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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1962

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Cleopatra really made its talons felt in 1962......There were only 23 releases in 1962, down quite a bit from 1961, and much lower than 1960. However, this was also the year when Darryl Zanuck returned to his old roost.

Madison Avenue told of advertising and politics and unfit people runnig for president. Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain returned to their old homestead for this.

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Terry-Thomas, Tuesday Weld, and Celeste Holm next appeared in the manic comedy Bachelor Flat.

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Tender is the Night, based on the Fitzgerald classic,  was the last big part for Jennifer Jones in her heyday, although she would continue on for 12 years.

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Clifton Webb made his final appearance in Satan Never Sleeps as an aging priest. The film was a cross between The left Hand of God and Going My Way, and made for a pretty good viewing.

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Hand of Death dabbled in horror and sci-fi.

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State Fair returned, taken this time to Texas. While not as good as the original, it was still sweet, Ann-Margret was quite good, and it was nice to see Alice Faye again (returning for her last Fox film)

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The West took prominence in The Broken Road

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Peter Sellers played a social climbing school teacher in Mr. Topaze

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Lisa was strong, potent, and moving, and was anchored by two wonderful lead performances from Stephen Boyd and Dolores Hart in a post-WWII tale

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Back to horror in The Cabinet of Caligari

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Jayne Mansfield headed to Greece in It Happened in Athens.

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Womanhunt was a thriller

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James Stewart and Maureen O'Hara were put-upon parents in Mr. Hobbs takes a Vacation. It had its moments, but at other times felt poky.

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Air Patrol was another quickie

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Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man had a large cast, but the supporting players attracted most of the attention for the film.

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Another small film in The Firebrand. Fox did a lot of quickies at this time to paper over gaps in funding for A list films due to Cleopatra. (This habit would turn up glaringly in the early 1970s as well, when they were near bankruptcy)

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Another year, another Irwin Allan adventure with a huge cast.

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The 300 Spartans was war in ancient Greece

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Jackie Gleason was a mute in Gigot, a family film.

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The Longest Day is generally regarded as one of the greatest of all war films.

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it was then back to imported overdubbed films in The Loves of Salammbo

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Hollywood offspring starred in Young Guns of Texas

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The year ended with William Holden, Capuchine, Trevor Howard, and Pamela Franklin in Africa for The Lion.

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Another rather weak group. The Longest Day is tops for me, followed by Lisa. I can't say I was too thrilled with any of the others, even those generally liked by audiences such as Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.

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I still think this is a good year. Lots of interesting titles. Quite a bit of diversity in terms of subject matter.

Here's my Top 10:

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1. HEMINGWAY'S ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN. Zanuck liked doing adaptations of Hemingway works, and obviously his passion for such material was shared by other people at Fox. The cast is extraordinary. The sequence with Paul Newman is my favorite. And I think Jessica Tandy is very effective in her scenes. The cinematography is excellent. I love almost everything about this film. It's one I can watch over and over.

2. LISA. It's a beautifully made film with sincere performances by the leads. I was glad that Dolores Hart had a chance to introduce this film when she was a Guest Programmer on TCM a few years ago.

3. SATAN NEVER SLEEPS. Clifton Webb's movie swan song. He plays a frustrated priest to perfection. The film pushes the limits with regards to the production code. A murderous communist is forgiven by the church and turned into a loving family man. The whole thing is improbable but it contains truths about how a church might bring about reform. Holden gives a poignant performance as a fellow priest. It's an uneven masterpiece.

4. GIGOT. Jackie Gleason wanted to be taken seriously as a lead in a movie. In GIGOT, he does some comedy and drama (without dialogue). It's a unique film, directed by Gene Kelly of all people, and made in France. I think Gleason believed in the character and that makes all the difference.

5. THE LONGEST DAY. I enjoyed it. But it's too long. And most of the roles seem like excuses to cram another big name into the cast. It needed to be simplified.

6. STATE FAIR. Pat Boone gives a winning performance in this remake. Ann-Margret is good too. Best thing is Alice Faye, returning to Fox after a 17 year strike against Zanuck. Boone convinced her to take the role and finally fulfill her contract (she had owed Fox one more movie ever since FALLEN ANGEL).

7. THE 300 SPARTANS. Richard Egan at his peak, in a larger than life historical epic with all the trimmings. Good supporting cast, capable direction by Rudolph Mate. 

8. MADISON AVENUE. The third of four for Crain and Andrews. Eleanor Parker gives the best performance.

9. THE LION. Holden's work on this film caused him to develop an interest in wildlife preservation.

10. MR. HOBBS TAKES A VACATION. Good cast elevates material. But it could have been better.

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I'm curious about Gigot, though also maybe a little skeptical. I know Jackie Gleason is capable of good dramatic performances, but something about this screams "feel good".

The sweetheart here for me is State Fair. I saw this version long before I saw the 1940's version and to my young eyes Pat Boone, Ann-Margret, Pamela Tiffin and Bobby Darin seemed just about perfect. I knew Alice Faye from avid movie-watching on local TV stations, but didn't really understand at that time what a coup it was to have her in the cast. I also love Tom Ewell more in this than in practically anything else. I get that he was intended to be an "everyman" type audiences could relate to, but to me he seemed a very specific type, not a general type, and it kind of creeped me out to see him with Marilyn, Jayne Mansfield, etc. But I loved him with the hog and he paired really well (and believably for a change) with Alice Faye. Pamela Tiffin was just the right amount of offbeat and quirky for my taste and Bobby Darin was, here and elsewhere, a decent actor.

Count me as a fan of Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, though I readily acknowledge it's underlying formulaic silliness. Maureen O'Hara holds the whole thing together and she and Jimmy Stewart play off each other like old pros. And I adore John McGyver and Marie Wilson as the obsessive bird-watching couple, another dream team. And Fabian again, doing what Fabian did best, being the wholesome h*ottie parents could respect.

I agree with others that Lisa is a good one. (It's currently on demand from FXM.)

I'm embarrassed to say I've never seen The Longest Day from start to finish, only in sections. I like it and respect its stature, but for some reason I'm not drawn to it, and not just because it's a war movie, because there are plenty of those I like. I should just sit down and watch it and then I'd know for sure.

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33 minutes ago, DougieB said:

I'm curious about Gigot, though also maybe a little skeptical. I know Jackie Gleason is capable of good dramatic performances, but something about this screams "feel good".

Yes, on some level it's a "feel good" movie. But the premise itself is not exactly family friendly. An impoverished man who befriends a kid AND a prostitute-- he gets involved in situations with both of them. If it was just about him and the boy, it would be a Disney flick. But it's not. It's irreverent, it doesn't make apologies for what it is, and what Gleason and Kelly are trying to accomplish with the material. Though produced by a Hollywood studio (Fox), it feels like a European tragicomedy.

My belief is that Gleason was trying to emulate Chaplin, combining pathos and humor-- and doing it like one of Chaplin's silent classics, since Gigot is unable to talk.

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1 minute ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, on some level it's a "feel good" movie. But the premise itself is not exactly family friendly. An impoverished man who befriends a kid AND a prostitute-- he gets involved in situations with both of them. If it was just about him and the boy, it would be a Disney flick. But it's not. It's irreverent, it doesn't make apologies for what it is, and what Gleason and Kelly are trying to accomplish with the material. Though produced by a Hollywood studio (Fox), it feels like a European tragicomedy.

From your description, it sounds a little bit like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which would put it in very exalted company. You've definitely helped me make up my mind, though I'm not sure where to find it.

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5 minutes ago, DougieB said:

From your description, it sounds a little bit like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which would put it in very exalted company. You've definitely helped me make up my mind, though I'm not sure where to find it.

It aired on TCM a few years ago. If I remember correctly it was one of the last films Robert Osborne introduced, since he stopped hosting in February 2016. And GIGOT was included as part of the 31 Days of Oscar that year. It had been nominated for Best Adapted Score.

Someone might put it on YouTube. Keep checking. I am sure there were many people who recorded it when TCM broadcast it. 

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