Thursday, April 21, 2011
RIP Michael Sarrazin (1940-2011)
But he also hit another much different note on TV in 1973 as Frankenstein's slowly rotting creation in the most accurate telling of Mary Shelley's seminal horror tale, filmed as Frankenstein: The True Story (and co-starring Leonard Whiting, David McCallum, James Mason, Jane Seymour, Tom Baker, John Gielgud and Agnes Moorehead). Sarrazin's Creature actually steals the film; you cannot forget the sight of his high-cheekboned visage being ravaged into pulp by the elements, nor the Creature's reaction to his doom. I still think that, Karloff aside, Sarrazin might be the most perfect version of Mary Shelley's monster.
In the title role for the recession-tinged comedy For Pete's Sake, he held his own opposite the always overpowering Barbara Streisand:
He was the lead performer in The Gumball Rally, the original Cannonball Run, centering around a cross-country car race (it's a LOT more fun than the Burt Reynolds film). But no one can remember him in that because the movie features so many other, wilder characters (including an early but no less insane appearance by Gary Busey, who makes much noise in the film's trailer):
I haven't seen The Reincarnation of Peter Proud in a long time, and I'm just now discovering it's available on You Tube (I'll surely be watching it soon). I can't remember much about it, having seen it at a drive-in when I was seven, but I do recall that it frightened me deeply at certain points. It co-stars horror queen Margot Kidder, and has quite the denouement, if I remember correctly. Here's the film's first part:
After 1978's failed epic Caravans, Sarrazin's career burnt out big time, at least on the big screen. He spent the rest of his life doing guest appearances on shows like Murder She Wrote, while co-starring in low-profile films that often hailed from his native Canada. But I remember him in so many movies (including more obscure 70s fare as The Groundstar Conspiracy, Sometimes A Great Notion, and opposite James Coburn in Harry in Your Pocket) that I felt compelled to say goodbye to him here.