– Beatles break up
-Kent State Shooting
-World Trade Cente rcompleted
– Apollo 13 mission
– Love Story
– Five Easy Pieces
Director: Franklin J. Scaffner
Starring: George C. Scott
Wins (7): Picture, Director, Actor (Scott), Original SP, Sound Mix, Art Direction, Film Edit
Nominations (10): Cinematography, Visual, Score (not musical)
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
What I like about Patton is that it’s a well-done biopic of the great World War II general, George S. Patton, who was known for his exceptional leadership skills, his success on the battlefield and his insubordination among his superiors. George C. Scott, who won the Oscar for Best Actor and also refused, plays the part extremely well even if the character is exaggerated in personality and arrogance. Though the film is a biopic, it really begins later in his career and focuses on his race against the British General Bernard Montgomery toMessinaduring WWII. It’s a long movie clocking in at just under 3 hours, but it’s a good film and fills that time well. There’s nothing extravagant about it, but it doesn’t drag either. The battle scenes are particularly well done as we look on from far away at the movement of the troops and the explosions and artillery fire.
Director: George Seaton
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Helen Hayes, Maureen Stapleton
Wins (1): Supporting Actress (Hayes)
Nominations (10): Picture, Supporting Actress (Stapleton), Adapted SP, Score (not musical), Sound Mix, Costume
esign, Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Edit
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Airport is one of the first disaster films that became quite trendy in the 70’s. I would say it was melodramatic if the actors weren’t so bland. It stars a ton of old school actors, like Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin, who deliver their lines with the same matter-of-fact tone that they did in the 50’s. However, it’s a different time and one in which that style of acting doesn’t fit. Many parts are eye-rolling and the effects, which I’m sure were good back then, do not hold up. However, it is fascinating, in a post-9/11 world, to see what the world of the early 70’s thought of dynamite on a plane. It’s not humorous, but the airport staff seems more concerned with getting a different plane unstuck from the snow off the runway than saving a plane with a dynamite bomber on board. Airport is exhaustive in its use of plane/pilot-related sexual innuendos and during the many phone conversations the film completely overuses the split screen. It helps to let the audience know exactly what each person in the conversation is actually doing and also shows us the extramarital affairs going on. Airplane stars a lot of the old codgers from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Sadly, the film exposes them as being out of their element.
Director: Arthur hiller
Starring: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal, John Marley
Wins (1): Original Score (not musical)
Nominations (7): Picture, Director, Actor (O’Neal), Actress (McGraw), Marley (Supporting Actor), Original SP
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Love Story is a simple story of a couple who meets and falls in love in college. Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) comes from a rich family, while Jennifer (Ali MacGraw) was raised by a single father. Oliver is disenchanted with his father’s love of money and is determined to pay his own way through college even if it means that Jennifer’s dreams of studying music inParisgets put on the back burner while she supports him through law school. Jennifer is happy to give up her dreams for Oliver. Love Story is a good film of a couple that are truly in love. It’s pretty well written and the deprecating banter between the couple is both vulgar and loving. Though the film ends in disaster, it’s an effective story of true love and what people will both endure and give up in order maintain it. Also, Love Story teaches us that love means not having to say you’re sorry. Sure, it’s a bit hokey at times, but much better than it’s RottenTomatoes rating.
Director: Robert Altman
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall
Wins (1): Adapted SP
Nominations (5): Picture, Director, Supporting Actress (Kellerman), Film Editing
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
This is a film about a unit of doctors in the Army during the Korean War who strut about being ridiculous and insubordinate while performing surgeries on the wounded in battle. It’s got a solid cast and was director Robert Altman’s first film in the Best Picture race. Altman’s got a unique style of panning the camera in and out of conversations in an almost eavesdropping fashion and that style is evident here. MASH is nothing special. The film weaves through several mundane storylines and there’s an odd sort of inconsistency with some of its characters. The last half hour of the film is outright bizarre, where the unit takes on another unit in a football game. It’s a culmination of highlights with a repetitive fanfare playing in the background and a rather unfortunate ending to a decent film. Altman is a legend, but certainly an acquired taste that’s not for everyone and I find myself questioning his choices in the directions he takes the story. MASH isn’t a bad film, but I struggle a bit to understand how this was nominated for Best Picture.
Director: Bob Rafelson
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black
Nominations (4): Picture, Actor (Nicholson), Supporting Actress (Black), Original SP,
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Jack Nicholson is Robert, a classically trained pianist and ungrateful womanizer who would rather waste his musical talent and work on an oil rig instead. His girlfriend, Rayette, sticks around despite his promiscuities and eventually joins him in a trip to his childhood home, which doubles as a small school for musical training. It’s an interesting scenario watching his girlfriend try to fit in with his family, who is quite warm to Rayette and actually a little resentful to Robert. I’m not a huge fan of this film, but there is a classic moment in the beginning where Robert, stuck in traffic, hops on board the back of a moving truck and plays a piano.
This year was certainly far from stellar, but 1970 definitely saw a more real group of films as its Best Picture nominees. Patton is an epic film, but the fact that by 1970 there had been about 3 wars in a 30 year period and the fact that Patton was set a mere thirty years previous changes things a bit. Patton is a serious biopic that in no way takes itself too seriously and MASH provides a lighter side to the reality of war. Is there such thing as escapism where you escape to the very subject from which you are attempting to escape? Airport marks the beginning of a string of “disaster” films that were popular at first, but quickly inspired parodies. Love Story is a sob-fest and Five Easy Pieces leaves us scratching our heads at the incorrigibility of its main character. Not the best five, but not the worst either.