1968 in Movies

Movie reviews for movies released theatrically in 1968.

 

1. Once Upon a Time in the West, directed by Sergio Leone (10/10)

For a very long time this was, for me, the Greatest Western of All Time. It is probably the greatest spaghetti western of all-time, anyway. It features one of the greatest casting decisions ever (Fonda as a bad guy) and should have featured another (rumour has it that Eastwood’s character from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly was supposed to get killed off in the opening, only Eastwood had become a star and vetoed it). The notorious bad Italian sound is for once used to advantage. I could go on and on.

 

1. 2001, directed by Stanley Kubrick (10/10)

Ebert once remarked that this is one of the few movies from the 20th century that people would be discussing hundreds of years in the future. I agree. Yes, the effects have dated horribly, however this is the movie to imagine extraterrestrials as non-humanoid.

 

3. Night of the Living Dead, directed by George Romero (10/10)

One of the greatest horror movies ever made. Note-perfect despite the low budget.

 

4. Bullit, directed by Peter Yates (9/10*)

I have seen this movie way too many times to be objective about it.

 

4. Rosemary’s Baby, directed by Roman Polanski (9/10*)

Have not seen since I was a teen.

 

6. Fano and Lis, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (9/10)

My review is lost and I am sad to say that without I don’t think I can give this insane movie its due.

 

7. The Producers, directed by Mel Brooks (9/10)

The first time I saw this I didn’t understand it. I was pretty young.

 

8. The Party, directed by Blake Edwards (8/10)

A lot of people don’t find this movie as funny as I do. But I still watch it every decade or so and laugh my ass off.

 

9. Shame, directed by Ingmar Bergman (7/10)

This is a compelling study of what happens to the apolitical people when political conflicts (i.e. wars) interrupt their lives. The couple at the heart of it are believable and their sense of confusion is palpable. And I get that we the audience are supposed to share that sense of confusion.

But I feel like setting this during an actual war – rather than a made-up war – would have made the whole film more convincing. The problems mostly circle around why exactly this house in the middle of nowhere is the centre for so much action. We have to assume that there is some reason, but Bergman never provides us with it – and yes I get that the couple don’t know either, but the behaviour of those around the couple can some times be a little bizarre because we haven’t been provided with this reason. Also, I feel like the climactic migration is handled rather oddly, though again I understand why.

 

10. Targets, directed by Peter Bogdanovich (7/10)

There are some really neat ideas in this movie. The lack of a score is incredibly daring (though they might have done it for budgetary reasons) and I can’t recall an earlier Hollywood film without one. The opening of a film within a film under the credits is also quite out there. The lighting around the cigarette, though it really doesn’t work, is at least a neat idea. But Karloff is really the only actor that seems believable. Everyone else is obviously amateurish. The climax (and the violence in general) is somehow less shocking than it should be (there is an extremely high death count for the ’60s). The climax is very tense but up until that time the pacing was a little off. Basically, there are lots of interesting ideas that weren’t put together that well. It’s sort of what you would expect from a debut film from such a big film fan. The follow up film is a great example of his abilities whereas this isn’t so much.

 

11. Planet of the Apes, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (7/10*)

Seen, multiple times, as a teen.

 

12. If, directed by Lindsay Anderson (7/10)

I have lost my review, but this film is a bit of a mess. Not quite the classic people claim.

 

13. The Bride Wore Black, directed by Francois Truffaut (6/10)

Not a great movie, but iconic. Read the review.

 

14. The Devil Rides Out, directed by Terrence Fisher (6/10)

I have lost my review for this. I was mildly disappointed.

 

15. Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli (6/10*)

Watched in high school English.

 

16. Ice Station Zebra, directed by John Sturges (6/10)

This is pretty silly. The rating seems high.

 

17. Hang’em High, directed by Ted Post (6/10*)

Seen at the very beginning of my Eastwood phase.

 

18. How to Irritate People, directed by Ian Fordyce (5/10)

Note: This is a one-off collection of skits for British TV, but it was never a series so I decided to put it here.

Despite the presence of sizable chunk of Python this special is very much proto-Basil Fawlty and how much you like this probably depends on how much you like Fawlty Towers (if you are into the idea of Fawlty Towers without plot).

There are very few great bits and I laughed pretty infrequently.

Pretty disappointing given the talent involved.

 

19. The Devil’s Brigade, directed by Andrew V. McLagen (5/10)

This isn’t a very good history of this unit, and no time is spent on the consequences of its existence. Some of the actors are quite good.

 

20. The Green Berets, directed by Ray Kellogg, John Wayne (3/10*)

Saw it during my John Wayne phase. But the very idea of it offends me now, so there you go.