Mike’s Top Ten of 1967
There’s a whole lot to say about 1967. For starters, can you believe this is the first year so far that every single top ten film is in color? Get used to it, because there’s only like ten more black-and-white films total in the top ten for the next 35 years.
Other than that — I’ve been hinting to it for about six years now, but this is the year when the dam burst and the studio system as we knew it came to an end. Gone were the highly controlled, artificial, sound stage, cookie-cutter movies and in were the gritty, realistic films that dealt with subject matter never before seen, frankly discussing politics and race and sex and using violence and language and all these experimental techniques. This year changed cinema forever.
It’s also, I feel, one of those years where just about everyone has most of the same top films. At least half this list is gonna be uniform among everyone because these are some of the best films ever made and everyone loves them.
The other thing of note is that it’s really not as deep a year as the others, I think because of the amount of change going on at the time, as Hollywood was moving to smaller, more independent type material and away from the big budget stuff. So you’re left without a lot of those middle class gems that most of the other years are full of.
Mike’s Top Ten of 1967
Bonnie and Clyde
Cool Hand Luke
The Dirty Dozen
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
In the Heat of the Night
The Jungle Book
Two for the Road
Wait Until Dark
You Only Live Twice
11-20: Barefoot in the Park, A Countess from Hong Kong, In Cold Blood, Playtime, Point Blank, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Le Samourai, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Up the Down Staircase, The Young Girls of Rochefort
Tier two: Billion Dollar Brain, Branded to Kill, Casino Royale, The Comedians, Countdown, Divorce American Style, Doctor Dolittle, Don’t Look Back, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Happiest Millionaire, The Incident, The Night of the Generals, The Taming of the Shrew, To Sir with Love, Valley of the Dolls, The War Wagon, The Way West, The Whisperers, Woman Times Seven
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1. The Graduate
“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.”
One of the 100 most essential American movies. A classic in every sense of the word. It’s a near-perfect film. Still hilarious to this day.
Everyone knows the story — Dustin Hoffman is a recent college graduate who is aimlessly drifting through life. He has no idea what he wants to do with his life and everyone around him thinks he should and wants to know what his plan is. He ends up in an affair with a married neighbor, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), which is both a lesson in maturity for him and absolutely hilarious on screen (“Are you here for an affair?” … “Ah yes, the Singleman party”). Complications ensue when he begins falling for Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).
So much about this movie is iconic, down to the soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel (which famously includes “The Sounds of Silence” and “Mrs. Robinson”) and Mike Nichols’ impeccable direction (which earned him a well-deserved Oscar). There are like four lines from this movie that are so iconic they’re listed among the greatest lines ever spoken on screen. Everyone knows this movie. The image above speaks for itself.
Really what I’ve learned to appreciate is just how much I like this movie. The top films of this year are really close in quality, and the one thing I keep finding every time I go back to them is that this one just holds up as the absolute best of the bunch.
2. Cool Hand Luke
“What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.”
Paul motherfuckin’ Newman. He can eat 50 eggs.
This is one of the greatest prison films of all time and one of those movies that everyone loves and one of those characters everyone loves. The quintessential rebel character. Newman plays Luke Jackson, a dude thrown on a chain gang for cutting the heads off of parking meters. Why? Because he thought it was a good idea. He’s a guy who flouts authority just for the fun of it. And the film is about him refusing to follow the rules. It’s incredible.
Strother Martin is great as the warden, George Kennedy won an Oscar as Dragline, a fellow prisoner. It’s just a masterpiece.
3. Bonnie and Clyde
“This here’s Miss Bonnie Parker. I’m Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.”
This is the poster child for 1967 and the change that cinema underwent at the time. If you had to make a list of the 25 most important films ever made, I think you’d have to put this on there.
This movie broke a lot of taboos and showed violence and sex in a way not really addressed as openly before. It’s a landmark in a lot of ways.
The film is about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker and their gang. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the pair, and there’s also Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons and Michael J. Pollard as the other gang members, along with a fun cameo from Gene Wilder in his first role.
It’s incredible. Brilliantly directed by Arthur Penn, and it’s one of those movies every film buff needs to see almost immediately. This is a prerequisite for taking the class. It’s that good and that big.
4. The Dirty Dozen
“So what does that give you?”
