L13FC: 1960s British & U.S. Significant Films

Welcome back to Cindy’s Lucky 13 Film Club. I heartily give thanks to Pete from Norfolk, England who agreed to co-host this month. After a discussion about significant films, not necessarily Oscar winners or box-draw favorites, we hashed out the details and chose three favorites from each side of the pond. What do our choices show about society at the time? Please comment and feel free to turn this into a discussion board. What films would you add? 

PETE FROM BEETLEY asserts: 

The 1960s were an important time in the development of British Cinema. From the home-made epics to the emergence of the kitchen-sink’ dramas reflecting real life.  The ‘comfortable’ class-ridden films that had gone before began to fade away, as film-makers sought to portray life as it could be understood by the people who paid for tickets. With most of the poverty behind them, and the absence of the rigours of war and rationing, cinema-goers began to expect more, and they got it.

In the era of ‘Swinging London’ and the culture of pop music and fashion that defined it, I became a teenager and a film fan, at one of the best times in history to have been both.

I recall three films that, showcased what was going on. Changing attitudes to class, approaching the horror film in a very different way, and a fresh approach to the espionage genre.

Peeping Tom (1960)

In the same year that ‘Psycho’ was released, the esteemed British film-maker Michael Powell released this film about a disturbed serial killer. Set in London’s seedy glamour and soft-porn industry, it followed a troubled young man unable to control his impulse to not only kill, but to film those kills as they happened. The audience followed the camera into the terrors of the victims and then watched as he not only reviewed his crimes but also played old reels about his own abuse as a youngster. It proved too much for the time. Critics and censors were appalled, and the audiences were shocked beyond belief. Powell’s career was ruined by the uproar, and the film took many years to gain a cult following of those who appreciated just how radical and powerful it was.

 

The Servant (1963)

Joseph Losey made many films with the leading man, Dirk Bogarde. In this film, he is cast against type, as a nasty, manipulative manservant, keen to take advantage of his aristocratic and superior young employer, played to perfection by a young James Fox. To achieve his goal, he introduces an attractive young woman into the house, to act as a maid. He claims she is his sister, allowing his young master to believe he can take advantage of her. Once hooked on sex with the girl, (a suitably alluring Sarah Miles) the upper-class man has his life slowly dismantled by the scheming pair, as they destroy his relationships, and make him increasingly dependent on them both. With wonderful location filming in London, tight direction by Losey, and a powerful script, this film reflected changes in class attitudes driven by 1960s society. Foretelling the end of so much privilege by circumstance.

The Ipcress File (1965)

The first of the ‘Harry Palmer’ spy films saw Michael Caine emerge as a new kind of secret agent. Not an upper-class university educated gentlemen, or aristocratic fop, and not resident in the glamorous fake world of James Bond. This was the everyday slog of spies in the Cold War. They still have to overcome class prejudice from their superiors, but they are playing a new kind of game, one where winning is the only acceptable outcome. Ex-military, unimpressed, and wearily flirtatious, Harry was the perfect role for Caine, who ran with it to the sequels too. Although the film builds to a climax, it excels in the small details of Harry’s everyday life, and his interaction with his colleagues. When we went to watch this film, it was undeniable that things were changing in Britain, and we now had a new kind of hero.

CINDY’S CHOICES

Only three? Should I choose one from the start of the decade like Spartacus (1960) directed by Stanley Kubrick for an undeniable well-crafted epic? What about the film that gave the voice to the counterculture in 1969, Easy Rider? Which film reflected the terror and paranoia of the Cold War best? Dr. Strangeglove? Should I choose a film that typifies vibrant NYC and its spokesperson, the endearing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? I adore West Side Story. It is probably my favorite film of all time. I chose not to mention it here today. God that was hard!

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

The 1960s was about finding one’s inner strength. It was about non-conformity. Paul Newman as Luke Jackson does this best and becomes a martyr in the eyes of his Florida inmates. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg, what a cast and outstanding performances by Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, J.D. Cannon, and Jo Van Fleet. Just look at that trailer to remind you. The film is art.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

In answer to my question about the Cold War, The Manchurian Candidate hit a nerve. It raised fears that top-secret missions existed and fanned the flames of fear and paranoia. Angela Lansbury as Eleanor Shaw was frightening while Frank Sinatra gave one of the best performances of his career.

