Essential Movies – 1964 – An Alternative View

For my original post explaining my criteria – click here!

Rules: Ten films which, in some way, show our history and culture reflected in film and, film’s growth and change as a medium. It can’t simply be your ten personal favourites of the year. One of your ten choices must be in the top 10 grossing films of the given year. One of the films must have been nominated for a Best Film Oscar (Best Picture, Best Foreign Feature, or Best Animated Feature). One of the films needs to appear in a renowned critic or magazine or book’s best 10 films of the year. These choices can’t overlap. 

  1. Dr Strangelove (Academy Award Choice)
  2. Goldfinger (Top Grossing Choice)
  3. Woman In The Dunes (Critical Choice)
  4. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg
  5. A Hard Day’s Night
  6. A Fistful Of Dollars
  7. Band Of Outsiders
  8. Marriage Italian Style
  9. My Fair Lady
  10. Mary Poppins

Let us know your picks for the Top Ten Essential Movies of 1964!

Essential Movies – 1964

Greetings, Glancers! We’re back again to check which classic movies should be considered essential within each category of viewer. Check out my 1964 Oscars posts for more on some of these movies, otherwise lets go.

Becket

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Richard Burton. Peter O’Toole. John Gielgud. Nominated for 11 Oscars, winning one.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s an old, very theatrical film about a period of time few people will be interested in.

What I Think: As far as costume dramas go, there were plenty to chose from during the Sixties – I’m ambivalent towards all of them and would suggest that anyone not interested in the style needs to only see one of them. This is as good as any, but it’s not to my personal tastes. Essential only for critics and wannabees.

Dr Strangelove

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Kubrick. Peter Sellers. Dropping the bomb. Top 15 grossing film. Nominated for four Oscars.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: We’re distant from the time of release that was being satirized now, so much of the comedy may not hit the mark. Sellers can be an acquired taste. Many people don’t like political humour. Black and white, which will put off many modern viewers.

What I Think: It’s going to be eternally ranked among the best, most important comedies of all time. Even if the specifics are dated, a look at the world today shows that the satire still works. All Kubrick movies from Spartacus onwards (if not all, period) should be considered essential by critics, wannabees, nerds, and fans. Casuals with an interest in the director, the stars, comedy, or politics will enjoy it.

Goldfinger

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Bond, one of the most successful and highly regarded of the series. Shirley Bassey. Most people would include this in the top five must-see Bond movies. 2nd highest grossing movie of the year.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: If you’ve seen any other Bond and you’re not a fan, then you likely won’t care to see this.

What I Think: It’s Bond, so I automatically consider it essential. It’s arguably the most iconic entry in the series, what with the song, the quotes, the bad guy, the henchmen, Pussy Galore, the car etc. Still, growing up more with Moore I find myself watching the Connery movies less than others. Should be essential for everyone down to Casuals, and essential for them if they like Bond.

A Hard Day’s Night

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: It’s The Beatles. It’s one of the first movies of its type. It showcases a specific time and place and energy like few films or documents do.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It will be too wacky and displaced for some. If you’re not interested in The Beatles, or music, it won’t be of interest.

What I Think: It’s weird and energetic and doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you place it in the context of the time and the surrounding hysteria. It gives insight into the minds of the Fab Four, their creativity, and is a valuable artifact as well as being a lot of fun. Great music too. Essential down to Casuals, essential for Casuals who like the band.

Mary Poppins

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: It’s Mary Poppins. You’ve seen it. Disney. Supercali, chim chimeree, lets fly a kite etc. Third highest grossing film of the year. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nominated for thirteen Oscars, won five.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s a musical. It’s essentially plot-less. It’s too long and drags on endlessly.

