Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

2 from 1962

1962 must surely be one of the 3 best years ever for movies - my other 2 would be 1939 and 1959 - each have at least 20 films of note. It was also that great era for black and white films and that early 60s vibe. I will get around to 1959 later but for 1962 - when I was 16 in Ireland - the key movies include L'ECLISSE, ADVISE & CONSENT, LOLITA, DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (where Lee Remick should have won that academy award!), BILLY BUDD, LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, JULES ET JIM, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, TO KILL A MOCKINBIRD, SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, JUMBO, GYPSY, THE MUSIC MAN, A KIND OF LOVING, BOCCACCIO 70, THE TRIAL, WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (trash but I love it), THE MIRACLE WORKER and THE COUNTERFEIT TRAITOR, for starters, plus Sophia Loren doing the twist in Paris in 5 MILES TO MIDNIGHT and the camp farrago that is SODOM AND GOMORROW! Two I particularly like are:

ALL FALL DOWN - one of Frankenheimer's three this year. I loved James Leo Herlihy's book when I was 16. People talk about THE CATCHER IN THE RYE or LORD OF THE FLIES as great books about children or teenagers, but when I was 16 ALL FALL DOWN, as scripted by William Inge, perfectly captured how I felt and my relations with my family. I too eavesdropped on my parents and noted down what they said. I did not have an older brother though to worship, being the oldest of 6 myself! The film is perfectly cast: Angela Lansbury and Karl Malden deliver pitch perfect performances as the parents Ralph and Annabel who is forever fretting over her missing son Beri Beri - probably Warren Beatty's best early role, and Eva Marie Saint is perfection as Echo O'Brien "the old maid from Toledo". At the centre is Brandon de Wilde as Clint, the narrator and the story concerns his eventual disillusionment with his selfish, womanising brother. It is all lyrically shot, with some nice scenes at the Florida Keys and back in Ohio. Its certainly one for me to savour. What a shame De Wilde died so young in a motorcycle accident, after he being a child actor on Broadway, he is perfect as little John Henry in THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING. Then there were SHANE, NIGHT PASSAGE, HUD etc. Herlihy also wrote MIDNIGHT COWBOY, among others, and acted.

THE CHAPMAN REPORT, Cukor's film of a sensational book (which I also read as a teenager) concerning a sex survey among a group of women. It has that perfect early 60s look and Cukor certainly makes it look good, with a separate 'look' for each of the women and their homes. Claire Bloom is outstanding as the self-loathing nymphomaniac - she is presented like a vampire lurking in the shadows watching the water delivery boy, Chad Everett in tight trousers; Glynis Johns is a lot of fun as the arty housewife who becomes distracted by beach boy Ty Hardin in those spray-on shorts; Shelley Winters is the hausfrau with a very dull husband and she is having an affair with heel Ray Danton, a theatre director - it ends in tears in the book, but no so in the movie. Jane Fonda impresses the least as the frigid young widow, but Jane had not yet found herself back then. Cukor regular Henry Daniell also pops up. Its all marvellously entertaining and not at all trashy like some others I could mention - and will in due course. It was great to finally see THE CHAPMAN REPORT recently, as it has not been available for decades, and there is still no proper dvd release!

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