Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Movies of 1962

The Top Grossing Films of 1962

10. Gypsy9. To Kill a Mockingbird8. Hatari!7. Mutiny on the Bounty

6. That Touch of Mink5. The Music Man4. In Search of the Castaways3. Lawrence of Arabia2. The Longest Day1. How the West Was Won
The Top Stars of 1962

The International Motion Picture Almanac began to conduct an annual poll of theater owners in 1933 asking which stars were the top box office draws. I’m going to begin adding this list to my movie posts.

10. Burt LancasterIn 1962, Burt Lancaster starred in Birdman of Alcatraz.

9. Sandra DeeIn 1962, Sandra Dee starred in If a Man Answers. The previous year she starred with Rock Hudson in the successful film Come September.
8. Frank SinatraIn 1962, Frank Sinatra starred in The Manchurian Candidate.
7. Jerry LewisIn 1962, Jerry Lewis starred in It’s Only Money.
6. Elizabeth TaylorElizabeth Taylor has no screen credits between 1960 and 1963. So it is very strange that she ranked as highly on this poll as she did considering that she was two years into a film hiatus. However, her last film (1960’s BUtterfield 8) scored her an Oscar for Best Actress and 1963 would see her starring in The V.I.P.s and, of course, Cleopatra.
5. Elvis Presley

Elvis starred in three films in 1962; Girls! Girls! Girls!, Kid Galahad, and Follow That Dream.
4. John Wayne1962 was quite a year for the Duke. He was in four movies, three of which were in the top ten box office films of the year and the other is in my personal top ten best films for the year. Those films were How the West Was Won, The Longest Day, Hatari!, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
3. Cary Grant

In 1962, Cary Grant starred in That Touch of Mink.
2. Rock HudsonIn 1962, Rock Hudson starred in The Spiral Road.
1. Doris DayIn 1962, Doris Day starred in Billy Rose’s Jumbo and That Touch of Mink.

The Top Stars of Tomorrow for 1962

In 1941, those guys at the International Motion Picture Almanac started a second annual poll of theater owners. This time the question was, who were the players most likely to achieve major stardom. Sometimes the theater owners got it right and sometimes they missed, but it certainly makes for an interesting list.

10. Yvette Mimieux
Yvette gained popularity in 1960 with roles in Where The Boys Are and The Time Machine. In 1962, she starred in The Light in the Piazza with Olivia de Havilland.

9. Michael CallanMichael Callan was most well known for playing Riff in West Side Story on Broadway, although he was unable to reprise the role in the film version due to his contract with Columbia Pictures.
8. Peter FalkBy 1962, Peter Falk had won an Emmy and been nominated for two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor. Of course, we’re all aware of his future success in films and on television, particularly playing Columbo.
7. James MacArthurJames MacArthur gained a great deal of popularity from two 1960 Disney films; Kidnapped and Swiss Family Robinson. In 1962 he had a leading role in the film, The Interns. Six years later, he began an eleven year run as Det. Danny Williams on Hawaii Five-O.
6. George PeppardIn 1962, George Peppard was in How the West Was Won. He had his biggest movie role the year before in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He went on to his greatest success twenty-one years later in his role as Col. Hannibal Smith on The A-Team.
5. Capucine
Capucine had been making films in France since 1949, but got noticed in America for the first time in 1960 after appearing in North to Alaska with John Wayne.

4. Suzanne Pleshette
Suzanne Pleshette had done mostly TV work at this point. She had been nominated for an Emmy for her work on a 1961 episode of Dr. Kildare and a Golden Globe for the 1962 film Rome Adventure. The following year she had a major role in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. In 1972, she took on the role she is most famous for, Emily Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show.

3. Richard Beymer
Richard Beymer worked steadily throughout the 50s. In 1961, he got a lot of attention in his most famous role as Tony in West Side Story. In 1962, he got good reviews for his performance in The Longest Day.

