Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The 1967 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged By Clicking on Them]

1967.  This is another one of those years that are famous for being 'the best of the best', somewhat like 1939, except I don't think that my exclusion of this year's Oscar winning BP, In the Heat of the Night, is going to be as controversial as when I left Gone with the Wind off my 1939 ballot.  Despite not nominating In the Heat of the Night for more than two awards (both in the acting categories), I have to profess a deep love for this year.  It was the first 'Oscar Year' that my wife and I explored together (and kind of the only since my cinematic indulgences grew and my wife's diminished) and it really proved fruitful, for this year is just so incredibly rich.  Just think of the legendary films that came from this year...Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In Cold Blood, Cool Hand Luke...this year is legend for a reason!

And I do promise that I like American films...I just like European ones better.

With that, I present to you the Fisti Awards for 1967!

Award's Tally

[4 Wins]

[3 Wins]
The Graduate
Two for the Road

[2 Wins]
I Am Curious

[1 Win]
Bonnie and Clyde
Far From the Madding Crowd
In Cold Blood
You Only Live Twice


  1. You do an amazing job with these posts! Of all these films, I have only see The Graduate.

    1. Well, The Graduate is a great place to start! I hope you get a chance to dig into some of these soon.

  2. I need to see two of your best picture nominees, Marat/Sade-which I've been chasing for a while but so far no luck and your winner I Am Curious Yellow-which when I was a kid was so notorious, along with but to a lesser extent I Am Curious Blue, as an example of the decline and permissiveness of cinema! Old habits die hard I guess and I've always been wary of it but some day I'll break down and see it. But we do share a few.

    Bonnie & Clyde-Winner
    Far From the Madding Crowd
    The Graduate
    In Cold Blood
    Two for the Road

    The Graduate is a wonderfully insightful comedy/drama but has dated around the edges whereas B&C seems as vibrant today as when it debuted. Both great films but one feels more timeless. I enjoy Two for the Road more as a viewing experience but I still think B&C is the more cinematic. Madding Crowd is a film I've come to love more and more each time I've watched it. I'm so happy to see it won in cinematography, it's truly breathtaking. Also the nod for it's beautiful score.

    Richard Brooks-In Cold Blood
    Stanley Donen-Two for the Road
    Sergio Leone-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Mike Nichols-The Graduate
    Arthur Penn-Bonnie & Clyde-Winner

    As I said B&C isn't my favorite of my nominees, that's Two for the Road, but it is the most inventively shot, purposively paced film of the bunch and that's thanks in large part to Penn's direction.

    Warren Beatty-Bonnie & Clyde
    Albert Finney-Two for the Road
    Dustin Hoffman-The Graduate
    Lee Marvin-Point Blank-Winner
    Sidney Poitier-To Sir, With Love

    Okay so we aren't even close here though Steiger would be my number six but there are so many wonderful lead performances this year. Marvin's laconic, gruffly determined Walker, a loner battling a corporate villain in the strange disorienting Point Blank is probably his best work.

    Catherine Deneuve-Belle de Jour
    Sandy Dennis-Up the Down Staircase
    Faye Dunaway-Bonnie & Clyde-Winner
    Audrey Hepburn-Two for the Road
    Simone Signoret-Games

    Funny our actors are so different but our actresses are very similar and Edith Evans in The Whisperers would be my number six. Haven't seen, or until now heard of, Mouchette.

    As much as I like Kate Hepburn and think her performance in Dinner is perfectly acceptable it's most definitely not an Oscar worthy one especially when so much worthier work got shut out. Staircase is in my opinion Sandy Dennis's finest performance, playing to her strengths while keeping her tendency towards twitchy excess to a minimum. Signoret makes the mediocre Games worth watching while Road allows Audrey to take her lovable gamin persona and fill it out with some real human foibles. I LOVED Deneuve in Belle de Jour but Dunaway is so raw and vivid in B&C she makes Bonnie Parker compellingly dangerous despite the glamour treatment the script puts the pair though.

    1. I do love that we seem to share a lot more this year, or at least I've seen pretty much everything you mention (except Games and Point Blank).

      I hope you check out I Am Curious. The only difference between Yellow and Blue is that Blue is somewhat censored. Yellow is the version I've seen and the one I'd recommend (censoring is such a bad idea). It is shocking in parts (graphic nudity and actual sex between the leads) but the film, the story told, is so rich and so engrossing.

      I find it funny that you say that The Graduate has aged but that Bonnie and Clyde is still so vibrant, because I feel just the opposite. A recent revisit to Bonnie and Clyde left me rather indifferent. It felt stale compared to the first time I saw it, yet The Graduate and all it's tonal shifts and flash edits and escalating preposterousness all felt so fun and exciting and even fresh.

