Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann in Bergman's Cries and Whispers

My Top 20:

  1. Cries and Whispers
  2. Mean Streets
  3. The Exorcist
  4. American Graffiti
  5. Serpico
  6. The Sting
  7. Last Tango in Paris
  8. The Friends of Eddie Coyle
  9. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
  10. Enter the Dragon
  11. The Day of the Jackal
  12. Battles without Honor or Humanity
  13. Playtime
  14. Sleeper
  15. A Doll’s House
  16. I Love You, Rosa
  17. The Last Detail
  18. State of Siege
  19. Paper Moon
  20. Charley Verrick

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Sting
  • Best Director:  George Roy Hill  (The Sting)
  • Best Actor:  Jack Lemmon  (Save the Tiger)
  • Best Actress:  Glenda Jackson  (A Touch of Class)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  John Houseman  (The Paper Chase)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Tatum O’Neal  (Paper Moon)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Exorcist
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Sting
  • Best Foreign Film:  Day for Night

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Director:  Ingmar Bergman  (Cries and Whispers)
  • Best Actor:  Marlon Brando  (Last Tango in Paris)
  • Best Actress:  Liv Ullmann  (Cries and Whispers  /  The New Land)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  John Houseman  (The Paper Chase)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Sylvia Sidney  (Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Exorcist
  • Best Original Screenplay:  American Graffiti
  • Best Foreign Film:  Day for Night

Jacques Tati strikes gold again with Playtime (1967, U.S. release in 1973)

Top 10 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. Playtime –  #87
  2. Mean Streets –  #146
  3. Cries and Whispers –  #154
  4. The Mother and the Whore –  #172
  5. The Exorcist –  #193
  6. Last Tango in Paris –  #222
  7. F for Fake –  #318
  8. American Graffiti –  #428
  9. The Long Goodbye –  #455
  10. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid –  #496

Top 5 Films  (Consensus 1973 Best Picture Awards):

  1. Cries and Whispers
  2. The Sting
  3. The Exorcist
  4. American Graffiti
  5. The Day of the Jackal

Top 10 Films  (1973 Awards Points):

  1. The Exorcist –  865
  2. Cries and Whispers –  837
  3. The Sting –  764
  4. American Graffiti –  593
  5. The Last Detail –  563
  6. A Touch of Class –  534
  7. Serpico –  445
  8. The Day of the Jackal –  421
  9. Paper Moon –  378
  10. Last Tango in Paris –  365

Awards Points note:  For the first time since 1956 no film reaches 1000 points.  The Exorcist becomes the first film since 1943 to finish #1 in Awards Points while failing to get any points from Critics awards.

Finally, something knocks Gone with the Wind off the box-office throne.

Top 5 Films  (Box Office Gross):

  1. The Exorcist –  $193.00 mil
  2. The Sting –  $156.00 mil
  3. American Graffiti –  $115.00 mil
  4. Papillon –  $53.26 mil
  5. The Way We Were –  $49.91 mil

Box Office note:  The Exorcist becomes the #1 film of all-time, knocking off Gone with the Wind after 34 years on top.  It will remain the #1 film for only two years before being displaced by JawsThe Sting remains the highest grossing film to not be the biggest film of its year until 1982 when displaced by Tootsie.  When adjusted for inflation, The Exorcist is currently #9 all-time and The Sting is #16.

AFI Top 100:

  • American Graffiti –  #77  (1998)  /  #62  (2007)

Ebert Great Films:

  • Cries and Whispers
  • Mean Streets
  • Playtime
  • Last Tango in Paris
  • The Long Goodbye

Nighthawk Award winner for Best Supporting Actress: Harriet Andersson in Cries and Whispers

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Director:  Ingmar Bergman (Cries and Whispers)
  • Best Actor:  Marlon Brando  (Last Tango in Paris)
  • Best Actress:  Liv Ullmann  (Cries and Whispers)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Robert De Niro  (Mean Streets)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Harriet Andersson  (Cries and Whispers)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Exorcist
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Cries and Whispers

Comedy:

  • Best Picture:  American Graffiti
  • Best Director:  George Lucas (American Graffiti)
  • Best Actor:  Robert Redford  (The Sting)
  • Best Actress:  Glenda Jackson  (A Touch of Class)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Harold Gould  (The Sting)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Tatum O’Neal  (Paper Moon)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Paper Moon
  • Best Original Screenplay:  American Graffiti

