My movie reviews for movies released theatrically in 1965.
1. Alphaville, directed by Jean Luc Godard (10/10)
The destruction of the movie, in a way. That’s a ridiculously pompous thing to say, but I can’t really come up with a more coherent explanation for why this is ridiculous in all the right ways.
2. The War Game, directed by Peter Watkins (9/10)
I again feel like I have underrated Mr. Watkins’ film. A must see.
3. Bunny Lake is Missing, directed by Otto Preminger (9/10)
I know I reviewed this, just can’t find it. A near-classic.
4. The Loved One, directed by Tony Richardson (9/10)
I must admit I haven’t read the novel. So I have no idea if this is bastardized. Of course, film is a different medium, so personally I’m okay with liberties if they make sense. On its own, this movie is hilarious and also pretty influential (it seems to predate the rapid cutting of many modern comedies by decades). The humour is often pretty subtle and then often totally obvious. It is varied and broad. The ending seems totally fitting. It’s pretty awesome.
5. The Collector, directed by William Wyler (9/10)
A near-perfect adaptation of the novel.
6. For a Few Dollars More, directed by Sergio Leone (9/10)
Better than the first Eastwood spaghetti film.
7. Major Dundee, directed by Sam Peckinpah (8/10)
What can be said about this movie? It seems contrived (though other westerns have also attempted the ‘Yankees and Confederates uniting for a dangerous mission’ line, it still doesn’t make it believable); the acting is almost Johnny Guitar cartoonish in some spots; the love interest stuff is totally unnecessary and serves to make it longer than it should be; sometimes they get away with things way too easily; even though the film was restored to Peckinpah’s version it still feels incomplete; the ending is a sort of successful (therefore half-baked) version of the Wild Bunch, as if Peckinpah wasn’t quite willing to go there just yet. On the other hand, the vast majority of the film was shot (beautifully) on location (including some stuff that was actually shot at night, a real rarity for the ’60s); the cutting, particularly in the final battle scene, is pretty out there for the era; it is more violent than the vast majority of American westerns before it; it is unlike any other American western up until this point; the ending is so abrupt it’s actually shocking in a way. Even though there are many, many things wrong with this film I am still very tempted to say that it is at least good. It defies explanation in a way (especially given that Bonnie and Clyde had yet to start the whole American Film Renaissance). It is unique.
8. Cat Ballou, directed by Elliot Silverstein (8/10*)
I have seen this movie way too many times to be objective about it.
9. The Cincinnati Kid, directed by Norman Jewison (8/10)
I have lost the review for this.
10. The Ipcress File, directed by Sidney J. Furie (8/10)
11. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, directed by Martin Ritt (8/10)
I have lost my review.
12. Doctor Zhivago, directed by David Lean (8/10)
Insanely large and long. But well acted and well shot.
13. Juliet of the Spirits, directed by Frederico Fellini (8/10)
I am not a Fellini fan normally, but this movie is “grounded” (perhaps that’s not the right word, since we are talking about Fellini after all) more than some of his others. I can at least understand and empathize with the main character, to an extent. It’s great to look at, too (though that’s often the case, especially with his colour films). There’s still way too much of his world view I can’t come to grips with (I mean, who really has an elevator to a tree?), but at least it’s a little more accessible than most of his stuff.
14. Repulsion, directed by Roman Polanski (7/10)
Regrettably, I misplaced my review.
15. It Happened Here, directed by Kevin Brownlow, Andrew Mollo (6/10)
It’s a great idea. I mean, it really could have worked brilliantly. I figured if Peter Watkins had made it, it might have turned out better. There are a number of problems. For one thing, there isn’t much to connect us to the story at first. Once we are introduced to the main character, much has already happened, and we’re not sure whether we should emotionally invest ourselves. Then she doesn’t participate enough in many of the subsequent scenes. There are too many montages (lack of budget?). The whole thing feels patched together as if they had run out of money before they finished shooting. The twist near the end would have been fantastic, but it is ruined by the inevitable ending (though this isn’t wholly glossed over, as it might have been). Not enough is done re: teasing out the implications of a fascist England. I still think the whole thing is admirable, given the date and the state of film tech, and it’s worth watching if only because it is a good lesson in how not to make an alternate history movie (well, and the twist almost-ending is pretty great too).
16. The Hill, directed by Sidney Lumet (6/10*)
I watched this a long time ago, at night.
17. The Thunderball, directed by Terrence Young (6/10)
This is the first bond movie where I sort of lose some patience as an adult.
18. The Heroes of Telemark, directed by Anthony Mann (6/10)
This is a really strange one which I have managed to see multiple times in the middle of the night.
19. The Sound of Music, directed by Robert Wise (6/10*)
Seen as a child.
20. The Battle of Bulge, directed by (5/10)
Oddly myopic for a film about such a large battle.
21. The Sons of Katie Elder, directed by Henry Hathaway (5/10*)
Seen during my John Wayne phase.
22. Von Ryan’s Express, directed by Mark Robson (4/10)
Remember the good old days when men were men and everyone enjoyed fighting Nazis? It was so much fun, even though lots of people were dying, it was still fun enough to have moments of comedy and a general spirit of adventure. Nothing like stealing a train to make your prison break that much more special. Oh I wish we were back in the day when war movies weren’t serious and were about adventure and fun!
23. Fast, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, directed by Russ Meyer (1/10)
Within five minutes, we witness a cat fight. The lead actress rarely stops shouting. I really don’t know why anything happens in the movie. I don’t know why it was made, except because some men wanted to see some women before nudity was acceptable. Sometimes exploitation movies are awesome, nothing about this thing is awesome. It is a train wreck. Yuck.
“The Railrodder,” directed by Gerald Potterton (7/10)
Pretty classic Buster Keaton with a great view of Canada in the ’60s (even if it’s kind of geographically confused).