All Fall Down (1962)

All Fall Down
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Written by William Inge from a novel by James Leo Herlihy
1962/USA
John Houseman Productions
First viewing/Amazon Instant

Berry-Berry Willart: How do you know I’m not some dangerous maniac that goes around killing beautiful women like you?

Mrs. Mandel: [Slight pause, then chuckles coyly] Well, in that case, I won’t have to take a sleeping pill tonight.

I took quite a liking to this black comedy/coming-of-age story, largely because of the wonderful cast and acting.

As the film begins, teenager Clint Willart (Brandon de Wilde) is taking a bus to Florida with $200 of his hard-earned cash to set up his idol, brother Berry-Berry (Warren Beatty), up in business.  When he gets there, he needs the money to bail his brother out of jail, where he has landed for beating up a stripper.  Berry-Berry is a babe-magnet who has no difficulty quickly landing a rich woman with the cash to finance him for the foreseeable future and send Clint back to his parents .

Clint returns to Ohio to his very odd household.  Every member shares a kind of hero-worship for old Berry-Berry.  But parents Ralph (Karl Malden) and Annabell (Angela Lansbury) are also deluded in many, many other ways.  Shortly, they receive a visit from the quirky old-maid daughter of one of Annabell’s friends, Echo O’Brien (Eva-Marie Saint). It is love at first sight for Clinton.

Unfortunately for everybody concerned, Berry-Berry decides to make it a brief family reunion for Christmas.  Inevitably, Echo falls for him – hard.

I was enjoying this just to watch Lansbury and Malden’s fun performances as the Willarts but it grew in depth toward the end until it captured my heart.  The main draw is the writing and characters, though.  They are unlike anything I have really seen before.  The movie looks beautiful too.  Recommended.

Trailer – this is a promotion for Beatty but he has far less screen time than de Wilde

Premature Burial (1962)

Premature Burial
Directed by Roger Corman
Written by Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell from the story by Edgar Allen Poe
1962/USA
Roger Corman Productions
First viewing/Netflix rental

Guy Carrell: Can you possibly conceive it? The unendurable oppression of the lungs, the stifling fumes of the earth, the rigid embrace of the coffin, the blackness of absolute night and the silence, like an overwhelming sea.

Took a horror film out of sequence in celebration of Halloween.  It could have been scarier.

As the movie starts, Guy Carrell (Ray Milland) witnesses a grave robbery.  The coffin has scratch marks from the inside.  This traumatic event causes Guy to obsess on the death of his own father from catalepsy and conviction that he was buried alive.  Sister Catherine (Heather Angel) assures him that this is not true but he is not comforted.  Guy begins a morbid quest to insure that he is not the victim of his father’s fate.

In the meantime, he marries the much younger Emily (Hazel Court).  When Guy starts seeing things, Emily gives him an ultimatum.  It’s his foolproof burial chamber or her …

This is Roger Corman in his gothic mode with Ray Milland subbing for Vincent Price.  I like Milland but I felt like he was over-acting, odd since I enjoy Price’s hamming.  There are quite a few built-in scares and jump shots toward the end but nothing that got to me. Corman does make an Ozu-like (well, sort of) use of the color red which I found interesting.

My favorite part was to see Milland and Heather Angel together again after 25 years.  She was Phyllis to his Bulldog Drummond in Bulldog Drummond Escapes (1937).  Milland made one of the better Bulldogs in the series and she was always good as his long-suffering fiancee.

Antoine and Colette (1962)

Antoine and Colette (Antoine et Colette)
Directed by Francois Truffaut
Written by Francois Truffaut
1962/France
Les Films du Carrosse

First viewing/FilmStruck

 

“I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.” ― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

Truffaut sustains the charm of The Four Hundred Blows in this short follow-up.

Having survived his childhood, seventeen-year-old Antoine Donel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) has achieved his dream of living independently.  He has a job at a recording company that provides him with lots of free tickets to concerts.  He spots a girl who attends the same concerts and eventually strikes up a friendship.  He wants more but she is taking her time deciding what she wants.

Poor Antoine can’t catch a break!  Even so, this charming film about the ups and downs of first love kept me smiling all the way through.  There is an interesting sequence when Antoine demonstrates how phonograph records were made by hand in the olden days. The film is about 30 minutes long.  Recommended.

Antoine and Colette was one of five films in a compilation of films of five nations called Love at 20.  I wish I could find the whole compilation on line somewhere.

Clip

 

Ride the High Country (1962)

Ride the High Country
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Written by N.B. Stone Jr.
1962/USA
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
First viewing/Netflix rental

Steve Judd: All I want is to enter my house justified.

