Sunday, September 18, 2011

1967 ... What a Year!

All right, moving on to the dawn of New Hollywood as American cinema enters a new era. Some of the superstar directors that we still admire today are graduating from film schools and are about to take cinema by storm. 1967 was the beginning. For many, the true New Hollywood never really took off beyond a couple of years after its inception, for some the seeds were planted then for the Masters to sow them in the next decade as the era of Blockbusters take over. Whatever it was, 1967 was the beginning of a great era for film and no one can deny that.

Before we go on to the cinematic highlights, let's remind ourselves of the state of terra firma in 1967:

  • The Doors break on through to the others side.
  • The Pack win the first ever Super Bowl. The slots for Super Bowl commercials are sold at 1c per 30 seconds.
  • Malaysia wants to get in on the act so something important happens there.
  • First Boeing 737 flight. Hold on ... are they that old?!

So, what happened on the big screen? Well, a lot of highlights and some lowlights too. Before the eagerly awaited (ahem) Top3, here are 3 other notable entries (with varying quality ... or lack thereof):

  • Cool Hand Luke in which Jesus-lite eats a lot of boiled eggs.
  • Point Blank in which 'cool' is redefined once and for all.
  • Wavelength in which your ears are viciously violated in a 45 minutes that you will never get back.
Not great, I admit. But 1967 also gave us 3 undeniable classics too. Here are The Bru's Top 3 Films of 1967:

3- Bonnie and Clyde (dir: Arthur Penn; wri: David Newman & Robert Benton)

Was this the film that kickstarted the New Hollywood? Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn't matter, because whatever its place in cinametic history may be, Bonnie & Clyde is one of the most dazzling films of its time. Watching it again may be a little taxing as it seems a little too ... how should I put it ... 'high'. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the titular couple were the epitome of the glamour screen couple, influencing many a road movie / criminal duo films for years to come (and still to this day). Off screen, the shoot was equally legendary with many a story thrown around. And that finale ... despite its relative technical shortcomings in what we can achieve today, its dramatic impact hasn't lessened. And if films or society in general needed a proper call-to-arms, I can't think of a better film than Bonnie and Clyde.

2- Belle de Jour (dir: Luis Buñuel; wri: Luis Buñuel & Jean-Claude Carrière)

Arguably Buñuel's most famous film (and his most easily accessible), Belle de Jour cemented Catherine Deneueve as a) one of the most talented actresses of her generation, and b) one of the most beautiful woman in the world. It is her vulnerability that carries the film, which easily could have been degenerated into pure pulp artcore. Even a director of Buñuel's calibre would have struggled to turn this thing around. So, credit goes to Deneuve here. Yet, I wouldn't want to belittle Buñuel's input in any way. It is his controlled direction and the eye for the wicked and the bizarre that is evident throughout. This was a screen marriage-of-sorts made in heaven. And it is quite funny too!

3- The Graduate (dir: Mike Nichols; wri: Calder Willingham & Buck Henry)

One of the most iconic films with a line so engraved in our psyche that its ubiquity could easily have been borderline annoying. But it's not. Yes, the comedy stops halfway through and there may be one too many "Scarborough Fair"'s there. But has there been an ending as open yet as satisfying as this? Which one of us doesn't hum Simon & Garfunkel for a whole week (maybe more) after watching this? This is romantic comedy royalty. If I have to describe it in one word, I'd only say "plastics."

1967 ... what a year!

1 comment:

Dusty McGowan said...

Excellent post! Really digging these film history posts. I'm sure it is much more difficult than it looks to summarize this much information, make it snappy, and convey your own insights.

Bonnie and Clyde: Totally agree that this is an important film. It was a game changer. I'm not a great personal fan of it...mostly because I saw the new wave stuff that influenced it first. It's good, but no SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER.

Belle Du Jour (sp?): I need to make it all the way through this one. Ashamed that I haven't.

The Graduate: Yes, it's dated as all hell. But yeah, the ending is just says so much with out digesting itself for you. It spoke to its generation, but it is also timeless. I was 17 in 1997 when I first saw it. And trust me, it changed my whole life.

Great stuff. Also, we still need to chat about that guest post.


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