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Old March 25th, 2013, 12:00 AM
Brainbin Brainbin is offline
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Brand New Hollywood, Same Old Industry

Welcome to the Academy Awards, or, as its known at my house, Passover.

Bob Hope, in the first words of his opening speech as Host of the 40th Academy Awards, April 10, 1968

Welcome to two hours of sparkling entertainment spread out over a four-hour show.

Johnny Carson, in the first words of his opening speech as Host of the 51st Academy Awards, April 9, 1979 [1]

For almost as long as the film industry had existed in Hollywood, those who were a part of that industry had possessed a phenomenally inflated opinion of themselves, and of the work that they did. This was common to virtually all kinds of entertainers, but filmmakers had truly elevated their pomposity to an art form. Fittingly so, for as of the release of The Birth of a Nation in 1915, motion pictures themselves were no longer deemed mere frivolous entertainment; they too were true art. In 1927, the studios
on the suggestion of Louis B. Mayer, the quintessential studio chief created the Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars (a nickname of disputed origins), and the most famous self-congratulatory event in popular culture. With each passing year, the ceremonies grew longer, and even more bloated and decadent than the last. Even wiseguy, bubble-bursting hosts like Bob Hope and Tonight Show host Johnny Carson could not quite deflate the egos on display. Perhaps nobody could not in a single night. Then again, even over longer periods of time, the chattering class seemed utterly oblivious to changes shaking the very foundations of their industry. By the 1970s, the Golden Age of Hollywood was well and truly past – fortunately, this decade also saw a tremendous wave of retro nostalgia, primarily focused on the 1950s, which were among other things the waning years of the Studio System, and the final period of dominance for many formerly-iconic but now-passé genres such as film noir, musicals, and westerns. Those studios which were still extant, if reeling from the collapse of the decades-long status quo, continued to have a great deal of difficulty adapting to new realities. All of the seven major studios (MGM, Universal, Paramount, Columbia, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and United Artists) had expanded their operations into television by the 1970s – though some were dragged into doing so, kicking and screaming – and were increasingly forced to divest their historically valuable but obsolete assets. The eighth major studio of the Golden Age, RKO, had dissolved in 1959, having already sold most of its backlots to the upstart television studio, Desilu Productions, some years before.

MGM, perhaps the defining studio of the Golden Age – which had continued to pay dividends throughout the Great Depression – had long ago been reduced to a holding pattern where their entire film division was almost wholly dependent on one major hit per year. This continued into the 1970s: Ryan’s Daughter had been very successful for them in the opening year of the decade, with Napoleon proving a veritable smash-hit the following year. It had also won the studio its first Best Picture trophy in over a decade, restoring some desperately-needed prestige at a critical time. A surprise hit for MGM in 1971 had been the pioneering Blaxploitation film, Shaft, allowing the studio to take advantage of a burgeoning genre, which would serve them well in the lean years ahead. For in 1972, they only managed to perform well with the first of the Shaft sequels; this situation repeated itself in 1973 with yet another sequel to that film. The success of MGM being increasingly tied to black audiences was reminiscent of a similar situation at NBC in the same era. It didn
’t help that their more traditional successes, Ryan’s Daughter and then Napoleon, were bound to the whims of their directors – David Lean and Stanley Kubrick, respectively – who were meticulous perfectionists, and often took years to churn out their next pictures. Ryan’s Daughter had only been Lean’s fourth film since 1957. Stanley Kubrick was only slightly more prolific – he had made six films in the intervening years. [2] In the same span of time, a filmmaker of similar renown, Alfred Hitchcock, had directed seven films (with an eighth to come in 1972) and numerous episodes of his Alfred Hitchcock Presents series, on top of further work for television.

