John Cazale Doc, 'I Knew It Was You,' Coming To HBO Later This Year

We’ve gone on a few times now about the documentary, “I Knew It Was You,” about cult ’70s actor John Cazale, whose abrupt career burned through five unforgettable roles in five unassailable classics (“The Conversation,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “The Deer Hunter”) in an all too ephemeral seven years.

Best know for his role as the anxious and underappreciated, Fredo Corelone in ‘Godfather’ I and II,’ Cazale’s flame was snuffed out far too early in 1978 when he died of lung cancer before the release of “The Deerhunter.”

The documentary features affectionate testimonials, by his peers and friends, including former girlfriend Meryl Streep, fellow actors and filmmakers Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, Sidney Lumet, Francis Ford Coppola (who hired him for three of the five pictures) and modern admirers, Steve Buscemi, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Sam Rockwell among many others.

We saw the documentary directed by Richard Shepard (and produced by Brett Ratner) this weekend at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, and since the film is only a brief, but economic 40 minutes long, many, including us, have wondered how such a film would find a theatrical release.

Well, it won’t come out in theaters, but we did learn from producer Stacey Reiss, that the film is coming out on HBO later this year and a DVD release will eventually follow. No dates as of yet, but this is certainly good news for those that worried that mainstream audiences wouldn’t receive a chance to view the excellent doc portrait.

A review later in the week — we’re still under a mountain of reviews from the films we saw at IFFB — but suffice to say it’s an extremely compelling and informative film that doesn’t simply fall into the adoration category. More in the week, but an HBO release is great news. PS, much of what you read on Wikipedia and IMDB is incorrect and Cazale was not engaged to Streep at the time of his death.

Here’s a rather maudlin, fan-made tribute to Cazale which should give you a reminder who the actor is if you don’t already know. Hopefully we’ll get a real trailer soon.