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Director:  Ingmar Bergman  (Cries and Whispers)
  • Best Actor:  Marlon Brando  (Last Tango in Paris)
  • Best Actress:  Liv Ullmann  (Cries and Whispers)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Robert De Niro  (Mean Streets)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Harriet Andersson  (Cries and Whispers)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Exorcist
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Editing:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Cinematography:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Original Score:  Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
  • Best Sound:  The Exorcist
  • Best Art Direction:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Visual Effects:  The Exorcist
  • Best Sound Editing:  The Exorcist
  • Best Costume Design:  Cries and Whispers
  • Best Makeup:  The Exorcist
  • Best Original Song:  “Knockin on Heaven’s Door”  (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid)
  • Best Foreign Film:  Aguirre – The Wrath of God

Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  American Graffiti
  • Best Line  (Dramatic):  “You don’t make up for your sins at church.  You do it in the streets.  You do it at home.  The rest is bullshit and you know it.”  (Martin Scorsese in Mean Streets)
  • Best Line  (Comedic):  “Your car’s uglier than I am.  That didn’t come out right.”  (Mackenzie Phillips in American Graffiti)
  • Best Opening:  Mean Streets
  • Best Ending:  Mean Streets
  • Best Scene:  the final fight in Enter the Dragon
  • Best Ensemble:  American Graffiti
  • Sexiest Performance:  Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Michel Bat-Adam in I Love You, Rosa
  • Coolest Performance:  Al Pacino in Serpico
  • Best Soundtrack:  American Graffiti
  • Best Use of a Song:  “Be My Baby”  (Mean Streets)
  • Watch the Film, SKIP the Book:  The Exorcist
  • Funniest Film:  American Graffiti
  • Worst Film:  Ludwig

Film History: MGM announces it will release its films through United Artists.  AFI presents their first Lifetime Achievement Award to John Wayne.  The Exorcist becomes the highest grossing film of all-time.  Major film openings are moved from mid-week to Friday.  The American Film Theater release its first film: The Iceman Cometh.  Bruce Lee dies suddenly on 15 July.  The first James Bond film with Roger Moore is released.  The longest strike so far in Hollywood, instituted by the Screen Writers Guild ends on 24 June after 3 1/2 months.  Technicolor sells a film processing lab to China.  Edward G. Robinson dies in February, Veronica Lake, Robert Ryan and Jack Hawkins in July and John Ford and Jean-Pierre Melville in August.  Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage is shown on Swedish television.  Scarecrow and The Hireling share the Grand Prix at Cannes.

Academy Awards: The Sting becomes the first Comedy to win Best Picture in 10 years.  It also becomes the first winner since 1955 to fail to earn a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture.  Tatum O’Neal becomes the youngest Oscar winner (10) and is one of three actors nominated for their debut performance (along with Jason Miller and Linda Blair).  Marvin Hamlisch wins 3 Oscars (Original Dramatic Score, Scoring: Original Song Score And/Or Adaptation, Song).  The Sting becomes the first non-musical to win the Song Score / Adaptation category.  For the first time since 1944 more than one film is nominated for Picture, Director and Original Screenplay (The Sting, American Graffiti, Cries and Whispers).  The Sting becomes the only film in the decade to win Picture, Director and Screenplay but fail to win an acting award – the opposite of the 60’s when only one film managed to win all three and an acting award (A Man for All Seasons).  For the first time since the award began in 1956, Italy fails to get an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film two years in a row.  The Exorcist becomes the first true Horror film to earn a Best Picture nomination.  In spite of numerous nominations for Best Director, Cries and Whispers will be the last Foreign Film to be nominated for Best Picture until 1995.  With three Comedies, a Foreign Film and a Horror film, for the only time in Academy history, no film that is primarily an English language Drama is nominated for Best Picture.  It is also the only time three Comedies are nominated.  Jack Lemmon becomes the first person to win Best Actor without winning a Globe or a critics award first since 1959.  Liv Ullmann, on the other hand, becomes the only actress to win the Consensus Best Actress without earning an Oscar nomination.

