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Written by Timothy Sexton
The Parallax View was really Beatty’s first tentative testing of the depth of the waters for the political films he was interested in making. It had been three years since his last appearance on screens and the film which preceded this political conspiracy film seemed to be the one pushing him to try harder and do something more with the Hollywood clout he was accumulating. From here would start a journey that through the dense political background underlying the sexual antics of Shampoo toward the culmination of winning a Best Director Oscar for Reds.
The makers of the film appear to have been going for the Psycho-effect in a minor chord with the early and unexpected exit of the Lee Carter character. While Paula Prentiss was by no means as big a star as Janet Leigh was when she made Psycho, she was most definitely a recognizable and popular actress whose character would not be expected to be killed off quite so suddenly.
The same might almost be said for William Daniels. At the time the film was made, Daniels was one of the most recognized faces in the world of character actors even if a lot of people didn’t know his name. His rather speedy demise also comes as something of a shock, though certainly not at the level of Leigh taking a shower. The clipped speech and almost snotty attitude which Daniels so perfectly delivered throughout his career is, of course, perfect for the political operative he plays and makes his exit from the stage rather disappointing.
Cronyn had been around even longer than Daniels, tracing his career all the way back to a character that might well be considered a dress rehearsal for Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt. As the editor of the newspaper that Beatty’s character works for, Cronyn’s long career playing a variety of good and bad guys lends him just enough potential menace for audiences to at least briefly ponder whether he may be part of the conspiracy.
The man who is the prime assassin for the Parallax Corp. is played by another actor whose face may be incredibly familiar…perhaps even somewhat uncomfortably familiar. Bill McKinney appeared in a number of other films and TV shows, but he will forever be associated with his most famous role and one that likely seems far more villainous to most than even his admittedly pretty scary assassin of politicians: he was one of the mountain men the guys from the city fatefully come upon in Deliverance.
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The Parallax View literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of the movie The Parallax View by director Alan J. Pakula.