“Doesn’t give me anything. But along with these other results, it gives you just about the most twisted, anti-social bunch of psychopathic deformities I have ever run into! And the worst, the most dangerous of the bunch, is Maggott. You’ve got one religious maniac, one malignant dwarf, two near-idiots… and the rest I don’t even wanna think about!”
“Well, I can’t think of a better way to fight a war.”
One of the great war films of all time. Endlessly copied since and one of the most badass movies ever made.
Lee Marvin is an Army Major who is tasked with a very specific mission: take a team of the Army’s worst convicts, train them to be soldiers, and send them on a suicide mission to assault a chateau that’s gonna be hosting a party for all the top German officers. The first half of the film is training, and the second half is the assault. It’s fucking dope.
The cast is also amazing: Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Telly Savalas, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy, Richard Jaeckel, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Donald Sutherland.
This isn’t even a joke. You will enjoy the hell out of this movie, because it’s just great.
5. In the Heat of the Night
“Virgil? That’s a funny name for a n*gger boy to come from Philadelphia. What do they call you up there?”
“They call me MISTER TIBBS!”
The film is about a murder in a small southern town. An officer driving around after the body is found sees Poitier at the train station waiting for a train and (after seeing his wallet full of cash) immediately assumes he did it. Though once he’s brought to the station, it’s discovered that Poitier is a major homicide detective from Philadelphia. So he ends up being asked by his chief to help solve the murder, something neither he nor the local police chief, Rod Steiger, are too thrilled about. But despite Steiger’s reluctance to work with a black man, he also sees that Poitier clearly knows what he’s doing way better than he or any of the other local cops do.
It was a pretty hard-hitting film for its time, dealing with racism pretty bluntly and uses the police procedural genre to put forth its themes and message. It still holds up really well, too. I’m not gonna argue that it holds up as well as The Graduate or Bonnie and Clyde, but it definitely still packs a punch.
6. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
“Anybody could make a case, a hell of a good case, against your getting married. The arguments are so obvious that nobody has to make them. But you’re two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happened to have a pigmentation problem, and I think that now, no matter what kind of a case some bastard could make against your getting married, there would be only one thing worse, and that would be if – knowing what you two are and knowing what you two have and knowing what you two feel – you didn’t get married.”
A double dose of Poitier. Somehow, despite two of the most iconic films and performances of his career — no Oscar nomination this year. Go figure.
I love this movie. People think it’s dated and simplistic, but I don’t care. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy are a married couple who think they’re liberal and open-minded about things. But then their daughter comes home to visit with a black fiancée and those values they thought they had are put to the test. The film takes place over an afternoon as the daughter, Poitier and Poitier’s parents come to the house to have dinner with them.
It was Tracy’s final performance, and man, does he make you shed a tear, specifically with his monologue at the end of the film. Hepburn is also fantastic, and watching her, it’s as if she knows Tracy is dying, which adds an extra poignancy to the performance.
This is one of those movies that I hear such negative things about that it almost makes me lower my opinion on it. But then I watch it again and I realize how much I love it. It’s an all-time classic. It really is.
7. Wait Until Dark
One of the great thrillers. Even though the thriller genre has evolved so much that the early ones (pre-1970) have mostly become dated and don’t hold up, this one does.
Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman who unknowingly is given a doll that contains bags of heroin. Soon after she gets home, men arrive at the apartment with the intent to find it. Knowing she’s blind (and home alone) they try various ways to get inside the apartment, and pretty soon it’s a battle of wits. Alan Arkin, Jack Weston and Richard Crenna play the three men, and the film is just great. The final showdown is fantastic.
It’s legitimately one of the great thrillers ever made and has a moment near the end that still scares the shit out of you. It’s so great. Definitely one of those movies to check out, because you will really like it no matter what your tastes are.
8. Two for the Road
“They don’t look very happy.”
“Why should they? They just got married.”
It’s an Audrey double feature. I enjoy Wait Until Dark more, but this, most assuredly, is the far better film.
Stanley Donen’s last great movie. One of those movies that’s so good I can’t believe the amount of people who don’t know anything about it. Audrey Hepburn was nominated for Best Actress this year for Wait Until Dark, but it seems pretty clear that this was the film she was really nominated for.
