Greatest Films of the 1970s
Greatest Films of the 1970s

Greatest Films of the 1970s
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Academy Awards for 1975 Films
Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

Barry Lyndon (1975, UK), 184 minutes, D: Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick's lengthy dramatic period film, an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's 1844 novel, told about the tragic exploits of scheming Irish rogue Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal), who attempted to enter the 18th century aristocracy by marrying the rich widow - Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson). It was one of the most visually-beautiful films ever made, and captured the Oscar for Best Cinematography. The lush, opulent, romanticized views of English countryside landscapes often dominated the screen, carefully composed as artistic paintings and appearing similar to the works of English portrait and landscape painter Thomas Gainsborough. When the camera pulled back, characters were often dwarfed by the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings. Technical innovations in some indoor scenes involved using only natural lighting - the golden illumination from candles.

The Day of the Locust (1975), 144 minutes, D: John Schlesinger

Dersu Uzala (1975, Jp./Soviet Union) (aka The Hunter), 137 minutes, D: Akira Kurosawa

Dog Day Afternoon (1975), 130 minutes, D: Sidney Lumet

Jaws (1975), 120 minutes, D: Steven Spielberg
Director Spielberg's blockbuster giant Great White Shark tale, a quintessential summer film and action/adventure/horror classic, was derived from the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley. It also featured a thrilling, memorable and rousing score by John Williams. In the story set in 1975, a popular Massachusetts seaside resort area known as Amity Island (fictional) was gearing up for the profitable summer tourist season beginning with the July 4th Independence Day weekend. The new chief of police from New York, Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), who was fearful of the water, had been called upon to investigate a brutal shark attack upon attractive blonde Chrissie Watkins (Susan Backlinie) in the film's gripping opening. In truly frightening, scary and surprising attacks on the New England coast, an unseen monstrous man-eater was preying on the unsuspecting inhabitants and vacationers alike. Brody was confronted by the eager Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) and others to keep the town open. Three unlikely partners teamed up on a suspenseful 'fishing trip' to hunt down the rogue sea creature and destroy it: Brody, young university-educated marine oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and crusty, grizzled old-time fisherman Sam Quint (Robert Shaw) resembling the obsessed Ahab in the Moby Dick tale. In the climactic finale, the shark ended up pursuing Quint's boat, the Orca, and ultimately both Quint and the shark died bloody deaths and the boat was destroyed. Brody and Hooper were forced to assemble a makeshift raft and paddle back to Amity's shore.

