Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I Knew It Was You

A movie fan worth his or her salt can place that title instantly. It's that devastating line that Michael Corleone delivers to his weakling elder brother, Fredo, at a turning point in The Godfather: Part II (1974). And it's what Richard Shepard's beautiful short documentary about actor John Cazale is called, too. To be in the company of this legendary figure (five movies, five Best Picture nominees) and the people who were proud to have known and worked with him during his tragically brief life (gone at age 42, 32 years ago now, from lung cancer) is 40 minutes of undiluted pleasure. HBO is airing the film several more times this month and I urge you to watch it. I did through smiles and tears, particularly when Meryl Streep discussed their relationship...and I loved the other actors (Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Sam Rockwell, etc.) trying to pinpoint exactly what made him great and how he inspired them to do better, either directly or through the legacy of his films. (That's him in Sidney Lumet's classic Dog Day Afternoon.) Proof that you're never really dead until no one remembers you, but why no mention of the little black box theater on Upper Broadway that bears his name?

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