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock pushed the envelope with his most famous film. He filmed Janet Leigh in her bra and slip. The central character was female; she had a steamy affair and embezzled from the bank. The toilet flushed for the first time in film. A trifecta of taboos inferred: transvestitism, incest, and necrophilia. Who can forget Bernard Herrmann’s score with violins that pierce the air like a knife? Or Hitchcock’s filming of angles, the play with light and dark, and the awesome editing montage during the shower scene? The exterior and interior shots of the house? Those top shots of the stairs? Doesn’t everyone cringe at one of the best final shots in film history–the stare of Norman Bates played by Anthony Perkins? Well done, Janet Leigh, for starring in two out of three of significant films from the 1960s.

Your turn!

Thank you, Pete! Don’t forget to visit Pete’s blog soon. You can find him in Beetley HERE.

163 thoughts on “L13FC: 1960s British & U.S. Significant Films

Add yours

  1. I don’t repost but if I did this would be one. I love Peeping Tom. One of my all time favourites. And The Manchurian Candidate. I can’t believe that nasty woman became Jessica Fletcher. I saw Lawrence Harvey in a Columbo episode too. What an actor.

        1. So like Psycho is to U.S., Peeping Tom is to Britain. Perkins career never recovered from Psycho–no one could think of him in any other way than Norman Bates. How did Peeping Tom ruin things?

          1. London changed drastically within three years. Pop music culture, Carnaby Street fashions, and harder pornography, with Porn cinemas, strip clubs, and open prostitution. At the time of the film, all this was very much ‘under the counter’, and the Soho area was a working-class district populated by many foreign nationals. It later became very fashionable, and expensive too. 🙂

          2. Okay, thanks. I was dragged to Soho in 1982. I was with a group in the Navy and the guys wanted to see a porn show. I was mortified but went along like a good sport.
            What’s your theory behind societal need to escape the confines of conformity? Like the states during the 60s, was naughty Soho a reaction of the British to the suppression of the individual? (I think of the Victorian/Edwardian Era where British “social deviances” were hidden behind proper appearances. )

          3. The Victorian era is the answer, Cindy. It was a long time coming, but the backlash against that Victorian repression (of the ‘ordinary ‘people at least) was always going to come out. It was the whole ‘teenager’ thing that made it explode onto the scene, as late as the 1960s. 🙂

    1. I have not seen Peeping Tom, so I was glad Pete listed it. There are some camera shots I noticed while making this post that looked cool–the distorted eye in the magnifying glass, for one.

  2. I love the premise of this post–the British and American viewpoint of influential films of the 60s.
    Peeping Tom is such an disturbing film. Horrifying. The phallic symbolism of the tripod/knife. The MO of the killer–he wants to capture the moment of death on camera. Horrible. And yet, he is an empathetic character.
    Then you have Psycho. Now that movie had a profound impact on me. I saw it when I was about 10 or 11. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I couldn’t even pronounce Psycho–didn’t know the definition of the word. I was terrified.

      1. Well, I love Cool Hand Luke. It’s one of my favorite movies. The psychology of Luke is fascinating–and sad. He is truly a beautiful loser, but not one that we would expect.
        Bonnie and Clyde, is another great 60s film that made a big impact. I make a point of watching it at least once or twice a year. Point Blank is a great one too, although I’ve never personally liked it as much as most movie buffs do–but that’s just me. Blow Up had big influence on film. I prefer the American version of that film though, Blow Out. Like Point Blank, I can see why it would have a big impact but, personally, it’s not my cup of tea.

          1. Hmmm…I absolutely love Truman Capote. A Christmas Memory and In Cold Blood are two of my favorite literary pieces…but I never got into Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the book or the movie. Holly Golightly is not my idea of a great female protagonist. I much prefer Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. Neither one of these ladies are role model material, of course.

