Best Screenplay 1974

1927/28 through 1997

What do you think were the best original and adapted screenplays of 1974?

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (Robert Getchell)
1
3%
Chinatown (Robert Towne)
12
30%
The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola)
1
3%
Day for Night (Francois Truffaut, Suzanne Schiffman and Jean-Louis Richard)
6
15%
Harry and Tonto (Paul Mazursky and Josh Greenfeld)
0
No votes
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Mordecai Richler and Lionel Chetwynd)
0
No votes
The Godfather Part Two (Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo)
10
25%
Lenny (Julian Barry)
3
8%
Murder on the Orient Express (Paul Dehn)
2
5%
Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder)
5
13%
 
Total votes: 40

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby ITALIANO » Sun May 24, 2015 3:42 pm

I was going to see The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz during this weekend (it's on Youtube) in order to be able to vote in Adapted here - but I haven't had time, so I have to abstain for the moment. (I'd SO love to know if all those who voted have, like Mister Tee, seen it - it's quite an important movie, after all, and won the Golden Bear at Berlin over Fassbinder's Effi Briest and Brusati's Bread and Chocolate - but I guess I will never know). Of the four I have seen, none is terrible actually, but it would be difficult not to vote for The Godfather Part II, whose scope, richness of characters and narrative, and Itypically Italian epic-ness make it clearly the stand-out in this race.

I DID vote, of course, in Original. Five good screenplays, clearly. Three are even very good. And while I do appreciate Chinatown's perfection of writing, I also find it... How shall I put it? it's a very carefully written movie, but also more a work of style and craft than of love. Not that love has necessarily anything to do with quality - yet both The Conversation and Day for Night are very good movies which are also, in different ways, work of love. I should see The Conversation again, it's too long ago, really, I was a teenager - but I remember an intelligent plot and some lines which, despite all the time, are still with me (for example, in one scene a woman sees a beggar in the street and tells the man she's with somethng like: "It makes me sad - I always think that they have been children, too"). But I ended up voting for Days for Night and its intelligent yet emotional, very human celebration of filmmaking.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby FilmFan720 » Fri May 22, 2015 2:56 pm

I was a little shocked to find a year where I can actually vote in both categories!

For the Original category, I probably owe Chinatown another revisit before I actually vote here. I have seen it several times, and while I respect what it does and find it an exciting thriller, I've never found the depth or profundity that most everyone else seems to. It is a worthy nominee, though, in a category full of them. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Harry and Tonto are exceptional variations on some well-trod genres. However, this category contains the two best films of the year, and I have to vote for one of them. I love The Conversation, and it is a tight screenplay, but it's true brilliance comes from Coppola's direction and the contributions of Hackman and Murch. Day for Night, however, is one of Truffaut's many masterpieces and a funny, touching, intelligent and one of the sharpest insights into filmmaking ever made. A tough category, but an easy vote in the end, for me.

As for Adapted, I certainly can't begrudge all the votes for The Godfather, Part II. It takes a wonderful film and makes it deeper while still keeping all the wonderful tension that makes the first film so memorable. It is a great screenplay. I have to vote, though, for Young Frankenstein. It may not be Brooks' best film, but it is up there and maybe his most complete success. A lot of that has to do with how Brooks and Wilder manage to balance the original films (and a lot of the best jokes, including Kenneth Mars' hand, come directly from the films) with Brooks own sense of humor. It is a fantastic comedy, and we don't give them enough love at the Oscars.
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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Greg » Thu May 21, 2015 8:00 pm

Here is a bit of interesting trivia on Chinatown's Robert Towne. He is still active in his 80s and has been a consulting producer for Mad Men's last season.
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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Greg » Thu May 21, 2015 7:59 pm

The Original BJ wrote: But I would probably argue that Young Frankenstein is Brooks's most fully realized film. . .


For me, it is still The Producers.
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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby The Original BJ » Thu May 21, 2015 7:43 pm

Catching up to the Adapted race...

