Cinderella Liberty (1973): Mark Rydell Oscar Nominated Melodrama Starring James Caan and Marsha Mason


In Mark Rydell’s melodrama, “Cinderella Liberty,” James Caan plays a lonesome sailor named John Baggs on shore leave who falls in love with a prostitute (Marsha Mason) and then develops fatherly feelings toward her half-black illegitimate son (Kirk Calloway)
The film’s title refers to a sailors’ slang for the pass that expires at midnight.
At first, Doug, who’s already wise beyond his tender years, shows hostility to Baggs’ gestures of friendship. But Baggs is the kind of man who doesn’t quit or walk away. He takes his time, and his impact on Maggie and Doug is gradual, resulting in a strangely gratifying bond. In the process, he learns the real meaning of family and responsibility.
Adapted to the screen by Darryl Ponicsan from his novel, the tale is unconventional, but Rydell struggles with the tone, and so the film veers from sentimental melodrama to serio comedy.
Marsha Mason received a Best Actress nomination for playing Maggie Paul, a barroom hustling prostitute with an illegitimate mulatto son. For a change, Maggie is sexy, spunky, and even self-destructive, not your typical Hollywood whore with a heart of gold.
The supporting cast includes Eli Wallach, Burt Young, Dabney Coleman, and Sally Kirkland.
Oscar Nominations: 3
Actress: Marsha Mason
Dramatic Score (Original): John Williams
Song: “Nice to be Around,” music by John Williams, lyrics by Paul Williams
Oscar Awards: None
Oscar Context:
The winner of the Best Actress Oscar was Glenda Jackson for the comedy, “A Touch of Class.”
Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman won the Best Song Oscar and Scoring for the melodrama, “The Way We Were.”