70s Poll Countdown (Full Version)

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rawlinson -> 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 3:00:28 AM)

The votes are counted and we're going to be running down the top 150. The films in the top 200 or so were so popular that there are no one list films in the top 150, so if you really hate something in the list, it's not just Gimli's fault. [:D]

Can comments go in this thread please


rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 3:03:32 AM)

150. Slap Shot


(1977; George Roy Hill)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

Paul Newman is Reggie Dunlop, ageing player/coach of failing hockey team, The Charlestown Chiefs. The team has the talent to win, largely thanks to star player Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean) but can't seem to keep it together. When the small town that's home to the Chiefs loses its main source of employment, Dunlop realises that his team will probably fold soon after and determines to get the team not just on a winning streak, but on a controversial and talked about winning streak. Dunlop is a master manipulator and starts playing mind-games with the opposing teams, either by taunting them about their wife turning gay (You haven't lived until you've heard Newman screaming "Suzanne sucks pussy" at a rival goalie) or deliberately provoking them into attacking him. The controversy really starts when he lets the Hanson Brothers loose on the ice, three geek-ish, seemingly simple-minded newcomers to the sport. Off the ice they like nothing more than to play with their toy cars, on the ice they're violence incarnate, progressing from attacking rival players during the game to attacking players before the game to leaping into the crowd and starting a riot among the rival fans. The Chiefs hit a winning streak and the more they turn into merciless thugs the more the fans love it, but will their new found success be enough to save the team?

A savage attack on the way sports players are used up and discarded and also on the notion of inspirational sports films, for about five minutes in the film we're threatened with the possibility of an inspirational moment, but the script is so damn smart that it's quickly dismissed and we're thrown the most left-field alternative imaginable. The film isn't pc, there are sexist and homophobic lines, but they're true to the characters and the era, something backed up by the fact that the screenwriter Nancy Dowd based all of the characters on people her brother was playing pro hockey with at the time. Slap Shot is a hilariously funny film, with Newman giving one of his best performances (in a film he often claimed as his personal favourite) and great supporting work from Strother Martin, Michael Ontkean, the Hanson Brothers, M. Emmet Walsh as a gullible journalist and a surprisingly sexy Melinda Dillon.

- Rawlinson

150. The Way Of The Dragon


(1972; Bruce Lee)
Highest Vote: Rhubarb

Blurb coming soon

150. The Bad News Bears


(1976; Michael Ritchie)
Highest Vote: WifeofRaw

Blurb coming soon

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 3:10:05 AM)

149. The Poseidon Adventure


(1972; Ronald Neame, Irwin Allen)
Highest Vote: Harry Tuttle

Blurb coming soon

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 3:13:01 AM)

148. That Obscure Object of Desire


(1977; Luis Bunuel)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

The last film from the great auteur revolves around the dysfunctional relationship between Mathieu and Conchita. Based on the same Pierre Loyuys novel that Josef von Sternberg adapted as The Devil is a Woman, That Obscure Object of Desire is another look at Bunuel's fascination with frustrated desire. He visited this theme several times in his career and this film shows him at the height of his surreal and sardonic humour.

The film opens with Conchita following Mathieu onto a train, where he rather oddly pours a bucket of water on her to chase her away. He then explains his behaviour to his bemused fellow passengers. The film is set against a backdrop of terrorism that parallels the romantic violence within the story. The dysfunctional, violent relationship sees the older Mathieu becoming obsessed with Conchita and trying to win her devotion through any means he can, while she constantly asserts her independence of him. We are treated to a series of break-ups and reconciliations which, like the baffling demands of the terrorists in the film, make very little sense. The film is filled with irrational acts, but Bunuel seems to believe that so much of human behaviour in relationship is made up of irrational acts.