As Mister Tee said, Agatha Christie wrote many mysteries that were hugely influential on a narrative level, to the extent that once the ending to Murder on the Orient Express arrived, I instantly recognized it as familiar from countless other stories it had gone on to influence. The thing is, though, that however skilled at plot surprise Christie was -- and she was quite inventive in that department -- her mysteries weren't usually much deeper than the twists of the story. I wouldn't necessarily have expected the film's screenwriter to have found any more resonant meaning in this material...but I did wish the film adaptation was significantly more fun. Whether this was the fault of director or writer (I'd say both), what should have felt like an enjoyable lark on screen ended up a more lumbering thing, with a sense of humor that came across more as silly than delightfully frothy. I found it hard to take much of it seriously, the effort seemed so strained.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz has a pretty freewheeling sensibility and an energetic pace, which I think is both a major strength and something of a weakness of the film. The plot just barrels along, with Duddy constantly tackling new pursuits and encountering new characters virtually from beginning to end, in frequently pleasurable ways. And I like the way that Duddy is held accountable for his stubborn behavior, but is still overall a sympathetic character -- he isn't vilified for his ambitions -- which allows the film to explore its ideas of class mobility (especially vis a vis religion) in a reasonably complicated manner. On the flip side, there were times when I wish the movie would just take a breath -- it sometimes feels like an overstuffed adaptation in which the filmmakers tried to cram in more plot points than they had room for. A solid nominee, but a bit too ragged to get my vote.

I saw -- and loved -- many Mel Brooks films as a kid, but when I revisited many of them as an adult, I found myself considerably less impressed. I felt that in so many of them, the funny parts were still really funny, but a lot of the films weren't consistently hilarious -- there were definite dull spots along the way. But I would probably argue that Young Frankenstein is Brooks's most fully realized film, the one in which the gags were most completely grounded in a solid narrative, and the one in which the set pieces Brooks came up with (like the iconic "Puttin' on the Ritz" number) were by far the most visually exciting of his film career. It is, in the end, pretty lightweight stuff -- and the Adapted classification seems like a bit of a stretch, despite the literary inspiration -- but I agree that it's hard to object to a nomination for Brooks in such a peak year for his career.

As I've mentioned, I'm a pretty big Lenny fan, and one reason may be that it's such a more imaginative handling of biopic subject matter than so many similar films. The non-linear chronology, interspersed with the interviews, gives the movie such a jazzy, fresh energy, and I agree with Mister Tee -- there's a lot of really funny, biting dialogue in the script, the kind you could definitely imagine would come from the man who performed such revolutionary standup. And both central characters are splendidly realized -- Hoffman's Lenny is the kind of no-holds-barred hoot who the counterculture clearly would have embraced, but enough of an obnoxious blowhard that it's obvious why traditionalists found him appalling. And very few bios have depicted the character of the long suffering wife with as much sizzle as Perrine's Honey. A perfectly meritorious nominee.

But The Godfather Part II is one of the best winners in this category ever. And it's a movie that, before its release, I imagine at least some people thought would be completely unnecessary. Because so few films are as sensational as The Godfather, it must have seemed unfathomable that Coppola and company could visit the same well again and come up with something that didn't diminish their previous achievement. But Godfather II not only tops the earlier entry, it makes that film seem even greater, with the sequel's wrap-around story elements juxtaposing not only each other, but narrative of the earlier film as well. By the time we reach Godfather II's final shot, it feels like we've reached the conclusion of a great American tragedy, as everything Michael has lost over the course of the film carries with it the weight of the dashed opportunities that Vito's arrival on American soil could have promised. This script is an ambitious, inventive, lyrical, and hugely powerful piece of writing -- and the obvious winner here.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Kellens101 » Sun May 17, 2015 4:12 pm

This is somewhat off-topic, but who else besides me would award Lenny's thrilling editing this year? Just curious because I thought Chinatown's editing was equally impressive.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Mister Tee » Sat May 16, 2015 3:52 pm

Under original, while I don’t know I’d quickly throw out any actual nominees, I do lament the absence of the two bandits-on-the-run films by now-legendary directors, Badlands and The Sugarland Express.

Harry and Tonto, like many Mazursky movies, is hit and miss – a funny or moving scene will be followed by one just poorly conceived (like the sudden road encounter with the hooker). But the movie’s heart is in the right place, and it nicely explores the situation of the lonely aged in a mostly unsentimental way.

I know many of you here rate The Conversation very highly, but I’ve always viewed it as a more mid-range effort (and I say this not just based on fading memory, but from a recent second look). The logistics of the wiretapping are fascinating (even while reminiscent of Blow Up), and the twist near the end is truly inspired. But, unlike many of you, I don’t find the Hackman character especially interesting – he’s, by necessity, a man drained of much individual personality, which can be philosophically interesting to ponder, but, for me, leaves him without much dramatic engagement. I also find some of the artier touches (like the dream sequence) a bit too film-school for my taste. I still LIKE the film…I just don’t put it on top tier as so many always have.

