The Horse’s Head
Whoa. Yes, it’s cherry-picking to find a cover featuring a movie that’s currently in your collection and call it relevant, but it’s Brando. Brado! The world lost him in 2004 (which was 35 years after Francis Ford Coppola lost him in Apocalypse Now), but The Godfather lives on. There’s even a slim possibility that someone might make a prequel someday.
The sad note here is that Coppola has become much more involved in his vineyards (and in truly bizarre experimental films with Val Kilmer), Al Pacino has become essentially a paycheck actor and, of course, we can’t look at that face without remembering the tragic passing of Abe Vigoda (who is still totally alive at 91).
For the 80s
A star for the ’80s? How about a star for the ’00s and beyond? Meryl Streep won her first Oscar in 1980 (for Kramer vs. Kramer) but she’s gone on to have 428 more nominations and close to 100 more wins (okay, just 1 non-80s win). The thing is, she’s arguably more important now than she was even then, capitalizing on the staggeringly rare status as a Working Icon. She’s quite possibly the best actor of our time (which can only be proven by a fist fight with Daniel Day-Lewis), and her output is consistently wide-ranging and excellent.
All that cover needs is a quick photoshop to erase the “8” and replace it with a “0.”
How cool is it that “Newsweek” featured a sexualized B-movie with a topless Jane Fonda? And how cool is it that she was three years away from an Oscar nomination and five years away from a win here? These days, she’s busy playing a ball-buster on The Newsroom and portraying Nancy Reagan in the forthcoming The Butler. The chances of her posing topless for “Newsweek” again are slim (because they won’t have covers anymore, of course).
Also, just for fun, imagine you’re a less movie-savvy reader in late 1967 when this blonde woman shows up with no clothes on, holding a long feather. What do you try to make of it?
We’ve got the corner on bloated budgets, right? Yes and no. It’s undeniable that big budgets are the norm for studios looking for a giant payday, but spending large amounts on spectacle wasn’t exactly born with Avatar. Elizabeth Taylor’s turn as the Egyptian pharaoh might be more famous, but Vivien Leigh starring in Caesar and Cleopatra was an even bigger box office flop.
Big names. Huge visuals. Giant paychecks. Large risks. None of these things are unique to the current state of studio filmmaking.
There was a time that auteur filmmaking meant having a beard. Hopefully that comes back.
Even if it doesn’t, we can still be startled by the vision of Stanley Kubrick. That’s one of the most enduring surprises that the past has in store for the present. From time to time, we tend to think of ourselves as bolder and more shocking than our mothers and fathers, but everything from Freaks to Peeping Tom to Kubrick can remind us that the past was also incredibly messed up. That’s sort of comforting, right?
Sad to see you go, printed “Newsweek.” Welcome to the present. So it goes.
Images found at the invaluable “Newsweek” Archive