It’s in Queens
#PickoftheWeek | James Caan Film Festival runs until May 20
James Caan, who has acted in more than 70 movies over his five-decade career, received a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame in 1978. But here’s the big story: He grew up in a Sunnyside apartment building near 41st Street and Skillman Avenue in the 1950s.
Now he’s about to be honored about 10 blocks from his childhood home.
With seven films and 10 screenings, the festival highlights Caan’s diversity as a performer. It includes his electric, Oscar-winning turn as Sonny Corleone (The Godfather); his work in comedy (Freebie and the Bean); his song and dance talent (Funny Lady); and his sublime side (Thief).
The schedule follows.
The Godfather (May 11, 7 pm; and again on May 13, 6 pm) With Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton, this granddaddy of crime films is this first part of the multilayered Corleone saga. In his only Academy Award-nominated performance, Cann plays Sonny, the family’s combustible id.
Freebie and the Bean (May 12, 2 pm). With Alan Arkin and Loretta Swit, Caan plays a strapping intimidator and a limber comedian. The film is actually an early example of the Buddy Comedy genre as Caan and Arkin are squabbling San Francisco police officers. A mob boss, crashing cars, and hyperbolic chase sequences add to the fun.
Harry and Walter Go to New York (May 12, 4:30 pm). With Elliott Gould, Michael Caine, and Diane Keaton, Caan is a dashing-but-imprisoned celebrity thief who hatches an absurd plan.
Funny Lady (May 12, 7 pm). With Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, and Ben Vereen, this romantic musical was nominated for five Academy Awards. It’s a sequel to Streisand’s breakout film, Funny Girl.
Red Line 7000 (May 13, 3 pm and May 20, 6:30 pm). With Marianna Hill and Laura Devon, this was Caan’s first leading role. The action-packed thriller touches on professional and sexual conflicts among a group of young race car drivers.
Hide in Plain Sight (May 20, 4:30 pm). With Barbra Rae and Danny Aiello, this is Caan’s first and only stab at directing. He also plays a divorcee whose two children disappear into the witness protection program — along with their mother and her mob-informant husband.
Banner photo: The Godfather/FB
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