1967 was a landmark Oscar year. It’s the year Oscar went from the big-budget musicals of the 60s to the “modern” era. That is, the early 60s was sort of the last gasp of studio power. The studios went down in the early 50s once the Paramount Decision was passed, had to divest of all their theaters. Then all the independent films started popping up in drive-ins and stuff. And TV was around now, too. Then, once the 60s started, Hollywood realized they couldn’t just keep pumping out the same product, because the kids went to all these drive-in movies to see all the low-budget monster flicks and exploitation flicks and stuff.
So they — don’t worry, I’m telling you this for a reason. You’ll notice a parallel in a second — doubled down and decided, “Let’s just maks everything bigger.” And you got these mega budget films like Cleopatra and How the West Was Won, just, huge budgets, grand epic films, because, television is sapping audiences and the kids are going to drive-ins, where they aren’t regulated by adult supervision and could do what all kids want to do when they go to the movie, talk, fuck around and make out with each other (actually watching the films isn’t exactly the primary goal). So, they said, “We’ll differentiate the product,” we’ll make our films so big they’re worth a trip to the theater. And then you had these huge fucking musicals of the 60s like My Fair Lady, Sound of Music, Doctor Dolittle and Hello, Dolly! — not to mention the huge budgeted comedies of the decade, like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. These were films that cost shitloads to make and were expected to make shitloads more to cover costs. And then, people quickly became inured to films like this, because — let’s face it, they’re all variations on a theme. And then 1967 came, and that’s when everything changed. (more…)