Saturday, July 2, 2011

1964 ... What a Year!

On to 1964 - a good year. A solid year with plenty of classics, some of which are undoubtedly favourites of many.

Before the silver screen enlightens us with all the goodies, what did happen elsewhere on this third rock from the Sun in the year 1964?

  • Beatlemania comes to the US. This coincides with the invention of the term "Boy Band".
  • The Italian government admits that the Tower of Pisa is leaning. They changed its name to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • The Great Train Robbery happens, which inspires the great folk-metal song "The Great Brain Robbery" by Skyclad.
  • Something important happens in Malaysia.
You know ... the usual.

Meanwhile, the world of film offered us some interesting gems. For instance:
  • A Fistful of Dollars, in which the man has no name and needs 3 coffins. Make that 4.
  • Goldfinger, in which women are gold and their names sound like genitalia.
  • Zulu, in which there are a few skirmishes.
But, none of them were even close to these films, the Top 3 of 1964:

3- Mary Poppins (dir: Robert Stevenson; wri: Bill Walsh & Tom DaGradi)

Yes, Dick Van Dyke's accent is horrendous. Yes, it's a musical. And yes, it's ... you know ... for kids. It is also cheesy, butt-numbingly long and just a little too Disney. But, it's tremendous fun. The "Step in Time" dance on the rooftops? The "Feed the Birds" song? Julie Andrews at her majestic best? Despite my general misgivings of the genre, this is a good old-fashioned romp.

2- Band of Outsiders (wri & dir: Jean-Luc Godard)

I think Godard is vastly overrated. There, I said it. Now shoot me. But before you do, hear me out why I really, really like Band of Outsiders, the film that Tarantino named his production company after. It is the epitome of hip. So hip, it makes your horn-rimmed glasses so mainstream. It was cool before films became famous. Too self-aware, too cute, and too chaotic. But, tell me with a straight face that you don't want to be one of the Band of Outsiders. Godard, on the other hand, is still vastly overrated.

1- Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (dir: Stanley Kubrick; wri: Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern & Peter George)

Kubrick's comedy stands the test of time and dwarves every political satire before and after. It is relentlessly funny and chaotic from start to finish and the attention to detail is as Kubrickian as it gets. Above all, it has three of the greatest performances in comedy history, all played by the late great Peter Sellers. "Mein F├╝hrer! I can valk!!"

1964 ... what a year!

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