Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: The Best of the 1977 Best Shots

While I agree with Oscar on selecting Zsigmond’s work for Close Encounters as the overall winner, does it have my choice of best Best Shot? Let’s review the Best Shots from the past week…

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Vilmos Zsigmond

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Islands in the Stream – Fred J. Koenekamp

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Julia – Douglas Slocombe

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Looking for Mr. Goodbar – William A. Fraker

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The Turning Point – Robert Surtees

And best of the Best Shots is…

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Julia”

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There is enough distance between the present and claims of author Lillian Hellman’s embellishment and falsifications for the origin story of Julia to see the story for itself. One wonders if a contemporary viewing audience would even know who the hell Hellman is (for shame), likely surprised that it was based on a portion of her memoir. Though the film does put her on the pedestal of self-important, suffering artist, if not the story’s hero, you can see how the narrative served to puff herself up. The film was released before authenticity lawsuits were brought up, so its original audience perhaps viewed it differently.

No, now we view the film primarily through the lens of its terrifying depiction of rising fascism. It’s not just the current election the makes it seem all the more real, but the rise in nationalism elsewhere in the world today that’s all too familiar to the fifty years leading up to the events in the film.

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