STRAIGHT TIME
1978, Warner Bros., 114 min, USA, Dir: Ulu Grosbard

This adaptation of the novel No Beast So Fierce, the crime-fiction debut of ex-con writer Edward Bunker (written while he was in prison), is one of the most underrated and least seen of Dustin Hoffman’s 1970s performances. Reformed Los Angeles junkie and thief Hoffman comes up against the gritty realities of a smugly unfair parole officer (M. Emmet Walsh) and the limited employment opportunities for ex-convicts. Although the bitter, frustrated Hoffman finds love in the form of Theresa Russell, his institutionalized resentments gradually suck him back down into the company of lowlife companions (Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton) and a life of crime. This was a project close to Hoffman’s heart - he initially began directing the film himself but turned it over to director Grosbard after the first few days.


LENNY
1974, MGM/Park Circus, 111 min, USA, Dir: Bob Fosse

Dustin Hoffman plays legendary stand-up comic Lenny Bruce in director Bob Fosse's ambitious biopic. Fosse, aided by Bruce Surtees' gorgeous black-and-white camerawork, provides an impressionistic portrait of a comedian as troubled as he was brilliant and controversial, with standout performances by Hoffman and Valerie Perrine as Lenny's wife, Honey Harlowe.


PAPILLON
1973, Warner Bros., 150 min, USA, Dir: Franklin J. Schaffner

McQueen gives one of his greatest performances in the true story of French convict Henri "Papillon" Charriere and his confinement in the hellish penal colony of French Guiana. Brilliantly directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (PLANET OF THE APES, PATTON), with terrific support from Dustin Hoffman as McQueen’s myopic buddy Louis Dega. Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr., adapted from Charriere’s autobiography.


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