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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1971

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the ultimate year of budget woes. Fox was so much in the hole by now that most of these weren't even developed inside the studio. Still there was a Best Picture winner, and a much praised foreign film.

The year opened with Ingrid Pitt as Countess Dracula.


Elliott Gould starred in the exceedingly savage dark comedy Little Mo=urders, directed by Alan Arkin


Vanishing Point, an action road film, quickly became a cult title.


Making It was the tale of a teenage womanizer.


B.S. I Love You was a sex comedy.


The Mephisto Waltz was a demonic horror film with Jacqueline Bisset, Alan Alda, Curd Jurgins, and Barbara Parkins


Celebration at Big Sur was one of the many rock films Fox was doing at this juncture.


The Panic in Needle Park was a look at the horrible world of drug addiction. Al Pacino made his first big mark here, and Kitty Winn won at Cannes.


Escape from the Planet of the Apes continued the simian series.

Walkabout was one of the most praised films to ever come from Australia.


The Seven Minutes was the saga of an obscenity lawsuit over a book written by Yvonne De Carlo.


The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker was another in the line of raunchy comedies, this time with Richard Benjamin.


The French Connection was the big hit of the year and a strong sterling film. Won Best Picture. Fox wouldn't be down this road again for quite a while.... aside from three Picture winners they distubed overseas only (1981, 1995, 1997), they would not win for one they distributed on home turf until their Searchlight wing scored in 2008.


Journey to Midnight was actually made for TV but basically lumped into theatres to fill a gap.


And Renee Taylor shone in Made for Each Other, a comedy of embarrassment that she also co-wrote.


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The French ConnectionWalkaboutThe Panic in Needle Park, and Vanishing Point are at the top for me. Countess Dracula is good late Hammer, with a lot of skin on display, as I recall. Little Murders was unusual but not very good, IMO. Other than the Apes movie (I didn't really care for any of the sequels), I haven't seen the others, and hadn't even heard of most of them until now.

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THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is my favorite from this group. Love those dark movies about drug users, always chock full of drama and misery. BORN TO WIN with George Segal, from the same year, is another great one.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION is good if not overrated. Some of the scenes seem like filler.

THE SEVEN MINUTES is a very progressive film. Yvonne De Carlo plays a woman senator (nobody was playing women politicians in the Nixon era). Her secret book challenges censors. De Carlo was still gorgeous and never really lost her looks.

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A lot of the other ones I haven't seen.

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The French Connection is a great film, no doubt in my mind.

I missed The Mephisto Waltz when it opened. Years later, a TV station was showing late at night, so I ran and bought some snacks, told my landlady that I was dead, so no phone calls, and watched the movie. It was so good I didn't want to miss a single frame. Then, in the last 15 minutes of the movie, when...well, when something big was going to happen there was a blackout all over the city. Aargh! The following day everybody was talking about it and how frustrating it was. I had to wait a few more years before I finally watch it completely.

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Walkabout was definitely an important film, but also definitely not for the squeamish, myself included. Lots of killing and flaying of animals.

Seven Minutes was touted as the legitimate feature debut of Russ Meyer (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!), but it never got beyond being an unsatisfying hybrid. That being said, I'd love to see it again after all these years. Yes, I'm that shallow.

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