Wednesday, January 09, 2013

1960s WITD Poll Votes

In the continuing yearly polls at Wonders in the Dark, they have reached the 70s - so it's time for me to post my votes for the 60s. This is - along with the 1930s and 1950s - one of the great decades, and one that featured the high point of a few of my all time favorite directors. Godard and Imamura in particular - both of them did work in the 60s that should count among the best decades of work in film history - up there with Kurosawa in the 50s or Keaton in the 20s, Capra in the 30s, almost up there with Ozu in the 30s or the 50s.... They were hardly alone - Oshima and Truffaut and Bresson and Suzuki and Pasolini and Olmi are all superb, Rivette and Rohmer got started - it's a blessed time for films.

The Decade:

PICTURE: The Pornographers
DIRECTOR (single film): Imamura, for The Pornographers
DIRECTOR (decade): Godard - for the sheer productivity - at an almost unmatched level. Imamura holds his own, but Godard made more films.
LEAD ACTOR (film): Toshiro Mifune, in High and Low
LEAD ACTOR (decade): Tatsuya Nakadai - who is in so many great films through the 60s... there's a good deal of competition - though the 60s strike me as a bit of an auteurist decade - at least the films I like the most depend much more on their directors than the actors.
LEAD ACTRESS (film): Hideko Takemine, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
LEAD ACTRESS (decade): Anna Karina
SUPPORTING ACTOR (film): Tsutomo Yamazaki, High and Low
SUPPORTING ACTRESS (film): Angela Lansbury, Manchurian Candidate
SHORT: The poll itself I think counted TV - which would get the likes of the Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on the ballot. That seems a bit off, though. Sticking to actual films, leaves Chris Marker's La Jetee as the clear winner.
SCORE (film): Ennio Morricone, for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
SCORE (decade): This is tough - Morricone and others hang around, but for me it comes down to a death match between two Japanese composers - Toru Takemitsu and Toshiro Mayazumi. And though Takemitsu turns up on more films, and gets more attention - I think I have to go with Mayazumi, who is an integral part of all those magnificent Imamura films.
CINEMATOGRAPHY (film): Shinsaku Himeda, The Pornographers - which might be the most eye-popping film I have ever seen.
CINEMATOGRAPHY (decade): Shinsaku Himeda, easily. Coutard's work is also astonishing, and there are a lot of great looking films in the world in the 60s - but those Imamura films are just transcendent. There's a reason for the fish on the banner on this page...

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Dr. Strangelove stands tall.... I'll add the five best not to make the top 20:
1. Lolita
2. The Producers
3. One Fine Day
4. The Servant
5. Night and Fog in Japan
Documentary: A Man Vanishes
Music/Sound: This has to be A Hard Day's Night

1. The Pornographers
2. Pierrot le Fou
3. Vivre Sa Vie
4. Playtime
5. High and Low
6. The Gospel According to St. Matthew
7. The Insect Woman
8. Breathless
9. Pigs and Battleships
10. Intentions of Murder
11. Dr. Strangelove
12. Alphaville
13. Mouchette
14. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
15. The Sun's Burial
16. A Man Vanishes
17. A Touch of Zen
18. A Hard Days Night
19. L'Amour Fou
20. Two or Three Things I Know About Her



PICTURE: A Touch of Zen
DIRECTOR: Rivette, L'Amour Fou
LEAD ACTOR: Rip Torn, Coming Apart
LEAD ACTRESS: Bulle Ogier, L'Amour Fou
SHORT: Not sure; might come back to vote...
SCORE: Toru Takemitsu, for Double Suicide
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Motokichi Hasegawa, Eros + Massacre

Plus bonus picks:
Script: I want to plug Un Certo Giorno, a very fine film by Ermanno Olmi; he seems to slip under the radar, and I wish he didn't.
Music/Sound: I'm going to pick La Lit de la Vierge, Philippe Garrel's Jesus film, with it's Euro-rock and Nico

1. Touch of Zen
2. L'Amour Fou
3. Boy
4. One Fine Day (Olmi)
5. Z
6. Th eSorrow and the Pity
7. Eros + Massacre
8. Antonio das Muertes
9. My Night at Maud's
10. The Cow


