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Mike’s Top Ten of 1960

I love 1960. I look at my favorite films of this year, and they make me smile. Not just because one of my five favorite films of all time came out this year, but also because legitimately half this top ten list (minimum) is widely considered among the absolute greatest films ever made. Personally, I think that distinction goes about seven or eight deep for this one. Plus, there’s a lot of cool under-the-radar stuff this year as well.

As far as the year goes, I think the major note is that you’re starting to see things turn. You don’t see the standard “studio” movie anymore. You look at most movies from the 50s, and they just feel like studio system movies. The movies are getting longer, they’re starting to feel less artificial and the subject matter is starting to broaden.

You also start to see way more foreign films permeating the lists, as this is part of the golden era of foreign cinema. Certain countries had movements before now, but in the 60s, you’re gonna see a lot of countries producing masterpieces left and right.

1960 is a good year.

Mike’s Top Ten of 1960

The Apartment

Breathless

La Dolce Vita

Elmer Gantry

Inherit the Wind

The Magnificent Seven

Peeping Tom

Psycho

Spartacus

The Sundowners

11-20: The Alamo, L’Avventura, BUtterfield 8, Eyes Without a Face, The Facts of Life, Murder, Inc., North to Alaska, Ocean’s 11, The Unforgiven, Who Was That Lady?

Tier two: Bells Are Ringing, Beyond the Time Barrier, Cimarron, The Entertainer, Exodus, Hell to Eternity, The Grass Is Greener, Home from the Hill, The Lost World, The Millionairess, Never on Sunday, Pepe, Pollyanna, The Rat Race, Seven Thieves, Sons and Lovers, Sunrise at Campobello, Two Women, Wild River, The Young One

– – – – – – – – – – –

1. The Apartment

“When you’re in love with a married man, you shouldn’t wear mascara.”

One of the most perfect films ever written. One of my five favorite films of all time. This is, to me, Billy Wilder’s crowning achievement.

Jack Lemmon is a faceless worker at an insurance company. Desperate for advancement, he’s worked out an arrangement with some of the managers above him, whereby they get to use his apartment to conduct their extramarital affairs. He’s got a schedule worked out, and each one is given the key on their night, and get to use the apartment for an arranged amount of time. Lemmon, meanwhile, lives a sad, lonely existence, and has a crush on Shirley MacLaine, an elevator operator in his office building. Lemmon finally gets his promotion from the big boss, Fred MacMurray… but then he finds out the reason for it: MacMurray wants sole use of the apartment for himself. Then we find out why — he’s been having an affair with MacLaine.

There isn’t a wasted moment in this film, and it moves seamlessly rom comedy to drama to romance without faltering for a second. Truly, one of the great films of all time. I’m even going to try to get into just how much I love this movie, because I’ll spend an hour talking about it. Go watch this movie immediately.

2. Psycho

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

Certainly one of the two most iconic Hitchcock films ever made. It’s a masterpiece of the horror genre, and really only happened because Hitchcock saw the success William Castle was having with low budget horror pictures and decided to try his hand at one. He’d all but switched over to color films by this point, and this was his final black-and-white film. And it’s a good thing, too, because this movie looks so much better in black-and-white than it would have in color.

Everyone knows the story, so I’m not gonna get into that. I can’t fathom that people don’t know what this movie is or what it’s about. That being the case, I would say that since you’ve probably seen this movie already, go back and watch it again with an eye to how Hitchcock shot it and how he builds tension. Because it’s a master class of directing, this film. And editing, of course, but anyone who’s seen the shower scene already knows that.

