Thursday, September 20, 2012

greatness, fifty years ago

David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia": '62's Crown Jewel

 Bravo, Turner!

The good people at Turner Classic Movies - bless 'em - have set aside tomorrow's morning/afternoon programming for a mini-tribute to my favorite movie year. That would be the incredible 1962 which, 50 years ago, produced a treasure trove of compulsively watchable films.

The day kicks off at 6 am (est) with Richard Brooks' splendid film of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth," followed immediately by Mervyn LeRoy's extraordinary filmization of the Styne-Sondheim musical, ”Gypsy” ; John Frankenheimer's prescient "The Manchurian Candidate"; Blake Edwards' cautionary ”Days of Wine and Roses”; François Truffaut's seminal "Jules et Jim," and Stanley Kubrick's silky smooth "Lolita," a revolutionary film by way of Vladimir Nabokov.

Can't wait.

Look, I love the film year 1939 as much as the next cinéphile, but the 70 years-plus of praise that it has accumulated (and, I hasten to add, deserved) tends to diminish other great movie years, before and after.

And 1962 is a vivid case in point.

Great, great year.

For longer than I care to remember, I've been doing spin for 1962. If neglected films are my forté - not to mention, the thrust of this site - then 1962 defines everything that is important to me in terms of movies.

I was a lone voice on the subject until that fine critic Stephen Farber wrote his fabulous essay, "1962: When the Silver Screen Never Looked So Golden," for The New York Times on Sunday, 15 September, 2002.

Exacerbating matters for films that year, a city-wide strike halted newspaper production in December, which meant no New York Ten Best lists and no NY film critics awards in '62. But, back in 2009, the film arm of Brooklyn's Academy of Music (BAM) belatedly corrected matters by organizing a modest event titled "BAMcinématek 1962: New York Film Critics Circle," which was devoted to a handful of films from that year.

Check out A.O. Scott's 16 October, 2009 New York Times report on that 12-title event.

With that said, and in no particular order, here is a unannotated list of the noteworthy films, both domestic and foreign, released in America in 1962 - noteworthy for their breadth and variety and for their eclectic mix of veteran filmmakers and newcomers.

Some are great, some merely good. But I think you'll agree: It was some year. BAM only scratched the surface of '62's fascinating filmography.

Here goes:

David Lean: "Lawrence of Arabia"

Jacques Demy: "Lola"

Alain Resnais: "Last Year at Marienbad"

Three by John Frankenheimer: "The Manchurian Candidate," "Birdman of Alcatraz" and "All Fall Down"

Three by Delbert Mann: "The Outsider," "Lover Come Back" and "That Touch of Mink"

Parrish and Harvey, "The Manchurian Candidate"
John Cassavetes: "Too Late Blues"

Sidney Gilliat: "Only Two Can Play"

Two by Frank Tashlin:"Bachelor Flat" and "It's Only Money"

Guy Green: "Light in the Piazza"

Pietro Germi: "Divorce - Italian Style"

Two by Sidney Lumet: "A View from the Bridge" and "Long Day's Journey into Night"

Two by Vincente Minnelli: "Two Weeks in Another Town" and "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"

Two by Edward Dmytryk: "Walk on the Wild Side" and "The Reluctant Saint"

Otto Preminger: "Advise and Consent"

Jacques Rivette: "Paris Belongs to Us"

Roger Corman: "Tales of Terror"

Stanley Kubrick: "Lolita"

John Guillermin: "Waltz of the Toreadors"

Delmer Daves: "Rome Adventure"

Leo McCarey: "Satan Never Sleeps"

Newman and Page, "Sweet Bird of Youth"
Two by Sidney J. Furie: "Night of Passion" and "Wonderful to Be Young"

Andrei Tarkovsky: "The Violin and the Roller"

Richard Brooks: "Sweet Bird of Youth"

Orson Welles: "Mr. Arkadin"

Two by Henri Verneuil: "Maxime" and "The Most Wanted Man in the World"

Two by Tony Richardson: "A Taste of Honey" and "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Jack Clayton: "The Innocents"

Michael Cacoyannis: "Electra"

John Ford: "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence"

Peter Ustinov: "Billy Budd"

Agnes Varda: "Cleo from 5 to 7"

