Monday, July 06, 2020

5 Off My Head: Siri Says 1962

Last week's edition of our "Siri Says" series -- where I ask my phone to give me a number between 1 and 100 and then list my five favorite movies from the year that corresponds to that number -- was a tough one, sending us tumbling into Silent Film, so I was relieved this week when, after about a dozen or so tires (the years we've got left are getting scarcer and scarcer) Siri plunked us down into a decade I've seen many more movies from, the 1960s, with the number "62." And then I started looking at The Movies of 1962 and I realized that my likes from that precise year -- which featured both the height of the Cold War and the birth of Spider-man -- tend towards outside-the-mainstream. Meaning that there are big beloved movies from that year that I feel very little towards! 

It's a terrific year of movies but an odd inconsistently-matched batch, including big swings between challenging international cinema which was booming, bargain-basement cult oddities from the likes of Roger Corman & Co, and of course the smooth pretty product line that was rolling out of Hollywood. The latter's where my interest wanes, and so as I skimmed through all the titles for the year I found myself wanting to (mostly) highlight the weirder stuff at the expense of the more popular titles.  But then the weirder stuff is my brand! As is, apparently, the black-and-white in the time of color stuff...

My 5 Favorite Movies of 1962

(dir. Roman Polanski)
-- released on March 9th 1962 -- 

(dir. Robert Aldrich)
-- released on October 31st 1962 -- 

(dir. John Frankenheimer)
-- released on October 24th 1962 -- 

(dir. Herk Hervey)
-- released on November 2nd 1962 -- 

(dir. Luis Bunuel)
-- released on May 16th 1962 -- 


Runners-up: La Jetée (dir. Chris Marker), Dr. No (dir. Terence Young), Cape Fear (dir. J. Lee Thompson), Day of the Triffids (dir. Steve Sekely), L'eclisse (dir. Michaelangelo Antonioni), Jules and Jim (dir. Truffaut)...

... Panic in the Year Zero (dir. Ray Milland), Lolita (dir. Kubrick), Long Day's Journey Into Night (dir. Lumet), Vivre sa Vie (dir. Godard), Lawrence of Arabia (dir. David Lean), To Kill a Mockingbird (dir. Robert Mulligan)

Never seen: The Music Man (dir. Morton Dacosta), The Miracle Worker (dir. Arthur Penn), The Longest Day (dir. Andrew marton), All Fall Down (dir. John Frankenheimer), A Kind of Loving (dir. John Schlesinger), Billy Budd (dir. Peter Ustinov), Cleo From 5-7 (dir. Agnes Varda)...

... The Intruder (dir. Roger Corman), How the West Was Won (dir. Henry Hathaway), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (dir. John Ford), The Trial (dir. Welles), Cartouche (dir. Philippe de Broca), Days of Wine and Roses (dir. Blake Edwards)


What are your favorite movies of 1962?


Pierce said...

Cleo from 5-7, I only saw this a couple of years ago, and it’s a really beautiful movie!
Advise and Consent, referenced in The Celluloid Closet
Billy Rose’s Jumbo, the last Busby Berkeley musical
The Chapman Report, a fine, sophisticated movie
Days of Wine and Roses. Great performance from Lee Remick
Gay Purr-ee, voiced by Judy Garland and Robert Goulet
Gypsy, it’s a better movie than it gets credit for being!
How the West Was Won, a tremendous film!
Jack the Giant Killer, scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.
Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean’s masterpiece
Light in the Piazza, Olivia de Havilland is lovely in this.
Lolita, as good a movie as they could make from this material.
Long Day’s Journey into Night, very faithful to the play and one of Katharine Hepburn’s greatest performances!
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a terrific western.
The Manchurian Candidate, Angela Lansbury was screwed out of an Oscar for her scary good performance.
The Miracle Worker, one of the best stage to screen adaptations, ever.
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, the first version of this story I ever saw!
Moon Pilot, gay actor/writer Tom Tryon was the star
The Music Man, a marvelous old-fashioned movie musical
The Notorious Landlady, a delightful black comedy!
Something’s Got to Give, Marilyn Monroe’s last movie, unfinished. Later made as Move Over Darling!
Sweet Bird of Youth, great film from Tennessee Williams’ play
That Touch of Mink, Doris Day and Cary Grant
To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the best novels to film ever made.
Tower of London, remake, Vincent Price as Richard III
Two for the Seesaw, Shirley MacLaine and Robert Mitchum had an affair while making this movie
Walk on the Wild Side. Outstanding trash.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? A camp classic
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, very entertaining.

