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The Newlyweds as Moviegoers
by Jon Schuller

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They met quite unexpectedly, both rather far away from their homes, in a place that had only recently witnessed a full-scale war. But the land was quiet, the people and their surroundings nearly back to normal. The boy and girl were young, somewhat innocent, but somehow they knew they'd see each other again, but not completely sure when. He thought she was intelligent and beautiful. She thought he was handsome and smart. Their one commonality was they spoke the same language: that made things easier. They separated for a while but got back together after a month in a city as old as history itself. Could any Hollywood movie plot be any more romantic than this true story? They did share other interests, among them going to the movies. The pair even got a chance to see a movie in the faraway city that had captivated and captured them. A little over a year later the pair was married in her native city and then both came to his native land to live. They were so in love and their romantic first meeting and subsequent adventures were a real-life story, worthy of the Big Screen. They both loved movies, sitting in a darkened theatre, holding hands and being mesmerized by the actors and the stories. Their second year of marriage was also a momentous one for films, with many soon-to-be great and classical movies premiering in 1970.

A grand total of 265 films premiered world-wide in 1970. The variety of these movies was as wide as ever and some gained prominence quickly as audiences were seeing ground-breaking plots and stories. From romance to musicals to science-fiction and drama, there was no lack of appeal to every taste. Our newlyweds were already
movie-lovers and each had seen their fair share of pictures before they'd ever even met. Together, their combined interests just added to the fun of seeing some new big screen production as soon as possible. There were no video tape cassettes or dvd's yet, of course, so most viewings were in the neighborhood theatres. And, there were always oldies on television, too.

The top ten highest grossing films of 1970 were:
Love Story The Aristocats
Airport Little Big Man
MASH Ryan's Daughter
Patton Tora! Tora! Tora!
Woodstock Chariots of the Gods
The obvious comment is how different each of these films is from the others; one of them was a Disney cartoon feature as well. Several of the most prestigious movie awards went to these movies as well as their featured players.

Love Story had been a runaway best-selling book by Erich Segal, published in February, 1970. By December, the film had premiered. That may very well be a record for getting a movie made and shown so close to the publication of its original book. In any
case it made instant stars of Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw, and even though most of the critics panned it for being a big screen, corny, Cinderella soap opera, famous quotes came out of it, audiences shelled out millions and Mr. Segal wrote a sequel.

George C. Scott nailed the character of the famous, unconventional and irascible World War II general, George S. Patton, in the movie, Patton. A huge production, the film covered Patton's exploits and victories starting with the landings in Sicily and going through to D-Day, 1944. Patton made many decisions (both good and bad) on and off the battlefield (the famous one of his striking a wounded enlisted man is featured) but his uncanny tactical abilities were never in doubt. His "historical" timing was duly noted as he proclaimed his legacy in history alongside other generals from the past. Mr. Scott declined his Best Actor Academy Award.

The more "comical" sides of war are featured in MASH, taking place during the Korean War and showing the daily routines of surgeons and nurses who cared for and operated on wounded soldiers in the field. A great cast featuring Elliot Gould, Donald Sutherland, Sally Kellerman and Robert Duvall let us see how dangerous their lives were as they worked and played under battlefield conditions.

Although it premiered 45 years ago, Airport's plot, about the many facets of commercial airlines and the flying public, still has relevance today as new and more dangerous daily events are seen on television news programs. With an all-star cast, featuring Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy and Helen Hayes, we saw daily melodramas happening behind
the scenes at a busy international airport, with all of the large and small problems played out every day.

We have a more subtle side of war featured in the famous and satirical Catch-22, based on Joseph Heller's best-selling, anti-war book. It's 1970 and the anti-Vietnam War movement is in full swing. Viewing World War II from the side of a soldier who's not ready to fight, struck a chord with '70s movie audiences.

As I mentioned the variety of the films in 1970 was wide and multi-faceted. I'll feature just a few examples to show how wide-ranging their subjects and characters were:
Brewster McCloud
Cotton Comes to Harlem
Diary of a Mad Housewife
Five Easy Pieces
The Great White Hope
I Walk the Line
Kelly's Heroes (a personal favorite)
Little Big Man
The Out-of-Towners
Rabbit, Run (based on a best-selling book)
Two Mules for Sister Sara

We have the movie debuts in 1970 of many now-established stars like Robert Downey, Jr., Frank Langella, Tom Selleck and Paul Sorvino.

Our newlywed couple had gone to see quite a few of the films that premiered in 1970 and by the end of that year, they'll celebrate their 2nd wedding anniversary. Their enjoyment of films has continued through the decades, by the way, and they still love going out to their local movie house to see what's new and exciting. His love of the movies prompted him to begin writing about them over 5 years ago. She finds many great pictures today right in their own home on cable television, like Netflix and HBO. In any case, many events in their long married lives can be traced to films and other things. It's all part of a long romantic story all their own.

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Cinema Savant
Every other Thursday

My views on an eclectic mix of films and personalties, past and present; emotional interpretations; some laughs, some cries.

Other Columns
Other columns by Jon Schuller:

Have You Been Spying On Me Lately? For How Long?

But Can She Act? That's What I Want to Know

They're Not the Same People They Used To Be

Time Does Fly When We Watch Movies

Before Minimum or Maximum, There Was Only Prison

All Columns

Jon Schuller
I am a former New Jersey native, living in Charlotte, N.C. for almost 30 years. I am a lifelong movie lover with lots of movie trivia knowledge and soundtracks in my CD collection. I enjoy sharing my love of films with everyone and have so many fond memories growing up in darkened movie theaters. I have been married 50 years (as of December 22, 2018) and we both share a passion for film (and each other of course).

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Jon Schuller by clicking here.

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