Tough guys at the Yonge Theatre

When you compare Toronto’s modern-day film landscape to what existed in the ’70s, you know what’s missing?

Well, yeah, porn. There was plenty of that. Lots of it. But the one thing you were guaranteed to find on every marquee, whether at a Yonge St. grindhouse or the Teepee Drive-In, was a healthy serving of Tough Guy Movies *.

Thanks to the Star and the Sun’s gritty movie listings, the ads jumped out at you like a bare-knuckle punch. Michael Ritchie’s Prime Cut, which opened at the Yonge (now the Elgin) in July of 1972, is about as tough as they come. Don’t believe me? Check out Lee Marvin highjacking a truck or heck — the film’s opening sequence.

Prime Cut wasn’t the only tough guy movie playing that week: Shaft’s Big Score, The Conversation, The Godfather, Dirty Harry, Duck You Sucker, Joe Kidd (Eastwood, Duvall and John Saxon!) were also around.

* Kudos to those rascals at the Toronto Underground Cinema for showing Death Wish III in July!

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