joel65913 said...

Your first three are great films!

Carnival of Souls was okay but not really my cup of tea, it is impressive when you consider it was shot on such a low budget though.

I’ve been meaning to see The Exterminating Angel for years and somehow still haven’t gotten to it. Eventually.

You do have a couple that I’m less than crazy about in your runner-ups. So many people love Jules & Jim but while I thought it was okay I never was swept away by it. Despite my love for Peter O’Toole and most of the cast of the film Lawrence of Arabia was an agonizingly boring experience.

You really should see The Miracle Worker. Patty Duke is wonderful but the main attraction is Anne Bancroft. She is FIERCE and fearsome and all kinds of brilliant.

I’m a fan of both the smooth, pretty product and the stuff that is slightly rough around the edges and ’62 had a lot to offer from both. I can’t possibly winnow it down to only 5 so I’m doing a top 20 with a ton of runner-ups.

My top 20:

1. How the West Was Won-It’s overlong and episodic but I love it totally and Debbie Reynolds! is the thread that ties the whole thing together….what more could I ask for?
2. The Manchurian Candidate
3. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance-After The Searchers the ultimate John Ford film.
4. Gypsy
5. The Chapman Report-Soapy goodness with Glynis Johns, Shelley Winters, Claire Bloom and an unbelievably young Jane Fonda.
6. Advise and Consent
7. If a Man Answers
8. The Counterfeit Traitor-One of William Holden’s best 60’s films.
9. Lonely Are the Brave-Possibly Kirk Douglas’s best performance and his personal favorite of his films.
10. The Music Man
11. Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
12. Sanjuro
13. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
14. Go To Blazes
15. Knife in the Water
16. Cleo from 5 to 7
17. We Joined the Navy
18. Experiment in Terror
19. Dr. No
20. Eva

Runner-Ups in alphabetical order:

All Night Long, Bon Voyage!, The Boys, Cape Fear, Confessions of an Opium Eater, Convicts 4, Forty Pounds of Trouble, Gigot, The Horizontal Lieutenant, The Horse Without a Head, House of Women, The Interns, Jack the Giant Killer, Jigsaw, Kid Galahad, L’Eclisse, La Jette, Light in the Piazza, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Love on a Pillow, Mamma Roma, Mix Me a Person, A Pair of Briefs, The Playboy of the Western World, A Prize of Arms, Reach for Glory, The Reluctant Saint, Ride the High Country, Rome Adventure, Salvatore Giuliano, Some People, Sweet Bird of Youth, Two Weeks in Another Town, A View From the Bridge, Walk on the Wild Side

The Days of Wine and Roses is a brilliantly acted film by Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon with something important to say and I can’t envision ever wanting to watch it again. It is gut wrenchingly sad and nihilistic.

Shawny said...

The one I return to most is Carnival of Souls. It’s so cheap but so effective. I love Lawrence of Arabia too. It is such a fascinatingly bloated epic. And there’s that strange, totally fucked up prison rape sequence, where I kind of think they were suggesting LoF liked it. A head scratcher, that one. Manchurian Candidate is in 3rd place for me. Someone mentioned Sanjuro. If that was 62, it’s the best film of all of them. That movie is amazing, exciting, at every level.