You knew it was him

Maclean’s (who I’ve been going to a lot lately) reviews the new book about John Cazale, and makes it sound very interesting. I might pick it…

Wait, who?

This guy. The guy who only acted in five films, all five of which are considered to be among the best American cinema ever made: The Godfather, The Godfather II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter.

More than three decades after his death, this unsung talent is now being hailed as one of the most brilliant and influential actors of his generation. Those doing the hailing include Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman and Meryl Streep, who all worked with Cazale. Their opinion is seconded by younger actors who never knew him but cite him as a crucial influence, notably Philip Seymour Hoffman, Steve Buscemi and Sam Rockwell. These testimonials are part of a remarkable new HBO documentary titled I Knew It Was You, which is showing this week as part of the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto.

I noticed his impressive credentials a couple of years ago, but I didn’t grasp the level of respect Cazale still commands among the top actors of his generation.

I feel ashamed that I haven’t seen The Conversation, even though it’s by far the least well known of the five on that list. If you haven’t seen one of the other four, you should hang your head.

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