One of the joys of this film that so many seem to find frustrating is that Bunuel doesn't explain these irrationalities, he just lays them out for us to accept. How else can you justify Conchita being played by two actresses? This isn't two actresses playing the role at different points in her life, this is often two actresses within the same scene. The switches are made seemingly at random. Bunuel appears to be doing this to draw attention to the film's war between genders. Mathieu doesn't notice the two different women because he doesn't understand Conchita, she's too complex for him. Everything he does to try and win her is filtered through his own perceptions of what he believes she needs. No-one can know the person they love because everyone has so many sides, Mathieu doesn't even seem to notice that Conchita has more than one side.

If you're thinking Bunuel is taking sides in this battle, he isn't. He has plenty of scorn for both characters. Mathieu is a hypocrite and a hideous misogynist. He just wants Conchita for sex and has no real concept of who she actually is. Conchita comes off as masochistic and heartless, taunting Mathieu by having sex with another man in front of him. Bunuel refuses to take a side, showing both men and women as capable of indulging in repulsive, sadistic and masochistic behaviour. We're asked if this is just a game between two lovers, and if so why do we insist on treating each other in this way?

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 3:22:38 AM)

147. Wise Blood


(1979; John Huston)
Highest Vote: Rebel Scum

Young, Southern and ambitious veteran Hazel Motes (Brad Dourif) is determined to make something of himself in the world. Though he himself does not believe, having witnessed the frauds and neon lit Churches on the streets, he decides the best way to achieve his personal goal is to become a Preacher, he gets a new hat and so begins the Church Without Christ.

I am an enthusiastic advocate of Flannery O'Connor's beautiful, unique, surreal, harrowing and poetic Southern Gothic novel, Wise Blood. It is a book that is little on length but huge on character, ideas and eccentricities. The general consensus always appears to be that film adaptations are never as good as the source material, there are obviously exceptions. John Huston alone adapted and directed numerous films taken from outstanding novels and through his brilliance, diligence and fidelity to the source produced cinematic works that seemed to leap from the pages of their printed origins and wonderfully so, in the case of Wise Blood even the legendary director excelled.

Wise Blood is a savage portrait of religion and evangelicalism however the film (like the source) isn't as straightforward as it may first appear to be. Despite a focus on spirituality and in spite of casting an avid eye on outcasts, eccentrics, the abnormal, the abhorrent and grotesque (whilst never attempting to make excuses for them) it's a film that shows even these individuals have the same wants and needs as everyone else, they too desire love and to be recognised for who they are and what they have achieved, they too are human. The film is exceptionally amusing, it's not funny ha-ha and you can easily find yourself laughing/chuckling one moment and immediately ill at ease the next but it is still absurdly comical at times.

The film is littered with inspired performances from a small superior cast including Harry Dean Stanton, Huston himself (credited then and now as Jhon Huston) and Ned Beatty. However if the film's vision belongs to Huston and Flannery, Brad Dourif is it's heart and soul giving quite possibly not only his finest performance but one the most sincere and passionate lead performances put to screen. Motes is never a sympathetic character and much like Huston refraining from justifying his oddballs, Dourif does not give his character an accessible humanity that would have made him far more appealing, it's a bold and brilliant decision and as such Dourif displays the talent he has and always has had when given the opportunity. It's a powerful and extraordinary turn one that if it were given today would have all the shiny awards chucked at it.

I would recommend reading the book too being that it's a brilliant piece of writing but also it will give you an appreciation of how well John Huston and his cast did in bringing Flannery O'Connor's work to the screen.

