Like it’s 1968

The latest movie marathon I was doing was for 1968, and although I had initially told myself I’d do 10 movies, I’ve decided to stop after 7, which are all listed below (and can found collected here). There were still a few movies I would have watched, like Bullit (which I admittedly had already re-visited a few years ago), Yellow Submarine, and Barbarella, but I’ve had a hard time getting in the mood to watch them, so I think it’s better that I just move on to something else. Next stop: 1978.

Rosemary’s Baby

After putting aside my 1968 movie marathon for what feels like months (because I had a hard time getting through Wonderwall), I immediately followed it by this film, which is still so incredibly good. I had even watched it a few years ago, but was again engaged fully. It has such incredible mood and progression — and that ending, oh my, still so shocking. Later in the evening I watched Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, which came out just two years earlier, and I was struck at how, by comparison, Rosemary’s Baby feels so much more modern, in terms of visual quality, editing, etc.

Wonderwall

I was a bit stuck on my 1968 movie marathon because of this film. In a way, I’m glad I watched it, as some of the psychedelic visuals are pretty fun, along with the trippy soundtrack by George Harrison, but man, it was also a chore to watch, and took me a few viewing sessions to get through — I kept pushing it off, but at the same time wanted to get through it before I moved on the next film on my list (which ended up being the excellent Rosemary’s Baby).

Planet of the Apes

The thing that really strikes you here is just how over-the-top Charlton Heston’s acting is throughout, although I guess it’s of the era. It was a fun watch — I’m sure I must have seen it ages ago, but didn’t really remember much, other than of course the famous ending. In fact, I imagine it must have been a much more interesting experience when you didn’t know that part. Also, I hadn’t realized it was co-written by Rod Serling — but when you think about it, it does feel very Twilight Zone-y.

Coogan’s Bluff

This was not at all what I thought it would be. I was expecting a modern western, and instead it’s a comedy about a marshal from Arizona experiencing the big city of New York. It’s an awful movie, really, although I think I’m glad I watched it for the sequence in the night club — the most sixties thing I’ve ever seen, daddy-o. And it’s not just a bad movie, Eastwood is pretty bad as well — I’ve rarely seen someone have less chemistry with the opposite sex in a romantic context, to a point where it was hard to watch. He’s good at being the stoic loner, but a romantic (or even comedic) lead he is not.

Where Eagles Dare

I was expecting to really be into this — it’s definitely a setting I love, with a crack commando unit of WW2 soldiers infiltrating a castle full of Nazis (sorta like a mission from the game Commandos). And I did like a bunch of it, but it just felt too long, and I found myself getting bored a lot — it actually took me a few sessions to get through it. Cut a half hour or more and I think it would have been a much more entertaining film.

Hang ‘Em High

The biggest western (I’d say) from 1968 is Leone’s Once Upon Time in the West, but I watched it a few months ago, and so I’m not including it in my current 1968 movie marathon. I did quite enjoy watching Hang ‘Em High though, which I’d never seen. A classic western, with Eastwood doing what he does so well (even if he’s not as as cool as he is in the “Man with No Name” trilogy). Great flick, and I look forward to watching a few more Eastwood movies from that year.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Well, I watched my last 1987 movie on Friday night, and then on Saturday night I was already kicking off a 1968 run with what is THE movie of that year (and one of THE movies of all time). Watching it again now — it had been quite a while since the last time I saw it — it’s still amazing to see just how well the visuals have aged. I’d say it probably looks better than a lot of sci-fi movies from the 80s and even 90s. Yes, it’s still the mindfuck it’s always been (and the first thing I did when I finished it was to go online to read up again on the various interpretations), and you definitely have to be in the mood to watch something that’s slow-moving like this, but it does indeed deserve all of its acclaim. It’s also so innovative in the way that it presents itself as a linked anthology of 4 parts (early man, discovering the first monolith, Hal’s story, and then arriving near Jupiter). It’s also funny to see a film include a proper intermission in the middle — I wonder when they stopped doing that for long films. As I’ve done for 1967 and 1977, I plan on watching 10 films from this year — I also thought about doing a 1958 run, but there are only a couple of films I’d really like to watch from that year (Vertigo and Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle).