Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hey, It's That Guy…

John Cazale, image via BAM.org

Do you recognize this actor? Probably. He played Fredo in The Godfather and The Godfather II. He was also in The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter. Now you know him. Can you name him? Probably not. I'll give you hint. John Cazale. The incredible thing is, he appeared in only those five films before dying at the age of 42. That's a pretty incredible legacy. Oddly, the last time The Deer Hunter was on TV, we said the same thing. "Hey, it's that guy. How come he was in all those incredible movies then nothing?" Of course, his illness and subsequent death of cancer never occurred to us.

Which is why the short documentary I Knew It Was You is so fascinating. In it we hear people like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Francis Coppola and Sidney Lumet relate their remembrances of Cazale. More moving is the interview with Meryl Streep as she talks about her relationship with John Cazale and the time they spent together at the end of his life. You can see an interview with the director here as he discusses Cazale and the people who contributed to the film. Then rent one of those five great films to see John Cazale in action.

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