Best Cast: 1965

My Nominations: Battle Of The Bulge. Flight Of The Phoenix. The Greatest Story Ever Told. Dr Zhivago.

Battle Of The Bulge collects a decent ensemble of players, though doesn’t quite match some of the more famous war epics in terms of star quality. Here Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, and Charles Bronson lead a list of underrated actors. Flight Of The Phoenix operates in a similar way, with a large cast of smaller stars headed by a few big hitters – Jimmy Stewart, Richard Attenborough, and Ernest Borgnine. Going for the full epic scope, The Greatest Story Ever Told is led by Charlton Heston, Claude Rains, Dorothy Maguire, Telly Savalas, David McCallum, Martin Landau, Donald Pleasance, Roddy McDowell, as well as  the likes of Pat Boone, Van Heflin, Angela Lansbury, Robert Loggia, John Wayne, and Shelly Winters popping up. Dr. Zhivago again is an epic, but keeps a tighter knit group than many of its ilk, with Omar Shariff, Julie Christie, Rod Steiger, and Alec Guiness leading the way.

My Winner: The Greatest Story Ever Told.

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Which film of 1965 do you think has the Best Cast? Let us know in the comments!

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Best Stunt Work: 1965

My Nominations: Thunderball. The Great Race. Von Ryan’s Express. For A Few Dollars More. The Battle Of The Bulge. Dr Zhivago.

Bond’s 1965 outing is full of the usual exceptional fight and chase scenes, but it is most notable for its underwater work. Naturally, taking the action below the waves has inherent dangers and gave a unique twist to action thrillers of the time, but many of the scenes drag on and lack pace, so although they were remarkable at the time, and still an impressive achievement, they feel a little dated now. Von Ryan’s Express has fights on top of trains, large and small-scale gun battles. The Agony And The Ecstasy has horse battles. The Battle Of The Bulge features a fair amount of epic war scenes and tank combat. Dr Zhivago has a bit of everything, from battle scenes across icy wastelands on horseback, to epic gun battles while For A Few Dollars More has gritty gunplay and tense build-ups before the release of action. The Great Race is like a live action Wacky Races, mixing exciting, nitro-fuelled car action with absurd, extensive pie fighting. There is a massive list of stunt performers, mostly who went criminally uncredited in the film – basically everyone involved in stunts in the 60s was involved in this one.

My Winner: The Great Race

Which film of 1965 do you think has the Best Stunt Work? Let us know in the comments!

Best Visual Effects: 1965

Official Nominations: Thunderball. The Greatest Story Ever Told.

An old school epic versus another edition of the upstart James Bond. Although Thunderball isn’t my favourite Bond with the underwater scenes being too slow, it does still top the work done on The Greatest Story Ever Told with the climactic explosion being particularly spectacular.

My Winner: Thunderball

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My Nominations: Thunderball. Battle Of The Bulge. The Flight Of The Phoenix. Von Ryan’s Express. Frankenstein Conquers The World. Planet Of The Vampires.

It wasn’t a stellar year for Visual Effects, and my nominations show that. Battle Of The Bulge and Von Ryan’s Express have fairly standard effects work, while Flight Of The Phoenix goes one further with its impressive crash work. Frankenstein Conquers The World has some interesting work with severed hands crawling around to add something different to the usual giant beast in background versus little people, houses, and cars in the foreground. Planet Of The Vampires similarly uses forced perspective to great effect as well as all manner of tricks forced by (and to shroud) the low budget.

My Winner: Thunderball

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Let us know in the comments which film of 1965 you fell has the best Visual Effects!

Best Song:1965

Official Nominations:

The Shadow Of Your Smile (The Sandpiper): Johnny Mendel and Paul Francis Webster’s oft covered hit won the award this year, a gentle, dreary song – the original choral version isn’t the best, with several crooners and a wide range of performers putting stronger spins to it over the year. The melancholy shines through on the original though, and thankfully the choral isn’t all that bad to render it unlistenable.

The Ballad Of Cat Ballou (Cat Ballou): Johnny Livingstone and Mack David provided the central tune to Cat Ballou, a rip-roaring feisty track with humorous lyrics, veering between a typical cowboy tune and sea shanty. The melodies aren’t that strong, but the energy and fun spirit keep your interest.

I Will Wait For You (The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg): Michael Legrand and Jacques Remy is a tear-jerker which again has been covered by all the crooners, and of course, in Futurama. The lyrics, vocals, and great composition come together to give a uniquely tragic song which instantly recalls moments from the film. And from Futurama.

The Sweetheart Tree (The Great Race): A calming moment in an otherwise frantic and silly movie, the song opens gently, accompanied by sweet vocals and easy lyrics. The choral version isn’t great, but the crazy piano solo in the middle is brilliant.

What’s New Pussycat? (What’s New Pussycat?): Not a lot to say on this one, other than Jones belts it out like a man posessed. It’s a nonsense song, but damn catchy.

My Winner: What’s New Pussycat?

