Showing posts with label 1968. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1968. Show all posts

Saturday, 4 May 2013


When a defecting Chicago Mobster arrives in San Fransisco ahead of a Senate Sub Committee hearing on Organised Crime, the SFPD are tasked with providing around the clock protection in his cheap boarding house. When hitmen burst in, shooting and seriously wounding a police officer and the mobster turned witness, Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) and Sergeant Dalgetti (Don Gordon) pick up the trail to hunt down the murders while uncovering a deeper plot. Their progress is hindered by the ambitious politician Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) who wants the witness back on the stand and blames Bullitt for the attack.

Bullitt is one of those classic, cool 60s movies which I’ve always wanted to see but never got around to doing so until now. I was aware of the famous car chase and that Steve McQueen was meant to have given one of his trademark edgy, cooler than ice performances but I knew little else. As well as the above, the film has a lot to offer the viewer from a fantastic score to impressive cinematography but I was never engaged in the storyline.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Oliver! Is a musical motion picture based on the stage musical of the same name which is turn is based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. The movie version, released in 1968 won six Oscars from eleven nominations and forty-five years later remains one of the most popular musicals of all time. I have some problems with the central character and the acting and if I’m honest I can’t stand the overblown amateur dramatic feeling to some of the scenes but even I must say that Oliver! features a great story and some wonderful direction. The songs also do nothing for me but the final act is built up towards a tense and surprisingly terrifying conclusion.

Oliver Twist (Mark Lester) is an orphan, living in that wickedest of Victorian institutions, the Workhouse. He is sold to an Undertaker but mistreated and escapes to London where he falls in with a pickpocket called Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and his boss/carer Fagin (Ron Moody). Oliver is caught and tried for a crime he didn’t commit and taken into the care of a wealthy benefactor but worried he will talk about who and what he has seen, fiendish criminal Bill Sykes (Oliver Reed) is desperate to take him back to Fagin.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Yellow Submarine

"It's all in the mind y'know"

Yellow Submarine is a 1968 psychedelic animated musical fantasy featuring the songs of The Beatles. The music hating Blue Meanines attack Pepper Land, draining the countryside of colour and turning its inhabitants into immobile statues. Only one man, Old Fred (Lance Percival) manages to escape, doing so in a yellow submarine. He travels to Liverpool where he enlists the help of The Beatles to save Pepper Land from the Blue Meanie menace. On their journey to Pepper Land the five of them travel through several strange seas which include The Sea of Holes, The Sea of Green and The Sea of Nothing before making it to Pepper Land to take on the Meanies. All the way they are accompanied by a selection of Beatles songs which the plot ties into.

Although the film was based on the song of the same name by Lennon & McCartney, The Beatles actually had very little to do with the film with actors impersonating the Fab Four. The band only appears as themselves in the brief closing scene. The slightly off voice work adds to the cartoon feel of the film while their actual songs provide a fantastic accompanying soundtrack.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Who's That Knocking at My Door

The first in my Scorsese in Sequence feature and also Martin Scorsese’s debut feature film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door stars Harvey Keitel as J.R, a typical Italian American guy living in New York’s Little Italy neighbourhood. On the Staten Island Ferry J.R. meets a pretty, college educated woman played by Zina Bethune. After a long conversation about John Wayne, American movies and foreign magazines the two start dating. All is well until the girl announces that she has a horrible secret, something that J.R. has trouble dealing with.

The films opening two scenes show signs of some of Scorsese’s later work and feature an Italian mother cooking (Italianamerican, Goodfellas) and J.R. getting into a street brawl with his friends (Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York). An early scene which really stands out for me is the meeting of the two protagonists. The scene lasts several minutes as the two get to know each other. Both are noticeably nervous. Bethune is shy and reserved while Keitel fidgets and talks too quickly. The scene is shot using a single camera which slowly pans from one actor to the other, occasionally zooming in and out. It is a quite beautiful shot. After a few minutes Scorsese breaks with this and introduces some unusual camera angles including one from above and another that obscures both actors’ mouths with a bench. It’s an interesting and bold start to a debut feature.