          2. We are in agreement in full. Can’t say I’m a huge fan of the film although I recognize it’s iconic. The same for another contender, The Graduate. I understand its popularity and art, but the story didn’t resonate with me. Probably because I wasn’t a guy coming of age…

          3. Agreed. I appreciate The Graduate. I’ve seen it once. I won’t go out of my way to see it again. A couple of other influential films from that ear that I am a fan of–The Producers and In The Heat of the Night.

    1. Thanks, Pam. I agree that Peeping Tom is disturbing, but it is also an example of a style of film-making many years ahead of its time, and is still only really ‘accepted’ by die-hard fans. For many people, the fact that we might sympathise with the abused killer is too much to contemplate.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      1. Yes. Sympathetic, would be a better word–and pitiful. I like the film. I definitely see the way that it has influenced Scorsese and others as well. It’s a perfectly cast film. It is perfectly executed as well. Smart, psychological horror, that still rubs some people the wrong way. I think that is a testament to it’s power.

      2. Pete, did you see Peeping Tom in 1960? Had I seen it then, it surely would be at the top of my uforgettable experiences, but I didnt see it until the early 90’s, and by then I had seen all the Italian giallos like Blood and Black Lace, so this type of film, which Powell should be credited for originating, was old hat to me. Regardless, it remains an excellent film, which I like on account of its critiism of behaviorism, as I deplore the experiments BF Skiner performed on his children, as well as the casting of the very unglamourous Anna Massey in the female lead.

        1. No Bill, I was too young at the time. But I did see it in 1968, when I was sixteen. It was at a special NFT showing in London. Technically, I was still under age, as it was an ‘X’ (18)! 🙂

          1. That is interesting, as i saw Psycho for the first time in 1968, when I was 17. Did you hear any of the older kids talking about Peeping Tom when it was frst released? I remember asking one of the big kids if Psycho was in color and he said, No. There was so much blood that it would have been too gross had it been in color. I have to say I was disappointed when I first saw the movie in 1968. It was more like a tv show than movie. But i did see The Birds in the first week of its release, which may have something to do with why it is my favorite Hitchcock.

          2. I didn’t hear anyone talking about Peeping Tom, but I read about it in the press later on, and also in ‘Sight and Sound’ film magazine, which I used to buy then.

        2. And Anna Massey was indeed an iteresting choice, I agree. It has to be remembered that she was cast as a ‘cool younger woman’ then, and was obviously considered to be attractive to some. Times and perceptions change. 🙂

          1. I thought Rita Tushingham was he ugliest girl I had ever seen in the movies, but she had an attractiveness that I did not appreciate at the time of seeing the girl with green eyes. As for Massey, this was only her second film, the first being two years earlier in a picture John Ford , who was her godfather, made in England. Her cool younger woman image was, as far as I know, limited to her stage debut in 1955 in The Reluctant Debutante, but I have doubts as to whether Powell cast the 23 year old woman on the basis of a stage play she appeared in at the age of 18. My guess is he cast her for the vulnerability of her homely loneliness, and the naive trust she placed in those who showed her any kind of attention.

    2. Interestingly, Peeping Tom received mostly negative reviews and practically destroyed the solo career of director Michael Powell while Psycho was a tremendous hit and made Hitch richer and more famous. Two British directors, two movies about serial killers, two different markets, two different reactions …

      1. It is interesting. British crime drama–these days, anyway–is edgier and I think Peeping Tom is the edgier film. Of course, Psycho is Horror. Peeping Tom is Psychological Horror. Both films stretched the definition of traditional Horror. I wonder how Psycho would have fared in Britain and Peeping Tom in America…I don’t think Peeping Tom would have gone over well in America in 1960. Peeping Tom was ahead of it’s time perhaps, whereas Psycho was perfectly in time.

