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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1970


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This is a very strange year. There are several here that are so far in front of the rest of the pack that its laughable. Some have just remained forgotten. And two seemingly exist as curios to remember how far out Hollywood went at the time and to be held up as very interesting acquisitions that Disney now owns the rights to.

The year began with the end of a career. The Only Game in Town was the last directorial effort for George Stevens. Although very stagy, confined to mostly one set, i found the film worked due to nice playing by Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty

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M*A*S*H was a phenomenon and cemented the career of director Robert Altman and spawned a beloved TV series. The all star film still holds up extremely well, acidic, barbed, and fascinating.

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three name directors in a row when John Huston made The Kremlin Letter. It has gained in reputation over the years, but to some this just might be remembered as the film which had George Sanders in drag.

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Patton was one of the best movies ever made, brilliantly anchored by the tour de force work of George C. Scott. It won Best Picture.

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The Sicilian Clan was a mob film made by the French.

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Virna Lisi was The girl Who Couldn't Say No. George Segal looks on.

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Beneath the Planet of the Apes was one of the many sequels to the sci-fi hit that helped the bank book at the time,.

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The next two have been brought to you by the letter X (and Disney owns both of them now!), first Beyond tyhe Valley of the Dolls

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And then the notorious Myra Breckinridge , which had its title part played by Raquel Welsh, but Mae West, returning to the screen, received most of the attention

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Michael Crawford was part of the Olympics in The Games

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Another career, that of Jean Negulesco, ended with Hello-Goodbye

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Elliott Gould dabbled in the porno world in Move, also with Paula Prentiss

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Amidst the more provocative films, along came 4 Clowns, a tribute to the calmer days of screen comedy.

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Tora! Tora Tora! was the saga of Pearl Harbor. Its reputation has increased over the years.

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Cover Me Babe also took in the world of seedy camerawork, this time with Robert Forster and Sondra Locke.

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Back to quality with James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander as a boxer and his lover in the pungent, powerful The Great White Hope

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The year closed with the concert film Gimme Shelter about one notorious and deadly rock concert.

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Patton & MASH are the tops for me, followed by Gimme Shelter and The Great White Hope. I don't recall much from Tora!Tora!Tora! except being bored. Beneath the Planet of the ApesThe Only Game in Town and The Kremlin Letter failed to make any lasting impression, as well. I like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls in spite of and because of how outrageously bad it is.

I haven't seen the rest.

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Some of these I haven't seen, like the Sondra Locke film (which looks interesting). 

Here's a top 5:

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1. THE KREMLIN LETTER. I love the elliptical narrative and how it all comes together at the end. I think there are a lot of good performances in this one, and Richard Boone makes it work, along with the other character actors. Huston revisited some of these cold war themes three years later in THE MACKINTOSH MAN.

2. MASH. Not only did it inspire the MASH TV series, it also paved the way for the Trapper John medical drama starring Pernell Roberts.

3. BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES. Good follow-up to the previous installment.

4. TORA! TORA! TORA! A very politically correct film about Pearl Harbor. Great cast.

5. THE GREAT WHITE HOPE. Glad TCM's been airing this one lately. It's worth seeing.

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I wrote this blurb about THE KREMLIN LETTER in another thread:

Near the end of his screen career George Sanders had one of his most unique, scene-stealing roles. He played a character nicknamed Warlock in John Huston's classic thriller THE KREMLIN LETTER. The story is about a group of old spies who come out of retirement to help a new agent retrieve a document from the Soviet Union. George's character is a cultured homosexual who performs as a drag queen when he's not working undercover as a spy. Huston had originally chosen someone else for the role, but 20th Century Fox wanted a "transatlantic" name. Filmed in four countries, the scenes set in Russia were actually shot in Finland. Though not a major hit in its day, THE KREMLIN LETTER has achieved a cult status and is on many critics' lists of must-see espionage capers. It is also cited as among Huston's best, as it combines elements from both THE MALTESE FALCON and THE ASPHALT JUNGLE.

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