Rick over at the Classic Film And TV Cafe is once again hosting his annual National Classic Movie Day Blogathon. This year the focus is on classic films from the grooviest decade in history. Be sure to stop by his site to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself.
Here are six of my favourite films from the 1960’s.
This deeply moving story of a woman who is frustrated by her lonely life, made quite the impact on me when I first saw it, and I have loved it ever since. The central love triangle in the film reminds me of the one in David Lean’s The Passionate Friends. The performance by lead actress Madhabi Mukherjee is one of the greatest in all cinema.
Set in Nineteenth Century Calcutta, Charulata(The Lonely Wife) tells the story of Charu(Madhabi Mukherjee),who is the neglected wife of newspaper publisher, Bhupati(Sailen Mukherjee). She and her husband love one another, but are living a life now where they are more friends than man and wife. Charu falls in love with her husband’s cousin, Amal(Soumitra Chatterjee), but does he return her feelings?
This love story is one of tentative gestures and small moments which speak volumes. It unfolds slowly and packs quite an emotional punch. Such a touching and beautiful film, and one which I return to again and again. You can read my full review here.
How To Steal A Million(1966)
The film that not only made me develop a huge crush on Peter O’Toole, but which also manages to make being trapped in a cupboard for hours on end not remotely as awful as you would imagine it to be. Sparks fly between Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole, there’s more Givenchy fashion than you can shake a stick at, and there are laughs and fun aplenty. What’s not to love?
Simon Dermott(Peter O’Toole)is a suave thief hired by Nicole Bonnet(Audrey Hepburn), who is the daughter of art forger Charles Bonnet(Hugh Griffith), to steal one of her father’s pieces before it can be discovered as a fake while on display at a major art exhibition. An attraction develops between Nicole and Simon and many secrets are uncovered as well. Great performances by Peter and Audrey and fine support from Eli Wallach and Hugh Griffith. John William’s music is fab and is one of his most underrated scores.
Anne Of The Thousand Days (1969)
I love history and have always been particularly fascinated by the Tudor era. This film is right up there with the miniseries Elizabeth R and The Six Wives Of Henry VIII as the most accurate screen portrayal of Tudor England that we will ever see. Genevieve Bujold steals every second of film she appears in in this, as the passionate and strong-willed Queen Anne Boleyn, the doomed second wife of King Henry VIII. Genevieve fully deserved her Oscar Nomination for Best Actress for her performance here. Special praise to Margaret Furse for her beautiful costumes.
King Henry(Richard Burton)seeks divorce from his wife Queen Cathrine(Irene Papas), an event which not only tears apart his kingdom, but which causes international outrage as well. He wants the divorce in order to marry the much younger Lady Anne Boleyn(Genevieve Bujold). Anne is certain she can bear a son for Henry, but she will sadly find herself unable to do so, a realisation which will later make her as expendable to her husband as his first wife was.
The performances are all superb and the film makes us admire Anne’s character and her inner strength. The scene where Henry visits Anne in the Tower Of London and she delivers a powerful speech which serves as a slap in the face to him, is a moment that I have never been able to forget since the first time I watched the film.
The Sound Of Music(1965)
I was absolutely addicted to this film when I was a little girl, I knew all the songs by heart and fell in love with the story and characters. I still love the film to pieces today. I think what I’ve always loved most about this is the father reconnecting with his children and with himself. I also love that the film shows us that women who don’t have the good fortune to look as beautiful as someone like Ava Gardner, can never the less find love and be desired. As this film proves, love isn’t just about sex and physical attraction – real love is about souls connecting and emotions being shared.
Young postulant Maria(Julie Andrews)moves into the home of widowed Naval Captain Von Trapp(Christopher Plummer)to become governess to his seven children. At first meeting with opposition from the children, Maria gains their love and respect. Gradually Maria helps this family heal, and in the process finds herself falling in love with the Captain. Complications arise in the form of the glamorous Baroness(Eleanor Parker)who has her heart set on marrying the Captain.
To Kill A Mockingbird(1962)
I love this film so much. Not only is this film one of the best coming of age stories you will ever see, but it is also one of the best films out there about standing up to evil and injustice. Based on the beloved novel of the same name by Harper Lee, the story is partially based upon the life of Harper herself and her father Amasa Coleman Lee, upon whom the character of Atticus Finch is based. The entire cast are absolutely superb and the characters and story unforgettable. Elmer Bernstein’s score is one of the best he ever did. I love how the opening theme goes from a childlike lullaby,and then transitions into something far more sweeping and deeper.
Southern lawyer Atticus Finch(Gregory Peck)is a widower raising his children Jem and Scout(Philip Alford and Mary Badham) in the 1930’s. Atticus shakes up his town when he defends Tom Robinson(Brock Peters), a local black farmer accused of raping a white woman(Collin Wilcox). Given the racist times the film is set in, the trial verdict is sadly already a foregone conclusion, but Atticus puts his heart and soul into defending Tom and standing up for him. This is one I return to again and again and never cease to be moved and drawn in by the characters and their stories. To Kill A Mockingbird serves as a reminder that there are many good and decent people out there – people who will stand up to bullies, teach children right from wrong and fight evil to their last breath – a fact that is comforting to know. You can read my full review here.
The Innocents (1961)
This is my all time favourite horror film. I’ll even go as far to say I also consider it to be the best haunted house/ghost film ever made. It’s a masterpiece. The 1960’s was really the decade when ghosts and the supernatural finally became scary on screen, following decades of ghosts being used solely for comic effect or very brief scares.
Deborah Kerr delivers one of her best performances as Miss Giddens, the governess slowly unravelling after being convinced the children in her care(Pamela Franklin and Martin Stephens) are possessed by the malevolent spirits of former servants(Peter Wyngarde and Clytie Jessop). You can read my full review here.