I also love that when he originally read the novel on which the film was based, he tried to buy up all the copies so that no one would read it and know the surprises. Even crazier — Paramount refused to make the film. They didn’t like the material and wouldn’t give Hitchcock the money they normally gave him. So he said he’d shoot it quickly, in black-and-white, and use his crew from his TV show (Alfred Hitchcock Presents) to make it (which he ended up doing anyway). They still said no, saying all their stages were being used already. So he worked out a deal whereby he’d finance the film personally (the budget was $800,000), shoot it at Universal (which is why the house is still on the Universal lot), and then Paramount could distribute it and he would own 60% of the finished film. Everyone told him he was nuts to do it, but he went ahead and made it anyway. It worked out pretty well for him.

It’s rare to have a movie where every single thing about it is iconic. Pound for pound, this is legitimately one of the 50 most important American films ever made.

3. Inherit the Wind

“There’s only one man in the whole town who thinks, and he’s in jail.”
“That’s why I’m here.”

One of the ten best trial movies ever made. Might even be top five. One of the most important films ever made, and a film that everyone should see. This should be required viewing for everyone in middle school and high school.

It’s a fictionalized version of the Scopes Trial, often referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial. It’s about a teacher in Tennessee who teaches his students about evolution, which is against state law. The state, being deeply religious, throws him in prison and puts him on trial. Pretty soon, two hugely famous lawyers, Spencer Tracy (playing the Clarence Darrow role) and Fredric March (playing the William Jennings Bryant role) and a whole mess of publicity (here most personified by Gene Kelly, as a cynical, sarcastic reporter) get involved.

The film is perfect. Tracy is amazing. March is amazing. Kelly is awesome. The trial scenes are absolutely astounding, and the writing here is some of the best you’ll ever see. The original play on which the film was based was meant to be an allegory for McCarthyism, but the film doesn’t feel as though it dwells too much on that subtext. The actual implications for the trial are pretty big on their own. It’s a film near and dear to my own heart (for obvious anti-religion reasons), and one of those movies that I can watch any time its on.

4. The Sundowners

“Sundowner. What does that mean? I’ve been called that on occasion. I assumed it was a term of abuse.”
“No, that’s the Australian word for people like us. A sundowner is someone whose home is where the sun goes down. It’s the same as saying someone who doesn’t have a home.”

This is one of my favorite hidden gems of all time. I discovered this on the Oscar Quest and immediately fell in love with it.

It’s about a family living in the Australian Outback. Led by patriarch Robert Mitchum, they travel around, taking various jobs, never staying in one place. However, Mitchum’s wife, Deborah Kerr, desperately wants the family to settle down and live normal lives, something that is not in her husband’s DNA. And the film is the family going around, getting into various fun situations. There’s a sheep-shearing contest in the middle of this film. At one point they buy a horse and race it. The plot here doesn’t matter. It’s just a good time at the movies.

This is one of those movies — I can’t explain why it’s good. But when you see it, you’ll understand. It’s absolutely amazing, and it’s one of those movies I feel like everyone who sees it will love.

They just need to go out and see it.

5. The Magnificent Seven

“You forget one thing. We took a contract.”
“It’s sure not the kind any court would enforce.”
“That’s just the kind you’ve got to keep.”

One of the most famous westerns ever made, with one of the best themes in movie history.

It’s an American remake of Seven Samurai, which probably has a lot to do with it. The fact that it stars Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach also has a lot to do with it.

Same story: village under siege by bandits goes and hires gunmen to protect them. Guns, not swords.

This movie is the reason Three Amigos exists. So there’s that. Also, it’s such a wonderful example of how, by 1960, the western genre had become a shorthand. It was just understood. There’s that scene at the beginning where McQueen and Brynner drive the hearse across town. And they have the exchange. “Where you from?” “Tombstone. You?” “Dodge.” And that’s it. Because everyone knows. Between their star power and those locations, that’s everything you need to know about these people.

God, I love this genre.

6. Spartacus

“I bring a message from your master, Marcus Licinius Crassus, commander of Italy. By command of His Most Merciful Excellency, your lives are to be spared. Slaves you were, and slaves you remain. But the terrible penalty of crucifixion has been set aside on the single condition that you identify the body, or the living person, of the slave called Spartacus.”
“I’m Spartacus!”
“I’m Spartacus!”

I keep forgetting that Stanley Kubrick directed this movie. It just never feels like a Kubrick film. But it’s still amazing.

This is one of the great sword and sandal/historical epics of all time. If you like Gladiator, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, The Robe, etc — this is for you.

Kirk Douglas is a slave who is sold to become a gladiator who ends up starting a revolt against Rome. Great supporting turn (as always) by Peter Ustinov (who won an Oscar for his role as a slave trader. Essentially the Oliver Reed in Gladiator role), and Laurence Olivier. Also featuring one of the great homoerotic subtext scenes of the studio era with Olivier and Tony Curtis, where Olivier tries to fuck him by explaining that some people like oysters, and some people like snails, and he likes “both oysters and snails.” That’s pretty great to go back and watch.

It’s great to me that this turned out to be such a classic. Kirk Douglas made it because he was turned down for Ben-Hur. So it was a passion project for him, and also a “Oh yeah? Watch this.” Then Anthony Mann was hired to direct, but fired after the first week. This had all the makings of a disaster. Yet, here we are.

Oh, and by the way — this movie and another one we’ll talk about below, Exodus — helped officially end the Blacklist. Since they both credited Dalton Trumbo (under his own name) as writer.

The other thing that’s great is that the iconic scene (pictured and quoted above) — people tend to forget that it’s not just a, “We’re protecting our guy from capture.” It’s more of a, “If they’re gonna kill him, we’re all gonna die too.” They all get crucified because of this scene! But hey, you can’t put a price on a good moment.

7. Elmer Gantry

“We’ll get a tent. A bigger one, this time.”
“When I was a child, I spake as a child. I understood as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.”

This won Burt Lancaster his Oscar. One of the top three performances of his career. And I’m shocked at how few people even know about this movie nowadays. This movie was nominated for Best Picture and won two acting Oscars and Best Screenplay. This is a classic.

Burt Lancaster is a smooth-talking salesman. The first line of the book on which this film was based (which are shown at the beginning of the film) is: “Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk.” We follow as Lancaster ends up, on a whim, in a religious revival tent, where he discovers, in his mind, the ultimate con. He’s a great talker and uses religion to sell his wares. But here, he can give all these sermons, and get money hand over fist. Plus, Jean Simmons, the virginal woman who runs the congregation, captures his eye. So the film is about him starting to be the “bad cop” to her “good cop,” giving these fire and brimstone sermons at these tents and fashioning himself as this crusading revivalist. Though the bigger he gets, the more his past starts catching up to him.

The movie is amazing. Lancaster — he’s something else in this. And Shirley Jones is also great as a prostitute who has a history with him. Both won Oscars. This was also written and directed by Richard Brooks, who made some real classics.

Watch this one as a double feature with Marjoe. Talk about one hell of an evening.

8. Peeping Tom

“Whatever I photograph I always lose.”

This movie essentially ruined Michael Powell’s career. And naturally when a movie ruins auteurs, it’s usually certain to be revived as one of their greatest films and a classic. Such is the case here.

This movie is about a serial killer who murders women while simultaneously recording their last moments in order to capture their dying expressions on camera. It’s the first slasher movie ever made, and the fact that the main character is a serial killer was more than somewhat controversial at the time.

It really is a masterpiece. The way this movie is directed, the way it looks — this is one of the great all-time pieces of filmmaking.

9. Breathless

“What is your greatest ambition in life?”
“To become immortal… and then die.”

Jean-Luc Godard, French New Wave. One of the most important films in the history of cinema. One of the greatest films in the history of cinema. Everyone who’s taken a film class has seen this one. And it’s great. This movie defined a generation, and redefined cinema for years to come. There’s nothing I can say here that hasn’t already been written countless times.

