Saturday, May 16, 2020

NATIONAL CLASSIC MOVIE DAY: 6 from the '60s

 

National Classic Movie Day is here again. Founded by Classic Film and TV Cafe and supported by an annual blogathon, this year's topic is 6 FROM THE '60s. "Per its title, the goal is for each participant to list his or her six favourite films from the 1960s and explain why they deserve such an honour!" Click HERE to enjoy all of the contributions.

The following 6 movies of the 1960s are always welcome in my home and heart. These movies are "old friends" who continue to surprise me and move me to laughter and to tears.



1960: "T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring ... nothin' ... no action ... dullsville!"

Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. Directed by Billy Wilder.

Jack Lemmon is C.C. Baxter, a young insurance clerk climbing the executive ladder in the time-honored manner of ingratiating himself to those on the rung above him. Baxter's is The Apartment of the title, which he loans to those errant husbands looking for familial away time. Baxter is treated like a jerk for his efforts, but he is stuck and hopes it will pay off eventually. It does, in the most unexpected of ways. One of the top men at the company, Jeff Sheldrake played by Fred MacMurray has been playing around with elevator operator Fran Kubelik played by Shirley MacLaine. Miss Kubelik happens to the object of Baxter's affection. Christmas is a time for hard reflection and everyday miracles.



1962: "I always think there's a band, kid."

Adapted by Marion Hargrove from Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey's Broadway hit. Directed by Morton Da Costa with choreography by Onna White, the directors of the play.

Robert Preston recreates his Tony-winning role as charismatic con-man Harold Hill in The Music Man. Hill convinces rubes that the only way out of the deep trouble they didn't realize they were in is to organize a boy's band. He signs the suckers up for instruments, lessons, and uniforms; collecting the money and leaving town with his pockets full. His summer stop in River City, Iowa will prove out of the ordinary for "Professor" Hill and for the folks of River City. Wonderful songs, memorable characters, and sly humor abound.



1963: "I'm gonna build me a chapel."

Adapted by James Poe from William E. Barrett's novel. Directed by Ralph Nelson.

Sidney Poitier won an Oscar and a Golden Globe as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field. Footloose Homer likes his freedom, but Fate seems to have other plans. Lilia Skala played Mother Maria who has bravely led a small group of nuns from behind the Iron Curtain to take advantage of Arizona land left to their Order. Here they farm the inhospitable desert and dream of building a chapel and later a school and hospital. Their plans require help and God has sent them "a big strong man." The conflict between Mother Maria and Homer is real and rooted in their strong characters, but something undefined ties them together and that something undefined will give them both that which they were not seeking.



1964: "If this is music, what's that stuff Cole Porter writes?"

Adapted by Nora Johnson and her father Nunnally Johnson from Nora's novel. Directed by George Roy Hill.

The star of The World of Henry Orient is the New York City location and the imagination of two 14-year-olds played by Merrie Spaeth and Tippy Walker. Marian and Val are best friends whose current obsession is Henry Orient, an ego-driven pianist played by Peter Sellers. The girls' "stalking" of the musician may be completely innocent but they are certainly putting a crimp in his plans to romance the married Stella Dunnworthy, played by Paul Prentiss in a delightfully goofy performance.

Val's mother played by Angela Lansbury is wealthy and detached. Val's dad played by Tom Bosley is as lonely as his daughter. Marian's mom played by Phyllis Thaxter is loving and thoughtful. Marian's dad is not in the picture. How will the girls' current infatuation with Henry Orient impact all of their lives? A unique coming-of-age comedy/drama that lives fondly in the memory.



1967: "To open a safe, I gotta hear the clicks. I'll need a hearing aid."

Written by R.S. Allen and Harvey Bullock. Directed by Howard Morris.

Jim Hutton plays Harry Lucas who likes the good things in life beyond his pay grade at the mint. Harry accesses through layaway plans and sample promotions. Harry also draws to himself the friendship of an old coot with a dog played by Walter Brennan and a nice girl who makes fudge played by Dorothy Provine. That fudge will cause Harry a big problem when some of the mint's samples ($50,000 worth) stick to the stuff and ends up destroyed.

"Pop" and Verna are willing to help Harry replace the money before a new automated printing press is put in place. However, there are many unthought-of components necessary for a heist, even a reverse heist. Before he knows what is happening Harry has drawn to himself a gang with everyone from a deaf safecracker to a sewer guy. Of course, not everyone involved in Who's Minding the Mint? will be altruistic. Of course, no matter how meticulously planned, something will go hilariously wrong. It is the way of all classic reverse heist movies.