- Impqueen

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 3:24:45 AM)

146. Battle for the Planet of the Apes


(1973; J. Lee Thompson)
Highest Vote:Spectator of Suicide

Blurb coming soon

TRM -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 1:46:26 PM)

145. Logan's Run


(1976; Michael Anderson)
Highest Vote : Spectator of Suicide

Blurb coming soon

TRM -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 1:48:51 PM)

143. Alice in the Cities


(1974; Wim Wenders)
Highest Vote : Fritzlfan

Blurb coming soon

143. Straight on Till Morning


(1972; Peter Collinson)
Highest Vote:Rebenectomy

Blurb coming soon

TRM -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 1:50:12 PM)

142. Patton


(1970; Franklin Schaffner)
Highest Vote:Gimli

This biopic of the blood and guts World War Two general is one that mainly gets by on the impressive shoulders of its lead, and George C Scott is terrific indeed. Single-minded, obsessive, charismatic, terrifying - it's hard to see where the line between character and actor ends. From rallying a bunch of demoralised and beaten troops in Africa to combat Rommel, to leading the final charge across Europe, Schaffner does a good job of linking the success of an army to the success of its commanding general and illustrates the tactics and motivation of Patton quite well, as well as capturing battles in all their thumping chaos. When the action moves indoors, however, Schaffner betrays his TV roots with unflattering and broad lighting not doing the actors or set designers any favours. What really stops Patton becoming a genuinely great film, however, is that there's so much focus on Patton everything else is squeezed out. There's the odd nod towards his spirituality and belief in reincarnation (believing himself to be a warrior in a past life) but doesn't go anywhere that interesting and his competition with Montgomery is particularly undeveloped - not helped by the dull Michael Bates in the role - with no real sense or spark of conflict between the two. Scott's performance is one to last the ages, it's just a shame the film never really follows his lead - Matty_b

TRM -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 1:51:20 PM)

141. Westworld


(1973; Michael Crichton)
Highest Vote:Spectator of Suicide

Blurb coming soon

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 6:46:22 PM)

140. Vengeance Is Mine


(1979; Shohei Imamura)
Highest Vote: Elab

It is quite hard to reconcile the the types of film Imamura made. HIs work incorporated the absurd with a sense of humour – but where the earlier works were harsh and cyncial the later ones – Kanzo Sensei, Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, were mellower, more quirky,while still asking questions about Japan and the Japanese.

Based on the 78 day manhunt for a real-life serial killer (here renamed and played with some verve by the great Ken Ogata), we don't get an easy explanation for why Iwao does what he does. Although it does appear to provide hints – he comes from a christian family and witnesses the humiliation of his father (by a representative of the Emperor to an extent), and we get snapshots of a troubled and troublesome boy who is not satisfied with his lot in life and drifts into petty theft and fraud. And then, with some rather mad outbursts, into murder – but it isn't his main aim, more a by-product of his drifting and desire to get what he wants. The killings in this film are grotesque – visceral, difficult. Not one stab and away, but difficult, people fighting for their lives. Nothing is glib and easy or sensationalised but nasty and brutal. Similarly with his crimes – Iwao is also a conman and has done time for fraud and we follow through one particularly clever one where he appropriates money brought for bail but, again, this is not presented as some thrilling escapade but a record of events that aren't being glamorised.

This isn't a straight narrative – certainly chronologically we're moving quickly between shots and scenes quite a lot in the first half of the film before we reach the Asano Inn, and a little less so afterwards, with longer scenes. With trains taking him all over Japan the arrival at the inn is a long sequence of shots giving a sense of immediacy that Donald Ritchie refers to as a predecessor to the kind of shot to come in The Player and Goodfellas, as Iwao moves through the station to the taxi, the inn and to his room. . It is clearer near the end with a couple of very unusual scenes – one where he heads off upstairs to kill someone but, downstairs, his mother comes down the hall and heads into one of the rooms where the rest of his family are – a different house and a different town. And, of course, the final absurd scene (final scenes are often odd) when his father and wife try to get rid of his remains but the ground rejects his bones after an odd and clearly important shot as their cable car ascends above the religeuse in the other going down.

