Sunday, March 18, 2012

1962: SOME FAVOURITE FILMS FROM 50 YEARS AGO. In an effort to prove that this is NOT a comic book blog (recent posts to the contrary), I thought I'd trot out the yearly list of my ten favouritest films from half a century ago. This is quite a big year since it not only contains my favourite film of all time (L'ECLISSE) but also two from my top 10 faves of all-time (LONG DAY'S JOURNEY as well), my favourite Luis Bunuel film and also my mother's favourite film. Talk about a monumental movie year! So here goes, in alphabetical ordure:
ADVISE & CONSENT - Otto Preminger's all-star political powerhouse of backroom deals and Capitol Hill hardball has the Senate investigating the President's newly nominated candidate for Secretary of State and his possible political hot potato past. Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Gene Tierney, Burgess Meredith and Walter Pidgeon head a stupendous cast.
BILLY BUDD - I'm a sucker for Herman Melville and here's an excellent film adaptation of the short story directed here by Peter Ustinov (!) and featuring the screen debut of Terence Stamp as the naive, almost angelic sailor who is pressed into serving on a Royal Navy ship where he encounters not only an onboard evil but also man's fundamental struggle with conscience, honour and duty. Truly gripping by the film's climax. The great Robert Ryan, Peter Ustinov and Melvyn Douglas head a cast of brilliant British character actors.
L'ECLISSE - The current reigning champ as my favourite film of all-time (closely followed by and sometimes switching places with Bergman's WINTER LIGHT), director Michelangelo Antonioni masterpiece about the existential crisis of modern man as well as our strange alienation from each other and a few other monumental themes of modern life. Il maestro's muse Monica Vitti and Alain Delon star.
THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL - Probably my favourite Luis Bunuel film involving a dinner party of well-to-do's who find themselves unable to leave the dining room. Ever. Baffling and intriguing as only Bunuel can be. Stars Sylvia Pinal, Jacqueline Andere, Enrique Rambal and many more.
LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT - One of my top ten favourite films. Sidney Lumet adapts Eugene O'Neill's searing semi-autobiographical play of a family's tense inter-relationships and the coping with a mother's drug addiction. Perhaps Katharine Hepburn's greatest screen role (and that's saying something) for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, the film also stars Sir Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards Jr. and Dean Stockwell.
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE - My mother's favourite film. The classic film of a brainwashed war hero unconsciously awaiting the code words which will turn him into a robotic assassin. John Frankenheimer directs Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury, Frank Sinatra, and Janet Leigh in this tense and spooky thriller. Why don't you pass the time by playing solitaire?
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE - Perhaps John Ford's final masterpiece finds a Senator who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw returning for the funeral of an old friend and, in the process, discovering some past secrets. John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles and Woody Strode star in this elegiac western classic.
TALES OF TERROR - Time for a little popcorn-munching fun with Roger Corman's portmanteau movie adapting three Edgar Allan Poe tales: Morella, The Black Cat and The Case of M. Valdemar. Starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - Classic film adaptation of Harper Lee's great American novel of a Southern lawyer defending a black man against a trumped-up rape charge while trying to teach his own kids to reject prejudice. Gregory Peck, Brock Peters, and a young Robert Duvall star in this Robert Mulligan classic.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? - The ultimate horror hag masterpiece with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford locking horns as two decaying Hollywood sisters confined to a decaying Hollywood mansion. As sick and twisted as Robert Aldrich could make it!


wellyousaythat© said...

Wow! what a great set of movies

Cerpts said...

And that's not even including the theatrical release of THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE!!!

ernest said...

Great year, great films. You know I'm with you on L'ECLISSE.