The question of where the momentous artistic energy generated by the late 1960s would lead must’ve loomed large in the minds of Hollywood executives as they witnessed the dismantling of the studio system and rise of the American auteur. What kind of institution would the Academy become after awarding the X-rated Midnight Cowboy Best Picture? Would grafting the European director/creator model across the pond be successful? Coppola, Friedkin and Stallone, among others, responded with a resounding affirmation, driving the Hollywood into the American New Wave, where freedom reigned and masculinity was on hyperdrive.
Tag: Francis Ford Coppola
Years ago, the Brattle lined up a night of Universal horror films. It was James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA, followed by THE WOLF MAN. I was in monster-kid heaven settling down in my regular balcony seat. FRANKENSTEIN started, ended, and left the audience in quiet reflection. As DRACULA started I was beside myself as it has always held a place in my heart as one of my favorite films. My excitement dissolved into heartbreak as the audience started to laugh. They were not nervously laughing at Renfield’s possessed performance to break the tension, or at the teasing relationship between Mina and Lucy; they were laughing at the film itself. What would cause the audience to treat this early horror masterpiece like some silly B-movie? Was I so overwhelmed with nostalgia for the film that I failed to see it with modern eyes? Clearly an investigation was needed to find the reception disruption between me and everyone else in the theater that night.
By Melvin Cartagena
The Conversation – 1974 – dir. Francis Ford Coppola
From conception to execution, it came together almost as an afterthought. From the lean, modestly budgeted screenplay that he wrote in the sixties, and then set aside as he worked in other projects, through its production and release in between the first and second Godfather movies, The Conversation came and went with the same sad resignation that Gene Hackman’s Harry Caul displayed in the film’s final shot. Poor box office returns conspired with the media’s frenzied interest in The Godfather phenomenon to further send the little movie into film oblivion.