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July 11, 2020:

1962

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it was bound to happen, oh, yes, it was bound to happen and now it HAS happened, which is what happens when something is bound to happen.  For many decades now, I have been saying that 1962 was, for me, the greatest year in motion picture history – I even made a list of the films released that year and it was astonishing and I still have the list.  Back then, no one agreed – it was always 1939 and no one would hear otherwise.  I was a lone voice in the wilderness then and throughout the ensuing decades.  Whenever discussions on various and sundried boards would turn to great years in films, out would come my list and while people acknowledged the amazing output that year, they still would not admit it was the greatest year in motion picture history.  I first wrote about 1962 in films right here in these here notes way back in early 2002. That’s the history.  What was bound to happen is that suddenly people are agreeing me – completely out of nowhere.  And a new book has just come out called 1962, which is all about the films of that year in what the authors call the greatest year in film history.  Really boys?  As I like to say, you heard it here first, and it was heard many times elsewhere.  Now, suddenly it’s the greatest year in motion picture history.  I’m a ways into it and I have to say I find it a completely irritating book, mostly because it’s completely random in its structure and you never know what film is going to show up in what chapter.  I would have preferred each chapter’s films clearly laid out at the top of the chapter, and I also feel as they get to each film, each film should have had a header.  And the font is TINY.  The authors are critic types and a bit pedantic, but I’m glad they finally caught on about the year and I’m happy to have been the voice in the wilderness when not a single soul would agree, including, most likely, these two fellows.  And here is that list I typed way back in the early 1990s.  It’s not complete, of course, because that would run pages (but I also have that list, too), but just look at this:

1962

To Kill A Mockingbird

Lawrence of Arabia

Days of Wine and Roses

The Miracle Worker

David and Lisa

Birdman of Alcatraz

The Music Man

Gypsy

Mutiny on The Bounty

Sundays and Cybele

Advise and Consent

All Fall Down

Pressure Point

Bachelor Flat

Billy Budd

Jumbo

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

Cape Fear

Carnival of Souls

Cleo from 5 to 7

The Counterfeit Traitor

The Chapman Report

Day of the Triffids

Dr. No

L’Eclisse

Experiment in Terror

Freud

Hatari

How The West Was Won

The Wonderful World of The Brothers Grimm

The Interns

If A Man Answers

Damn the Defiant

La Jetee

Jules and Jim

The L-Shaped Room

Light in The Piazza

Lolita

Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

Lonely Are the Brave

Long Day’s Journey into Night

The Longest Day

The Manchurian Candidate

Mondo Cane

The Trial

Requiem for A Heavyweight

Ride the High Country

Harakiri

Sanjuro

State Fair

Sweet Bird of Youth

That Touch of Mink

Two for The Seesaw

Two Weeks in Another Town

A View from the Bridge

Walk on The Wild Side

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

 

And that really is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yesterday was a weird little day.  I only got about four hours of sleep, was up around eight or so, couldn’t go back to bed, so I answered e-mails, did some work on the computer, then the helper came by to pick up some things that needed to be shipped pronto, and then I ordered pasta papa from Hugo’s – got it, got it home, and it was still piping hot and it was most excellently excellent.  That was the food for the day and I’m still kind of full from it, frankly.

Then I finished the Paul Hirsch book.  It had good stories, but was repetitiously repetitious in certain ways.  Some films he just passes over in a sentence, some merit only a page or two, but the important ones get much more space – the early De Palma films and, of course, the two Star Wars films he cut, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.  Once that was finished, I began working my way through the Toscanini box, listened to his wonderful traversal of the Beethoven symphonies and into the Brahms symphonies.  Most of the mono sound is quite good, but the Brahms third is riddled with hideous distortion in the loud bits.  Still, this was one amazing conductor and I really like his tempos on the Beethoven symphonies – no prisoners taken, no nonsense – just great stuff.  It’s the first time I’ve ever enjoyed the ninth, so that says a great deal about his skills.

Then it was time to do the second Facebook and YouTube Live test and it went very well.  Not many show up while it’s live, but others come to it later.  But there were more last night than the first test, so that was nice, and everyone really seemed to like the song I did.  After that, I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Continuing my De Palma/Paul Hirsch viewing, I watched Obsession – the Blu-ray I have is already eight years old, so I haven’t seen it since then.  It’s quite a nice transfer.  I’ve always enjoyed the movie.  I first saw it at a screening for a potential distributor, thanks to my pal Gary Burkhart, who worked for Mann Theaters.  So, there was no opening studio logo at that point.  I remember that I loved the Herrmann score, enjoyed Cliff Robertson, loved Genevieve Bujold, but though De Palma really failed John Lithgow, who is simply over the top and too big for film almost the entire way.  I thought he was a terrible actor for years because of Obsession, but he seems to have learned quickly because his subsequent performances were much more subtle and suitable for the big screen.  We, of course, knew it was a total riff on Vertigo, but I didn’t mind.  I thought even then that the “dream” sequence was weird, and I was right, as it wasn’t supposed to be a dream sequence at all, it was supposed to be real, but the ick factor of real was too much for any studio at that time.  Let me pause and just mention that my favorite of all Brahms tunes is the third movement of the third symphony, which is now playing and thankfully it’s not loud so no distortion.  That tune is fantastic.  Back to Obsession.  We went to a second screening of it a week later, that one for Columbia, who bought the film.  That same year, Gary took me to the very first exhibitor screening of Taxi Driver – no one had seen the film yet and no one knew anything about it.  To see that film with fresh eyes, knowing not a thing, was extraordinary.

After the movie, I listened to music, read a bit of 1962, and then it was time to write these here notes.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’m thinking I might do a Chinese chicken salad from Stanley’s for the meal o’ the day – it’s pretty calorie friendly.  I will be having one splurge meal this coming week because I made the unfortunate or fortunate discovery that Postmates has free delivery from Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, and that is a temptation I cannot pass up.  I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll do some final work on tomorrow’s show, and then we’ll do our third and last Facebook and YouTube Live test and I do hope some of you will show up.  After that, I’ll watch, listen and relax.

Tomorrow, I’ll relax until it’s show time at 5:00 PDT and 8:00 EDT.  I think it just might be a pretty good show.  Such a cast, such great songs.  I’ll post on Facebook to all the musicals groups – I know we have gotten a few new viewers from there.  And then next week is all proceeding apace for the August Kritzerland show, with one of THE most amazing casts we’ve ever assembled – two Tony Award-winners, four Tony nominees and more.  It’s a most stellar group.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, eat, hopefully pick up packages, do some final work on tomorrow’s show, do a test, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What was your favorite year in motion pictures, and what are your top ten favorites from the year 1962?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that these authors have finally come around to the year 1962 as the greatest year in motion picture history – a little late to the party, but better late than never.

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