Dog Day Afternoon (1975), directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino, is based on a 1972 bank robbery that had captured media attention at the time. Pacino’s performance as Sonny Wortzik, an unemployed Vietnam veteran, earned him his fourth Oscar nomination in consecutive years and the Best Actor award. His energetic portrayal of Sonny, critic Gene Siskel said, “made me believe the unbelievable.”
The poster for this film is on view in NPG’s new exhibition “Ballyhoo! Posters as Portraiture.” In the poster, Al Pacino’s likeness looms large over a gathered crowd of police officers, FBI men, and other onlookers. Pacino did seem larger than life at the time. Portraying complex characters with a subtlety and intensity few others could match in such films as The Godfather, Serpico, and The Godfather II, he was the prototypic male star of the 1970s, bringing a sense of tough realism to his roles.
A conversation with One in Ten executive director Margaret Murray follows the free screening.
This film is part of NPG’s Reel Portraits film series. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., film begins at 7:00 p.m.; seating is first come, first served. Screenings and lectures for this series are all located in the Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. More information is available here.
For more on posters, see the previous blog entries “The Cinematic Cool of Douglas Fairbanks” and “Curator’s Journal: Wendy Wick Reaves on “Ballyhoo! Posters and Portraiture.”
Dog Day Afternoon/Al Pacino/Unidentified artist, 1975/Color photolithographic poster with halftone/National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution