Thursday, June 3, 2010

On Deck for 1960

Movies in my NetFlix queue this month:

Spartacus - This is one of those classics that I somehow never got around to seeing. It's directed by Stanley Kubrick and features Kirk Douglas.

The Apartment - The year's best picture winner is a Billy Wilder comedy featuring Shirley MacLaine. It's another classic I hadn't gotten around to seeing yet.

Inherit the Wind - I saw this movie years ago, and I don't remember it very well. If anything, I remember it being talky and pedantic (that it is to say, directed by Stanley Kramer). But this impression doesn't reconcile with it's popularity and high rating on IMDb, so I think it deserves a refresher viewing.

The Time Machine - I'm a sucker for science fiction. I'm also a fan of the special effects of George Pal.

Purple Noon - I'm particularly looking forward to seeing this one. I've never read the Patricia Highsmith novel from which this is adapted (The Talented Mr. Ripley), but I loved the Anthony Minghella version.

Virgin Spring - I always like Ingmar Bergman films. I'm also intrigued by the fact that this is the inspiration for Wes Craven's shock/gore film The Last House on the Left.

Testament of Orpheus - The third film in Jean Cocteau's Orpheus trilogy (conveniently spaced in ten or twenty year increments so I could watch them in the same calendar year). I never get tired of Cocteau's distinctive otherworldly mood.

Never on Sunday - I was really impressed with Night and the City last month. Director Jules Dassin was on quite a streak with his fourth fantastic movie in four consecutive years (1947 - Brute Force, 1948 - The Naked City, 1949 - Thieves' Highway, 1950 - Night and the City). This film is a departure from those noir films and might not have caught my attention if it wasn't for my recent Dassin obsession.

Can-Can - I always try to put a musical on my queue each month. This one has several things going for it: it was the second highest grossing film of 1960 after Ben Hur; it features songs written by Cole Porter; it features Frank Sinatra singing those songs; and it stars Shirley MacLaine so it would make a good double feature with The Apartment.

Jazz on a Summer's Day - I always try to put a documentary on my queue each month, too. This month, I couldn't narrow it down to just one. Primary is a political documentary following John F. Kennedy's campaign for the Democratic nomination for President in 1960. Jazz on a Summer's Day is a concert film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival featuring Louis Armstrong. Both films are in the National Film Registry.

If time permits:

Psycho is definitely the most famous movie from 1960, but I've already seen it several times, and there are several other horror films from 1960 that appeal to me, including:

Peeping Tom - I've only seen two other movies by Michael Powell, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes, both had impressive color cinematography. The trailer for this one promises more of the same.

Village of the Damned - I've seen so many spoofs and other references to this movie, I feel like I've already seen it. There must be good reasons why this film has endured.

TV Shows in my NetFlix queue this month:

The Flintstones - This animated classic debuted in 1960.

Danger Man - Secret agent drama starring Patrick McGoohan who would follow this show up with his iconic role in The Prisoner.

Although I couldn't find a way to squeeze it into my schedule this month, The Andy Griffith Show was another notable TV debut this year.

Novels I loaded onto my Kindle:

Eight Keys to Eden - A science fiction novel by Mark Clifton. From the reviews I read, I expect it to be somewhat philosophical with a libertarian slant.

Deathworld - Another science fiction novel. This one promises to be more action oriented than cerebral. It's the first of Harry Harrison's Deathworld trilogy.

There's no Kindle edition of To Kill a Mockingbird - what's up with that?

Radio Programs I downloaded:

The Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney Show - By 1960, the Golden Age of Radio was well into it's twilight, but Bing Crosby, who had had a series of radio shows continuously since 1931 was determined to be the last to leave the party. This 20 minute weekday morning program with Rosemary Clooney would be his last. It began in February 1960 and ended in 1962.