The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Friday, January 04, 2013
1962 REVISITED: The story so far: I've listed my favorite films of
2002, 1992, 1982, and 1972.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1962, it gave its Best Picture award to Lawrence of Arabia. I like that one better than I like most "epic" movies, and you'll find it in my honorable mentions. But I put something else at number one.

1. The Exterminating Angel
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Buñuel and Luis Alcoriza, from a play by Jose Bergamin

This was the first Buñuel film I ever saw. A couple dozen pictures later, it's still my favorite.

2. The Music Man
Directed by Morton DaCosta
Written by Marion Hargrove, from a play by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey

A real movie musical, completely liberated from its stage origins, with a sophisticated score and an enjoyable anti-bluenose streak.

3. La Jetée
Written and directed by Chris Marker

Terry Gilliam remade/remixed this as Twelve Monkeys. I like that one too, but it can't match the poetry of the original.

4. Ride the High Country
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Written by N.B. Stone Jr.

"You can have one, because the Lord's bounty is not for sale. The rest are a dollar each."

5. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Directed by Robert Aldrich
Written by Lukas Heller, from a novel by Henry Farrell

"You mean, all this time we could've been friends?"

6. Sanjuro
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Written by Kurosawa and Ryuzo Kikushima

Kurosawa's funniest film, though I wouldn't quite call it a comedy.

7. The Manchurian Candidate
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Written by George Axelrod, from a novel by Richard Condon

I'm probably putting a target on myself by saying this, but I like the movie better than the book.

8. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
Directed by John Ford
Written by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck, from a story by Dorothy M. Johnson

Unravels one legend, helps invent another.

9. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Directed by Robert Enrico
Written by Enrico, from a story by Ambrose Bierce

One of two templates for Siesta, Jacob's Ladder, Lulu on the Bridge, Abre Los Ojos, The Sixth Sense, Vanilla Sky, and Donnie Darko.

10. Carnival of Souls
Directed by Herk Harvey
Written by John Clifford

The other template.

Honorable mentions:

11. Pitfall (Hiroshi Teshigahara)
12. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnès Varda)
13. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean)
14. Lolita (Stanley Kubrick)
15. The House Is Black (Forough Farrokhzad)
16. The Trial (Orson Welles)
17. Knife in the Water (Roman Polanski)
18. Hell is for Heroes (Don Siegel)
19. The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit (Gene Deitch)
20. Cosmic Ray (Bruce Conner)

If you compare this to the version I posted a decade ago, the main difference you'll see—other than the addition of some new titles—is that I decided I like The Manchurian Candidate better than The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and I decided I like quite a few films better than Knife in the Water.

Of the films of 1962 that I haven’t seen, I’m most interested in The Connection. And at some point I ought to get around to watching Eclipse.

posted by Jesse 1:17 PM
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