      As far as directing wins, I'm not above handing it to the flashier, even if it's not my favorite film. I do that quite often. I also will split Director and Picture if my #1 and #2 of the year were so close they probably could have swapped tomorrow.

      Love that you nominate Finney! He was my #6. Love him as an actor and just love his performance!

      Dunaway, despite my feelings towards her film, was electric and was my #3, right behind my winner and Evans, who was just incredible.

      And yes, I agree with you that Up the Down Staircase is Dennis's finest work. I don't often like her at all, but I was really sad to take her off my ballot this year.

    2. LOVE seeing the love for Sandy Dennis in Up the Down Staircase! That movie is kind of unjustly forgotten now.

    3. It's actually been a few years since I've watched either Graduate or B&C and while I think both are great films B&C is the one I always think of as more immediate when they come to mind though Graduate makes more trenchant observations. I should probably revisit both.

      The one that's been working its way up in my estimation over the years is Madding Crowd. It's the kind of film that benefits from repeat viewings, at least it did for me, the first time I watched it I thought it was beautiful but somewhat dull. Then each time I've seen it since I find new things in it until now I just love it. It's my number four right now and will probably work its way up further over time.

      I'm right there with you on Sandy Dennis, a little of her goes a long, long way, Staircase is the only film where I truly enjoy her work totally.

    4. I'm often criticized by others for denouncing Dennis's Oscar win, but man that performance was a sore spot.

      Madding Crowd is just what cinema is all about. Sweeping epic with so much swirling around it and yet it all feels so warm and beautiful.

  3. Supporting Actor:
    Alan Arkin-Wait Under Dark
    Alan Bates-Far From the Madding Crowd-Winner
    Peter Finch-Far From the Madding Crowd
    Gene Hackman-Bonnie & Clyde
    Aldo Ray-Welcome to Hard Times

    Again we're sort of close and Hackman is a worthy winner but it's the two men from Madding Crowd that impressed me the most in this category. While Finch's Boldwood is the flashier role which he plays expertly I think Alan Bates gives the richer performance. Gabriel Oak continually dances in and out of importance in the film's narrative, when he's onscreen through look and gesture Bates fills the supposedly simple character with unexpected depth so whenever he's off screen his skill and magnetism keep him in the viewer's mind and awaiting his return.

    Supporting Actress:
    Anne Bancroft-The Graduate-Winner
    Diane Cilento-Hombre
    Lee Grant-In the Heat of the Night
    Mildred Natwick-Barefoot in the Park
    Jean Simmons-Rough Night in Jericho

    I'm guessing when I finally manage to find Marat/Sade Glenda will surely find a place on my ballot but for now this was not even a close contest for the winner. Anne's work is unbeatable she is inimitable and it seems mad now how many others were considered/offered the role before her. I love all these other performances, particularly Diane Cilento's work in the otherwise ponderous Hombre and the great Mildred Natwick, hilarious in Barefoot in the Park and I was sorry to have to leave out Maggie Smith in The Honey Pot but for now no one is better than Bancroft.

    Love the nomination for the make-up and hairstyling of that wacky trainwreck Valley of the Dolls!!

    1. I can't wait for you to see Marat/Sade. I know how much of a Jackson fan you are, and it was my first performance of hers to see, and so far it's still my favorite. It's very similar to her Oscar winning turn in Women in Love and yet the context of Marat/Sade grounds the performance in a way that the other film could not (at least for me).

      Bates was very close to snagging a nom from me. I loved his work (LOVED the film) but for me it was always Finch from that film. He made such an impact on me.

      I also debated a lot as to whether or not Bates was truly Lead.

      Also so happy that you nominate Lee Grant for her one scene wonder in In the Heat of the Night! Such a tremendous performance, making the most of the time she's given to shine!

    2. And...LOL...I kind of like Valley of the Dolls and almost nominated Patty Duke for it ;-)

    3. Like Anne Bancroft in The Graduate Alan Bates is right on that line between lead and supporting. Julie is the undisputed lead in the film and all the men satellites around her. Boldwood is without question supporting but both Gabriel and Frank float in and out of the narrative in importance though it's obvious from the get go which one is right for Bathsheba if she'd only open her eyes. Finch gives a beautiful performance but Boldwood provides a wealth of material for him to work with, Bates digs deep into the more recessive Gabriel and finds so much. A great, great actor.

