Saturday, June 18, 2011

1962 ... What a Year!

1962 is an interesting year in film with a mixture of art-house classics and crowd pleasing blockbusters. French New Wave was still going strong, Hollywood epics got even more epic, and scratching films became an artistic expression ... somehow.

What else was going on in the world, then? Here's a lowdown:
  • Ranger 3 is launched to study the Moon ... it overshoots by about 4.5 Mount Everests. Somebody loses his/her job.
  • Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a game. No decisions were made afterwards.
  • Ranger 4 reaches the Moon ... in pieces.
  • Something important happens in Malaysia.
  • The first Wal-mart opens. America will never be the same again.
  • Marilyn Monroe dies. Beauty becomes a relative term.
  • Cuban missile crisis. Otherwise known as "Whose dick is bigger?" contest.
  • Big Freeze in Britain. Meanwhile, in 2011 Britain is going through the Big Moist.

On the big screen 1962 was a near vintage year, with a handful of classics to satisfy every whim and desire. These are the films that failed to make my esteemed Top 3 of the year. Not-so-quite fail roll:
  • Dog Star Man, in which somebody scratches the film and he is now adored by critics, academics, and film students. Overrated, but interesting nonetheles.
  • Jules et Jim, in which there is an isosceles love triangle. The girl is quite hot, the men are infuriatingly boring and annoying. Overrated, but interesting nonetheless.
  • The Manchurian Candidate, in which she writes the murder. Overrated, but interesting nonetheless.
  • A Raisin in the Sun, in which a family don't know what to do with a hefty sum of money. Overrated, but interesting nonetheless.
  • Sanjuro, in which a sequel is neither superior, nor inferior to the original. Overrated, but interesting nonetheless.
Yes, 1962 was a year of overrated (but interesting) films. The trend stops there, though, as the films below will attest:

3- Lawrence of Arabia (dir: David Lean; wri: Robert Bolt & Michael Wilson)
Where do I begin? Peter O'Toole's incredible performance? The 'mirage' scene? The battle scenes? The 'mirage' scene? Peter O'Toole's eyes? The 'mirage' scene? The butt-numbing 4 hours that just fly by? The 'mirage' scene? The scenery? Did I mention the 'mirage' scene?

2- Lolita (dir: Stanley Kubrick; wri: Vladimir Nabokov)
A shit storm ensued the release of Lolita, based on an equally incendiary novel. James Mason is deliciously sleazy as he muses about the fire of his loins, a 14-year-old precocious girl. Shelley Winters is brilliant as the pitiable and yet pathetic mother and Peter Sellers gives the most underrated role of his career. And then there's Kubrick's cold, distant, methodical directing, which makes this such a difficult yet mesmerising watch.

1- Le Jetée (wri & dir: Chris Marker)
A 26 minute sci-fi photo-roman. Only one shot of movement in the entire film. A story that hooks you from the start to the searing finale. Never has an airport looked so ominous, massive and inhuman. Arguably one of the most terrifying sci-fi films of all time. In case you didn't know it already, this was remade as Twelve Monkeys years later.

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