Favorite Comedies of the 60’s

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

Lennon

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.

The Apartment

Apartment

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

emily-pix-1

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

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Charade

Charade 6

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.

Dr. Strangelove

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Divorce, Italian Style

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The Graduate

The Graduate

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.

The Producers

produce

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

Take The Money and RunExcept 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.

 

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13 comments on “Favorite Comedies of the 60’s

  1. Differences make the world go round! HA! I love Doris Day and all her “spunky” movies! LOL! I’m afraid the only one on your list that would make my list is Charade! But then I haven’t seen all on your list! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • John Greco says:

      Linda, I agree with you on that first sentence 🙂 For me, I could never warm up to her. It’s not that she never made a good film, I always thought she was very good opposite Cagney in Love Me or Leave Me. Her comedies from the sixties though, at best were okay and went downhill from there. But that;s just me. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can certainly dig your list, but my own has the movies that make me laugh out loud, rather than these which, for the most part, make me smirk or chuckle inwardly. Although, I do count The Apartment as one of my top ten of all time and I am crazy about Charade.

    Try some of these for a giggle: Support Your Local Sheriff!, Who’s Minding the Mint?, The Comedy of Terrors, The Facts of Life, Lover Come Back (okay, not your thing), and Topkapi. And I am going to throw a surprise in here with Blackbeard’s Ghost. I didn’t even go to see this Disney movie when it was released in 1968, but I watched it on a whim last year and found it to be a hoot. I couldn’t have been more shocked.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow! Great post John. And where to start? A Hard Days Life. It’s brilliant.The direction, playing to the fab four’s strengths (and weaknesses) to brilliant effect. Reveling in our perceived ideas about their personalities and then lobbing a wrench in there ever so gently. To me, that’s what it is–a gentle, lovable satire with a few wrenches lobbed in.
    The Apartment–Billy Wilder, what a genius. He nods to the the shifting moral climate that’s in the air–it’s still early– while at the same time assuring us that it’s always been like that and then he throws real love and real hope into the mix and leaves us feeling good, that’s not like him.
    And then one of my all time favorites–The Producers. Fantastic. Absurd. Slapstick. Zero’s hair. The Gene Wilder psychological meltdown. And, of course, Springtime for Hitler. Oh, I forgot, Zero wooing the little old ladies. I just love it.
    By the way, I like Doris Day. A lot. I think her timing was spot on and her delivery was very natural, but, like you, I didn’t like most of her movies, over all. A bit too tidy, for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • John Greco says:

      Pam, A Hard’s Day Night was a breakthrough for rock and roll movies which basically consisted of DJ Alan Freed films where the “gang”puts on a show to raise money or something like that. The movies features classic rock and rollers like Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Little Richard and doo-wop groups like Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers as well as some no rock and rollers like Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Low budget stuff trying to cash in on the music of the day. Of cours pe, ther were the Elvis films too. AHDN was a creative breakthrough. The Producers is on a classic of its own.
      I don’t want folks to think I hate Doris Day. For one thing she has been an animal rights person for many years. That in itself makes her a good person. It’s her movie characters or persona that I just find bland and unreal.

      Like

  4. armando says:

    Im also not a big fan of Day, but like Blake Edward’s “A Shot in the Dark” .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John Charet says:

    Great post 🙂 I love it that you included A Hard Day’s Night, Charade and Dr. Strangelove on here amongst others. I agree with you also on Doris Day’s sixties films. The problem with them was that by that decade, they could not help but feel dated when compared to a lot of the titles you mention here. I noticed that you included Divorce Italian Style. Speaking of that film, did you ever see Vittorio de Sica’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow- another comedy that I love 🙂 Marriage Italian Style also counts, but that ranks as a comedy drama so I do not know If that fact cancels it out. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    On a side note, I just did blog entry regarding my favorite films of director Martin Scorsese and I know you are a huge fan of him just like myself. Here is the link below and once again, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    https://cinematiccoffee.com/2018/07/24/my-favorite-martin-scorsese-films/

    Liked by 1 person

    • John Greco says:

      Hey John, I saw Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow many years ago and it is hysterical. Marcello was a wonderful actor in both comedy and drama.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Joe Baltake says:

    John! I came to this list belatedly. A terrific selection, although I will always fight tooth and nails in defense of Doris Day and her amazing comedy timing. Two of her ’60s comedies – “The Thrill of It All” and “Send Me No Flowers,” both directed by Norman Jewison – would be among my top picks and are not in the least bit dated.

    That said, I agree with you and Armando about Blake Edwards’ “A Shot in the Dark.” Arguably, it is the best of the Clouseau films. And there’s a reason. It’s the only one that’s an adaptation. All the others are screen originals. “A Shot in the Dark” has a fascinating history. For this occasion, Edwards’ adapted a 1961 play that had been optioned by United Artists – Harry Kurnitz’s “A Shot in the Dark” which, in turn, Kurnitz adapted from a French play by Marcel Arhard titled, “L’idiote.” The play ran on Broadway for a year, with Julie Harris, Walter Matthau, William Shatner and Gene Saks as its stars. When U.A. passed it on to Edwards to adapt and direct, he inserted his Clouseau character into the mix. I believe that because of its source, “A Shot in the Dark” has a more solid plot than the others.

    BTW, Elke Sommer wasn’t Edwards’ first (or second) choice for the female lead. He re-wrote the Julie Harris part with Sophia Loren in mind. When she passed, he approached Romy Schneider. When she demurred, the role went to Sommer.

    Apologies for being so long-winded here, but – for some bizarre reason – I felt compelled to share this info.

    -J

    Like

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