Friday, September 21, 2007

The John Cazale Award

I was watching Dog Day Afternoon I think on Wednesday night (quick aside I didn't realize that movie was based on a true story which really makes it even more incredible and Elizabeth Debbie Eden, who Leon was based on, was far prettier than her portrayal let on) when I remembered that "Fredo"- John Cazale was in that movie as well. He always seemed to play the same type of character, kind of shy/more of a follower/dopey, but I looked at his biography and his list of films and no one played those roles better.
Here are the films John Cazale was in

The Godfather
The Conversation
The Godfather Part II
Dog Day Afternoon
The Deer Hunter

That's a pretty good line up of some of the greatest movies of the 1970s. All of them are brilliant brilliant films- in fact every film he appeared in was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. I can't think of anyone in Film who's ratio would even approach that. It's fucking amazing. He was only 33 when he died of bone cancer, though he always looked a lot older than that. But even with such a record everyone know just remembers him as Fredo (a confession a few months back when I was screwing around on IMDB I really thought he was still alive, just not working in anything anymore- like his career was due solely to his connections with Coppola, Pacino or De Niro) as the hapless loser (who ends up get screwed) but I decided he should be the patron saint of underappreciated or unacknowldged great character actors- the ones who you never learn their names but always recognize their faces leading to a " yeah isn't that whats his name?"

And so I think it is only fitting that the first ever winner of the (soon to be prestigious) John Cazale Award, in recognition of a career of great "character work" should be the man himself, the great John Cazale.

in pace requiescat

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