Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Real Sixties Begin

Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean we're going to stop looking at Jesse Walker's top ten lists.

It's 1964.  The Beatles have conquered America--and the film world, too.  Let's see what Jesse has to say about it.  Here's his top ten list:

1. Dr. Strangelove
2. Woman in the Dunes
3. Diary of a Chambermaid
4. The Killers
5. Kwaidan
6. The World of Henry Orient
7. Onibaba
8. A Shot in the Dark
9. The Americanization of Emily
10. A Fistful of Dollars

Can't argue with Strangelove at #1--it's one of my favorite movies of all time.  I like Woman In The Dunes and it might make my top ten.  Diary Of A Chambermaid is quite good, even if Bunuel around this time was capable of doing better.  The Killers is pretty cool.  Kwaidan is uneven, but that's the lot of anthology movies.  The World Of Henry Orient is a fascinating trifle (Jesse mentions something about Angela Lansbury--why does he not note this is a most amazing year for Peter Sellers?). Haven't seen Onibaba.  I don't know if A Shot In The Dark is the best Pink Panther film, but it's good enough.  (Jesse is quite kind in noting it's based on a play, since Blake Edwards threw that out and started over.) I find The Americanization Of Emily, like much Paddy Chayefsky, to be overwritten and dopey.  A Fistful Of Dollars certainly started something, and isn't bad, but I don't consider it a classic.

Here are the honorable mentions:

11. Kiss Me, Stupid
12. I Am Cuba
13. Band of Outsiders
14. Séance on a Wet Afternoon
15. The Train
16. Mermaid
17. Becket
18. My Fair Lady
19. Nightmare in Chicago
20. The Evil of Frankenstein

Kiss Me, Stupid is a film that fascinates me.  It's Billy Wilder's bitterest (even more so than Ace In The Hole), and it is memorable, but the story just doesn't work.  Maybe it would have worked better with Peter Sellers (as if he didn't do enough this year) rather than Ray Walston.  I Am Cuba is a pretty impressive technical achievement.  I'm not much of a fan of Godard but I suppose I can see why his fans go for Band Of OutsidersSéance is alright.  Same for The Train.  Haven't seen Mermaid. I find Becket to be a rather dull historical drama.  The film version of My Fair Lady is a bit slow, and whatever it achieves it does as a reflection of something that works better on stage.  Nightmare is an early TV work from Robert Altman that I've never seen.  The Evil Of Frankenstein is one of the many perfectly competent British horror films of the era.

Films that might make my top ten:

7 Faces Of Dr. Lao (I'll call your three Peter Sellers and raise you seven Tony Randalls)

A Hard Day's Night (I don't think Jesse like the early Beatles, but it boggles the mind that this isn't in the top ten--it should make a top ten list of the decade)

Mary Poppins

The Naked Kiss

The Patsy

Films I like:

Adventures Of Zatoichi, Gertrud, Goldfinger, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Mothra Vs. Godzilla, Muscle Beach Party, Pajama Party, The T.A.M.I. Show (a concert more than a film, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable), Topkapi, The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg

Other films of note:

Bedtime Story, Before The Revolution, Behold A Pale Horse, The Best Man, Black Like Me, The Carpetbaggers, Carry On Spying, The Castle, The Creeping Terror, The Disorderly Orderly, Emil And The Detectives, Ensign Pulver, Fail-Safe, The Fall Of The Roman Empire, Fanny Hill, Father Goose, For Those Who Thing Young, Get Yourself A College Girl, Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster, Good Neighbor Sam, Goodbye Charlie, The Gospel According To St. Matthew, Hag In A Black Leather Jacket, Hercules Against The Barbarians, Hercules Against The Moon Men, Hide And Seek, The Horror Of Party Beach, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies (I once got this title in a game of charades), Kisses For My President, Kissin' Cousins, Kitten With A Whip, The Last Man On Earth, Lilith, The Luch Of Ginger Coffey, Mail Order Bride, Man's Favorite Sport? (even weak Hawks can be interesting, but  compare this to Bringing Up Baby to see how far he'd fallen), Marnie (I prefer weak Hawks to ridiculous Hitchcock), Marriage Italian Style, The Mask Of Red Death, McHale's Navy, The Misadventures Of Merlin Jones, The New Interns, Night Must Fall, The Night Of The Iguana, Nothing But A Man, Of Human Bondage, One Potato, Two Potato, Paris When It Sizzles, The Pawnbroker, The Pleasure Seekers, The Pumpkin Eater, The Red Desert (Antonioni in color and neither Jesse nor I put it on our list), Robin And The 7 Hoods, Robinson Crusoe On Mars, Roustabout, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, Send Me No Flowers (even if you're a fan of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, this is the weak one), Seven Days In May, The Seven From Texas, Sex And The Single Girl, Shock Treatment, The Soft Skin (Truffaut's weakest up to this point), Spartacus And The Ten Gladiators, Surf Party, Two Thousand Maniacs!, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Visit, Viva Las Vegas, What A Way To Go!, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Your Cheatin' Heart, Zorba The Greek, Zulu


Blogger Jesse said...

I like the early Beatles, but I think the movie is overpraised. Not bad, but overpraised.

On the other hand, I wouldn't really call myself a Godard fan, even if his better films do tend to pop up in the honorable-mentions sections of my lists.

I haven't seen 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, but it's on my to-watch list.

Merry Christmas!

7:19 AM, December 25, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Goldfinger doesn't make it I guess no James Bond film will.

5:31 PM, December 25, 2014  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Props for Hard Days Night - I saw it for the first time this year (I'm on a Beatles kick - got "Man on the Run" for Christmas). Anyway, it's really a fun romp, and the young Beatles were such natural actors - especially like Harrison's deadpan, and of course Ringo's comedy. I haven't seen Help! yet, but I understand it focuses too much on Ringo's comedy, and loses some of the appeal.

I also like Godzilla v. Mothra, but not generally because I think it's a great film. Does it actually get recognition for doing something special (I'd love to know my taste is better than I thought)?

9:11 AM, December 26, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

You saw Hard Day's Night for the first time this year? It's not like it hasn't been available for a while. I guess better late than never. I own the DVD but still go out to see it when it's playing in a cinema. Really it should have been just another juke box exploitation flick, but like the Beatles entire career, it turned out to be so much more. Help! is fun too, but not the same thing. (You might want to also check out The Knack...And How To Get It if you're into Richard Lester of this era.)

I believe Mothra vs. Godzilla (which is not the same as Godzilla vs. Mothra) is considered one of the best of the Godzilla story.

9:32 AM, December 26, 2014  
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