The Sixties, as a decade, saw the continuation of prominent historical epics, but also saw the emergence of important sub-genres including spaghetti westerns, psychological and violent horror movies, spy movies, and more elaborate and intelligent Sci-fi and comedies with greater special effects. Looking at the top 3 grossing movies of 1960 is interesting- 1 is a family/kids movie, 2 is an adults only horror, and 3 is a classic epic. There is definitely more variation than in previous decades. Several big names died this year, Clark Gable being the biggest, while a number of up and comers had their debuts including Jane Fonda, Peter O’Toole, and Robert Redford. A number of stellar foreign movies had a lasting impact when they appeared this year, pushing the boundaries of sex, philosophy, violence, and technique on screen.
Official Nominations: 1960 saw Billy Wilder team up once again successfully with Jack Lemmon to create The Apartment, a film noted for its controversial themes of adultery at the time. Then again, Wilder was never one to shy away from controversy or censorship, and remains one of the few directors who achieved both commercial and critical success repeatedly when dealing with taboo. The Apartment remained the last Black and White film to win Best Picture until 2012.
While hardly a stellar year for Best Film nominations, Wilder faced stiff enough competition from wandering Stalwart John Wayne (The Alamo) as well as a trio of big hitting dramas. While these other films did well enough with the other categories, The Apartment won the big one- the USA was in the mood for humour, and Wilder delivered again, even without Monroe. The Apartment, while not a great favourite of mine, gets my pick too – the dialogue has the usual snap and wit we would expect, the performances are all top notch, and we are left with some eternal one-liners.
Brooks’s Elmer Gantry was just as taboo as what Wilder was doing, featuring a sexually aggressive conman who sells the more fiery side of religion to frightened townspeople, although unlike the book, the movie presents us with a lighter character, but quite a dark ending. Cardiff’s Sons and Lovers is a by the numbers take on D. H. Lawrence’s novel, while The Sundowners is an interesting tale about marriage, fatherhood, and freedom, yet has that old Hollywood sheen which means I am not too affected by it.
My Nominations: None of my nominations for Best Picture 1960 were nominated in your reality. Thanks to the power of The Spac Hole, history has righted itself, and those truly worthy have won their place on the list. Each of the films listed below were laregely successful and were winners in other categories but The Spac Hole and the creatures which traverse it reached far eyelessly to discover the truth. When all realities converge and smash together in an unknown point in The Spac Hole, the below films came out on top:
Village Of The Damned: In an unexpectedly strong year for intelligent horror films, Village Of The Damned earns its place thanks to a great idea executed tightly and some chilling performances and sequences.
Spartacus: Kubrick’s epic comes as close as any to being the definitive epic, just as he would come as close as anyone to making the definitive Sci-Fi and Horror later in his career.
Peeping Tom: Not getting the positive recognition it deserved until much later, this was seen as a much more depraved version of Psycho and subsequently was forgotten until later generations discovered its grisly power.
The Magnificent Seven: Just about the most entertaining Western ever made with a terrific cast on top form, full of pathos, action, humour, and heart this is an oft overlooked gem.
Psycho: Hitchcock near single handledly redesigned a genre, setting up a number of stereotypes which echo in any horror movie made today. The genius lies in the fact that when watching Psycho now, nothing seems like a stereotype or cliche even when we have seen it a hundred times in a hundred different movies. Truly chilling yet with a strong plot and characterisation this was one of the first movies to show that this dirty litle genre could be as respectable as any other.
My Winner: Psycho.
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