American Films Of The 70s

Presented by The Boston Society of Film Critics
Mondays, March 11 - April 15, 2002

Last month the Boston Society of Film Critics approached us with the concern that fewer and fewer classic American films are being screened in the area. They wanted to show their commitment to our American film heritage by co-presenting a series of films from the decade that has been called one of the most important for American film - the Seventies. We were excited to have the opportunity to work with a group of writers that we respect, and we are equally excited to show the results to you! And here they are - from the pristine 35mm vault print of the groundbreaking ALIEN to the double feature of THE FRONT and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, made for everyone who needs to be reminded that they really are out to get you. Then the New York double feature of Woody Allen's MANHATTAN and Joan Micklin Silver's HESTER STREET and the western double feature of Altman's MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER and THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. We also combined two of the most influential '70s directors Hal Ashby (THE LAST DETAIL) and Martin Scorsese (MEAN STREETS). And the one that can't be missed is the double feature of FOXY BROWN and WATERMELON MAN, both hilarious and very important films!

Monday, March 11

35mm Vault Print!
at 4:30, 7:00, 9:45
1979 Ridley Scott w/Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

Scott's second feature shot him into the Hollywood stratosphere, and no wonder! He created an unforgettable sci-fi chiller. A spaceship investigating a mysterious distress signal encounters a parasitic monster - will anyone survive? H. R. Giger's horrific space beast meets the self-reliant Ripley (Weaver), an action icon for the feminist era.

Monday, March 18

at 7:15
1979 Woody Allen w/Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Heminway, Meryl Streep

Are any relationships truly happy? In Allen's wistful, bittersweet comedy about middle-aged Isaac (Allen) and his affair with a high school girl (Hemingway), this question lingers unanswered. Certainly, no one in the movie seems satisfied. Not Isaac. He spends most of the movie trying to break up with his underaged girlfriend. Not his best friends, Yale and Mary (Murphy and Keaton). And certainly not Isaac's ex-wife (Streep) who has left him for a woman but obsesses on her marriage to Isaac. In the end, the only thing that seems sure is the beauty and mystery of New York City itself, lovingly filmed in black and white by Gordon Willis.

Hester Street
at 5:15, 9:45
1975 Joan Micklin Silver w/Anna Berger, Ed Crowley, Paul Freedman, Sol Frieder, Carol Kane

1896. New York's Lower East Side. Russian Jew, Gitl and her son Yossele have just arrived to join her husband. To her surprise, he's shorn his Orthodox locks and beard, insists on calling his son Joey, and has found an English-speaking girlfriend. Meanwhile, she retains all of her Old World-ness, refusing to dress or act differently.

Monday, March 25

Foxy Brown
at 7:15
1974 Jack Hill w/Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Peter Brown, Terry Carter

In the words of immortal songster Willie Hutch, "Hey Foxy! Miss Foxy Brown! You're cute and sweet, but you don't play around." Actually, "cute and sweet" doesn't accurately describe Grier's shagadelic-but-grim Foxy Brown, a woman hell-bent on avenging the tragic death of her man. And in true Blaxploitation style, "vengeance" comes with plenty of bodacious babes, cartoon-style violence, and campy dialogue Ð all set to a funky groove.

New 35mm Print!
Watermelon Man
at 5:15, 9:30
1970 Melvin Van Peebles w/Godfrey Cambridge, Estelle Parsons, Howard Caine

What would happen if a prejudiced, Archie Bunker-like white man woke up one morning to discover he was black? This man, sharply portrayed by Godfrey Cambridge, explores the comic possibilities. His neighbors want him out of their vicinity; his boss thinks his company might profit from having a minority employee; his doctor refuses to treat him; and his wife is surprisingly open to the idea of a mixed-race marriage.

Monday, April 1

McCabe and Mrs. Miller
at 7:00
1971 Robert Altman w/Warren Beatty, Julie Cristie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane, Shelley Duvall

Last year's "The Claim" owed a lot to Altman's gritty, un-heroic evocation of the western frontier. Presbyterian Church, the film's setting, is a rough-and-tumble town abundant in unsavory characters and icy mud. Beatty (never better) plays McCabe, a bumbling gambler who hits upon the notion to build a saloon and bordello. Christie was Oscar-nominated for her role as Mrs. Miller, McCabe's lover and business partner (she's the bordello madam).

The Last Picture Show
at 4:45, 9:45
1971 Peter Bogdanovich w/Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eillen Brennan, Sam Bottoms, Randy Quaid

Flash forward to the Western frontier of the late 1940s. Bogdanovich's dusty ode to small-town life in a changing world is full of characters bursting at the seams of sleepy Anarene, Texas. As summer approaches and the movie theatre readies for its last show, a trio of friends face hard lessons and decisions about the rest of their lives.

Monday, April 8

New 35mm Print!
The Front
at 7:30
1976 Martin Ritt w/Woody Allen, Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi, Michael Murphy, Andrea Marcovicci, Remak Ramsay, Danny Aiello

It's the 1950s and Joseph McCarthy's HUAC is conducting its infamous communist 'witch hunts.' Enter Howie (Allen), a small-time bookie, who agrees to 'front' for an old friend and put his name on Alfred Miller's scripts. Soon others enlist Howie's services, leading to successÉ and HUAC. This dark comedy was extremely personal for the director, screenwriter, and several cast members, including Mostel Ð all of whom were actually blacklisted during the '50s.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
at 5:00, 9:45
1978 Philip Kaufman w/Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy, Kevin McCarthy, Don Siegel

This remake of the 1956 horror classic features a great cast and cameos from Kevin McCarthy and Don Siegel, star and director of the original. It refuses to succumb to kitsch or retread the plot. Kaufman adds spine-tingling atmosphere, taut pacing, and sly commentary on the after-effects of the '60s. They're out there! You're next!

Monday, April 15

Mean Streets
at 2:30, 7:15
1973 Martin Scorsese w/Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Victor Argo

Based on Scorsese's own experiences of growing up in Little Italy, MEAN STREETS traces the relationship of Charlie (Keitel) and Johnny Boy (De Niro), two hapless, rotten-to-the-core Mafia lackeys. The film's energy, free-form narrative style, and virtuoso performances riveted critics and launched the careers of its director and stars. See what all the fuss is about.

The Last Detail
at 5:00, 9:45
1973 Hal Ashby w/Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Carol Kane; Screenplay co-written by Robert Towne

Nicholson, the poster boy for '70s-style rebellion, dons a sailor cap and even more swagger than usual as Billy "Bad Ass" Buddusky, a crude, rude Navy lifer. He and his pal Mulhall (Young) must escort Meadows (Quaid) to military prison. Taking pity on Meadows's youthful naivete, they decide to show the kid a good time along the way.

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