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.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

1960 - its 50 years ago

Hard to believe that iconic year 1960 is now 50 years ago ! Back then, when I was 14, most people's view of cinema was from the 30s and 40s and 50s, and the only way to see movies was at the cinema mainly, as tv had yet to make inroads. It was only at the end of the 70s that the concept of owning movies took root with the widespread arrival of videotapes, and better bigger televisions.

For me though the modern world in the movies began in 1960 with those two great films PSYCHO and L'AVVENTURA, both groundbreaking in their ways and changed how we saw and thought about films. Both too feature a woman who disappears and the people searching for her. With the Hitchcock we see what happens to her, but Antonioni keeps it a secret... and both still endlessly discussed today, London's National Film Theatre is currently hosting a season on films influenced by PSYCHO, which is being re-released.

I now feel the dawn of the '60s was a wonderful time to be in one's early teens - that sense of hope and optimism with the new president in the White House (little did we know...) and new kinds of music and films and clothes and culture generally... it was also the last great era of black and white films: 1960 also had Jack Cardiff's brilliant photography in SONS AND LOVERS, Dassin's NEVER ON SUNDAY, Monroe in LET'S MAKE LOVE, Loren in THE MILLIONAIRESS, ELMER GANTRY, THE SUNDOWNERS, Kazan's WILD RIVER, BUTTERFIELD 8, THE FUGITIVE KIND, Fellni's LA DOLCE VITA, Visconti's ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, Godard's BREATHLESS, Wilder's THE APARTMENT, Kubrick's SPARTACUS, INHERIT THE WIND, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, Powell's PEEPING TOM, Preminger's EXODUS, Huston's THE UNFORGIVEN and De Sica was making TWO WOMEN. Not bad at all ...

I did feel that the best actress award should have been a tie, between Deborah Kerr for THE SUNDOWNERS and Jean Simmons (not even nominated) for ELMER GANTRY (where her co-stars Burt Lancaster and Shirley Jones won theirs) - it would have been a fitting culmination to their great years, as the two British roses who went to America in the late 40s and were very big stars indeed in the '50s.

But Hitchock and Antonioni defined the era, as much as Kramer or Kazan or Otto or any of the others, and international cinema was just taking off .... as the '60s got underway - the art-houses and revival cinemas were popular in the cities as we went to see new and old movies. What an exciting era.

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