While Marlon Brando promised to make us offers we couldn’t refuse and Al Pacino held up a bank while screaming “ATTICA! ATTICA!” at the top of his lungs, one of Hollywood’s underrated greats was nearby.
Actor John Cazale performed in supporting roles in five of the best and most important films of the 1970s (if not all time): The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, The Conversation and The Deer Hunter. He is best known for his role as Fredo Corleone in the Godfather series.
Cazale died of cancer in 1978, shortly after finishing his work on The Deer Hunter, but long before his achievements in film could be fully appreciated. All of the feature films Cazale appeared in were nominated for Best Picture.
On Tuesday, HBO premiered I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale, a retrospective into the actor’s brief but resonant career, with interviews with the industry folks who knew him best, including Al Pacino and The Conversation costar Gene Hackman.
“It’s amazing how many young actors and directors revere Cazale’s work, because he’s not generally known to most people,” documentary director Richard Shepard says on the HBO website. “Part of the reason for doing this movie was to rectify that.”
I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale will air again on HBO later this month.