Did you see Blue Valentine? Do you like Blue Valentine? Because that movie owes a lot to this one. It’s about a couple and the film shows two different timelines concurrently: one as they are young and in love and the other as they are married and miserable and on the verge of divorce. The film is completely nonlinear and cuts back and forth between these two timelines, basically mirroring one another as the couple travels in generally the same places in both times.
Hepburn and Finney play the couple and they’re both incredible. The film is really just amazing, and remains one of the hidden gems of the 60s that really shouldn’t have to be classified as hidden.
9. You Only Live Twice
“James Bond. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro Blofeld. They told me you were assassinated in Hong Kong.”
“Yes, this is my second life.”
“You only live twice, Mr. Bond.”
Bond in Japan. There’s a lot of great elements to this one. Namely the opening sequence, where Bond is “assassinated,” the title track by Nancy Sinatra, and the fact that this is the first appearance of Blofeld. Blofeld, I think, was never played by the same actor twice, which is one of those things I enjoy (and kind of wish they’d continue for future installments). This version of Blofeld has him bald, scar on his face, wearing a Nehru jacket and holding the cat (the most remembered version of the character, and the clear influence on Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil).
Every Sean Connery Bond film is a classic. I put this below the previous four installments, but an argument could be made that this is better than Thunderball. That I wouldn’t strenuously argue. Still, it’s a top ten or eleven for the franchise and is just great.
10. The Jungle Book
“Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life”
This is the last of the “classical” Disney films. Then Walt was no longer there and they entered their ‘dark’ period. Dark in the sense of they were still figuring out their identity. They released about eight films between this one and the Renaissance, all to varying degrees of success and quality. None of them hit the heights they would both before and after it.
This film is a classic. The story, even without Disney making it, is a classic. And this is the best known version, because it’s just so well done. The songs really help carry it. Namely “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be Like You.”
The other great (or terrible, I guess, depending on your perspective) thing about it is the one most dated element in the entire thing — the vultures. Who are, unequivocally, based on The Beatles. They designed them specifically to be voiced by the band, and then they turned it down. So they kept the Liverpudlian accents and turned them into a barbershop quartet. Didn’t quite eliminate the reference, but it works better than it probably would have had it actually been the Beatles in there.
Also pretty great to have George Sanders as the voice of Shere Khan. Beautiful touch to put such a classy voice behind a cold-blooded killer.
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Barefoot in the Park — Based on a Neil Simon play. Stars Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. And Charles Boyer and Mildred Natwick. Which should be sufficient to sell most people. Fonda and Redford play a recently married couple who move into a six floor walk-up in New York and have to deal with a lot of issues like no heat, crazy neighbors and holes in the roof. Redford plays the more uptight one and Fonda is the more carefree one. Complications (but not serious ones, of course) ensue. It’s fun. Not as great as the top tier Simon stuff (like The Odd Couple) but still really solid and fun.
A Countess from Hong Kong — Charlie Chaplin’s last film. And, like all his movies that aren’t the earlier, silent ones (namely Monsieur Verdoux and Limelight), it’s a real hidden gem. It stars Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren and is a screwball comedy. Brando is an ambassador and Loren is a countess. Turns out, she’s a stowaway, with no passport. So she has to hide in his cabin during the trip, leading to some very comedic situations. The initial instinct with this film is, “Brando, Chaplin, Loren? How have I never heard of it? Must not be very good.” But trust me. This is way better than you think and will have you laughing a lot.
In Cold Blood — Based on the Truman Capote novel and gorgeously shot in black-and-white. It’s about the murder of a family by two men. The film cuts between the murders themselves and the capture and confession of the two men. It’s really well done. Richard Brooks was nominated for Best Director for it, and (ironically) Robert Blake stars as one of the murderers. If you saw Capote, this is the same story, except told like a procedural with emphasis on the cops and the two murderers rather than on Capote himself. It’s a really fantastic film and a gem of the 60s.
Playtime — Jacques Tati. Possibly his greatest film. He stars and plays Monsieur Hulot once again, and the film is about dealing with modern technology. The most impressive thing about this film is the production design. It’s gorgeous. And they shot it in 70mm. At this point, I think people are aware of Tati and should know what his films are all about. If you saw and liked films like The Triplets of Belleville, then you’ll enjoy his movies. They’re all wonderful.