    1. Hi Felicity.
      It’s not my all-time favourite, (that’s Blade Runner) but Kubrik’s vision of a science fiction masterclass was certainly outstanding at the time, I agree. I came out of the cinema feeling totally overwhelmed by a completely immersive experience. It is pointless to watch it on a small screen though. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      1. It fits in nicely with Kennedy’s wish to pursue a space program. At the end of the decade, the film got a boost from the successful landing on the moon. Anything seemed possible. Kubrick’s vision brought questions and doubts.

    1. Thanks for the link, John. Had I not been featuring the British films, I would undoubtedly have included ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, a film I saw at the cinema twice in the same week! And probably ‘Bullitt’ too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

    2. Ah, yes, I have posted about Bonnie and Clyde, too. It is such a well made film–Gosh, I really loved Faye in the role. Her version of a strong woman who chose to break from conventionality was significant. It fits right in with my premise that the single, defining theme of the decade was non-conformity. Not many films at that time starred strong women.

      1. not to be a contrarian, but i found bonnie and clyde the least interesting of penn’s American Apocalypse trilogy. not that i disliked it. ive seen it over a dozen tmes. but the chase and alices restuarant were for more reflective of what the country was going though during that decade. bonnie and clyde was closer to an american imitation of a french imitation of an american crime romance than an authentic meditation on american’s outlaw myths. here is a piece i wrote a couple years back on bonnie and clyde, which has little to do with what i have said in this paragraph. https://cinemapenitentiary.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/arthur-penns-american-apocalypse-part-two-bonnie-and-clyde/

        1. Arthur Penn could be listed as the 60s director whose work represents the searching individual in a world that doesn’t bend for non-conformity. Alice’s Restaurant is one such movie. I rewatched Bonnie and Clyde because I was investigating Gene Hackman, and I thought it was brilliant. Now I confess I have not seen The Chase. What is the matter with me? In fact, I was thinking about a future L13FC featuring Sam Spiegel and there he is, producing The Chase…
          I reread your article. Nice, btw.

          1. That’s a good way of saying it. I look forward to watching Brando in a film I’ve not seen. The Left Handed Gun looks good. I think I will do a Penn L13FC in the future….

          2. you need a billy the kid triple feature aul newman in left handed gun, arlon beando in one eyed jacs, and fris kristofferson in pat garrett and bill the kid. for penn, dont miss his other warren beatty picture, mickey one. and his other brando, the missouri breaks.

    3. I’m glad you like Cool Hand Luke. So many cool scenes to that movie. Love the egg scene, when he visits his mother in the car, the use of red and the sound of the machines….What is your favorite scene?

      1. Well, I particularly enjoy how they convey life on a road gang in the south, especially accurate as it was co-written by Donn Pearce, who WAS on a chain gang once! I also like what Paul Newman said about the script: “give an Actor a good script and they’ll move the world.”

      1. For an epic, Spartacus. For beautiful simplistic masterpiece there is To Kill a Mocking Bird. For wonderful satire there’s Strangelove. For comedy how about The Producers. For gritty drama The Hustler. And escapist action Goldfinger. Western-Ride The High Country. And what a decade for foreign directors, like Fellini, Leone, Kurosawa.

  3. I was born in 59 so growing up during the 60’s, in a very small rural world, unlike Pete’s swinging London. But as I went into the 70’s, movies from the 60’s came to my attention, Barbarella, (ah John Philip-Law as a blind angel was one of my first loves) to be honest not a great movie, but beautiful to look at, Cleopatra, one of my favourites of the swords and sandals epics, I loved the scene where Taylor enters Rome on a giant sphinx in a golden dress. The chemistry between Taylor and Burton was something to behold. I have my own copy of it of course. (I still prefer the Vivienne Leigh version but that’s 1945 ish so doesn’t count for this post). Lawrence of Arabia, another epic, controversial but gorgeously filmed, (I have that on dvd too). How do these reflect society at the time? Probably it only reflects the spending power of Hollywood at the time, I can surely tell you 1960’s Huddersfield never looked that good!

    1. Fraggle, thank you very much for bringing up the epic! Yes, to Cleopatra and Lawrence of Arabia — they followed Ben Hur and Spartacas, but they celebrate the power of the empire at the time. It’s scope and beauty are amazing. A definite glorification.

