Saturday, May 16, 2020

National Classic Movie Day: 6 from the 60s

This is my entry in the National Classic Movie Day 6 From the 60's Blogathon hosted by the great and powerful Rick at The Classic Film and TV Cafe. Please click here for more great films and memories from a great decade for film and a great decade to be young.

Amazingly (to me, at least), I have reached the age where I can write about classic films from the first hand experience of actually having seen them in the theater when they were released. My earliest memories of movies in a theater came from the decade of the 1960's. Seeing films with either my Mom or friends or  - most memorably - alone was like watering a hungry little seed that blossomed into a life long love. Accordingly, I have chosen to write about films from that decade that had an impact on me as a young person in the dark. Not all are classics, but they all hold a special place in my heart. Clearly, first loves leave a lasting imprint there.

Here we go, paisley mini skirt, go-go boots, poor boy sweater and all!

The Parent Trap (1961)
One Hayley is wonderful; 2 Hayleys is heaven
This is the film that made me love Hayley Mills. Forget the fact that a Boston sister and a western sister both spoke with British accents, I was mad for all things Hayley after that. There was not a movie magazine that printed a mention of her that I did not covet or collect (want to see the "Summer Magic" paper dolls I still have?). My favorite scene: the summer camp dress sabotage. Oh, and Maureen O'Hara, to me, was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She reminded me of my Mom, who took me to see this.

And my love for Hayley endures. Last year I saw her in a play in New York...front row seats...she was beautiful...I swooned.

The Thrill of it All (1963)
Doris as Beverly Boyer: The Happy Soap Girl
My Mom took me to see this one, too. I remember laughing a lot, but especially at the scene where James Garner drives his car into a soap filled swimming pool (hey, I was 10). Since that day, Doris Day has always seemed like a warm hug for me. Plus, I thought she was Beautiful, loved her hair and clothes and just the naturalness of her. I saw this film recently on TV and it still charmed me. Her chemistry with Jame Garner was equal to the sparks she shared with Rock Hudson. They were great together. This film was a narrow choice over their other film, "Move Over, Darling." What sent this over the top was Zasu Pitts as the family maid who I recognized from morning reruns of "The Gale Storm Show."

A Shot in the Dark (1964)

I'm pretty sure my older brother took me to see this one, probably because he wanted to see it and he was stuck with me for the afternoon. I'm so glad he did, because this was my introduction to Inspector Clouseau and the wonderful Peter Sellers, who became a favorite of mine. And you know, girls always notice other girls, and to me Elke Sommer was gorgeous. The scene at the nudist camp had the entire theater in hysterics (a wonderful memory; will we ever experience it again?), but the billiard scene was my favorite... even more now because at the time, I had no idea how divine George Sanders was.

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964) 

A most memorable day at the movies for me, the first movie I saw alone. I was feeling a little self-conscious, thinking that I might be the only solitary person there. However, when I paid for my ticket and entered the lobby, I noticed quite a commotion. People were filling out cards with questions, but I was so focused on getting a seat and looking like I did this ALL the time, I ignored all the hub-bub. 

First: the film. Gripping stuff, right? And for an 11 or 12  year old, pretty darn scary. Truthfully, it took me decades to be able to look at - much less appreciate - Joseph Cotten. I did scream and jump out of my seat when he (allegedly) crawled up those stair from a muddy grave.

Next: It turns out all of those cards and questions were for the appearance after the film of the 2 stars: Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. Yes, that was in the day when stars actually did these those things. Truly, after that film, all I wanted to do was leave, but I recall being forced to sit in my seat. I remember nothing of what the 2 greats had to say. My only memory is that Olivia looked beautiful and glamorous in a sky blue dress and that Bette was quite dowdy looking, but her answers to the questions elicited laughs and applause.  Oh how I wish that I had been able to appreciate them at that time. All I could think of was Joseph Cotten.

Lastly: That was the day I learned that going to the movies alone was okay - maybe even preferable. And I wish I had been able to appreciate Mary Astor, who made a brief, kind of sad, appearance in the film.

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Simply a dream come true for this Beatles fan. Since my bedroom wall was covered with pictures of the Fab Four (I was a John girl, thank you), the day this film came to town was the day my friends and I just had to see it. Loved the music and loved those guys.

This is one film that got even better for me as time went by. Not only is it fast, fun, inventive, great looking and a wonderful showcase for John, Paul, George and Ringo, it makes my eyes mist over with the happy memory of a youthful passion.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Oh that "R" rating caused quite a controversy, didn't it? Everyone, and I mean everyone, had read the book and eagerly anticipated the movie. But, that damned "R" rating meant I needed an adult to get in with. So yet another thanks to Mom for taking me, probably against her better judgement, to see this devilishly great film which is so true to the book.

Mia and New York in 1968 were enchanting, but it was Ruth Gordon who stole the show for me. As Minnie Castevet she was equal parts charming and frightening. Oh Rosemary, don't drink that concoction she brings over for you every morning! And wouldn't L'Air du Temps be better than tannis root? Of course, the big reveal was "the baby" and just the memory of those beady red eyes sends shivers down my spine. 

* Extra second feature: The Art of Love (1965)

* this is for the memory of the time when we got 2 for the price of 1. 

