Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973): Hal Bartlett Oscar Nominated Film, Music by Neil Diamond

Hal Bartlett co-wrote and directed this visually uneven film, based on Richard Bach’s best-seller, featuring music score by Neil Diamond.

As a flock of seagulls are pecking at the garbage left by a boat, one of them, Jonathan (voice of James Franciscus), would rather leave his life of garbage-picking and fly high in the sky to see the rest of the world.

Jonathan travels far, reaching heaven, where he meets Maureen Seagull (voice of Juliet Mills, daughter of the famous actor John and sister of Hayley). Maureen introduces Jonathan to new experiences, and Jonathan returns to the flock to tell them the news.

Initially, the seagulls scorn him, but when he heals a seagull that has died, they take notice, greeting him as “the Son of the Great Gull.”

Other voices belong to Dorothy McGuire, Hal Holbrook, and Richard Crenna.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Cinematography: Jack Couffer

Film Editing: Frank P. Keller and James Galloway

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Cinematography Oscar was won by Sven Nyvist for Ingmar Bergman’s masteropiece, “Cries and Whispers.”  The Editing Award went to William Reynolds for “The Sting,” which also won Best Picture.

Running time: 114 Minutes.

Released October 23, 1973.

DVD: October 2, 2007