Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Dog Day Afternoon

I received a lot of great DVDs for birthday and Christmas presents over the holidays, one being DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975). It was one of those films that I had woefully neglected seeing—it’s a shame that I had waited so long.

Dog Day Afternoon focuses on two robbers (Al Pacino and the incomparable John Cazale) as they attempt to hold up a Brooklyn bank. What should have been a quick and easy job spirals out of control into a standoff and an all-out media circus. The film is funny, dark, satirical, and, I think, one of the best examples of gritty 1970s filmmaking.

The film is based on a true incident involving bank robber John Wojtowicz. Wojtowicz received 20 years for his crime, and was in prison when the movie came out. Unhappy with the way he was portrayed, Wojtowicz wrote his own review of the film and submitted it to the NEW YORK TIMES, which rejected the article. JUMP CUT, an online review of contemporary media, has reprinted both Wojtowicz’s review and the Times rejection letter. Both can be read here.

Jump Cut is a great resource for those wanting more substantial critiques of film and other media. Around since 1974, Jump Cut analyzes media in relation to class, race, and gender. The site has the latest issues as well as extensive archives dating back to the magazine’s origins in the 1970s.

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