LEAD ACTOR: I'm going with Zero Mostel, I think; comedy deserves credit.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Seymour Cassel (though I'm tempted to say Keith Richards, who knows how to dominate a room, even a room with Mick Jagger in it, without ever seeming to notice the camera - more than anyone will ever say of Mick...)
SHORT: Saute ma Ville, Chantelle Akerman's debut
SCORE: Morricone - though which one? there are like five to choose from... Once Upon a Time in the West, I suppose, is the best choice...
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Sven Nykvist, Shame

Plus bonus picks::
Script: The Producers
Music/Sound: One Plus One, pretty obviously. Not that there isn't plenty of competition, but how do you improve on watching Sympathy for the Devil take form?

1. Faces
2. The Producers
3. Death by Hanging
4. Teorema
5. Planet of the Apes
6. Stolen Kisses
7. Rosemary's Baby
8. The Smugglers
9. 2001: A Space Odyssey
10. Shame


PICTURE: Playtime
LEAD ACTOR: Lee Marvin, Point Blank
LEAD ACTRESS: Catherine Deneuve, Belle du Jour
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Gene Hackman, Bonnie and Clyde
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Katharine Ross, The Graduate
SHORT: not yet...
SCORE: Toru Takemitsu, Samurai Rebellion
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Tamas Samlo, The Red and the White

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Accident
Music/Sound: Don't Look Back - but not documentary
Documentary: A Man Vanishes - one fo the great docs ever, if it is, in fact, a documentary

1. Playtime
2. Mouchette
3. A Man Vanishes
4. Two or Three Things I know About Her
5. The Red and the White
6. Week End
7. Titicut Follies
8. Branded to Kill
9. Don't Look Back
10. Point Blank


PICTURE: The Pornographers
DIRECTOR: Shohei Imamura
LEAD ACTOR: Eli Wallach, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
LEAD ACTRESS: Anna Karina, La Religieuse
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jack Nicholson, The Shooting
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Charlotte Rampling, Georgy Girl
SHORT: I think Hold Me While I'm Naked would get my vote
SCORE: Ennio Morricone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (though it's tempting to load up on the Pornographers even more with another great Mayazumi score.)
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Shinsaku Himeda, The Pornographers

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Luc Moullet, for Bridgitte and Bridgitte
Music/Sound: a good spot to note the Velvet Underground movie...

1. Pornographers
2. Chelsea Girls
3. Masculine Feminine
4. Persona
5. Blow Up
6. Fighting Elegy
7. Tokyo Drifter
8. Violence at Noon
9. The Good the Bad and the Ugly
10. Yesterday Girl


I am surprised that this year, all the films I'm inclined to vote for, I haven't seen for - 10 years or more. The Godards excepted. It's strange, and makes it difficult.

PICTURE: Pierrot le Fou
DIRECTOR: Godard, Pierrot le Fou
LEAD ACTOR: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Pierrot le Fou
LEAD ACTRESS: Julie Christie, Darling
SUPPORTING ACTOR: John Gielgud, Chimes
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kyoko Kagawa, Red Beard
SHORT: Well, if it's eligible, obviously, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
SCORE: I'll go with Vince Guaraldi
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Raoul Coutard - but which one? I think Alphaville...

Plus bonus picks:
Script: I'll say, The Golden Thread, Ritwak Ghatak
Music/Sound: Pierrot le Fou, I think...

1. Pierrot le Fou
2. Alphaville
3. Subara Nekha
4. Tokyo Olympiad
5. Story of a Prostitute
6. Ride the Whirlwind
7. Vinyl
8. Red Beard
9. Simon of the Desert
10. It Happened Here


This is an interesting year; certainly some stone classics, in the running for best X of all time (script, adaptation, etc.)... Another almost arbitrary choice between the top two, which I've ended up splitting between film and director...

