Cinema and animation have come a long way in 50 years, but there are still great production gems from 1971 that have stood the test of time.
We are paying tribute to five films from 1971, some of which created opportunities for some well-known and loved voiceover performances, past and present.
A Clockwork Orange
The classic cult film ‘A Clockwork Orange’ was one of many brilliant films to be released in 1971. The film sees lead character Alex, played by Malcolm McDowell lead a sadistic gang of cronies in a futuristic depiction of London. Imprisoned for his ‘ultraviolence’, McDowell is subjected to a violence aversion program, but naturally, all does not go to plan. Although ‘A Clockwork Orange’ securely cemented McDowell’s place in film history, it also opened the way for a career in voiceovers.
Unbeknown to many, McDowell provides an English voiceover of Enclave president John Henry Eden in the videogame Fallout 3. Clearly, McDowell is talented at switching between the roles of do-gooder and good-for-nothing characters!
The Last Picture Show
‘A Clockwork Orange’ is not the stand-alone best performer from 50 years ago because the famous film, ‘The Last Picture Show’ also made its debut performance during 1971. ‘The Last Picture Show’ is ultimately a coming-of-age drama, also revolving around the underlying issues of change and metamorphosis and in some cases stagnation of aspirations. You could say it is about love and loss, and ultimately the reality of life after high school.
Fiddler on the Roof
As well as teen angst films, the year 1971 also introduced us to musical legends such as ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. This epic musical comedy revolves around the life of a Jewish milkman and the ordeals he faces trying to raise his four daughters in an ever-changing environment of hostility in Tsar-ruled Russia. ’Fiddler on the Roof’ won many accolades for not only its direction but also for its acting performances, showcasing that musicals are just as noteworthy for their storytelling credentials as much as any other cinematography.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
50 years ago, filmgoers also seemed to appreciate the animation work of the era. This is evident through the success of the film releases ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ and ‘The Cat in the Hat’. ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ stars actress and English voiceover artist Angela Lansbury. Lansbury later went on to flourish in providing English voice talent, offering her voice to the roles of Mommy Fortuna in ‘The Last Unicorn’ and Mrs. Potts in the original Disney production of ‘The Beauty and the Beast’. More recently yet, Ms. Lansbury offered her voice for the character of Mayor McGerkle in the 2018 re-production of ‘The Grinch’.
The Cat in the Hat
Finally, we get to ‘The Cat in the Hat’, another legendary film from 1971. Talented film director and voiceover artist Allan Sherman provided the American voiceover for the mischievous cat in the hat, showcasing audiences that ultimately children cannot be trusted alone, especially not in the company of a talking cat. Despite adults perhaps not enjoying the idea of a cat leading their children astray, the voiceover was fantastic and appreciated by all.
Even though voiceover was clearly establishing a stronghold in 1971, it has come a long way in 50 years.