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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DUSTIN HOFFMAN



I always remember  the exchange of opinions my dad had with a couple of my older cousins around 1976 or 7. They were talking about this big nose long haired guy in tie who was playing alongside with Robert Redford (I knew the last one already thanks to some other, in this case female cousins that always praised him in The Sting).
 Relatives and this unknown actor had something in common: "important" noses. So, Dustin Lee Hoffman (L.A., August 8, 1937) has always been to me as if he was part of the family and his movies have always been something I have to see. The joy i get from his acting and the quality of the productions  he is envolve with  it's just an extra satisfaction, a bonus to something I feel I have to do anyways.
So, first movie  was Litlle Big Man (Arthur Penn, 1970), again at my cousins some late sunday. All the kids and my dad around the tube following the strange narrative of this centenary guy and his adventures among the indians, General Custer and Faye Dunaway.

Little GREAT Man

One day, dad again, pointed me a strange man walking across the street making a brief stop every five steps or so. I was observing the peculiar walker when dad started to tell me about a book he read of a man that was in a little cell for so long that he end up going  that way. The  novel was Papillon and he told me  about  how good the movie was. In those days there was not even videos to rent but, and maybe  because of that, the cinemas use to play good old (and not so good or not so old) movies. I got around Papillon (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1973) at the early eighties and seen Hoffman playing a secondary but  superb roll was a joyful surprise. Another night I got a call from my old man (who didn't live with us) telling me that Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969) was on the TV. Even in a shopped version I felt under the spell of  the "beautiful friendship" that Ratso Rizzo and the future father of Angelina Jolie had until death tore them appart. Then, his breakthrough and for me one of the cornerstones of the New Hollywood: The Graduate (Mike Nichols,1967), with him playing ten years younger his real age in order to convince us  of the sinful mistake of koo koo ka chooing one Mrs. Robinson.


The italian comedy Alfredo Alfredo (Pietro germi, 1972), Strawdogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971) and Marathon Man (again, John Schlesinger, 1976 and with Sir Lawrence "Is IT Safe?" Olivier) were other well remembered paternal recomendations that i followed and enjoyed. 

"Try acting, my dear boy"

Then came some newer movies that didn't have that classic 60's or 70's appeal to me, somehow a bit female oriented big movie events like Kramer vs. Kramer (Robert Benton, 1979) or Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982) from where even a dear aunt got a familiar nickname!).  

Getting ready for his take in Tootsie

After Tootsie  he was not often enough on the silver screen. Around that time i read he liked pregnant woman, which was something very weird to hear if you were a teenager in those fitness years that were the eighties. The first time I went to the movies to see the premiere of  one of his movies  was, of all his works, Ishtar (Elaine May, 1987). I just found this infamous flop quite funny with Hoffman and Warren Beatty playing the old Hope, Crosby and Lamour schtick, this time with a extremely beautiful Isabel Adjani.

1.66 meters of pure concentrated talent, here with pals Chevy and Warren

I heard he almost played Decker in Blade Runner and I can understand that he is not the typical Hollywood leading man but has a lot of star power and  his name is warranty of quality. Late in the 90's he even has play a couple of action heroes, if not with much success. He doesn't mind being comedic, dramatic (or both), romantic or taking a meety not so big supporting rolls. Like in recent years when he has been in some of my favorite very good movies like I Heart Huckabees (David O. Russell, 2004) and  Stranger Than Fiction (Mark Forster, 2006) or almost cameos as in Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events (Brad Silverling, 2004) or Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Tom Tykwer, 2006). Also, a very good mature romantic lead in Last Chance Harvey (Joel Hopkins, 2008) with Emma Thompson by his side is worth mentioning here and I, why not, still hope he will play the  lead in some Woody Allen flick.

With Bobby, his chump in at least five  movies
A few days ago i was very impressed with his not  so big but great part in Sleepers (Barry Levinson, 1996) where  he has a scene with one of  my big italian idols: the late Don Vittorio Gassman. Another movie that I knew existed  for decades but i just seen recently and you should grab and enjoy ASAP is Lenny (Bob Fosse, 1974) the strong biopic of  one, if not the greatest, stand up comedians  of them all: Lenny Bruce.

Nowadays he  is still a big name in all star comercial comedies or CGI animated blockbusters probably waiting  for that next great movie that will need his precious service. We are lucky that at his seventies  he is still looking great and his skills still one  of the best in Tinseltown.

Always ready to play, even for a casual snapshot
By the way, I'm still waiting for the release on DVD of (take a deep breath) Who Is Harry Kellerman And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? (Ulu Grosbard, 1971) even if is possible track a rare copy on VHS.

Game enough to play Dalí, for  the lens of Herb Ritts, in 1996









4 comments:

manigna said...

Aquí en la actualidad el bueno de Dustin aparece en el comercial del nuevo modelo de Fiat. Aquí te dejo la versión para la tv brasileña:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scAk5Bzw-fE&feature=related

... y la versión extendida que pasan en los cines:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm03KV5KR-A

Comercial dirigido por Fernando Meirelles, director de "Cidade de Deus" y "Blindness".

Saludos,

Manolo.

Guely of Sweden said...

Caramba! Ciudad de Dios ese si que es un buen crédito! Pero esta no fue la primera vez que Dustin vende carros!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGdf9ea2olQ

Saludos!

Pollo said...

Asu, no sabía que Dustin Hoffman tendría tantos comerciales. Y, si, entre mis parientes también tiene un aire “familiar”

Guely of Sweden said...

Todo un vendedor de carros el gran Dustin!

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