Two classic actors go mano-a-mano amid some stunning autumn scenery in this enjoyable Western.

Steve Judd (Joel McCrea) is an aging ex-gunslinger and marshal who is now taking any job he can get.  His current assignment is to guard a shipment of gold coming out of a mine in the high country.  He knows he cannot do this alone and enlists the help of his old friend Gil Westrum (Randolph Scott) and Westrum’s protege, Heck Longtree.  We know from the beginning that Westrum’s plan is to divert the gold to the three “guards” or simply share it with Heck if Steve will not cooperate.

On their way to the mine, the men meet young Elsa Knudsen (Mariette Hartley) who is chafing under the fundamentalist rule of her father.  Although Heck immediately takes a hankering to Elsa she considers herself engaged to one of the miners.  She runs away from home to join the three men thereafter.

Elsa’s miner has some unpleasant surprises up his sleeve and she winds up in need of protection.  In addition, Steve is not a cooperative sort of guy.  The rest of the story follows the trip home with the gold and Elsa in tow.

I am always leery when starting a Peckinpah film but I liked this one a lot.  I had a tear in my eye at the end.  My readers who have seen this will know why.  Recommended to fans of Westerns or the actors.

This was Randolph Scott’s final film.  McCrea also retired at the time but was lured back for a few more films later.  It was Mariette Hartley’s big screen debut.

Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Ivan’s Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo)
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Written by Vladimir Bogomolov and Mikhail Papava from Bogomolov’s story
1962/USSR
Mosfilm/Trete Tvorcheskoe Obedinenie
First viewing/Netflix rental

Ivan’s Mother: If a well is really deep, you can see a star down there even in the middle of a sunny day.

Loved it for the images but the story dragged.

As the film begins, the twelve-year-old Ivan is blissfully exploring nature.  He learns about the star at the bottom of a well when gunfire breaks out.  He awakens from his dream and makes his way across the Volga.  There he stops at the nearest Soviet post and demands that the officer inform the High Command of his arrival.  He refuses to answer any questions about his identity whatsoever.   The skeptical officer finally gives in and Ivan is taken to the Command where we learn that he is a valuable scout and loved by his adult colleagues.  They want to send him to the rear to study at the military institute but the defiant Ivan is interested only in vengeance.

The rest of the movie rather confusingly covers various episodes covering a few days in the lives of these people.  Ivan continues to dream sporadically while preparing for his next mission.

There are some unforgettable images and sequences in this movie.  The clip shows one of the best, though I wanted to smack that officer.  I think we were supposed to see him as manly.  My husband and I both thought the story became very repetitive.  In addition, I couldn’t quite grasp the military strategy underlying the whole thing.  In other words, it is an impressive feature film debut for Tarkovsky but not something I will need to see again.

Clip

Experiment in Terror (1962)

Experiment in Terror
Directed by Blake Edwards
Written by Gordon and Mildred Gordon from their novel
1962/USA
Geoffery-Kate Productions
First viewing/Amazon Instant

“See now the power of truth; the same experiment which at first glance seemed to show one thing, when more carefully examined, assures us of the contrary.” ― Galileo Galilei, Discorsi E Dimostrazioni Matematiche: Intorno a Due Nuoue Scienze, Attenenti Alla Mecanica & I Movimenti Locali

This very good thriller might have been great.

Kelly Sherwood (Lee Remick) is a bank teller.  She lives alone with her teenage sister Toby (Stefanie Powers).  As the movie begins, she is grabbed from behind in her own garage.  A sinister asthmatic tells her that if she does not steal $100,000 from her bank for him, he will kill her and/or her sister.  She does not see the asthmatic’s face.  He seems to know everything there is to know about her and her schedule.

But Kelly is not about to steal the money and finally manages to contact the FBI, which puts agent John Ripley (Glenn Ford) on the case.  The rest of the movie moves briskly along to D-Day when we learn whether good or evil will prevail.

This is quite an enjoyable thriller.  I find I like about anything Lee Remick is in. I had higher hopes for the picture though.  It would have been more suspenseful if the FBI had been a little sloppier or the culprit a little bit smarter.  No one did these stories like Hitchcock or ever will.  Still recommended if the plot appeals.

The Exterminating Angel (1962)

The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador)
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Luis Buñuel and Luis Alcoriza
1962/Mexico
Producciones Gustavo Alatriste
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Rita Ugalde: I believe the common people, the lower class people, are less sensitive to pain. Haven’t you ever seen a wounded bull? Not a trace of pain.

What does it all add up to?  I don’t know but the images are unforgettable.

After an opera performance, the wealthy Edmundo and Lucia Nobile invite 20 of their closest friends to a midnight supper.  What they don’t know is that their many servants are, one by one, feeling compelled to take the night off.  By the time dinner is served, the only remaining servant is the butler.

