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1971, Warner Bros., 98 min, USA, Dir: Boris Sagal

Whiskey-drinking, WOODSTOCK-watching scientist Charlton Heston faces the possible extinction of mankind, while bug-eyed Anthony Zerbe and his legions of soul-brother vampires prowl the night, in this whacked-out adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic novel I Am Legend. Here, Heston remade himself as an über-cool 1970s action star, who cruises the plague-ridden streets of L.A. in a convertible Mustang.

1970, Sony Repertory, 102 min, USA, Dir: William Wyler

Like fellow “old school” filmmaker John Huston, director William Wyler proves he’s up to delivering on the promise of a more open New Hollywood with this scorching look at racism and hypocrisy in a Southern small town. Roscoe Lee Browne throws off sparks as rich, black undertaker L.B. Jones, a man cuckolded by his amoral wife (an incandescent Lola Falana) and one of the town’s meanest white cops (Anthony Zerbe). When Jones decides he wants a divorce, he suddenly finds himself taking the brunt of escalating harassment from Zerbe, who wants to keep secret his affair with a black woman. Lee J. Cobb is the town’s D.A., a “decent” man with an ingrained streak of racism. Barbara Hershey is Cobb’s daughter and Lee Majors is her idealistic lawyer husband; a superb Yaphet Kotto plays an angry fugitive with his own axe to grind. Sterling Silliphant and Jesse Hill Ford wrote the screenplay (from Ford’s novel). A surprisingly unflinching, tell-it-like-it-is movie.

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