"The Art of Love" would not make anyone's list of classics and I think you might be hard pressed to find someone who actually saw it, but it's a silly film that I remember loving so much. And what's not to love? It had Elke Sommer (the girl who caught my eye in "A Shot in the Dark"), James Garner (who was so wonderful with Doris Day in "The Thrill of it All"), Dick Van Dyke (the star of one of my favorite TV shows) and Ethel Merman, who memorably had green hair in this. It was just great 1960's innocent fun. However, in doing a look back here, this little forgotten film had more great pedigree: a Ross Hunter production, written by Carl Reiner and directed by Norman Jewison. And the opening credits (remember them?) were pretty darn great, too.

What I love about all of these films is that I still love them - each and every one. While not all are classics, they are all solid fun in their own way and made even more precious because of the happy, enduring memories. 

Thanks again, Rick, for hosting another great National Classic Movie Day Blogathon!


John/24Frames said...

I also have Rosemary’s Baby as one of my picks. I’ve been a big admirer of Polanski’s work. Repulsion is also on my list. I could have easily included A Hard Day’s Night, but the six limit left out many I could have added. I am one of the few who did see The Art of Love in a theater at the time. Like you said, it’s a silly film but the cast is good. Garner is always a pleasure.

Caftan Woman said...

Yes. I want to see your Summer Magic paper dolls.

Yes. I remember the opening credits to The Art of Love.

Yes. It is often preferable to the movies solo.

When I went to see A Hard Day's Night, it was in the nighttime instead of my usual Saturday matinee. I wore a dress and my shoes were shined instead of my usual shorts and sneakers.

I did not see Rosemary's Baby until I was well into adulthood. I don't think I would have survived an earlier viewing. It would have been Joseph Cotten time for me!

James Garner!

A very Happy National Classic Movie Day, my friend!

Sarah said...

"Doris Day has always seemed like a warm hug for me," you have summed up how I feel about her to my exact emotion.

I'm so lost in your entire blog that I'm not getting to the other entries of our blogathon. I really enjoy how you present these movies!

Hard Day's Night is a popular movie today and I haven't seen it yet!

Rick29 said...

Your memories of seeing these movies were fabulous! I'd loved The Parent Trap from the first time I saw it on TV. It wasn't until years later I really thought about the plot: Divorced parents splitting up their twin daughters?? A Shot in the Dark rivals only The Court Jester and Lover Come Back as the funniest film I've ever seen. And while Lover Come Back was the DD film that made my list, I also enjoy The Thrill of It All, especially the jokes about TV and commercials.

FlickChick said...

Thank you, John, for stopping by. The Art of Love was a frothy delight, not classic, but the memories are what are precious to me.

FlickChick said...

CW - I am going to assemble a photo of my Summer Magic paper dolls just for you!!

FlickChick said...

Sarah - thank you so much for the kind words. A Hard Day's Night really would be like getting into a time machine and going back to those swinging 60s.

FlickChick said...

Thanks, Rick - and again, many thanks for hosting this blogathon. So much fun!!

The Lady Eve said...

From one "John girl" to another, "yeah, yeah, yeah." Great post and wonderful picks! We agree on lots (love The Thrill of it All) and even chose two of the same films. Your mention of Summer Magic made me smile. It's always been a sentimental favorite and I nearly included it in my own list of six. But I didn't have the paper dolls.

Silver Screenings said...

Thanks for sharing your memories from these movies. I can see why they are so special.

Also, thanks for the heads-up re: The Art of Love. I hadn't heard of it before, but if you liked it, I know I will too.

The Classic Movie Muse said...

Oh, The Parent Trap - love, love, love! And yes, that dress sabotage scene was tops! Maureen O'Hara is simply stunning when she comes to recapture her man in that green suit with the pristine white gloves. Their little date that the girls set up for their parents is so cute! And that kitchen scene is just sizzling... Ah, now I want to watch this movie RIGHT NOW :) I've seen The Thrill of it All mentioned a few times today so I'll need to check that one out. Ethel Merman with green hair? Sign me up..haha! Thanks for such a fun read.

The Metzinger Sisters said...

Yes, I want to see those Summer Magic paper dolls! How lucky you were to see Hayley in person. My friend always tells me I have to interview her but I haven't had the nerve to contact her yet. I think there would be too many questions I'd want to ask her anyway. I like your inclusion of The Art of Love, that's a rarity!

Jocelyn said...

Fabulous list! I am particularly excited to see A Shot in the Dark, as I love early Peter Sellers - and George Sanders to boot! Thanks for introducing me to this one. And I need to revisit The Parent Trap - I vaguely remember seeing this on TV in the 1970s and enjoying it quite a bit. Nice to know it's one worthy of viewing by adults, too! :-)

Jay said...

Thanks for sharing your memories of these. It's just a shame that you weren't really old enough to appreciate Bette and Olivia!

I saw A Hard Days Night again recently and it's definitely still got it. A Shot in the Dark is the best Pink Panther film and Rosemary's Baby is one of the very best horror films.


In lists like this one, I believe heart comes first and we choose movies that aren't quite "classic". Your choices are great - I'm seeing A Hard Day's Night and Rosemary's Baby in more than one list from the blogathon - and I'm glad to see Sellers here as well. The Thrill of It All is the only film I haven't seen.

Patricia said...

I saw Ms. Hayley in "Party Face" as well. She was awesome!

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