Archive for the “1964” Category


June 24, 2009
TCM — LiveTweet
English / Russian
93 Minutes — January 29, 1964
Stanley Kubrick [Paths Of Glory; Lolita; 2001: A Space Odyssey; A Clockwork Orange; Barry Lyndon; The Shining; Full Metal Jacket; Eyes Wide Shut]
#39 They Shoot Pictures Don’t They Top 1000 Films Of All Time

“Solo Filmschool” movies are those on the big list of the 1000 best films of all time, which the crew over at TSPDT keeps track of and updates from time to time. The current version is from January 2010. My plan is to work my way down the list, watching all of them on DVD (if available), regardless of how slow-moving, or out of date they might appear at first. If a highly-regarded and serious film class is not available where you live, you could do a lot worse than using this list as a jumping off point.

A mad USAF general launches a nuclear attack on Russia, and when recall attempts fail, and retaliation is inevitable, all concerned sit back to await the destruction of the world.

First things first. This was a live-tweet whereby people around the world all watched Turner Classic Movies at the same time (or if that channel wasn’t available, they started their own DVD at the appropriate time). This is not the best way to watch a film you’ve never seen before. You find yourself looking down to read comments and respond rather than letting yourself get into the film you’re discussing. Luckily, this was, perhaps, my fifth viewing of Kubrick’s classic.

It is impossible to watch many of the scenes of politicians and generals arguing and not think of the Bush administration. It must be said, however, that the film is pretty dated. There is exactly one woman in the film, but Peter Sellars plays three roles. There are several hilarious phone calls where the US president speaks to the Russian leader about the “mistake” of sending nuclear weapons towards them.

The sets are Kubrickian in their hugeness. The entire pace and feeling of the film changes when Kubrick goes hand-held for a few scenes of a US base under attack. We’d see this again in Full Metal Jacket.

But this is mostly rightly held up as a farce about a single crazy guy and how much power he has when his subordinates follow orders without thinking them through. A young James Earl Jones plays one of the pilots. George C. Scott is really the reason to watch. He uses all of this macho-ness in the service of playing General Buck Turgidson (in fact most characters have snicker-worthy names).

Everyone should see it, but it was clearly made in 1964.

9.6 Metacritic
8.7 IMDB #28 All Time
**** Halliwells

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb @ Amazon


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September 10, 2008
Netflix Criterion DVD
Japanese / English
90 Minutes — December 11, 1964
Seijun Suzuki [Shunpu Den]

Hard-to-categorize film that takes place in post-war Tokyo. A band of colorfully dressed hookers work a particular area of town, catering to American GIs and Japanese criminals. They have a simple code: no pimps and no sex without payment. Break this rule and the other women in the group will strip you, assault you, nearly torture you, cut off your hair, and dump you in view of the whole town. Woe to you who have sex for love. We follow one girl as she joins the gang and the profession. Everyone is trying to make ends meet after the war. Japan has an incredibly low sense of national pride–characters mention the surrender and failures of the army and emperor.

There isn’t much plot to speak of. Girls drink and steal and sell their wares. The film is dark and sultry–everyone is sweating all the time. It is also pretty sexy for an early 60s film. In addition, there are scenes to satisfy any number of fetishes, both Japanese and Universal. Girls are tied up and bound, whipped and caned, covered in milk. There are artsy sex scenes. And the “cleaning” of an entire cow with a knife while the girls look on intrigued. A black American priest is seduced and then kills himself. A gang leader has the obligatory scar down his cheek. There is a man who enters the women’s world (and warehouse) who ridicules the women while recuperating from his latest caper.

Not exactly recommendable, but not an ordeal either.

Criterion even seems to think that this is light, exploitation–there is no commentary on the disc.

7.3 IMDB

Gate of Flesh – Criterion Collection @ Amazon


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Written by Michael W. Cummins