Like it’s 1967

After I finished my recent 1985 movie marathon, I wanted to do another one, but for a year of film that would feel very different. I picked 1967 for the simple reason that it marks a 50 year jump, and I thought it would be interesting to revisit movies of that era that I watched when I was younger, as well as discover some I had never seen.

What I found especially interesting with the selection I ended up making — I figured I was going to go for a dozen or so, and ended up capping it at 10 — was that most of what I wanted to watch was French. I’m not sure if it’s a sign that French cinema was so strong at that time, or if it’s just that I would have watched a lot of these because of my French-Canadian background, and so they were part of my upbringing. Yet, of the 30 movies I watched for 1985, none of them were French, so I do think that French cinema was on a more equal (if not higher) footing with Hollywood at the time, and that it tended to reach a more global audience than we see with French films these days (which I admittedly do not follow at all).

All in all, it was another fun exercise, offering me a satisfying snapshot at the state of film — and culture in general — at that time. Here’s the full list of films I watched — which you’ll also find under the “1967” tag.

  1. Belle de Jour
  2. Bonnie and Clyde
  3. Casino Royale
  4. Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard
  5. In Like Flint
  6. Le Samourai
  7. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
  8. Playtime
  9. Point Blank
  10. The Graduate

Playtime

This is one of those classic movies that I’ve often heard about, but had never gotten around to watching. It’s definitely a strange piece of moviemaking, feeling much more like an experimental film than something that got a mainstream release — there’s no proper narrative, it just follows scenes loosely connected by space, of various lengths, but that are mostly tied together by the presence of Jacques Tati. What really struck me though was the fantastic cinematography and art direction, which creates a carefully constructed world that is utopically monotone, yet interestingly lively (especially the restaurant scene). Well worth watching as an interesting piece of cinema, especially on a visual level.

Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard

After I decided to do a 1967 movie marathon and started looking at what films had come out that year, I was super excited when I saw that this was a 1967 release. I loved watching Louis de Funes movies when I was a kid, and this was my favorite one, and I watched it countless times (almost as much as I’ve watched some Bond films). Strangely enough, it’s part of a trilogy of Fantomas movies, and I never watched the other ones, I was just obsessed with this one. Watching it again now — probably for the first time in 2-3 decades — I was happy to find it just as fun and funny. It’s not for everyone, but for me it was pure nostalgic bliss.

The Graduate

Of all the 1967 movies I’ve watched during this marathon (which I’m capping at 10), if I had to chose the best, it would be a tie between this and Belle de Jour. The Graduate was even better than I remembered, not only with a story that is still fun to follow, but with cinematography that is insanely innovative and inspired. And there’s of course the terrific soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel. The strangest thing though was to now be watching this movie and being much older than Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft was 35 years old when she played the role).

Bonnie and Clyde

The thing that I found so strange about this movie is just how wacky it is — most of the characters, including the two mains, are constantly played over-the-top, which for some reason I wasn’t expecting, this being a sorta biopic and all. I liked it so-so, but for me the absolute best moment was the unfortunately too short appearance by Gene Wilder, who absolutely steals the show the whole time he’s on screen (for like 5-10 minutes). I’m glad I watched it.

In Like Flint

I’ve been meaning to check out the Flint movies (Our Man Flint, In Like Flint) for quite a while, and just somehow never got around to it. Since the sequel came out in 1967 (and so part of my current movie marathon), it gave me the opportunity to finally watch one, aaaand… I really disliked it. I guess it’s supposed to be a fun take on the spy/Bond genre, but it just wasn’t funny, and pretty much everything in it was laughable, but not in a good way. Add a boring story, and it just felt like a chore to get through this. I definitely feel no desire to watch the first one now.

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort

I can definitely enjoy a good musical — my issue with Moana was that I didn’t like the songs — and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort) is truly a classic. By the director of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), it features a fantastic soundtrack, but more than that, the star of the show are really the fashions and the colors on display throughout. I love this movie, and it’s fun seeing Gene Kelly show up.

Casino Royale

The last time I watched this movie was when I was a kid, and I remember hating it. Sure, it’s a Bond film, but it’s a parody of one, and I just didn’t get it. Re-watching it now, I still hate it. I just don’t find it funny at all, and nothing in it makes any sense. Sure, it’s neat to see all of these actors, but it’s just such a mess of a movie that it’s a chore to get through it. The only saving grace for me is that I love the soundtrack.

Point Blank

Continuing with my 1967 movie marathon, I re-watched Point Blank, which I had first watched a few years ago. I really like this movie, and the reason I had checked it out was because I was such a big fan of Darwyn Cooke’s Parker graphic novels, which are adaptations of Richard Stark’s series (this movie is itself an adaptation of Stark’s The Hunter, which Cooke also adapted). It’s noire, it’s about revenge, and I quite like the way its shot (it was directed by John Boorman). Well worth watching if you’re into crime flicks.

Le Samourai

For my second film of 1967, I look again towards France — there just happens to be a bunch of French films from that year that I’d like to watch, either again or for the first time. This one, Le Samourai, is something I had never seen, but I had long heard of it, and it sounded like something I’d enjoy. I did indeed quite like it, from the meticulous build-up to the crime that takes place, and then what follows, until the unexpected ending (at least for me).