      When I called Valley of the Dolls a wacky trainwreck I meant it in the nicest possible way. It's an absolute MESS of a movie but enjoyable in that way that terrible movies can be. Patty's performance is pretty scattershot, I saw her in an interview where she herself said she sees very good as well as VERY bad work in it. She and the director loathed each other, she was very clear about that too and she felt at sea throughout. According to her biography his directing style was to bully his actors, he was particularly cruel to Sharon Tate, and other than Susan Hayward who he had directed years earlier in My Foolish Heart and who he had convinced to step in when Judy Garland exited the project everyone else on the picture apparently hated him too.

      Speaking of Hayward she's the only one to make her character work consistently. She's unafraid to make Helen Lawson a barracuda but handles that scene where she reveals a weary understanding of human nature and what it takes to survive in her cutthroat business expertly. I can't imagine Judy, love her though I do, making the role work. Helen Lawson is the antithesis of everything the Garland persona was about. Again in that trainwreck way it might have been interesting to see her try, especially since the Neely O'Hara character was blatantly based on her but she was just wrong for the character.

      The other performer who I enjoy in it is Sharon Tate. She's a bit shaky in the beginning, perhaps because of the director, but she executes her final scenes with a touching simplicity that is quite lovely and God she was so amazingly beautiful!

    4. Now I'm tempted to watch the movie again just to picture Garland in the role...

  4. 1967 was such a groundbreaking year for film. When the studio system was on its way out, films like Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate were starting to get recognized at the Oscars.

    Here's my picks:

    Belle de Jour
    Bonnie and Clyde
    Branded to Kill
    The Graduate*
    Point Blank
    Le Samourai

    Best Actor: Alain Delon, Le Samourai (either him or Hoffman for The Graduate)
    Best Actress: Catherine Deneuve, Belle de Jour
    Best Supporting Actor: George Kennedy, Cool Hand Luke
    Best Supporting Actress:
    Director: Mike Nichols, The Graduate
    Best Adapted Screenplay: Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, The Graduate
    Best Original Screenplay: David Newman and Robert Benton, Bonnie and Clyde
    Best Cinematography: Conrad L. Hall, In Cold Blood
    Best Set Design: Playtime
    Best Editing: The Graduate
    Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Good the Bad and the Ugly
    Best Song: Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkel- The Graduate

    1. I forgot Supporting Actress: Anne Bancroft, The Graduate

    2. YES, this really was a year for the textbooks! I guess I really should see Point Blank, since both you and Joel have mentioned it. Love your batch of winners. Playtime is a fun film and one that I really wish I had revisited before posting, because your Set Design win has me recalling it and wondering if I should have given it a nom there.

      LOVE the win for Morricone!

    3. I saw I Am Curious for $6 at a DVD/Bookstore a couple of days ago. I picked it up and wanted to learn more about it through reviews, but the reviews seem very polarizing. Ebert gave it one star and it had a low rating on amazon. So I put it pack. I'll have to check it out soon.

    4. It's very easy to see why it's polarizing, but I can't recommend it enough.

  5. Great stuff. I bought I Am Curious, so I need to give it a look soon. Apart from that I just need to see stuff like Camelot, The Whisperers, and a few of those foreign titles. I wish I Iiked Two for the Road as much as you, but I LOVE all of your winners! :)

    1. Two for the Road grew on me. I always liked it, but I've recently seen it a few times and I absolutely adore it. Don't know if you noticed, but that was the only change from when I originally posted these...I put Two for the Road in my BP lineup and took out Week End.

      I can't wait for you to see I Am Curious. I remember when it started I nearly turned it off because I thought it was going to be one of those obnoxiously 'try to be important' type films...but about ten minutes in I was completely hooked, and it's, without question, my favorite film of the year.

  6. 1967 is such an INCREDIBLE year, especially when you factor in foreign films... but... I Am Curious, huh? I'll just say that would not have been my pick and leave it at that.

    Kind of shocked that Bonnie & Clyde doesn't crack your BP 5. It's so SO great. Not the work of genius that Marat/Sade is, but then, what is? Incidentally, I'm SO happy to see your love for Brook's masterpiece here. That fucker is CRAZY good.

