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Posts Tagged ‘Dustin Hoffman’

Marathon Man – Starring Dustin Hoffman & Laurence Olivier

Posted by the editors on Monday, 12 December 2011

Marathon Man (1976)    Directed by John Schlesinger ( Far From the Madding Crowd (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), The Day of the Locust (1975)), starring Dustin Hoffman (Midnight Cowboy (1969), Straw Dogs (1971), Straight Time (1978), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Rain Man (1988), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006))Roy Scheider (The French Connection (1971), All That Jazz (1979)) and Laurence Olivier (Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), Sleuth (1972), The Boys from Brazil (1978), and many, many others, of course).   This classic thriller is distinguished by some very good acting on the part of Hoffman, as Babe Levy, an emotionally confused, guilt-ridden and rather annoying history graduate student, and, of course, Laurence Olivier as Dr. Szell, a politely, coldly demonic ex-Nazi, gem-smuggling sadistic dentist.  Roy Scheider, as  Hoffman’s brother Doc, secretly an agent for a clandestine government agency, is really quite good, as well.  Marathon Man is also characterised by an effective use of place: New York, Paris, and very briefly South America, and a sensitivity to lighting, all of which contribute to an overall atmosphere essential to its success.  The plot is, shall we say, a bit confused, replete with double-crossing, triple-crossing and perhaps even more, and, in the end, Marathon Man may be a bit weak on logic.  But perhaps that’s not really the point, as the tension of scene after scene is more than palpable and the acting so very good. (PR)

See our previous posts on the films Sunday Bloody Sunday directed by John Schlesinger, Straw Dogs and Straight Time starring Dustin Hoffman, and The French Connection with Roy Scheider.

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Scarecrow, starring Al Pacino and Gene Hackman

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Scarecrow (1973)(DVD)  Directed by Jerry Schatzberg (The Panic in Needle Park (1971)), starring Al Pacino (The Panic in Needle Park (1971), The Godfather trilogy (starting in 1972), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Scarface (1983), Angels in America (2003) and many others)Gene Hackman  (Bonnie & Clyde (1967), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Under Fire (1983), Unforgiven (1992), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), and many other films) and others.  This road movie, of two alienated down-and-out buddies, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1973, pairs a full-on Method-Acting Pacino in youthful vigor with the virtually opposing style of a formalist Gene Hackman, shortly after his Oscar, in 1971, as Best Actor in The French Connection.  Reminiscent of the pairing of Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969), characters respectively naive and experience-hardened, and in style formalist and Method, the result is an impressive, moving film, and Scarecrow is a must-see for any number of reasons, full of harshness and sensitivity, and sadness at lost hopes. (PR)

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Straight Time starring Dustin Hoffman

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Straight Time (1978)(DVD) Directed by Ulu Grosbard (The Subject Was Roses (1968)Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? (1971), True Confessions (1981), Falling in Love (1984)), starring Dustin Hoffman (Midnight Cowboy (1969), Straw Dogs (1971), Papillon (1973), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and many other excellent films), Harry Dean Stanton (Cool Hand Luke (1967), Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), Paris, Texas (1984), The Green Mile (1999) and many others), Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story (1978), Point Break (1991), Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas (1998))Kathy Bates (Misery (1990), Primary Colors (1998), Revolutionary Road (2008)) and others.  Dustin Hoffman, also producer of the film, is excellent as Max Dembo , a rather small-time criminal, with a record going back to when he was 12 years old, who, after getting out of prison for a six-year stint for burglary, gives going straight a very brief attempt, and succumbs, of course, to his usual ways.  Harry Dean Stanton, as one of Dembo’s partners, is excellent, Gary Busey earns his fate, as another of Dembo’s partners.  Kathy Bates, in a small role as Busey’s wife, is just fine.

Ulu Grosbard, an assistant director on such great films as Splendor in the Grass(1961)West Side Story (1961), and The Hustler (1961), also directed Hoffman in Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? and Robert DeNiro in True Confessions and Falling in Love (with Meryl Streep).

Straight Time is most definitely a film worth seeing, despite it being rarely cited as one of Hoffman’s best. (PR)

See our previous post on Straw Dogs, starring Dustin Hoffman.

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Straw Dogs

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 17 September 2011

Straw Dogs, directed by Sam Peckinpah, theatrical release poster

Straw Dogs (1971)(DVD) Directed by Sam Peckinpah (Ride the High Country (1962), The Wild Bunch (1969), The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)), starring Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Rain Man (1988), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)), Susan George and others.  Despite the controversy surrounding the film at its time of release, focusing on its distinctly ambiguous rape scenes and its violence, Straw Dogs seems relatively tame by current standards.  Hoffman’s portrayal of David Sumner, a rather odiously conflicted American mathematician is on the mark, Susan George is, with dire consequences, and in accordance with Hoffman’s critique of her role, exhibitionistically flirty and an odd match for Hoffman’s character.  Nevertheless, Straw Dogs merits viewing for Peckinpah’s fluidity, as well as its portrayal of personal and cultural vagaries. (PR)

It should be noted that an eponymous remake of the film, directed by Rod Lurie and starring James Marsden and Kate Bosworth was released in the U.S. yesterday. (Straw Dogs, 2011) (read A.O. Scott’s review, “His Credit Cards and Fancy Words Can’t Help Him Here“, in The New York Times)

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