Point Blank — This is constantly mentioned as one of the most badass films ever made. I grew up with the Mel Gibson movie Payback and it was a few years before I realized that was based on the same novel this was. This one, though — directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. Marvin is a guy who gets double-crossed after a job and is left for dead. He comes back, looking for his share of the money. The idea is, this dude is going around murdering really dangerous people for some relatively minuscule amount of money. But it’s so great. One of those films everyone needs to see. If you have the same general taste as most film people (that is, if you generally agree with that IMDB top list), then you need to see this, because you’re gonna really like it.
Reflections in a Golden Eye — Love this movie. Based on a Carson McCullers novel (her novels also became the basis for The Member of the Wedding and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter), directed by John Huston and starring Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Harris and Robert Forster. It’s really well done. Huston gave the entire movie a golden hue representative of the title. Brando plays an army colonel who teaches at a military academy and Taylor is his neglected wife. The idea is that Brando is a closeted homosexual and takes out his frustrations on his wife, who is constantly left alone to tend to her horses and have affairs. It’s terrific. Great performances by Brando and Taylor and one of those hidden gems that ought to have a wider audience than it does.
Le Samourai — One of the great foreign films. I think everyone comes across this one, even if they aren’t into foreign cinema. Just because it’s so cool and translates to wider audiences well. Alain Delon is a hitman who lives like a samurai. He lives alone and is completely dedicated to his job. After a job, he gets spotted leaving the scene and pretty soon the police are after him and his carefully constructed life starts to spiral out of control It’s great. Don’t even listen to my bullshit, just see it. It’s an all-timer.
Thoroughly Modern Millie — Just your run-of-the-mill musical about white slavery. You know. Stars Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. They live in an apartment building with a broken elevator (the only way to get it to work is by dancing, which leads to the most iconic image in the film), and their landlady is casually trying to drug and abduct them and sell them into white slavery in Chinatown. As one does. And there’s a subplot with Julie Andrews trying to fuck her boss, and Carol Channing as a rich lady. It’s a lot of fun. Directed by George Roy Hill and my favorite thing about it are all the little visual tricks and sight gags he infuses with. It’s an incredibly well-directed film. And the fact that it’s a musical about white slavery is also great.
Up the Down Staircase — A ‘teacher’ film. You know these. They’re always interesting. Sandy Dennis stars as an English teacher in an overcrowded, inner city school. Same tropes as you usually see, and I actually found this more interesting than the bigger, more well known ‘teacher’ film of this year (To Sir, with Love).
The Young Girls of Rochefort — Jacques Demy’s followup to Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and it’s just as great. It’s more of a straightforward musical, still bearing a lot of his visual hallmarks. The opening scene is a dance in a town square and it’s amazing. The entire film takes place over a weekend and it’s about two sisters finding love. That’s really all you need to know. A certain hit musical of the past few years owes a lot of inspiration to this movie (down to an actual musical riff they use in both films). It’s absolutely delightful.
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- Billion Dollar Brain
- Branded to Kill
- Casino Royale
- The Comedians
- Divorce American Style
- Doctor Dolittle
- Don’t Look Back
- Far from the Madding Crowd
- The Happiest Millionaire
- Hour of the Gun
- The Incident
- The Night of the Generals
- The Taming of the Shrew
- To Sir, with Love
- Valley of the Dolls
- The War Wagon
- The Way West
- The Whisperers
- Woman Times Seven
Don’s Look Back is one of the most famous documentaries ever made. Everyone (and I mean everyone) has seen the opening, which is became the famous music video for Subterranean Homesick Blues, where Dylan holds up cards with the lyrics on them and tosses them away as they get spoken. The rest of the film is about Dylan’s 1965 tour of England, which became the basis for, if you’ve seen the film I’m Not There, the segment where Cate Blanchett plays Dylan. This is one of the ten greatest music documentaries of all time. Hour of the Gun is yet another version of the Wyatt Earp/Doc Holliday/Gunfight at the O.K. Corral story. Directed by John Sturges and starring James Garner as Earp and Jason Robards as Holliday. I prefer the earlier versions to this (namely My Darling Clementine and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), but it’s good. (Also Tombstone, but that’s way later and not a part of the western genre proper the way this is.)
