Category Archives: 70s flicks or films of depth where with impossiblites comes love…

The influence of 1970s films once had a deep impact on society as art imitating life, or life imitating art? It is the imitation of life. This time in history brought us films that had a defiant motif. In a place of chaos, uncertainties or stagnation, love comes a calling. A person finds a friend or lover for a short time within the impossibility of life. A transformation takes place even as the world goes on with a life and death struggle. Bliss, peace and love are found within a cocoon of time to be opened into the impossibilities of life again.

You’re A Big Girl Now

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Mr. Fuck watching the film Love Story. “that Ali MacGraw babe would make one great Go Go Dancer.”

When the film Love Story came out in 1970, I was around twelve years old. As a tom boy everything in the film repelled me. My nemesis and best friend Lynn looked just like that annoying woman Ali MacGraw,

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” PLEASE??!!

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The guys followed Lynn around like puppy dogs and the time we use to have, playing football and baseball on the golf course hole near her home, ended. All the guys who I use to play with started talking about the film. The naked scenes especially. Just like the pages form the first Godfather book. Everyone was reading the page where Sonny screwed some lady before his wedding. I felt just like Betty White, when the character Rose form the Golden Girls said, that sex;

“Was some colossal joke.”

I had it down. Life was about running as fast as you could, sliding down hills on cardboard, and having dirt fights with massive weeds. It was about hating school, and all of your teachers, and only enjoying kickball. My prime objective of,

“Never stop running as fast you can,” imploded when puberty hit. I blame the whole darn thing on the film Love Story.

 

 

 

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A Cold Wind in August

A Cold Wind in August (1961) is a low-budget independent film directed by Alexander Singer and adapted from the eponymous novel by Burton Wohl. The film stars a Lola Albright as a mentally unbalanced burlesque show stripper in her thirties who becomes involved in a torrid romance with a 17-year old boy played by Scott Marlowe

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Netflix and their unknown B movies always are the best. B movies seem more realistic to me and down to earth. This is a delightful little story about a short romance. A young man Vito is just finding his sexuality and an older woman Iris is slowly losing the charm of a once very provocative and talented life. 8b30f83769407ab1baa26b24daeed933She is learning to make the usual compromises when her air-conditioning goes out. The father superintendent is too tiered to go to the room where the beautiful woman is, so he sends his son. Papa Perugino is a wise man. He wears his insight on his face at the beginning of the film, and it turns out to be true.  I think this film incorporates romance and intimacy very well. It leaves a lot to the imagination but the passions show on the faces of the actors. It is very believable. The characters in the film are earthy and the environment in the city is symbolically hot, and the drinks are extremely refreshing. The ending of this film is predictable but understandable. All and all this film takes you away to a nice little romance that flares up and cools down. I look forward to viewing it again.

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Buffalo & geeks, misfits and nerds

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It is an anti-gun film before its time

In 1971 Bless The Beasts & Children exploited a unique and overwhelming sad focus on how geeks, misfits and nerds were treated. Boys go to Box Canyon Summer Camp to relax, play games and bond. Not for a group of boys that get bullied. Hazing is a wakeup call for these boys. This film is about how badly some of us raise our children. Teaching them the wrong way to treat innocence or uniqueness. I recommend anyone with a youngster about 12 or 13 to view this film with them.

Growing up is finding out that the good guys don’t always win.

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I loved this film when I first viewed it because I was coming of age and waking up to the real world too. The motif of this film fits nicely into the 70s groove, hey it was the beginning of the hardcore 70s. The theme of this film shows how a hand full of misfit youngsters find each other, bond and develop solid friendships. The love they project together is upon the wild Buffalo. They find out that these proud and innocent beasts, almost reaching extinction, are being gunned down by sport hunters as if in a penny arcade. They start on a journey as youngsters and transform into young men by standing up for something besides their small personal problems.; against all odds they are going to try and save the Buffalo. Growing up is finding out that the good guys don’t always win.

Bless The Beasts & Children is filled with humor, intense emotions, sadness and love. The soundtrack is peaking a 70s musical score with the hit song Bless The Beasts & Children by The Carpenters.  It is an anti-gun film before its time. Yes I had a big cush on Bill Mumy…

A glass of grappa please

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The Sandpiper 1965

“All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper – just running down the edges of different countries and continents, ‘looking for something’.”

