John Cazale was cinema's ultimate "other guy." He was never the lead, never the star attraction, but if you're a fan of naturalistic, empathetic acting, you could not take your eyes off him when he was onscreen. Between 1972 and 1978 he appeared in a string of five films, and each of them was nominated for a best picture Oscar — and then he died at age 42, a victim of cancer. That's him as the weak-willed and fatally flawed Fredo in both installments of The Godfather
, and that's him again assisting Gene Hackman in The Conversation
, and there he is again breaking your heart with his sweetly slow-witted portrayal of Sal in Dog Day Afternoon
. Director Richard Shepard interviewed Cazale's friends (Hackman, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino) and lovers (Meryl Streep) to create a tribute to the man some thought was the greatest actor of his generation. I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale
screens as part of the Webster Film Series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 16, in Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu
/filmseries). All five of Cazale's films will screen in the next six weeks, in chronological order; The Godfather
plays this Friday through Sunday (December 17 through 19) at 7 p.m. The documentary is also screened every Thursday in January at the same time and place. Admission is $5 to $6.
Thu., Dec. 16, 2010