What I Think: Have you watched it recently? It’s pretty bad. It’s not just the Van Dyke accent that we all know about – for me it’s not that the accent is nothing like Cockney – it’s that you literally cannot understand 95% of what he says. His character is unnecessary too, aside from a few cloying nods in the pseudo-redemption arc. It’s takes a hell of a long time to get going, the kid actors are annoying though it’s unclear why they need a Nanny in the first place beyond the fact that their parents are terrible human beings. By the end of the film, no-one has learned anything – the kids have lost the only person who showed them some passing interest, the mother doesn’t change whatsoever, and the father clearly suffers some sort of breakdown. Some of the songs and scenes go on for far too long and the humour is worse than swallowing a fart. While obviously dated, it is still wildly inventive. Having said all of that, I’m clearly in the minority and there’s no doubting it’s essential given the cultural impact, though a modern viewer who hasn’t seen it will likely not be as impressed as the person forcing them to watch it.

My Fair Lady

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Audrey Hepburn. Loverly. Rain In Spain. Highest grossing movie of the year. Best Picture winner, along with seven other Oscar wins.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s a musical. Those accents. Rex Harrison is a dick.

What I Think: Although this defeated Mary Poppins at the box office, it has fared less well in terms of impact. It’s still talked about, it’s still iconic, but to a much lesser degree than Poppins. Again, for someone who largely despises musicals, it’s a struggle to get through it, only kept from shutting it off by Hepburn’s charm. Regardless, it’s essential for Critics, Wannabees, Nerds, Fans and Casuals can give it a go if they like Hepburn or musicals.

The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Catherine Deneuve. Nominated for five Oscars (over a number of years)

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s foreign, most viewers won’t care about the director or cast. Not a top grossing movie.

What I Think: As you should know by now – musicals are not for me. This is the bets musical of the year. It’s as charming as Mary Poppins is bad, it’s as enchanting as My Fair Lady is annoying. However, given the choice, the average fan will pick a different musical to watch from this year, in that case probably only essential for Critics and Wannabees, though geeks and musical fans should give it a go.

The Woman In The Dunes

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: One of the best films from the Japanese New Wave, nominated for two Oscars, gorgeous music and cinematography. 100% Rotten Tomatoes.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old, black and white, Japanese, weird.

What I Think: Alienating, yet beautiful. Haunting, sad, creepy, yet definitely an acquired taste. Only for connoisseurs of Japanese cinema.

Zulu

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Michael Caine’s first major role. A cast of British icons starring in a film about a pivotal moment in British history. A John Barry score. One of the most successful and enduring British films of all time, still shown regularly on TV. Influenced many later war films and battle scenes.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Outside of Britain, nobody really cares. It wasn’t one of the highest grossing films of the year outside of Britain, and critical reception was and remains divided – is it racist or not, is it good or not? It didn’t win any awards of note.

What I Think: This has become less essential with time. Even though I still think it’s a great film, and that more movie fans outside of Britain should see it, there’s maybe not enough incentive within the cast or via the director to encourage viewers. The action and tension remain fresh and modern viewers will recognise its influence. Critics and Wannabees need to see it, but I imagine my generation of film fans born in Britain will be the last to consider it essential.

A Fistful Of Dollars

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: It’s Sergio Leone. It’s Clint Eastwood. It’s Ennio Morricone. They are three of the biggest names in their respective fields, and they’re together, making possibly the first film which enabled their legend status. It introduced The Man With No Name, both as a character and a character type. One of the first Spaghetti Westerns which reinvented a dying genre and took it onto darker, more violent territory. It was a Top Ten Grossing Movie that year.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: British and US critics were not impressed upon release. The non-traditionalist, cheaper, more European feel may put some viewers off.

What I Think: While not as good as, or essential, or iconic as The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, it came first and laid the groundwork. It kick-started a number of careers who would each become superstars, and it defined a genre. Essential for Critics, Wannabees, Nerds, and Fans, and even with its age modern virgin viewers should get something out of it.

Zorba The Greek

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Stars Anthony Quinn. Was a Top 20 Grossing film. It won three Academy Awards, and was nominated for four others, including Best Director and Best Picture.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Like most romances and comedies from a particular era, it hasn’t aged well. The stars probably aren’t recognisable enough to your average modern film fan.

