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Category Archives: 60’s

Lolita ~ 1962

lolita-title-sequence   I had heard a lot about this film, but had never seen it until an airing on TCM.  I am a huge fan of Shelly Winters and was actually quite disappointed in her role in this film. I felt it was contrived and had very little substance. You almost began to dislike Mrs. Haze and I felt myself “rooting” for Professor Humbert and his goal to win over Lolita. James Mason was great in this film and showed emotion throughout, both that of desire, and of anguish.  When Lolita disappears, the scene in the hospital was one of the best.

Sue Lyon was very good in this film. She had the ability to come across as the young teenager, with all the mixed emotions that go with that, as well as her confusion as to her feelings and desire for her mother’s husband. As a vixen you got the feeling that she knew exactly what she was doing and was going to get exactly what she wanted. Her performance later in the film, as the older married Lolita, was not as compelling or believable, but overall I think she gave the best performance in the film.Lolita-Still-BW-01

As far as the role of Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty, he have the incomparable performance that only Peter Sellers could. However, I felt his character in the film was unnecessary, and think the film would have been better if his character was more like in the book, behind the scenes, and more of a mystery. This role gave the film a comedic feel that took away from the films story and would have been better left on the cutting floor.  No disrespect for Sellers as he was amazing, I just think Kubrick should have had this character less in the forefront of the story and more on the sidelines as in the book.

Due to the censorship in Hollywood in 1962 this film fell flat for me, as it never really was able to portray the relationship between Humbert and Lolita and walked around the actually storyline.  Even Kubrick himself said if he would have known the role the censors would play in this film he never would have made it. The film was enjoyable, and I am gald I finally got to take a look at this classic. Now to try and find a copy of the 1997 remake.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in 1962, 60's, Classic, Reviews

 

Top 10 Favorite Female Performances of All Time ~ No. 2

No. 2 ~ ELIZABETH TAYLOR in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (Martha)

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When director Mike Nichols cast “Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?” Elizabeth Taylor seemed all wrong for the role. At age 32, she was still a sexy young superstar, not the frumpy, middle-aged hag played on Broadway by Uta Hagen. Even her normally supportive hubby Richard Burton admitted that Taylor was wrong for the role, saying, “I know she has the stridency, but she’s too young.”

Fifty-two-year-old Bette Davis fought for the film role, but Nichols wanted Taylor and Burton because they were the hottest acting duo in America, who also loved to spar as vehemently off-screen as the characters in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

To prepare for the role, Taylor not only de-glammed herself, but she packed on 22 pounds. Film critics and movie-goers not only approved of the result, but academy members gave Taylor her second career Oscar. This performance would have to be in my opinion her greatest performance of all time, and I love almost all of her performances. Some say she wasn’t acting, that that was just her and Burton filiming real life. Regardless of what it was, it was by far one of the best performances of her career and one of the best feamle performances of all time.

 
 

Top 10 Favorite Female Performances of All Time ~ No. 7

No. 7 ~ Patricia Neal in “Hud” (Alma Brown)

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Patricia Neal won her Oscar for her down-to-earth performance, as the cynical, world-weary housekeeper Alma Brown in Martin Ritt’s contemporary western, Hud (1963). “It was a tough part to cast,” Ritt remarked when asked about the role. “This woman had to be believable as a housekeeper and still be sexy. It called for a special combination of warmth and toughness, while still being very feminine. Pat Neal was it.” Perhaps the most telling indication of Neal’s gifts was the fact that, although the role was quite a brief one, the Academy included her in the category of best actress, rather than best supporting actress and she walked away the winner. Patricia Neal’s performance is a beautiful example of a dedicated realism on the screen but also of an actress taking an underwritten and thin part and filling it with so much life thanks to her own powerful acting skills, and her own personality. She had no big emotional break-downs, not even a big scene, she probably had about 20 minutes film time. Neal’s performance does not include any scene-stealing, overacting or exaggerating. She was Alma Brown and created an unforgettable straight forward, and subtle performance and is one of the most low-key pieces of work the Best Actress category has ever seen. Patricia was flawless in a very little role but gave depth and passion to her charecter but at the same time does not overwhelm the audience.

