A blogger since 2004, Guy blogs irregularly on bunchojunk.com and is the sole correspondent for the Ken PD Snydecast Experience. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook and find links to all of his work on guyhutchinson.com.
1975 was a unique time in film. Charlie Chaplin was knighted by the queen of England, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie were born and actor and former California Governor Ronald Reagan entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination, challenging sitting President Gerald Ford.
Jaws topped the box office, paving the way for future blockbuster films. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest topped the Academy Awards with several powerful acting performances. The dramatic film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore won the BAFTA Awards highest honor and then was turned into the quirky sitcom Alice.
Fifty years before 1975 films were silent. Over the next 5 decades, films had gone from silent to sound, black and white to color and full frame to widescreen. The content of films had changed over time and most drastically in the decade prior. Films now depicted sex and violence, showed nudity and featured characters that used swear words. Cinema had changed much by 1975 but many of the stars and filmmakers of the golden age of movies were still alive, passing their wisdom on to a new generation.
Below are some of the films that I find underrated from 1975. I hope you find a gem or two that you hadn't heard of before.
Tubby the Tuba (1975)
Solid dialogue and simple story bolster this charming animated film. Dick Van Dyke stars at the titular tuba and is joined by a host of fun and familiar voices, most notably Pearl Bailey. "Tubby the Tuba" was originally a 1945 song and had also been made into a couple animated shorts. The story is essentially a road movie where Tubby travels out to find his melody, joins the circus and meets the colorful characters of Singing City.
I had a friend who admired Charles Bronson greatly. I asked him which of Bronson's films was his favorite and he replied immediately "every freakin' Charles Bronson film."
It's a pretty good answer. Bronson films generally adhered to a very specific formula. Someone is wronged and Charles Bronson is there to right that wrong.
Bronson is at his Bronson-iest here playing a pilot sent to rescue a in innocent man (played with gusto by Robert Duvall) from prison.
Blazing Stewardess (1975)This isn't a good film. It's not even a "so good it's bad" film. But it is a film that should be seen because it is the big screen return of The Ritz Brothers. The Ritz Brothers were a golden age comedy team that had not been seen on screen in decades. The Ritz Brothers got the roles in this film when The Three Stooges dropped out due to Moe and Larry's failing health. The Ritz Brothers had done most of their decades of comedy on stage and starring in only in a handful of films (none since the 1950s.) They are funny and charming and make the film an underrated gem in my book.
Backed by a strong supporting cast of Phil Silvers, Dick Van Patten, Joe Flynn and Cesar Romero, this film is a silly romp that will keep you smiling.
Let's Do it Again (1975)A follow up to the phenomenal film Uptown Saturday Night, this stars a very unique trio of lead actors: Sydney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Jimmy Walker. The film tells the story of an unlikely hustle where the scrawny Bootney Farnsworth (Walker) is hypnotized and put into a rigged boxing match.
This film was a starring vehicle for the band Bloodstone, cashing in on their fame at the time. The film, like the band, has left the public consciousness over the past four decades. It's a shame, since the band was tremendously talented and the film is a fun ride.
The film features many impersonators spoofing the stars of the day and of the early days of film. 'Marlon Brando' is murdering people with his armpits and it's up to Bloodstone to stop him. If that doesn't sell you on this film, nothing will.