Presented by James M. Tate / 7/29/2013 / No comments / charles martin smith , cindy williams , george lucas , harrison ford , paul lemat , richard dreyfuss , ron howard , seventies
AMERICAN GRAFFITI ON THE BIG SCREEN
|year: 1973 cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Paul LeMat, Charles Martin Smith, Candy Clark, Ron Howard rating: *****|
Producer Francis Ford Coppola’s first film, a low budget horror flick titled DEMENTIA 13, is on the marquee outside Jerry's Cherries Used Car Lot, where Richard Dreyfuss’s Curt Henderson, kidnapped for the night by a gang called The Pharaohs, caused havoc for a local police car by tying a cable to its underbelly: And before that when Curt and his new acquaintances are inside a pinball alley, the Laura Scudder’s brand Potato Chips are in abundance behind the Moose Lodge guys… John Milner, played by Paul LeMat, has a pack of Camels rolled up in his see-though white-sleeve…
|Producer Francis Ford Coppola's exploitation flick DEMENTIA 13 on the marquee|
The bottom line is AMERICAN GRAFFITI is meant to be viewed the way originally intended: the bigger the better.
|Jim Bohan's Holstein refers to Paul LeMat's car as that "thing" like the Death Star guard to Chewbacca|
If GRAFFITI, with wall-to-wall music playing throughout, blaring in and out of cars while providing a subliminally expository narrative, had the same sound problem, and so, once again, a sublime movie, part of the ongoing Landmark Classic Series, would be ruined. And who wants to hear the irritating noise of popcorn bags being ransacked by hungry audience members, or banal comments spoken when you’re trying hard to listen to what’s really important?
|The beautiful Jody Carlson and the silhouette of Mackenzie Phillips|
But then, right as Milner’s flirting with the gorgeous girl, played by Jody Carlson, in the Studebaker, who winds up handing off thirteen-year-old Mackenzie Phillips’ Carol for the night, something miraculous happened: the sound turned up and thus, the experience was entirely awesome.
|After being a corpse in BULLITT and MAGNUM FORCE, Suzanne Somers gets another silent role|
Henderson, the central of the four central characters, winds up seeing a beautiful girl in a white T-Bird… Suzanne Somers never looked so hot, with the exception of MAGNUM FORCE, perhaps… and spends the rest of the film either trapped by the gang, led by Bo Hopkins as Little Jo, or chasing this dreamboat up and down impossible twists and turns.
|Cindy Williams and the always-lovely Kathleen Quinlan|
Laurie Henderson, Curt’s sister, is played by Cindy Williams – while it’s difficult not seeing HAPPY DAYS verses LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY, the two actors are terrific and do a fantastic job despite a somewhat cliché romantic-quibbling storyline that it took co-writers Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz to help Lucas with, since he (in his own opinion) wasn’t good at writing about relationships.
|Ron Howard and Cindy Williams with Kathleen Quinlan's Peg silently instigating|
And then people would know him as Richie Cunningham (HAPPY DAYS was inspired by GRAFFITI but actually spun-off from an episode of LOVE AMERICAN STYLE) until he trailblazed as a successful director later on.
|Candy Clark, Charles Martin Smith and Ron Howard|
Especially after meeting the only Oscar nominated actor in the film…
|Candy Clark's eye shown through Charles Martin Smith's glasses|
In one aspect, Toad and Debbie’s story is a progression of Curt’s, being that Debbie is Toad’s ultimate dream girl and yet his dream’s a reality – and often a nightmare.
|Joe Spano promising Toad a knuckle-sandwich|
There's the obnoxious used car salesman on the giant chair... The teacher who puts out his match really hip-like before walking off with Kay Lenz... The conceited blonde guy, Kip Pullman, with his arms bobbing as the car rides over bumps after hearing from Curt that Bob, his ex girlfriend’s girlfriend, has an immense crush… And on and on it goes: Folks you just have to see the movie to know what all this inside-info rambling is about.
|Paul LeMat and his sleeve-wrapped pack of Camels|
A combination of James Dean and the guy we’ve all known, who has yet to grow up to accept responsibility, the devil-may-care rebel, saddled with the 13 year old bratty girl, has to shed his flirtatiously freewheeling ways and is suddenly forced to grow up for the night. Plus his reputation is being challenged: Leading to the dawn drag race backed by Booker T. and the MG’s soulful dirge Green Onions. Despite his shallow exterior, Milner has layers.
|The boys square off in an insult battle before the first drag race|
George Lucas was never given due credit as a great director, and here his style goes hand-in-hand with precise editing: his then-wife Marcia Lucas (who edited Martin Scorsese's ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE and supervised TAXI DRIVER), along with JAWS editor Verna Fields, help make this not only a classic film but an experience that you’re really hanging out with these people in the span of a single night, right up close and personal... And it’s better, more boss and bitchin' with each and every viewing, especially up there on the big screen!
|SHOP AMERICAN GRAFFITI TILL YOU DROP ON AMAZON|