I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale

Rated 4.0

Most people do not recognize John Cazale by name, but they certainly remember his movies. Before his death of lung cancer at the age of 42, he had appeared in five films (The Godfather and its sequel, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter) that were each nominated for Best Picture and a collective total of 35 other Oscars. Director Richard Shepard’s 40-minute homage to the theatrically trained “actor’s actor” uses streams of stylish graphics, film clips and interviews with such luminaries as his live-in girlfriend Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Sidney Lumet, Francis Ford Coppola and Steve Buscemi to tour Cazale’s Zelig-like associations with some of the most famous, prolific talent of his generation. Descriptors such as “brilliant” and “vulnerable” get a bit repetitious, but Cazale certainly turned frailty and sensitivity into a highly intimate art form. The film’s title is a reference to Cazale’s most notable role as Fredo Corleone.