Saturday, January 02, 2016

When Beatnik Changed To Hippie

Jesse Walker's movie list now journeys back to 1965.  This was a huge year for Hollywood--the two biggest hits of that decade came out then, The Sound Of Music and Dr. Zhivago, not to mention Thunderball, which was around fifth or sixth. (It was also one of the last years when filmmakers thought, to be taken seriously, their work should be in black and white.)

But, artistically, Hollywood was a little more arid back then than in the seventies, most would say.  Yet there were interesting things happening elsewhere.  What will Jesse think?

Here's his top ten:

1. Repulsion
2. The Saragossa Manuscript
3. The Battle of Algiers
4. The Loved One
5. King Rat
6. It Happened Here
7. A Game with Stones
8. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
9. Mickey One
10. Simon of the Desert
I think Repulsion is one of Polanski's best.  And Simon Of The Desert (which I consider a feature even if it's only half a film) is also a favorite.  So #1 and #10 are great choices.  The rest only show that 1965 wasn't the greatest year. 
I've never seen #2, though I'd like to.  Haven't seen #6 either.  I like #7, but it's a short.
The Battle Of Algiers has quite a reputation, though I think a lot of it comes from people believing it's a documentary.  I'll give The Loved One points for being bizarre, but not for being funny, which would help in a comedy. (These days it's invariably double-billed with Lord Love A Duck, a superior film from 1966).
King Rat and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold are both decent, but no classics. I have a certain fondness for Mickey One, but while the gimcrack surrealism is fun, it's not especially deep.
Here are the Jesse's honorable mentions.
11. Chimes at Midnight
12. Looking for Mushrooms
13. Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
14. Major Dundee
15. The Pawnbroker
16. Time Piece
17. The Hand
18. Alphaville
19. Mirage
20. Loves of a Blonde
#12 and #16 are both great shorts, though as Jesse knows I don't think shorts should be on these lists.  (Of all the shorts Jesse brings up for 1965, Time Piece is probably my favorite.)  #17 is also a short, but I've never seen it.
Some consider Chimes At Midnight to be Orson Welles' greatest film--including Welles himself.  Far from it.  In general, he's not at his best doing Shakespeare on film.  (If I have to take a Shakespeare film from 1965, it'd be Olivier's far less cinematic Othello.)

Hush....Hush, Sweet Charlotte is fun in a campy sort of way.  Major Dundee is okay.  The Pawnbroker is one of those films that was taken very seriously in its day but hasn't held up that well.
I'm not a big fan of Godard, but I like AlphavilleMirage is one of those one-word thriller titles that started in the 60s with Charade. It's okay, I guess, but not much more.
Loves Of A Blonde should maybe be in the top ten.  I expected to see The Shop On Main Street somewhere, but Jesse notes he hasn't seen it.  Same with Red Beard.
Here are some other films that might make my top ten:

Beach Blanket Bingo  (Yes, I know, these exploitation films are ridiculous, but I like them and BBB is the greatest of them all)

Help! and The Knack...And How To Get It (these two Richard Lester films combined don't add up to A Hard Day's Night, but they both have enough in them to make the top ten in a weak year)

Tokyo Olympiad

Here are some other films I like:

Carry On Cowboy, Catch Us If You Can (surprisingly serious, and could be another Hard Day's Night if the Dave Clark Five were the Beatles), The Cincinnati Kid, The Collector (a truly creepy film that you wouldn't expect from Wyler), The Flight Of The Phoenix, For A Few Dollars More, The Great Race, Gumnaam (well, the opening dance number), The Hill, How To Murder Your WifeThe Naked Prey, Pierrot Le Fou (for someone who's not a Godard fan, turns out I like two of his films this year), Ski Party (for James Brown), A Thousand Clowns, Thunderball
Other films of note: 
The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Alphabet Murders, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, The Art of Love, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Battle of the Bulge, The Bedford Incident, Billie, Boeing Boeing, Bunny Lake Is Missing, Casanova 70, Cat Ballou, Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion, Darling, Dear Brigitte, Die! Die! My Darling!, Doctor Zhivago, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Dr. Who and the Daleks, The Family Jewels, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Ferry Cross the Mersey, Genghis Khan, Girl Happy, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Hallelujah Trail, Happiness, Harlow, Harum Scarum, The Heroes of Telemark, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini,
I'll Take Sweden, In Harm's Way, Inside Daisy Clover, The Ipcress File, I Saw What You Did, John Goldfarb Please Come Home!, Juliet of the SpiritsLady L, Life at the Top, Lord JimMarriage on the RocksThe Money Trap, The Monkey's Uncle, Morituri, The Nanny, Never Too Late, None but the Brave, Once a Thief, A Patch of Blue, Promise Her Anything (great theme song, though), The Rounders, SandraThe Sandpiper, The Satan Bug, Sergeant Deadhead, She, Shenandoah, Ship of Fools, Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious, The Skull, The Slender Thread, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Sound of MusicA Study in Terror, Sylvia, Synanon, That Darn Cat!, That Funny Feeling, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Tickle Me, The Truth About Spring. Viva Maria!, Von Ryan's Express, What's New Pussycat?, Wild on the Beach, Young Dillinger


Blogger Jesse said...

I should note that an hour or two after this went up, someone reminded me about For a Few Dollars More, and I revised the list to stick it in the honorable mentions.

I'm with you on Godard. Most of his movies leave me cold, but I like a number of the ones he did in the early '60s, and this is probably the bets of them. (This and the short he contributed to RoGoPaG.)

I think The Loved One is way, way funnier than Lord Love a Duck.

6:50 AM, January 02, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I've written about The Loved One versus Lord Love A Duck before, so I won't go into detail. It just interests me how they're often put together because they're mid-60s black and white satires about Southern California, but otherwise they couldn't be more different.

10:21 AM, January 02, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Collector is my favorite film of the year. Once you see it you can't forget it.

11:02 AM, January 02, 2016  

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