Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1963 ... What a Year!

Right, it had to come to this. A year that doesn't really deserve a What a Year post. But we will soldier on, overcome the obstabcles. Even though 1963 was short on films lacking the firepower of the years gone by, it still presented a considerably interesting bunch of films. And one absolute classic, which is number one. Obviously.

So, what else happened in the world in 1963 other than disappointment on the big screen. Here's the lowdown:
  • Mona Lisa is exhibited for the first time in the US, paving the way for the turd that was "The Da Vinci Code"
  • Female suffrage is enacted in Iran. Years before Switzerland. Somehow this did not have a happy ending.
  • The Alcatraz Island penitentiary closes, paving the way for umpteen shitty films.
  • ZIP codes are introduced in the US. Order is restored.
  • Lamborghini wheels out first car. We are not worth it.
  • First episode of "Doctor Who" is aired. No apology from BBC for the turd yet.

A few really important stuff also happened, but this is a light-hearted post ... before anybody takes out their history-infused fangs.

What about the big screen? Which films disappointed me so? Those who did not make the cut are:
  • The Birds ... OK, this isn't too bad, I guess.
  • Cleopatra ... OK, this isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
  • Contempt ... OK, this one has Brigitte Bardot before she revealed her racist persona. Bitch.
How about them apples, then?

3- High and Low (dir: Akira Kurosawa; wri: Hideo Oguni, Ryuzo Kikushima, Eijiro Hisaita & Akira Kurosawa)
With the exception of the brilliant Ikiru (1952), I always feel a little odd about Kurosawa's contemporary-Japan-set films. Perhaps I judge them unfairly, but they always seem to lack his feudal-Japan-set films' majestic quality. Regardless, High and Low is a compelling thriller about a father desperately trying to rescue a kidnapped child, with corporate greed thrown in for poignancy.

2- The Great Escape (dir: John Sturges; wri: James Clavell & W.R. Burnett)
The iconic status of The Great Escape is undeniable, with a cast that is up there with the greatest ever assembled. It is chock-full of classic scenes that every film fan from every level of enthusiasm knows. Yes, it is also quite tacky and jingoistic, but still great fun.

1- The Leopard (dir: Luchino Visconti; wri: Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Enrico Medioli, Massimo Franciosa & Luchino Visconti)
As aristocratic as a film can get. And it is simply brilliant: this is regal film-making about regal issues. Folks like you and me are beneath these people, yet their lives are so fascinating. It has a cast to die for (Burt Lancaster, Claudio Cardinale, Alain Delon ... I need to breathe ...). It may not be too deep or meaningful, but it is gorgeous to look at. And that is not a bad thing for a film, is it?

1 comment:

Hakan said...

Didn't anything important happen in Malaysia in 1963?


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