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Directed by Richard Shepard
USA 2009

 

An exploration into the life of the exceptional but little-known actor John Cazale. Cazale's film career consisted of just five movies, but all of them were Academy Award nominees for Best Picture; The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather II, Dog Day Afternoon, and, his last picture, The Deer Hunter. He is remembered by these colleagues as one of the brightest talents of his day, but yet, after just three decades after his promising career ended with his untimely death, Cazale is largely unknown the general public. I KNEW IT WAS YOU seeks to remedy the disparity of Cazale's success with his relative anonymity.

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Theatrical Release: January 16th, 2009 - Sundance Film Festival

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DVD Review: Oscilloscope - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 39:52 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.28 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Oscilloscope

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary with director Richard Shepard
• Al Pacino - Extended Interview (19:50)
• Israel Horovitz- Extended Interview (22:30)
• The American Way (1962) - 10:10 4:3
• The Box (1969) - 9:49 4:3

DVD Release Date: November 9th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 9

 

Comments:

The title "I Knew It Was You" comes from the line delivered by Michael Corleone (Pacino) to his brother Fredo (Cazale) before giving him the kiss of death in The Godfather II.

Regardless if you are very aware of - OR - even less familiar with John Cazale as an artist and a person - this is fabulous 40-minute documentary. Reminiscing about the actor and person are Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Sidney Lumet, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep (girlfriend and engaged to John Cazale), Steve Cazale (John's brother) and many others. The more we learn the more his stature grows - an actor who only made 5 feature films before dying of lung cancer - and all 5 were nominated for best picture Oscars. They were The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather II, Dog Day Afternoon, and, his last picture, The Deer Hunter. Richard Shepard did a great job with this mini-documentary.

The DVD is up to Oscilloscope's usual standards - it is dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive. The interviews appear so clear and sharp I can assume they may have been shot digitally and there is a nice animated montage sequences of Cazale growing up and many stills from his renowned films. It looks fine but this is less about the visual appearance and more the content - which is filled with fascinating information from the participants. It flows well - nicely edited.

Audio is simple stereo but everything is clear and well-defined. There are optional subtitles in French or English on the Region FREE NTSC disc.

There is a good production-based commentary with director Richard Shepard and extended interviews with Al Pacino for 20-minutes and Israel Horovitz, author of more than 50 produced plays, for 22-minutes. Also included is a 10-minute short from 1962 (now on permanent collection at the MoMA) with Cazale entitled The American Way (1962) - described as "anarchic sight gags tweaking American institutions including baseball, Mom, and apple pie. There is a second 4:3 black and white short called The Box - shot by and starring Cazale in an all-night session at the apartment of fellow actor Michael Lombard in November 1965. It was a U.S. entry at the Edinburgh, San Fran, Cork and Oberhausen Film Festivals.

I really enjoyed this in both my viewings. Film fans who appreciate any, or all, of Cazale's 5 masterpiece films - should find this highly impressive. One sequence has the public on a crowded street quizzed if they recognize a picture of the actor (Cazale). While some we able to say 'Fredo' - no one could give his real name. It ends with his eulogy and it's safe to say that anyone seeing this documentary will, certainly, never forget his name again. Our highest recommendation!  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Distribution Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 0 - NTSC



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