As I’m writing this, I don’t yet know what I’m going to be looking at in the way of 1972 films, I can’t specifically think of any 1972 films. I can’t wait to see what this year has to offer, so shall we dive in? First up, the Top 10 films at the US box office for the year.
- The Godfather – The ultimate gangster move, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It stars Marlon Brando as aging mob patriarch Vito Corleone who is starting to pass his criminal empire over to his son Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino.
- The Poseidon Adventure – A film starring Gene Hackman about a group of passengers struggle to escape after their ocean liner completely capsizes.
- Malcolm X – Documentary tribute to the work of assassinated African American leader Malcolm X. Not well received at the time, but has become more popular over time.
- Jeremiah Johnson – Robert Redford stars as an ex-soldier in this wilderness western set around 1850. He decides he’d rather live alone as a mountain man in Colarado rather than live in society, and fortunately finds a mentor to teach him how to survive. Gets 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and looks like a really good film.
- Cabaret – Hard hitting musical starring Liza Minnelli, it is set in 1930s Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power. 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
- The Getaway – Crime film starring Steve McQueen as an ex-convict who goes on the run with his wife Ali McGraw after a bank heist goes wrong.
- Last Tango in Paris – Marlon Brando stars as a middle aged American who goes to Paris after his estranged wife commits suicide, and embarks on a clandestine relationship with a young Frenchwoman. Brilliant acting, with some very explicit sexual content.
- Fritz the Cat – Apparently the first X-rated animated feature in Hollywood history, Fritz is a feline college student in 1960s New York who scores easy sex and drugs. After igniting a shooting incident with police, Fritz goes on the run with his girlfriend and encounters a heroin addict biker rabbit, as well as bomb making terrorist radicals. I kid you not. It was surprisingly quite popular, and spawned an equally unlikely sequel in 1974, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
- The Valachi Papers – A different take on the mob movie, The Valachi Papers is the story of gangster Joe Valachi who is convinced by an FBI agent to turn informant, and he tells the story of more than three decades as part of the crime family of Don Vito Genovese.
- Shaft’s Big Score – Sequel to the 1971 smash hit Shaft, featuring the further adventures of Detective John Shaft.
As usual, these are from IMDB. Other lists, possibly including international box office receipts, have some different films on including:
What’s Up, Doc? – A screwball comedy in which an accidental mix up leads to a series of wacky situations. A Peter Bogdanovich film starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal.
Deliverance – A group of friends go on a river rafting trip into the dangerous backwaters of an uncharted section of a river in Georgia. A grueling A journey starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voigt.
1972 Films: What I’m Watching
It was a bit of a mixed bag this month. There was no dilemma about the first choice to watch however – I’ve somehow never watched any of the Godfather movies, so I had to choose The Godfather to watch. Mob movies are not one of my top genres by any means, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d liked it, but I was hooked in the first few minutes. Although I knew Michael Corleone eventually becomes the Godfather, I really didn’t know what happened along the way, and the film kept me guessing – several times I guessed what was going to happen and it turned out wrong. There’s some really great acting in this film: Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Vito Corleone, from ruthless mob boss to ailing grandfather; Al Pacino’s portrayal of Michael Corleone’s journey from outsider to his father’s successor, and a bunch of other great performances too. All of this obviously watched over by Francis Ford Coppola’s excellent skills as a director. A great film.
The other film I watched was Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford as a soldier turned wannabe mountain man. Set in the 1850s, some might classify this as a Western, it has the right setting and time period, and even some of the usual features of the genre, different tribes of Native Americans, groups of American soldiers, the lone gun. Except it doesn’t really fit in the Western genre as I think of it, it is more of a historical survival piece. For the most part it doesn’t descend into cliche either. It shows much more of the viewpoint of the Native Americans for a start, and I think it is just a bit earlier than most other Westerns, in an era when the Native Americans still had the upper hand, and the white man’s settlement and conquest hadn’t begun in earnest yet. It features great acting from Redford, a beautiful scenic backdrop and a really nice symphonic folk musical score. It is quite a slow paced film and a long one, but well worth setting aside an evening to watch.