On the one hand, the Academy did their own thing: they gave the Oscar to The Sting even though the Globes ignored it and they finally acknowledged the brilliance of Ingmar Bergman, nominating Cries and Whispers for Picture, Director and Screenplay.  And while they missed out on Robert De Niro’s two great performances (Mean Streets and Bang the Drum Slowly) as well as all the performances in Cries and Whispers, every acting nomination was a good choice – not a slouch in the bunch.  On the other hand, they gave a Best Picture nomination to A Touch of Class rather than Last Tango in Paris or Serpico.  But they did finally overcome their issues with Horror films to nominate The Exorcist for 10 awards and give it Best Adapted Screenplay (though, of the nominees, it also deserved to win Actress and Supporting Actress).  It is not only the best year of the decade for Best Picture nominees, but the best year so far.

  • Worst Oscar:Best Actress for Glenda Jackson  (A Touch of Class)
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Picture for A Touch of Class
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Actress for Liv Ullmann  (Cries and Whispers)
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Ludwig
  • Best Film with No Oscar Nominations:  Mean Streets
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Original Dramatic Score
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Actor
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium, Cinematography, Sound

Golden Globes: The Exorcist leads the pack with 6 nominations and 4 wins, including Picture, Director and Screenplay.  The Day of the Jackal, the only other film nominated for all three, on the other hand, becomes the first film in Globes history to earn nominations for Picture, Director and Screenplay but none for acting (only three films have done it since – Breaking Away, Hope and Glory and The Hurt Locker).  A Touch of Class wins both Comedy acting awards but loses Best Picture – Comedy to American GraffitiPaper Moon loses all five of its nominations including Picture and Director, with the other Director nominations going to American Graffiti and Last Tango in Paris (though, somehow, Marlon Brando is not nominated for Best Actor).  The other Best Screenplay nominations go to A Touch of Class, Cinderella Liberty and The Sting (its only nomination).  Somehow The Pedestrian manages to win Best Foreign Film over Day for Night.

Awards: The National Board of Review goes first, giving Best Picture to The Sting.  It is the only one of the eventual Oscar nominees to make the NBR’s Top 10 list, though Cries and Whispers wins Best Foreign Film and Best Director.  They split their Best Actor between Al Pacino (Serpico) and Robert Ryan (The Iceman Cometh).  Next up is the National Society of Film Critics, as usual, going with a Foreign Film.  They give Day for Night (which wouldn’t be eligible for the Oscars until the following years) Picture, Director and Supporting Actress.  They agree with the NBR on Best Actress: Liv Ullmann, but for The New Land (from both groups) rather than Cries and Whispers.  Their Best Actor award goes to Marlon Brando for Last Tango in Paris.  The New York Film Critics agree with the NSFC on Picture, Director, Actor and Supporting Actress, Screenplay (American Graffiti) and even Supporting Actor, though for different films (the NSFC cited Robert De Niro for Mean Streets while the NYFC went with his performance in Bang the Drum Slowly).  The difference is in Best Actress, where the New York critics go with Joanne Woodward for Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams.

The guilds give momentum to The Sting, where it wins the DGA, though it is nominated in the Original Drama category at the WGA (where it loses to Save the Tiger).  The other DGA nominations go to Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris), William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and George Lucas (American Graffiti), who all earn Oscar nominations, and Sidney Lumet (Serpico), who gets bounced for Bergman.  Serpico wins the Adapted Drama at the WGA, while A Touch of Class and Paper Moon take home the Comedy awards.  For the first time since 1967, the WGA and Oscars complete disagree on the winners as The Exorcist joins The Sting as a losing nominee.  The Sting wins the American Cinema Editors award over Day of the Jackal and Jonathan Livingston Seagull while The Exorcist wins both Sound Editors awards from the MPSE.

At the BAFTA Awards Day for Night wins Picture and Director.  However, it fails to even get nominated for Screenplay, the only film in BAFTA history to win the first two and not get nominated for the third.  It sweeps its awards by winning its only other nomination – Supporting Actress.  On the other hand, The Sting becomes the first film since Around the World in 80 Days to fail to earn a single BAFTA nomination after winning Best Picture at the Oscars (the only film since to do it is Million Dollar Baby).  Competing with Day for Night for Picture and Director are The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (which wins Actress and Screenplay), The Day of the Jackal (7 nominations, but only wins Editing) and Don’t Look Now (with 7 BAFTA nominations but nothing else from any other group).  It’s the second time in three years that none of the BAFTA nominees for Best Picture earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture – but it is also the only times it has ever happened in BAFTA history.

