Today in Movie History: September 21

Based on a real-life botched bank robbery, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon now stands as a landmark of 70s cinema. Its anti-authoritarian tone shines through in every scene — thanks to Al Pacino’s iconic turn as an amateur criminal whose master plan goes straight out the window — and the overall sense of doom was much in keeping with the time. Special note goes to actor Chris Sarandon, however, who earned an Oscar nomination as Pacino’s trans lover, and whose sensitive, heartfelt performance lent humanity to a demographic largely relegated to cheap punchlines (when they were shown at all). Dog Day Afternoon opened today in 1975.

Carl Reiner’s All of Me doesn’t have nearly the same heft, but as old-fashioned pratfall comedies go, it has few comparative peers. Steve Martin stars as a lawyer forced to surrender half of his body to a dying heiress (Lily Tomlin) trying to buy her way into reincarnation, and besides the brilliant comic chemistry between the two stars, it stands as a terrific showcase for Martin’s physical comedy. Oh, and the orgasm gag in When Harry Met Sally? You saw it here first. All of Me opened today in 1984.



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