What I Think: It has aged, but it still has good performances and at times is more like a buddy comedy/odd people romp than a romance. It was nominated for Best Picture, but didn’t win and has since become just another near-forgotten film. Critics and Wannabees should see it eventually, but for anyone else it’s only essential if you’re a fan of the cast.

Let us know in the comments which films above you would rank as essential, and which films of 1964 you would put in that category!

Chart Music Through The Years – 1964

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

Greetings, Glancers! We go back approximately 20 years before I was born to check out what the kids were listening to in October 1964. 1964, if you know your music history, was a seminal year. The Beatles landed in the US for the first time, TOTP was shown for the first time in The UK, Keith Moon joined The Who, The Rolling Stones released their first album, Sam Cooke, died, and a bunch of hit songs were released, some of which we’ll cover below.

Elsewhere in the world, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was published, Cuba and the US arsed about, Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston, the first Ford Mustang was created, Nelson Mandela went to prison, and many riots and protests abounded all around the globe. It was a British invasion in most areas of culture – from music to movies to fashion and sport. I’m actually shocked that the Top 10 below doesn’t contain a single Beatles song but it does contain a mixture of new rock groups, Motown, and holdovers from the era which was on its way out. I know a few of these and as always I’ll probably recognise others once I hit play. So let’s hit play!

  1. Roy Orbison: Oh Pretty Woman

Oh right. I thought it might be this, but I never realised it was actually called ‘Oh Pretty Woman’. Isn’t it just ‘Pretty Woman’? Either way, it’s a timeless pop song. Obviously it’s routed in the 50s, but it’s basically perfect. What more could you need from a pop song – you can sing along easily, you recognize it by hearing any single second, it’s instantly catchy, and there isn’t a note out of place.

2. Herman’s Hermits: I’m Into Something Good

I bet this is the ham song, right? Denny’s ham? That’s an Irish reference which only Irish readers are going to get. It’s happy clappy anyway. Everyone knows this though, another timeless one, more flawless pop. It’s a little bit Beach Boys, what with those harmonies, but there’s something a bit more quirky to it. Apparently the scum sing this at their games. Yeah, like they have anything to sing about these days. Anyway, another good song.

3. The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go

It’s pretty woman again, with that steady clappy intro. Seriously, compare these three songs with any three songs int he charts today. No comparison right? Sure they’re a little twee and innocent, but musically, melodically, vocally these songs wipe the floor with any of today’s chart wank. Plus, you already know this song. Even if you’ve never heard it, you know it. Today’s songs won’t last. For proof of that, the chart songs of 10 years ago haven’t lasted. This shit is over 50 years old and it’s still awesome. Too short though and doesn’t have a lot of (any) variety.

4. 

Julie Rogers: The Wedding

I have no idea what this is, so I’ll assume it’s Country. Nope, doesn’t sound Country. Well, the vocals could be, musically not really. Musically this is incredibly old fashioned. There’s a slight touch of Shirley Bassey here. Ave Maria. Strings. Explosion. Yeah, I’ve never heard this. Love how the drummer is going batshit. Vocals blasting away. I’m not sure what this is, but I can’t help but enjoy it just because of the sheer power of the performances. It’s not as catchy as the ones above but the gal and her gang knock it out of the park.

5. The Four Seasons: Rag Doll

Bum bum-bum. Bum bum-bum. More Beach Boys. What movie is this in….it’s all lovely. It sounds familiar but I don’t think I’ve heard it. Those highs are just on the right side of grating. Those oohs are damn catchy. The guitars are weird, can’t really hear them in this mix. The highs are making me think of Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy – the Star Trek bit? yeah, you know.

6. The Bachelors: I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World

Jeepers, more ooh-oohs. Ha ha, even trying to sound like The Beatles vocals. For about two seconds. It’s a little bit Country. Throw in some strings and I don’t care. The lyrics are cheesy as a tramp’s toe. Instrumental. Vocal disaster for last note. Yeah, fine, it’s another decent song but a little (bit) bit too simpering and soft.

7. The Searchers: When You Walk In The Room

Should this be ‘walk into the room’. Or is this just about someone walking around in a room. Like ‘when you walk in the room you keep blocking the TV, sit the fuck down cos I’m trying to watch Jessica Jones’?  BassThere’s the guitar. I know that riff. More harmonies, more melodies. It’s another toe tapper alright. The Youtube comments on these songs are hilarious – ‘this is REAL music, not like today’s crap’. I’ve already made that point too of course. The difference is I don’t care, or don’t want to care about the age or the genre – I just want it to be good – doesn’t matter if it’s a day old or five decades – good is good. This is good. There is less good in today’s charts. But it’s okay, as there is plenty of good outside the charts.

8. The Animals: I’m Crying

Ha ha, this guy’s Youtube channel is ‘Back When Music Was Good’. What’s the point in even being alive if you believe that? Yeah, go back to the 60s with your wars, rampant unemployment, lack of rights, and no internets. Actually that sounds exactly like 2017 apart from the internets. It’s a fast paced boyo, with organ and deep vocals, and yet it isn’t The Doors. It has an edge, as you’d expect from The Animals, it’s a little bit manic, but it lacks some melody outside of the ahh ahhs. Still, another good’un.

9. The Hollies: We’re Through

Everyone loves The Hollies, right? Listen to that guitar, great stuff. A fast paced rocker like early Beatles covers, this is frantic in every sense – the vocals wobble all over the place, the guitar and bass wrestle for attention, and the drums chatter away like the teeth of a frostbitten fool. It’s isn’t their most catchy or immediate song, but still good.

10. Jim Reeves: I Won’t Forget You

Well, I knew it couldn’t last. Still, this isn’t as horrible as I was forgetting. It’s pretty bleak even with the sentiment. Pure, clean vocals. It’s very plain and easy, a little bit Country, a little bit Calypso, very slow and simple, and there’s always going to be a market for it. Not my thing, but it’s harmless.

Well, that was very good – probably the best Top Ten I’ve covered yet in this series of posts. I’m not going to bother posting an alternate Top 10, partly because I don’t know enough about the other songs released, and partly because any alternate top 10 would include some of the artists above anyway. The obvious other recommendations would be The Beatles – take your pick from I Want To Hold Your Hand, A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t Buy Me Love – and also throw in some Beach Boys, Stones, Kinks etc. There’s something for everyone up above, except idiots, and even then some of the songs here are good enough to even interest the most staunch idiot.

Let us know in the comments which of the songs above you love, and if any other hits or otherwise from 1964 float your yacht!

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 1964

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: Marriage, Italian Style (Italy)

9: Woman In The Dunes (Japan)

8: Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (USA)

7:  A Hard Day’s Night (UK)

6: Seance On A Wet Afternoon (UK)

5: Dr. Strangelove (UK/USA)

4: Kwaidan (Japan)

3: Zulu (UK)

2: A Fistful Of Dollars (Italy/Germany/Spain)

1: Goldfinger (UK)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: One

1964 Academy Awards: Prize Summary

Another year done, and here are the results for any numbers geeks among you:

My Winners From Official Nominations:

Dr. Strangelove: 4

Mary Poppins: 3

Night Of The Iguana: 2

A Hard Day’s Night: 2

Goldfinger: 1

Cheyenne Autumn: 1

The Woman In The Dunes: 1

The 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao: 1

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte: 1

Seance On A Wet Afternoon: 1

Topkapi: 1

Peter Sellers: 1

Agnes Moorehead: 1

Kim Stanley: 1

Peter Ustinov: 1

Stanley Kubrick: 1

My Own Nominations:

A Fistful Of Dollars: 11

Goldfinger: 11

Zulu: 10

Dr. Strangelove: 8

The Fall Of The Roman Empire: 7

My Fair Lady: 6

Onibaba: 6

Mary Poppins: 6

Band Of Outsiders: 4

A Hard Day’s Night: 4

Seance On A Wet Afternoon: 3

633 Squadron: 3

The Outrage: 2

Red Desert: 2

The 7 Faces Of Dr Lao: 2

Marriage, Italian Style: 2

Viva Las Vegas: 2

Kwaidan: 1

The Unsinkable Molly Brown: 1

The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg: 1

The Flesh Eaters: 1

The Masque Of The Red Death: 1

The Woman In The Dunes: 1

Before The Revolution: 1

The Killers: 1

The Pink Panther: 1

Mothra Vs Godzilla: 1

Fail-safe: 1

Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear: 1

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte: 1

Night Of The Iguana: 1

The Pumpkin Eater: 1

Marnie: 1

Peter Sellers: 1

Clint Eastwood: 1

Lee Marvin: 1

Sean Connery: 1

Agnes Moorehead: 1

Jitsuko Yoshimura: 1

Deborah Kerr: 1

Audrey Hepburn: 1

Julie Andrews: 1

Anne Bancroft: 1

Kim Stanley: 1

Sophia Loren: 1

Honor Blackman: 1

Nobuko Otowa: 1

Tippi Hedren: 1

Geroge C Scott: 1

James Booth: 1

Michael Caine: 1

Gian Maria Volonte: 1

Stanley Kubrick: 1

Sergio Leone: 1

Guy Hamilton: 1

Jean Luc Godard: 1

Cy Endfield: 1

Bryan Forbes:1

My Own Winners:

Dr. Strangelove: 4

A Fistfull Of Dollars: 3

A Hard Day’s Night: 3

The 7 Faces Of Dr Lao: 2

The Fall Of The Roman Empire: 2

Goldfinger: 1

Red Desert: 1

633 Squadron: 1

Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear: 1

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte: 1

My Fair Lady: 1

Peter Sellers: 1

Agnes Moorehead: 1

Audrey Hepburn: 1

George C Scott: 1

Stanley Kubrick: 1

So, Doctor Strangelove and A Fistfull Of Dollars were the big hitters this year, two classic movies and two worthy winners.

Best Cast: 1964

My Nominations: The Fall Of The Roman Empire. The Outrage. Fail-Safe. Zulu.

So far this category seems to find epics picking up the most nominations – this is hardly surprising given the natural size of the cast required and the fact that epics of the 60s always had more than their fair share of A-list performers. Two of my four nominees this year are epics, will the remaining half showcasing that rare moment when a relatively small cast pull together to make a perfect whole. The Fall Of The Roman Empire features the likes of Alec Guiness, Omar Sharif, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Ballyclare’s own Stephen Boyd, and of course, Sophia Loren while Britain’s attempt Zulu sees Michael Caine, Jack Hawkins, Stanley Baker, James Booth, and Richard Burton pulling together. Fail-Safe is a much smaller affair and features the quintet of Henry Fonda, Dan O’Herlihy, Walter Matthau, Frank Overton, and Larry Hagman, while Rashomon remake The Outrage  collects the likes of Paul Newman, Eddie G Robinson, Lawrence Harvey, Claire Bloom, and William Shatner.

My Winner:  The Fall Of The Roman Empire.

Which film of 1964 do you think featured the Best Cast? Let us know in the comments below!

Best Stunt Work: 1964

My Nominations: 633 Squadron. Goldfinger. A Fistful Of Dollars. Zulu.