Love and Death (1975), 85 minutes, D: Woody Allen

The Man Who Would Be King (1975, UK), 129 minutes, D: John Huston
Co-writer/director John Huston's old-fashioned, rousing costume adventure film and morality tale (about avarice) was based on Anglo-Indian novelist Rudyard Kipling's 1888 short story tale, told in flashback. [Note: Huston had originally wanted to make the film in the 1940s, with Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable in the lead roles as soldiers of fortune, and then in the early 1960s with Marlon Brando and Richard Burton.] DreamWorks SKG's film version, its second feature-length animated film The Road to El Dorado (2000), with Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline, was set in Central America instead of Afghanistan. Huston's film garnered four Academy Award nominations including: Best Adapted Screenplay (John Huston & Gladys Hill), Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration. Shot on location in Morocco, it opened in the 1880s in Lahore, India where young Rudyard Kipling (Christopher Plummer) was working as a newspaper editor. He met two roguish former British soldiers-adventurers, Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) and Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery), who were planning to set out from Raj-ruled India to a remote region known as Kafiristan in E. Afghanistan (a province now called Nuristan). Their objective was to acquire wealth by ruling over the area's many warring tribes and setting themselves up as protective kings. After studying maps, making a pact to not drink or womanize, and supplying themselves with 20 rifles and disguises, they left Kipling and began their journey. When they finally (with lots of good luck) reached the primitive area, and were aided by an ex-Gurkha soldier named Billy Fish (Saeed Jaffrey), they began to train the natives to conquer their rivals. While serving there as military officers, the pair happened to be mistaken for gods or kings by the members of a priestly cult, when an arrow from a renegade attack struck Daniel's chest, but he survived without injury. Rather than actually being immortal, the arrow struck his bandolier and failed to penetrate into his flesh and wound him. The natives also believed he was the incarnation of Alexander the Great due to the Masonic medallion he was wearing. But then, due to a combination of greed, narcissism, and pride, their streak of luck turned tragic, when Daniel actually believed himself to be godly. He began to arrogantly assert his own divinity and invincibility, and his right to take their rich royal treasures from the holy city of Sikandergul. His assistant Peachy, on the other hand, suspected that eventually their fraud would be found out, and attempted to get Daniel to give up the delusion and leave before calamity struck. Daniel insisted on taking a native wife named Roxanne (Shakira Caine, Michael's real-life wife in her screen debut). The marriage turned out to be a disaster, because Roxanne, in fear of marrying a god, bit Daniel's face and drew blood - thereby exposing the two as mortals. As the two fled the city and its outraged natives, Daniel was killed when he was chased onto a rope bridge, and fell to his death into a deep gorge, while Peachy was caught, tortured and crucified, and left for dead. He eventually survived and made his way back to India where he met with Rudyard Kipling and told his amazing story (already viewed). He punctuated his horrific story with the dessicated, golden-crowned head of his partner Daniel.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, UK), 89 minutes, D: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