10. La Dolce Vita

8½ might be the film that defines Federico Fellini’s career, but this may be his masterpiece. This movie is amazing.

The film is a week in the life of a paparazzo. That’s all you need to know, if you haven’t seen it, and the film is absolutely stunning. It’s three hours long, and it doesn’t feel like it at all. There are some wonderful segments in this film — like when his father comes to visit — and it’s just an all-time classic.

It also gave us the iconic image (pictured above) of Anita Ekberg walking into the Trevi Fountain.

– – – – – – – – – –

11-20:

The Alamo — It is what the title suggests. An epic about the battle at the Alamo. John Wayne directed and stars, and it looks like he tried to make a giant prestige project for which he’d win a bunch of Oscars. The movie is really long and really uneven, but has a weird fascination to it. I don’t know why I enjoy this movie like I do, because it’s not overly great, but I do think it’s a lot of fun.

L’Avventura — Antonioni. One of those movies where, if you’re getting into film, and look into foreign cinema, this is one of the first twenty or so you’ll come across. It’s about a woman who disappears while on holiday. While looking for her, her boyfriend and her best friend start becoming attracted to each other. It’s terrific.

BUtterfield 8 — The movie that won Elizabeth Taylor her first Oscar (not without some scandal). She plays a woman who likes to go out and pick up men. She’s not a prostitute, as we find out in the opening scene when a man tries to leave her some money after their night together, but she is — loose. She has the famous line, “Let’s face it, I’m the slut of the world.” The film is about her starting a relationship with a married man, something almost doomed to fail. It’s a solid film. Definitely doesn’t hold up, but still really great if you can keep it in context to its era.

Eyes Without a Face — A beautiful horror film. A surgeon’s daughter is horribly disfigured in an accident, so he keeps her locked away in his home and finds (and murders) other women whose faces he can use to graft onto his daughter’s. The daughter wears this lifelike (and creepy) mask at all times, and it’s wonderfully done. One of the great horror films of all time.

The Facts of Life — A film I somehow didn’t know about for years, yet I’d seen the film that was essentially a remake of it, A Touch of Class. This one stars Lucille Ball and Bob Hope. They’re friends married to other people who are bored with their lives and end up in a situation alone together while on vacation with their spouses. They begin an affair and attempt to continue it once they return. Only that’s way more difficult than it sounds, and comedy ensues. One of those comedy gems that’s kind of out there but not enough. So see it.

Murder, Inc. — A CinemaScope movie about the famous crime syndicate. It’s shown through the syndicate’s two hit men, one of whom is Peter Falk (in an Oscar-nominated role). We see the syndicate murdering people who get in their way while the police try to take them down. If you remember the Bogart movie The Enforcer from 1951, this is somewhat similar to that. It’s a movie that the studio clearly didn’t take very seriously at the time (none of the actors in it were remotely established stars at the time. Mostly a handful of people floundering around or those who hadn’t broke yet), but is made better because of that because it has a certain element of realism. It would have been so much worse if Montgomery Clift were the crusading policeman trying to take them down. There’s a grittiness here that I like. And Peter Falk is so good playing the hitman. He’s my favorite thing about this movie.

North to Alaska — I discovered this film back in the Netflix DVD days. I came across it and saw the first eight words — “A tough, hard-drinking gold prospector (John Wayne)” — and I was sold at that moment. That’s one of those situations where you go, “Why am I not watching this movie right now?” Then the movie started and it was even better than I expected. The opening credits play over Johnny Horton’s “North to Alaska” song, which is just perfect. The film is about Wayne and his partner striking gold in Alaska. Wayne’s partner wants to bring his fiancée up to live with him, so he sends Wayne back to the lower 48 to bring her. But when Wayne gets there, he finds out she married someone else already. So, all things being equal, he brings a prostitute back to be the guy’s wife. Only the prostitute thinks she’s going to be Wayne’s wife. This movie is fun as shit. If your tastes are similar to mine in the under the radar stuff like Across the Pacific, you’ll really enjoy this one.

