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Best Films – 1980

Melvin and Howard (1980) directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Paul Le Mat, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards
Once upon a time, before becoming involved in bloated mainstream Hollywood productions, Jonathan Demme directed a little gem called Melvin and Howard (as in Hughes, the oil millionaire-turned-film producer-turned-total nut that has been incarnated by Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator). Bo Goldman’s witty, funny, and poignant screenplay dealt with the search for the ever-elusive “American dream”: One dark night in the middle of nowhere, big-time loser Melvin Dummar (Paul Le Mat, one of the leads in American Graffiti)gives a ride to wacko, elderly multibillionaire Howard Hughes (a haggard-looking Jason Robards). As a little thank-you gesture, Hughes leaves a chunk of his fortune to Melvin, who claims he has received the rich (and by now dead) man’s will in the mail. The problem is that no one believes that Melvin actually gave Howard Hughes a ride, while everyone believes that the will in Melvin’s possession is a forgery. Mary Steenburgen won an Academy Award for playing Melvin’s somewhat ditzy wife, while veteran Gloria Grahame (Academy Award winner for The Bad and the Beautiful back in 1952) has a much-too-brief role as Steenburgen’s mother. She doesn’t trust Melvin, either, but then again, who would?

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Ko to tamo peva / Who’s Singin’ Over There?
Coal Miner’s Daughter
Le Dernier métro / The Last Metro
The Fog
The Hunter
Melvin and Howard
Ordinary People
Somewhere in Time
Superman II
Tell Me a Riddle

Hollywood (d: Kevin Brownlow & David Gill)

Lee Grant (Tell Me a Riddle)
Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
John Carpenter (The Fog)
Jonathan Demme (Melvin and Howard)
Buzz Kulik (The Hunter)
Richard Lester (Superman II)
Robert Redford (Ordinary People)
Slobodan Šijan (Ko to tamo peva / Who’s Singin’ Over There?)
Jeannot Szwarc (Somewhere in Time)
François Truffaut (Le Dernier métro / The Last Metro)

Melvyn Douglas (Tell Me a Riddle)
John Hurt (The Elephant Man)
Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People)
Tommy Lee Jones (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
Burt Lancaster (Atlantic City / Atlantic City, USA)
Paul Le Mat (Melvin and Howard)
Jack Lemmon (Tribute)
Steve McQueen (The Hunter)
Frank Sinatra (The First Deadly Sin)
Donald Sutherland (Ordinary People)

Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
Bette Davis (White Mama)
Shelley Duvall (Popeye)
Shelley Duvall (The Shining)
Goldie Hawn (Private Benjamin)
Lila Kedrova (Tell Me a Riddle)
Shirley MacLaine (A Change of Seasons)
Gena Rowlands (Gloria)
Susan Sarandon (Atlantic City / Atlantic City, USA)
Lily Tomlin (Nine to Five)

Terence Stamp (Superman II)
David Dukes (The First Deadly Sin)
Charles Grodin (Seems Like Old Times)
Judd Hirsch (Ordinary People)
Jorge Julião (Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco / Pixote)
Joe Pesci (Raging Bull)
Max von Sydow (Flash Gordon)

Marília Pêra (Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco / Pixote)
Eileen Brennan (Private Benjamin)
Colleen Dewhurst (Tribute)
Angie Dickinson (Dressed to Kill)
Sally Kellerman (Loving Couples)
Elke Maravilha (Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco / Pixote)
Susan Sarandon (Loving Couples)
Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard)

Bo Goldman (Melvin and Howard)
Jorge Duran & Hector Babenco (Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco / Pixote)
Joyce Eliason & Alev Lytle (Tell Me a Riddle)
John Guare (Atlantic City / Atlantic City, USA)
Dušan Kovacevic (Ko to tamo peva / Who’s Singin’ Over There?)
Alvin Sargent (Ordinary People)
François Truffaut & Suzanne Schiffman (Le Dernier métro / The Last Metro)

Isidore Mankofsky (Somewhere in Time)
John Alcott (The Shining)
John Bailey (Ordinary People)
Ralf Bode (Dressed to Kill)
Christopher Challis (The Mirror Crack’d)
Michael Chapman (Raging Bull)
Freddie Francis (The Elephant Man)
Alan Hume (The Watcher in the Woods)
Geoffrey Unsworth & Robert Paynter (Superman II)
Ernst Vincze (Jane Austen in Manhattan)

Carl Davis (Hollywood)
John Barry (Somewhere in Time)
Georges Delerue (Le Dernier métro / The Last Metro)
Vojislav Kostic (Ko to tamo peva / Who’s Singin’ Over There?)
Pino Donaggio (Dressed to Kill)
John Williams (The Empire Strikes Back)



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