Best Actor and Best Actress: Both Oscar races for the lead acting performances take strange turns.  In the Best Actor race, Marlon Brando takes an early lead by winning both the NSFC and NYFC while Al Pacino and Robert Ryan split the NBR Best Actor award.  But Pacino wins the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Drama while Brando fails to even get nominated.  Pacino and Brando both get nominated at the Oscars, along with Jack Nicholson (also Globe nominated for The Last Detail), Jack Lemmon (Globe nominated for Save the Tiger) and Robert Redford (The Sting).  But then, suddenly, Lemmon manages to win at the Oscars.  Meanwhile, Liv Ullmann was stacking up kudos for several films that were eligible.  She had won the New York Film Critics the year before for Cries and Whispers and this year had won both the NBR and NSFC for The New Land.  She had even managed a Golden Globe nomination in the Comedy category for 40 Carats.  Yet, she failed to earn an Oscar nomination.  Instead the nominees were Joanne Woodward (who won the NYFC and would go on to win the BAFTA), Marsha Mason (who would win the Globe – Drama for Cinderella Liberty), Barbra Streisand (The Way We Were), Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist) and Glenda Jackson (A Touch of Class).  While she would win the Golden Globe, Jackson would, in a big surprise, also win the Oscar – surprising because of the competition, because it was for a comedic role and because she had just won three years before.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973): one of the great all-time Boston films

Under-appreciated Film of 1973:

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (dir. Peter Yates)

We were sitting in dead-stop traffic when I first noticed the Welcome sign and I commented “Welcome to Chicago, now fuck off.”  Then I added “That’s not really fair, of course.  It’s not New York.”  After a pause, I went on: “New York’s sports teams actually win.”  My wife was forced through the trip last month to listen to my enmity for Chicago (“Have I mentioned how much I fucking hate Chicago?” I said about twenty times), which, of course, pales in comparison to my hatred for New York.  Of course, I love Boston.  It is very much my city.

That is not to say that Boston is a perfect city.  Far from it.  Aside from having the worst drivers in the known universe (note to Boston drivers: your car came equipped with turn signals, so use them, left turns require yielding to traffic and stop signs are not optional), Boston has a considerable undercurrent of violence simmering just below the surface.  There is no film better for examining this than Gone Baby Gone, written by a Boston author (Dennis Lehane) and adapted and directed by a Boston native (Ben Affleck).  But a good early look at Boston comes in the form of The Friends of Eddie Coyle, a perfectly crafted crime film with one of those greats Robert Mitchum performances that always seemed to be forgotten when it came down to awards time.

For those of you are thinking to yourself, “it’s not under-appreciated – it’s a classic!”, remember this.  It is not in the Top 1000, it is not on Ebert’s list of Great Films, it wasn’t on the list of 50 films even long-listed for the AFI Genre list for Gangster movies (it’s not really a Gangster movie, but it fits into the category – especially considering some of the other films they did include) and it did not earn one single nomination from any group.  In spite of top-notch direction, great writing (well adapted from a very good crime novel – one of those sparse novels that seemed to have been forgotten for a while but which was recently re-released for its 40th anniversary) and a perfect performance from Robert Mitchum none of the award groups could be bothered to remember it.

Mitchum plays Eddie Coyle, known mostly as “Fingers.”  The nickname comes from a time when a gun deal went wrong and as retribution, Eddie had his fingers slammed in a drawer.  Those are the kind of things that happen to people who are part of the extended business of organized crime, especially in Boston.  Eddie actually lives down in the South Shore, the same place where I was mugged and where someone once gave me the finger after he parked his car into mine.  Whitey Bulger might have been involved with the infamous Winter Hill Gang in Somerville, but it was in Quincy where he first made the deals with the FBI and where he hid some of the bodies.  Eddie, like Whitey would just a couple of years later, decides to cooperate with the law because he’s looking at doing some time up in New Hampshire and he’s trying to get out of it.  He doesn’t want to leave his wife and kids behind and have them end up on welfare.  He knows the complications of the move he’s trying to make – he flexes those fingers everyday, but he also knows that he has to try to do something.  He’s the guy who always seems to be able to get the guns for whoever needs them, so he’s the perfect guy to help out the feds.

Eddie doesn’t know that he’s also being set up by someone else.  With the kind of guy Eddie is and the way his life works, he won’t ever figure it out.  And in the end, his downfall, is not because he’s ratting people out, but because of the way the undercurrent of violence in Boston runs.  He just gets swept up along with that tide.  Somehow the film has also been swept along with that tide for a long tide and hopefully now that it’s out in a nice Criterion disc and the original novel has been re-released that tide will ebb once again.

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