6 Favorites from the 60’s: A National Classic Movie Day Celebration

Happy National Classic Movie Day to all! Today, Rick at the Classic Film and TV Cafe is hosting a blogathon encouraging participants to write about their six favorites from the 60’s in celebration of this momentous occasion! This sounded like too much fun to pass up and I’m excited to share my favorites with you. Let the party begin!

1. THE MUSIC MAN (1962)

Robert Preston shines in his defining role as Prof. Harold Hill, the ultimate smooth-as-silk con man. It’s not until his travels as a salesman take him to a town in Iowa where his whole world begins to unravel from under his feet, forcing Harold to make some important life decisions.

The Music Man is a great time all around, boasting an excellent cast and story, accompanied by a lively score from Meredith Wilson, and beautifully choreographed numbers. But what makes this film even more special to me is knowing it’s been loved throughout the years by my family – three generations to be exact.

Highlights include Hermoine Gingold’s hilarious turn as Mrs. Shinn, Dorothy Jeakins costumes, the “Marian the Librarian” scene, and Susan Luckey, dancer extraordinaire, as the precocious Zaneeta.

2. My fair lady (1964)

A Cinderella story of a Cockney flower girl trained to become fit for royalty. What she didn’t expect was falling for her inhumane teacher along the way, and he in turn, for her.

My Fair Lady is perhaps the wittiest of musicals with not a lagging scene throughout its nearly three hour run-time. George Cukor’s marvelous direction paired with Lerner & Loewe’s brilliant score creates a dreamy confection of sights and sounds. Audrey is wonderfully charming and perfectly convincing in her transformation from a simple flower girl into a regal lady, but it’s Rex Harrison who has the greatest lines and spectacular delivery of them. I love that while he’s busy transforming Audrey externally, his own transformation, unbeknownst to him, is happening internally.

I remember watching My Fair Lady many times as a child and marveling at the scope and beauty of it all. Consequently, this movie was my introduction to Audrey Hepburn – a constant inspiration to me.

Highlights include Audrey Hepburn’s Cockney accent, Wilfrid Hyde-White as the wonderful Col. Pickering, Cecil Beaton’s costumes, Gene Allen’s sets, and a plethora of lovable character actors.

3. west side story (1961)

Leonard Bernstein meets William Shakespeare. Enough said. The combination of the two absolutely sparkles on the screen. A retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1950’s New York City with innovative and exciting choreography by Jerome Robbins, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. This film is an artistic tour de force with excellent performances, glorious music, and a timeless message.

The primary reason one comes to West Side Story is for the phenomenal dancing and music. And led by Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, and Russ Tamblyn, you know you are in good hands. Bernstein’s iconic score possesses a lush, rapturous intensity and wistfulness effectively conveying the emotional range of the story from the thrill of first love, to the hatred of the opposing gangs, to ultimately, sorrow and tragedy. In other words, it all fits like a glove.

Highlights include Natalie Wood’s performance as Maria, Rita Moreno’s passionate Anita, marvelous usage of color by Art Director Boris Leven & Set Decorator Victor Gangelin, affecting screenplay by Ernest Lehman, and snazzy Saul Bass credits.

4. yours, mine, and ours (1968)

In this delightful comedy, two middle aged folks try to resist the attraction they feel towards one another because they are both widowed parents with no less than eight children each! When they get married, they undergo a formidable task – attempting to blend the two families into one.

Yours, Mine, and Ours is a cozy, feel good movie with lots of funny scenarios in tow and literally not a dull moment. With Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda at the helm how can you go wrong? Their chemistry is so sweet and real and makes the film work. Van Johnson also co-stars adding to the fun.

This movie is a reminder that love can bloom anytime, anywhere and that home and belonging is not about blood relations, but rather a coming together of hearts.

Highlights include Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll’s “I Love Lucy” style contributions to the story, the excellent screenplay by Mort Lachman and Melville Shavelson, and the screen stealing capabilites of Eric Shea.

5. the sword in the stone (1963)

Disney’s telling of the legend of the boy who is educated by Merlin the wizard and becomes King Arthur of England brims with charm, humor, and fun. It has a very short run time and is overlooked in the Disney canon nowadays, but I can’t help loving it. As a child I often chose this over many princess movies (which if you know me, is a big deal).

What I love most about The Sword and the Stone are the characters themselves. The short-tempered but good natured Merlin and his crusty sidekick, Archimedes the owl, bicker and fuss like an old married couple. The two of them tickle my funny bone to no end. As they argue over what’s best for the young protege, Wart’s educational journey leads to many misadventures and ultimately, the meeting of Merlin’s nemesis, the mad Madam Mim. Wart learns many life lessons along the way, most importantly, the using of one’s brain over brawn.

Highlights include the squirrel scene, the wizard’s duel, the vocal talents of Karl Swenson as Merlin, Junius Matthews as Archimedes, and Martha Wentworth as Madam Mim.

6. the man who shot liberty valance (1962)

My introduction to this film was on The Essentials one night on TCM. It left such an impression on me that I had the desire to revisit it years later, and it did not disappoint. James Stewart gives a tortured performance of a lawyer seeking to bring law and order to the old West despite opposition from a farmer (John Wayne) and the fearsome outlaw, Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin).

John Ford leads a cast of colorful characters through this poignant drama/western. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a character-driven, thought provoking piece which lingers in the mind long after the film’s end. Wayne and Stewart have surprising chemistry on the screen – their contrasting acting styles and personas aiding the differences between the men. Vera Miles is the girl who captures both of their hearts and for whom sacrifices are made. This film has so much going on underneath the surface of an already great story. The themes – love, honor, hate, and violence – are subtly handled, making this film one that rewards numerous viewings.