Dinner finished, it is now high time for everyone to go home.  But all find it impossible to leave the dining room.  They fall asleep on the floor and assorted sofas.  The next day they eat leftovers but after that food and water run out, moods worsen, and these cultivated people descend into savagery.

Buñuel was one of the original surrealists and well knew how to create a true nightmare world.  From the beginning, when scenes repeat themselves over and over, to the end nothing is explained.  The inability to leave the room is almost like a dream from which the sleeper cannot seem to awaken.  Of course, Buñuel indulges in his favorite pastime of taking both the upper class and, eventually, the Church down a peg.  I like this movie though it is not one I will return to on a regular basis.

American re-release trailer

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
Directed by Henry Koster
Written by Nunnally Johnson from a novel by Edward Streeter
1962/USA
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
First viewing/Netflix rental

Roger Hobbs: There ought to be an un-Edison, an un-Thomas Alva Edison who un-invents things, and the first thing they ought to un-invent is that television.

Family vacation movies have been a comedy trend since the early days on cinema.  This is an OK one.

Banker Roger Hobbs (James Stewart) is needs a vacation from his hectic life in the busy city.  He is particularly anxious for some time away from his children with pretty wife Peggy (Maureen O’Hara).  Naturally, Peggy has other plans.  Her idea is to gather the whole clan, including a couple of married daughters and their families, for a month by the sea.  To this end she rents a vacation house.

Naturally, the house is a total disaster requiring the constant ministrations of Roger and the local plumber.  Both of the older daughters are having marriage problems, the teenager is going through a phase with new braces, and the all the youngest wants is to watch TV. Finally, all comes to a head when the family also has to entertain the weirdo prospective employer of one of the sons-in-law and his wife.  Will Roger ever get a break?  With Fabian as a teenager and John McGiver as the boss from hell.

If you have seen Mr. Blanding Builds a Dream House or any of a number of other old house vs. city slicker movies you will have a fair idea of the kind of thing that goes on here. There’s actually some pretty funny bits mixed in with the more predictible stuff.  I like that Stewart is playing an age appropriate role.  The Henry Mancini score is nice and perky.

Trailer

Forever My Love (1962)

Forever My Love
Directed by Ernst Marischka
Written by Ernst Marischka
1962/Austria
Erma-Film
First viewing/Netflix rental

Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria (24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) was Empress of Austria by marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I. Born into the royal Bavarian house of Wittelsbach, Elisabeth (also called “Sisi”) enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying at the age of sixteen. The marriage thrust her into the much more formal Habsburg court life, for which she was unprepared and which she found uncongenial. She came to develop a deep kinship with Hungary, and helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867. The death of her only son Rudolf, and his mistress Mary Vetsera, in a murder–suicide tragedy at his hunting lodge at Mayerling was a blow from which Elisabeth never recovered. While travelling in Geneva in 1898, she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. — Wikipedia

This is a compilation of three films starring Romy Schneider and Karl Boehm about the romance between Emperor Franz Joseph and “Sissi”, who became his empress.  We follow their brief courtship, Sissi’s many run-ins with her mother-in-law, and Sissi’s role in easing tensions with Hungary and Italy.  Judging from the Wikipedia biography, the story was highly fictionalized.

This is OK as lavish storybook love stories go.  The costumes and scenery are truly grand. It didn’t make me want to go back and see the original three but I think it suffered in compilation.  For one thing, the ending kind of comes out of nowhere.  I watched a dubbed version.

I know it’s not the missing title tune, but this is the one became an earworm after watching this movie.

 

Mondo Cane (1962)

Mondo Cane
Directed by Paolo Cavera, Gualtiero Jacopetti, and Franco Prosperi
Written by Paolo Cavera and Gualtiero Jacopetti
1962/Italy
Cineriz
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

“What we don’t understand we can make mean anything.” ― Chuck Palahniuk

Time and experience have made this shockumentary much less shocking.

This film contrasts “bizarre” behavior of primitive tribes with equally “bizarre” behavior of Western Europeans.  The ultimate message seems to be that humans are pretty disgusting.

Much of the primitive footage comes from Papua New Guinea, where I lived for three years.  The customs are indeed very different from our own but familiarity has made the people seem like just folks doing things the way they have always been done.  One of the problems that I have with the film is that the narrative provides a lot of the shocks.  The footage allows for a number of interpretations of which the film makers select the most “disgusting”.

I definitely could have died without seeing this once, let alone twice.

Mondo Cane was nominated for Best Music, Original Song for the song “More.”

Trailer

Frank Sinatra sings “More”- audio only