 
 

1960 ~ Oscars Pics for Pics

Listed as one of the 100 greatest films of all time, Elmer Gantry is an entertaining, powerful melodrama with memorable performances by Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy and Shirley Jones. It is the controversial telling of Sinclair Lewis’ novel regarding the charismatically engaging, but scandalous Midwestern salesman turned preacher in the 1920s.
Burt Lancaster comes on the screen with an obvious penchant for smooth talking, and the need for drink, but when he meets traveling revivalist female preacher, Jean Simmons, he falls for her, and soon decides to become an Evangelist.
They become loved and idolized, while Elmer continues to indulge in his past sins, and a jealous former lover wants revenge for being jilted.
One of the Best films of 1960, over the years it has become even more loved and revered. Winner of 5 Academy Award nominations and 3 Wins including Best Actor for Burt Lancaster and Supporting Actress Shirley Jones.

Touted as the most American film ever made, John Wayne’s “supposedly” directorial debut, The Alamo, became more of an Oscar campaign than any other movie prior. Both Wayne who starred as Davy Crockett, and Chill Wills campaigned relentlessly for the movie and Chill for his supporting actor nomination. Wayne tirelessly campaigned for the film, suggesting with ads that it would be unpatriotic not to vote for the film – “the most expensive picture ever made on American soil”

Sons & Lovers was adapted from the autobiographical book by D.H. Lawrence. A dramatic look at family, love and how that love can destroy us, and damage us. One of the most powerful character driven dramas of it’s time, Sons& Lovers was a great vehicle for it’s stars Trevor Howard and Wendy Hiller, both nominated for acting awards.

A young Dean Stockwell plays their youngest son, Paul. He was also very good in this film, but overlooked by the Academy. The cinematography was superb and won the Award that year for Freddie Francis. A good movie, with powerful performances is many times overlooked.

After his previous successes with From Here to Eternity, High Noon and Oklahoma, Director Fred Zinnemann again brought a powerful hit with the Sundowners. Starring Robert Mitchum (who was not nominated) and Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov gave outstanding performances in a tight woven drama, that today has not garnered a following.
The story of an Irish sheep-herding family in Australia during the 1920s, a wife determined to keep her husband stable and set, and the husband that dreams to have it all. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards, it came home empty handed.

Nominated 10 times and winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (co-written by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond), Best B/W Art Direction/Set Decoration, and Best Film Editing, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment has been said to be his best work.
The story of an up and coming young men played by Jack Lemmon, who secretly lends out his apartment to other company executives for adulterous sexual affairs and liaisons. This is fine until he realizes that the young elevator girl, played by Shirley MacLaine, whom he has feelings for is being taken for trysts by his married boss (Fred MacMurray) to his apartment.
This movie was a glimpse at what had happened to corporate America during the 1960’s when a lowly but ambitious accountant prostitutes his own standards and moral integrity and allows himself to be exploited just so that he can get ahead. Powerful and engaging performances by Lemmon, MacLaine and Fred MacMurray (one of the omitted of 1960) as well as Ray Walston and Edie Adams.
The Apartment, today is still a moving and entertaining film, even if somewhat out-dated. It is listed as one of the 100 Greatest Movies of all time. Was it the Best Picture of 1960? Many will dispute that. Was it the Best Picture out of the nominees? There is no question there. But then Psycho wasn’t nominated…
 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in 1960, 60's, Academy Awards

 

1960 ~ Oscar’s Supporting Actress Nominees

  Looking back on the films and the nominees now, there would probably be no question as to who the winner would be in this category. Janet Leigh. Her performance in Hitchcock’s now famous and classic Psycho was a career making role. But in 1960, things were a little different in Hollywood.