Highlights include Lee Marvin’s performance as the villainous Liberty Valance, John Wayne’s Tom Doniphon, and the symbolism scattered throughout the script and imagery.

Honorable Mention: Born free (1966)

And that’s it! I hope this inspires you to come up with your own list of favorites.

Thanks to Rick at Classic Film and TV Cafe for hosting this blogathon and for letting me participate! Click HERE to read the rest of the entries.

Thanks for reading and for visiting The Classic Movie Muse!

The Sunshine Blogger Award – Hello Sunshine!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Paul from Silver Screen Classics has kindly nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given by bloggers to bloggers who are positive, creative, and inspiring. I’ve been blogging for a little over a month so this is a huge honor to say the least. I am so very thankful! Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Paul!!

I’d also like to thank all those who have supported my blogging efforts and for the kindness they’ve extended in welcoming me to the classic film community. You’ll never know how much your thoughtful comments and supportive words mean to me. I’ve enjoyed chatting with each one of you and look forward to many more wonderful discussions in addition to reading your inspiring articles!

I could go on all day, but let’s commence with the preliminaries, shall we?

The rules concerning the award

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate eleven bloggers.
  4. Create eleven new questions for your nominees to answer.

I am going to make an amend to the nomination with the permission of Katharine Hepburn. “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” There are a few questions I have chosen not to answer. Nonetheless, I had a blast answering these questions and coming up with new ones for my fellow bloggers!

Questions and Answers

Which actor or actress who hasn’t received an Oscar do you think deserves one? And for what film?

Merle Oberon. I think she was very underrated. Maybe her beauty overshadowed her abilities. Her Cathy in Wuthering Heights is heartbreaking and worthy of an award, but 1939 was such a monumental year in films and had so many great contenders. I have yet to see her Oscar nominated role The Dark Angel (1935). If anyone has seen that one, please let me know!

Who is your favourite child actor and name a film they were in which you love.

Mary Jane Saunders in Father is a Bachelor (1950). She is a new discovery of mine thanks to Mike at Mike’s Take on the Movies. Read Mike’s review of this adorable film here.

If a biopic was made of you during the classic film era (1920s to 1960s), who would you like to play you and why?

Audrey Hepburn. Who wouldn’t want to be represented by her? She’s elegant, unpretentious, and her good nature shines through her face like a ray of sunshine.

Which famous starry couple (of any time and place) would you want as neighbours?

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. With their crazy antics and menagerie, they seem like the perfect neighbors to spice up the neighborhood.

If there was ONE actor or actress (living or deceased) whom you could interview for your blog, who would it be and why would you choose that person?

Grace Kelly. She has always held a certain fascination and mystery for me. The films she worked on and people she worked with were legendary. I’d love to hear of her experiences working with them and the making of those films. Her life is so inspiring as well. Coming from a family where only her uncle could appreciate her gifts and interests must have been difficult, but she pressed on despite her family’s disbelief in her abilities. In the end, she outshined all of them.

Which film character’s closet would you love to raid?

Hmm this is a tough one but I’m going to say Scarlett O’Hara. She is the ultimate and cannot be beat! I can’t get enough of the lush fabrics she wears. The robes she wears towards the end of the film are spectacular.

Of all the classic film studios, which is your favourite and why?

MGM. I’m drawn to the glamour of the studio, the plethora of musicals they turned out, the way they used color, the art direction, and the roster of fabulous stars. It’s also pretty fascinating to me how the studio was a whole world unto itself.

Choose a film where you would love to change the ending. Explain what that change would be and why you would do it.

I’d love to change the ending to Sabrina (1954). It always felt off to me that Sabrina and Linus get together. I can’t feel the chemistry between them and I don’t see them lasting for the long haul. I understand that Sabrina brought Linus out and made him realize he was missing something, that he needed something in life more than his corporate world. I would rather have them part as friends where Linus finds someone in New York, and Sabrina goes off to Paris and finds someone wonderful there.

The Nominees for The Sunshine Blogger Award

The Wonderful World of Cinema

Poppity Talks Classic Film

A Vintage Nerd

Watching Forever

Love Letters to Old Hollywood

Silver Screenings

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies

Coffee, Classics & Craziness

The Flapper Dame

A Person in the Dark

Caftan Woman

The nominees above have wonderful blogs and I highly, highly recommend checking them out if you’re not acquainted with them already!

The Questions

  1. What are two of your favorite films that have also won Best Picture?
  2. What is your favorite film score?
  3. What is your favorite play to movie adaptation?
  4. What is your favorite decade of film? Your least favorite? Why and why not?
  5. If you could be a character in a film for a day who would it be and why?
  6. What is the latest film related book you’ve read? Share something new you learned from it.
  7. You’re given the chance to recast a film from the golden era. Which film would it be and who would you choose for your dream cast?
  8. Do you prefer Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?
  9. You’ve walked into a restaurant and have the choice of having five folks from the film industry (actors/actresses/directors/screenwriters/composers etc.) join you for dinner. Who would you choose and why?
  10. What’s a film related item you have on your holiday wish list?
  11. You are given the chance to go back in time and watch the filming of a movie from the golden age. Which is it and why?

Congrats to my nominees!

Just know that there is absolutely no pressure to participate, it’s totally understandable if you choose not to; however, I do recommend it as it is a lot of fun.

I’m extending the invitation to everyone, not only the nominees, to answer as many questions as they’d like in the comment section. I look forward to reading your answers! Until then…

Thanks for reading and for visiting The Classic Movie Muse!