was a rule against acceptance speeches being delivered by a "representative;" on the other hand, the "stunt" probably inspired similar uses of the global stage in future acceptance speeches. 

Anyway, the nominees:

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

1972: Puzo, Larner, and the Screenplays

So now we come to the last five categories: Screenplays, Lead Acting, and Best Picture. Up to this point, the only Best Picture to have won anything at the ceremony was Cabaret, cleaning up with seven awards, and only three to go! Deliverance? Zilch. The Godfather? Nada. Sounder? Not a thing. The Emigrants? It won for Best Foreign Film last year, so it was fine. And now came Jack Lemmon, who just bared all in Avanti!, to present the writing awards:

Good news for The Godfather, finally, and for poet/critic/novelist/political speechwriter Jeremy Larner! It's his second and final credited screenplay, following the adaptation of his own novel, Drive, He Said, the previous year.

Anyway, here's my take on both lineups:

Monday, May 17, 2021

1972: Bob Fosse and Best Director

Yes, yes, I know, I said this would be Adapted Screenplay, but I have been trying to emulate the order of the Oscar ceremony and realized I'd made a mistake. So today, we look at the nominees for Best Director! Mostly terrific films, all Best Picture nominees with the exception of Sleuth, a fun, sophisticated cat-and-mouse game with a cast of two (more on them later). Also, with the exception of Sleuth's, all the nominees were first-timers, so it was quite an exciting night. Of course, given the way the evening had been going, the winner - presented by Julie Andrews and director George Stevens - was a little expected:

Deserved? Let's talk:

Saturday, May 15, 2021

1972: Original Song

Having just accepted the Oscar on behalf of Charles Chaplin, Candice Bergen returned to the stage, this time with Billy Dee Williams (of Lady Sings the Blues). The category was Best Cinematography, a loss for 1776, but another feather in the cap for Cabaret - this now made it six wins from six categories. Somehow, despite two new songs written for the film, both of them much better remembered than many of the nominees, Cabaret missed out on any nods for the next category: Best Original Song, presented by the remarkable Sonny and Cher:

I really can't believe Cabaret had nothing here, nor indeed did qualifying titles like Black Girl, Georgia, Georgia, Savage MessiahShaft's Big ScoreSounder, Super FlyTrouble Man. Instead...well, take a look for yourself: 

Friday, May 14, 2021

1972: Charlie Chaplin and Scores

An Honorary Oscar was awarded to Charles S. Boren, who for almost 40 years worked to improve labor relations in the industry - 'twas he who negotiated the five-day workweek, pension plan, and nondiscriminatory policies - presented by Richard Walsh. Following that, spouses Robert Wagner (of Madame Sin) and Natalie Wood (who cameoed as herself in The Candidate) announced Marjoe as the Best Documentary Feature of the year. Marisa Berenson (of Cabaret) and Michael Caine (nominated for Sleuth) awarded Best Costume Design to Travels with My Aunt's Anthony Powell. Eccentric legend and past Oscar winner Greer Garson came out with Laurence Harvey (of Escape to the Sun) to give Cabaret its fourth award of the night, this time Best Art Direction. Now came the Music Categories, starting with the Original Dramatic and Musical/Adaptation Score nominees. Burt Reynolds (of Deliverance) and Dyan Cannon presented.

There is a lot happening in the Original Score category this year. The winner is Charlie Chaplin's Limelight, a 1952 film about a fading music hall performer and his romance with a suicidal ballerina. Because of Chaplin's politics and legal struggles, it took twenty years to come and play in Los Angeles theaters (it played in New York, though, and was cited in 1952 by both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review). It was Chaplin's only competitive Oscar win and instigated a rule change where the time between a film's initial release and LA release had to be a much smaller window.  

The Godfather originally received eleven nominations, the highest of any movie that year. Nino Rota's score was later rescinded when it was discovered that the "Love Theme" was a new arrangement of a theme he wrote for 1958's Fortunella. Now, I think there's plenty of other music besides the "Love Theme," but it seems so did the Academy - they allowed the Music Branch to vote one more time from a smaller pool of shortlisted titles. They changed their minds the second time around - Sleuth took the film's spot. Oddly, The Godfather: Part II would later win this category in 1974, despite being made up of arrangements of the original's themes and old Italian standards.

