Spoiler: we were not very visionary on this one.
Rocky will celebrate its 45th anniversary in a few days: it was released in American theaters precisely on December 3, 1976. Flashback, on the occasion of the replay of the cult film on Chérie 25.
Nominated in ten categories at the Oscars, the story created by Sylvester Stallone and imaged by John G. Avildsen dominated the US box office at the end of 76 and was about to win three statuettes (including best film and best director). Born a few months earlier, First draws his opinion… and falls rather beside the plate.
The author uses a gonzo style to describe his feelings and the particular conditions in which he watched it in New York. Film criticism is still a Wild West, and the author shoots without warning.
“Let’s tell the truth right away! I saw Rocky in New York, in a Broadway cinema, near 42nd Street, late at night, tired from jet lag and eyed askance by a rather shady character. I left with a good prejudice, however, influenced by the warm opinion of our correspondent in the USA, Jocelyne Benzakin, and impressed by the ten Oscar citations for this film.
Heavier was my disappointment. This story of a nerdy boxer, who finds fame by facing the World Heavyweight Champion, weighs fifteen tons. Sylvester Stallone, author and performer of the film, looks like Paul McCartney who, seeing himself getting fat, decided to do bodybuilding. There are quite a few sentimental moments when the handsome Rocky gives a dead-loving boxer eyes to a daphnia saleswoman played by Talia Shire, but it’s still not worth it. Romeo and Juliet !
I must also admit, I left the room when the “Beast” trains against a bloody ox. But it seems, the last I heard, that I missed the best part: the scene where, bloodied, after a hard seventy-fifth round, he rejects Mr. Ramirez, to fall into the arms of the beautiful Adrian. Me who likes ‘happy end’ …”
After reading this, you must be asking yourself: How did this review get published in the magazine? Why not let the correspondent give her (positive) opinion on the film? Did the intern get fired?
The answer is simple. The author is none other than Jean-Pierre Frimbois, who had just founded First and was its managing editor. And if he wanted to pay Rocky, with assumed bad faith, there was no one to censor him.
Sylvester Stallone and Mohamed Ali show at the 1977 Oscars