As far as Kubrick was concerned, MGM did what they could to accommodate his ever-fickle muse, for better and for worse. Ongoing discussions about adapting The Lord of the Rings, the revered trilogy of fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, had first caught the attention of Kubrick in 1969, when the Beatles, who were planning on producing and starring in the film themselves, approached him and suggested that he direct. At the time, United Artists had owned the rights to adapt the books for the screen, having secured them directly from Tolkien himself (who, for the record, did not endorse the involvement of the Fab Four). Kubrick was uncertain about the viability of such a tremendous undertaking, given the immense logistical complications involved, but the point was mooted by his work on Napoleon, which commenced later that year. Kubrick had promised to revisit The Lord of the Rings, despite his misgivings, once his historical war epic was completed. But by the time that production had wrapped on Napoleon in 1971, the Beatles had separated for good; though this dissolution had only come after MGM had purchased the rights to The Lord of the Rings from UA, much to the chagrin of studio executives. However, Kubrick was true to his word, and set out on preliminary work in order to bring the trilogy to the screen. But after attempting several treatments, reading the books back-to-front, and even scouting out locations, Kubrick finally abandoned adapting The Lord of the Rings in early 1972. Perhaps he had simply tired of epics, having directed two of the most exhaustive films in a row (2001, and then Napoleon); by this time, he had become intrigued with the prospect of telling a story about the Holocaust. Perhaps he found such daunting subject matter invigorating, just as he had found the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction when he decided to adapt Red Alert (though that turned into the very different Dr. Strangelove). Among the ideas rejected outright by Kubrick were adaptations of A Clockwork Orange and The Luck of Barry Lyndon. [3]


It was later in 1972 when a most unlikely candidate to direct the Lord of the Rings films emerged. It was the height of Porno Chic and two of the five highest-grossing films of the year were X-rated pornographic pictures: Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door. Also finishing in the Top 10 was the animated Fritz the Cat, directed by Ralph Bakshi, a maverick who – it so happened – was also a devoted fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and been ever since the 1950s, when first floated the idea of adapting the film for animation. At the time, he did not have artistic clout or commercial success behind him, but that all changed with Fritz. And when he learned that Kubrick had decided not to go ahead with the project, he seized the opportunity. On the whole, MGM bigwigs weren’t sure what to make of his proposal, but Edgar Bronfman, the studio chief, was eager to revitalize the reputation of his company, whose cartoon unit – which had produced and distributed the Tom and Jerry shorts – had shut down in 1957. [4] Granted, the directors of those shorts, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, were now contributing to the degradation of the medium (at least, in the opinion of many animators, including Bakshi) with their “limited animation” style. Nevertheless, they had still produced major hits in the past
such as The Flintstones, which ran for six seasons and the present, like Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, which managed a five-season run before it ended in early 1977. [5] With regards to feature-length films, the primacy of the Disney studio had been badly shaken by the death of Uncle Walt himself in 1966. The Aristocats, the first film produced without him, had grossed well but critical reception had been lukewarm at best. And despite the time-consuming and laborious nature of animation, Bronfman reasoned that expenses would still come in well below analogous costs for three live-action pictures. With luck, for a moderate investment, Bakshi’s project would produce three high-grossing films in a row, in addition to grosses from MGMs live-action roster.

One much-discussed technique used in Fritz the Cat was the use of watercolour backgrounds, which were traced from original photographs; this was deemed suitable for use in the Lord of the Rings project as well. It would also take advantage of the extensive scouting photography done by Kubrick’s team, which remained in the hands of MGM despite the director
’s departure from the project in fact, these were pooled with photographs from the pre-production of Napoleon, resulting in some overlap of “settings” between the two projects. However, plans to use extensive rotoscoping of live actors in the animation process were quickly mooted. “It didn’t look good in Snow White forty years ago, and it doesn’t look any better now”, an executive sagely observed. [6] Rotoscoping was to be reserved only for the extensive battle scenes, which would take months or even years to animate without it. However, extensive use was made of live-action reference. In contrast to the revolving door of animators working on Fritz the Cat, Bakshi was able to assemble a dream team to work on The Lord of the Rings (which, granted, included several artists who had worked on Fritz), as the early 1970s saw a great many animators who had once worked at the now-closed cartoon divisions of the studios out of work and were happy to put their talents to use. MGM was, perhaps, slightly less guarded with money than they might otherwise have been, had Bakshi been more forthright with cost projections, but they were convinced they were onto a good thing with the release of Disney’s Robin Hood in 1973, which was heavily criticized for its recycled animation, from sources as old as Snow White [7] though the film still performed well at the box-office.