    2. Lawrence of Arabia was directed by British director David Lean of course, and is one of my favourite films of the 60s, and ever since too. They certainly knew how to mount an epic in those days, and no CGI either. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

        1. I never think of comic book franchise films as ‘epics’. Maybe ‘blockbusters’ is a better term?
          ‘Doctor Zhivago’ was an epic, and a sprawling saga too. But on that basis, ‘Wolverine’ (for example) is hardly an epic. This could be an interesting debate, for another time! 🙂 🙂

          1. You are correct, Pete. But wouldn’t you say DZ, Spartacas and Cleopatra were blockbusters in their day?
            Epics usually cover generations of time. The feel like soap operas, to me. Take Giant, for instance.

          2. Good points, Cindy. I would never think of ‘Giant’ as an epic, more of a prestige soap opera. We all have different ideas about what makes an epic, but for me they are pretty much rooted in the time before ‘Disaster Films’, ‘Space epics’, and the modern version of the blockbuster.
            But any description works, if it works for that person. 🙂

          3. I don’t think of Marvel DC movies as ‘blockbusters’. I think Transformers, San Andreas, The Day After Tomorrow I would class as blockbusters. The scope of the Marvel universe is what I think of as epic, a vast range of flawed but ultimately righteous characters, as was Lawrence, as was Cleopatra, but yes, a debate for another time! 😊

          4. gladiator was the death of the epic. unless you hire thousands of extras, you dont have an epic. those CGI crowd scenes dont cut it. i think the idea of the epic started in italy with the building of huge sets. running time and manner of exhibition was aso a big part of it. i also believe in the eopic soap opera, such a Giant, Peyton Pace, and The Carpetbaggers. These were eventually subsumed by the disaster film.

          5. I eagerly anticipated ‘Gladiator’, but was ultimately disappointed by it at the cinema. I would sooner watch the arena scenes in ‘Demetrius and The Gladiators’ (1954), even with having to tolerate Victor Mature, who was my Mum’s film heart-throb.
            Best wishes, Pete.

          6. Hmmm. I know you don’t care for CGI. I’m one of those who thought Gladiator was a very good film. I’ve seen it probably 10 times and I still do. Do I think of it as an epic? Compared with the 60s epics? I think you are right that the epic has to be the grand sets with real people. I think like Pete, Blockbuster would be a better word.

    1. Thanks for your own suggestions, David. My film choices are all rather ‘British’ of course, which was the point. But each one has merit, and all are worth watching. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      1. I’m not sure if the question was addressed to me, but…
        (1) “The Birds”–During the 1950’s there were plenty of sci-fi films that dealt with Earth creatures subjected to radiation so that they became menacing, but I don’t recall any film prior to Hitchcock’s where a normal creature became frightening due to a change in behavior. Also, this film is far more sophisticated in that it delves into the psychology of the main characters. Finally, there are some amazing scenes, such as the one where the birds are circling above the town of Bodega Bay. The camera is “stationed” somewhere in the sky, and the birds gradually come into view, and then overwhelm it as they descend upon the town. It’s practically apocalyptic! “The Birds” is a precursor to such films as Spielberg’s “Jaws.”
        (2) “Bonnie and Clyde”–This film is a masterpiece. It marries sex and violence in a way never done before. But it also has moments of genuine humor, even a bit of Keystone Cops influence in the chase scenes. The finale is a shocking bullet-riddled scene that is one of the most iconic ever put on film.
        (3) “2001: A Space Odyssey”–Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the only serious science fiction film prior to Kubrick’s masterpiece, in which space travel plays a significant role, is “Forbidden Planet” (1956). Kubrick’s ambitious film represents a giant leap forward in special effects, and puts a lot of “science” into its science fiction. The film also delves into the surreal. In short, the film is visionary, based in both a concept of future reality and pure alien-inspired fantasy. Needless to say, the film has a good many iconic moments in it: the time jump sequence where a bone tossed into the air by a hominid becomes an orbiting space weapon; the way passengers and objects on spacecraft interact with artificial gravity; the marriage of classical music and stunning visuals (e.g., “On the Blue Danube” during the initial docking sequence); the alien monolith in various settings; the death of HAL 9000; the psychedelic Star Gate sequence; the enigmatic Star Child, etc. In short, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a landmark film.