1969: "Most people around here have heard of Rooster Cogburn and some people live to regret it. I would not be surprised to learn that he's a relative of yours."

Adapted by Marguerite Roberts from Charles Portis's novel. Directed by Henry Hathaway

John Wayne won an Oscar for the role of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, a most individualistic marshal employed by a most individualistic young woman, Mattie Ross played by Kim Darby. Teenager Mattie is determined to bring the killer of her beloved father to justice. Mattie, while dealing with her pain and sorrow, must contend with the dismissive attitude of adults who stand in her way. In both the beloved novel and the film, Mattie lives the adventure of a lifetime. Both Mattie and Rooster find in each other the true grit they will never find elsewhere.





"At the Movies" computer art by Gavin Hall, age 12 in 2004.












56 comments:

  1. Admittedly, I am no fan of True Grit, but I definitely understand the love this film gets. The Apartment could have easily been included in my owwn grouping, but six just leaves too many out of the mix. I still have to see Who's Minding the Mint?

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    1. I think that the humour and performances in "Mint" will appeal to you. Lalo Schifrin's score is like his Mission Impossible wrapped around a corkscrew.

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  2. Great choices. My six would be: (1) The Good, the bad, and the Ugly (2) Music Man (3) Jungle Book (4) The Hustler (5) How to succeed in Business and (6) Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. But I could pick another 12 that would be just as good. Selecting just six is Hard! True Grit would be in that 12.

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    1. Choosing only six is deliciously difficult!

      Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day rattled around my brain while putting my list together.

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  3. Oh wow, I've got some movies to watch! I've only seen half of these! Thanks for posting them :)

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    1. I'm happy to have added to your watch list, like a programming villain (Bwahaha).

      Happy National Classic Movie Day. What's on your list?

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  4. This list is so you! As you know, Lilies of the Field is one of my six (it was hard to select just one of Sidney's 1960s films). The Apartment and The Music Man are among my all-time favorite movies as well. Happy National Classic Movie Day to you!

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    1. Thank you so much for giving us this day and all the fun that goes with it.

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  5. Great choices. I've only seen The Apartment, Lilies of the Field and The World of Henry Orient, but all three are movies that I really love and which could have gone on my own list. I'll have to check out the others.

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    1. I hope you do give the others a look. There certainly seems to be a better than 50/50 chance you'll find something you like.

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  6. Wow, a lovely list. I just recently saw Who's Minding The Mint? and have yet to see The World of Henry Orient though it's on my watchlist. I also have a soft spot for True Grit as it's one of my father's favorite movies.

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    1. There are certain movies that are special to me because of an association to my own dad.

      "Mint" doesn't get the applause some other 1960s comedies get, but I think it really holds up.

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  7. Wow - love them all - and so happy to see a not-so-well-know film like "Who's Minding the Mint" added to the list of better known classics. Reminds me of the days when we were so excited to see what new films were playing at the local theater. As always, such a pleasure to stop by here. My bad that I don't so it more often.

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    1. You know you're welcome any time.

      I loved waiting for the marquee to let us know what was coming next. My first 12 years were spent in a town with one theatre. A popular movie could put a crimp in variety.

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  8. I took a quick look at your list before reading each entry and thought, wow, this seems so Paddy! Great list! And couldn't agree more with your choice of The Apartment, it's on my list, too. Billy Wilder at the apex.

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    1. Ha! No surprises from Paddy. I don't think I would trust anyone who doesn't appreciate The Apartment.

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  9. In not sure if I've even heard of Whos Minding the Mint?! Really interested in The World of Henry Orient now, which was only just on my radar. I should probably watch True Grit again for comparison with the 2010 film.

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    1. There's a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in my love for True Grit, but both adaptations use dialogue from the novel generously.

      The World of Henry Orient is quite a unique movie. I hope it comes your way soon.

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  10. I like your selected pull quote for each film. It has been a long time since I've seen the "Mint" movie. With it's vast cast, I should revisit it.

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    1. Victor Buono as "Captain" may be my favourite comedy performance. The cast of "Mint" is a who's who of familiar faces.

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  11. Fab choices, Paddy. The Apartment has a special place in my heart and is one I return to again and again. I love True Grit so much. Love Gavin's picture.

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    1. Maddy, thank you so much. I have framed the original print of Gavin's picture. He gets a kick out of my doing that to his art through the years.

