Sharpen those blades, dust off that hockey jersey and get ready to celebrate
This underground cult favourite follows hot young rookie Billy Duke
Can you believe it's been 40 years since 'Face Off' came out?
Art Hindle: It's gone fast. We looked at the movie and it brings back wonderful memories. There's nothing wrong with nostalgia.
Trudy Young: No. Now I'm going, "Oh my God! I really am 61," because I was 21 when we did it. It's hard to believe. Sometimes it feels like yesterday and other times it feels like forever. The memories have been coming back with the DVD commentary. I thought to myself, "Oh, I don't want to watch this again." I can't stand watching myself and I had no idea we were going to have to watch the whole film. Actually, once it started and we were remembering funny things that happened, it was so much fun.
Why has 'Face Off' resonated with so many people?
TY: I think because of the hockey. What's Canada best-known for besides hockey? Also, it was a love story. The comments I hear are, "I love that movie. I cried when you died at the end." It was Canada's first love story.
Why do you have such a soft spot for this movie, Jonathan?
Jonathan Gross: I'm not 22 anymore, so if you look at your life and what Canada used to be, or what triggers an emotional response, 'Face Off' is one of those for me. When you're a kid and go to the movie theatre for 'Face Off's opening night 40 years ago, which is what I did, you remember it. A lot of guys my age spent a lot of time in Maple Leaf Gardens following the Leafs back then. Looking at my whole life, I don't think I was more passionate about hockey than when I used to live it like that.
Before sitting down for the commentary, when was the last time you saw 'Face Off'?
AH: Actually, I was living in L.A. and periodically, it was on Pay TV. It's not like I haven't seen it over the years. There was a big gap in time where I hadn't seen it, or I didn't want to see it. It was my second film. When you do something and you see all the warts and moles in it, it's ... I won't say damaging, but it shakes your confidence. You don't really go back and revisit it. Although, when I first moved to L.A. in 1974, it was the film everybody would look at when hiring me.
Was it strange revisiting this favourite again?
JG: My emotional response from seeing it again was different than I had anticipated. It wasn't the acting or Art and Trudy that I got emotional about; it was the hockey. I don't remember my mother's maiden name, but I remember all the players. I had the hockey cards for a lot of those guys. These guys were gods. It wasn't about the money or who was earning what. They would play 17 years for the same team.
In the beginning, you couldn't skate, Art. How much of you is that on the ice?
AH: Well, anything shot from behind is pretty much
And Trudy, could you sing before your character was introduced in that bar?
TY: They gave me a few singing classes. I was a dancer, but I've had to sing before. I did a play out in Edmonton where I had to sing and dance. Producer Johnny Bassett wanted to put me in white go-go boots, but I talked him out of that. I wore my own clothes. She's supposed to be a folk singer, so she's not going to wear white go-go boots!
AH: Oh, it was a huge deal. First, for the film, it adds so much reality to it. Secondly, quite a few of them have since become my friends. It adds credibility. Try imagining a baseball film and A-Rod walking with the actor.
'Face Off' is considered a Canadian classic, but how was it initially received?
AH: It was a big deal. There was an old theatre right beside Maple Leaf Gardens called the Carlton. It was a red-carpet event. I remember there used to be a bar in the Gardens. We waited there, they put us in a limo outside that door and we came around the corner. We actually didn't drive up. The limo broke down, so we had to push it to the red carpet, get in it, and then get out for the photo grabs. Very Canadian. There were so many interviews. By the time I got into the theatre, there were no seats left. They hadn't thought to reserve any, so I ended up in the balcony in the back row.
I understand there was supposed to be a sex scene between Billy and Sherry. What happened?
Was there anything you learned from Art and Trudy's commentary?
JG: An absolute ton of stuff. I'm shocked at what I learned and what it was like to make movies back in the '70s. Trudy said sometimes they had to bring their own clothes to the set. When Art was talking about jumping on the train, the train kept going. It actually picked him up and dropped him off somewhere. These are great stories. This was a high-end film back in the day, but it was guerilla shooting. The stupid convertible with the top down in the winter ... what the hell was that?
Did 'Face Off' pave the way for other hockey films such as 'Slap Shot,' 'Youngblood' and 'The Mighty Ducks'?
AH: I think it did. Other than an old John Wayne movie, which was about hockey if you can believe it, this was the first time in a long time that anybody had thought to make a dramatic film in the milieu of hockey. A few years later, when I was living in L.A., George Roy Hill, who directed 'Slap Shot,' asked me to come in for meetings and considered using me at one point. He asked me a lot of questions about how we shot the on-ice stuff because it was all alien to him. That film was less reality-based than ours, of course.
Finally, do you have any standout moments from 'Face Off'?
TY: I wasn't one who liked to be recognized and asked for autographs. A lot of times, I used to pretend I wasn't her. I'd just say, "Oh, I look like Trudy Young, but I actually race horses." I had a horse and could answer any questions if they asked.