And the Rewritten Oscar goes to…The French Connection
Before I re-watched the nominated films of 1972 I was sure The Last Picture Show would steal the prestigious rewritten honour from William Friedkin. However the Academy I have to say got it right with the no-holds-barred police thriller. Just.
The Last Picture Show is fantastic. It’s the more sophisticated film. It has more on its mind. It’s perfectly performed and has an amazing air of sombreness and tragedy about it. The French Connection however is unmatched for hard-hitting entertainment. It’s sharp, immersive filmmaking, hurling us into the nihilistic pursuit of Popeye as he charges with a narrow vision through New York’s drug driven streets.
A Clockwork Orange is also brilliant. I remember watching it for the first time when I was probably too young and doing it just because I thought I shouldn’t be. I never gave much credence to what it’s actually about, I was more concerned with just how bizarre it was. Watching it again, it is at times as intellectually evocative as it is viscerally. It’s the rare film that churns your stomach and fires your mind simultaneously; a bold nomination for the Academy to make and an appreciated one. If only it didn’t occasionally stray into senselessness.
Fiddler on the Roof is the most amicable and charming of the films, however it’s not as dramatic as it wants to be, while Nicholas and Alexandra tries to force an epic veneer on an approach to its subjects that doesn’t wear it comfortably.
In the end the Academy got it right for the second consecutive year, making them 3/7.
The French Connection- ****
The Last Picture Show- ****
Fiddler on the Roof- ***
Nicholas and Alexandra- **1/4
A Clockwork Orange- ***1/2
(Ratings are out of 4)