The silly, chaotic, sick joke-filled and zany Monty Python troupe, a close modern equivalent to the Marx Brothers, first appeared in their late 60s BBC-TV show, Monty Python's Flying Circus. Afterwards, the group compiled a retelling of the show's sketches for the big screen in And Now For Something Completely Different (1971). This was their second film and first feature-length film - a raucous, anarchic retelling of the Middle Ages legend of King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his quest, that skewered medieval action epics, mythology, war, religion, the Arthurian legend, Camelot and more. The opening credits in this popular, outrageous, and original cult film slowly gave way to mock Swedish titles, and drifted into ravings about the moose and its virtues, before grinding to a halt with: "We apologize for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked." The opening credits resumed, but still with odd credits added for everything from "Moose Costumes" to "Moose trained to mix concrete and sign complicated insurance forms," which was followed by another apology: "The directors of the firm hired to continue the credits after the other people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been sacked. The credits have been completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute." Their style of humor was best exemplified by the comically-gruesome encounter with the unbelievably persistent Black Knight (John Cleese), who still insisted on fighting ("It's just a flesh wound") after his limbs had been hacked off by King Arthur. Many fans can instantly recite many of the memorable scenes, vignettes and set-pieces, such as the "Bring Out Your Dead" scene, or the rude, taunting Frenchman, a bloodthirsty killer rabbit, and the tree-shaped Knights who said "Ni." Over the years, the troupe's popularity would grow with additional Monty Python films, such as Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983).

Nashville (1975), 159 minutes, D: Robert Altman
Altman's great country-music, Bicentennial epic length drama was set in the capital city of Nashville. Its view of a microcosm of America was summed up in one of the film's lyrics: "We must be doing something right to last 200 years." It was one of the great American films of the 1970s with its multi-level, original, tragic-comedic epic study of American culture, show-business, leadership and politics. Altman was cynically commenting upon the confused state of American society with its political emptiness and showy commercialism. The satirical film commented upon religion, politics, sex, violence, and the materialistic culture. The business of country-western music co-existed with the election campaign of an unseen, independent (populist) party candidate. It was told as an intricate, free-form, impressionistic, intertwining tale, tangentially linking together twenty-four protagonists who arrived on the scene to be part of the Nashville showbiz crowd, and appeared at a pop concert and a political rally for the "Replacement Party." Colorful characters, both performers and audience members in the mosaic-style film, converged in a massive traffic jam and were present during a violent assassination scene by the film's conclusion. The main characters were: Presidential hopeful Hal Philip Walker, frail, crooning country western sweetheart Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakley), singing rival Connie White (Karen Black), folk-singing lecherous lover Tom Frank (Keith Carradine), BBC tele-journalist Opal (Geraldine Chaplin), a groupie from LA (Shelley Duvall), and master of ceremonies Haven Hamilton (Henry Gibson). Altman keenly observed the differing agendas of the characters - companionship and/or sex, a shot at stardom or political advancement, and musical aspirations, to name a few. There were multiple means of communication to connect the characters (phone calls, tape recordings, radio and TV, and P.A. announcements), most of whom gave a public performance at some point.

