Official Nominations: Darling. Cassanova 70. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. The Train. Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines.
This was an interesting year for original writing, with the daring Darling deservedly picking up the win. It deals with a host of taboo subjects in a frank and often shocking manner. In another year The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg may have won thanks to the unique…lyricial style of the screenplay. The other entries are bizarre, but justified in their own weirdness, with Cassanova 70 dealing with sex and death fetish in a typically Italian comedic style, while Magnificent sees a host of British comedians hamming it up and providing a variety of humourous, energetic japes. The Train is a solemn, cynical affair, and while the film is action packed, the whole plot about stealing priceless art echoes the absurdity of war when we see that no-one even cares about the art and it is discarded.
My Winner: Darling.
My Nominations: Darling. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. Alphaville. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Help!, Repulsion
Darling and Cherbourg make the transition to my nominaitons, and are aided and abetted by a quartet of newbs which echo the bizarre real world nominations. Polanski, Brach, and Stone’s screenplay for Repulsion is almost the antithesis of Darling with a much colder, stilted approach to relationships and existence as a whole. On the other side of the extreme is Meyer’s exhuberant, ridiculous Faster, Pussycat! which contains more pulpy one-liners than drunken stand-up comedian with a gun to his head. Help! is The Beatles take on Bond, and it is filled with strange asides, improvisation, and timeless nonsense, while Alphaville is Godard’s semi-original take on the character of Lemmy Caution, completely twisting the character and throwing him into a futuristic setting.
My Winner: Repulsion.
Which film do you think has the best original screenplay of 1965? Let us know in the comments!
I missed my usual Oscar post yesterday, so adding two today – yippee!
Actual Nominations: Father Goose. A Hard Day’s Night. The Organizer. That Man From Rio. One Potato Two Potato.
From these nominations you would be forgiven for thinking it was a slow year- a dreary romantic comedy as winner? A film based on an album, a spoof of James Bond? The Organizer is a fine Italian film but doesn’t have a remarkable script, while One Potato Two Potato attempts an emotional drama on race relations, but now looks naive. That Man From Rio looks beautiful and gets most of its plus points from attempting a rip-roaring French Bond film. My win though is A Hard Day’s Night as it sparkles with humour, surrealism, and self knowing, and like The Beatles themselves, is brimming with creativity and innovation.
My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night
My Nominations: A Hard Day’s Night. A Fistful Of Dollars. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. Band Of Outsiders. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg.
Only one film makes it to my list from the officials, and most of my picks this year are foreign productions. Fistful takes many of the cliches of the genre and twists them into a new bunch, while The Fall is noted for much more intelligence than one would usually expect to see in a film of its type. Band and Umbrella feature many innovative techniques with the former relying on an air of cool and the latter on its unexpected sung dialogue.
My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night
Which film of 1964 do you think had the best original writing? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: How The West Was Won. 8 1/2. America, America. Love With The Proper Stranger. The Four Days Of Naples
While 8 1/2 is the more visionary and original film, I’m always fascinated and awed by epics – every facet of a true epic which spans generational time spans is appealing to me, from a pure entertainment viewing standpoint, to its creation. Without strong writing and characters and epic would be four hours of torture, but when you have engaging writing, memorable quotes, and characters you yearn to see more of, then you’ll have a winner in my books. How The West Was Won is a winner. Elia Kazan’s vanity project America, America is also epic in scope and earned him multiple nominations, including Best Writing, while Arnold Schulman’s Love With The Proper Stranger deals with tough topics but doesn’t hit any peaks. Four Days Of Naples is an interesting enough Italian film, but again doesn’t stir anything in me with regards to writing.
My Winner: How The West Was Won.
My Nominations: Dementia 13. Winter Light. Summer Holiday. Shock Corridor. The Running Man. It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. How The West Was Won. 8 1/2.
Sam Fuller was always ahead of his time, and with Shock Corridor he perfects the horror/crime cliché of ‘man goes to asylum to uncover murder case’, both writing and directing skilfully. Dementia 13 shows a young Coppola’s flair, Winter Light is full of Bergman’s venom against religion, Summer Holiday remains popular to this day in Britain, whilst Mad World and The Running Man are good examples of pacing when it comes to writing chase thrillers and adventures.
My Winner: Shock Corridor.
Let me know your picks for Best Original Writing of 1963 in the comments below!
Actual Nominations: Divorce, Italian Style. Freud. Last Year At Marienbad. That Touch Of Mink. Through A Glass Darkly.