PICTURE: Gospel According to St. Matthew - I think this might well be the lest literary adaptation ever made. Contends with The Maltese Falcon, for many of the same reasons - a kind of explicit faithfulness to the text, but controlled in a way that uses film's resources... really great.
DIRECTOR: Imamura, Intentions of Murder
LEAD ACTOR: Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove
LEAD ACTRESS: Catherine Deneuve
SUPPORTING ACTOR: this is a very difficult choice, since both are superb, but great in different ways... I am going to give the nod to Sterling Hayden over George C Scott, though not by much...
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jitsuko Yoshimura, Onibaba
SHORT: Scorpio Rising
SCORE: It's a Toro Takemitsu year - I think Kwaidan is the winner
CINEMATOGRAPHY: much competition, but I'll go with Urevsevski

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Dr. Strangelove - in some moods - most moods - I think this is the best script ever written...
Music: We have to revive this category to accommodate those four sweet boys from Liverpool... we are, of course, moving into the era of the use of pre-existing recordings for films, with Kenneth Anger's offering leading the way...

1. Gospel According to Matthew
2. Intentions of Murder
3. Dr. Strangelove
4. I Am Cuba
5. Umbrellas of Cherbourg
6. Charulata
7. Trial of Joan of Arc
8. Kwaidan
9. The Woman in the Dunes
10. Three Outlaw Samurai


PICTURE: High and Low
DIRECTOR: Shohei Imamura, Insect Woman
LEAD ACTOR: Mifune, High and Low
LEAD ACTRESS: Sachiko Hidari, Insect Woman
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tsutomo Yamazaki, High and Low
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sarah Miles, The Servant
SHORT: Yes, I'd say The House is Black is it...
SCORE: Georges Delerue, Le Mepris
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Coutard, Le Mepris

Plus bonus picks:
Script: I'll go with Pinter and the Servant here,
Song: The Pink Panther theme has to be here somewhere, though I think the Contempt score is better overall...

1. High and Low
2. The Insect Woman
3. Youth of the Beast
4. The Servant
5. Contempt
6. An Actor's Revenge
7. The Fiances
8. The Leopard
9. The Courtship of Eddie's Father
10. Feu Follet


PICTURE: Vivre sa Vie
LEAD ACTOR: James Mason, Lolita
LEAD ACTRESS: Anna Karina vs. Hideko Takamine vs Corinne Marchand - but I think Takamine takes it for Wanderer's Notebook....
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Peter Sellers, Lolita
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Angela Lansbury, Manchurian Candidate
SHORT: La Jetee
SCORE: Hikaru Hayashi, Akitsu Springs - probably not the best music in a film, but the use of music is extraordinary - it comes back to me now, that moment when the tone shifts (repeated over and over...)
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Frederick Young, Lawrence of Arabia

Plus bonus picks::
Script: Cleo from 5 to 7

1. Vivre Sa Vie
2. Cleo from 5 to 7
3. Lolita
4. Autumn Afternoon
5. L'Eclisse
6. Lawrence of Arabia
7. The Manchurian Candidate
8. Ivan's Childhood
9. The Wanderer's Notebook
10. Sanjuro


PICTURE: Pigs and Battleships
LEAD ACTOR: Mifune, Yojimbo
LEAD ACTRESS: Harriet Anderson, Through a Glass Darkly
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rita Moreno, West Side Story
SHORT: Very Nice, Very Nice
SCORE: Toshiro Mayazumi, Pigs and Battleships
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Shinsaku Himeda, Pigs and Battleships

Plus bonus picks::

1. Pigs and Battleships
2. Yojimbo
3. Paris Belongs to Us
4. West Side Story
5. Viridiana
6. Il Posto
7. Human Condition III: A Soldiers Prayer
8. Alenka
9. E-Flat (Kormal Ghandhar)
10. Two Daughters


(This year just keeps going...)

PICTURE: Breathless
LEAD ACTOR: Belmondo
LEAD ACTRESS: Takamine, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Fred MacMurray, The Apartment
SHORT: High Note
SCORE: Psycho
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Coutard, Breathless

Plus bonus picks:
Script: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

1. Breathless
2. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
3. The Sun's Burial
4. Shoot the Piano Player
5. Psycho
6. Home from the Hill
7. L'Aventura
8. Night and Fog in Japan
9. The Apartment
10. Cloud Tipped Star

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