Saturday, February 16, 2008

Let us now praise Roy Scheider

Ok, I'm really upset about Roy Scheider's death.

Forget Jaws, though he was certainly good in that. The photo on the left is Scheider in All That Jazz. Written and directed by the great Bob Fosse, this film was and is one of the most innovative, astonishing films of all times, and next to Blade Runner, one of my favorite films.

I saw it when I was living in Pittsburgh, truly unhappily married, yearning for New York City, unsure how to escape, miserable. I wandered into a revival house (by myself, of course, which was my usual state in Pittsburgh) and was immediately transfixed. As Joe Gideon, the self-destructive womanizer-slash-genius-slash-choreographer-slash-Fosse alter ego, Scheider tore up the screen and inhabited the part. The film's brilliant and sly and ferocious and he's just knockout in it, and though he never did anything as spectacular after that, I fell in love with him and always kept hoping he might. (By the way, he was nominated for his performance and didn't win--a travesty if you ask me.)

If you haven't seen the film, go rent it immediately. And if you have, go watch it again in tribute. I swear it's perfect from first frame to last and Scheider saying, "It's show time folks," gets me every time.

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