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« What did you see over the weekend? | Main | Smackdown '70 Companion Podcast Pt 1: "MASH" and "Airport" »

Smackdown '70 Companion Podcast Pt 2: "Five Easy Pieces" and "The Landlord"

Smackdown in 3 Parts
 The Write-Ups
Podcast Companion Part 1
And now the conclusion!...

Pt 2 (39 minutes)
On the second half of the Supporting Actress Smackdown podcast we discuss Hal Ashby's debut film The Landlord (1970) starring Beau Bridges and Lee Grant. We theorize about why it's not more famous and what would have happened with the great African-American actress Diana Sands if she hadn't died so soon after the movie. We also make some time for the Best Picture nominee Five Easy Pieces and its abundance of actressing, not just Karen Black! 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Thanks again to the panelists: Mark BlankenshipDan CallahanDenise GraysonLena Houst, and Bobby Rivers . Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Pt Two: The Landlord and Five Easy Pieces (1970)

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Reader Comments (10)

Diana Sands is sublime. So beautiful, and talented and tragically young to die with so much unfulfilled promise. A true gift and a loss to stage and screen.

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I wish I could get to see a better copy of The Landlord considering is shot by the great Gordon Willis. It has all the virtues and defects of a first film, but it's thought-provoking and playful so I totally understand the general love.

I loved Karen Black. She reminded me of Verónica Forqué. Now I want to see The Day of the Locust and rewatch Family Plot.

The 70's were such a pivotal decade for movies and yet the fate of their actresses was terrible: Karen, Louise Fletcher, Jill Claybourgh, Marsha Mason, Talia Shire, Glenda Jackson, Melinda Dillon... most of them faded in the 80s. Even Julie Christie almost didn't work for the entire decade!

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

As I have mentioned before, one viewing of Five Easy Pieces a couple of years ago totally ruined my memory of the film. The camera work, the performances, etc., it's all very amateurish. In some scenes it would even seem that the actors are filming a rehearsal. Major disappointment.

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I guess that in this political climate "Stand by Your Man" might be the wrong song to listen to, but I absolutely love it and I guess you love it too because it opens and closes this delightful smackdown.

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Terrific second part. I can't say I liked Five Easy Pieces, it was a fine film but scattered and hard to like especially since we were lead on our journey by Nicholson character who was quite a bastard despite his talents. It was still loaded with strong work though I think the right actress from it scored a nomination.

With The Landlord Lee Grant definitely deserved her nomination but the rest were so strong it seems crazy she was the only one. Diana Sands was excellent but I would have rather seen Pearlie Mae in the mix.

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Everyone go easier on Five Easy Pieces, ok? It's a really fine character study, and a great early example of the groundbreaking work that was still to come during Hollywood's all-too-brief second golden age that would last through the 70's. And its got Karen Black and Lois Smith and several other great actresses! C'mon! It's a good if imperfect movie, I'll take it over the likes of today's superheroes and franchises any day.

May 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

you have to collect the most precious mannequins the world had ever seen. This is not an illusion, you are reading it right.

May 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Williams

I would take Five Easy Pieces over today's superhero films and franchises, but can it compare to last year's BP nominees? Nah...

joel6 - I loved Pearl Bailey, too, and she was great in Carmen Jones as well. It makes you wonder what might have happened if Hollywood had given her better roles.

May 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

The theories about why The Landlord isn't more popular sound right. I mean, that soup scene alone would make it really difficult to recommend, and I don't think the scene with blackface helps, either.

But as to the point where the white protagonist is told to sit down and be quiet while that teacher empowers his black students? I could actually see that going over very well with a lot of people today. And of course, a lot of people would have a problem with it, but I don't think it would overwhelm the positive attention. It would probably spark a lot of thinkpieces and talk show episodes and, again, I think the sentiment and attention would lean more toward positive than negative (I mean, it's only one scene in a whole movie that otherwise revolves around the white guy, it's a fairly quick scene and it'd be hard to argue that there's anything wrong with watching a bunch of adorable kids learning how to feel empowered).

And yes, Sands easily should have been a nominee over Hayes.

May 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

King of startling to see so much Five Easy Pieces hate. I think the acting is across the board phenomenal (considering Nicholson is the center, it's PACKED with phenomenal female performances AND characters) and all of the characters are three dimensional and complicated characters (who easily could have been cardboard figures). It looks gorgeous and while the script is hardly flawless, the famous set pieces are

I'm actually kind of surprised Black didn't win the smackdown, though Grant is wonderful (and I'm usually not a fan of hers) and Stapleton and Kellerman do what they can in uniquely thankless parts. I think there's something so authentic and moving about her in that movie and she manages to do exactly what Dan says she does, avoid any kind of condescension of the character, while also communicating exactly why her and Nicholson are a bad match. I think of these nominess she and Grant have the hardest balancing acts to accomplish and they nail their respective challenges. I probably would have filled the ballot with the ladies from either of those two movies exclusively.

May 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

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