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore was a real sleeper, and a key moment in Scorsese’s career. Though Mean Streets had been a critical cause celebre, it had died commercially, and the first review of this follow-up, in Variety, was an out-and-out pan. But when the movie opened (in early 1975 in NY; it was a one-week-only ’74 qualifier in LA), it not only got good reviews, it turned into a surprising box office success. And it more or less deserved that success. No one would accuse the film of being tidy; it flopped around all over the place, and didn’t really have much idea of how to end. But it explored what were then new notions – how does a single woman with child get by, anyway? – with a great deal of humor and invention, and just felt like it had something to do with people’s actual lives. It’s probable Scorsese helped make more of the material than was on the page (the fact it spawned a long-run sitcom suggests what the original version aimed at), but Getchell rates at least some salute for the film’s success.

Day for Night is a lovely movie – one of the best ever about movie-making, because it views the process as both an escape from life and, at the same moment, life itself (the great quote, “You start out hoping for a pleasant journey and end up just hoping you reach your destination” applies perfectly to both). The film is populated by vain, deluded but somehow lovable characters, whose plights can make you laugh and cry in quick succession (none moreso than the Cortese veteran, who goes from funny to tragic to philosophic in her can’t-get-it-right sequences). I understand lots of people love this movie, as I do.

But it’s harder for me to understand giving it the vote here, because I’m in the group that thinks Chinatown is in the conversation for greatest original screenplay ever, and I can’t imagine voting for anything else. I wrote extensively about why I love the film in the best picture/director thread, so I won’t completely rehash. But I’ll back up BJ’s argument, that Chinatown’s screenplay is pretty much a model of perfection in every area. At plot level, it offers steady surprise from beginning to end, and doesn’t seem to have a wasted moment (when Burt Young’s Curly reappeared, my thought was, god, the one character I thought was a throwaway turns out to be part of the web, as well). It integrates researchable historical fact with compelling fictional characters, and marinates the entire story in poetic imagery (making Chinatown both a physical locale and, for Gittes, a state of mind). It offers wonderful, often off-center dialogue (“Middle of a drought and the water commissioner drowns; only in LA” is just an inspired, out-of-nowhere line), yet it doesn’t drown the film in words – the script operates as blueprint for a wholly visual movie. With all that, I don’t see any way to withhold a vote for Robert Towne’s script. (Except, of course, for the small fact that Towne’s version had a different ending – but I’ll leave that argument to film historians) Chinatown gets my vote for screenplay of the decade, and, were we someday to do an all-time face-off, might get my vote there, as well. It certainly prevails here.

The only alternative that springs to mind under adapted is the film version of Butley, which preserved Simon Gray’s deadly wit in all its glory (and gave Alan Bates one of his strongest showcases).

1974 was Mel Brooks’ dream year – Blazing Saddles became an unexpected smash hit in February, and Young Frankenstein followed suit at Christmastime. The critics hadn’t been especially in the first movie’s corner, but many of them were extravagant in praising the second. Perhaps it was Frankenstein’s film-classic source material that won them over -- or maybe they were belatedly trying to get in step with public taste. In either case, I’d say they overstated Young Frankenstein’s greatness to about the same degree they underrated Blazing Saddles. For me, they were both funny films (with Saddles maybe generating a few more laughs in me at the time) and both fairly trivial. But, as I said, it was a big year for Brooks, and, seeing there were no pressing alternatives on the adapted side of the ledger, I have no great issue with him (and Wilder) getting nominations.

