Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the soulful eyes of michael sarrazin

I just caught an old movie, Sometimes a Great Notion (1970), with Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, and Michael Sarrazin about a struggling family with a logging business in Oregon. It was interesting, with beautiful scenery and gorgeous actors. It was a stick-it-to-the-man-story (co-produced by Newman), a simply told and photographed movie, but with deep emotional undercurrents — the sort of movie that they made tons of in the '70s and don't seem capable of making that much anymore. Everything nowadays is so packaged and slick.

It made me wonder whatever happened to the handsome actor Sarrazin and a quick check on imdb informed me that he had had died earlier this year, after a bout with cancer, at the age of 70. There was nothing slick or packaged about Sarrazin, whose soulful eyes and delivery made him one of the most sought after actors for a time. His peak popularity was in the '70s. I first saw him on television in some great movies — The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), For Pete's Sake (1974), The Flim-Flam Man (1967), Frankenstein: The True Story (1973), and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

Sarrazin had expressive, emotive eyes and seemed sympathetic, someone you wanted to watch on screen. He was also incredibly crush-worthy. He apparently had worked steadily since his stardom's peak in the '70s, sometimes in his native Canada, but I had lost track of him and his work, as apparently so did Hollywood.

How did I miss this one? In Search of Gregory stars Julie Christie, in Rome, who has an incestuous relationship with her brother (John Hurt), and may be in love with a man she has never met (Michael Sarrazin). By all accounts it's not a great film, but it sounds quirky and arty and worth a look.

RIP Michael Sarrazin, an interesting talent.
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