If you expecting to find at least one of those Doris Day comedies to pop up on this list, well sorry but Ms. Day, with or without Rock Hudson, will be found nowhere on site. I am not an admirer, or fan. Day does have a nice comedic touch and some of her comedies are pleasant (Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back), but her virginal, sugary, spunky self, I just find annoying. Like Mary Tyler Moore’s Lou Grant once said, “I hate spunk.” I don’t mean to turn this into a tirade against Ms. Day, but in the 1960’s, the times, they were a changin.’ and films like With Six You Get Eggroll did not cut it. Anyway, here is my list for the decade that helped defined me.
As you will see most of the films here except for a few are from the later part of the decade. You can check out the previous entries in this series by clicking on the link here.
A Hard Day’s Night
John Lennon was being cheeky in this scene (sniffing coke). I’m sure not too many people in the audience got the joke at the time. Even more surprising is how this bit got passed the censors! A Hard Day’s Night was not just The Beatles version of an Elvis flick. The film had a fabulous sense of humor, sharp, snappy editing, and of course there are the songs. Here is my review.
Who else but Billy Wilder would have a hero who lets his married boss use his apartment for an on-going affair just so he can get ahead on the job. The film is both cynical and sweet at the same time. Here is my review.
The Americanization of Emily
If people ask me what is your favorite Julie Andrews film, without even blinking an eye I respond The Americanization of Emily. Certainly not The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. For Andrews, this was her first adult part in a sophisticated role. The film, a biting dark anti-war work died at the box office. It was clearly ahead of its time. Here is my full review.
Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice
Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in their only screen teaming hit a sophisticated, romantic, suspense filled home run in this Stanley Donen directed entertainment from a intelligent script by Peter Stone. It was perfect timing for a nation in mourning. The film opened only a few weeks after the assassination of John F. Kennedy at Radio City Music Hall. With two of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars, a Henry Mancini score, and the city of Paris, Charade was a boost and a breath of fresh air to Americans that things were starting to get back to normal. Charade is a classic Hollywood studio film done at its best in a world were American cinema was beginning to change direction.
Divorce, Italian Style
The Graduate was one of the seminal films of the 1960’s. It was one of the game changers and remains a classic film for all time despite it being dated in some ways. Though Dustin Hoffman was a bit too old for the part he was perfect in a star making role. Ann Bancroft was fabulous. You can read my full review here.
Forget the Nathan Lane/Matthew Broderick musical remake, not a bad film, but you cannot beat Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder in the original. The Mel Brooks film was outrageous for its time. Mostel, a failed Broadway producer seducing elderly women out of their money to put into a play meant to be a complete failure. There’s Dick Shawn as L.S.D. (Lorenzo St. DuBois) a talent less actor playing Adolph Hitler as a hippie. Freaky man! The Springtime for Hitler number is still brilliant. A supporting cast that included Kenneth Mars as Franz Liebkind ( “Hitler… there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!) and Lee Meredith as Ulla. Others included Renee Taylor (Eva Brun), Christopher Hewitt (Roger Dee Bris), and in bit parts Bernie Allen (Allen and Rossi), Joseph Campenella, Bill Macy, WIlliam Hickey, and Mel Brooks the man himself!
Take the Money and Run
Except of the idiosyncratic What’s Up, Tiger Lily, Take the Money and Run is Woody Allen’s first real film. Cinematically, the film is a mess, but it is laugh out funny. Who else but Woody Allen would find himself involved in the misspelling of a note during a bank robbery.