The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

by Jesse Walker

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1965, it gave its Best Picture award to The Sound of Music. It's hip to denigrate that movie, but I'm willing to defend it. I'm not going to put it on my list, though:

1. Repulsion
Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Polanski, Gerard Brach, and David Stone

The most claustrophobic and horrific of Polanki's claustrophobic horror movies.

2. The Saragossa Manuscript
Directed by Wojciech Has
Written by Tadeusz Kwiatkowski, from a novel by Jan Potocki

A story within a story within a story within a...

3. The Battle of Algiers
Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
Written by Pontecorvo and Franco Solinas

In the '60s, would-be Guevaras watched this to teach themselves revolution; four decades later, the Pentagon screened it for tips on fighting terror. Whatever else they found in it, both groups got to see one hell of a movie—a film so utterly unflinching in its amorality that it feels more like a dispassionate documentary than a propaganda picture.

4. The Loved One
Directed by Tony Richardson
Written by Terry Southern and Christopher Isherwood, from a novel by Evelyn Waugh

The Duck Soup of pet cemetery movies.

5. King Rat
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Written by Forbes, from a novel by James Clavell

"If you don't want to eat it, you can sit and watch. It's a free prison!"

6. It Happened Here
Written and directed by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo

An alternate-history tale in which Britain falls under Nazi rule. A story about life under occupation, and the ease with which people in such a situation can become collaborators.

7. A Game with Stones
Written and directed by Jan Švankmajer

The stones of the title arrange themselves into simple shapes, into more intricate patterns, and eventually into human beings who swallow each other. If that doesn't sound good enough to belong on one of these lists, well, it isn't easy to describe the plot of a Dali painting either.

8. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Directed by Martin Ritt
Written by Paul Dehn and Guy Trosper, from a novel by John Le Carre

In Le Carre's bleak story, the intelligence agencies of the Cold War aren't entirely separate—more like competing forces within one vast corrupting system.

9. Mickey One
Directed by Arthur Penn
Written by Alan Surgal

The most surreal mob movie I've seen, and a prototype for the conspiracy thrillers of the '70s.

10. Simon of the Desert
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Buñuel and Julio Alejandro

A meditating monk faces off with the devil. This being Buñuel, there's no reason to assume the devil will lose.

Honorable mentions:

11. Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles)
12. Looking for Mushrooms (Bruce Conner)
13. Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich)
14. For a Few Dollars More (Sergio Leone)
15. Major Dundee (Sam Peckinpah)
16. The Pawnbroker (Sidney Lumet)
17. Time Piece (Jim Henson)
18. The Hand (Jiří Trnka)
19. Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard)
20. Mirage (Edward Dmytryk)

Of the films of 1965 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Red Beard, Le Bonheur, A Fugitive from the Past, and The Shop on Main Street.

posted by Jesse 11:19 PM
. . .

. . .

For past entries, click here.

. . .