Two by Blake Edwards: "Experiment in Terror" and ”Days of Wine and Roses”

Freddie Francis: "Two and Two Make Six"

Bryan Forbes: "Whistle Down the Wind"

Serge Bourguignon: "Sundays and Cybele"

Mervyn LeRoy: ”Gypsy”

Morton DaCosta: ”The Music Man”

Luis Buñuel: "Viridiana"

'62 produced at least two top movie musicals - LeRoy's "Gypsy" and DaCosta's "The Music Man," both from Warners

Michael Powell:
"Peeping Tom"

Andre Cayette: "Tomorrow Is My Turn"

Two by Philip Leacock: "13 West Street" and "The War Lover"

Two by Michelangelo Antonioni: "Eclipse"/"L'Eclisse" and "Il Grido"

Sam Peckinpah: "Ride the High Country"

Inoshiro Honda: "Mothra"

José Ferrer: "State Fair"

J. Lee Thompson: "Cape Fear"

Arthur Penn: "The Miracle Worker"

Lewis Gilbert: "Damn the Defiant!"

Rock and Doris and Tony - Oh, my!
Martin Ritt: "Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man"

Michael Gordon: "Boys' Night Out"

David Miller: "Lonely Are the Brave"

Don Siegel: "Hell Is for Heroes"

William Castle: "Zotz"

Daniel Mann: ”Five Finger Exercise”

Samuel Fuller:
"Merrill's Marauders"

Jane and Blanche Hudson

Richard Quine: ”The Notorious Landlady”

Howard Hawks: "Hatari!"

George Seaton: "The Counterfeit Traitor"

Jules Dassin: "Phaedra"

Two by Jack Cardiff: "My Geisha" and "The Lion"

Henry Koster: "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation"

Frank Perry: "David and Lisa"

Two by Robert Mulligan: "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Spiral Road"

David Swift: "The Interns"

Phil Karlson: "Kid Galahad"

Basil Dearden: "Victim"

Richard Fleischer: "Barabbas"

George Roy Hill: "Period of Adjustment"

Lewis Milestone: "Mutiny on the Bounty"

Robert Wise: "Two for the Seesaw"

Guy Hamilton: "The Best of Enemies"

Three by Ingmar Bergman: "Through a Glass Darkly," "Night Is My Future" and "The Devil's Wanton"

Louis Malle: "A Very Private Affair"

Peter Sellers: "I Like Money"

Three by Francois Truffaut: "Jules et Jim," "Love at Twenty" and "Shoot the Piano Player"

Charles Walters: "Billy Rose's Jumbo"

John Huston: "Freud"

George Pollock: "Murder She Said"

Irvin Kershner: "A Face in the Rain"

Jack Garfein: "something wild"

Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau: "The Sky Above - The Mud Below"

Kelly and Gleason on location in Paris for "Gigot"
Shirley Clarke: "The Connection"

Albert Lamorisse: "Stowaway in the Sky"

Robert Aldrich: "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"

Gene Kelly: ”Gigot”

Ralph Nelson: "Requiem for a Heavyweight"

Hark Harvey: "Carnival of Souls"

Mauro Bolognini: "Bell'Antonio"

Daniel Petrie: "The Main Attraction"

Akira Kurosawa: "Yojimbo"

George Marshall: "The Happy Thieves"

Federico Fellini: "The Swindle"/"Il Bidone"

Henry Hawthaway, Ford and Marshall: "How the West Was Won"

Ken Annakin, Andrew Morton and Barnhard Wicki: "The Longest Day"

Luchino Visconti, Mario Monicelli, Vittorio DeSica and Fellini: "Boccaccio '70"

And George Cukor: ”The Chapman Report”

Lemmon and Novak take a break from shooting Richard Quine's "The Notorious Landlady"
Note in Passing: In a recent letters column, the ever-astute San Francisco Chronicle movie critic Mick LaSalle noted that "the top ten of 1962 has six classics - 'Lawrence of Arabia,' 'Dr. No,' 'The Longest Day,' 'The Music Man,' 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Gypsy.' " No argument here. One of Mick's picks, "Dr. No," was indeed a 1962 release in Great Britain; it opened in America in May of the following year, 1963.


Alex said...

That's a very impressive and enlightening list! I've always been a big fan of 1937 myself, but 1962 was a good one, I can see.

Tina Laney said...

Great column! I recently watched Bryan Forbes' "The L-Shaped Room" on Turner. That was a 1962 British film but it didn't open here until a year later - in '63. One of my favorites. I remember seeing it the first time around.

tom said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

James L. said...

I sense that you might be “listed out,” so to speak. But had to say that I am impressed with the breadth of the films here. Wow! It may have taken more than 50 years, but that fine film year is finally getting its due.

Sheila said...

You have showed great perseverance behind the blog. It's been enriched since the beginning. I love to share to with my friends. Carry on.

wwolfe said...

It's remarkable how grown up these movies were. Or, to put it slightly differently, it's clear that these movies were being made for grown-ups, and that this approach was the norm, not the exception. That seems like the single biggest difference between then and now. This was a very enjoyable list.

gregg r. said...

Fellini's The Swindle (Il Bidone) originally came out in 1955.

joe baltake said...

Gregg- True, but it wasn't released in the US until 1962. I note that in preamble to the list. As you probably know, foreign titles tend to arrive here a bit late, as evidenced by Alberto Lattuada's "Mafioso," a film made and released in Italy in 1962 but one which didn't arrive here until 2006. The Fellini you mention was just such a belated release-J

Glenn said...

great presentation as usual, Joe -- right this moment I'm showing "The 400 Blows" to my film history class; we also looked at clips from "Breathless," "Jules and Jim," "My Life to Live," "Wages of Fear," "Mr. Hulot's Holiday," Cocteau's "Beauty & the Beast."

Jaime said...

Awesome year!

McBride said...

Re Luis Buñuel's "The Exterminating Angel," IMDb lists it as a 1962 release but you didn't include it in your list.

joe baltake said...

McBride- You're right. IMDb lists "The Exterminating Angel" parenthetically as a 1962 release, but if you look closely, under the heading "Release Date," you'll see that it actually opened in America on 21 August 1967.

Mike said...

That "release dates" feature on IMDb is very handy, but in general, I find IMDb to be factually unreliable.

Paul Henne said...

Good year for movies. Now do something on 1994, while omitting "Forrest Gump" and I will be very happy.

joe baltake said...

Actually, Paul, I would love to see what Frankenheimer would have done with "Forrest Gump."

Steve said...

Great list, and inspires me to find some I haven’t seen.

Brian D. said...

Joe! IMDb says that Luis Buñuel's "The Exterminating Angel" was a 1962 release, but it's not represented on your list. Still, phenomenal year!

joe baltake said...

Brian! You really had me on "The Exterminating Angel." Had to double-check that one. Hard to believe that it took five years for that Buñuel to make it here. Jeez.

Jean-Pierre said...

That's a mighty impressive list of movies. Even if 1962 didn';t see the release of "Dr. No", that movie heralded arguably the most popular film series ever.

Barry Cohen said...

Bergman - Winter Light
Tarkovsky - Ivan's Childhood
Polanski - Knife in the Water
Risi - Il Sorpasso (The Easy Life)
Zurlini - Family Diary
Welles - The Trial
Loy - Four Days of Naples

IMDb says they're all 1962 releases.

Thomas said...

About the film's that Barry Cohen listed, "Winter Light," "Knife in the Water," "The Easy Life," "Family Diary," "The Trial" and "Four Days of Naples" were all released in the states in 1963. I can't comment on when "Ivan's Childhood" opened here.

joe baltake said...

Thomas: You can't find "Ivan's Childhood" because it opened here as "My Name Is Ivan." It's release date in America was 27 June 1963.

Barry, when doing research, please note that, for each title, there's a "Release Date" subhead that you can click on. It provides the dates and places where each film opened. Case in point: the aforementioned "My Name Is Ivan." Although parenthetically listed as 1962, it opened in June of '63 in this country.

BTW, I noted at the top of my essay that all the titles listed opened in the US in '62.

sherry said...

I heartily agree with Mike; IMDb can be often unreliable for film facts.

joe baltake said...

Mike & Sherry: That's why I also relied on the 1962 edition of John Willis' "Screen World" (an invaluable annual) for release dates.

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Kent said...

One word, Joe: Wow!