As much preliminary work was done simultaneously on all three films as was possible, in order to ensure for a pattern of consistent annual releases. It thus took three years from the beginning of “principal photography” in 1973 for the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, to be released in 1976. [8] The screenplays for the entire trilogy of films were written by Peter S. Beagle, a fantasy author of some renown, though from the plotting and storyboarding of Bakshi himself, who had consulted extensively with Tolkien’s daughter, Priscilla, in doing so (Tolkien himself having died in 1973, living long enough only to express some misgivings about seeing Middle-earth depicted in
“cartoon” form). [9] The Fellowship of the Ring cost over $5 million to produce – appropriately, about as much as Napoleon had cost MGM some years before. However, it was also a hit, grossing over $40 million in the United States alone, cracking the Top 10 for 1976 and proving MGM’s highest-grosser of the year – finishing in first place was the Elvis Presley/Barbara Streisand remake of A Star Is Born, which netted the King an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, the first of his career. [10] Streisand was also nominated for Best Actress for the third time, though as with her previous two attempts (and like fellow gay icon Judy Garland in the same role, over two decades before), she did not win; however, she did take home the Oscar for Best Original Song. [11] As far as The Fellowship of the Ring, it (unsurprisingly, given the Academy bias against animation and fantasy) neither won nor was nominated for any awards, but it was well-liked by audiences, even the Tolkien fandom, for being very faithful to the original novel (though the character of Tom Bombadil and subplots related to him were excised for dramatic irrelevance), with critical praise going toward the art direction and to the voice acting (the actual animation was deemed merely above-average – better than Disney and leagues above Filmation or Hanna-Barbera, not that it was saying very much).

The Two Towers followed in 1977. Though it obviously stood (as so many films did that year) in the long shadow cast by The Journey of the Force, it still finished sixth overall – one of two MGM films to finish in the Top 10, grossing over $50 million dollars on a budget of less than $4 million. However, it was regarded as a disappointment in that it failed to out-gross the animated competition from Disney, The Rescuers; in fact, it also failed to finish as the top-grossing MGM film of the year. The Robert De Niro vehicle Bogart Slept Here, for which the thespian won an Academy Award for Best Actor, did so instead. [12] Again, The Lord of the Rings was shut out of the Oscars. The film, despite its impressive grosses, received more lukewarm critical attention and audience reception, suffering as so many middle instalments of trilogies did from that certain “directionless” feeling. Despite the better raw grosses and (notional) profit margins over Fellowship, MGM brass were “concerned” at the direction of their series, and insisted on keeping Bakshi on a tight leash for the final film, The Return of the King, which was released in 1978. Fortunately for all involved parties, it would perform the best of all three movies, grossing $60 million (again reaching the Top 10, and becoming the biggest hit of the year for MGM). Critical acclaim was stronger for this film, and the Academy finally took notice, so to speak, in awarding Ralph Bakshi a special Oscar “for his creative and artistic adaptation of a modern fantasy classic to the screen through the use of animation”. [13] The film was perhaps about as different from the top box-office hit of the year (the long-awaited adaptation of the retro-nostalgia musical Greased Lightning) as was possible, but it spoke to the tremendous diversity of popular films throughout the decade. Nonetheless, as the years went by, definite trends emerged.

If claims to being “the first blockbuster” were not foisted upon Moonraker, then they definitely would have gone to Jaws, released a year later. That Universal film was directed by the young wunderkind, Steven Spielberg, and advance word was so strong that EON Productions chose to hire the Hollywood Brat to direct for the James Bond films – he would helm 1976’s Live and Let Die and 1978’s The Man with the Golden Gun before moving on. Jaws was a man-against-nature thriller, a cousin to the disaster films that dominated the box-office through the decade, and was based on the bestselling novel by Peter Benchley, which depicted the “enemy” as a great white shark. These fish were popular romantic enemies of Man and had been for millennia, despite the absence of evidence implicating the creatures as particularly fond of human flesh. But no matter; they were known to be bloodthirsty and intimidating, which made for a great story. The film told the story of a small coastal New England town hounded by the titular shark, which leads a trio of locals to take him on once and for all. Jon Voight played the role of Hooper; veteran actors Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw played Brody and Quint, respectively. [14] The film’s production in 1974 was not without problems, particularly centred on the shark (the animatronic design did not respond to remote control, and had great difficulty staying afloat, sinking more than once). The draft script was re-written frequently, with Spielberg associate (and fellow Hollywood Brat) John Milius eventually receiving the screen credit. [15] It would earn him an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, one of six received by the film, which were translated into five Oscars, including those for Best Picture and Best Director – Spielberg, at age 29, became the youngest person ever to win that award (and the first Baby Boomer to do so). [16] It also won for Best Original Score, awarded to John Williams (in his second win, after Fiddler on the Roof), Best Sound, and Best Film Editing, awarded to Marcia Lucas at Desilu Post-Production Editing Unit B. [17] But all of the critical acclaim and awards-show recognition in the world could not compete with the grosses mustered by Jaws, which raked in nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in the United States alone. The success of Moonraker in 1974 was no fluke; a new order was rapidly emerging.