With each passing year, Hollywood writers, directors, and stunt performers grew more ambitious and adventurous with their stunt ideas. 633 Squadron became a perennial British Christmas hit and the aerial battle scenes remain some of the most impressive ever filmed. The film lacked a huger star though and was not a big commercial hit. John Crewdson and Joe Powell are the uncredited geniuses here. Both men again had illustrious careers but are barely remembered. Zulu raised the bar for sheer scale of ground battle scenes, and while there are no obvious single outstanding stunts, the onslaught of fighting and action on screen at any given time must have been hell for the stunt crew and director to manage. Joe Powell again gets in on the act with John Sullivan providing stunt direction.  A Fistfull Of Dollars features plenty of stylized gun play with Benito Stefanelli acting as co-ordinator and stuntman, becoming the go to guy for Spaghetti Westerns. Goldfinger features many of Bond’s most famous setpieces – the laser table, the aerial scenes, the DB5 ejector seat and crash, and of course Bond’s fight with Oddjob. Bob Simmons and his large crew are to thank for some wonderful moments.

My Winner: 633 Squadron.

Which movie from 1964 do you feel has the best stunt work? Let us know in the comments!

Best Visual Effects: 1964

Actual Nominations: Mary Poppins. The 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao.

While not necessarily and landmark year for visual effects, the 2 official nominations show advancement of the field and hold scenes which are still outstanding today. For the flight mechanics, merging of animations and other pieces, Peter Ellenshaw, Hamilton Luske, and Eustace Lycette won the award for Mary Poppins. As much as Mary Poppins did for visual effects, The 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao blows the competition out of the water. The invention on display is superb, but it is the variety of effects which cement this as my winner. On a much lesser budget than Disne’ys extravaganza, Jim Danforth’s exemplery stop motion work reflects the crazed mind of an escaped, under-your-bed lunatic. The work forshadows later films such as Clash Of The Titans, but the wizardry here is exquisite.

My Winner: The 7 Faces Of Dr Lao.

 My Nominations: Mary Poppins. The 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao. Goldfinger. Mothra Vs Goldzilla. 633 Squadron.

Added to my nominations come three films of varying effects bonanza-ing. Goldfinger arguably begins the love affair between Bond and gadgets, M vs G has a number of catastrophic fights between the Titans, while 633 Squadron features realistic air battles. It seems odd to me that any of these 3 films were left out of the official nominations.

My Winner: The 7 Faces Of Dr Lao.

lao7

Who is your pick for the best visual effects of 1964? Let us know in the comments!

Best Music (Scoring): 1964

Actual Nominations: Mary Poppins, Beckett, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Fall Of The Roman Empire, The Pink Panther, My Fair Lady, A Hard Day’s Night, Robin And The 7 Hoods, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

I’ve merged the Best Original and Best Adapted scores into a single category with a single winner. The actual winners (Original) this year, unsurprisingly were The Shermans for Mary Poppins, whose soundtrack has that eternal Disney quality- most of the tracks are ageless, but many of them, like the songs from the film, are too twee and grating for my venomous ears. Picking up the win for Adapted Score was Andre Previn for My Fair Lady, again an expected victory. The same opinion above can be used here, although I find Poppins the more fun soundtrack, while Lady has more intelligence. Laurence Rosenthal’s score for Becket is powerful, dramatic, and clearly raises the film’s potency while Frank De Vol arguably does the same job for Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte with music that teeters between tender and terrifying. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for The Fall Of The Roman Empire has some fantastic moments, particularly the main theme which sounds an awful lot between a forgotten cross between The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, and The Godfather while Henry Mancini finally strikes gold with the eternally wonderful theme to The Pink Panther. It’s stealthy jazz conjures up images of cool criminals, cool cops, comedy capers, and would have made a more deserving winner than either of the two actual winners. Nelson Riddle’s Robin And The 7 Hoods on the other hand is uninspired pap, featuring voices from the Twat Pack. The Unsinkable Molly Brown is more renowned for it’s songs than the score, while my winner A Hard Day’s Night could fall under the same conclusion. However, George Martin’s production of The Beatles tracks merged to create one of the best albums/soundtracks ever and they accompany the antics of the films perfectly.

