Release year: 1973
Director: George Lucas
Screenwriter: George Lucas, Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips
Ratings: 5 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Candy Clark), Best Director, Best Writing, Best Film Editing. 2 Golden Globes: Best Comedy/Musical, Best Male Newcomer (Paul Le Mat). 2 Golden Globes nominations: Best Actor Comedy/Musical (Richard Dreyfuss), Best Director.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #162, week 30 2017
The last night before going away for college, a group of high school grads spends one last night cruising in town.
Before he struck major fame with Star Wars (1977), director George Lucas made this charming coming-of-age movie. The movie tells the very different events experienced by a group of youngsters dealing in each their way, with the fact that their leaving hometown for college the following day. The movie takes place in California, and is inspired by Lucas’s own youth and the way one meet girls in that age. Starring a rather unknown Dreyfuss (Jaws, 1975) the movie has a certain kind of innocence and is a nostalgic nod to a more simple time. Dreyfuss’s Curt is struggling with second thoughts on whether he wants to leave town at all and Dreyfuss shows us his character go from eagerness to sadness and back again, giving a suitable bittersweet tone to the movie. Le Mat (Melvin and Howard, 1980) had his feature film debut with his tough guy experiencing emotional growth in one of the sweetest sequences of the movie while the award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard (The Music Man, 1962) is seen in front of the camera as Steve struggling to come to terms with whether or not move into a long-distance relationship or not with his sweetheart, played with a mixture of sweetness and attitude by Williams (The Conversation, 1974). The pace is deliciously slow, giving the movie time to focus on characters and making the funny little episodes of life become the story. The result is a compassionate and empathetic look at a generation played by a great cast of virtual unknowns we have later come to know as great acting talents, all backed by a terrific soundtrack setting the mood for a really good time.
When Wolfman Jack makes an on-air prank call to Pinky’s Pizza, the voice on the other end belongs to George Lucas.
Curt is modeled after Lucas’s personality during USC, while Milner is based on Lucas’s teenage street racing and junior college years, and hot rod enthusiasts he had known from the Kustom Kulture in Modesto. Toad represents Lucas’s nerd years as a freshman in high school, specifically his “bad luck” with dating.
The movies was shot exclusively at night and in 29 days.
Picture copyrights: UIP