I've always felt that part of this was a comment on old and new Japan – particularly in the last discussion with his father where it seems more like a discussion between the old world and the new, with the latter not being quite able to destroy the former. Where his father kowtowed and accepted the old order – of the Emperor and religion, denying himself his daughter-in-law, this new blood has no such impulse issues and takes what he wants no matter how destructive, most clearly seen in the final killings on screen. But his father has left that order now – life has changed. It's not clearcut, but Imamura always seems to be looking at how the Japanese actually live, dealing with nature clashing with civilisation or reality and fiction (playing with the documentary form in A Man Vanishes and the role of the filmmaker). Another key character is the innkeepers mother – a more interesting symbol of the older society, a murderess herself who to an extent understands Iwao's intent and forestalls it o more than one occasion. Perhaps a sign that things haven't changed as much as might be thought. But that last conversation always interested me and the final accusation that Iwao couldn't destroy his father as he only killed things he didn't hate.

- Elab49.

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 6:47:17 PM)

139. Murder on the Orient Express


(1974; Sidney Lumet)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy

Blurb coming soon

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 6:48:37 PM)

138. Cockfighter


(1974; Monte Hellman)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

Warren Oates plays Frank Mansfield, an obsessive trainer of fighting cocks. After his best bird is defeated and he lost the championship due to his drunken bragging, he takes a vow of silence. He plans to stay silent until he wins the cockfighter of the year medal, hopefully defeating his rival, Jack (who at the start of film has just won Frank's home, car and girl) along the way.

Cockfighter is a remarkable character study of a lonely man caught up in behaviour patterns he can't escape. Frank is a driven man, willing to sacrifice everything for his goal. He's also a gentle man, something that's in stark contrast to his profession. The scenes of him trying to reconnect with an old love who'll marry him, as long as he gives up cockfighting, are heartbreaking. Most of the dramatic weight lies with Oates and he gives an incredible performance. With no dialogue to work with, he has to rely on his expressive face and hands. While lesser actors would resort to pantomime, he manages to create intensely moving and believable scenes. It's a haunting performance and it's difficult to imagine anyone else in the role with the possible exception of Harry Dean Stanton, who just happens to play Frank's rival.

Cockfighter is one of the bleakest works of the 70s, look beyond the character study and you could almost be watching a documentary about a world you don't want to exist. Cockfighting is a brutal, bloody business and the film was shot in the one state in America where fighting is legal. The animal cruelty is deeply distressing, and the fast forward button is recommended for some scenes. But you never feel as if Hellman is exploiting cruelty, he was filming it as it occurred, not creating it for the camera. Ethical problems aside, it's one of the grittiest films of its time. It's also not that much of a stretch to read the entire film as a study of repression worthy of a Forster novel.

Hellman and Oates are one of the great actor/director teams, each enhancing the other's work in the way the best teams do. It's actually a stronger companion piece to Two-Lane Blacktop than it may seem on first glance. At its most basic level its another road movie, and like Blacktop Hellman completely immerses us in this strange world. They also share the same sense of resigned acceptance of fate. The characters seem pre-destined to lead these lives and they feel unable to break their patterns.

Cockfighter was a commercial failure, but that's hardly shocking. Producer Roger Corman may have been hoping for a cheap exploitationer to make a quick profit, but instead he got a film shot through with blood and passion and one of the least commercial films imaginable.

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 6:50:45 PM)

137. Smokey and the Bandit


(1977; Hal Needham)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy

If you've never really understood why Burt Reynolds was such a major star I doubt you can do better than digging this out and having a look. Spawning a couple of sequels and part of a wave of trucking films, Smokey and the Bandit was one of the highest grossing films of 1977. Already big in noir thanks to the likes of Buzz Bezzerides there were a ton of trucking movies in the 70s – in 77 alone you had The Great Smokey Road Block and Breaker Breaker as well as Bandit and a year or so later Clint Eastwood got behind the wheel with Clyde, around the time Peckinpah went trucking in Convoy. Then it came to TV with BJ and the Bear. Now trucking films more often hark back to Duel in films like Joyride or the Korean film Truck, firmly in the horror genre with only the occasional drama like Trucker.