Night Moves (1975), 100 minutes, D: Arthur Penn
Arthur Penn's moody, post-Watergate neo-noirish, psychological detective film and mystery-thriller told about a missing persons crime case in the Florida Keys. Early in the film, middle-aged, chess enthusiast, ex-football player and LA private eye Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman) discovered to his shock that his wife Ellen Moseby (Susan Clark) was having an affair. Harry was hired in LA by wasted ex-actress and sexually-liberated studio boss divorcee Arlene Iverson (Janet Ward) to find her daughter, a promiscuous 16 year-old runaway named Delilah "Delly" Grastner (Melanie Griffith in an early role at age 16 or 17) who had been missing for two weeks; Delly was Arlene's daughter from her first husband. After contact with Delly's ex-boyfriend Quentin (James Woods), a greasy, suspicious LA mechanic, Harry was led to speak with two Hollywood stunt workers: stuntman/pilot Marv Ellman (Anthony Costello) and director Joey Ziegler (Edward Binns). Harry found Delly in the Florida Keys, where the liberated Delly was living with her stepfather Tom Iverson (John Crawford) (Arlene's second estranged husband), with a charter boat business, and his sexy hippie mistress Paula (singer Jennifer Warren). Delly claimed that the only reason that the selfish Arlene wanted her back was to live off her trust fund of $30,000/year, that required them to be living together. In the intriguing pursuit of the case, unexpected events - including multiple deaths-murders and a hidden smuggling operation of valuable Mexican artwork from the Yucatan to the US, had completely fooled the detective. The decomposed remains of stunt pilot Marv Ellman were found in a crashed plane in the Keys - possibly due to sabotage and a motive of jealousy. Harry only learned later that the plane was piloted by Marv Ellman and held stolen smuggled goods from Mexico. Although Moseby was able to convince Delly to return with him to LA to live with her mother Arlene, soon after on the set of a movie, as a result of a serious (and suspicious) car accident, Delly died and stunt coordinator Joey Ziegler was seriously injured. It was suspected that Quentin had monkeyed with the car's engine. After learning that Delly's stepfather Tom (and Paula) were working in cahoots with pilot Marv Ellman to smuggle pre-Colombian art sculptures and antiquities in Florida, Harry returned to the Keys where four principal characters were found dead or were murdered in the dramatic climax. The entire case had completely fooled the misguided detective who was left wounded and in a rudderless boat aimlessly going in circles.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), 133 minutes, D: Milos Forman
The mid-70s baby-boomers' counter-culture was ripe for a film dramatizing rebellion and insubordination against oppressive bureaucracy, and an insistence upon individual rights, self-expression and freedom. Director Milos Forman's drama won five major Oscar awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress - it tied the record with the similar lauded romantic comedy from Frank Capra It Happened One Night (1934). Writer Ken Kesey's celebrated, best-selling 1962 novel was cinematically adapted - first into a 1963 Broadway play (with Kirk Douglas), and then into this film. It presented the compelling, socially-conscious portrait of mental institution patients pitted by the protagonist - free-spirited, ebullient, rebellious convict Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), against a tyrannical head nurse who kept her cool disguised by a sinister smile. The energetic, flamboyant, wise-guy anti-hero McMurphy feigned insanity to avoid a jail sentence for statuatory rape in 1963, and was incarcerated in the Oregon insane asylum. His crazed struggles against oppression, the status-quo, conformity and the manipulative, authoritarian Nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher) symbolized the rebellious 60's era. He served as a catalyst and invigorating inspiration for the subdued, troubled patients against the mental institution ("the cuckoo's nest"). At first, he complained about the rationing or confiscation of cigarettes and restrictive card-playing rules. When he protested additional arbitrary and heavy-handed rules about watching a game in the World Series live in television, and then illegally staged a fishing field trip for the ward, he was restrained and punished with a series of electroshock therapies. When he returned to the ward, he faked being a zombie, greeting them with: "How about it? You creeps, you lunatics, mental defectives. Let's hear it for Bull Goose Randall back in action..." The last straw was McMurphy's organization of a midnight Christmas party or celebration (a pre-escape party with alcohol and prostitutes, his two girlfriends Candy (Marya Small) and Rose (Louisa Moritz)). After being discovered by the staff the next morning, Nurse Ratched publically shamed and humiliated stuttering and anxious patient Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif) for apparently losing his virginity with Candy during the party, and the guilt-ridden Billy committed suicide by slitting his throat with a piece of broken glass. Feeling utterly hopeless and powerless, McMurphy attacked Nurse Ratched and attempted to strangle her. His punishment was capped by a zombie-producing, paralyzing lobotomy. He returned glassy-eyed, catatonic, totally passive, and obediently captive to the ward. He was taken down and paid the ultimate price for his messianic, outrageous non-conformity. The strong and silent Indian "Chief" Bromden (Will Sampson) that he had befriended earlier (and was feigning being a deaf-mute), relieved McMurphy's pitiful misery by a mercy-killing - smothering him with a pillow before crashing through the outer wall of the hospital (he threw a heavy hydrotherapy console through a window) and escaping from 'the cuckoo's nest.'