    This serves as yet another reminder that I need to see Two For The Road and The Whisperers. So far Audrey would make my Best Actress lineup for Wait Until Dark (it may be a bit gimmicky but I think she's impressive in it) along with Liz Taylor in Taming of the Shrew, Julie Andrews in Thoroughly Modern Millie, my winner Faye Dunaway, and an open spot currently reserved for Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour when I finally get around to seeing it (much as I love this year, it was not great for lead actresses, at least in the films I've seen). Best Actor is TOUGH, with two great leads apiece in In Cold Blood and In The Heat of the Night (I hate that Poitier doesn't get any love for his work here - Steiger's great and all, but so is he), plus Newman, Beatty, Burton, Hoffman, Delon, and Tracy (what can I say, his last speech in Guess Who's... gets me every damn time). So tough to choose! I'm amazed at what you accomplish with each of these posts, but when the categories are as stacked as this one is, applause seems like the only acceptable response.

    My biggest player would be Playtime, with noms for Picture, director, production design, cinematography, editing, score, sound, and possibly costumes. I find that thing to be a mind-boggling work of genius. Like, I'm in awe of it. The scale of the thing, the "economy of gags"... it's stellar.

    Have you read Pictures At A Revolution by Mark Harris? It's an unbelievably detailed history of each of the five Best Picture nominees from this year (Harris actually interviewed most of the people involved with making them himself) and the culture surrounding them. It's just incredible. Essential reading for any lover of film.

    1. NO! You don't like I Am Curious? It's a very polarizing film, so I guess I understand.

      Bonnie and Clyde is not a film that holds up for me upon recent visits. I find it, at times, wooden and unconvincing.

      Two for the Road is just a wonderful little movie, but The Whisperers, albeit very different, is also very good! I love that you nominate Andrews. I love her performance and I like the film despite the naysayers. It's so full of life and charm, as is her performance. Poitier had a great year in 67, with three high profile performances, but my favorite is To Sir, With Love. He's commanding in In the Heat of the Night, but Steiger swallows him whole.

      I really wish I had rewatched Playtime before posting these, now.

      I haven't read that book, but I'm intrigued!

    2. The book is SO good. Tons of behind-the-scenes tidbits and very entertaining. It's thick but I finished it super fast.

      I just found I Am Curious to be largely boring despite the sex - and frankly, even that was dull. It also seemed to be aping what other, better filmmakers were doing at the time (largely Godard). As a portrait of a time and place it's good, I guess, but I didn't like it.

      Bonnie & Clyde, though, I think still holds up. It has tremendous energy for most of it. I do think some of the quieter scenes lag a bit, and I guess those are the ones you find wooden, and it wouldn't be my pick for Best Picture of the Oscar nominees (The Graduate. Easily.), but Beatty and Dunaway's chemistry just burns a hole through everything else to the point where I don't care.

      I agree Steiger is better than Poitier in ...Heat of the Night (which I just watched in advance of next month's Blind Spot post; this month's crept up on me a bit too fast lol), but I think it's Poitier's best performance in a great year for him, and it shouldn't be overlooked.

    3. I can see how I Am Curious could look reflective of better filmmakers, and yet I find Sjoman's direction to be more measured and calming than Godard's knack for expressive cuts, and I felt like the character development (especially in Borje) was remarkable. I mean, what a fully fleshed out character!

  7. Dude, I LOVE the praise for I Am Curious here. Both Yellow and Blue deserve to be discussed more. Great picks all around here.

    1. I'm with you there 100%!

      I also love that your comment immediately follows Daniel's...for the obvious reason.

  8. I have not seen the foreign films except Belle Du Jour but I commend that Audrey gets a win for Two For The Road. The Dirty Dozen has to have some noms at least because it is such a fun but excellent film. I have to give the best Supporting Actor to Strother Martin cos he made the film. I love that you recognize Thoroughly Modern Millie:) As for music-Ennio Morricone all the way and "The Bare Necessities". That song just puts a big smile on my face

  9. things screwed up here so i write the 2nd time-Strother Martin for Best Supporting Actor for Cool Hand Luke. Audrey for Two For The Road. Ennio Morricone, hands down, for best score and The Bare Necessities" Love that you recognize Thoroughly Modern Millie here. I have not seen the foreign films except Bell Du Jour

    1. Interesting pick for Supporting Actor!

      Morricone's score is pretty iconic, but I preferred Jones' in the end. Love that you love Hepburn's beautiful turn so much, and the music in The Jungle Book really was incredible. I hope you get a chance to check out some of the other films I nominated that you've missed :-D

  10. What did you think of Julie Christie in Far From the Madding Crowd? I read your review on Amazon.com and there's not a single word about her but plenty of praise for the actors who play her three suitors. Odd, since she's the principle character.

    1. Personally, I find her good but not great. She didn't bring as much life to the character as I would have hoped. I actually felt like Carey Mulligan did a much better job with the recent adaptation of bringing fire to the role. The actors just consumed the 1967 version, personally.