Ocean’s 11 — The famous heist movie that’s now almost forgotten because of the Soderbergh remake and sequels. At the time it was basically the entire Rat Pack getting together to hang out. Lewis Milestone directed it, and it stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Angie Dickinson, Cesar Romero, Akim Tamiroff and has cameos by Shirley MacLaine, George Raft, Red Skelton and Richard Boone. Everyone knows the general plot from the remake, and the movie is fun as shit. It doesn’t go the way that one does, which seems to be a product of the times (and works), but it’s one of those movies where you’re not watching it for the plot but rather for the stars. And in that regard, it totally works.

The Unforgiven — A classic John Huston western with Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn is Lancaster’s adopted sister. He has feelings for her, but it’s weird because he knows her as his sister. Rumors start to swirl around the town that Hepburn is actually Native American. And then all the hidden racism of the people comes out, building a powder keg that of course is gonna lead to violence. It’s a terrific film. Hepburn, as always, is great. And Lancaster, as usual, is also great. If you were gonna watch the top ten best and/or most important John Huston films, this would for sure be on that list.

Who Was That Lady? — A great screwball comedy that no one remembers anymore. Tony Curtis and Dean Martin star along with Janet Leigh. Leigh and Curtis play a married couple (no stretch for them). She catches him, an uptight professor, kissing another woman. It was innocent, but she thinks he’s having an affair and asks for a divorce. Martin plays Curtis’s friend, an actor, who tells him to tell his wife that he’s really an FBI agent and that his job is just a cover. See, he was actually kissing that girl as part of a secret undercover operation that he can’t tell her anything about. Not only does Leigh fall for it, but she really falls for it. She encourages him to go on more “missions.” So he does. Only pretty soon the actual FBI and undercover spies and enemy agents are after him, thinking he may actually work for the FBI. It’s hilarious. One of the comedy gems of the 60s. I love this movie.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tier two:

  • Bells Are Ringing
  • Beyond the Time Barrier
  • Cimarron
  • The Entertainer
  • Exodus
  • The Grass Is Greener
  • Hell to Eternity
  • Home from the Hill
  • The Lost World
  • The Millionairess
  • Never on Sunday
  • Pepe
  • Pollyanna
  • The Rat Race
  • Seven Thieves
  • Sons and Lovers
  • Sunrise at Campobello
  • Two Women
  • Wild River
  • The Young One

Seven Thieves is a fun crime film. Basically Ocean’s Eleven before Ocean’s Eleven. Well… at the same time. You know what I mean. It’s a crew of thieves trying to rob a Monte Carlo casino. Edward G. Robinson, Rod Steiger, Joan Collins and Eli Wallach are part of the crew, which should be enough for most people to want to see it. It’s a really solid movie that has fallen through the cracks of time. Definitely one worth seeing. Sons and Lovers is a Jack Cardiff-directed film which was a critical darling in 1960. Based on a D.H. Lawrence novel. It’s about a boy growing up in a poor coal-mining town who goes out on his own to grow up, and get out from under his domineering mother’s thumb. Trevor Howard plays the boy’s father, Wendy Hiller is terrific as the mother. Dean Stockwell is the kid, and Mary Ure plays a love interest of his (Oscar-nominated for the role, along with Howard). Really solid film.

