|Index||10 reviews in total|
Another hockey film among hockey films, the difference being that this
one was set in the ultra-swingin' early 70s where sideburns and fringe
vests were the norm.
While I found the plot to be somewhat dull, the hockey scenes and cameos are a treat for die-hard fans. Even the "Turk" Derek Sanderson has a few lines as he tussles on ice with young up-and-comer Billy Duke. The suits, the hair, the language, all very 70s and quite fun to take in.
The film also has that "Made In Canada" look. I, for one, find that very pleasing. Watching this film brings back tons of memories of the Gardens and players long retired. And memories of what Canadian films used to look like - good or bad! It's a fun diversion back into the 70s. Silly plot, but still interesting for the visuals and the footage of past sports greats.
If you like your hockey films like "Youngblood", stay away. This ain't polished, or shined up all nice...but it's somewhat of a Canadian classic. And darn hard to find.
With all certainty, I am convinced that Scott Young's original novel
about the tragic love affair between brash hockey player Billy Duke and
high-flying rock star Sherilee Nelson, was nothing like this mediocre
Perhaps the night before he signed over the film rights, Scott was out socializing with son Neil and cohorts Crosby, Stills and Nash. He probably had no idea that Johnny Bassett's film crew would make his masterpiece into little more than a CTV Movie Of The Week. Young was immortalized with a cameo in the movie, alongside some of his pals from the old press box in historic Maple Leaf Gardens. We see lots of hockey stars, but mysteriously, no rock icons. A bit of a disappointment, considering the thrust of the plot.
Its sad when you watch a film to enjoy the thespian abilities of George Armstrong and Derek Sanderson, more than the main actors, Art Hindle (in his pre-E.N.G. days) and Trudy Young (former CBC child star). Seeing the entire 1971 Toronto Maple Leafs roster is a treat for hockey fans of the day, even with painfully wooden speaking roles for Jim Dorey, Paul Henderson, Mike Pelyk and Rick Ley, just to name a few. True acting is found only in scenes featuring veterans Austin Willis and John Vernon, who mainly appeared together, perhaps so they didn't blow the weaker mimics right off the screen.
Noteworthy about FACE OFF also, was the coming out role for by-now-grown child actress Trudy Young, who heretofore was best known as the sassy little spindle from TV's "Razzle Dazzle", "George the St. Bernard" and guest appearances in "The Forest Rangers". Trudy performed all of the special music in the film and even wrote many of the tunes. She subsequently scored only one major TV role later in the seventies as the waitress on "The David Steinberg Show", just before apparently plummeting into oblivion.
It appears FACE OFF joined her in such a plummet, as it is available nowhere in the vast video wastelands. Still, it holds a fond place in the hearts of many Canadian boys and girls who were teens and pre-teens in the early seventies. If anyone out there owns the rights, why not give it a shot on DVD? Even I'd hand over a toonie to rent it!
This is a film for the 50 and over NHL fan. Although the central plot involves A love affair between a young Hockey star and a hippie rock singer, the real stars are the dozens of clips of Toronto Maple Leaf games at the old Maple Leaf Gardens and at various other arenas such as the old LA Forum and the Spectrum in Phila. This was filmed before the influx of European stars into the NHL , in the days when every Kid in Canada dreamed of playing in the NHL. You see clips of past greats like Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Jaques Plante, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and many others. It's a era long gone that only us "old time hockey fans" can appreciate.
What can one say. Face Off was yet another of a seemingly endless supply of
late '60's and early '70's "youth" movies produced in Canada with the aid of
generous government grants and tax breaks. This movie was unusual in that it
actually developed an audience, and was seen by more than 20 people in a
real theatre, a claim that few of it's contemporary's could make. The film
is now popping up on the Canadian satellite TV networks, and is even getting
some international play (I saw it on Trio recently).
The movie itself is a somewhat turgid romance/tragedy, featuring doomed love set amongst the Toronto Maple Leafs (which, as any Leafs fan will tell you, is the only type of love appropriate to that team). The film stars a miscellany of young (and unknown) actors who were active in Canada during the period, plus a young looking John Vernon, who was starting to make a name for himself in Hollywood when this film was made.
