- Annie Hall
- Soldier Of Orange
- White Bim Black Ear
- The Ascent
- Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
- A Special Day
- Star Wars
- The American Friend
- 3 Women
John Travolta‘s Tony Manero has deservedly entered legend: the lead character of Saturday Night Fever is a hip dancer, a cold lover and a softly vulnerable hero who exudes nothing but charisma all throughout a film whose disco charms have aged surprisingly well.
1977 provided audiences with one of the richest and most exciting collaborations between the difficult to swallow John Cassavetes and his captivating yet always slightly unnerving wife Gena Rowlands. In Opening Night, Cassavetes does an incredible job of marrying his unpleasant, midnight atmospheres with the glitz of show business, creating a combination that displays life’s tragedies without ever taking on a snobbish air of criticizing either the industry of big theatre or the personalities of actors. Rowlands is thoroughly enervating when she is off stage as well as when she is in the play within the movie; I know I’m supposed to love her in A Woman Under The Influence the most, but that movie’s relentless aggravation has nothing on the many colours that are displayed here.
It ain’t easy to go multiple rounds in the ring with Richard Burton when you’re a young kid, and yet look at the strength and ease with which Peter Firth handles the legendary actor in Equus. Based on the play by Peter Shaffer, the film does a more than able job of adapting the disturbing play to the screen with dynamic results that do not sacrifice the intimacy of the original experience. Firth is under-the-skin creepy and yet appealingly sympathetic and sexually ripe in the greatest role of his film career (he would go on to star in Polanski’s Tess but, sadly, beyond that very few plum roles lay in his future).
There’s no arguing with Oscar here, even though the end result was one of the most controversial moments in the ceremony’s history. Vanessa Redgrave deservedly picked up a “tribute to her work” for her role as the passionately dedicated Julia in Fred Zinnemann’s drama, starring an equally scintillating Jane Fonda as her best friend Lillian Hellman. When Redgrave thanked the Academy for standing firm against “Zionist hoodlums” (who protested her support of the PLO) it elicited tons of boos from the audience and an angry speech from later presenter Paddy Chayefsky. Years after the hoopla has died down, the performance remains one of the strongest in Redgrave’s film career, displaying her incredible ability, despite a lifetime on the stage, to keep her film acting simple, to the point, and brilliantly clear.
A terrific talent was lost when Larisa Shepitko tragically died in a car accident a year after completing her masterful film The Ascent. Prisoner-of-war dramas set in snowy climes are nothing new and, in description, don’t really seem like much of a draw, and yet her stark, imposingly dramatic (but never heavy) style finds moments of lyricism in the toughest of situations. The charged anger between two men set adrift from their fellow partisans and trying to survive the terror of Germans in World War II Russia is full of tenderness, conflict and even a little bit of muted eroticism (or that could just be me).