Sunday, February 23, 2014

Movies by year: 1973

(Warning: here be spoilers, but seriously come on, this movie's 41 years old now!)

How has the weekend been for you guys? Did you, by any chance, watch any of my 'life movies' yet? No pressure :) Okay, now we're up to 1973, which was an interesting year for movies. Leonard Nimoy was a psychic race car driver (yes) in Baffled!, which never turned into a series; Linda Blair puked up pea soup in The Exorcist (and I became a lover of the soundtrack); and Yul Brenner planted the seeds for The Terminator as the unstoppable black-hatted cowboy in Westworld. But my choice is based on a sort of true story:

Papillon


Steve McQueen, legendary cool dude, plays Henri Charrière, a less-than-saintly man who is wrongly convicted of murder in the 1930s and sent to Devil's Island, a notorious prison colony in French Guiana. Conditions are beyond terrible, and he is put through extreme suffering between escape attempts, including years-long stints in solitary confinement and starvation. He survives it all through his friendship with Dega (played fantastically by Dustin Hoffman) and sheer stubbornness.

Much of it was filmed in Jamaica, and I actually visited one of the crashing water/cliff areas in Negril years ago, very cool. There's a lot of controversy about the novel this was based on, things don't add up and it's thought that it is mostly fabrication, but no one denies that the brutal hardships of the prison are accurate.

What do you think? Have you ever seen Papillon? Or maybe read the novel? I haven't read it myself, but I'd like to...

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