He went to the mattresses.
Years earlier than James Caan’s star flip as Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather” (1972), the actor was onerous at work within the Hollywood trenches, throwing himself into roles each massive and small in hopes of hitting the large time.
Each fan of the late actor, who died Wednesday at 82, is aware of the Bronx-born legend as Axel Freed in “The Gambler” (1974), or the unfortunate writer in “Distress” (1990). However, you received’t discover these widely-celebrated movies on this record of underrated (and typically downright obscure or unusual) Caan films, beginning all the best way on the tail finish of the black and white period.
Whether or not the movie is de facto good or simply plain odd, Caan is all the time a pleasure to observe.
No person was prepared for this twisted thriller pairing Caan (taking part in a brutish, Brando-esque jerk) with display screen legend Olivia de Havilland. Columnist Hedda Hopper known as for the movie to be burned. The form of film that almost certainly did properly on forty second Avenue, and nearly nowhere else, it affords a punch-in-the-face take a look at a transitional second in American tradition.
Howard Hawks’ sort-of-remake of “Rio Bravo” was the primary time Caan, taking part in a younger gun out for vengeance, actually bought observed — it didn’t harm to have John Wayne as a co-star. Critics confirmed up for this one.
This “what the hell did I simply watch” movie stars Caan and Katharine Ross as a bored, immature Manhattan couple that invite a German cosmetics salesperson (Simone Signoret) into their residence, solely to mess along with her thoughts for sport. Roger Ebert’s overview of the movie referred to Caan as “one of many uncommon younger male actors of skill in Hollywood in the present day.”
Caan first collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola on this lovable, forgotten highway journey film, giving it his all as a soccer participant affected by mind injury who hyperlinks up with a bored New York hausfrau (Shirley Knight). Critics didn’t completely get it, however they couldn’t ignore Caan’s performing chops.
Taking part in the peaked-in-high-school Harry ‘Rabbit’ Engstrom in an ill-fated adaptation of John Updike’s novel, Caan managed to make the few people who noticed the movie hate him. He performed the irresponsible dad that goes out for cigarettes and doesn’t come residence. Years later, Caan recounted his pleasure for the undertaking; his enthusiasm for the position shines via.
A smash-hit on tv later despatched to theaters, Caan and Billy Dee Williams co-star on this tear-jerk true story of Chicago Bears gamers Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and their odd couple-esque friendship. No marvel it’s thought of a benchmark in tv film making.
This bizarre outing options Caan as a Chicago e-book editor who errors the title character for a prostitute, sending the wise-cracking Candice Bergen on a downward spiral. Critics mentioned that with out Caan and co-star Peter Boyle, the movie would basically be pointless. (This appeared to occur so much, early on in his profession.)
On the heels of his ‘Godfather’ success, quite a lot of eyebrows had been doubtless raised by Caan’s portrayal of a Navy man caught in limbo in Seattle, the place he meets a pool corridor hustling hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold (Marsha Mason) and falls in love, each along with her and her 11 year-old son, performed by baby actor Kirk Calloway. A well-meaning little film that did properly throughout awards season that 12 months.
An amusing journey again to a time when Alan Arkin and Valerie Harper might be forged as Mexican-American husband and spouse and snag award noms for his or her performances, the principle level of this cultural fossil buddy image is the unhinged backwards and forwards between Arkin and Caan, who play a pair of maverick San Francisco cops. Critics known as it “tasteless.” They had been completely appropriate, however that doesn’t imply it wasn’t enjoyable.
Michael Mann’s modern directorial debut served two functions — to remind us that we had been now not within the Nineteen Seventies, and to provide us quite a lot of time to observe Caan play a cool prison, particularly an skilled Chicago safe-cracker out for one final skilled thrill.