Here's what wound up getting nominated:

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

1972: Joel Grey and Best Supporting Actor

With Eileen Heckart having won, the ceremony continued. Elke Sommer (of Baron Blood) and Jack Valenti (head of the MPAA) presented the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, while John Gavin and Katharine Ross (who had two movies out, Get to Know Your Rabbit and They Only Kill Their Masters) revealed that The Hot Rock lost its only Oscar bid to, wouldn't you know it, Cabaret. Then Diana Ross, nominated this evening in Best Actress for Lady Sings the Blues, took the stage alongside James Coburn, having a very prolific year of US releases with Duck You Sucker, The Carey Treatment, The Honkers and A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die. The category? Best Supporting Actor, which accounted for three of The Godfather's ten nominations. The mob blockbuster already lost two categories to Cabaret ... this one would make it a third.

I'll have more to say about The Godfather and Cabaret when we discuss Adapted Screenplay, Director, and Picture. Let's look at the individual nominees:

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

1972: Eileen Heckart and Best Supporting Actress

The 45th Annual Academy Awards held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles began with an Angela Lansbury musical number, as everything should (Seventh Heaven! What a callback!). Father-and-son team Eddie Albert (nominated for The Heartbreak Kid) and Edward Albert (star of Butterflies Are Free) presented Best Sound to Cabaret, Merle Oberon gave The Poseidon Adventure a Special Achievement Oscar for its visual effects, and Beatrice Arthur and Peter Boyle (of The Candidate) did the short subjects. Now it was time for reigning champion Cloris Leachman and The Godfather's Robert Duvall to present Best Supporting Actress:

What a group of films to honor! There's The Heartbreak Kid, painfully hilarious in its depiction of a newlywed abandoning his bride (Jeannie Berlin) during their honeymoon. Fat City is a depressing drama about a fading alcoholic boxer repeatedly falling off the wagon alongside a barfly (Susan Tyrrell). Pete 'n' Tillie is a rom-com with dramatic elements about the relationship between two people, brought together by a mutual friend (Geraldine Page). The Poseidon Adventure is a disaster epic, more an effects showcase than a performance one, and yet its large ensemble (Shelley Winters, et. al.) is undeniably superb. Finally, there's the winner, Butterflies Are Free, whose synopsis about a young hot blind man falling in love with a kooky free spirit, much to his mother's (Eileen Heckart) chagrin, makes you wanna roll your eyes...and then you see it and realize what a thoughtful, effective film it really is! Five very good movies. And as for the performances...:

Monday, May 10, 2021

1972: Some Nominees

Cinematography, documentary, and film editing - these are the films honored in those categories only, who didn't break the threshold into the music, screenplay, acting, directing, or Picture categories - though, frankly, one or more of them definitely should have:

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Other Golds from 1972

Yesterday, we looked at the Golden Globes. Today, we look at the films honored by other awards ceremonies, keeping movies and their makers in the minds of Academy members up to the moment they turned their nomination ballots in.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The 30th Golden Globes

Ah, the Golden Globes! Awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association since 1944, they're a guaranteed mix of future Oscar nominees, bizarre curiosities, and genuinely good movies. As it is now, so it was in 1972 when, alongside eventual Academy Award nominees, these were the honored films:

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Crimes of '72

When The Godfather won Best Picture, it became the fourth crime drama to do so. Crime seemed to be on the mind of the 1970s film community: The Godfather was the second of four consecutive Best Picture winners in the subgenre, and the first of three to completely center the criminals as the protagonists. Maybe it was the pessimism of the ongoing Vietnam War, maybe it was the way the Tate-LaBianca murders brought a violent end to a hopeful decade, maybe it was the loosening of restrictions and complete dismantling of the Production Code in 1968. Whatever the reason, crime was a big focus for the industry, from independent exploitation efforts to big studio programmers. Such as:

Monday, May 3, 2021

Old Friends of '72

In addition to what I'd never seen before, there are, of course, a good amount of 1972 movies I had. Cabaret, The Godfather, Man of La Mancha, and these...

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Why '72?

I told myself I wasn't going to do another 70s retrospective.

After all, with 1970 just in the books back in December, that would make six editions of this retrospective series devoted to that one decade - more than any other! It was time to give more love to the 30s, the 40s, the 90s...

But then I went back home for an extended period of time. I saw family. And they all had recommendations. Well, not so much the kind of "You should see this!" recommendations, more like they reference a movie, I said I'd never seen it, they said, "You've never seen it?! You?! Oh, Walter, you got to see this movie!" So I started noting them down and, whether it says something about that year or their age, realized that every single movie they recommended was from 1972! The signs were clear: I must close the gap between 1968-1971 and 1973-1976.

These were the films they recommended: