BLACK GIRL (1972) Leslie Uggams, Ruby Dee, Peggy Pettitt - In the middle of the BlaxploitatIon blitz of the 70s, Ossie Davis directed this nicely-observed, well-acted domestic drama about a young girl struggling to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer. Available for viewing on YouTube
DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE (1970) Carrie Snodgress, Richard Benjamin, Frank Langella - Director Frank Perry's very funny and perceptive female alternative to all those male-centric spiritually adrift anti-hero films of the 70s. Available for viewing on YouTube. Read critique and analysis of the film HERE.
THE OSCAR (1966) Stephen Boyd, Elke Sommer, Tony Bennett - Laugh-a-minute, all-star camp-fest about a Hollywood louse willing to do anything to win an Academy Award. Film debut and swansong of crooner Tony Bennett. Available for viewing on YouTube.
LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR (1977) Diane Keaton, Richard Gere - Positively harrowing evisceration of the 70s sexual revolution by way of a fascinating character study of a school teacher caught up in the world of one-night-stands and singles bars. Keaton is nothing short of amazing.
HEDDA (1975) Glenda Jackson, Patrick Stewart - Modest but exceptional adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" won star Glenda Jackson an Oscar nomination and features X-Men's Patrick Stewart with a full head of hair, but is largely forgotten today. Which is too bad, the film boasts outstanding performances throughout. Read critique and analysis of the film HERE.
WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR? (1965) Sal Mineo, Juliet Prowse - Busboy and part-time obscene phone caller/stalker, Sal Mineo, sets his sights on nightclub DJ Juliet Prowse, who also has to fend off the advances of her lesbian employer, Elaine Stritch. A seamier, more sordid psycho-sexual melodrama you're not likely to find. Ergo, a must-see! An edited version of the film is available for viewing on YouTube.
REMEMBER MY NAME (1978) Geraldine Chaplin, Anthony Perkins - Robert Altman protege, Alan Rudolph, creates perhaps one of my favorite contemporary film noirs. Ex-convict, Chaplin, stalks an harasses ex-husband, Anthony Perkins, attempting to destroy both his new life and marriage. It's not made immediately clear whether Chaplin is insane or merely seeking to even the score for a past betrayal, but her menace and cunning are something to behold.
LAST SUMMER (1969) Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas - Rated-X upon its release, this unsettling, nihilistic look at social disillusionment and moral decay among a quartet of teens who bond over the course of a summer. Newcomer Cathy Burns won an Oscar nomination, but girl-next-door Barbara Hershey is one of the more terrifying screen characters ever written. Read critique and analysis of the film HERE.
THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD (1975) Michael Sarrazin, Margot Kidder - uneven performances and Margot Kidder's terrible old-age makeup can't suppress the overriding, delectable, seedy weirdness of this supernatural thriller about a man who senses his recurring bad dreams are images from a past life. Available for viewing on YouTube.
PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD (1970) Faye Dunaway, Roy Scheider - Faye Dunaway plays a supermodel who has suffered a nervous breakdown. As the unreliable narrator of this free-form reconstruction of her past, she confronts the hollow search for meaning that her life has been. Excellent example of 70s-era independent/art filmmaking. Read critique and analysis of the film HERE.
YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER (1972) Patty Duke, Richard Thomas - In this thriller, Patty Duke plays a very-pregnant widow who pays a visit to her less-than-welcoming mother-in-law. A big house, a snowstorm, secrets, secrets, secrets.... It looks like a TV-movie, but handles the suspense very well. Available for viewing on YouTube.
GIRLS TOWN (1959) Mamie van Doren, Paul Anka, Mel Torme - Peroxide teenage(!) troublemaker, Mamie Van Doren gets sent to an all-girl reform school. Outstanding bit of juvenile delinquent rock & roll exploitation with an outrageous cast (Charlie Chaplin Jr,, Harold Lloyd Jr, Elinor Donahue,The Platters, Ray Anthony), hilarious dialog, and no acting to speak of. Low-rent heaven. Slightly edited MST3K version is available for viewing on YouTube.
EYE OF THE CAT (1969) Michael Sarrazin, Gayle Hunnicutt, Eleanor Parker - Prodigal nephew returns to the home of his rich, ailing aunt (Parker) for the possible purpose of killing her for her money. Two problems: 1) His creepily incestuous aunt has a house full of felines with a near-supernatural protectiveness toward her, 2) He suffers from a deadly fear of cats. A stylish, super fun, suspense thriller. Read critique and analysis of the film HERE.
HEALTH (1980) Glenda Jackson, Lauren Bacall, Carol Burnett - Another one of Robert Altman's ensemble comedies, only this one failed to reach the heights of Nashville (or even the much-reviled Ready to Wear). Shelved for a time and later given limited release, it pops up on TV intermittently. Set at a health food convention during the election of a new industry president, the political satire is a tad heavy-handed; the character quirkiness a bit overworked; and none of it is nearly as funny as its incredibly talented cast suggests. But flawed Robert Altman is still head and shoulders over what is easily available on DVD these days, so quality can't be the only hold up. Worth a look if only you could find it!