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)

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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!

Best Costume Design: 1964

Actual Nominations: As with Cinematography the category was split into BW and color and featured a cross-section of epics and musicals, featuring many of the same films as were nominated for Cinematography. The official winner for BW was Night Of The Iguana but there really isn’t a lot to pick between this and the other nominees- Hush Hush, A House Is Not A Home, Kisses For My President, The Visit. Again the colour nominations are more interesting, with Harry Stradling picking up the win for My Fair Lady. Completing the nominations are Becket, Mary Poppins, Molly Brown, and What A Way To Go. Edith Head’s designs were nominated in both colour and BW, but she did not pick up a win this year.

My Winner: BW: Night Of The Iguana. Colour: Mary Poppins. Few films of the decade had such vibrancy in all areas as Mary Poppins, so it gets my vote over My Fair Lady.

My Nominations: My Fair Lady. Mary Poppins. Band Of Outsiders. A Fistful Of Dollars. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. Zulu.

I’ve added 4 films to the 2 carried over from the official nominations, and only 1 of the 6 is BW. Band Of Outsiders has that timeless cool French Chic thanks largely to Christiane Fageol’s work which is in stark contrast to my other picks. A Fistful Of Dollars is as you would expect, all dirty, beaten ponchos, but it was films like this which started the endearing look and people like Carlo Simi and Maria Casado who perfected it. My final picks are historical epics, a genre which relies heavily on Costume Design to convey authenticity and tone. It may seem easy to pick a popular outfit of the time and put actors in it, but it takes an unprecedented amount of time, detail, and dedication to get everything just right. Arthur Newman may not have had a large career in Wardrobe, but each feature he worked on has that memorable touch. In Zulu he oversees the costumes of our band of under siege soldiers but also the tribal garments of the marauding warriors. However, my win goes to the joint venture between Veniero Colasanti and John Moore (who also provided the Set Design) whose experience of working together on other hits such as El Cid pays off for the lost epic The Fall Of The Roman Empire. Their designs range from outfits for soldiers of all levels to pure tunics for senators to luxurious dresses for Sophia Loren.

My Winner: The Fall Of The Roman Empire. 

Let us know your picks for the best Costume Design of 1964!

Best Art Direction: 1964

Once again this year the category was split into BW and colour awards:

Actual Nominations: BW: Zorba The Greek. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. Seven Days In May. The Americanization Of Emily. The Night Of The Iguana. Colour: My Fair Lady. Becket. Mary Poppins. The Unsinkable Molly Brown. What A Way To Go.

This year highlighted that the split category was becoming redundant, especially with fewer BW films being released and when seeing them alongside so many colourful extravaganzas it takes something truly special to stand out. Having said that, both categories feature accomplished work with Zorba and My Fair Lady picking up the respective wins. Seven Days In May proved that you didn’t have to be a musical or big budget epic to get noticed in this category while Americanization is an odd movie and choice. Hush Hush and Iguana round up the BW nominations with well crafted pieces.

My Winner: Mary Poppins. (William H Tuntke, Carroll Clark)

My Nominations: Mary Poppins. The Unsinkable Molly Brown. My Fair Lady. Dr Strangelove. Seance On A Wet Afternoon. Red Desert.

I’ve added 3 colour films to the nominations. Peter Murton gives Dr. Strangelove a farcical clinical feel where everywhere seems to clean against the lunatic plot while Ray Simm lends a suitably bleak feel to Seance. My winner though is Red Desert, where the melding of ideas between Antonioni, Piero Poletto, and the rest of the production crew give the director’s first colour film a look of post war shock- greys stilted against shocking reds.

My Winner: Red Desert (Piero Poletto)

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Let us know in the comments which film of 1964 you felt had the best Art Direction!