Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Papa Mike's Video #16- I KNEW IT WAS YOU: REDISCOVERING JOHN CAZALE
Like the man's life, this doc is too short (I thought for some reason it was going to be a feature). The material is the basic stuff of a retrospective and tribute with interviews by collaborators and fans (and certainly some names you probably heard of: Pacino, De Niro, Streep, Sam Rockwell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sidney Lumet, uh, Brett Ratner, sure why not) that go into what this man was like as they knew him from being in person (Streep was married to him for a brief time, she's actually his widow) and from simply watching the Godfather parts 1 and 2 five hundred times.
But, man, what an actor and what a career! Sometimes in those luckiest windows of time and in opportunity (don't forget the luck part of it), quality trumps quantity, and in this case Cazale had one of the major careers in 70's American cinema. It must be akin to one of those early rock and rollers from the 50's (Buddy Holly or the Big Bopper or whoever) who you know when listening to their music it's so pure and raw and emotional and that so many others have borrowed from them, and it's a true tragedy from the abyss of nothingness that they're taken so young.
Good stuff though, again, I wish it was a little longer, like even a short feature instead of this long-short film stuff. But some wonderful breakdowns of these scenes he had as Fredo and the long-haired WTF in Dog Day Afternoon and even the sadness he brought to his small role in The Conversation. A lot of time actors try to go big or go home, or take on roles that will show off what they can DO on CAMERA. Cazale never did that, and one wonders this man in dramas in the 80's and 90's and beyond.