Where Were You In '62?
For some reason, there's a movement afoot claiming 1962 was one of the all-time great years for Hollywood. I find this ridiculous. I'd think almost any random year from the 30s or 70s would be better than anything from the early 60s.
But let's see what Jesse Walker thinks, as he continues his march back in time, giving us the top ten of every year ending with a "2."
Here's his top ten for 1962:
2. The Music Man
3. La Jetée
4. Ride the High Country
5. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
7. The Manchurian Candidate
8. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
9. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
10. Carnival of Souls
A pretty good list. Unlike Jesse, The Exterminating Angel is far from my favorite Bunuel, but I can see giving it a spot on the list. Most movie adaptations of big Broadway musicals fall short, but The Music Man is better than most, and preserves Robert Preston's performance. La Jetee and Occurrence At Owl Creek are both shorts, but they're pretty special shorts. (Jetee doesn't feel like a short--it doesn't really feel like anything else.) The odd thing about Ride The High Country is Sam Peckinpah was never as good again. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? is fun, if campy. Sanjuro is a lot of fun, as well. The Manchurian Candidate is overrated, but I give it a lot of points for its general weirdness. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance strikes me as a film directed by a tired man with two tired stars. Carnival Of Souls captures an odd mood pretty well.
Here are Jesse's honorable mentions:
12. Cleo from 5 to 7
13. Lawrence of Arabia
15. The House Is Black
16. The Trial
17. Knife in the Water
18. Hell is for Heroes
19. The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit
20. Cosmic Ray
A number of these films I'd like to see but haven't--Pitfall, Cleo From 5 To 7, The House Is Black. Lawrence Of Arabia looks great but goes on forever--I can't ever see sitting through that second half again. Lolita is full of good stuff and an almost equal amount of not-so-good stuff. The Trial has held up well, and should probably be in the top twenty. Knife In The Water should be top ten. Hell is For Heroes is okay. Tom and Jerry is a short. I love Bruce Conner but Cosmic Ray is a short. A short short.
Jesse notes he hasn't seen The Connection or Eclipse. They're both interesting, even odd films of their day. I'm not sure if they deserve to make anyone's top 20, though.
Here are other films that would probably make my top ten:
Jules And Jim
The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
Winter Light (along with Through A Glass Darkly and The Silence forms a trilogy which I've always felt is Bergman at his Bergmaniest--which perhaps Jesse doesn't go for.)
Here are other films from the year that I liked:
David And Lisa, The Day Of The Triffids, Dr. No, The Intruder, Hatari! (sort of), It's Only Money, It's Trad, Dad!, The L-Shaped Room, The Miracle Worker, Only Two Can Play, The Tale Of Zatoichi.
Other films of note in 1962.
The 300 Spartans, 40 Pounds Of Trouble, Advise & Consent, All Fall Down, Any Number Can Win, Bachelor Flat, Billy Budd, Billy Rose's Jumbo, Birdman Of Alcatraz, Boccaccio '70, Boys Night Out, Cape Fear, Carry On Cruising, Cartouche, The Chapman Report, Confessions Of An Opium Eater, Days Of Wine And Roses, Eegah, Experiment In Terror, Five Finger Exercise, Follow That Dream, Gigot, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Gypsy, How The West Was Won, The Interns, The Intruder, It Happened In Athens, Jack The Giant Killer, Kid Galahad, A Kind Of Loving, Light In The Piazza, Lonely Are The Brave, Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Longest Day, Merrill's Marauders, Mondo Cane, Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation, Mutiny On The Bounty, My Geisha, The Notoious Landlady, Panic In The Year Zero!, Period Of Adjustment, The Pigeon That Took Rome, Requiem For A Heavyweight, The Road To Hong Kong (the worst of the Road pictures), Sergeants 3, State Fair, Sweet Bird Of Youth, Taras Bulba, Tender Is The Night, That Touch Of Mink, This Is Not A Test, The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, To Kill A Mockingbird, Two For The Seesaw, Two Weeks In Another Town, The Vendetta, Walk On The Wild Side, Waltz Of The Toreadors, We Joined The Navy, The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm, The World's Greatest Sinner, Zotz!