The Passenger (1975, It./Sp.) (aka Professione: Reporter), 125 minutes, D: Michelangelo Antonioni

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Australia), 115 minutes, D: Peter Weir
Peter Weir's mystical, intriguing, and bewildering mystery-drama was about sexual repression at a private girls' school in Australia that experienced an unsolved and puzzling mystery regarding a field trip. The film's themes were voyeurism, peeping, repressiveness, gazing, coming-of-age, and dream worlds. The pre-credits prologue stated: "On Saturday 14th February 1900 a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picnicked at Hanging Rock near Mt. Macedon in the state of Victoria. During the afternoon several members of the party disappeared without trace..." On St. Valentine's Day in the year 1900, young nubile schoolgirls in the Victorian-Edwardian-era in Australia were preparing for a field trip - an ill-fated journey. They were instructed by strict authoritarian headmistress Mrs. Appleyard (Rachel Roberts) (of Appleyard College, a finishing school) that the group would be visiting the geological wonders of Hanging Rock (near Woodend, Victoria) for a day's picnic - metaphorically, they would be entering into a primitive place of wild danger (similar to the passage into adult sexuality). There were hints of sexual, phallic danger and feminine crevices, openings and caves. Once they arrived by buggy for the day, an ominous thing happened. The watches of both buggy-coachman driver Ben Hussey (Martin Vaughan) and the young mathematics teacher Miss Greta McCraw (Vivean Gray) stopped exactly at 12 noon. Four of the girls went exploring amongst the menacing outcroppings and phallic-shaped forbidden volcanic rock crevices, including pretty, angelic, ethereal and popular blonde Miranda St. Clare (Anne Lambert) (described by a teacher as "a Botticelli angel"), smart glasses-wearing Marion Quade (Jane Vallis), pretty Irma Leopold (Karen Robson), and whining, fat Edith (Christine Schuler)). During their time at Hanging Rock, they stripped away their layers of clothing before mysteriously disappearing in the foreign location. Lagging-behind them, Edith screamed when she witnessed something at the moment of the three other girls' disappearance as they walked behind a rock face. Only Edith returned to the rest of the group, although hysterical, frightened, blubbering and unable to describe what had transpired. A late-night report was given to Mrs. Appleyard back at school, about the three missing girls and math teacher/chaperone Miss McCraw, by coach-driver Ben Hussey and young French teacher/chaperone Mme. Dianne de Poitiers (Helen Morse). The next day, a search party (with bloodhounds) at Hanging Rock resulted in Albert Crundall's (John Jarratt) discovery of an unconscious Irma. When Irma awoke, she had no recollection of what had happened. Meanwhile, Mrs. Appleyard was implicated in abusively threatening and punishing orphaned school girl Sara Waybourne (Margaret Nelson) and was planning to throw her out of the school for her indebtedness. After the disappearance of the girls at Hanging Rock, concerned parents began to withdraw their children from the school, and Mrs. Appleyard began drinking. Mrs. Appleyard asserted that Sara had been taken away and returned to the orphanage; however, the dead and bloodied body of Sara was shockingly discovered the next morning on the school grounds. After the discovery, Mrs. Appleyard (in black mourning clothes) was thought to have hurriedly packed up and quickly departed before she could be questioned. The final concluding narration described what happened to Mrs. Appleyard: ("The body of Mrs. Arthur Appleyard, Principal of Appleyard College, was found at the base of Hanging Rock on Friday, the 27th of March 1900....).