The film is extraordinarily '70's looking (can you believe those sideburns), with the low end production values and slightly fuzzy cinematography which marked these type of films. Acting is adequate, but nothing special. Probably the main reason to see this film (aside from re-visiting '70's fashions and hair styles) is for the hockey scenes. It is interesting to compare both the equipment (no pads or helmets in those days) and the playing styles with todays NHL. Even in a fictional setting like this movie, the emphasis on movement, speed, and style contrasts markedly with the steriod induced thuggery which passes for hockey in today's NHL.
See it for the hockey, or to re-visit the 70's.
5 out of 10..
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know it's a love story about two people with totally different views on life but this movie has tremendous historical significance for the avid NHL hockey fan. Give the producers and director credit for filming scenes in the Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens. Add in authentic NHL stars and you have a great sports movie. Not really, but you do get excited when Billy Duke and the Leafs hit the road and Play in the old arenas. Like the Philadelphia Spectrum minus the third deck and the L.A. Forum with the yellow clad Kings uniforms. Oakland Seals are also shown. Great stuff that will hit you in the face like a side of back bacon AAAA! John Vernon does an adequate job of acting as the coach. I was more concerned with the Leafs making the playoffs than the trials of Billy Duke's romance.If you want a peek into the NHL's past take a gander at this movie. Acting is fair at best and the plot is week but you'll show the Grand kids what Maple Leaf Gardens and the NHL helmet-less players looked like back in the day.
I always find the films of the canadian tax shelter to be sort of surreal: The snowy locations the washed out cinematography, the stilted acting...canadian gothic. This film is one of my personal faves. It is SO 70's that it almost seems from another world or dimension or something. It's really kind of haunting and poetic, with a sense of doom pervading the whole production and the ending makes little sense. Combined with the endearingly awful songs, and truly touching performance by Trudy what's her name, the viewer feels like they dreamed the movie. Very weird and strangely, cheaply beautiful...
I lived in Canada for 30 years and I am still an avid hockey fan, even
though I now reside in Malta. I seen 'Face Off' on CTV 'Movie of the
Week' in the 70's and I still remember parts of it. The story doesn't
interest me that much, but I remember most of the 1971 Toronto Maple
Leaf Hockey Team. This is a very nostalgic film to me simply because I
really appreciate watching those Maple Leaf Stars of that era. It's a
great 'Memory' film because I remember the original six teams very
well, and used to travel to the Montreal Forum and the Detroit Olympia
to watch the Leafs playing in those cities. In Toronto I remember when
the Montreal Canadians came to play our Leafs the whole City used to be
glued to the TV sets, and Maple Leaf Gardens jammed packed! Problem is
that I cannot purchase a copy of this great film anywhere, whether on
VHS Tape or DVD. I hear that it is still being shown on Canadian
Satellite Stations. I would appreciate it greatly if anybody would
provide me with information where I could get a copy of this Film. I
still watch hockey in this Country via Cable on NASN Station. I would
just like to see it again for the Hockey. My Canadian born son lives in
England now and would like to see it too!
Thank you for your time and look forward to positive feedback. Have a good day.. Regards, Joe
This film was a big film in Canada, but a one week forgotten release here in America (released by Cannon Pictures). The film stars Art Hindle as a Hockey star who falls for a flower child with tragic results. Lots of heavy handed tunes, and John Vernon (who was doing Hollywood film at the time) playing Hindle coach. Big hit in Canada, and even SCTV made a take-off from it (that American audience didn't understand). Recommended to anyone who like 70's romance films.
I did not enjoy this film much. Basic love story with some hockey scenes. Usually, the sports scenes can make up for a weak plot in these types of films. But I found the hockey scenes here boring as well. Most of the hockey scenes just showed the players skating around, you did not see any real action or plays. Even the main character is never seen actually scoring a goal, just kind of skating around. Perhaps the budget was too low to actually stage some effective game scenes. There were no scenes of dramatic scores, game situations, etc. Then the plot of the main love story was also weakly portrayed. The relationship never seems to get off the ground, most of what you see is disagreement -- but then it is portrayed as some passionate love. So this is just a curiosity for the 70s film buff or hockey fan, nothing else.
This movie is for diehard hockey fans only. Me and my friend Jay are probably the only people who have this movie on tape and play it on a regular basis. the acting is terrible but who cares? Long live Billy Duke. I wish he was skating this coming Tuesday against Carolina. This is a classic hockey cult film.
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