But as had been the case for the past quarter-century, the motion picture industry wished to demonstrate that it was artistically, morally, and intellectually superior to that most threatening upstart medium: television. One of the most outspoken screenwriters working in film, Paddy Chayefsky, had strong feelings about the small screen, and decided to write them down in hopes of coming up with something constructive
– or perhaps, suitably destructive. The resulting polemic was a script called Network, which depicted the goings-on at a struggling (and fictional) fourth broadcast network (named the United Broadcasting System, or UBS). MGM produced and released the film in 1976, despite the executives and producers working within their own relatively prosperous television division having… reservations about the plot, which entailed an embittered, embattled news anchor, the “Mad Prophet of Airwaves”, forced out of his position by low ratings, only for his inspired ravings to draw an unexpected audience. A young and particularly ruthless female network executive, played by the ubiquitous Jane Fonda [18], despite her age nearing 40 by this time, took advantage of his new popularity, and the rest of the film charted his resulting descent – in more ways than one. Chayefsky, a member of the generation which fought in World War II (he himself had been an army veteran), was on the other end of the famed “generation gap” which had so defined the last decade, which had informed a wry – and inaccurate – observation about Fonda’s baby-boomer character (“She’s television generation. She learned life from Bugs Bunny.”) which, ironically enough, the great screenwriter failed to appreciate – Bugs Bunny, though kept alive by television reruns, had begun life on the big screen, in cartoon short-subjects, and virtually all of the content now seen on Saturday morning cartoons had originally been produced as such. Then again, Chayefsky had a decidedly conflicted relationship with television as a medium; he had gotten his start there as a writer during the Golden Age in the 1950s, and wrote a teleplay which would eventually become the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1955: Marty. However, he eventually bought into the hype, seeing his launching-pad as a “vast wasteland” like so many of his fellows. Network, like his earlier Hospital, was a scathing, self-important satire, and in addition to winning Best Picture, it became only the second film to win the Big Five Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), after It Happened One Night had done so forty years before. [19] Director Sidney Lumet, who, like Chayefsky, had first rose to prominence in the 1950s, represented a “bridging” generation between the established studio hacks of yore and the New Hollywood auteurs. Jane Fonda won her second Oscar (after Klute), and Chayefsky won his third (after Marty and Hospital), making him the first individual to win three Screenplay Oscars as an individual – the previous three to pull the hat-trick (Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Francis Ford Coppola) having done so as part of a team. MGM, which had produced Network, won its second Best Picture statuette of the 1970s, though obviously for a film that could scarcely be any different from their first.

In subsequent years, and along similar aspirational lines, one of the great undertakings, spoken of only in hushed tones among the Hollywood Brats, was their planned adaptation of the famed Joseph Conrad novella, Heart of Darkness. Written as a critique of the notorious Congo Free State – a personal fiefdom of the King of the Belgians, Leopold II – at the turn of the century, the prospect of adapting the novella for the screen became a timely one in 1960, with the Congo Crisis that saw the former Congo Free State (annexed to Belgium in 1908) gain its independence (amidst a wave which swept many African countries in that era). However, the New Hollywood generation would not achieve critical mass until the late-1960s, but Africa very much remained in the headlines even into the ensuing decade, for a variety of reasons. The formerly “Dark Continent” was coming into its own on the world’s stage: it formed an ideological battleground between capitalism and communism (though virtually the entire continent technically remained in the Third World as opposed to formally joining the First or the Second); Portugal, alone among the imperialist powers of the previous century, continued to fight to maintain their colonies (as “integral provinces”), finally conceding Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau (but maintaining their insular territories) in 1977; the death (though disputed by Rastafarians) of the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, and his replacement by his young, charismatic, and Westernized grandson, Zera Jacob Selassie
a graduate of Oxford University, who took the regnal name Constantine III after a previous Nəgusä Nägäst with the same birth name [20]and, perhaps most significantly, the celebrated “Rumble in the Jungle” taking place in Zaire, the former Belgian Congo itself, between two of the greatest boxers in the world, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, in 1974. This fight had been a boon to the image of the Zairian Dictator Mobutu, who was rebuilding the capital of Léopoldville (renamed Kinshasa in 1966) in his own image. Among his grandiose projects was a film studio; Zaire was a francophone country, and the Congo River on which the city was located was densely populated, even by Sub-Saharan African standards.

Mobutu may have already suspected that increased Hollywood interest in Africa might have lured prospective filmmakers across the Atlantic. The African Queen had famously shot on the Congo a quarter-century before, but visiting Hollywood productions had been very scarce in the years since – granted, most of Africa had still been under European control at the time, and the continent had since been swept by revolutions, dictatorships, and very poor living conditions. Even the relatively well-off countries (such as South Africa) were abhorrent to the Western Allies for altogether different reasons. But the story of Heart of Darkness was the story of a trip up the Congo – for the purposes of authenticity (and what was New Hollywood if not inspired by the principles of cinema vérité?), any auteur director would have to film there. It was a big gamble for Mobutu, and a very close call indeed. For the producer, Francis Ford Coppola, had hoped to “modernize” the story at the core of Heart of Darkness by transposing the era to the late-1960s, and the setting to Southeast Asia. [21] But no studio was willing to touch his concept, even after the success of his two Godfather films. “We don’t need another M*A*S*H” was the common rejoinder. Long after that film had been forgotten by the general public, it continued to serve as a cautionary tale. Coppola grudgingly accepted their verdict, deciding to hand over the project to his screenwriter, John Milius. By the time, Blaxploitation had become entranced with “Brother Against Brother In The Motherland” themes, with multiple pictures being shot in the newly-built Kinshasa studios. The technology available there fit perfectly with the fast-and-dirty exploitation aesthetic of that particular genre; however, it perhaps lacked the refinement of the more lavish Hollywood studios. Location filming in the Congo would be workable, though certainly not ideal. But in the end, authenticity was worth something to Milius, especially as he sought to stake his claim in popular culture, as all of his peers had done by the mid-1970s.

Filming was a challenge – largely because all sides sought to gain optimal control of the film’s creative direction. Mobutu’s government had been made aware of an Afrocentric critique of the original novella by a Nigerian academic, in which the book (despite being condemnatory of imperialism and colonialism) continued to depict native Africans as the shadow archetypes, the “other”, whose savageness and barbarism threatened the complacency of the White Man’s existence from the harshness of the jungle. [22] They demanded that greater emphasis be placed on the brutality of the occupying powers, even above and beyond the incidents portrayed in the novella, and that the humanity and dignity of the Congolese people always remain in evidence. Environmentalist and animal rights organizations insisted on increased demonization of the ivory trade (which was present in the original book), as the elephant population was in rapid decline, the pachyderm already having been wiped out from large parts of the continent as a result in previous centuries. [23] As the weaponry used to dispatch elephants had advanced greatly in the past eighty years, Milius balked at this demand; he informed representatives from the World Wildlife Fund that the most effective way to dissuade viewers from supporting the ivory trade would be to hire native extras to re-create a historical hunt, which would in all likelihood result in the death of one or more actual elephants. In a compromise, the film did feature the live animals (borrowed from the Kinshasa Zoo), allowing the lead character, Marlow, to comment on the beauty of the creatures and lament their value only as a commodity. Chosen to play Marlow was Harvey Keitel, who had worked with another Hollywood Brat, Martin Scorsese, on his film Mean Streets. [24] Steve McQueen, who was originally offered the role of Marlow, had declined due to not wanting to spend too much time filming in Zaire – he accepted the smaller role of Kurtz. The part was in fact shrunk further in rewrites, which increased the mystique of the character in having him become mythologized prior to his first onscreen appearance in the final act. The decision to cast McQueen, one of the most potent actors of his generation, as Kurtz served to solidify this character arc. [25] Despite the role being quite atypical for McQueen, he surprisingly relished the opportunity to prove his chops – at least, for a hefty salary and top billing. It would prove the last such role of his career; the actor had been diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer prior to the film
’s release. [26]

