A 40th Anniversary Dog Day Q&A

The 1975 Al Pacino drama is set for a special screening this weekend in Los Angeles.

Brett Ratner once co-produced an HBO documentary about his favorite actor, John Cazale. When asked by the Wall Street Journal to name his top pick out of the five movies featuring the late Cazale, a Boston native, Ratner did not hesitate:

“Dog Day Afternoon. I don’t think I’d have loved it as much if The Godfather hadn’t existed. It’s the same actor, in a movie with the same actors – Al Pacino – and the whole time I was not looking at Fredo. He totally transformed himself.”

This Saturday night in Los Angeles, Ratner will conduct a Q&A discussion with Pacino following a sold out special 40th anniversary screening of the Sidney Lumet movie at Beyond Fest. No doubt a highlight of the post-35mm print showing discussion will be these two talking about Cazale, who plays Sonny’s (Pacino) accomplice Sal in the bank robbery film.

Cazale’s other films were The Deer Hunter, The Godfather: Part II and The Conversation. Warner Bros. recently released a special 40th anniversary DVD edition of Dog Day Afternoon and to mark that occasion, L.A. Times film writer Susan King spoke with Chris Sarandon, who co-starred as Sonny’s troubled boyfriend Leon. Sarandon shared a vivid memory of his audition for the film:

“Al Pacino was there and [producer] Martin Bregman and Sidney. After the audition, Sidney came up to me and said that was great but a little less Blanche DuBois and a little more Queens housewife. So I came back and did it again, and that was it. I got it.”

[Image courtesy: Warner Bros.]

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.