Mary Ure attacked the screen in 1960 for her sexually-emancipated Clara Dawes in Sons and Lovers. Some called her performance riveting, others called it over acted. Whichever it may have been it awarded her her first and only nomination.

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, husky-voiced actress Glynis Johns was the daughter of British stage actor Mervyn Johns. Her performance of the hotel keeper trying to lure Peter Ustinov to marry her was memorable, but not as memorable as her role in Mary Poppins a few years later and certainly not one of her better roles.

An expert at playing disturbed modern women, Shirley Knight trained at the Pasadena Playhouse before making her film debut in FIVE GATES TO HELL (1959). A bright, and outspoken leading lady, she earned early critical acclaim in Hollywood for her Academy Award nominated role in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, but remained dedicated to the theater. After losing the best supporting actress race for the second year in a row, she wasn’t interested in returning to the West Coast. In one of the best all-time appraisals of Tinseltown, she told a reporter later in 1963 in New York, “Hollywood — that’s where they give Academy Awards to Charlton Heston for acting.” She did periodically make more movies, but never gained another Oscar nomination.

Janet Leigh was Hollywood’s All American girl in 1960, and everyone thought she would walk away with the award that year in Hitchcock’s thriller, Psycho. Unfortunately she didn’t and also she never received another nomination.

Some can say what they want, but Shirley Jones played her role as the prostitute in the acclaimed film Elmer Gantry superbly. Typecast to that point as sweet, naive females, mostly in musicals, Shirley won the Academy over with her against type performance. One of the many female winners that won playing prostitutes.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in 1960, 60's, Academy Awards, Actresses

 

1960 Best Actor Oscar Race

    1960 gave us many great movies and a slew of great performances by male actors. Spencer Tracy was nominated for a 7th time with his portrayal as a “Clarence Darrow-style” trial lawyer named Henry Drummond opposite prosecutor Matthew Harrison Brady (unnominated Fredric March as Biblical literalistic William Jennings Bryan) in director Stanley Kramer’s fictionalized dramatization of the 1925 Tennessee Scopes Trial, Inherit the Wind.

Lawrence Olivier, one of the greatest actors of all time, gave us an award winning performance as seedy vaudevillian performer in The Entertainer, his sixth nomination.

Trevor Howard, a powerful character actor became a leading star in Sons & Lovers as an alcoholic coal-mining father Walter Morel. This would be his first and only nomination.

Jack Lemmon gave what some call his greatest film performance ever as lonely, ambitious and young New York insurance clerk C. C. Baxter who loans out his Manhattan apartment for romantic trysts for his company’s executive supervisors while falling in love with the elevator girl (Shirley MacLaine).

But it would be the powerful and brilliant performance of Burt Lancaster, as the starring role of the bible thumping preacher with skeletons in closet and life in the moving Elmer Gantry.

Some of the other nominations in 1960 were questionable, but in the Best Actor category each one was deserved.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in 1960, 60's, Academy Awards

 

The Worst of 1960 ~ #1 – College Confidential

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I am sure there were worse movies in 1960, I was guess I was just lucky to have not seen them. However, I don’t know if they could be worse than my choice for worse movie of the year 1960. College Confidential starred some fairly good actors, maybe not so big in 1960 but they later became household names, such as Steve Allen, his wife, Jayne Meadows, Elisha Cook, Jr., Mamie Van Doren, and other big names like Rocky Marciano and even Conway Twitty, yes the rock-a-billy country crooner, Conway Twitty.

Randy Sparks, Steve Allen and Conway wrote the songs in this unbelieveable film. Steve Allen stars as a college professor that is doing a sex survey. Mamie Van Doren (who at the time of filming was almost 30 years old) played one of his students…and of course she passed the survey, and maybe was even having an affair with Steve’s charecter.  Townsfolk object and bring him up on charges of indecency. The film climaxes with his trial. The acting and even the music is lackluster. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a musical? Who knows, but whatever it is, it was bad!

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in 1960, 60's, Worst of 1960