I love the back-and-forth energy between Al Pacino and Charles Durning in this scene from Dog Day Afternoon. Although I suspect, knowing Pacino, that it was at least somewhat improvised, credit for most of the dialogue, I’m presuming, has to go to Frank Pierson, who won an Oscar for the DDA screenplay, and who died today at age 87. He was working right up to the end — his last credit was for Mad Men. Good fellow.
Pierson was a director-writer, but his best work was on the page. I’d like to be generous but the two best films he directed — A Star Is Born and King of the Gypsies — weren’t all that good. His best scripts were for Cat Ballou (’65), Cool Hand Luke (’67), The Looking-Glass War (’69), Dog Day Afternoon (’75) and Presumed Innocent (’90).