The Incident is a great little movie. If it were made 20 years earlier, it would be a noir. Here, it’s a gritty drama. Neo noir I guess would be the classification. It’s about a bunch of people on a train car when two hoodlums hold it up at like 1am. Martin Sheen is one of the two. We follow each of the characters for a bit until they get on the train, and then we see Sheen and his buddy messing around, fucking with some people. Then someone says the wrong thing and pretty soon they’re terrorizing the whole car. And it’s about how each of the people react to them (or don’t) and almost forces the audience into a similar position. You watch these people sit there and not do anything when all they need to do is collectively agree to stand up to them and they could put a stop to it. It’s a very lean and effective movie. Sure, some of the characters are stereotypes, but there are some nice character actors here: Ed McMahon, Thelma Ritter, Jack Gilford, Beau Bridges, Brock Peters, Ruby Dee. It’s good. And it’s probably due for a remake now, given the themes of the shit that happen today. My favorite moment is the very end of the film where the cops come in finally after all the shit has gone down and immediately move to arrest the one black guy on the train, assuming he’s the one who did it. And everyone on the train screams, “Not him, that guy!” That’s a quietly powerful moment.
Branded to Kill is… did you like Tokyo Drifter? Well, this is Tokyo Drifter, but crazy. Seijun Suzuku made Tokyo Drifter and then got money to make another movie, so he made this. Which is almost like, “Oh, you liked Drive? Well here’s Only God Forgives. Take a look at this one, motherfuckers.” He’s going balls to the wall with it. He legit got blacklisted for this. I don’t want to tell you anything about it and just let you experience it. So here’s what IMDB says it’s about: “A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.” If that doesn’t do it for you, then I don’t know what to tell you. Woman Times Seven is a Vittorio De Sica-directed anthology film starring Shirley MacLaine. She plays seven different women in seven different segments. It’s an acting showcase for her. And the best part? If you don’t like one of the segments — there are six more! Her castmates include Peter Sellers, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. It’s fun. And unique. You don’t see stuff like this much. One actress playing many roles in the same film.
Doctor Dolittle is forever known as the fifth Best Picture nominee alongside The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. That’s right. I know that doesn’t look great nowadays, but the fact remains. Everyone knows what this is about, because the character is iconic and everyone around my age remembers the not-half-bad Eddie Murphy remake. It’s about a doctor that can communicate with animals. That’s… pretty much it. Rex Harrison does his usual thing where he speak-sings the songs, and the film is overlong, bloated and reminiscent of the dying studio system. But other than that, it’s a good enough movie. It’s enjoyable.
Billion Dollar Brain is the final part of the Harry Palmer trilogy (Caine would later reprise the role in two TV movies in the 90s). Directed by Ken Russell (and it shows), it’s Palmer facing off against a supercomputer run by a madman that’s plotting to overthrow communism. It’s way more dated, owing to the supercomputer aspect, but it’s just as fun as the other Palmer films. Countdown is a Robert Altman space film. Forgotten now because 2001 came out not long after. It stars James Caan and Robert Duvall as astronauts vying to be the first men to walk on the moon. It’s solid. Nothing overly special, but a nice little fine.
Far from the Madding Crowd is a lush epic about a woman and her three loves. Julie Christie is the woman who inherits a family farm and is determined to run it on her own. Naturally, everyone thinks she needs a husband, but she doesn’t pay any mind to that. And it’s about her relationship to three men: a shepherd who works on her farm, a lonely neighbor, and an attractive young soldier. They’ve made it twice (most recently with Carey Mulligan a few years ago). It’s always a solid film. Divorce American Style is about Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds as a married couple going through problems. Eventually they divorce and try to see other people, but naturally they keep ending up running into one another, comedy ensues, and naturally it’s going to lead to them getting back together, because that’s how studio films work.
The Happiest Millionaire is a Disney movie with Fred MacMurray. He made a bunch of these. This one is over two-and-a-half hours long, which is nuts. I’m fascinated by these movies because they’re just so out of style now that they seem like the studios grasping at the past, hoping people still give a shit. Anyway, this is about a rich dude and his family. He’s raising alligators, and there’s some Irish kid that comes to work for him, and their daughter goes off to college and finds love — it’s a sprawling story. It’s generally fun. Not overly amazing, but like I said, I’m fascinated that they made a movie that could have easily been 100 minutes and turned it into a bloated, 160 minute musical. It’s also the last film Walt personally worked on before he died. So there’s that too.