        1. Thanks for adding those explanations, David. With the exception of ‘The Birds’, which you already know I believe to be overrated, I completely agree. 🙂
          Best wishes, Pete.

  4. An outstanding idea to get you and Pete together on this topic! You know I love the older films, so this is the perfect post for me!! Am I making sense, Cindy, or “do we have a failure to communicate!” 🙂 haha

    1. Nice ‘Cool Hand Luke’ reference, GP. The 60s was a great time in cinema history, bringing us some real classic films that have endured over the decades.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      1. The ultimate 60’s film has to be ‘Dr. Strangelove’, for me it was mostly humor during that era…’How the West Was Won’, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’, ‘President’s Analyst’ and Pink Panther’; just to name a few!

  5. Dont know how you could narrow it down to three. This is as lean a cut as i can manage.

    American ..Home from the Hill, the Apartment, the Hustler, Hud, the Birds, Underworld USA, Nothing But a Man, Scorpio Rising, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Alice’s Restuarant, Midnght Cowboy, the Wild Bunch, Rosemary’s Baby, Hamlet (Burton) Seven Days in May, The Manchurian Candidate,The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. West Side Story, Faces, Mutiny on the Bounty, Flaming Star, Hell to Eternity

    British, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Georgy Girl, Alfie, The Servant, Far From the Madding Crowd, Becket, Blow Up, Dr,Strangelove, Women in Love. King and Country, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

    1. It was three each for brevity, Bill. Of course, your choices are all great films in their own right, but as with any short-list, we had to pick a few, and try to explain why they mattered to the 1960s, or in my case, to me in the 1960s. I wanted to avoid historical films like ‘King and Country’, (which is excellent) and I was tempted to change ‘The Servant’ for ‘A Taste Of Honey’. I also eschewed direct pop-culture films, like ‘A Hard Day’s Night’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

    2. Welcome back, Bill. So of all those, let’s talk about Midnight Cowboy. Why is it important?
      For British, I would love an elaboration on the “Kitchen Sink” phenomenon. as I think it’s important to British social history and significant to the 60s.

      1. the kitchen sink phenomenon paralleded the renassance of the theatre in america. spearheaded by williams, oneill,and miller this new wave of naturalism in theatre and literature injected the cinema with real life stories rather than the generic templates that had preceded it. and with it, on both sides of the pond, a new bunch of young brilliant directors, actors, and writers………………..midnight coeboy is significant as being the first x rated movie to be nominated for oscars..that it won the best picture makes it even more significant. that it was directed by one of englands finest is also sofnificant although most of whar he did in america after this is of minimal interest. it was also the first time the influence of underground films was strongly felt in a major production, with some of warhols superstars appearing in small roles as well. it also introduced audienes to john voigt, and proved to doubters that dustin hoffman could act, and wasnt just playing his nerdy self in the graduate.

  6. “Peeping Tom ” is a strange film. It made me feel somehow unclean for having watched it and I would defy anyone to say that they enjoyed it. I can see how it was a brick wall for Powell’s career. Just look on imdb at Powell’s filmography after he made it .

    1. I understand that completely, but I would suggest that ‘appreciate’ rather than ‘enjoy’ applies to ‘Peeping Tom’. It was a huge gamble for Powell, and one that he lost. But for me, it became an instant genre classic.
      Best wishes, Pete.

  7. Fantastic choices both. I’ve long been a fan of Peeping Tom and I remember I suggested to some of the students in my film course to try and comparison between it and Psycho. It made for very interesting essays, for sure!

