Nameless Drivers of the 1970s: movies viewed (#SFWApro)


Ryan O’Neal is THE DRIVER (1978), a coolly professional getaway man that The Cop (Bruce Dern) is willing to take down at any price, with Isaballa Adjani as “the player” caught in the middle. A low-key thriller written and directed effectively by Walter Hill; the car chases are vastly superior to anything in the Bond films (like one cat-and-mouse in the aisles of a warehouse). “That’s a real sad song—the only trouble is, sad songs ain’t selling this year.”

I picked TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (1971) as the logical double-feature wherein The Driver and The Mechanic (James Taylor, Dennis Wilson) engage in a cross-country race without loudmouth GTO (Warren Oates) who rewrites his backstory every time he meets a new audience and Laurie Bird as The Girl increasingly frustrated all the men are more interested in their competition than her.  Not for all tastes (Roger Ebert cordially disliked both of these) but it works for me. “What is this anyway, some kind of masculine power trip?”

THE FACE OF ANOTHER (1966) is a Japanese psychological drama in which a Mad Scientist gives a scarred salaryman a new life with a specially made mask, which the patient sees as a perfect opportunity to seduce his own wife, thereby proving she’s rejected him since his accident. The scientist meanwhile, predicts that with a completely new, untraceable identity, the patient turning from Jekyll to Hyde is inevitable … Reminiscent of both the thriller Seconds and some of Ingmar Bergman’s films in its meditations on identity and appearance and very neat-looking; on the downside it suffers from random moments of surrealism and a B-plot involving a scarred woman that goes nowhere. Overall, though, I found it well worth watching. “That is why deep-sea fish are grotesque.”

Now, turning to theater—FUN HOME is the musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic-novel memoir wherein the present-day comic-strip artist tries recovering her memories so she can write the darn thing accurately, which requires dealing with the year she came out, discovered her father was gay and then learned he’d killed himself (this gets mentioned early on so I don’t think it’s a spoiler). Despite the gut-wrenching pain of some bits, it’s also hysterically funny, from the title song (“You don’t need to roam/We’re the Bechdel Funeral Home!”) to “I’m changing my major—to Joan.” Even though TYG’s not a musical fn, she was laughing too. “This can’t be it. This can’t be the last time.”

All rights to poster image with current holders,


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One response to “Nameless Drivers of the 1970s: movies viewed (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: This is why I have DVDs (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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