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, UK), 100 minutes, D: Jim Sharman
This low-budget, campy horror rock musical from writer/director Jim Sharman initially bombed at the box-office, but became, perhaps, the most popular cult film of all time, and one of the longest-running films. When the film began to play at midnight showings in Greenwich Village in April 1976, the film was revived as a multi-media, audience participatory experience and exploded as a worldwide phenomenon for many years. The bizarre film honored (and gently spoofed) the horror and science fiction genres of the past (RKO Pictures' King Kong (1933), Forbidden Planet (1956), The Wizard of Oz (1939), the Hercules films, The Day of the Triffids (1963), the classic "atomic age" sci-fi horror of the '50s, such as It Came From Outer Space (1953), and, of course, Frankenstein (1931)). The film featured catchy, overtly-sexual songs like "The Time Warp," "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me," and "Sweet Transvestite." The film was based on the 1973 British musical stage play The Rocky Horror Show by playwright/composer Richard O'Brien (who also played the butler named Riff Raff), about a haunted house inhabited by transexual aliens. The strange tale followed a straightlaced, wholesome, newly-engaged couple, Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick in his feature film debut) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon). After attending a friend's wedding in Denton, TX (or Ohio?), in November of 1974, the engaged couple were forced to take refuge in a spooky mansion/castle on a rainy night when their car had a flat tire. The two were met at the castle's front door by tall, gaunt, slightly bald, black-clad hunchbacked butler Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) and his sister - domestic maid Magenta (Patricia Quinn). They were soon brought into a world of subversiveness by the bisexual host - the carnivorous "sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania" Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), a mad scientist. Frank invited the engaged couple to stay the night - ("Why don'tcha stay for the night?"). They were escorted into an ascending elevator to visit Frank's secret upstairs lab for the unveiling of his artificial Frankenstein-esque mummified creation - a perfect man named Rocky "with blond hair and a tan," for Frank's bisexual gratification. Frank's assistants, Columbia (Nell Campbell) and Magenta, looked on. Suddenly, a greasy-haired, black leather-clad biker Eddie (Meatloaf) (with a gash over his forehead) emerged on his motorcycle from a DEEP FREEZE cyrogenic refrigerator that had just malfunctioned. Earlier when he arrived at the castle as a delivery boy, Eddie became Frank's lover (but was currently Columbia's boyfriend), and became one of Frank's experimental lab subjects. The wrathful Frank murdered (off-screen) Eddie with an ice-pick inside the cyrogenic chamber. That evening, Frank separately seduced both Janet and Brad in his tent. After Janet's sexual awakening (and loss of virginity), she found herself sexually aroused, located Rocky and seduced him. It was a shock to Frank, when he learned that Rocky had been initiated into heterosexual love and deflowered by Janet. Riff Raff announced the arrival of Frank's wheelchaired, rival scientist Dr. Everett Scott (Brad's ex-science teacher at Denton HS) at the castle. Dr. Scott was viewed suspiciously by Frank as a UFO investigator for the federal government (and he feared that maybe Brad and Janet were spies also). Dr. Scott claimed he was only there looking for his missing nephew Eddie. During a cannibalistic dinner in the grand dining room to celebrate Frank's birthday, Frank carved up the meat platter - Frank removed the tablecloth and suddenly revealed Eddie's decomposing corpse under the table, hacked up and framed in a glass coffin. Eddie's body had been mutilated for the night's meal. To cover up for his ghastly crime, and also in fear that his visitors-guests (Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott) were conspirators, the mad Frank-N-Furter flipped a switch on his alien technology (a Sonic Transducer) in the laboratory to freeze Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott, and turn them into nude, marble-stone statues. Frank announced that everyone should prepare for a floor show. On an empty stage, each of the four marble statues (Brad, Janet, Rocky and Columbia, but NOT Dr. Scott) had been bedecked by Frank in similar decadent drag garb (singing and dancing versions of Frank). Each of them was unfrozen, resurrected or reanimated, to perform in Frank's own bizarre cabaret show. The climactic "floor show" medley was then presented in the empty theater in front of an RKO Radio Picture Tower logo. Following a pool orgy, everyone was interrupted by Magenta (with a Bride of Frankenstein hairdo) and Riff Raff (with a pitchfork-shaped laser ray-gun), both wearing futuristic gold and silver costumes. They announced that they had been promoted to lead the Transylvanians, and that Frank was now their prisoner. Frank was eliminated with Riff Raff's laser-gun weapon ("a laser capable of emitting a beam of pure anti-matter") for the crime of killing Eddie, as well as Columbia for attempting to save him. Rocky came to Frank's side, and carried Frank's lifeless corpse to the top of the RKO radio tower (a parody of the climax of King Kong (1933)), while blasts struck him. When the tower toppled backwards, Rocky plunged into the pool and died. Riff Raff and Magenta fully revealed themselves as aliens - incestuous siblings from outer space (from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania). The castle-mansion, doubling as an alien spaceship, blasted off into space as they were beamed back to their home planet. Brad and Janet (still in drag costumes) and Dr. Scott were freed, but crawling in the charred dirt where the castle had once been.