Father and son odd couple, Enos and Little Enos Burdette, wearers of the dumbest baby blue suits you've ever seen, hire trucking legend the Bandit to transport some Coors beer for them to a truck rodeo in Georgia. Although Coors is now widely available, in the late 70s it was only available in the western states of the US so taking it east of Texas was bootlegging – and that's where 'smokey' comes in. Using a fast car to block (ie drawing out the smokeys before they see the truck), Bandit and the Snowman make the mistake of picking up a stray runaway bride. Problem? The wedding she was running away from was to the inept son of vengeful lawman Texas Sheriff Buford T Justice.

Reynolds gives a confident star performance, charismatic and funny; his inadvertent encounter with Gleason in the choke and puke beats anything Mann could manage because it was perfectly in keeping with the characters. It was fortunate for the movie that Needham drew him in – apart from drawing on memories of his own sheriff father, Reynolds replaced his then co-star in the lead – country singer Jerry Reed is fine as Snowman but couldn't have handled the starring role. Reed also provides the successful title song, Eastbound and Down and is accompanied through the film by sedate beagle Fred, who loves swimming, and to whom Snowman insists on ascribing an entire world of anthropomorphism. Sure there is a bit of shoe-horned in romance, but you need Field's character to get Justice and Field is at her best as the sassy, intelligent Frog.

"What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law"

Low pumping brass – you know the sound – heralds Jackie Gleason's arrival on the scene. Although there are some broad similarities this isn't Bond's Sheriff Pepper – Gleason is determined, racist, a bit of a fruitcake with a temper to boot, but he isn't actually dumb (unlike his son). Just thwarted. He's a brilliant foil to Reynolds's Bandit, ad-libbing happily, gross of manner and a joy to watch.

The film is full of gleeful car chases galore with outcomes that have become all but clichιs now but still work perfectly here and the smart, funny script is full of CB jargon, some of which is possibly obscene and still goes over my head.

Films like this and Convoy fuelled a minor CB craze in the UK. Every kid wanted a CB radio. Where my gran lived in the high flats in Glasgow, at least one kid in each block seemed to have one and people either talked between blocks or eavesdropped. It was a lot better than realising your turntable/radio seemed to be picking up police radios when they were close by (which also happened!).

- Elab

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (22/7/2012 6:52:14 PM)

136. The House with Laughing Windows


(1976; Pupi Avati)
Highest Vote: WifeofRaw

Stefano (Capolicchio) arrives in a rural Italian village, hired to restore a fresco depicting the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian that's painted on a run-down church wall. Francesco stays with the sisters of the deceased artist, Legnani, and begins a romance with a beautiful young teacher, Francesca (Marciano) He also begins to hear stories that the painter was insane, "a painter of agony", and created his art based on murderous reality, torturing people to death to gain inspiration. When a series of brutal killings strike the village, Stefano comes to believe that someone is trying to stop him learning more of the artist's secrets. After the death of a friend, Stefano attempts to uncover the truth behind the artist, the painting, and the strange house with laughing windows.

If you're familiar with some of the masters of Italian horror, then Avati's work may come as something of a surprise. It's more of a slow burn than you might expect, especially in the 70s when Argento and Fulci were prominent. Much of the brutal violence and gore you'd expect is missing, although there are a few grisly scenes, including the opening sequence. I think this is where the comparisons to The Wicker Man come from. Both films build on a dogged lead character investigating a mystery he's been warned to leave alone in a bizarre village where everyone seems sinister. Also, both films find much of their horror in the sense of encroaching dread that the atmosphere evokes.

It's an oddly naturalistic feeling film, one that relishes in creating horror in quiet moments rather than sudden shocks. Even though the title sequence is as extreme as anything in Suspiria, the gore soon drops away. Avati lingers on scenes to allow the sense of unease to build, creating a sense of paranoia that puts it among the best atmospheric horror of the period, alongside gems like Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Lemora and The Tenant. Intelligently written and perfectly pitched all the way through to its insane finale, The House with Laughing Windows is one of the key works of weird cinema of the period.