Pepe is a film built around Cantinflas, who achieved international stardom after Around the World in 80 Days. This movie is exactly the same, except instead of David Niven, it’s a horse. The plot of this movie is utterly ridiculous — Cantinflas a ranch hand who develops a close relationship with Pepe, a horse. The horse is then sold to a director who wants to put it in a Hollywood movie, so Cantinflas sets out to get his horse back. However, much like Around the World in 80 Days, it’s basically an excuse to parade stars through the film. Cameos include Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Bobby Darin, Greer Garson, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Coburn (who looks crazy thin in this movie and died not long after), Janet Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, Debbie Reynolds, Donna Reed, Kim Novak, Dean Martin… I think you get the idea. It’s all about the cameos. The Rat Race is a rom com with Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds. One of her more serious roles, which I like. She usually does these bubblegum type roles. This one definitely has some drama to it. Curtis is a musician and she’s a dancer. They move in together, start dating, etc, and it’s this nice movie about people at the bottom trying to make it. (Then there’s this crazy subplot with Don Rickles as an abusive loan shark, which should be the cherry on top for getting you to see this.)

Beyond the Time Barrier is  Cold War sci fi movie about a guy who flies an experimental aircraft that transports him into a dystopian future. It’s fun. Cimarron is an expensive, color remake of the 1931 Best Picture winner. I’m surprised it took them this long to remake it. This would have fit perfectly in the early 50s. Still, it’s color, it’s CinemaScope. That is how they did it. Pretty much the same story, though with a few changes to reflect the times. In my mind, not as good as the original, but still worthwhile because of the CinemaScope. Exodus is one of the films that helped put the final nail in the coffin of the Blacklist. This and Spartacus are the two that openly credited Dalton Trumbo as screenwriter. Spartacus has held up over time as the classic of the two, but this one is pretty solid and some people still consider this a classic. It’s about the founding of Israel. It’s 3 and a half hours, and has a bunch of famous people: Paul Newman, Sal Mineo, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson, Lee J. Cobb, Hugh Griffith and Peter Lawford. It’s solid. It’s long, and not everyone’s cup of tea, subject matter-wise, but it’s still a well-made film and worthy of your time.

The Grass Is Greener is Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as a British aristocratic couple who have fallen on such hard times that in order to make ends meet, they’ve allowed tourists to come and take tours in their castle (which has fallen into disrepair). Robert Mitchum is a rich American oil man who shows up and starts putting the moves on Kerr. Meanwhile, Kerr’s friend Jean Simmons gets involved, trying to get a hold of Grant, and you have an upper class sex farce on your hands. It’s fun. Stanley Donen directed it, and it’s a good time for all. Bells Are Ringing is a Vincente Minnelli-directed rom com with Judy Holliday and Dean Martin. She’s a switchboard operator who eavesdrops on the people making calls, and he’s a writer she has a crush on. It’s cute. Pollyanna is the film that made Haley Mills a star, and brought about The Parent Trap the year after this. It’s about an optimistic young girl who helps brighten up a small town. The phrase Pollyanna has become synonymous with people who always see the positives in things, even when there might not be any. It definitely shows the charm that Mills would display in her child roles and ushers her in as the 60s Shirley Temple (of sorts). You also get Jane Wyman, Karl Malden Adolph Menjou and Agnes Moorehead in here, which is cool.

Hell to Eternity is a movie about racism toward the Japanese during World War II. Jeffrey Hunter is a kid who is raised by a Japanese family after his parents die. Then Pearl Harbor happens and World War II breaks out. Hunter’s adopted brother (George Takei, oh my) goes off to fight, so he enlists as well. Of course, because he was raised by a Japanese family and speaks Japanese, they don’t like him. (Sure, it’s not perfectly progressive. But what do you expect? It’s Hollywood. Of course they’d find a way to make it about a white guy.) And there’s a nice undercurrent of those racist attitudes during the war, which most movies wouldn’t deal with at all. This isn’t a great movie, but I like that it at least tries to deal with more difficult subject matter than most other war films would. The Lost World is a remake of the silent film. You know, dinosaurs. That’s why Spielberg named the Jurassic Park sequel after it. It’s the same as all those adventure films of the period — scientist is convinced (x) exists and is going on an expedition to prove it. And all sorts of exotic terrors and thrills ensue. Claude Rains plays the scientist, which is awesome. And you have Jill St. John, Michael Rennie and cool Ray Harryhausen-like special effects.