Agatha Christie of course wrote a huge number of successful mysteries, many of which continue to be dramatized to this day. But I’d argue three are famous over and above the rest for having, by virtue of concept, in some way broken the detective story mold. They are: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, And Then There Were None/Ten Little Indians, and Murder on the Orient Express. I won’t delineate the twists that engender this mold-breaking; it might spoil one or another for someone. But I wish the world at large had been as thoughtful to me -- because, literally, all three of these classic plot twists were told to me sometime before I read or saw the work in question. (By three different people – the urge to spoil apparently widespread human tendency). In the case of Murder on the Orient Express, my college girlfriend’s mother was the culprit: we went to her house for dinner, and, on the subject of mystery novels she especially liked, she spelled out in detail how the plot to this particular one came out. It happens she called the book by the name of its American edition, Murder on the Calais Coach. So, I was unprepared when, just two years later, I started watching Murder on the Orient Express and slowly realized that, yes, this was that one she’d told me about and, thus, spoiled. This is a long-winded way of saying I have no idea what it was to experience the film cold; possibly the surprise was such a knockout that it (plus the all-star cast) was enough to submerge one’s issues with the filmmaking. Because there were issues… specifically the fact that Sidney Lumet was completely the wrong director for such a project. If Dog Day Afternoon and Network were ideally suited to his thundering style, this was at the full other end of the scale – the material cried out for the light touch of a latter-day Lubitsch, or And Then There Were None director Rene Clair. I thought much of the movie sat on screen like a fallen souffle. It may not be fair, but Lumet’s shortcomings here make it impossible for me to vote for his screenwriter.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was one of the first movies I ever went into blind. A friend had found a way of getting invited to critics’ screenings (of which there were fewer in those days), and he invited me along to this one, about which all we knew was that it starred the guy who’d gone off to college in American Graffiti (I’m not sure Dreyfuss was yet a name I remembered). And, while I recall the movie being imperfect, I also remember it having massive energy and life that was a pleasure to watch. I’m sure a good bit of that comes from Richler’s novel, but the adaptation preserved the flavor pretty well, in the process of exploring issues rarely dealt with on the screen up till then. This was the movie that made me a Dreyfuss fan for quite a while; I’d hoped he would sneak onto the best actor list. He was crowded off, of course, in that exceptional year, but this nod came as some consolation.

Lenny, like Fosse’s Cabaret, took an exceedingly theatrical play and turned it into a wonderfully cinematic film – one that captured the sleazy underbelly of the nightclub scene better than any movie to that point, and of course also offered blow-by-blow of the inevitable struggle a hipster gadfly will have when challenging the humorless moralism of the Eisenhower era. It’s questionable how much of the film’s power can be credited to screenwriter (and playwright) Julian Barry – Gottfried’s Fosse biography suggests much of the film’s structure was discovered in the editing room. But, however things were sequenced, there’s enough wonderful dialogue in the film’s many scenes (even over and above the priceless Bruce monologues) that I’m willing to give Barry some points. I consider giving the film my vote.

But, in the end, I side with most here in picking The Godfather Part II, which both echoed and expanded upon the original film, and ended in an altogether more tragic place. This is actually a half-adapted/half-original script – the DeNiro sequences arising from the parts of Puzo’s novel that had been left out of the first film, the Pacino story being freshly imagined by Coppola/Puzo. It’s the juxtaposition of the two that gives the film its ultimate resonance, but I’d say it’s the new sections – culminating in Fredo breaking Michael’s heart (and vice versa) – that push the narrative into near-greatness. It’s hard to do a fair comparison between the first two Godfather films – the original having more classical structure, the second bursting narrative bonds in more innovative ways. I feel safe, however, in saying that the second enriched rather than diminished the first, and the two films together comprise a major American epic. That’s plenty enough to merit Coppola and Puzo this Oscar.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby nightwingnova » Sat May 16, 2015 2:02 am

How can one choose between three classics under Adapted?

The joyous and clever send-up of Frankenstein?

The deliciously sly and complicated definitive Agatha Christie adaptation?

The second part of the epic standard to all modern gangster movies?

I'm going to pass on Godfather Part II since it is overwhelmingly winning just so I can give more recognition to Young Frankenstein or Murder on the Orient Express.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Kellens101 » Fri May 15, 2015 4:33 pm

The Original BJ, what movies this year would you classify as masterpieces?

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Heksagon » Fri May 15, 2015 12:27 am

After a lengthy break, the Original category here offers me another chance to vote.

And it's a tough choice with two of the best films of the decade in Chinatown and The Conversation. My vote goes to the former film.

Day for Night is a good film, but I find to be a bit overrated. I don't see it comparing that well to either Chinatown of The Conversation. Then again, I must admit Day for Night is another one of those films that I'm long overdue for a refresh.

I see quite a few people saying that this is one of the strongest years in these categories ever. The three former films would go a long way to justifying that argument, but for me, the last two nominees spoil it. Harry and Tonto is a mediocre film and not good enough that I'd be happy to see it as a screenplay nominee, although most years do see worse efforts nominated.

The film that I really don't like here is Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, which is actually one of the most disappointing films I have ever experienced. Undoubtedly, my expectations were wrong when I saw it at a young age soon after seeing many of Scorsese's greatest masterpieces. But I just don't see anything really exceptional in this movie.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby The Original BJ » Thu May 14, 2015 8:42 pm

1974 may be the greatest year for movies ever, and happily many of the great films were cited by the writers. And the two winners represent maybe the most impressive pair of writing winners in Oscar history (with All About Eve/Sunset Boulevard probably at least putting up a fight.)

