THE 1970s were a great decade for cinema, and also a decade where cinemagoers clamoured for total shit. These double-bills truly reflect the period:
Serpico (1973) and Mutiny On The Buses (1972)
In Serpico, undercover cop Al Pacino is shot in the face while struggling to expose corruption in the NYPD. In Mutiny, Blakey is struggling to expose incompetence at the Luxton & District Motor Company when his van is crushed and the depot catches fire. Two stories so alike, with the whistleblower a hero in one and a villain in the other.
Last Tango In Paris (1972) and Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976)
Sex and desire: the mysterious heart of the human experience. Are we reduced to animals by our lusts or elevated above them by eroticism? Is Marlon Brando engaging in anonymous sexual congress in a Parisian apartment really so different to Robin Askwith banging a woman so hard a Triumph Herald falls apart?
Stalker (1979) and Logan’s Run (1976)
Tarkovsky’s Stalker is a meditation on the alien both outside and inside us, a slow-paced exploration of how the human mind assimilates the truly inexplicable. Logan’s Run believes itself deep but is a cheap chase movie with a robot made of silver boxes. But Jenny Agutter wears a tiny see-though dress in Logan’s Run and Stalker is dull.
Jaws (1975) and Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973)
There’s very little that’s scary about a shark as long as you follow one simple rule: don’t go in the f**king sea. Whereas an Old English sheepdog that’s rampaging around the countryside, still growing unstoppably, with the whole British military facing off against it? Truly the stuff of nightmares.
A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Meatballs (1979)
In both films, an outsider who challenges authority is taught to conform. In both, the audience is forced to consider the violent costs of enforcing society’s laws. In the former it’s achieved by clamping eyelids open in front of footage of dental surgery; in the latter, Bill Murray makes out with a hot girl at camp. Which would you rather watch?