With regards to post-production, Milius secured the services of an editor whose work he held in the highest respect, Marcia Lucas, by now a two-time Oscar winner. Despite considerable difficulties in retaining her services during what proved to be a very tumultuous year for both her and the industry, he was insistent, and she would receive an Oscar nomination for her services. It was one of many received by the film; it won Best Picture and Best Actor for McQueen, whose performance, less than fifteen minutes long, was the shortest-ever to win that award [27]; Milius won two Oscars, for Adapted Screenplay and for Director. However, Lucas did not win a third Oscar for Best Film Editing, for reasons that were widely perceived to be political. Milius went out of his way to thank her specifically in his acceptance speech for Best Director, as did Producer Francis Ford Coppola, who was accepting Best Picture for the first time, having notably lost the award for both Godfather films. In addition, the film performed well at the box office, grossing $80 million in the United States alone. [28] It was another vindication for the Hollywood Brats, who had managed to achieve success by working with the major studios. However, the uneasy peace between the radical, revolutionary forces of New Hollywood and the staid, complacent, establishment of the retrenched studio system came to a definitive end on the morning of April 6, 1978. Less than 72 hours after George and Marcia Lucas had won their Oscars for The Journey of the Force, they (on behalf of their studio, Lucasfilm Limited) filed suit against Paramount Pictures for breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation
. Thus began the Trial of the Century…

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Academy Award-Winners for Best Picture [29]

42nd (1969-70): Midnight Cowboy (dir. John Schlesinger)
43rd (1970-71): Patton (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner)
44th (1971-72): Napoleon (dir. Stanley Kubrick)
45th (1972-73): Cabaret (dir. Bob Fosse)
46th (1973-74): The Exorcist (dir. Peter Bogdanovich)
47th (1974-75): Chinatown (dir. Peter Bogdanovich)
48th (1975-76): Jaws (dir. Steven Spielberg)
49th (1976-77): Network (dir. Sidney Lumet)
50th (1977-78): The Journey of the Force (dir. George Lucas)
51st (1978-79): Heart of Darkness (dir. John Milius)

Top-Grossing Films of the Year in the USA and Canada [30]

1969: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (over $100 million)
1970: Love Story (over $100 million)
1971: Napoleon (over $100 million)
1972: The Godfather (over $125 million)
1973: The Exorcist (over $200 million)
1974: Moonraker (nearly $175 million)
1975: Jaws (nearly $250 million)
1976: A Star Is Born (over $100 million)
1977: The Journey of the Force (over $300 million)
1978: Greased Lightning (nearly $175 million)

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[1] Both of these quotes are as per OTL. Granted, you may consider it a stretch that Carson would say the exact same thing he said IOTL, given the dozen years of butterflies that have accumulated ITTL, but I
’ll allow it simply because it’s such an incredibly obvious observation. For the record, at that time, no telecast had yet run for four hours, IOTL or ITTL. Indeed, the longest-running ceremony was that of the 12th Academy Awards, which celebrated the films produced in 1939, the annus mirabilis of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In fact, as recently as 1972, a telecast had come in under two hours, but by 1979, the last several ceremonies had each run for well over three hours.

[2] IOTL, Lean would not direct another film after
Ryan’s Daughter (which, it should be noted, was a good deal more successful, critically and commercially, ITTL than IOTL) until A Passage to India in 1984. Kubrick, though he worked at a (relatively) moderate pace through the 1960s, saw his pace slow dramatically after 2001 was released in 1967: he would direct only five more films in the next thirty-two years. This was largely due to his all-consuming search for an ideal project, which rarely satisfied him.

[3] Of course, A Clockwork Orange and then Barry Lyndon were Kubrick
’s two films released after 2001 IOTL. Given that the director was extremely fickle about which projects he would bring to the screen, I’m going to posit that the window of opportunity for A Clockwork Orange has well and truly closed, allowing for it to be brought to screen later in the decade under the auspices of some lesser filmmaker, and obviously failing to achieve anything close to its OTL notoriety.

[4] Recall from a previous post that Bronfman was able to cement his position as the Chairman of MGM strongly enough to fend off a challenge from Kirk Kerkorian which resulted in his deposition IOTL. In the ensuing years, with the relative success of
Ryan’s Daughter and the boon of Napoleon, Bronfman was able to consolidate his position, having proven himself as good at making movies as his father was at making liquor. Speaking of which, upon the death of Samuel Bronfman in 1971, Edgar inherited the lion’s share of his father’s empire (which, in addition to Seagram, also included an oil company), and became one of the wealthiest men in the world, especially after the Oil Crisis of 1973. However, like a certain other fabulously wealthy media tycoon, Bronfman found himself accustomed to running the operations of his studio, and remained primarily focused on that enterprise; fortunately, he had many members of his large family to leave in charge of keeping the booze and the crude flowing.