Salo, Or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975, It./Fr.) (aka Salo O Le Centoventi Giornate Di Sodoma), 117 minutes, D: Pier Paolo Pasolini
This notorious and controversial film was directed by Italian poet, novelist, painter and film-maker Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was murdered before it was released. It was based on a work by the notorious Marquis de Sade - to depict the short-lived, lakeside republic of Salo in Nazi-controlled N. Italy at the close of WWII. There, four fascist officials in a secluded chateau near Marzabotto totally controlled, abused, tortured, enslaved and victimized an anonymous group of about 30 young and attractive peasant teenagers (both male and female) who had been rounded up. The group of four fascist officials (with four similar females) subjected them to sexual and physical tortures, psychological humiliation and violence over a period of a few days. This extreme exercise of power was supposed to symbolize the evil of fascism itself.

Seven Beauties (1975, It.) (aka Pasqualino Settebellezze), 115 minutes, D: Lina Wertmüller

Shampoo (1975), 109 minutes, D: Hal Ashby
Hal Ashby's adult sex comedy farce was about the sex lives of rich, narcissistic individuals in Beverly Hills, CA. It was set during a 24-hour time period on Election Day, November 4th, 1968 when Richard Nixon won the presidency - it was a satirical look at the social and sexual mores of the late 1960s, as exemplified by the main characters. Studly, liberated, seductive, single, 34-year-old playboyish Beverly Hills hair-dresser George Roundy (Warren Beatty) was often engaged in sexual relations with his female clients. Randy hair-stylist George feared commitment and was suspected to be gay, but engaged in simultaneous, round-robin heterosexual affairs with three women (actor Beatty's role reportedly mirrored his own Tinseltown exploits): George's foul-mouthed old lover-girlfriend Jackie Shawn (Julie Christie) - now the mistress of conservative, wealthy businessman Lester (Jack Warden) (George's potential financier), Lester's self-centered, opportunistic wife Felicia Karpf (Oscar-winning Lee Grant), and George's current pert but dumb aspiring actress/girlfriend Jill (Goldie Hawn), an aspiring actress. Jill was best friends with Jackie, who had not told Lester about her previous relationship with George. Jill was also dating film director Johnny Pope (Tony Bill) who was considering her for a role in his next movie filming in Egypt. George's objective was to open his own hair salon, but he lacked a credit rating and financial references, and the bank refused to offer him a loan. The convergence of characters and issues arose when George sought to obtain financial bankrolling-backing from Lester. Felicia supported George's business venture, while implying that George (her lover on the side) was homosexual to avoid bringing suspicion upon herself. In one scene after George cut Jackie's hair in Lester's steamy bathroom, George proceeded to have sex with Jackie on the floor, when they were interrupted by Lester. To fool him, they pretended to be doing her hair and told him to close the door and not let the steam out. Lester's seductive, resentful, Lolita-esque 17-year old teenaged daughter Lorna (Carrie Fisher) who wanted to avenge her cheating mother Felicia through sex with her hairdresser, asked George a series of personal questions, and then offered him a very forward proposition: "You're my mother's hairdresser...Are you gay?...Are you queer?...Have you ever made it with a guy?...Do you wanna f--k?" After going to bed with Lorna, Felicia arrived home and the exhausted George was immediately forced to have sex with her too. In the film's central highpoint, Lester (who believed that George was gay) allowed him to escort his wife Jackie to a 1968 Nixon-Republican Party election-night victory dinner at The Bistro restaurant. Jackie became drunk and embarrassed herself by groping at George. Later in the evening, when all the main characters proceeded to a hip and posh counterculture party at a private Beverly Hills mansion with lots of booze and drugs, Lester and Jill (with her date) stumbled upon an unidentified couple in a boathouse during the party. George was in the midst of having sexual intercourse with Jackie in the dark. Both Jill and Lester were disgusted by George's behavior and stormed off. By film's end, George's world had fallen apart when all his various secretive liaisons were revealed, when he was shown to be incapable of love, and he deserved to be abandoned. The final sequence was of morally-shallow, bleak miserable and hedonistic George with Jackie atop a Hollywood/Beverly Hills bluff. George proposed to Jackie, but it was already too late. George learned that Lester had left Felicia and was planning to divorce her, and had already proposed to Jackie. George realized to his dismay that he had lost Jackie to Lester. After she left him, he looked down from a distance and saw them drove away on a trip to Acapulco. She had decided that Lester's offer of security and financial well-being was more important to her than George's irresponsible behavior and promise of sexual fulfillment.