My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night

My Nominations: A Hard Day’s Night, The Pink Panther. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. A Fistful Of Dollars. Goldfinger. Viva Las Vegas. Mary Poppins. My Fair Lady. 633 Squadron

Four newcomers for my list- a musical, a Western, a WWII flick, and a spy thriller. John Barry’s soundtrack for Goldfinger may be the most famous of all the Bond scores, and certainly ranks among the most iconic. This is the first point in the series where the music really grew a life of its own, featuring several motifs which continue throughout the series. The heavy focus on brass counters the more metallic sounds, sending the seductive clashing against the threat. The soundtrack was also a huge commercial success. The soundtrack for Via Las Vegas was not the success it was expected to be, it’s style going against the rise of The Beatles. However, it is one of the best in Elvis’ career and is particularly frantic and fun. Finally, Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack for A Fistful Of Dollars is one of the most evocative in history. Taking his cue largely from Tiomkin, Morricone twists the usual music of Westerns by adding all manner of whistles, chants, percussion, and sudden strings. The main theme has a memorable melody and is equally sombre and jubilant, moving between contemplative moments to galloping rhythms. Ron Goodwin’s stirring soundtrack for 633 Squadron is arguably what most people remember about the film- a rousing British battle cry. It’s difficult to choose a winner year, in a very strong year for movie soundtracks.

My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night.

Let us know in the comments which of the nominations above you feel is the deserving winner, and feel free to share any soundtracks I’ve missed!

Best Music (Song): 1964

Actual Nominations: Chim Chim Cheree (Mary Poppins), Dear Heart (Dear Heart), Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte), My Kind Of Town (Robin And The 7 Hoods), Where Love Has Gone (Where Love Has Gone)

Jeepers, I can’t wait to get out of the 60s so that some decent movie songs can be discussed. Henry Mancini’s Dear Heart almost strangles his excellent work from The Pink Panther and is yet another whiney, choral-voiced, meandering and dreary love song. There’s nothing offensively bad about it, and I’m sure my opinion is in the vast minority, but any time I hear songs of this style I am instantly sent into a momentary depression. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte is better though, gentle, bland, but goes absurdly against the plot, tone, and style of the film. By this point you can probably guess what I’m going to say about Where Love Has Gone– I do enjoy the overblown strings of the intro, but it’s just another whiney love song about nothing with music which doesn’t merge well with the (bland) vocals. Luckily, My Kind Of Town is better, but unluckily it’s another swing song which is a type of music which I cannot listen to for more than 2 minutes before wanting to pull out my eyes and insert them in my ears so I can watch myself going deaf. So, it is with no delight that my winner matches the official one- Chim Chim Cher-ee. Again it goes against everything I like in movies and music, but it certainly isn’t bland or whiney. It’s fun, funny, clever, the lyrics fit the plot, the music fits the vocals, the performance fits blah blah. The children vocals however are awful, but luckily they don’t last long.

My Winner: Chim Chim Cher-ee (Mary Poppins)

dick-van-dyke-in-mary-poppins

My Nominations: Viva Las Vegas (Viva Las Vegas). Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious (Mary Poppins). Goldfinger (Goldfinger). Can’t Buy Me Love (A Hard Day’s Night). Wouldn’t It Be Loverly (My Fair Lady).

So, I’ve managed to pick entirely different songs from the official nominations-some of which could be said to have been a huge oversight. I still managed to select 2 songs from the two winning films- Superblabladoshus, a fine nonsensical song which retains the ability to charm kids of any generation, and Wouldn’t It Be Loverly which is a loverly song. Aside from those, my choices see Elvis on fine form with Viva Las Vegas – a hurried verse followed by blasting chorus which is now synonymous with the city, and Shirley Bassey’s epic first entry in the Bond series- the sensual classic, Goldfinger. Either of those tracks are deserving winners in any year. However, my win has to go to The Beatles; it’s a case of ‘take your pick’ from A Hard Day’s Night as every song is a winner. My favourite though is Can’t Buy Me Love, one of the best pop/rock songs ever.

My Winner: Can’t Buy Me Love (A Hard Day’s Night)

 Let us know in the comments what your favourite song from a 1964 movie was!