Category Archives: 1960’s movies

The Cinema of Discomfort

    Buried somewhere in the collective reactive unconscious of every true cinephile are those films which relay a palpable, entirely personal, though nonetheless real sense of discomfort: films which are difficult to sit through without a crawling and uncomfortable sensation … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Mackenna’s Gold” (1969)

        Marshal Sam Mackenna (Gregory Peck) is kidnapped by long-time nemesis John Colorado (Omar Sharif) and his gang who believe the lawman is privy to the location of a spectacularly rich lode of gold in J. Lee Thompson’s … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Smashing Time” (1967)

      “Smashing Time” is a perfect example of a movie whose failure is evident  from its belief in it’s own terminal cuteness; an affliction suffered by any film which features either an onscreen crowd or audience  shown to … Continue reading

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Sour Balls: “Candy” (1968)

       “Candy”, based on the “provocative” novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, is a witless, impenetrable exercise in pseudo-psychodelic nonsense, grabbing at the newly relaxed sexual standards of the day yet only managing to emerge as an extended … Continue reading

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Blue Mooned: “Barbarella” (1968)

     Jean-Claude Forest’s comic book adventuress  is given the Mid-Sixties psychodelic Dino de Laurentiis treatment in “Barbarella”, a vapid, would-be sexploitation vehicle directed without a successful snooze alarm by that most odious of dirty minded Euro-sexual imps, Roger Vadim.      … Continue reading

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Demons of the Dull: “The Devil’s Hand” (1962)

____________________________________________________________      This Satanic cheapie moves the mystery of voodoo cultism from the usual Caribbean climes to a pasteboard backdrop of urban America. Robert Alda plays Rick Turner, a completely charmless man who for some inexplicable reason is desired by … Continue reading

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Pot Luck: “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

        The immediate appeal of  George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, what makes it sizzle, is in the utilitarian crudeness of its technique in practicing practical filmmaking despite a poverty of resources rather than a dearth … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” (1967)

            Roger Corman’s first generously budgeted studio project is a gangster film densely populated with characters to the point where one may need the aid of a scorecard to keep track of the multiple story threads which will eventually … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “A Challenge for Robin Hood” (1967)

     Is there anything more enervating than a swashbuckler without the swash and a hero more reminiscent of a tax accountant than a legendary crusading archer? A case in point is Barrie Ingham’s  dull appearance (equipped with anachronistic 1960’s British … Continue reading

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Missing the Mark : “TARGETS” (1968)

           Peter Bogdanovich’s “Targets”, the critic-cum-director’s first full original feature (if one discounts the cobbled efforts in his apprenticeship through the Roger Corman meat grinder) plays less as a thriller or a drama than as a thesis paper on … Continue reading

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The Riding Wounded: “Hang ’em High” (1968)

      With the successful American release of Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy, the time was right for Clint Eastwood to re-emerge on the domestic movie front with this western tale of vigilantism/revenge, which more than any other work up to this … Continue reading

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Failure to Launch: “Nude on the Moon” (1961)

       In an attempt to keep current with both advents in the burgeoning sexploitation film market and the Space Race (even NASA only had the measly Soviets to contend with) the team of photographer Raymond Phelan and producer Doris Wishman collaborated … Continue reading

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Snakes on the Brain: “The Gorgon” (1964)

          With “The Gorgon”, Hammer Films demonstrate the dangers of the tiresome formulaic rut in which their entire line of Gothic inspired horror films was sinking into several years before the creative stasis would become evidently irreversible. … Continue reading

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All Dressed Up and No Place To Go: “The Girl on a Motorcycle” (1968)

      Something remarkable happens when famed cinematographers turn their attention to directing; its as if their exquisitely subtle sense of judgment in manipulating light has left them completely in the dark in terms of distinguishing between the illuminating and … Continue reading

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Baby Love: “Gorgo” (1961)

    There comes a time in the evolution of every genre where ideas become genre tropes, which in become familiar redundancy, which in turn become tiresome clichés, eventually mouldering into blanket creative exhaustion. With commercial success comes the irresistible urge … Continue reading

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Culture Clash: “Bambi Meets Godzilla” (1969)

“BAMBI MEETS GODZILLA”    (1969)      The title says it all. This unlikely meeting of two anthropomorphized cinema icons is one of the great jests of the late 1960’s American Cinema, a period not known for its ebullient humor, but instead … Continue reading

