Introduction: Alan J. Pakula (04:03)
This episode of “The Directors” focuses on the work of Pakula. He rose to prominence in the 1970s and became known for conspiracy thrillers which include, “All the President’s Men,” “Presumed Innocent,” and “The Pelican Brief.”
Pakula's Career Beginnings (02:04)
Pakula was born in the Bronx in 1928. He developed an interest in show business as an intern for the Leland Hayward Theatrical Agency. He later became assistant to Don Hartman at Paramount, and started producing films.
“Fear Strikes Out" (02:46)
The 1957 baseball film was Pakula’s first production credit. It was the start of a partnership with director Robert Mulligan, with whom he made “To Kill a Mockingbird” and other films. Pakula took the director’s chair for “The Sterile Cuckoo,” starring Liza Minnelli.
“The Sterile Cuckoo” (04:42)
“Pookie” was a breakthrough film for Minnelli, who earned an Oscar nomination. Pakula established himself as a rising star with “Klute,” the 1971 thriller starring Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland.
“Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing" (04:16)
The Pakula-directed romance was released in 1973. It was followed the next year by “The Parallax View,” starring Warren Beatty as a journalist investigating an assassination conspiracy.
“All the President’s Men” (04:23)
The film was released in 1976, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the Washington Post reporters who exposed Watergate. The film was critically acclaimed and clarified the nation’s understanding of a historic scandal.
“Comes a Horseman" (04:52)
Pakula directed the 1978 film that reunited him with Fonda; it references her father's appearances in John Ford films. He returned to comedy in 1979 with “Starting Over.”
Pakula returned to thrillers with the 1981 film starring Fonda and Kris Kristofferson; it is considered a rare misstep. The director rebounded with the critically acclaimed “Sophie’s Choice,” starring Meryl Streep.
Pakula's Other 1980s Films (04:42)
“Dream Lover" was released in 1986, followed by the director's adaptation of the Broadway play, “Orphans” in 1987. The romantic comedy “See You in the Morning” released in 1989.
“Presumed Innocent" (05:24)
In 1990, Pakula released the film starring Harrison Ford as a lawyer charged with murder. The story was adapted from a Scott Turow novel and became a hit at the box office.
Pakula's Final Films (02:48)
Ford and Brad Pitt star in Pakula’s final motion picture, “The Devil’s Own.” The director was killed in an automobile accident. He will be remembered for psychologically complex thrillers that were pertinent to their times.
Credits: Alan J. Pakula (00:39)
Credits: Alan J. Pakula
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