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (23/7/2012 5:02:53 AM)

135. Black Christmas


(1974; Bob Clark)
Highest Vote: Rhubarb

Blurb coming soon

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (23/7/2012 5:03:40 AM)

134. The Andromeda Strain


(1971; Robert Wise)
Highest Vote: Spectator of Suicide

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (23/7/2012 5:04:31 AM)

133. The Ruling Class


(1972; Peter Medak)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

An adaptation of Peter Barnes' stage satire, this is the tale of a paranoid schizophrenic who just happens to be a peer of the realm. Peter O'Toole plays Jack Gurney, the 14th Earl of Gurney. Jack thinks he's God, and scandalises his family with talk of bringing love to the world, his habit of breaking into song, and the fact he sleeps upright on a cross. Before becoming Earl he spent eight years in a private institution, only ascending to the title after his father accidentally hung himself while wearing a military uniform and a ballet tutu. His devious uncle, Sir Charles, plans to marry him off in the hope of producing an heir and having Jack put in an institution, a plan that fails when the wife, Grace, falls in love with Jack. Charles's wife befriends Jack just to spite him and she also seduces Gurney's psychiatrist to try and get a quicker cure. Gurney is brought back to his senses after electroshock treatment, his psychiatrist believing he will be cured if he can remember his name is Jack. And he does, sadly Gurney now thinks he's Jack the Ripper. When Gurney tried to bring love, everyone feared him. When he rants in favour of capital punishment and murders (framing the family butler for the crime) he is readily accepted.

The Ruling Class is absurdist, hilarious, and disturbing. A film of wild extremes that swings from silly musical numbers to outright terror with ease. The film is also a caustic attack on some cherished British institutions and Britain itself really, the education system, the hypocrisy of the elite, the way the ruling class hate anything vaguely liberal, the church, the military, aristocracy, the House of Lords and pretty much anything else you can think of. It's a provocative work and both Barnes and Medak are seeking to confront the viewer. But as much as they try to distance us, the cast entices us in.

O'Toole was never better than he is here, and considering the performances he's given throughout his career, that's high praise. This is a powerful performance in a challenging and difficult role. He should have won the Oscar for this role, but missed out to a glorified supporting performance instead. He's ably supported by a talented cast that includes Alastair Sim, Arthur Lowe, William Mervyn, Coral Browne and a host of others all at the top of their game. An essential piece of British cinema that sadly seems to have become mostly forgotten.

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (23/7/2012 5:06:26 AM)

132. The Outlaw Josey Wales


(1976; Clint Eastwood)
Highest Vote: Gimli

Blurb Coming Soon

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (23/7/2012 5:08:23 AM)

131. The Man Who Would Be King


(1975; John Huston)
Highest Vote: Rhubarb

Blurb soon, I guess.

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (24/7/2012 9:22:10 PM)

130. Tale of Tales


(1979; Yuri Norstein)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

Often acclaimed as the greatest animated film of all time, Tale of Tales is a tender and poetic meditation on the history of Russia. It's about how the history of Russia as a nation becomes intertwined with the memories and history of the individual. In many ways it's an animated companion to Tarkovsky's Mirror in its examination of memory and childhood. It attempts to capture the structure of human memory, so the film feels fragmented instead of running in chronological order. Associations are made between thoughts and images until we have a series of connected imagery that's difficult to penetrate.

One of the film's main concerns is war, especially Russian losses on the Eastern Front. While there's no on-screen combat, the film is very focused on the effects of war. We are shown dancing couples who are split apart as the men disappear and are replaced by grim reapers and notifications of death coming back to the waiting wives and mothers.

The other main thread is Norstein's memories and fantasies of childhood. A boy watches crows in a tree and he dreams of sitting with them and sharing his apple. We hear a lullaby of a little grey wolf and we see the wolf and how the lullaby misunderstands him. The wolf is the highlight of the short, clever, inquisitive and one of the sweetest animated characters. Norstein contrasts this innocence with the effects of war and leaves us with a poignant and whimsical masterpiece.