  8. i might have beeen able to narrow it down to three per year, but three for a decade? Impossible. Im glad you kept The Servant, as it had the greatest overal impact on me of all the British films of the 60’s. In my list, I disqualified a lot of films for similar reasons as you. The Hammer horrors, the Bond films, the sex comedies, epic s, I also liked all the rock and roll group movies, like Hermans Hermits Hold on and the Dave Clark Fives Catch Us If You Can, It was such a rich period for British films, and most were classified for adults onlly here in the states, but there was one theatre in Seattle that admtted children to them, so it was always a promiscuous treat to see on e. I was in Florida when Georgy girl came out, and I argued with the manager for about 20 minutes until an usherette came to my defense, saying there was nothing nasty about the movie except a quick shot of Alan Bates’ backside.

  9. Were I forced at gunpoint to narrow all those hundreds of films i saw betweeen the ages of 9 and 18 to three, I would have to choose The Birds, The Wild Bunch , and Girls Girls Girls. I saw all of these in the first week of their initial theatrical runs and dozens of times since then right up to the present. Girls Girls Girls is by no means the best of the Elvis movies, but it is in many ways a definitive one. The Birds is, in my opinion, the only occasion in which Hitchcock the artist broke through the dull and clammy exterior of Hitchcock the craftsman. As an erotic portrait of a psychotic woman, it stands right alongside Antonioni’s Red Desert, and that s only one aspect of this masterpiece. And The Wild Bunch changed the face of the Western while adhering to all of the genre’s traditional elements. It is an achievement without peer in American cinema, although I personally prefer the director’s 1973 Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and most of John Ford to The Wild Bunch.

    1. Bill, I don’t know why, but I just never got The Birds. Maybe Rod Taylor being one of my least favoutrite actors, or just that I didn’t find birds scary. Either, or both. Everyone raves about it, but it is totally lost on me.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      1. the birds are the least interesting aspect of the birds…and the non-existant acting talents of rod taylor and tippo hedren served the director admirably. especially when pitted against that grand dame of the theatre, jessica tandy. the movie is all about sexual selection and the survival of the species, with plenty of perverse variations on the definition of the family unit and the position of each member within it. the whole effect is like a drop of nitro exploding hitchcocks heart and mind into shattered shards of a pervert’s confession.

      2. Hey Pete, it is me John 🙂 I love all of your choices. If you were able to add another one in, would you put Billy Liar just out of curiosity? I ask this because John Schlesinger seemed to be one of many major voices within the British film industry during the 1960’s. I love all of your choices though 🙂 Nobody could do a list like this and forget Peeping Tom, which has proven to be a key British film of that era. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

        P.S. I will be posting a new blog entry soon. It is taking longer because the film is an epic and it is one of my favorites and I want to try to do as much justice to it as possible 🙂

        1. Thanks for that, John.
          Billy Liar? That’;s a hard one, because I loved the book so much. The film was pretty true to the book, though I never ‘saw’ Courtenay’ in my head when reading. It is well-liked here though, and endures as an interesting period piece.
          If I had a fourth choice, it might well have been ‘A Kind f Loving’ (1962), which showed the changes in relationships that was happening, and starred Alan Bates.
          I will look forward to your epic film post!
          Best wishes, Pete.

  10. Interesting choices of favorite significant U.S. films of the 1960’s Cindy 🙂 I especially love your inclusion of John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho 🙂 As for my choices, I would have to deeply think about that 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    P.S. I am working on a blog entry, but the reason, it is taking so long is because it is an epic film that remains one of my top 10 favorites and I am trying to do as much justice to it as possible 🙂

  11. Loved Dirk. Never saw anything he did that wasn’t good. Some impact roles he played like the Lawyer in The FIxer still stick in my gut.
    I agree that Caine in the Ipcress File was a dagger in the heart of the embedded British Class system.
    Some people didn’t think Frank could Act until he did ‘The Man with the Golden Arm’ and ‘The Manchurian Candidate’. But he could .. and he was damn good.
    Same with Newman. They learned to eat those words. “Sometimes nothing is a cool hand”.

    1. Thanks, JC. That was a good call with ‘The Fixer’. Such a great cast.
      I remember being very impressed by Sinatra playing against type in ‘Suddenly’ (1954). That ‘Presidential assassination’ film has been sadly overlooked since.
      Best wishes, Pete.

