Little Known Fims: I Knew It Was You

This is a little known film about a little known person. It is an exploration into the life of the exceptional actor John Cazale. Cazale’s film career consisted of just five movies, but all of them were Academy Award® nominees for Best Picture; THE GODFATHER, THE GODFATHER: PART II, THE CONVERSATION, DOG DAY AFTERNOON and THE DEER HUNTER. Even though three won, Cazale was never nominated. Instead, he is remembered by his colleagues as one of the brightest talents of his day, but yet, just three decades after his promising career ended with his untimely death by lung cancer, Cazale is largely unknown to the general public.

This is a short documentary, only about 40 minutes, but you really get to see how he influenced modern actors like Steve Buscemi and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman who never worked with him and others like Al Pacino and Gene Hackman who did. In fact, Pacino claims he learned more from Cazale than any other actor. They had first met many years ago when they were messengers for Standard Oil. Years later they met again in a play written and directed by Israel Horowitz who is also interviewed in the film and who wrote Cazale’s eulogy for the Village Voice. Francis Ford Coppola and the late Sidney Lumet round out the director’s tributes. Even Meryl Streep recounts her romantic relationship with Cazale when they met doing Shakespeare in the Park and how she stayed with him right up to the end. As directed by Richard Shepard, this film shows you just how promising of a career Cazale could have had and makes you want to revisit the few films he did do. Please note that the special features on this dvd are well worth looking at since they contain extended interviews that really complete the picture of the man and the unique skills of improvisation and perverse sense of humor that he possessed. Rediscovering John Cazale is now available exclusively at the Palisades Library.