Best Cast – 1975

My Nominations: The Day Of The Locust. Dog Day Afternoon. Inserts. Jaws. The Man Who Would Be King. Nashville. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Shampoo. Tommy.

Not quite the usual mix of epic and smaller this year, in that the epics aren’t as epic and the smaller movies aren’t as small. Starting from the top, The Day Of The Locust is a pre-WWII movie set in Hollywood which follows a number of wannabees who haven’t and will never make it, starring the likes of Karen Black, Jacke Earle Hayley, Donald Sutherland, and Burgess Meredith. Inserts is set in a similar time with a similar group of people, but on a smaller scale and features Richard Dreyfuss, Veronica Cartwright, Bob Hoskins, Jessica Harper, and Stephen Davies. It’s the one film one the list you’re not likely to see, but it’s worth it for the performances. Dog Day Afternoon is all about Pacino, and a little bit about Sarandon and Cazale, while Jaws has masterclasses from Dreyfuss, Scheider, and Shaw. The Man Who Would Be King is an epic without a cast with only Connery, Caine, and Plummer though none of whom are at their best, while Nashville is a true ensemble featuring many established stars and up and comers – Karen Black, Ronee Blakely, Jeff Goldblum, Keith Carradine, Shelly Duvall, Lily Tomlin, Ned Beatty, Geraldine Chaplin, and more minor cameos from Julie Christie, Elliot Gould and others.

Shampoo is another smaller affair, pardon the pun, but features Christie again, Carrie Fisher, Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden, Lee Grant while Tommy is a mess of musician and actors – Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Oliver Reed, The Who themselves, Ann Margret, Robert Powell, Paul Nicholas. My win though goes to a film where the lead performances are all perfect, and the supporting ones are more or less iconic too – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. 

My Winner: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Writing (Adapted) – 1975

Official Nominations: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Barry Lyndon. The Man Who Would Be King. Profumo di donna. The Sunshine Boys.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest continued its clean sweep of the big boys with an official win here. While Kesey was originally going to work on the screenplay, he later pulled out and refused to ever see the film. The film does contain some minor and significant changes to the story, having less of an emphasis on Chief’s role, but it retains the spirit of the novel and is peppered with great one-liners and speeches. Similarly, Kubrick’s screenplay for Barry Lyndon makes a major narrative change in having an omniscient narrator, as well has having little obvious comedy which made for an initially cold experience and reception.

The Man Who Would Be King is a film and story of adventure and glory, and one of the few non-horror films that ends with a severed head in a box. Spoiler alert, I guess? There isn’t much difference from the original story aside from the usual cinematic concessions, but there are plenty of speeches peppered throughout, with the odd bit of sarcastic patriotism. The Italian original of Scent Of A Woman is another weird one – it’s ostensibly a comedy, a film about two injured soldiers returning home to kill themselves, one of whom is blind and therefore accompanied by a younger army aide. While the days tick down he decides to meet as many hot women as he can, getting the boy to spot for him but eventually deciding to, literally, smell them out himself. I never got on well with the remake, and this gives me similar feelings, though plus marks for the unusual story. Finally, The Sunshine Boys, is Neil Simon adapting his own play so if you know his work you know what you’re going to get. It has some great comic talent so no matter what the material is you know they’re going to make it crackle – luckily they have a writer at the top of his game to play off – again plus points for showing something generally unorthodox on screen – old guys bickering rather than teens – but I guess they still did things differently in the 70s.

My Winner: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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My Nominations: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Barry Lyndon. Jaws. Picnic At Hanging Rock. Tommy.

The two big names make my list, joining two big name snubs. Jaws has many quotable one-liners and pieces of dialogue which have long since entered the public conscience – my personal favourite always being the Indianapolis speech penned by Robert Shaw, Howard Sackler, and the great John Milius. In fact, the film as a whole features a number of writers and contributions even though Benchley and Carl Gottlieb get the main credits. Picnic At Hanging Rock is an ambiguous novel and the film takes that ambiguity to the next level by instilling a dreamlike tone to the narrative. Finally, Tommy sees Ken Russell (no stranger to stories concerning music and musicians) somehow concoct a somewhat straight film from The Who’s scattered rock opera, expanding loose threads and minor lyrics into a fully formed screenplay.

My Winner: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Let us know your winner in the comments!