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (24/7/2012 9:24:18 PM)

129. The Devils


(1971; Ken Russell)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy

Ken Russell's finest film was this adaptation of Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun. It tells of the fate of Urbain Grandier, a French priest who was accused of witchcraft. In Loudun, the governor has died and left control of the city to Grandier (Oliver Reed). He's a popular man, but doesn't take his duties seriously, indulging in an affair with the sister of another priest. The deformed Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave) has become sexually fixated on him and asks him to take confessions in the convent. When the priest marries another woman, Sister Jeanne is driven to insanity. The Baron de Laudardemont (Dudley Sutton) arrives and is looking to demolish the town. Grandier uses the army to stop him. Father Mignon (Murray Melvin) takes over his confessor duties and Jeanne uses the opportunity to tell him of Grandier's affairs and to accuse him of witchcraft. Mass hysteria overtakes the nuns of the town and a witch-hunter arrives to purge the nuns of their demons, leading to Grandier being arrested and put on mock-trial before the town. This is one of the films that took on an almost mythical quality for me in my early teens so I'll always have a huge affection for the film. I don't think it's as disturbing as many others seem to, in fact it strikes me more as a John Waters-esque orgy of bad taste. It's all incredibly camp, but it's also quite brilliant. There's an incredible sense of spectacle, all played out against Derek Jarman's remarkable sets. There's also powerful performances all down the line, Redgrave and Sutton are stand-outs, but Reed dominates the film, giving the most magnetic performance of his career.

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (24/7/2012 9:27:05 PM)

128. The Aristocats


(1970; Wolfgang Reitherman)
Highest Vote: MovieAddict

Blurb maybe

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (24/7/2012 9:28:05 PM)

127. Tommy


(1975; Ken Russell)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy


rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (25/7/2012 8:51:53 PM)

125. The Man with the Golden Gun


(1974; Guy Hamilton)
Highest Vote: Spectator of Suicide

125. Even Dwarfs Started Small


(1970; Werner Herzog)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

In what seems to be an alternate universe of little people, a group of dwarfs living in an institution on a remote island stage an uprising against their caretakers. During the revolt they trap their supervisor in his office and run amuck in the grounds of the institution, declaring war not only against their ruler but against the institution, society and seemingly nature itself.

So as you may have guessed, the film doesn't really present you with a conventional or even a cohesive narrative. Instead it's a confrontational work, packed with absurdist humour and drawing from the air of revolution from the late 60s. The temptation is to view the film as a freakshow that just place dwarfs in bizarre situations and at times it does become part of that tendancy to somehow equate dwarfs with weird events in cinema. But it counters that problem by making this a society of little people, it's not just a dwarf coming in to freak out everyone else. It's just a film that happens to focus on some of the problematic elements of the dwarf society.

We're never really sure what the institution is and why the people are there, some think it's a prison, my own assumption was always an asylum, simply based on how extreme their behaviour is. I don't think it really matters, at heart it's just a metaphor for all society. The dwarfs in the film rebel against that imposing institution called society with anarchic and destructive actions that range from garish mock weddings to setting fires to regrettable scenes of animal cruelty.

Herzog claimed that the film came to him like a nightmare, and you can see his point. The film shares that same frustrating dream logic and bizarre imagery. If you're looking for something a little more conventional (but why would you go to Herzog for that anyway) then go elsewhere, because this film is seriously odd, even by the director's standards. The major allegory in the film seems to be of the loss of free will and what can happen people reclaim the independence that's been stolen from them. Also, it deals with how one system of rule is as bad as the other, when the guards run the institution the inmates are neglected, when the inmates take over they in turn isolate others. So is it about how cruelty breeds cruelty? The failure of society and also of the anarchy that replaces society? I think you're free to draw your own conclusions, which is one of the most beautiful things about this savage little film, it never tells you what to think of its nightmarish world.