Looking at the Original side of the group, I think it's hard to argue that any of the nominees were deeply undeserving. I'm sure we all could come up with more preferred alternates here or there -- of ineligible titles, I'd have to include Scenes From a Marriage; among actual options, I'd push for Badlands -- but I think the nominated contenders represent a very meritorious group.

I'd probably rank the scripts that produced the year's lead acting winners the lowest, but as I said, I don't have bad things to say about either of them. Like a lot of Mazursky's films, the plot to Harry and Tonto is rather episodic, and feels a little low-key. But it's funny in a very wise way, an insightful portrait of a man journeying across a changing America that can often feel foreign to his generation, and by the end, it achieves a very simple and quiet poignancy. But, of course, it feels quite small next to some of its more tremendous competitors.

I saw Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore in a film school class on Scorsese, and it really stood out in that context for being so different from most of the director's output. But aside from the most superficial differences (a focus on the bonds between women instead of men, a far warmer tone than the majority of Scorsese's grittier fare), one of biggest ways the film stands out is being one of the very few Scorsese vehicles where the directorial flash really takes a back seat to the script. And the writing is memorable throughout, full of touching and funny scenes that paint a very of-the-moment portrait of a newly single mom and her attempts to navigate her relationships given this new and unexpected turn in her life. It too, though, feels smallish alongside other options.

I think the remaining three nominees are all tremendous, and in another year (like, say, 1972), I could imagine any of them running away with our poll here. The Conversation definitely borrows conceptual elements from Blow-Up, but I find it to be a very well-constructed thriller on its own terms, and the twist at the end, especially, is a startling plot turn. But it excels at more than just a plot level. As a character study, the film's depiction of Hackman's anti-hero is quite powerful -- he's bad at his job and it greatly depresses him, but he remains committed in his almost futile quest to use his position to prevent tragedy. I think it's a movie that's both hugely despairing and completely gripping, with a script that triumphs both on the surface as exciting narrative as well as beneath it as thematically complex drama. Of course, there are even greater opportunities to choose Coppola elsewhere, even if one wants to honor him this year...

Day for Night is one of the great movies about moviemaking, and I think the script does a pretty excellent job at depicting the very wide range of different types of people who choose to be involved in the film industry, and what voids they seek to fill in their own lives by pursuing such a vocation. In this way, Truffaut ties his ideas about the act of artistic expression to broader ideas about how people express themselves in life, and he does so in a hugely energetic, often very funny, deeply resonant way. There aren't many chances to honor Truffaut as a writer in this game -- although I think both of his nominations are excellent, they both come in extremely competitive years, and I can't say either would necessarily be a must-win for me. So unfortunately, I have to pass on voting for this dazzlingly inventive effort...

...because Chinatown has to be in the running for Best Original Screenplay ever. In discussing this category in our polls here, we often pick out certain elements of writing that our favored scripts excel at to garner our votes. But Chinatown is a triumph in virtually every way that a screenplay can be a triumph. The turns of the plot comprise one of the best constructed mysteries in film history, with narrative wrinkles (the reveal that the first Evelyn Mulwray isn't who we think she is, the way "bad for the glass" comes back to provide a major clue, "she's my sister and my...," the shocking finale) that consistently spin the story in wildly unexpected directions. The dialogue features too many wonderful lines to name, with a deeply fatalistic sensibility that feels both of a piece with the hardboiled noir era the film depicts as well as the anti-establishment '70s period that birthed it. And in J.J. Gittes and Evelyn Mulwray, the film explores two of the richest characters this decade, two smart and sad individuals who make a perfect match for each other and a horrible one for everyone else they cross in this story. This is one of the most detailed, brilliant displays of writing craft the Academy ever had the chance to honor, and Robert Towne gets my enthusiastic vote even in this very strong field.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Kellens101 » Thu May 14, 2015 5:34 pm

In Adapted, I voted for The Godfather Part Two, one of the masterpieces of the year and a brilliant sequel to the equally brilliant classic. This movie is so amazing, so haunting, so poignant, so exciting, I have to give it this award. It works incredibly as a continuation of the story of Michael and his downfall, as well as a tale of how Vito Corleone grew up and became the Godfather. This is one of the greatest films of the 1970s and of all time and I gladly give it my vote. None of the other nominees even touch this achievement, no matter how thrilling Lenny is and how hilarious Young Frankenstein is.