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My Nominations

What’s New Pussycat? (What’s New Pussycat?).

The Sweetheart Tree (The Great Race).

I Will Wait For You (The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg).

Do-re-mi (The Sound Of Music): It seems bizarre that for such a popular film which yielded so many popular songs, and won so many awards, did not receive any nominations for Best Song. Of course the songs were taken from the stage musical, but who cares about that? Although I can’t stand the film, I can’t deny the power of some of its tunes, and this jingly childrens favourite is the best of a good/bad bunch.

Help! (Help!): One of my favourite Beatles tracks, and one of the greatest songs of all time, so not much else to say.

Ticket To Ride (Help!): A more unusual song than much of the rest of the soundtrack, but another one of my favourite Beatles tracks.

My Winner: Help! (Help!)

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What do you think is the best movie song of 1965? Let us know in the comments!

Best Music (Scoring): 1965

Official Nominations: Original: Dr Zhivago. A Patch Of Blue. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. The Agony And Ecstasy. The Greatest Story Ever Told. Treatment: The Sound Of Music. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. Cat Ballou. A Thousand Clowns. The Pleasure Seekers.

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The official nominations this year were split into original score and treatment score to deal with the amount of stage adaptations. I’ll bunch them together for my own nominations. Maurice Jarre’s oriental, string fuelled, emotive score for Dr Zhivago has at least one famous theme which you’ll recognise even if you haven’t seen the film and was unsurprisingly this year’s winner. Jerry Goldsmith’s wistful, tragic score for A Patch Of Blue has tinkly piano parts and just enough string backing to sway between loneliness and happiness, whilst the same can almost be said for Michel Legrand’s Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. Even though the film came out the year before, and was nominated the year before, it is oddly nominated in both categories here. Alex North’s score for The Agony and The Ecstasy has plenty of solo instrumental moments, strange for an epic, and countered by typical organ and brass elements – it’s in these larger moments that the emotional weight is carried though the score lacks a memorable tune. Alfred Newman’s The Greatest Story Ever Told is a similarly epic film merging typical Christian standards with choir backing and a collection of more tender moments, but again for me none of the themes stand out.

The Sound Of Music is filled with musical moments still wildly popular today, so it is difficult to argue against its choice as winner.  Cat Ballou’s score by Frank De Vol is mostly upbeat, exciting, and jig-worthy while Don Walker’s  A Thousand Clowns relies too much on the same motifs. Newman and Courage’s The Pleasure Seekers rounds up the nominees, the only anomaly here, memorable only for its Spanish tinged moments.

My Winner: Original: Dr Zhivago. Treatment: The Sound Of Music.

My Nominations: Help! Dr Zhivago. A Patch Of Blue. The Sound Of Music. Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill. Thunderball. For A Few Dollars More

I’ve added a few more films to my list, namely Ken Thorne’s treatment and original work for Help! and Morricone’s expansion to A Fistful Of Dollars for A Few Dollars More. John Barry’s soundtrack for Thunderball is one of the better scores, while Paul Sawtell’s zippy score for Faster Pussycat opened the doors for a million grindhouse imitators.

My Winner: Help!

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Which film do you feel has the best soundtrack of 1965? Let us know in the comments below!

Best Writing (Adapted): 1965

Official Nominations: Dr. Zhivago. Ship Of Fools. A Thousand Fools. Cat Ballou. The Collector.

This year’s nominees roughly echo the nominees for Best Picture, with Zhivago, Ship Of Fools, and A Thousand Clowns getting double pokes. Robert Bolt’s Zhivago picked up the official win and it is difficult to argue against this considering the scope of Pasternak’s novel and the monumental success of the film. Herb Gardener successfully adapted his own play (A Thousand Clowns) and retains the charm, humour, and tragedy for the big screen. Walter Newman and Frank Pierson bring an interesting, deranged twist on Roy Chanslor’s serious The Ballad Of Cat Ballou, largely turning the film into a completely standalone piece. Mann and Kohn’s adaptation of the dark John Fowles novel, The Collector, almost suffered from a changed ending until Wyler stepped in and insisted on keeper the more authentic, original conclusion, although unfortunately other scenes were cut. Abby Mann’s adaptation of the Porter novel downsizes the scope and loses much of the obvious Nazi themes among others topics, but is a largely faithful retelling of a story of uncertainty, searching, and disappointment.

My Winner: The Collector.

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My Nominations: The Collector. Cat Ballou. The Ipcress File. Thunderball.

I’m adding The Ipcress File and Thunderball to my list. Thunderball may not be a highlight in the Bond series, but have a look at the mess that is Never Say Never Again, and be thankful that McClory, Whittingham, and Fleming wrote a decent screenplay. The Ipcress File is a mostly faithful adaptation of the Deighton novel, though there is more humour on screen than on the page.

My Winner: The Collector

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What is your pick as the best Adapted Screenplay of 1965? Let us know in the comments!

Best Writing (Original): 1965

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.

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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.

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Which film do you think has the best original screenplay of 1965? Let us know in the comments!