The Comedians and The Taming of the Shrew are two Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton films. The Taming of the Shrew is Shakespeare and is pretty self-explanatory. The Comedians features Burton as a hotel owner in Haiti sleeping with an ambassador’s wife (Taylor) while the country falls into squalor and violence. Based on a Graham Greene script, it also has Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson and Lillian Gish in it. For me, I like seeing Burton and Taylor on screen together. So even if some of the films are just okay, I’d rather that over other films.
Casino Royale is one of the two unofficial James Bond movies. (The other is Never Say Never Again.) This is a film whose development is even more interesting than the film itself. The film — I don’t even know what happens in this. There are like ten people who play Bond in this. It’s a straight up comedy. Woody Allen plays an evil genius. Peter Sellers plays Bond, David Niven plays Bond. Orson Welles is Le Chiffre, Ursula Andress is in it. It also has John Huston, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer, George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anthony Quayle, Jacqueline Bisset, and it had no less than six directors work on it, including John Huston. It’s a complete hodgepodge and a mess, but it’s also really fun in a weird way. It also produced an Oscar-nominated song, “The Look of Love,” written by Burt Bacharach and sung by Dusty Springfield. It’s worth a watch because of all the people involved and to see just what the hell could happen to a movie with too much movie and no creative driving force. (Also, do not make the mistake of referring to this as a “Bond” film. It’s not. Anyone who counts it as such is an idiot.)
To Sir, with Love is a classic in the “teacher” genre. Sidney Poitier is a teacher at an inner city UK school where all his students are hoodlums. And naturally he wins them over and turns their lives around. You know the story. All of these movies are interesting. It’s the more famous of the two that came out this year, even though I prefer Up the Down Staircase to this one. This one I think gets all the praise because of the title song (sung by Lulu, who is in the movie and later would sing “The Man with the Golden Gun”) and because Poitier stars in it. It’s definitely solid, but I will take this opportunity again to not only recommend this but also recommend again Up the Down Staircase, which is much more of a hidden gem and just as good, if not better, than To Sir, with Love.
The War Wagon is a John Ford/Kirk Douglas western. Wayne is freshly out of prison after being wrongfully thrown in by a douchebag. But get this — the douchebag then stole Wayne’s land and discovered gold on it. Which is pretty fucked up. So Wayne’s now out to steal some of the dude’s gold. He hires Douglas to help him, even though he worked for the douchebag. They hire a team to take down (insert title here) with the gold in it. It’s fun. We’ve also got a double Kirk Douglas western feature today. The Way West is based on a Pulitzer Prize winner. Stars Kirk, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark and, in her first film, Sally Field. Douglas is a senator heading out west on the Oregon Trail. Mitchum is a guide he hired. Widmark is a farmer that’s part of the wagon train with his family. Tensions arise along the way, mostly because of Douglas, playing the autocratic douchebag who slowly starts to alienate everyone around him.
The Whisperers is a Bryan Forbes movie (if you’ve read these articles in order, you know just how underrated I think he is as a director) starring Edith Evans as an old, senile woman living alone. She’s constantly talking to imaginary voices in the house and lives in these fantasy worlds. Her son shows up one day to hide some stolen money in her flat. He then gets sent to prison shortly after. A bunch of crazy shit then happens to her. She’s so focused on these voices that she doesn’t realize that there are people around her that are stealing shit from her. It’s a terrific performance by Evans and a good film to boot.
Valley of the Dolls is one of those camp classics. An over-the-top melodrama that’s become a touchstone for camp. This one’s meant to be serious. The sequel — not so much. This is about three different women dealing with success and failure in show business. Patty Duke is a young up-and-comer, Barbara Parkins is a secretary working for a talent agent and Sharon Tate is a beautiful but talentless actress. They’re all friends. Duke becomes an overnight sensation and then becomes a huge bitch and develops a drug problem, Tate marries a singer with a disease that makes her resort to some crazy shit to pay the medical bills, and Parkins ends up becoming a model and also developing a drug problem. It’s fun. Legitimately campy, and the shit that happens to these women makes you think this had to be a comedy. Because my god. You know that moment in The Room where the mother says “I definitely have breast cancer”? Take that and stretch it out over two hours and that’s this movie. It’s awesome in the worst way.
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