In Original, it's mostly the same. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Harry and Tonto are somewhat minor compared the amazing masterpiece that gets my vote, but they're still funny and touching pieces of writing that are pretty successful. The Conversation is an amazingly crafted and suspenseful thriller that is consistently tense, but it's strengths are mostly visual and clearly aural. Day for Night is one of the best films of the year and a hilarious and beautiful film about the joys and struggles of filmmaking. It would definitely be my runner-up. But I vote very easily for Chinatown, the best film of the year and a timeless classic that is also one of the greatest films of all time. This would have to be in the running for one of the best screenplays ever, if not the best. Everything about the writing is so brilliant, the structure, the dialogue, the twists and turns, the depiction of California in the 1930s, everything is perfect. I'm always in awe when I watch this film, at how all the details work magically to congeal into a hugely successful whole that is intelligent, witty, dark, brutal, haunting. I gladly give this remarkable film my vote, even with some strong competition.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Precious Doll » Thu May 14, 2015 6:57 am

A very mixed bag with my choices being Day For Night (Original) & Lenny (Adapted).
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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby CalWilliam » Thu May 14, 2015 4:58 am

This is indeed a very distinguished list, but the original category is definitely superior. I'll begin with adapted, which is a no-brainer to me.

First to cite are the (subjectively) annoying vehicles for their main performers. As much as I love and admire Bob Fosse's Cabaret, I just simply don't get excited at all about Lenny or All That Jazz. The script is skilfully at the service of Dustin Hoffman and I can't find any reason to vote for it. Yet, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is even more irritating. While not exactly bad, it's kind of simplistic, and its depiction of the Jewish community of that period is told in the most uninteresting way to me. Besides, I can't stand Richard Dreyfuss' histrionics nor his hideous laughter. Oh, and they ONLY talk about money.
Murder on the Orient Express is one of those films that encouraged me to discover motion pictures in my childhood, and one of the reasons of my early love to them. It's a good albeit schematic piece (which Agatha Christie film or book is not?) that bothers in providing each member of its wonderful cast something interesting to do and say. However, not enough for a vote this year, but it's definitely better than some of recent winners in this category.
And Young Frankenstein is an innocent delight, with a lot of fun, but this belongs to Coppola and Puzo without hesitation. If it was difficult to surpass what they had already achieved two years before, they made it here. It's better structured, more profound and definitely more relevant than the first Godfather. A very easy vote.

The competition in original is worth celebrating, and I've had a HARD time making my final choice.
The worst to me is Harry & Tonto, although it's a nice and subtle character study with a fine performance by Art Carney. This year it didn't have a chance.
I miss another Scorsese movie like Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. It would have been nice if in his maturity as a filmmaker he would have developed and improved anything akin to this movie instead of negligible Capes, Casinos or Gangs. I really like this one, a Scorsese film with believable ordinary people.
1974 was a peak for Coppola indeed. I'm on the side of those that happen to love The Conversation. For sure it borrows from Blow-Up, but it's an utterly thrilling film to watch and hear anyway, with one of the best endings ever. And Gene Hackman was snubbed.

And finally this dissertation lands in two of the best movies of all time. I've read many of your wise remarks regarding Chinatown, and there's no need nor way to add anything special. A masterpiece to remember and again, to admire. But my heart is with La Nuit Américaine, a film that has only brought me happiness (a young man's joy, at least) while seeing it and within the actual context of my life during the times I was seeing it. Far from subjective territory now, it's an undeniable terrific script, and one feels Truffaut's and everyone else's enthousiasm. Each character is a gem, and the screenplay really succeeds in transmitting its main universal theme: our search and need of the absolute, the lasting, instead of the transient thing. How beautifully Valentina Cortese shows that feeling.
It's a work of love, of wisdom and a true triumph of one of the most passionate filmmakers. Truffaut and his colleagues get my ardent vote.
Last edited by CalWilliam on Thu May 14, 2015 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Big Magilla
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Re: Best Screenplay 1974

Postby Big Magilla » Thu May 14, 2015 3:47 am

This is about as perfect a group of nominees as the Academy has ever given us.

There isn't a lot to say here. I have no gripes about any of the nominees and wouldn't substitute anything here. Chinatown and The Godfather Part II richly deserved their wins despite strong competition, particularly in Chinatown's case .


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