Does anyone remember Bud Cort? My guess is that Johnny Depp does; more than a few of his early, quirkier performances — like the wide-eyed naifs of “Arizona Dream” or “Benny & Joon” — owe a great debt to Cort’s work in the 1970s. Wes Anderson does: he cast him in “The Life Aquatic” as a nod to Cort’s influence. But the rest of the world?

Everyone now recognizes the 1970s as the great renaissance of American film, where the balance of power shifted from the studios to the directors, with the result being a vast number of creative, gritty, and uncompromising films . . . and an equal number of quixotic, drive-off- the-cliff indulgences, which were dumped by their studios and then died at the box office.

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