Archive for category The 60’s

Midnight Cowboy [1969]


One of the all time greats. Dark, disturbing dramatization of James Leo Herlihy’s novel was rated X in 1969, but it’s essentially an old fashioned story with a modern twist. John Voight is terrific in his starring debut as Joe Buck, a young and handsome man (who dresses as a cowboy) who moves from Texas to New York thinking he’ll make a living by being a stud. Women however do not seem to be willing to pay money for his services, and soon enough, Joe faces the fact that he must live in poverty, as his supply of money begins to dry up. From this moment on, this is primarily a story of Joe’s realization of the harsh realities of the real world. During his stay, he meets Enrico Rizzo (an amazing Dustin Hoffman), a crippled swindler who initially tries to con Joe out of his money. When they both realise that they are in the same unpleasant situation, Ratso offers Joe a place to stay, and working together, they attempt to make lives for themselves in the cold and harsh city of New York.

Shot largely in the streets of the big apple, “Midnight Cowboy” is a powerful and realistic look at life in the slums. Watching the film, one can instantly sympathise with the two characters. You can feel yourself inside Ratso’s unheated appartment, freezing from the aching winter cold. The acting is more than terrific, with both Voight and Hoffman masterfully portaying their roles. Hoffman in particular was exceptional, but they were both nominated for best actor Oscars, though both eventually lost out to John Wayne in “True Grit”. “Midnight Cowboy” still managed to win three Oscars from seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (John Schlesinger really did an amazing job here) and Best Writing for Waldo Salt. If anything, the movie looks better today than it did at the time of its release. But either way, It’s still a fascinating experience, and a must see for every film buff out there. Great stuff.

Rating: 3.5/4

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True Grit [1969]


I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood movies, but John Wayne was the real deal when it came to western flicks. “True Grit” was the only movie that won the duke an oscar, and it was a well deserved win. He plays a hard nosed and totally fearless one-eyed U.S marshal called Rooster Cogburn who is hired by a headstrong young girl to find the man who murdered her father and fled with the family’s money. Things get complicated when both the girl and an inexperienced Texas ranger decide to join the party. “True Grit” was regarded as one of the best western movies of the 60’s; it’s certainly a lot of fun to watch, with John Wayne in top form as usual (though he had a cancerous left lung removed a few years earlier but still looked great here). The Coen brothers decided that it was finally time to remake this classic film by casting Jeff Bridges in the role Rooster Cogburn. I had my doubts at first, but I hear the movie succeeds in paying tribute to the 1969 movie. Fingers crossed.

Rating: 3/4

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service [1969]


If I had to choose the best Bond movie ever made, I would definitely pick “On Her majesty’s secret service”. I love this movie, and even though it was the first non Sean Connery Bond film, I still think it’s the best one yet. Georges Lazenby is good as 007 (though he never played the role again), but the story and the action scenes are incredible! What’s more, this is probably the first and last Bond flick (until “Casino Royal” at least) that delivers an emotional ending. Some 007 fans argue which Blofeld was the best; I’ll go with Telly Savalas; his performance in this movie is simply unforgettable. Highlight: the ski chase scene (Reprised years later in “The Spy Who Loved Me”).

Fun fact:  A Rolex worn by George Lazenby drew a bid of $40,373 at Christie’s in London in 2003.

 Rating: 3.5/4

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On Her Majesty's Secret Service [1969]


If I had to choose the best Bond movie ever made, I would definitely pick “On Her majesty’s secret service”. I love this movie, and even though it was the first non Sean Connery Bond film, I still think it’s the best one yet. Georges Lazenby is good as 007 (though he never played the role again), but the story and the action scenes are incredible! What’s more, this is probably the first and last Bond flick (until “Casino Royal” at least) that delivers an emotional ending. Some 007 fans argue which Blofeld was the best; I’ll go with Telly Savalas; his performance in this movie is simply unforgettable. Highlight: the ski chase scene (Reprised years later in “The Spy Who Loved Me”).

Fun fact:  A Rolex worn by George Lazenby drew a bid of $40,373 at Christie’s in London in 2003.

 Rating: 3.5/4

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Knife In The Water [1962]


Roman Polanski’s first ever  movie as a director. I woulnd’t call it a masterpiece, but it’s a tense movie,  well directed and certainly worth mentioning. Polanski improved over the years, but any fan of his work should definitely check this one out.

Fun fact: ” After the movie became known in US, Polanski was given a proposal to remake the film in English with some known Hollywood actors (rumors talk about Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor), but he turned it down as he didn’t want to “repeat himself”.

 

Rating: 3/4

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Charade [1963]


“Marriage license? Did you say marriage license? Oh I love you Adam, Alex, Peter, Brian, whatever your name is. I hope we have a lot of boys and we can name them all after you”.

Hitchcock style mystery finds Audrey Hepburn pursued by several men who want a fortune her late husband had stolen. Beautifully crafted thriller set in Paris, colourful characters (especially Cary Grant who’s on top of his game), and an unforgettable score by Johny Mercer. One can truly say that this is the best Hitchcock movie never to be directed by Hitchcock.

Fun fact: “After finishing this film, Cary Grant was quoted as saying, “All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn”. Sadly, it never happened.”

Rating: 3.5/4

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Planet of the Apes [1968]


 “Beware the beast Man, for he is theDevil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death”.

Classic sci-fi movie about an astronaut crew that lands on a distant planet where apes are masters and humans their slaves. Fascinating subject, unforgettable sets and an ending that will leave you speechless. So well done, it inspired 4 sequels, and a sloppy remake in 2001.

 

Rating: 3.5/4

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