The Stepford Wives (1975), 115 minutes, D: Bryan Forbes
Director Bryan Forbes' great and shocking cautionary feminist sci-fi/horror and part-mystery cult tale was an adaptation of Ira Levin's satirical 1972 novel of the same name from a screenplay by William Goldman. The creepy, satirical black comedy and cult classic provided a savagely-chilling view of perfect, 'ideal' Betty Crocker-like suburban wives (docile android/robotic replicas that were made to be loving, obedient, and subservient (they wore flowery dresses and hats, cleaned house obsessively, were always available for sex, and cooked gourmet meals). The robotic clones were created by anti-women's lib husbands in the upscale town of Stepford, Connecticut (fictitious), who eliminated their free-spirited wives (literally) and replaced them with exact replicas - in the mold of an old fashioned male supremacist ideal (submissive, compliant and automaton housewives who were sex objects and domestic slaves with only one goal - to please their middle-aged, corporate husbands). In the film's opening, aspiring photographer and housewife Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) was moving from a NYC apartment with her balding husband Walter (Peter Masterson) and their two children to the suburbs in Stepford, CT. Almost immediately, Joanna felt oppressed, lonely and uncomfortable in her new surroundings, while Walter had met "other Stepford commuters" and quickly joined their cliquish but eminent Stepford Mens' Association. The situation improved for Joanna when she met Bobby Markowe (Paula Prentiss) - another big-city transplant and newcomer to the small town and a self-described "ex-Gothamite, who's been living here in Ajax country for just over a month now, and l'm going crazy"; she was also exasperated with the sanitized, seemingly-perfect but meaningless lives of the bland young wives in Stepford who were obsessed with housework. Instantly they became friends. Both spoke suspiciously about the lifestyles of their subservient neighbor housewives, and were finally able to put together their own Women's Lib consciousness-raising session to compete with the mens' "sexually archaic" club. However, conversations during first club meeting disintegrated into over-exaggerated joy by the participants over the virtues of Easy-On laundry starch. Bobby developed a crack-pot theory that contaminated Stepford water was causing behavioral changes in many of the Stepford women, due to the dumping of toxic waste from nearby industrial labs into the river, but she was disproven. Bobby vowed to never become a Stepford wife and decided to force her husband Dave (Simon Deckard) to move out immediately, and she also encouraged Joanna to do the same. Joanna's biggest shock came when she visited Bobby's home after her friend had spent a weekend with her husband for their annual romantic getaway. Joanna found Bobby wearing a frilly formal dress with makeup, and vowing to never be a slob again so that she could please her husband. Joanna sought help from female psychiatrist Dr. Fancher (Carol Rossen), and explained how she wanted to move out of the stifling town of Stepford with its conformist, deadened housewives. She also revealed her own male conspiracy theory: "l think the men are behind it...All of them in the Association. My husband, everyone." When she returned home and found Walter drinking, and their children were missing, Joanna again proceeded to Bobby's home, where her robotic-acting friend cheerfully offered to serve her a "fresh-perked" cup of coffee. She screamed at Bobby: "You are different. Your figure's different, your face, what you talk about. All of this is different," and stabbed her in the abdomen with a bread knife to test her humanity. The wound turned out to be bloodless, although the stabbing caused her android friend to go berserk, drop coffee cups, saucers and coffee grounds onto the floor, and repetitively ask the same questions due to malfunctioning, severed robotic wiring. To find her children and determine who was behind the transformations, Joanna proceeded to the town's Mens' Association mansion, where she confronted the cold-hearted mastermind Dale "Diz" Coba (Patrick O'Neal). Dale revealed the horrifying truth about the Stepford wives - that many of them had been replaced by look-alike, robotic androids. The film's climax came with Joanna's viewing of her own, semi-completed, robot-duplicate with sunken dark eyes, peacefully combing her hair in front of a tri-part mirror on a dresser. The Joanna-duplicate wrapped a long nylon stocking around her hands as she approached to strangle the real-life Joanna to death by garrotting. It was inferred that the other real Stepford women were also murdered before being replaced. The film ended days later with all of the flowery-dress-wearing android wives (with large-brimmed sun-hats) pushing their shopping carts in the local supermarket while listening to Muzak; the vacuous-minded females, including roboticized clones of both Bobby and Joanna, greeted each other with only a simple hi or hello.

Tommy (1975, UK), 111 minutes, D: Ken Russell

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