Elizabeth Taylor is a bit pretentious in this film but with Richard Burton it works out. The themes in this film are many. We have the old boy’s club and a conservative religion. We have a young babe artist and Beatniks.  Shake this all together and you get a natural conflict, especially when the babe artist seduces the conservative boy’s club Episcopalian married priest.  The film is based on a short story by Martin Ransohoff. This embellished film is very interesting.  The little shack on the beach where Laura lives is beyond awesome. Here Laura and her young son live peacefully until the law steps in. Then she is ordered to send her child to an Episcopal school and so she meets Dr. Edward Hewitt. This works out very well for her son in the long run.

Personalities and old and new love affairs merge in a world wind of defiance but love somehow grabs two impossible people to each other if only for a painfully brief time. Yes they are transformed and cause a lot of people a lot of pain.

“Only freedom can tame the wild, rebellious, palpitating heart of man.”

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The film is set in Big Sur and the soundtrack is pretty cool.  Charles Bronson plays Beatnik artist Cos Erickson who is in the process of sculpturing a wooden bust of Laura’s breasts in a few scenes. He also constantly challenges Dr. Edward Hewitt with funny religious questions. He knows that the priest has the hots for his Laura before she does. His jealousy proves him correct.

A fun and romantic film that puts you in the seat of the 60s and early 70s.  It has some good things to say about life, love and headache. An adult love story that will make you laugh at times over desperate lovers and cool Beatniks. A silly film at times too. A good film for a late night rendezvous.

Next film Bless The Beasts & Children 

I’d have to stay alone, keep out of trouble and make myself very small in the world.

The night, a living presence, was in constant motion, shifting itself, sighing, breathing. She wondered if perhaps it, too, was trying to get warm.

― Laird Koenig, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

Martin-Sheen-as-Frank-Hallet-the-little-girl-who-lives-down-the-lane-29530808-400-300   A young Martin Sheen as a pervert. www.fanpop.com

I avoided The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane for almost thirty years. Now that we no longer have cable we only view what is available on Netflix. The kid and I are selective to what we can view together, the film having a 13-year-old girl, Jody Foster, as the heroine Rynn Jacobs inspired us to take a chance. Maybe this film might be a scary film as well as a youth film. It came out 1977 and is classified a horror film.  It was more than this in a good way and we both enjoyed it.

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Marlo tells Frank to leave.

I was pleasantly inspired by the expansive element to this film because it has that 70s feeling with a bit of elegance thrown in. This particular 13-year-old is very mature for her age. Her character has depth, loyalty and integrity. Her favorite poet is Emily Dickinson, I was instantly impressed. All the characters in the film have depth as well as developed personalities. We have a town pervert, the nagging and nosey landlord, the boyfriend turned lover and the helpful sheriff. Oh yes, we also have the father. The whole film pivots around the mysterious father who is a poet. Where can he be? Is he in his study translating Russian poetry?

Rynn: [about her father] Through most all September he looked fine, if the pain was terrible he never said anything. Then one Sunday evening, we were sitting in this room and he whispered to me in a very soft voice that I wasn’t like anybody else in the world; and people wouldn’t understand me, they’d order me around, tell me what to do and try to turn me into the person they wanted me to be. Since I was only a kid, I couldn’t say anything, I’d have to stay alone, keep out of trouble and make myself very small in the world.

Mario: All alone?

Rynn: We worked out every detail, we knew it wouldn’t be easy. Here’s a letter from my father: Don’t give in and play their game, fight them any way you have to, survive. That’s what he said. Then he kissed me and walked off into the trees and down the lane.

The beautiful environment places this film near the ocean. The presence of this film sucks you in with suspenseful moments. It is not an action film. One can sit back breathing and wonder and participate with the film.

The 70s motif is placed in this film very carefully as well, for in an impossible situation two youths find love if only for a while and are transformed!!

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She is a good girl who breaks away from her family to find a kind of freedom.

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Theresa: I’m alone, I’m not lonely. I’m depressed – you’re depressing me.

I always had the feeling as if I were dropping down an elevator or riding on a swing !

Memories fade. I know the theater was on Ventura Blvd in the San Fernando Valley. Was it in Tarzana no I think it was further out in Sherman Oaks. I believe it was the Rialto Theater. I remember going by myself and it was dark and the theater marquee was lit up and very bright in contrast.  It was 1977 a year after graduation from High school. Everything was changing. Friends were going off in opposite directions, which is why I found myself alone.  Looking For Mr. Goodbar is the first film that highlights this change.