Two Women is the film that won Sophia Loren her Oscar. She plays a widow trying to keep herself and her daughter safe during World War II. Pretty awful shit happens to them over the course of the movie. Vittorio De Sica directs, and it’s a really great movie. Highly recommended. Sunrise at Campobello is about FDR getting polio and Eleanor helping him fight his disability. Very solid drama, a bit dated at the time. You can see when you watch it — it’s about twenty years too late. But still solid. Greer Garson plays Eleanor and Ralph Bellamy plays FDR. It’s mostly a star vehicle for Garson.

The Entertainer is the film that brought Laurence Olivier back. Gave him that mid-career renaissance. It’s almost his acceptance of middle age and the changing of the times, allowing himself to shed his star persona and really inhabit a character he’d never have played twenty years earlier. He plays a vaudeville-type comedian who has sunk to playing seaside hotels. I guess you can say he’s… resorted, to those gigs. (Up top!) He does an act that went out of style years ago to crowds that largely don’t give a shit. (See the parallels?) He’s broke and pretty much a drunk. He ends up charming a young girl who wants to be in show business and has rich parents. So he maneuvers his way into getting them to pay to help get his career back on track. It’s one of those movies about a guy who could either give it up and fix his life, or be selfish yet again and risk being alone for the rest of his life. It’s really well done and Olivier is fantastic in it. Also directed by Tony Richardson, coming off Look Back in Anger, the film that spawned the new British realist movement of the 60s, who would in a few years go on to direct Tom Jones, which would win Best Picture and Best Director.

Never on Sunday is Jules Dassin and Melina Mercouri (the film that turned her into a star and earned them both Oscar nominations). He plays an American in Greece who meets her, a prostitute, who is your stereotypical “hooker with a heart of gold.” Also a manic pixie dream girl. It’s all of those things in one. The title (which spawned a great song) comes from her refusing to ‘work’ on Sunday. It’s a classic. Lot of fun. If you like Zorba, you’ll like this. The Millionairess is a comedy with Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren. She’s the richest woman in the world who is unable to, as per her father’s will, to marry unless her prospective husband is able to turn some nominal sum of money into a significantly greater sum of money. I forget what it is, but basically — she has to give him a thousand dollars and he has to turn it into a hundred thousand dollars. To prove that he’s not just after her money and is able to earn for himself. Sellers plays an Indian doctor who doesn’t care that she’s rich and doesn’t want her money. So naturally she tries to make him fall in love with her and meet the conditions for marrying her. Home on the Hill is about the drama of a rich southern family. Robert Mitchum, Eleanor Parker, George Peppard, George Hamilton, and directed by Vincente Minnelli.

Wild River is an Elia Kazan-directed film with Montgomery Clift as a guy who comes to evict an old lady who stubbornly refuses to leave her property, even in the wake of a dam going up and the river being flooded. He goes to convince the old woman (Jo Van Fleet) to sell her property. Naturally he falls for the woman’s granddaughter (Lee Remick) and embroiled in all sorts of local drama. It’s actually a really good movie. Kazan always made good movies, but this is one of those under-the-radar ones that not enough people go back and watch. Definitely one worth checking out. The Young One is a weird movie. Directed by Luis Bunuel. It deals with some… well, let’s just give a quick overview: it’s about a black musician who flees to an island after being accused by a white woman of rape. On the island, which he  thinks is uninhabited, he finds a beekeeper and an underage girl. And a crazy love triangle ensues, especially when the beekeeper finds out why the musician is on the island. It’s a solid movie, and of interest always because of the ‘what the fuck’ nature of the plot. Rape, racism, underage sex — Stanley Donen’s not making a movie about this in 1960.

– – – – – – – – – –

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One response

  1. Amazing list! This was a strong year indeed. Psycho and The Apartment are my favourites, and am glad to see Breathless in your top 10.

    September 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

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