    1. That’s great you asked, Bill. So many classics have been discussed. Here are ten that I didn’t select. To pick only three? Not necessarily my favorite films but a game changer that voiced the 1960s. VERY HARD.
      In no particular order:
      West Side Story
      The Hustler
      2001: Space Odyssey
      The Apartment
      Easy Rider
      Night of the Living Dead
      Planet of the Apes
      Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
      The Birds
      Bonnie and Clyde

    2. These films made my main shortlist, Bill..
      Kes. (1969)
      This Sporting Life. (1963)
      A Taste Of Honey. (1961)
      The War Game. (1965)
      Up The Junction. (1968)
      The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner. (1962)
      Saturday Night And Sunday Morning. (1960)
      Poor Cow. (1967)
      A Kind Of Loving. (1962)
      If… (1968)
      Victim. (1961)
      Accident. (1967)
      Alfie. (1966)
      Blow Up. (1966)
      Culloden. (1964)
      Repulsion. (1965)
      The Innocents. (1961)
      Best wishes, Pete.

        1. Thanks, Bill. Culloden is an unusual experiment. It is presented as a ‘live broadcast’, with a TV journalist commentating on the events as the battle unfolds. I can recommend it as something very different. It was originally shown on television, but I am sure a DVD is available by now..
          (I checked, Amazon UK have this and ‘The War Game’ together on DVD)
          Best wishes, Pete.

          1. Thanks Pete. I have the War Game, , as well as Privilege and Punishment park, by Peter Watkins, but have never heard of this one till now. Looking forward to getting it and watching.

  12. Excellent films! James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock movies were my favorites. One movie that has always stuck with me is The Yellow Rolls Royce. Seems I’m the only one who knows the movie. I loved it.

  13. Great choices! Needless to say, I love Peeping Tom! I’m a huge fan of the British New Wave (late-fifties, mid-sixties) and American New Wave (mid-sixties, early-eighties).

    Anyhow, here are a few favorites: (British) Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tunes of Glory, Alifie, This Sporting Life, Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, If… and (USA) Ride the High Country, Hud, Marnie, Reflections in a Golden Eye, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, The Masque of the Red Death. 🙂

    1. About my choices: Thematically, most of these films reflect discontent with the status quo. They also reflect generational anxiety. Stylistically, these films are a tad subversive; new filmmakers are deliberately rejecting old-school filmmaking. The 1960s is a transitional period, a changing of the guards so to speak, and you can see this in lots of movies from the era.

    2. I’m surprised no one mentioned Marnie before now. Thanks for that, Eric! They Shoot Horses, Don’t They is unexpected. I’d like to know why you feel it’s significant? 🙂 Thank you for contributing.

      1. I saw ‘They shoot…’ at the cinema, and thought it had something to say about The Depression, and commercial exploitation. My only problem was Michael Sarrazin, who I have never enjoyed watching in anything.

    3. Hi Eric. I’m sorry for being late in replying. Of course I know that you like Peeping Tom, but I was interested to see mention of ‘Tunes of Glory, as that was on my original ‘long list’. I watched it again recently, and enjoyed it even more now I am that much older.
      Best wishes, Pete.

  14. Hi Cindy,
    Listen, I’m going to have to beg off our post on the 13th. I’m having knee surgery tomorrow and I don’t think I’ll be up to it. Sorry for the short notice. Please keep me in mind for another time.
    Thanks,
    Pam

    1. Good grief!! I am sorry you will be down and out especially soc soon to the holiday.
      No worries. I will just do a post
      On Chekov. Sometime in the future maybe we could focus on a director or your fab genre, film noir….
      I think Chekov is too narrow a focus.
      ANYWAY
      Blessings to you.

      1. Hmmm…My surgeon and my insurance are in conflict so they canceled my surgery again. It may or may not happen next week. I wish I could commit for the 13th but I can’t. Thanks for understanding. Another time works better for me.
        Thanks,
        Pam

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