Six Favorites from the '60s


Happy National Classic Movie Day! To celebrate the classic film community's favorite day, I'm taking part in the Six from the '60s Blogathon, hosted by the Classic Film and TV Cafe. You can check out what choices other bloggers made here.

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The Apartment (1960)

How can a film be so full of heartache and yet also be so life-affirming? Billy Wilder's dramedy is a mesmerizing blend of sadness, hilarity, and romance. It looks gorgeous. The script by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond is beyond fantastic. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray are all incredible, and that final scene always makes my heart melt. It's just a perfect film.

You can read my full review here.


One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

Oddly enough, although I definitely saw this film as a kid, I didn't fall in love with it until I revisited it about five years ago and thought, "Oh my god. Was this film always this cool?" The animation takes my breath away, with its cluttered spaces, messy coloring, and detail after clever detail. The world that is created is so vivid and lived-in, and each character, no matter how minor, has their own personality. There is a coziness and a warmth to this film that envelops me every time I watch it, which is kind of weird when you consider that its main plot involves adorable puppies being kidnapped so a crazy woman can make them into a coat... But that's Disney for you.

Also, I will never get over the fact that Rod Taylor is the voice of Pongo.

You can read my full review here.


Come September (1961)

There is just nothing like a breezy '60s rom-com. They have this restorative power for me where I can watch one and I instantly feel better about whatever is going on in my life. One of my favorites from this period is Come September, a completely underrated gem that boasts magnificent locations, laugh-out-loud comedy, fabulous costumes, and a cast that includes Sandra Dee, Bobby Darin, Walter Slezak, Gina Lollobrigida, and, in one of his funniest performances, Rock Hudson.

You can read my full review here.


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

If I'm being honest, this entire list could just be my six favorite Audrey Hepburn movies from the '60s. She made so many fantastic films during this decade, which made compiling this list even more difficult. Although I was thisclose to choosing Charade instead, Breakfast at Tiffany's has my heart in a way that Charade doesn't.

Ignoring the Mickey Rooney of it all, this film is such a wonderful portrait of the complexities of a woman who masks her loneliness and fear with sophistication and quirkiness. There is an ache to this film, a deep, abiding ache, but there is also fun and silliness and love. And Audrey. I adore her Holly Golightly, partly because it is a performance unlike anything else Audrey did. Her interpretation of "Moon River" is the only interpretation I accept. The way she internalized the lyrics just make it sound so personal to her that I have a hard time believing anyone else when they sing it. 

This film is just so much more than its iconic image of Audrey and her black dress. Henry Mancini's score is absolutely perfect; Blake Edwards's direction shines; the costumes are timeless; the cast (with one exception) is superb... I could go on and on.


Sunday in New York (1963)

I tried my best to not repeat actors on this list, which is why I limited myself to one Audrey film, but I had to make an exception when it came to Rod Taylor. Like One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Sunday in New York is thoroughly '60s and yet also has a modern sensibility that has allowed it to endure as a sparkling example of the romantic comedy. Like most of the films on this list, I'm obsessed with Sunday in New York and the world it builds, a world where Peter Nero's impossibly cool score follows you as you wear gorgeous frocks and fall in love with the devastatingly handsome man you met on the bus. This film is exactly what a rom-com should be: delightfully screwball, endlessly witty, aesthetically pleasing, and deeply, genuinely romantic.

You can read my full review here.


The Pink Panther (1964)

It is surprising to realize that The Pink Panther isn't just one over-the-top gag after another and it isn't all about Inspector Clouseau, although both of those things would change as the film turned into an entire series. There is romance, gorgeous locations and sets, chic costumes, a terrifically top-notch cast, and a dash of intrigue. The skill with which director and co-writer Blake Edwards balances everything is masterful, no question. And that Henry Mancini score! Listening to any part of this score immediately takes me to a cozy Italian villa, where I'm wearing a big knitted sweater and drinking champagne cocktails with David Niven.

You can read my full review here.


EDIT: I just realized I forgot Bells are Ringing, which I always think was released in 1959 instead of its actual year, 1960. So, this may be cheating, but I would definitely replace The Pink Panther with Bells are Ringing. Vincente Minnelli's film and especially Judy Holliday's performance are so dear to me, I can't imagine leaving them off of this list. The tremendous songs and the work of Holliday and Dean Martin make it not only one of my very favorite musicals but one of my very favorite films period.

You can read more of my thoughts about it here.
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Honorable Mentions: The Nutty Professor (1963), Goldfinger (1964), My Fair Lady (1964), Viva Las Vegas (1964), The Notorious Landlady (1962), Lover Come Back (1961)What a Way to Go (1964), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), How to Steal a Million (1966), Charade (1963), Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

Comments

  1. There is never a time when we are watching Rod Taylor that my husband doesn't say "Oh, Pongo boy." Our kids loved that movie growing up, and still do.

    All of the music in these movies is marvelous and evocative: Cruella de Ville, Peter Nero's Sunday in New York, Mancini's for "Holly" and Charade, plus that piano theme to the Apartment. That's what I call 1960s music!

    Happy National Classic Movie Day!

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    1. And Happy National Classic Movie Day to you, Paddy!

      I noticed that about the music, too. I'd find that Apartment piano theme or Nero or whatever else would pop into my head while I typed. I also just a minute ago swapped out The Pink Panther for Bells are Ringing, which has some fantastic tunes, so clearly music was important to my thinking for this list!

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  2. 101 Damaltians is probably my favorite Disney animated film. The relationships between the humans and dogs is perfect, it has a great villain, and the script is witty. Your honorable mentions includes one of my six from the '60s: the wonderful Doris-Rock comedy Lover Come Back.

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    1. I'm actually watching 101 Dalmatians right now! After writing about it, I realized it had been far too long since my last viewing.

      It was really tough to leave Lover Come Back off. It felt weird not having Doris Day on my list at all, actually, but I think I ultimately prefer her '50s work.

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  3. I see that we are on the same page about Audrey Hepburn. Such a decade she had, but Tiffany's has turned out to be her signature film and with good reason, it is irresistible. We also both selected The Apartment, that flawless masterpiece of a "dramedy." Your last-ditch choice of Bells are Ringing touched my heart. Much as I enjoy The Pink Panther, Judy Holliday's last film will always be so special.

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    1. "Irresistible" is a great way to describe Tiffany's. And I'm glad you agree with my decision to include Bells are Ringing! Judy Holliday was just so magical, and, although it breaks my heart that this was her last film, it's a fitting conclusion to her work because it is such a beautiful testament to her talent.

      Thanks for reading!

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  4. Wonderful post as always, and your list is brimming over with charm! I got interrupted while watching Bells Are Ringing and Sunday in New York and need to find my way back to them. I'll also need to give Come September a look as it sounds completely adorable. I also love the fact that Rod Taylor voiced Pongo. I mean how much better does it get than that? Thanks for a great read.

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    1. Thank you!

      I'm sure you'll love both of them, and Come September! They're all incredibly charming and stylish.

      I don't know why it blows my mind so much that Rod Taylor was Pongo, but it really does, haha.

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  5. 101 Dalmatians is so cute! I've always loved it. Some of your honorable mentions are great, too! I think that Breakfast at Tiffany's is the most famous classic that I haven't seen, so I'll have to fix that.

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    1. I'm pretty biased when it comes to Tiffany's, but I hope you like it! And 101 Dalmatians is just adorable. I fall back in love with it every time I watch it.

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  6. So glad you included 101 Dalmations and The Pink Panther on your list, both of which are faves of mine.

    Although I haven't yet seen Come September, I'm really impressed by your list. All these films have a definite sense of Style.

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    1. Thank you! I've noticed that when it comes to '60s films, I really gravitate towards the ones that have a strong sense of style in their sets and costumes.

      Oh, you must see Come September! It's such a fun movie. Bonus: it'll feel like you're taking a vacation to the Italian coast!

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  7. I like how we're all including honorable mentions because it's too hard to narrow the favorites to six! Great choices....especially Come September. I agree, it's very underrated and such fun. I also like your inclusion of 101 Dalmations. Last year, I rewatched that one and was amazed at how beautiful the animation was. I think a lot of kiddies don't realize what gems they are watching!

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    1. Thank you! I think this list would be 100 times more frustrating for all of us if we weren't able to include honorable mentions, haha. And it's fun revisiting childhood films to see what you couldn't appreciate as a kid. I've also slowly started watching Disney movies that others watched as kids but I never did, like the films of Hayley Mills and Dean Jones.

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  8. Ah...another Sunday in New York fan, hello! I agree with you about Audrey Hepburn's films from the Sixties. She had a great run!

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    1. She really did! I'd say there's a good argument to be made that she was one of the quintessential actresses of the '60s.

      Thanks for reading!

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    2. By the way, I am nominating you for the Sunshine Blogger Award at http://www.storyenthusiast.com/celebrating-the-sunshine-blogger-award/
      because reading your blog always brings me so much pleasure.

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    3. Aw, thank you, Brittaney! I'll try to respond in a timely manner!

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  9. DEAN JONES! I am a big fan of his. He and FRED MACMURRAY were just right for the DISNEY COMPANY. Did you see BEETHOVEN where Dean had a different kind of part? Also he was in the ELVIS movie JAILHOUSE ROCK and did two episodes of MURDER, SHE WROTE. He was nominated for a GOLDEN GLOBE for THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK.

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    1. I haven't seen Beethoven -- I'll have to check it out! I've seen Jailhouse Rock, but that was before I knew who Dean Jones was and I can't seem to remember him in it, so I'll have to rewatch it now. And I love Murder, She Wrote! I'm currently binge-watching it for the second time.

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  10. This list is so much fun! I haven't seen "101 Dalmatians" in ages.

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    1. Sounds like it's time for a rewatch! I'm so glad I decided to give that film another chance when I was older and could appreciate it more.

      Thanks for reading!

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