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (25/7/2012 8:57:20 PM)

124. Frenzy


(1972; Alfred Hitchcock)
Highest Vote: Matty

Don't listen to the cynics, this much maligned late Hitchcock film is every bit as good as his earlier work and it fits perfectly into themes he'd established through his career. There's a real sense that this should have been his final work as you can almost feel the great director looking over his work to date with this film. Frenzy was his first film made in Britain in some time and the opening scene lays out Hitchcock's intentions on his return to Blighty, an aerial view of London, finishing with a dead body floating naked in the Thames. The body is the latest victim of the Necktie Murderer, a serial killer that's been terrorizing London. We soon find Hitchcock falling into his often visited plotline of the wrong man being framed for a crime. This time it's the short-tempered Richard (Jon Finch), recently fired from his bartender work for drinking on a job. Soon his ex-wife is murdered by the necktie killer, and Richard is the prime suspect. Richard is forced to go on the run, but dogged Inspector Oxford (a wonderful Alec McCowen) has doubts about his guilt, meanwhile, the real killer is still on the large.

It's a subversive film, especially in the way the innocent man is presented as, well, a bit of a dick, while the killer is a lot more fun (when he isn't raping and killing at least) There's a scene in the film that I won't spoil, but that often gets criticised as excessive, but there's always been the feeling that Hitchcock was a director with an ugly view of the world, and it fits right in to that view. The relaxation of the censorship laws and the new freedoms of the 70s just allowed him to be more graphic than in the past. If the scene disgusts you, good, it's meant to. Frenzy is an underrated and unjustly attacked film, that includes at least one sequence that rates among the best Hitchcock ever directed.

- Rawlinson

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (25/7/2012 9:56:20 PM)

123. Robin Hood


(1973; Wolfgang Reitherman)
Highest Vote: Movie Addict

Robin Hood and Little John running through the forest, something something something something trying to get away

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (25/7/2012 10:01:43 PM)

122. Diamonds Are Forever


(1971; Guy Hamilton)
Highest Vote: Spectator of Suicide

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (25/7/2012 10:02:45 PM)

121. Mad Max


(1979; George Miller)
Highest Vote: Spectator of Suicide

rawlinson -> RE: 70s Poll Countdown (26/7/2012 8:40:32 PM)

120. Theatre of Blood


(1973; Douglas Hickox)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy

Quite possibly the greatest horror comedy of all time, and one of the few that actually manages to be both funny and frightening, Theatre of Blood sees the great Vincent Price at the height of his powers. It may not be as fine a performance as Witchfinder General, where Price conveyed moral bankruptcy and spiritual emptiness with startling accuracy, but it's the Price that most people are familiar with, camp, sinister and a joy to watch.

Price stars as Edward Lionheart, a Shakespearean actor out for vengeance on the critics who didn't appreciate him. In his mind, Lionheart was the greatest Shakespearean actor of his time, in reality he was just a big ham. Humiliated by the critics when they didn't award him their best actor trophy, he fakes his own death and, aided by his daughter, Edwina (Diana Rigg), takes revenge by murdering them in the style of Shakespeare's plays. It may not sound that funny, but the over-the-top deaths of the critics circle make for hilarious viewing. As for the circle themselves, they're played with complete joy by an impressive cast that includes Harry Andrews, Ian Hendry, Coral Browne, Jack Hawkins, Dennis Price, Robert Morley, Robert Coote, Arthur Lowe and the man who should have voiced God, Michael Hordern.

Similar in theme to the Phibes films, I think Blood just has the edge over them because of that supporting cast and because Price himself isn't restrained behind a mask. Instead he's allowed to run wildly over-the-top in a performance that I swear parodies Olivier's Shakespearean work. It's literate, grotesque and just damn funny.

- Rawlinson

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