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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1977 & 1978

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There were only 7 films in 1978, so in this entry, I will be combining both 1977 and 1978. I assume the reason there were so few in 1978 is because of the big cashflow from the 1977 hits, and one in particular.

1977 began unassumingly with Wizards, an animated fantasy for adults.


Terence Hill was Mr. Billion,  a comic caper also with Valerie Perrine and Jackie Gleason.


Lovers like Us teamed up Yves Monsand with Catherine Deneuve


Those famous dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy, received a whole animated film based around them.


3 Women was surreal, disturbing, fascinating, and essential with strong brilliant work from Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek. Well done work from Robert Altman.


And then, in the flash of an eye, everything changed. Star Wars was nothing less than one of the great joys of blockbuster cinema, but it came out of nowhere. Fox was expecting their big hit of the year would be Damnation Alley or The Other Side of Midnight. This almost ended up being relegated to being cut up in four pieces for Saturday Morning TV. Instead, it went to theatres and changed everything. The crowds were around the block from the first day. This is the second biggest ticketseller made by any studio at any time in the history of the movies.


The Other Side of Midnight arrived right in Star Wars wake, and while profitable, the steamy Sidney Sheldon adaptation was not the megahit expected.


Alan Arkin starred and directed in the very dark comedy Fire Sale, complete with a very talented supporting cast.


The Black Pearl was an adaptation of a Scott O'Dell novel


David Carradine & Kate Jackson starred in another zany car chase caper, but unfortunately for Fox, all the car chase fans were going instead to Universal's lively Smokey and the Bandit.


Julia was a marvellous film, throughful and enthralling with Jane Fonda's best performance and strong Oscar winning work from VVanessa Redgrave and Jason Robards. Maximillian Schell was also nominated, and Meryl Streep made her film debut. Fred Zinnemann had one more film left in him (the much overlooked Five Days One Summer which has its moments), but this was the last big hit of his illustrious career.


Damnation Alley finally arrived, but unlike what was expected beforehand, the post-apocalyptic film wasn't a hit.


Instead, in came another surprise hit, Shirley macLaine and Anne Bancroft as former friends and rivals in the Turning Point. In many ways it was an updated form of a 40s melodrama, and despite some questionable choices and dialogue, it held together well thanks to two wonderful leads (Anne Bancroft was particularly wonderful) and brilliant ballet sequences.


In the 20s set The World's Greatest Lover, Gene Wilder played a Hollywood hopeful hoping to be the next Valentino.... wife Carol Kane was more interested in the real thing....


1977 closed with Mel Brooks mining the laughs in Hitchcock parodies in High Anxiety. The Dial M spoof though with Madeline Kahn on the other end thinking there was an obscene phone caller stole the whole show.



What little there was in 1978 began with the undoubted critical hit of the year, Jill Clayburgh making a name for herself in An Unmarried Woman.


Amy Irving and Andrew Stephens had telekinesis in The Fury and all the rest of the cast, Kirk Douglas, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, John Cassavetes had reason to be intimidated. A few of the extras would become famous in the future: Jim Belushi, Dennis Franz, and Daryl Hannah. 


Horror continued in Damien: Omen II, again with an impressive cast: William Holden, Lee Grant, Sylvia Sidney, Leo McKern, Robert Foxworth, Lew Ayres....


The Driver was a moody cross between noir and action. It has gained quite a cult following. Good cast: Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakeley.


A Wedding was one of Robert Altman's larger scaled performance pieces. The story of a wedding that turned out to be a hotbed of many shocking secrets coming to the fore. And what a cast: Carol Burnett, Paul Dooley, Mia Farrow, Lillian Gish (her 100th film), Peggy Ann Garner, Desi Arnaz Jr, Marta Heflin, Ruth Nelson, Geraldine Chaplin, Vittorio Gassman, Margaret Ladd, Dennis Christopher, Dina Merill, Pam Dawber, Amy Stryker, Vivica Lindfors, Dennis Franz, John Cromwell... and if thats not enough Laurie Metcalf, Joan Allen, Gary Sinese, George Wendt, and John Malkovich were all extras.....


The Boys from Brazil found Lawrence Olivier with his final Oscar nomination as a man out to stop a Nazi criminal played by Gregory Peck.


And Magic closed 1978 with Anthony Hopkins as a disturbed ventriloquist, and also with Ann-Margret, Burgess meredith, and Ed Lauter.


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  1. Star Wars
  2. Julia

I've also seen The Turning Point (good performances, dull film), and High Anxiety (not as inspired as Young Frankenstein). Damnation AlleyWizards, and Thunder & Lightning are all cult favorites, but I found them hit-and-miss.


  1. The Driver
  2. The Boys from Brazil
  3. Magic
  4. The Fury
  5. An Unmarried Woman
  6. Damien: The Omen II

I haven't seen A Wedding, but I'd like to.

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In my memory Robert Altman's 3 Women came from a much earlier point in his career than A Wedding, so it's interesting to me that they were released the same year. Shelley Duvall became an Altman staple and in 3 Women you can really see why he was so taken with her. Wish it showed up more often.

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2 minutes ago, DougieB said:

In my memory Robert Altman's 3 Women came from a much earlier point in his career than A Wedding, so it's interesting to me that they were released the same year. Shelley Duvall became an Altman staple and in 3 Women you can really see why he was so taken with her. Wish it showed up more often.

3 Women was '77, A Wedding was '78. I have 3 Women in my stack of stuff to watch, but I haven't gotten to it yet.

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3 Women is a great film, with smashing performances by Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek and Janice Rule. One of my favorite films. A Wedding, on the other hand is muddled and overlong.

I like Julia, a well made movie with very fine performances.

I enjoyed Star Wars, but I never became a fan of the movie or the franchise.


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I've never seen STAR WARS, just clips of it. The only one I've seen from the entire franchise is RETURN OF THE JEDI. I wasn't interested in these kinds of movies as a kid and never developed an interest in them as an adult. I like science fiction, but I like science fiction that is a bit more cerebral, not geared to the masses with a million merchandising tie-ins. 

Probably the film I like most in this group is AN UNMARRIED WOMAN, followed by the Omen sequel. JULIA is a bit too heavy-handed for me and so is THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, though I agree they contain strong performances.

I do like THE TURNING POINT. I see it as sort of a SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER type movie with ballet instead of disco. And I very much enjoy the onscreen pairing of Bancroft and MacLaine. I can see why it was a hit with audiences at the time.

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

When rusting through material for 1980, I found that Fox had one more release in 1977 that I had not seen listed and thus neglected to include. The film is Suspiria, the ever popular cult horror film with Jessica Harper, Joan Bennett, and Alida Valli.


I think it was Joan Bennett's last feature film. Though she appeared in some TV movies after this.

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