1972 in movies

Movie reviews written for movies released theatrically in 1972.

1. Aguirre: the Wrath of God, directed by Werner Herzog (10/10)

One day I will write an essay on how this film, Fitzcarraldo, and Cobra Verde form a trilogy on man’s quest to defy the physical and social limits of his being. In the meantime, just see this film.

1. Last Tango in Paris, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (10/10)

Perhaps the greatest romance of all-time. I say that seriously.

3. The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola (10/10)

I have seen this film way too many times to be objective about it.

4. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, directed by Luis Bunuel (9/10)

Unfortunately I did not write down my thoughts or lost the review. This is a must-see, though. You might be offended.

5. Deliverance, directed by John Boorman (9/10*)

This was one of the first ’70s films I ever saw and I haven’t seen it since. I can’t tell you how off my rating might be.

6. The Candidate, directed by Michael Ritchie (9/10)

This is nearly an all-time great political movie. I haven’t seen it in a while so I can’t remember the thing that kept me from absolutely loving it. I believe it was the ending.

7. The Last House on the Left, directed by Wes Craven (9/10)

So here’s the thing: The budget is really low, the acting isn’t always top notch (though it’s typical of such movies). And it’s not scary in the slightest. However, this is an extremely important movie, in terms of its influence on the so-called “torture porn” sub-genre of horror, and on gore in American horror films in general. The bad guys are also slightly more nuanced than your average low-budget ’70s horror film. In addition, the score is jarring (and it helps emphasize the shocking comedy moments). If this wasn’t a remake / re-imagining of Bergman, I might have to put this in the class with Night of the Living Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it’s definitely not of the same quality anyway.

8. Solaris, directed by Andrey Tarkovsky (8/10)

This film is a little too obscure (and deliberately-paced) for its own good. But it’s still thought-provoking and unique.

9. Viskningar och rop aka Cries and Whispers, directed by Ingmar Bergman (8/10)

I’m sorry to say I have lost my review. I’m pretty sure it was the most eloquent thing I ever wrote about a movie.

10. Die bitteren Tranen der Petra von Kant, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (8/10)

This adaptation of Fassbinder’s own play is rather radical in its content for a film of its era – the story of an ageing fashion designer who falls in love with another woman. Its all female cast is also rather unique to my knowledge.

Fassbinder manages by some miracle – really, his typically inventive camera work – to make the film not feel like a play, despite the fact that all the dialogue takes place inside one room. It’s a rather incredible display of his technique. As with a number of Fassbinder’s films, I find myself so in awe of his ability to make his content more interesting that it didn’t bother me that I couldn’t really connect with the characters.

Certainly a unique film. Probably more of a landmark than I know.

11. The Getaway, directed by Sam Peckinpah (8/10*)

I saw this at the height of my Peckinpah phase, so the rating is biased.

12. Play it Again, Sam, directed by Herbert Ross (7/10*)

Seen as a teen.

13. Slaughterhouse Five, directed by George Roy Hill (6/10)

I have seen this once, and bits and pieces of it numerous times before and after. The novel is actually not my favourite Vonnegut; I think it’s overrated but I understand the appeal. The casting is wrong, for one thing. And because of that the rest of it works less well than it might have, had they got the casting right.

14. The Harder They Come, directed by Perry Henzell (6/10*)

This is certainly an important and iconic film, if nothing else. Seen during my Latin politics class in university. I don’t know why.

15. Jeremiah Johnston, directed by Sydney Pollack (6/10)

This has some interesting moments but, at the end of the day, it is far too traditional.

16. Frenzy, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (6/10*)

Seen during my Hitchcock phase, but I seem to remember it being better than most of his other post-Birds efforts.

17. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but were Afraid to Ask, directed by Woody Allen (5/10)

I would argue that one of the funniest scenes in movie history is contained in this film, but the film itself is a bit of a mess and not consistently as hilarious as Gene Wilder and that sheep.

18. The Valachi Papers, directed by Terence Young (5/10)

I lost my review, but I remember being underwhelmed.

19. Silent Running, directed by Douglas Trumbull (4/10)

This is one of those “high concept” things with really poor execution which could have conceivably actually been effective. From the outset, one has to be wary, as its very clear early on there wasn’t much of a budget. Instead of letting the situation come out through character interaction or the like, things are explained in a voice over (but of course). Even though it is starting to look like things are going well, one still holds out hope until…Joan Baez? I actually said, ‘here comes Joan Baez,’ thinking I was just being funny but it actually was Joan Baez. It’s not a good thing when someone born in 1981 can predict movie cliches from the early ’70s. I love Bruce Dern, but this isn’t very good.

20. The Poseidon Adventure, directed by Ronald Neame (4/10)

A pretty big disaster. It was remade for reasons that escape me.

21. Tombs of the Blind Dead, directed by Amando de Ossorio (4/10)

The idea that this strange Spanish zombie film is remotely as good as or important as Night of the Living Dead is laughable once you watch the actual movie. So we have Templar Zombies. And they ride horses. Where do the horses come from? We don’t really know. Why are they always shot in slow motion? Again, we don’t really know. This film fails to create a believable world and because of that the otherwise possibly creepy (or ridiculous) concept of zombies-on-horseback doesn’t really get to you. Very meh.

22. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, directed by J. Lee Thompson (4/10*)

This rating can’t be trusted.

23. Frogs, directed by George McCowan (2/10)

In retrospect, I am not sure why I gave this a 2 instead of a 1. Can you imagine being scared of frogs?

24. The Gore Gore Girls, directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis (1/10)

A terrible, terrible film.

25. Night of the Lepus, directed by William F. Claxton (1/10)

I should have definitely watched this with other people, so we could have ripped on it and had a grand old time. It seems like it would have been perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000. There are so many horrible moments. For some reason I wasn’t in the best mood to laugh, so most of them just made me incredulous. The worst moment is possibly that time when we hear a conversation between two people over the phone, and in the later recap of that conversation to the other actors, the Sheriff describes a different conversation altogether. Eek.

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