Dark Endings...1970's Style
by Whit Sunday
We have grown accustomed to entering the cozy darkness of the theater, anticipating the spectacle to come, confident that, in the end, our hero will prevail. For a brief interlude, film seduces, replacing the hard reality of the outside world.
But back in the 1970s, directors still had some semblance of independence and in a number of films produced during the decade of stagflation, Nixon and disco, our hero did not prevail. In fact, in some, the hero fared quite poorly indeed.
'The Conversation', directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman and a very very young Harrison Ford chronicles the activities of a professional evesdropper who can't quite make out what he is hearing.
In 'The Parallax View' by Alan Pakula, it's conspiracy theory writ large. But it happens to be true. Warren Beatty Stars.
Finally, Milos Forman's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' paints a picture of life inside a mental institution.
There are obviously many pictures produced during this period that make for counter point - Star Wars (1975), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and others.