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MASS ESCAPISM: “VON RYAN’S EXPRESS” (1965)

    Despite the sterling example of Jean Renoir’s “Grand Illusion”, the prisoner of war escape film did not find a wide popularity until well after the Second World War, presumably as the propagandistic value of the war film during actual … Continue reading

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Below the Border: “100 Rifles” (1969)

________________________________________________________________    “100 Rifles” is a fast-paced western adventure unfolding amid the chaos of the Mexican Revolution, completely unlike Tom Gries’ earlier film- the overlooked masterwork “Will Penny” -this film suffers from a perpetual  inconsistency of tone; veering wildly from … Continue reading

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The Dark at the Edge of the Light: “Hour of the Gun” (1967)

BULLETS OF THE MIND: In John Sturges’ challenging “Hour of the Gun”, the most violent confrontations are not among the film’s many gunfights, but are psychological, especially in the heated, knowing exchanges between friend Doc Holliday (Jason Robards) and Wyatt … Continue reading

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At War With War: “The Green Berets” (1968)

________________________________________________________________       John Wayne’s production of “The Green Berets” (it would be ludicrous to ascribe credit to another individual) was the only Hollywood studio film to directly deal with the Vietnam War during the conflict, and would remain so for … Continue reading

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ORWELL LITE: “ALPHAVILLE, UNE ETRANGE AVENTURE DE LEMMY CAUTION” (1965)

     One of the interesting characteristics of many of the young men associated with La Nouvelle Vague was their affinity toward what in higher literary circles would be regarded as trashy pulp fiction. Francois Truffaut, for example, was drawn to … Continue reading

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Corset Interruptus: “The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill” (1966)

    With little relation, save the inclusion of the eponymous heroine’s name, to the famous literary scandalmonger, “The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill” introduces Fanny’s offspring Kissy in a colorfully filmed (by later Hollywood heavyweight cinematographer László Kovács) but narratively … Continue reading

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Drive, He Said: “Bullitt” (1968)

     “Bullitt”, the first of what would become producer Philip D’Antoni’s “chase trilogy”, (the others being William Friedkin’s 1971 “The French Connection” and D’Antoni’s own 1973 “The Seven-Ups”) is notable for an exciting, impressively realized chase sequence up and … Continue reading

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Red Blood, Black Heart: “Blood Feast” (1963)

    Never to be considered in the same breath with any discussion of Art, the appalling 1963 full color bloodbath “Blood Feast” is undeniably a movie (it feels inappropriate except if wearing a hazmat suite to use the appellation film) … Continue reading

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The Brice isn’t Right: “Funny Girl” (1968)

    Film biographies have always been a tricky business. Subject to less than scrupulous adherence to the factual as opposed to an almost shameless gravitational pull toward the predictable formulaic Hollywood elements of high melodrama and low soap opera, the … Continue reading

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Space Disgrace: “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” (1965)

   With “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” the Gothic trappings of Mary Shelley’s seminal work of horror literature are abandoned in the service of timely expediency in capitalizing on the then-current frenzied Space Race, with the concept of the eponymous … Continue reading

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Headcase: “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” (1962)

    With “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”, no discussion would be complete without a concession to the fertile soil that is exploitation cinema, to which this film is a classical example, especially as filtered through the then popular (but still … Continue reading

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Divas and Dinosaurs: “One Million Years B.C.” (1966)

     “One Million Years B.C.”, a 1966 Hammer produced remake of the 1940 Victor Mature/Carole Landis prehistoric vehicle “One Million B.C.”, is a film that defies serious criticism. After all, since it’s general knowledge that dinosaurs and cave people did not … Continue reading

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The Hole in the Head Gang: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)

The year 1969 was a particularly interesting one for the American Western, as the three most commercially notable examples of the genre demonstrate a grand variance in the dramatic shift into the revisionism movement which would all but consume this … Continue reading

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In Space, No One Can Hear You Cringe: “The Green Slime” (1968)

   Has there ever been as humorless a cheesy SF film as “The Green Slime”? One of the first things evident is the dedicated seriousness with which the cast approaches the completely dreadful script by Tom Rowe, William Finger and … Continue reading

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POE IN THE CINEMA: “HISTOIRES EXTRAORDINAIRES” (1968)

The cinema is rife with literary adaptations and the works of Edgar Allan Poe have fared surprisingly well as a good number of films have captured, if not the essence then the spirit of the writer. Considering Poe essentially limited … Continue reading

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