1970s Decade Bundle: King Kong/Love Story/Mahogany/Paper Moon/The Great Gatsby [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Mahogany
Directed by Berry Gordy, Jr. as a vehicle for Diana Ross, this film traces the life of a poor girl who makes it in the fashion world, first as a model, then as a designer. After she becomes successful, she deserts her boyfriend and hooks up with a photographer. ~ Erin Demers, Rovi

The Great Gatsby
This third film version of F. SCOTT FITZGERALD's classic 1925 novel was one of the most hyped movies of the summer of 1974. Robert Redford stars as self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby, who uses his vast (and implicitly ill-gotten) fortune to buy his way into Long Island society. Most of all, Gatsby wants to win back the love of socialite Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow), now married to "old money" Tom Buchanan (Bruce Dern). Calmly observing the passing parade is Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston), Gatsby's best friend, who narrates the film. Francis Ford Coppola's screenplay is meticulously faithful to the original novel, but Theoni V. Aldredge's costume design and Nelson Riddle's nostalgic musical score won the film its only Oscars. The huge supporting cast includes Howard da Silva, who played Wilson in the 1949 Great Gatsby, and a very young Patsy Kensit as Daisy's daughter. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Love Story
In director Arthur Hiller's hit tearjerker -- based on Erich Segal's novella -- Ryan O'Neal plays Oliver Barrett IV, a comfortably off Harvard pre-law student who falls in love with Radcliffe music student Jenny Cavilleri (Ali MacGraw), a freewheeling, delightfully profane product of a blue-collar Italian-American family. Oliver's father (Ray Milland) heartily disapproves of the subsequent marriage and cuts off his son's allowance. Despite financial travails (the pampered Oliver actually has to go to work!), the couple is blissfully happy....until Jenny is diagnosed as having an unnamed disease that consigns her to an early death. The movie's tagline "Love means never having to say you're sorry" became an iconic American catchphrase, the film's theme a number one hit. One of the early products of Paramount guru Robert Evans, Love Story grossed more money than any Paramount production before it. This enormously successful film inspired a 1978 sequel, Oliver's Story. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Paper Moon
The year is 1936. Orphaned Addie Loggins (Tatum O'Neal, in her film debut) is left in the care of unethical travelling Bible salesman Moses Pray (Ryan O'Neal, Tatum's dad), who may or may not be her father. En route to Addie's relatives, Moses learns that the 9-year-old is quite a handful: she smokes, cusses, and is almost as devious and manipulative as he is. They join forces as swindlers, working together so well that Addie is averse to breaking up the team -- which is one reason that she sabotages the romance between Moses and good-time gal Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn). Later, while attempting to square a $200 debt that Addie claims he owes her, Moses runs afoul of of a bootlegger (John Hillerman) and is nearly beaten to death by the criminal's twin-brother sheriff. Painfully pulling himself together, Moses gets Addie to her relatives, whereupon she adamantly refuses to leave his side. Photographed in black-and-white by Laszlo Kovacs, the film was made largely on location in Kansas and Missouri (an experience colorfully recalled by director Peter Bogdanovich in his 1972 book of essays Pieces of Time). 9-year-old Tatum O'Neal won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, beating out costar Kahn. Paper Moon later became a short-lived TV series, starring Ryan O'Neal lookalike Christopher Connelly and future Oscar winner Jodie Foster. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

King Kong
Famed producer Dino De Laurentiis tries to steal the thunder from Jaws, then the top-grossing film of all-time, in this big budget remake of King Kong. (De Laurentiis related his tactics to Tom Snyder: "When Jaws dies, nobody cries. When Kong dies, they all cry.") Updated to the 1970s, the original Robert Armstrong character is now Fred Wilson (Charles Grodin), a big-shot oil magnate from Petrox Oil, looking for new petroleum deposits on a recently discovered Pacific island. Jack Prescott (Jeff Bridges) is a counter-culture paleontologist, stowing away on Wilson's ship, who warns that they are headed for "Skull Island," where prehistoric monsters still live and roam free. Also along for the ride is Dwan (Jessica Lange, in her film debut), a down-on-her-luck starlet, shipwrecked in the ocean after the sinking of a yacht. She really becomes down-on-her-luck when the group lands on the island and a giant ape, Kong, takes a shine to her. Kong kidnaps her and Dwan takes umbrage when the ape tries to remove her clothes by shouting, "You male chauvinist ape!" But Prescott comes to her aid and rescues her from the gorilla's big mits. Wilson, seeing money to be made on Kong, locks him in the cargo hold of his ship and transports him to New York City. Once there, Kong manages to escape and wreak havoc upon the beleaguered town, before being compelled to climb up the World Trade Center for sanctuary. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Diana Ross
    Diana Ross - Tracy/Mahogany
  • Billy Dee Williams
    Billy Dee Williams - Brian
  • Jean-Pierre Aumont
    Jean-Pierre Aumont - Christian Rosetti
  • Beah Richards
    Beah Richards - Florence
  • Nina Foch
    Nina Foch - Miss Evans
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