Dog Day Afternoon: When Pacino showed the range of a true master

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‘Dog Day Afternoon’ proved that there was more to Al Pacino than cold and steely, or loud and shouty. (Getty Images)
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‘Dog Day Afternoon’ proved that there was more to Al Pacino than cold and steely, or loud and shouty. (Getty Images)
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‘Dog Day Afternoon’ proved that there was more to Al Pacino than cold and steely, or loud and shouty. (Getty Images)
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‘Dog Day Afternoon’ proved that there was more to Al Pacino than cold and steely, or loud and shouty. (Getty Images)
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‘Dog Day Afternoon’ proved that there was more to Al Pacino than cold and steely, or loud and shouty. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Dog Day Afternoon: When Pacino showed the range of a true master

  • Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, an effeminate outcast who desperately, brazenly – and really quite ineffectually – holds up a penniless Brooklyn bank
  • Emerging to collect a pizza delivery or goad the cops, cornered Wortzik becomes an unlikely folk hero, leading the simmering masses against authoritarianism

DUBAI: Once upon a time in Hollywood, Al Pacino’s name was not a byword for lukewarm thrillers or lackluster dramas. In possession of one of the most bankable faces in the movies, Pacino has a reputation that rests largely on just two roles: Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” (1972) and Tony Montana in “Scarface” (1983) – two iconic gangsters whose ruthless, brutish shadows obscure the riches they bookend.

Because Pacino’s script-screening was once judiciously discerning – if not always impeccable – throughout the 1970s, he acted in just eight films. Labors of love, not bottom-line negotiations, these heyday performances were rooted in compulsive zeal, obsessive research and an adherence to Stanislavski’s method system.

The complacency of contemporary Pacino sometimes feels like an insult to this golden run, and at its glorious centerpiece stands “Dog Day Afternoon” – a film which proved defiantly that there is so much more to Pacino than cold and steely or loud and shouty.

Under the nuanced gaze of Sidney Lumet – who directed Pacino two years earlier as the idealistic New York cop in the classic “Serpico” – the 1975 Oscar-winner was a triumph of tone, texture and pacing. And in nearly every frame, Pacino’s presence pulsates with magnetic charisma.

Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, an effeminate outcast who desperately, brazenly – and really quite ineffectually – holds up a penniless Brooklyn bank alongside troubled friend Sal (fellow “Godfather” star John Cazale). Soon after the cops, the TV cameras arrive, and while he is claustrophobically holed up with his sympathetic hostages, Sonny’s unconventional backstory unravels out into the open.

As the spotlight is thrust onto a dysfunctional wife and lover, curious crowds descend on the scene. Emerging to collect a pizza delivery or goad the cops, cornered Wortzik becomes an unlikely folk hero, leading the simmering masses against authoritarianism.

This remarkable turn of events was based on a real failed heist of just three years earlier. The movie was nominated for six Oscars. Frank Pierson’s script won Original Screenplay. Meanwhile, Pacino – also up against Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Robert Redford – lost out on the Best Actor gong to Jack Lemmon for “Save the Tiger.” That roll call alone is a testament to how far Hollywood has climbed, crawled and plunged.


Upcoming albums to end the year on a high note

Updated 1 min 40 sec ago
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Upcoming albums to end the year on a high note

  • Check out the upcoming albums of the year
  • New music to look out for next

DUBAI: Very few artists are synonymous with a genre — but David Guetta is the emissary of EDM, the head honcho of house. The Frenchman might get flak from detractors about his live performance style, but it is unlikely the multi-platinum-selling DJ and producer loses much sleep over it. “7,” his seventh studio outing (queue the memes), is a double album jam-packed with sizzling crossover collaborations featuring pop/hip-hop luminaries such as Justin Bieber, Sia, G-Eazy and Nicki Minaj. With another runaway hit on the cards, slowing down does not appear to be in 50-year old Guetta’s plans.

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#LetItBeMe feat. @avamax #7isoutnow (link in bio)

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Muse, “Simulation Theory”
November 9, Warner Bros. Records

With a career spanning 25 years, and their previous record debuting at number one in an almost implausible 21 countries, the tireless threesome do not seem to have much left to prove. And yet Muse are never short of ambition. For their eighth studio LP, the Grammy-guzzling, stadium-rock royalty have enlisted an all-star roster of producers that includes pop powerhouse Timbaland, and have commissioned cover art from a designer of posters for major Hollywood movie hits. Expect a majestic alt-rock affair laced with soaring vocals, blistering musicianship and Muse’s trademark knack for tasteful theatrics.