[5] Wait Till Your Father Gets Home ended in 1974, after two full seasons and a truncated third (quite common in animated series, for whatever reason) IOTL. In the death throes of the Great Society ITTL, the show has more resonance and finds a larger audience. Not coincidentally, the show finally wraps after Reagan is elected in 1976.

[6] Yes, someone with a modicum of good sense has pre-emptively kiboshed the ludicrous overuse of rotoscoping by Bakshi. You
’re welcome.

[7] Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words
this moving picture should be worth about a million.

[8] The one and only Lord of the Rings animated film to be directed by Bakshi IOTL (which depicted all of Fellowship and most of Two Towers) was released in 1978. Though the film was a box-office success, it did not receive a proper sequel, though Rankin-Bass released a (musical!) version of The Return of the King in 1980.

[9] As the early 1970s saw an attempt by John Boorman to adapt the novels into a (single) film IOTL, during which time he did indeed correspond with Tolkien on the matter, the later plans for an animated version helmed by Bakshi would not come to fruition until after the author
’s death in 1973, and therefore Tolkien would never learn of it.

[10] Elvis and his manager, Tom Hulett, agreed to take the part for scale in exchange for top billing; Streisand, a massive prima donna, forced a compromise of
“diagonal billing” (pioneered for The Towering Inferno, which co-starred Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, a few years earlier, IOTL and ITTL) in which the King’s name would appear in the lower-left and her name would appear in the upper-right, with both names above the title. (Elvis was then offered, and accepted, a larger salary.)

[11] IOTL, Barbra Streisand won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 41st Oscar ceremony in 1969, for Funny Girl – in a tie, with Katharine Hepburn (becoming the first actress to win for the third time) for The Lion in Winter. This is one of only two ties ever in the history of all the acting categories, and unlike the previous “tie”, between Wallace Beery and Fredric March in 1932 – which reports varyingly held to be a lead for March of between one and three votes – this one was an exact tie. However, it was awarded on April 14, 1969 (a Monday), more than two years after our POD (and right in the industry where it takes place), also after the election and inauguration of President Humphrey and during the resolution of the overseas quagmire. All of this allows Hepburn to (narrowly) win her third Oscar solo ITTL.

[12] Bogart Slept Here was based on the Neil Simon screenplay that would, IOTL, become The Goodbye Girl, which happened after Robert De Niro was deemed not right for the part (a takeoff on the Dustin Hoffman story – perhaps he might have been?). The role was then recast with noted movie actor Richard Dreyfuss, who had just appeared in Jaws (and, prior to that, in American Graffiti), but ITTL, why would anyone cast Richard “Meathead” Higgins in a romantic role? This gives Robert De Niro the Oscar for Best Actor in Bogart Slept Here, which is largely considered an
“apology” for his shocking loss of the Best Supporting Actor trophy to Harvey Korman (which was nothing new even then – decades before, Jimmy Stewart won for The Philadelphia Story because he lost for Mr. Smith Goes To Washington), thus allowing the cycle of Oscar entitlement to begin anew.

[13] Oscar chose the same tactic IOTL for Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

[14] Hooper is another, far more visible role that Richard Dreyfuss was unable to play ITTL due to his commitment to Those Were the Days. Voight had been a finalist for the role IOTL. This naturally scuttles any further collaborations between Spielberg and Dreyfuss in the future, most notably Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

[15] Milius was merely a ghostwriter for the film IOTL (one of many, as it happens). Screenplay credit was awarded solely to Benchley himself, along with Carl Gottlieb.

[16] Spielberg, quite notoriously, would not win Best Director until 1994 IOTL, for Schindler
’s List, at the age of 47. Indeed, he was first recognized by the Academy as a producer (receiving the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award in 1987), by which point he had been snubbed even for nomination on numerous occasions (including for Jaws itself, as well for his first major “Oscar bait” film, The Color Purple). Among the films for which he lost Best Director IOTL: Close Encounters, Raiders, and E.T.

[17] The editing job
– and the Oscar – went to Marcia’s mentor, Verna Fields, IOTL. ITTL, Marcia became the first woman to win Best Film Editing twice upon receiving the Oscar for The Journey of the Force. Thus, when George Lucas won his Oscar for Best Director that same night, he was still one behind his wife.