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  12. ANGELA LANSBURY was in BLUE HAWAII with ELVIS PRESLEY. It came out in 1961. She and ROLAND WINTERS played his parents. The leading lady was JOAN BLACKMAN who will be 82 tomorrow. The next movie that Elvis did-FOLLOW THAT DREAM- also had Roland. This time he played a judge and ARTHUR OCONNELL played the dad of TOBY(Elvis). The leading lady was ANNE HELM who now is 81. P.S. You may know Roland Winters from his CHARLIE CHAN movies.

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    1. Kid Galahad and Blue Hawaii are two of Elvis's better movies. Perhaps he needed more Joan Blackman.

      I got a kick out of Angela Lansbury and Roland Winters as the parents in Blue Hawaii. Angela's accent was such fun.

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  13. A few films here that are totally new to me: The World of Henry Orient, for one, and I'm a Lansbury fan, as you know. And 'Who's Minding the Mint' - seems a great cast. I appreciate you highlighting these! I will say The Apartment is a near-perfect movie and would have been on my list if I were filling it out on another day :-)

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    1. The World of Henry Orient is a movie like none other. And to see Tom Bosley and Angela Lansbury playing a married couple is a real treat.

      All lists are subject to the next list and The Apartment is so good that it doesn't mind making room for something else every once in a while.

      Happy National Classic Movie Day.

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  14. You never said Gavin was an artist!

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    1. In those years, he was enamored of a drawing program on the computer and constantly amazed us. Well, amazing Garry and I. In Junior High one of Janet's friend was impressed and said to her "Look what your brother did." All she did was roll her eyes.

      He doesn't draw as much as he used to. But a while ago he drew the silhouette of Casey Jr. from Dumbo and he hadn't seen the movie in ages.

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  15. How nice to see The World of Henry Orient and Who's Minding the Mint on this list! "Was it a click or a clack?" Two underrated gems. True Grit I never got "into" but I'm glad to see Lilies of the Field here - and The Music Man ( a Fourth of July favorite in our house ).

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    1. Lilies of the Field is not only a personal favourite, but it was a favourite of my father, a favourite of my husband, and a favourite of my son. I guess that's why we get along. The Music Man always delights and always will.

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  16. I've seen the first half on your list (so fun to see The Music Man on your list too!) and the rest sound wonderfully intriguing, especially the The World of Henry Orient! Lilies of the Field is one of my dad's favorites and now I have the "Amen" song in my head just mentioning the title :) Now that I'm an adult I'll need to give this a rewatch for the whole new and enlightening experience. Lovely post, Paddy!

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    1. Thank you so much.

      Lilies of the Field gives me something new with each viewing. I hope you get to see The World of Henry Orient soon.

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  17. I knew you'd have interesting choices! I've only seen The Apartment and The Music Man so far, both of which are great favorites. I hadn't even heard of Who's Minding the Mint, though. I'll have to try and remember that one!

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    1. That's the trouble with the world, more people need to hear of and see Who's Minding the Mint. Maybe we could start a cult. H'm.

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  18. Surprisingly, "The Apartment" is the only film on your list that I've seen. I love that film so much. Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder made so many great films together. And I loved seeing Fred MacMurray as a bad guy.

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    1. I hope you'll take a look at some of the others, if any strike your interest. They provide a variety of moods.

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  19. I'm so, SO glad you included True Grit. Although the recent remake is closer to the novel, it doesn't hold a candle to the John Wayne version in my opinion. Kim Darby was a brilliant casting choice.

    Thanks for the intro to Who's Minding the Mint? I don't think I've heard of this one before, and this is one I've GOT to see.

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    1. Yes. You definitely have to see "Mint". It is a dandy.

      I first saw True Grit at age 12 and immediately bought the book (still have the copy), I have re-read True Grit almost as many times as I have re-watched it. It had to be here.

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  20. What are some other JIM HUTTON movies that you like? I know that you didn't watch ONE DAY AT A TIME but he did a FOUR-part episode where the oldest daughter JULIE(played by MACKENZIE PHILLIPS) started working for a veterinarian played by Jim. They became engaged-Julie was only 17 and he was...42! He was older than her mother ANN and almost as old as her dad ED. I remember Jim in WHERE THE BOYS ARE with PAULA PRENTISS. They made a good couple. He also worked with CONNIE STEVENS.

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    1. Early Jim Hutton movies I remember fondly, besides Where the Boys Are, are The Horizontal Lieutenant, Walk Don't Run, Bachelor in Paradise, Never Too Late, and The Hellfighters.