Sharmoofers, “Enfesam”
October/November, Independent

The Egyptian gurus of groove are, hands down, the ultimate party band. They have been taking the Middle East by storm since 2012 with their infectious hooks, wildly entertaining lyrics and indomitable energy on the stage. If “Paranoia,” their 2015 debut, was the sound of trendsetters dancing to their own tune, “Enfesam” chronicles a coming of age, as well as a first foray into romantic themes. They are branching out and growing — naturally — but with a playful abandon of a kind that only the Sharmoofers know how.

Twenty One Pilots, “Trench”
October 5, Fueled By Ramen

It is hard to believe that this trailblazing electro/hip-hop and alt/indie-rock duo have been working the international touring circuit for almost 10 years. 2015’s “Blurryface” became the first album in history to have every track certified at least gold in the US. And with “Trench,” their fifth LP, it is official: the Pilots are ruthless, go-getting, hit-maker machines. “Jumpsuit” is already the decade’s fastest-rising No. 1 single on Billboard’s Alternative Songs radio-airplay chart, though the full album is still awaiting release.

Le Trio Joubran, “The Long March”
October 12, Cooking Vinyl

To say that Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran merely play music could almost be regarded as an insult. The three oudists use “the king of instruments” as a conduit, a beating heart that unites them in an impassioned, deeply spiritual form of expression. For their long-awaited new LP they have teamed up with the legendary Roger Waters on the moving lead single, “Carry the Earth.” The album is a profound poetic canvas for their unique brand of experimentation — and an artistic triumph that looks certain to endure.

Josh Groban, “Bridges”
September 21, Reprise

A jack of all trades can avoid “master of none” territory only if they are capable of jumping from one role to another with an effortless, chameleonic elegance. Josh Groban is made of the stuff. He is a prolific film and TV actor, but it is his instantly recognizable voice that has helped the award-winning multi-instrumentalist sell more than 25 million classical/pop crossover albums worldwide. His highly anticipated eighth LP includes high-profile guest appearances by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah McLachlan, and features Groban singing in various languages.

Sigala, “Brighter Days”
September 21, Ministry of Sound/Columbia

Bruce Fielder ¬— better known as Sigala — is only about to drop his first full-length album. Incredibly, however, he recently hit the landmark of 1 billion streams on Spotify, while as many as six of his singles have hovered inside the top 10 of the UK singles chart. “Easy Love,” his 2015 debut, even reached No. 1. The English house and dance-pop DJ, producer and remixer has assembled a stellar line-up of collaborators, including Craig David, Nile Rodgers, Meghan Trainor and French Montana. One to watch closely.

Ibrahim Maalouf, “Levantine Symphony No. 1”
Out now, Universal Music

The French-Lebanese trumpet player and composer has always sought to demolish clichés with his unconventional arrangements and rhythms. His melodies and harmonies translate a musical upbringing enveloped by the mystique of the East into an eclectic, neo-classical melange, with jazz and world-music overtones. This might sound like a mouthful to the uninitiated but Maalouf’s greatest gift stems from his ability to craft a masterwork that transcends stereotypical complexities, leaving the listener with an inspiring opus that is both diverse and speaks with a confident, unified voice.

Cher, “Dancing Queen”
September 28, Warner Bros. Records

Cher may be 72 years old but she is the “Goddess of Pop,” Abba are one of the best-selling acts of all time (up there with Cher) and “Mamma Mia” is a massive hit with cinema audiences. So this covers album, which the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner was inspired to record following her 2018 appearance in the 2018 sequel to the big-screen musical that everyone begrudgingly adores, gets at least an honorable mention. Irresistible, iconic pop tunes — even if you will not hear anyone admit it.

Jean-Michel Jarre, Equinoxe Infinity
November 16, Sony

Another living legend gearing up to make a statement of note, but unlike others Jean-Michel Jarre is not simply riding on the coattails of his glory days. France’s “godfather of electronic music” is celebrating lifetime sales of more than 80 million units, and half a century of not just performing but relentless innovation, with a sequel to his 1978 landmark “Equinoxe” album. The record focuses on humankind’s relationship with technology, as seen through the pioneering musical lens of a man who has more than 20 studio albums under his belt, and counting. Talk about dedication and perseverance.

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Equinoxe Infinity - 16.11.18 Link in bio.

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