[18] The female network executive was played IOTL by Faye Dunaway. But ITTL, Jane Fonda, whose career was not (temporarily) hobbled by her actions in support of an enemy of the state, wins the part instead, despite really being too old for the role (though, granted, this has never stopped Hollywood before, nor has it ever since IOTL).

[19] IOTL, One Flew Over The Cuckoo
’s Nest won the “Big Five” Oscars the year before, becoming the second film to turn the trick. Network won Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay, but lost both Best Picture and Best Director to one of the screen’s greatest Cinderella stories, Rocky, a film which does not exist ITTL.

[20] IOTL, Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974, in a coup by insurgents who were supported by pro-Communist elements, which ITTL the CIA works to defuse. This, coupled with the death of his Heir Apparent, Amha Selassie, in a severe stroke in 1973 (from which he recovered IOTL, living for another quarter century), paves the way for his young and liberal grandson to take the throne upon his death. Fortunately for the young Constantine III, he is taking the throne amidst a wave of pro-monarchical sentiment (to which his own accession indeed contributes), which helps to blunt initial opposition to his reign, before he is able to assert himself and win over his people.

[21] This produced the resultant film Apocalypse Now IOTL, one of several films of the late-1970s which were utterly obsessed with rehashing the overseas quagmire.

[22] The academic, Chinua Achebe, was also an Afrocentric novelist of some renown, and wrote his critique in February, 1975, IOTL. You can read more about it here.

[23] Worth noting, in another entry for the
“Suddenly Always This Way” file, is that the ivory trade was only banned in 1990 IOTL.

[24] Keitel was originally chosen for the role of Capt. Willard in Apocalypse Now IOTL, before he was dismissed and replaced by Martin Sheen.

[25] McQueen was the first choice for the role of Willard IOTL, but declined to participate due to the extensive shooting that would be required in the Philippines (which turned out to be far more than anyone could have realized, and likely would have killed him). The suggestion by Milius to cast him as Kurtz is an invention for TTL.

[26] As IOTL, sadly; McQueen died on November 7, 1980, though by late 1978 he had developed a persistent cough which plagued him for the rest of his life.

[27] The shortest performance to win a lead acting Oscar IOTL was that of David Niven, who won Best Actor for Separate Tables, in a performance lasting for fifteen minutes and thirty-eight seconds of screentime. Also worth noting is that Beatrice Straight, whose supporting performance in Network was the shortest ever-recognized by Oscar (at five minutes and forty seconds), did not appear in that role ITTL, and her equivalent did not won the Oscar either.

[28] About par with the OTL grosses for Apocalypse Now in 1979.

[29] Midnight Cowboy and Patton are as IOTL. All subsequent winners differ from OTL: Cabaret wins instead of The Godfather; The Exorcist wins instead of The Sting; Chinatown wins instead of The Godfather Part II; Jaws wins instead of
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest; Network wins instead of Rocky; The Journey of the Force wins instead of Annie Hall; and Heart of Darkness wins instead of The Deer Hunter. All of these also win Best Director except for Chinatown; Francis Ford Coppola wins for The Godfather Part II.

[30] Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Love Story are both as per OTL. Subsequently, the top-grossing films of their respective years IOTL were as follows: Fiddler on the Roof in 1971 (with $80 million); The Godfather in 1972 (with $135 million); The Exorcist in 1973 (with $193 million); Blazing Saddles in 1974 (with $120 million); Jaws in 1975 (with $260 million); Rocky in 1976 (with $120 million); Star Wars in 1977 (with about $300 million); and Grease in 1978 (with $160 million)

---

This was originally going to be a smaller, more intimate update, before the length burgeoned to 7,000 words and I accrued 30 footnotes
– the most I have ever had in any update that I’ve ever written; and I honestly thought that I would never top the 28 that I managed to include with the previous update. Nevertheless, I want to thank all of you for reading, and I hope that this gives you a good impression of American cinema in the 1970s and how it compares to that of OTL. And as you can see, there’s now a spectre looming over Hollywood that could well threaten to shake the status quo as nothing has done before. We will be revisiting that, of course. Many times, in fact
__________________
The Turtledove Award-Winning That Wacky Redhead: Big Dreams Have Big Consequences!

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Last edited by Brainbin; March 25th, 2013 at 04:45 AM..
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