Sunday, January 22, 2012

1971 ... What a Year!

It's 2012. And I'm far too behind in my quest to finish these by the end of 2011. So, what does a wannabe-film-blogger do? He gives himself an extension. This will be done in 2012, folks. Believe you me.

So 1971 - what did you give us cinematically? But, less importantly (but no less interestingly), what happened in 1971 that had nothing to do with films? Shall we?

  • Idi Amin becomes president of Uganda. I don't have anything funny to say about that. Wait ... The Last King od Scotland. That'll do.
  • Rolls-Royce goes bankrupt. The CEO is forced to drive a Cortina.
  • UK and Ireland goes through decimilisation. People are confused.
  • Something important happens in Malaysia.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo is renamed Zaire, which will revert back to its former name after a few decades. Pointless, really.
Yep. Boring year.

But what about films? What graced our screens? Here are the also-rans:
  • Dirty Harry, in which we all wanted to be bloodthirsty fascists.
  • Duel, in which Spielberg sets himself a standard that he cannot match.
  • The Hopeless Ones, in which a woman counting a man's wrinkles becomes the most erotically charged scene you can think of.
  • Straw Dogs, in which Dustin Hoffman kicks ass.
Now, that is what I call an excellent year in film ... though a bit grim.

What about the Top 3? Here we are:

3- Harold and Maude (dir: Hal Asby; wri: Colin Higgins)

This is high as a balloon. An icon. Quite difficult to stomach in our increasingly conservative society of today (you know I'm right), this was a daring piece of filmmaking. Ruth Gordon was still perhaps the loony Satanic neighbour from Rosemary's Baby in everyone's minds, while Bud Cort was the fresh-faced soldier from MASH. Playing with audience's expectations perfectly, the end result is an apeshit film with a heart as big as Jove. To be cherished over and over again.

2- McCabe and Mrs Miller (dir: Robert Altman; wri: Brian McKay & Robert Altman)

I have to admit, my knowledge of Altman canon is pretty weak (I still haven't seen The Player. Or Nashville. Or 3 Women ... yikes!). But I'm going out on a limb and say that McCabe and Mrs Miller is the highlight of his career. Perhaps you can argue against that, but you cannot argue against this: this is quite possibly one of the most beautiful films ever made. It is high as a balloon (seems like a trend for 1971) and slow going. The dialogue is barely audible in many a scene. But can you deny the 'looks'? The mood? The setting? The dread? The romance? It is a film that will silence you for various reasons. One of which is its looks. But it's not just pretty to look at. It has plenty of substance to carry the gorgeous cinematography.

1- A Clockwork Orange (wri & dir: Stanley Kubrick)

That one. The one that the man himself asked to be pulled from the screens after his family received death threats. The one that the author's novel hated more than he hated anything else. The one where "Singin' in the Rain" becomes associated not with Gene Kelly dancing the streets of New York in the rain, but with Malcolm McDowell kicking a wheelchair-bound man in the guts while wearing a phallic fake-nose he will use to rape the man's wife in front of him. That one. The sci-fi, horror, political satire, comedy, drama masterpiece. The one that turned Malcolm McDowell into an immortal. The one that cannot be made today. The one that really shocks you. I mean, really shocks you. The one and only.

1971 ... what a year!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails