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The Underrated Sixties & Seventies


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I have decided to put the 60s & 70s together in one new thread, so people do not complain we are cluttering up General Discussions. Later, I will also put the 80s & 90s together, and then make one last thread for the 2000s when we get that far, covering 2000 to present.

 

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Here's my list for 1960 (number 4 is vastly underrated):

 

1. PSYCHO

2. ELMER GANTRY

3. SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO

4. THE GRASS IS GREENER

5. POLLYANNA

6. HOME FROM THE HILL

7. FLAMING STAR

8. PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES

9. SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING

10. WILD RIVER and THE SUNDOWNERS (tie)

 

Honorable Mentions: CAN-CAN; VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED; THE ENTERTAINER; THE BELLBOY; and BELLS ARE RINGING.

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My only problem with the 60's and 70's is that a big chunk of my favorite movies from those decades were ones I only rented from Netflix or saw a long time ago in a theater, and hence I don't have them in my database of recorded films and purchased DVDs. I like the idea of continuing, but it'll take me awhile to retrieve my memory. :)

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I could be wrong here finance, but I think TB's intent with his thread here was to suggest and spotlight some less revered and thus underrated films of these decades than examples such as both our favorite "The Apartment" and other recognized classics such as "Lawrence of Arabia", "The Godfather", "Chinatown" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

 

(...at least that's the impression I'm gettin' here...am I right, TB?)

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I'm glad to see THE BELLBOY made your "honorable mention" list. I've said ealier( elsewhere) that I loved Jerry Lewis movies as a kid( as did most kids at the time), but in retrospect, the only ones that hold up for me are THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and THE BELLBOY.

 

I think it was a cleverly arranged collection of short but brilliant comic vignettes that still manage to crack me up ( "I'll smoke it DRY!").

 

Sepiatone

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Andy, some ways to find movies for each year:

 

1. filmsite.org lists the Oscar winners and nominees for each other, and the discussion includes "snubs and omissions"

 

2. myvideostore.com has lists of movies by year

 

3. Search engines will also take you to lists of movies by year.

 

I may sign off in 1967 after Jo Van Fleet wins her third award for Best Supporting Actress.

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For me, there's a drop after the top 3 films. Oddly enough, films 3 through 10 were all filmed partly or wholly out of the U.S.

 

Top !0 for 1960:

 

1. Psycho

2. Wild River

3. The Sundowners

4. Spartacus

5. Tunes of Glory

6. Our Man in Havana

7. Sons and Lovers

8. The Night Fighters

9. The League of Gentlemen

10. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

 

Need to see: The Angry Silence, The Savage Innocents

Honorable mention: The Unforgiven, Elmer Gantry

Overrated: The Apartment

Underrated: The Night Fighters

 

Best Actor: Anthony Perkins, Psycho

Best Actress: Lee Remick, Wild River

Best Supporting Actress: Jo Van Fleet, Wild River

Best Supporting Actor: Cyril Cusack, The Night Fighters

 

Honorable mention for performances:

Actor: Jack Lemmon (The Apartment) and Robert Mitchum (The Sundowners)

Actress: Deborah Kerr (The Sundowners) and Shirley MacLaine (The Apartment)

Supporting Actor: If Trevor Howard (Sons and Lovers) is put in this category, he would probably be my choice.

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Andy, some ways to find movies for each year:

 

1. filmsite.org lists the Oscar winners and nominees for each other, and the discussion includes "snubs and omissions"

 

2. myvideostore.com has lists of movies by year

 

3. Search engines will also take you to lists of movies by year.

 

Good tips, and thanks.

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> I think TB's intent with his thread here was to suggest and spotlight some less revered and thus underrated films of these decades

 

Yes. I think THE APARTMENT is overrated quite frankly (sorry to say to the fans who like it). Most of Billy Wilder's catalogue is overrated in my opinion.

 

I did put PSYCHO at the top, and some might say that is overrated, too-- but I think it has some very underrated elements. Like Janet Leigh's performance-- she never gets enough credit for getting the ball rolling and helping set this film up for the classic that it is. It's such a non-sympathetic part to play, but Leigh makes us invest in her-- so that when something terrible happens to her, we are willing to sit through the rest of the picture to see if justice will be served. A lesser actress in the role and we would not have cared.

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>I'm glad to see THE BELLBOY made your "honorable mention" list

 

I love THE BELLBOY and THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. Let's face it: Jerry Lewis is sort of taken for granted...such an underrated entertainer if you ask me. He should be chosen as Star of the Month on TCM.

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In other words, the list goes from "incredibly underrated" to only "modestly underrated"? Not only does the listmaker have to figure which films he likes the most, but also the relative differences between his opinions and everyone else's opinions. Doing this is more difficult than coming up with the Theory of Relativity. (getting back to our bewhiskered friend).

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1962 movies are so vastly different from those of 1972 that it could be different centuries. No other delineation of content has ever been so profound between decades - neither before nor since. Where the 30's flowing into 40's into 50's into 60's can be charted stylistically in a gentle evolutionary study - the difference between the 60's and the entire decade of the 70's was nothing less than revolutionary.

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Yep, very twue...err...true, dark.(sorry, I've come over from the Kay Francis thread) ;) And of course, this would probably be due to the final demise of the Motion Picture Production Code in 1968.

 

In fact, one could probably make the argument that pre-code films were also markedly different from those released after 1934 and when all films had to adhere to the M.P.P.C.

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>one could probably make the argument that pre-code films were also markedly different from those released after 1934 and when all films had to adhere to the M.P.P.C.

 

But-- are you ready for this?-- (index finger raised) pre-code and post-code films do not often resemble each other. Why is this? Probably because more than just the code itself, the films of the early 30s and late 60s are products of their respective eras. Not exclusively defined by the absence of restriction and censorship.

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*one could probably make the argument that pre-code films were also markedly different from those released after 1934 and when all films had to adhere to the M.P.P.C.*

 

But-- are you ready for this?-- (index finger raised) pre-code and post-code films do not often resemble each other. Why is this? Probably because more than just the code itself, the films of the early 30s and late 60s are products of their respective eras. Not exclusively defined by the absence of restriction and censorship.

 

There's also the point that there actually *was* a code prior to mid-1934 that most definitely *was* enforced in most every film we consider "pre-code". In shorthand terms, it was the Hays Code before mid-'34 and the "Breen" Code after that, even though strictly speaking it was the Hays Code that was still on the books.

 

Not that there wasn't an enormous difference in tone and content between the Hays and "Breen" Codes, but there were three key plot elements that they nearly always had in common, each involving the ending: Previously "sinful" couples nearly always got married; the bad guys nearly always got punished; and the good guys mostly always get served a dose of justice in the form of a happy ending.

 

Look at some of the most celebrated pre-code movies: In Baby Face, the mantrap Stanwyck repents at the end and goes back to nurse her husband back to health. In Wild Boys of the Road, a friendly judge vows to place a group of boxcar hoppers under non-punitive adult supervision. In the 1931 version of Possessed, Crawford miraculously makes an honest man out of Gable. In The Story of Temple Drake, Miriam Hopkins even more miraculously does a 180 in court and tells the truth for the first time in her life, to then be carried out of the room in the arms of her loving and loyal would-be beau.

 

In fact, just about the only pre-codes I can think of that *don't* fit that bill are Jean Harlow's Red-Headed Woman and Paul Muni's I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang.

 

In Red-Headed Woman, Harlow gets run out of the country by a group of indignant townspeople, furious at her for her slutty ways. And yet in the last scene, set in France, we see that she's nabbed a French sugar daddy, while cavorting with the same chauffeur (Charles Boyer) on the side whom she was slipping around with back in America. Talk about having her cake and eating it, too. ;)

 

And in the Muni movie, there's absolutely no vindication for the wronged hero, who vanishes into the night with the words "I STEAL!"

 

But other than those two, it's often hard to tell the date of those early to mid- 30's movies if you just watch the last two minutes.

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1962 movies are so vastly different from those of 1972 that it could be different centuries. No other delineation of content has ever been so profound between decades - neither before nor since. Where the 30's flowing into 40's into 50's into 60's can be charted stylistically in a gentle evolutionary study - the difference between the 60's and the entire decade of the 70's was nothing less than revolutionary.

 

I'd go even farther than that. I entered college (Duke) in 1962 and graduated in 1967.

 

In 1962 blazers and oxfords were the standard dress for campus men, along with short hair, conservative politics and a campus newspaper that mainly covered student council meetings and campus concerts.

 

By 1967 jeans were was the "uniform" of choice among both men and women, large numbers of students were fairly regular pot smokers, conservative politics was largely confined to the more southern-oriented fraternity houses, and the campus newspaper was in open revolt against the college administration. This trend accelerated much more by 1969 and 1970, but the real break was in 1967-68. And of course the films of that year (mostly dreadful IMO, but whatever) naturally reflected such tectonic shifts that were taking place to varying degrees all over the country.

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I have no idea if they're underrated or not, but my favorite films from 1960 are:

 

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (one of my three-way tie for favorite movie of all-time)

PSYCHO

PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISES

EYES WITHOUT A FACE

NEVER TAKE CANDY (SWEETS) FROM A STRANGER

MIDNIGHT LACE

THE TIME MACHINE

IT STARTED IN NAPLES

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

THE BELLBOY

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Still, BABY FACE (a precode) and WORKING GIRL (a post-code) do not look anything alike and they tell the same basic story.

 

It really doesn't have anything to do with the code. It has to do with different generations of storytellers telling the same story differently. We try to say that the code changed movies, but even if there never was a code, the same themes would still have been explored and depicted differently.

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