      The TV series Ellery Queen is very dear to my heart, and I recall Jim playing Erle Stanley Gardner's D.A. Doug Selby in a TV movie that was a pilot that didn't sell.

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  21. What are some of your favorite DISNEY movies from the 60s? Also ELVIS PRESLEY did 31 movies and only 4 came out before the 60s. Of those 27 movies which are your favorites? I really like BLUE HAWAII that we have already mentioned. I also like G.I. BLUES, FRANKIE AND JOHNNY, ROUSTABOUT, IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLDS FAIR and PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE. FOLLOW THAT DREAM was different in that TOBY KWIMPER was a different kind of character for Elvis to play. Also TICKLE ME was a cute and fun movie. JULIE ADAMS was good in that movie. EVE SIMPSON from MURDER, SHE WROTE! Julie could have talked to ANGELA LANSBURY about they each did a movie with Elvis!

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    1. Favourites from Disney in the 1960s are The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Swiss Family Robinson, The Parent Trap, The Ugly Dachshund, and all of the Winnie-the-Pooh shorts.

      Of the Elvis movies, Spinout was a favourite when it was released. I owned the album. Diane McBain was in that movie and today is her 79th birthday. I remember enjoying Frankie and Johnny and Tickle Me. Lots of laughs. I think Flaming Star and Kid Galahad were two of his best movies.

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  22. Ok, with that cast, I'm adding Who's Minding the Mint to my watch list.

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    1. I would be very surprised if you do not become another fan of the movie.

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  23. I've seen Lillies of the Field, I'm a fan of True Grit from way back, and I think everybody loves The Apartment (except my mom! LOL), but I have to admit that I haven't seen your other three picks! I'm most intrigued by The Music Man -- mainly because the tune to 76 Trobones was introduced to me in my early teens when it was used to advertise The Albany Mall in Albany, Georgia (76 great stores in the Albany Mall, With a million and one great things to see and do!). Also, I'm familiar with the song Ya Got Trouble -- it seems so lively -- and I've always wanted to know what it was about! And now you've got me wanting to see Henry Orient, too!

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    1. I'm laughing about your mom. There's always one person who messes up our idea that everybody must love a certain movie. My father-in-law didn't like His Girl Friday. Go figure.

      That mall jingle is pretty clever. I am sure you will appreciate the uniqueness of The World of Henry Orient. Thanks so much for visiting.

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  24. Love your diverse choice of films Paddy, and adding a few for my to watch list now thanks to this post. I'm looking forward to The World of Henry Orient especially sounds a great cast and movie.

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    1. Thanks a lot. I think "Henry Orient" will impress you.

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  25. Speaking of FRED MACMURRAY his show MY THREE SONS ran the entirety of the 60s-from 1960 to 1972. I don't think there was another comedy show that did that. (OZZIE AND HARRIET ran 14 seasons but it began in the 50s and ended in 1966.) There were two westerns that did that. BONANZA (1959-73) and GUNSMOKE(1955-75).

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    1. You may be right about that. I enjoyed My Three Sons throughout all of its changes over time, but am particularly fond of the earliest seasons. Gunsmoke and Bonanza are programs I never missed and still enjoy.

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  26. MY THREE SONS had some great guest stars-LEON AMES, ARTHUR OCONNELL, HERBERT ANDERSON. Also YVONNE CRAIG, JOAN BLONDELL, JANE WYMAN, SUSAN OLIVER and KATHLEEN FREEMAN(in a small role). Who were some of your favorites?

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    1. I was always pleased to see Benson Fong as a colleague of Steve's. John Gaulladet and Irene Hervey as his boss and wife. Dorothy Green was an almost-romantic interest. I like Jaye P. Morgan's singing. Vera Miles is a favourite. Robert Wilke as a golf pro was an interesting episode. Later in the show I enjoyed Craig Stevens as Barbara's old boyfriend. And a shout out to Annette O'Toole.

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  27. I was sure you were going to pick The Apartment :) And Lillies in the field is such a lovely film, I'm glad you pocked it as well. Who's Minding the Mind is the movie from the list I haven't watched yet, and one that reminded me how many cool family films were made in the 1960s.
    Kisses!
    Le

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    1. "Mint" is clever and very funny. Whenever you get to see it, you will want to watch it more than once to get everything and I would love to hear what you think.

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  28. Fellow Lily! This is such a great list--that "Mint" one sounds awesome.

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  29. (Wink) Who's Minding the Mint? is awesome. I think it is one of the best of the 1960s comedies yet seems to be overlooked.

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