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THE
GOLDEN

AGE
OF
ELLIOTT
GOULD

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

During the 1970s, few stars burned brighter than the cool, sexy, brash, winningly vulnerable Elliott Gould. Actually, the blaze began in 1969 with “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” the only non-70s film included in ELLIOTT GOULD: STAR FOR AN UPTIGHT AGE, the adventurous series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, running from August 1 through August 21. The text below is courtesy of BAM. For full details, visit the Academy’s official web site by clicking here; to read Guy Flatley's 1973 New York Times interview with Elliott Gould, click here.


1970: the year of M*A*S*H, when Brooklyn-born Gould Elliott Gould became a full-fledged movie star. Time Magazine christened him “Star for an Uptight Age,” suggesting that the audiences of the 70s, with their own insecurities and neuroses now reflected onscreen, were welcoming a new kind of leading man who possessed a greater depth, complexity and a willingness to go further as a performer. We are pleased to welcome Elliott Gould to BAMcinématek with this special focus on his extraordinary work in the 70s, including his three legendary collaborations with Robert Altman and a rare screening of Bergman’s The Touch.

 

M*A*S*H (1970)
Directed by Robert Altman

With Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Tom Skerritt

M*A*S*H not only firmly put Robert Altman on the cinematic landscape, it marked the first of his storied collaborations with Elliott Gould. As sprawling as any of the Altman ensemble pieces, M*A*S*H could also be viewed as a buddy comedy. Sutherland’s Hawkeye and Gould’s Trapper John became icons for a culture tired of war and for a generation fed up with authority. Click here for Guy Flatley's 1973 interview with Elliott Gould.

LITTLE MURDERS (1971)
Directed by Alan Arkin
With Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, Alan Arkin
Gould, who played the lead in Jules Feiffer’s original 1967 Broadway production of Little Murders, reprised the role for Arkin’s screen adaptation years later. Feiffer’s dark comedy about a girl bringing her boyfriend, Gould, home to meet her highly dysfunctional family is cast against the highly dysfunctional backdrop of New York in the 70s ripe with shootings, garbage strikes, power outages.

THE LONG GOODBYE (1973)
Directed by Robert Altman

With Elliott Gould, Sterling Hayden

Ford and Wayne. Kurosawa and Mifune. Truffaut and Léaud. Of the great cinematic pairings of director and actor, Altman and Gould’s defined American filmmaking in the 70s. Nowhere is their rapport more evident than in The Long Goodbye. Gould re-envisions Philip Marlowe—eat your heart out Bogey!—as the quintessential Altman subject, cool, self-aware, and decidedly unheroic. While the camera hardly ever turns its attention from Gould’s captivating, mumbling detective, look out for a certain Governator’s cameo!

BUSTING (1974)
Directed by Peter Hyams
With Elliott Gould, Robert Blake
In this gritty cop drama, Gould and partner Blake bust up massage parlors until they set their sights on a crime boss. Gould mumbles and bumbles as each day on the job brings new disillusionment and Hyams goes all out staging foot-chases, and long conversations, in impossibly long single takes, moving the camera so fast that the actors are running to catch up. A truly amazing film, and one of this series’ highlights.

BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE (1969)
Directed by Paul Mazursky
With Elliott Gould, Natalie Wood, Dyan Cannon
No Elliott Gould retrospective would be complete without this generation-defining work by Paul Mazursky. Gould played Ted in what could be seen as against type as the squarer male character. This, his first major film role, garnered him an Academy Award nomination. While Bob & Carol serves as an introduction to Gould, it also acts as a cultural segue between the sixties and the seventies. Click here for Guy Flatley's 1977 interview with Natalie Wood.

CALIFORNIA SPLIT (1974)

Directed by Robert Altman

With Elliott Gould, George Segal

The third offering by Altman and Gould pits our man from Brooklyn with George Segal as a pair of odd-couple gamblers. Down-on-his-luck Segal is balanced by Gould’s free spirit as they win, lose, draw and drink—a lot. Their up-and-down narrative is a character study as only Altman could do. Again, Gould is a perfect fit, favoring a multi-layered characterization over a simplistic depiction of a gambler.



I LOVE MY WIFE
(1970)
Directed by Mel Stuart
With Elliott Gould, Dabney Coleman
In 1970 alone, Gould proved himself adept at not only taking on varied characters in multiple genres, but in representing different aspects of his generation. In the sex-romp, I Love My Wife, he presages Woody Allen’s archetypal male’s crises, which became cinematically en vogue by the end of the decade. Gould’s successful surgeon goes through a series of affairs as he stumbles in maintaining his relationship with his dowdy wife. New Print!

GETTING STRAIGHT (1970)
Directed by Richard Rush

With Elliott Gould, Candice Bergen, Max Julien

A wonderful timepiece, Getting Straight sees the worldly Elliott Gould’s Vietnam-vet-turned-college-student get swept up in the flower-power generation’s idealism. Just as Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey has to reconcile his place in the world in It’s a Wonderful Life, Gould’s Harry Bailey goes through a crisis of conscience to figure out what role he can play in his tumultuous times. With this film, Candice Bergen and Elliott Gould became the leading lady and man for their age. Click here for Guy Flatley's 1977 interview with Candice Bergen.

HARRY AND WALTER GO TO NEW YORK (1976)
Directed by Mark Rydell
With Elliott Gould, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Michael Caine
The star-studded Harry and Walter chronicles a pair of two-bit vaudevillians turned con men as they attempt to pull off the largest bank heist of the 19th century under the tutelage of crackerjack thief, Michael Caine, and with the accompaniment of Diane Keaton as a bird-brained suffragette. It is rare to see Gould in a period piece, which makes art-director Harry Horner’s meticulously re-created 1890s New York a real treat. Click here for Guy Flatley's 1974 interview with Diane Keaton.

THE TOUCH (1971)
Directed by Ingmar Bergman

With Elliott Gould, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow

Gould’s American scholar in Sweden, determined to seduce a married friend’s wife, and then destroy himself in the process, is a brutal, often repugnant characterization of a man completely at the end of his emotional tether. It’s as painful a performance as that of any contemporary actor, self-lacerating and sociopathic. Forget what you may have heard, this is an extraordinary, masterful film.