The real deal 1970s flick !!

I was pulled into this film, into a character, because I related to this dark but beautiful heroine Theresa Dunn played by Diane Keaton. She is a good girl who breaks away from her family to find a kind of freedom. Her character is dualistic in nature. At night she goes to bars and dances, drinks and picks up men. During the day she is a teacher for the blind. She is now sensitive, caring and compassionate. I think it is because of the opposite parts of her that she eventually finds herself.. but by then it is too late. The ending of this film leaves us with a dark conclusion.

Bartender: Confidentially, with me… one’s too many and a million’s not enough. [drinks]

Theresa: I got the same problem with men.

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Theresa’s conflict begins with her spine and a past surgery as a child. Worried that her disease would be carried onto the next generation she steps one step up from abortion.  She has herself sterilized. The 70s were a time when issues like this were handled without all the political regression of today. The doctor did what Theresa Dunn wanted to do with her body. What she did echoed in my mind.

without all the political regression of today !

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This is a film worth viewing. The 1970s are different from any other generation.

I always had the feeling as if I were dropping down an elevator or riding on a swing.  Looking For Mr. Goodbar takes you to the depth of the cold underbelly of 1977. The real deal 1970s flick !!

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Next in this series is The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1977) and The Sandpipers (1965) which is on the cusp leading into the 1970s. A ball breaking film showing us the 1970s motif.

A “Cinderella Liberty” is Navy jargon for a pass that runs out at midnight…

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John Baggs Jr.: Would you call yourself a “Champagne cocktail-sippin’, cock-teasin’, downtown barroom whore”?

Maggie Paul: [bursting into tears] Second generation!

At that time in my life I never looked at the possibility of poverty and prostitution as a way for a woman to be independent

We saw this film in 1973. We applied the usual antics of youth getting into films when we were all under age for an “R” rated film. It was the same year that the Exorcist came out. Most likely we viewed this film at the Fallbrook Theater that still had a large Cinemascope screen. I know it is the same theater where we saw the Exorcist. This is before greed stepped in, before they started butchering the theaters up into multi-viewing-rooms, at least this one.

John Baggs Jr.: We love each other.

Maggie Paul: Love is shit with sugar on it.

Basically the film is about a sailor, John Baggs Jr., on “Cinderella liberty” due to a boil on his behind. He gets time off and in the process the Navy loses his files. He then goes on patrol street duty. He also does what sailors do he finds a prostitute, Maggie Paul. The film is very entertaining and made a big impression of me at 15. It has a real good feel to it.

At that time in my life I never looked at the possibility of poverty and prostitution as a way for a woman to be independent. Also I learned that the world of a sailor is a tough life. Somehow these two characters find each other and fall in love. There is more to the film though, it is also about Maggie’s child Doug.  Imagine a punk kid, who drinks beer to ease his toothache,  winning John’s heart over. It is true and then the three of them forming a family especially in such a unpredictable environment. Who would know such a sweet family would develop?

The sleazy bar scenes, playing pool, and the colorful and cleaver dialogues; are brilliantly married with this film’s soundtrack. It has that 70s thing going on…the real deal!!

James Caan, and Marsha Mason in Cinderella Liberty (1973)

Don’t always manifest as we hope !!

Midnight Cowboy

The first X rated film I viewed was during the early 1970s at the Movies of Tarzana in Tarzana California. The  first theater in our area to have multiply viewing rooms. As youngsters we would buy one ticket and watch as many films as we could. This meant being cleaver and sneaking into films that we weren’t allowed to see. Midnight Cowboy is the first X rated film that we viewed. The Midnight Cowboy’s soundtrack made a big impression on my young mind and heart. The impressions of this film influenced us as teenagers growing up with a mixture of the most decadent of 70s and 60s mentality. Music and sexuality influenced our actions. The musical score in this film embellished a beautiful thematic guide and is arousing and true to each scene of this film. Even today when I hear a song somewhere from the soundtrack of Midnight Cowboy I know which scene it complements.  I just don’t get the same experience from films these days. It is an intense film and at the time ‘way-over’ my head. It opened my eyes to love, despair and hopelessness, where our naïve dreams of youth don’t always manifest as we hope they will.

Next in this film review series from the 1970s are Looking For Mr. Goodbar and Cinderella Liberty