Not many people remember the late actor John Cazale by name. But you would instantly recognize him by the amazing characters he played (Fredo in the first two “Godfather” films; Sal, the quiet, but scary bank robber in “Dog Day Afternoon”; and Stan, the loudmouth macho-wannabe ne’er do well in “The Deer Hunter”). He was only in five feature films, before he died tragically of bone cancer in 1978. But every one of the films he was in (“The Godfather,” “The Godfather Part II,” “The Conversation,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” and “The Deer Hunter”) was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, three of which actually won the top award.
“I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale” is an-all-too-brief, but great documentary about one of the best character actors in film history. The fact that so many great actors (Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, etc.) made it a point to be interviewed for this film is a testament to Cazale’s legacy.
Trivia note: the film was released by the late Adam Yauch’s (MCA of the Beastie Boys) fantastic indie studio Oscilloscope Laboratories.