Quite an average year for original screenplays. Divorce, Italian Style picked up the win this year, interesting as it is basically based on an existing work. Much of the humour in the film does come from the imaginative script, particularly in the murderous dreams. Bergman’s Through A Glass Darkly is a typically dense story dealing with a lot of themes, mostly linked to the separation and angst we feel when dealing with others, even those who should be closest to us. Freud is John Huston’s biography on, surprisingly, Freud, mainly focusing on a particular period of his life when he was beginning his theories on sexuality. The film is striking in the way that Huston prefers the visuals to do the talking rather than an overly complex script. Last Year At Marienbad is one of Resnais’s greatest films, thanks in a large part to Alain Robbe-Grillet’s groundbreaking script – interpret it as you may. That Touch Of Mink is a fairly traditional romantic comedy, with a decent screenplay by Shapiro and Monaster, but it isn’t overly memorable.
My Winner: Last Year At Marienbad
My Nominations: Last Year At Marienbad. The Exterminating Angel. My Life To Live. Sanjuro.
Only Marienbad makes it over to my list – joining it is the equally groundbreaking, but greatly controversial The Exterminating Angel. Bunuel’s story is filled with rage, cynicism, and mockery, and contains many shocking moments which translate brilliantly to screen. The repetition, the ending, the metaphor are all to be treasured. Godard’s My Life To Live traverses a thin between selfish, irritating, obnoxious, and self-indulgent, but somehow it all works, thanks to the sincerity of the script. Naturally it is filled with novel approaches which don’t always work, particularly over 50 years later. Finally, Sanjuro, cheating a little as it is loosely based on a short story, but changed enough from that source to become something unique. There are smarts, double-crosses, and frank discussions on violence. But mostly it’s about swords.
An odd year for this category in that the vast majority of the nominees were non-Americans, yet the winner for his small town tale of religion and sexual repression was Playwright of the Midwest William Inge. Splendor In The Grass touched many a nerve but wasn’t so shocking that critics and audiences were put off. General Della Rovere was based on a novel so probably shouldn’t have been nominated here, while Ballad Of The Soldier was released in Russia 2 years earlier and is a complex tale of various relationships during war times. La Dolce Vita is one of the titans of World Cinema and gets my vote as winner, while Lover Come Back is a silly romantic comedy which we won’t mention again.
Actual Nominations: Splendor In The Grass- William Inge. La Dolce Vita- Federico Fellini. Ballad Of The Soldier- Valentin Yoshov. General Della Rovere- Sergio Amidei. Lover Come Back- Stanley Shapiro.
My Winner: La Dolce Vita
My Nominations: La Dolce Vita. Through A Glass Darkly. Viridiana. The Day The Earth Caught Fire.
Official Nominations: The Apartment. The Angry Silence. The Facts of Life. Hiroshima Mon Amour. Never on Sunday
From the official nominations this year there was really only going to be one winner, with Billy Wilder’s witty screenplay backed by I.A.L Diamond’s notorious flair for comedy ensuring plenty of laughs. More than a simple comedy it touches upon controversial themes such as adultery and was generally ahead of its peers in terms of cultural relevance. Bryan Forbes’s screenplay for The Angry Silence touched on similarly relevant themes, but without the comedy and although the story from Richard Gregson and Michael Craig is interesting, there is none of the brilliance of Wilder. The Facts Of Life is a generally silly, cliche ridden film and story where that typical-for-Hollywood-but-entirely-unnatural event of placing two people in an unusual situation only for them to inevitably fall in love is the central event. In contrast, Hiroshima Mon Amour is startlingly fresh and innovative with Marguerite Duras’s screenplay abandoning linear plotting and traditional form. Jules Dassin’s Never On Sunday rounds up the nominations with a fine story written to the point of vanity.
My Winner: The Apartment
My Nominations: The Apartment. Peeping Tom. Hiroshima Mon Amour.
I’ve added one major missing to my nominations, a film which explores the more seedy, dangerous, unexplored side of life. Leo Marks penned the script for Powell’s Peeping Tom and gives his experience of cryptography to create a puzzling story which surprises at every turn.
As a fan of the more extreme side of cinema, I ask you to join me, as I explore the history of Cinema's most extreme movies with all the sex, violence and symbolism intact. I'm here to reflect on the extreme movies that have come and gone to see what they mean, see what makes them so extreme, and of course, see if they're any good.