Official Nominations: In The Heat Of The Night. Bonnie And Clyde. Doctor Dolittle. The Graduate. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.
As mentioned in my Awards summary post, this year marked a major shift in US culture, and in the movies which viewers wanted to see. There is one obviously out of place film here while every other entry deals with tougher stuff, from racism to violence to sexual taboos, all mirroring the shifting landscape of the time. Four of these films are superb, while Doctor Dolittle is a light, fluffy, yet still enjoyable piece – a very strong year. Doctor Dolittle went notoriously over budget and wasn’t well received critically or commercially, which makes it an extremely strange choice for Best Picture nominee – it’s almost as if The Academy just had to throw a musical in there to try to cling on to the past, or have something a little brighter amidst all of the chaos. Why they didn’t go for The Jungle Book if that was the case, remains a mystery – the story goes that Fox executives lavished Academy members with gifts in order to recoup losses and gain some positivity for the film. Nevertheless, some of the songs are fun, the locations and animals are pretty, and the performances are okay, but it is entirely out of place alongside the other features.
Official winner, In The Heat of The Night, is a timely piece given the subject matter and the race relations crisis in the US at the time. A startlingly frank and mature piece, the film deals with racism face on and doesn’t shy away from any controversy, featuring a number of iconic quotes and scenes. One of the first films to deal with an African American in a true position of power, in an honest fashion, it has a great script and fantastic performances – a worthy winner. Also dealing with racial issues, and also starring Sidney Poitier is Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner – ostensibly a comedy, but a revealing one given the subject matter of interracial marriage which was still illegal in many States of the US in 1967. A fine film with fine performances, it feels a little dated now and much of the comedy is too soft and of its time to hit the mark with current audiences. An altogether more fiery relationship can be seen in Bonnie And Clyde, ironically a film which does not feel as dated given the period depicted. A taboo blasting film, one which spoke to a younger generation of movie -goer, touching upon sex and violence in ways never depicted on screen before, and with two searing performances by its leads, it remains a classic, fast paced drama, filled with vitality. The final nomination also spoke to a New Generation of post-adolescents and depicting that hope of a lifetime for may – to be seduced by an older woman. Although it was handled in a humourous fashion, the writers discuss sex, seduction, infatuation with both youth and experience in a way that had never been seen before. Luckily the script is tight and the direction strong, and it is so filled with iconic moments that critics couldn’t fail to be charmed. Hoffman and Bancroft lead the strong cast, helping to make this my winner.
My Winner: The Graduate
My Nominations: The Graduate. Bonnie And Clyde. Cool Hand Luke. In The Heat Of The Night. The Dirty Dozen. The Fearless Vampire Killers. Wait Until Dark. You Only Live Twice.
Three of the official winners come over to my list of nominations, joining a mixture of action, horror, drama, and comedy. Cool Hand Luke missing out on an official nomination always seemed like a strange snub,especially given its successes in other categories and with it being up against Doctor Doolittle. Cool Hand Luke is as iconic a 60s movie as any other you could name, and another which taps into the new wave of rebellion and desire for change which was sweeping the nation. Iconic moments, performances, and dialogue along with a good soundtrack and story which is both tragic and hopeful, it’s one which remains fresh and relevant today. Packing in the action and bringing together a ragtag group of outlaws and rebels to undertake a dangerous mission a la The Seven Samurai is the always enjoyable The Dirty Dozen – a film packed with stars which follows one of my favourite movie tropes – the identification of a select group, their training, and their mission – and its one of the best of its type. Polanski continues a fine run of form with The Fearlesss Vampire Killers, one of the original modern horror comedies which blends satire with farce, and animation with dreamlike fairytale visuals.Keeping on the horror side is an underrated one which apes Hitchcock more successfully that most which try – Terence Young’s Wait Until Dark. Featuring some of the most tense moments committed to film, it’s a shame this one is lesser known but inevitable that it will be remade, though who could top Hepburn, Arkin, and Crenna? My final nomination, and a controversial choice, is one of my favourite James Bond films – You Only Live Twice. Action packed, filled with great music and one liners, some of the best Production Design and set pieces in the series, strong bad guys, girls, and gadgets, it’s my selfish pick for the Best Film of 1967.
My Winner: You Only Live Twice.
Do you agree with my picks? What is your favourite film of 1967? Let us know in the comments!