2. Ann-Margret

Ann-Margret’s first film role was playing Bette Davis’s daughter in 1961’s Pocketful of Miracles. In 1962, she achieved stardom in State Fair. The theater owners made a good call as Ann-Margret has racked up two Oscar nominations, five Emmy nominations, and ten Golden Globe nominations including five Golden Globe wins over the course of her career.
1. Bobby Darin
Bobby Darin had his first major film appearance in 1961’s Come September and he got good reviews for 1962’s State Fair. He was much more well known for his music career than his acting career, but he did get one Oscar nomination, three Golden Globe nominations, and a Golden Globe win in 1962.

The Oscars of 1962

Best Supporting Actor nominees –

Victor Buono (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?)Telly Savalas (Birdman of Alcatraz)Omar Sharif (Lawrence of Arabia)Terence Stamp (Billy Budd)
And the winner was… Ed Begley (Sweet Bird of Youth)
I never saw Sweet Bird of Youth, but out of this group I would probably choose Omar Sharif. However, I really think that Anthony Quinn’s performance in Lawrence of Arabia was a bit more Oscar-worthy than Sharif’s. Peter Sellers’ performance as Clare Quilty in Lolita probably wasn’t worthy of the Oscar, but I think he should have gotten a nomination.

Best Supporting Actress nominees –

Mary Badham (To Kill a Mockingbird)Shirley Knight (Sweet Bird of Youth)Angela Lansbury (The Manchurian Candidate)Thelma Ritter (Birdman of Alcatraz)
And the winner was… Patty Duke (The Miracle Worker)
This is a tough one. It has been many years since I saw The Miracle Worker, but I remember that Patty Duke was really good. Angela Lansbury was also really good in The Manchurian Candidate. If it was up to me though, I think I would have given the Oscar to Mary Badham for her portrayal of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. I believe that performance is a strong contender for all-time best performance by a child actor.

Best Actor nominees –

Burt Lancaster (Birdman of Alcatraz)Jack Lemmon (Days of Wine and Roses)Marcello Mastroianni (Divorce, Italian Style)Peter O’Toole (Lawrence of Arabia)
And the winner was… Gregory Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird)
This race comes down to two people; Peter O’Toole and Gregory Peck. It is incredibly difficult to choose the better of these two performances. Gregory Peck gave us one of the most heroic and saintly perfect characters in film history with Atticus Finch. Peter O’Toole’s depiction of T.E. Lawrence was a brilliant portrait of a deeply-layered deeply-flawed hero. Peck won the Oscar and the performance was certainly Oscar-worthy, but I really feel the award should have gone to O’Toole. It’s a really close call, though.

Best Actress nominees –

Bette Davis (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?)Katharine Hepburn (Long Day’s Journey Into Night)Geraldine Page (Sweet Bird of Youth)Lee Remick (Days of Wine and Roses)
And the winner was… Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker)
I’m honestly not sure who deserved this one, but Jeanne Moreau probably should have been nominated for Jules et Jim.

Best Director nominees –

Pietro Germi (Divorce, Italian Style)Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird)Arthur Penn (The Miracle Worker)Frank Perry (David and Lisa)
And the winner was… David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia)Oh yeah. David Lean, definitely.

Best Picture nominees –

The Longest DayThe Music ManMutiny on the BountyTo Kill a Mockingbird
And the winner was… Lawrence of Arabia

Leo’s Top Ten Films of 1962

10. Jules et Jim – d. Fran├žois Truffaut

This story of a very strange relationship was beautifully shot and edited and the story was compelling throughout. Jeanne Moreau gave an incredible performance as the inscrutable Catherine.

9. The Longest Day – d. Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Gerd Oswald, Bernhard Wicki, and Darryl F. Zanuck

I loved the big all-star war epics that came out back in the day; movies like A Bridge Too Far and Kelly’s Heroes. Now that I think of it, Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line do follow that example very well. I still wish they would make more of them. The Longest Day is a fine example of that tradition with a cast including such luminaries as Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Sean Connery, and Robert Mitchum.

8. Lolita – d. Stanley Kubrick

Stanley did a tremendous job adapting Nabokov’s novel to film aided by great performances from James Mason and Peter Sellers. I wonder what he would have done with this story if he hadn’t felt constrained by the censors.

7. Ride the High Country – d. Sam PeckinpahOn a visual level, this film is exquisite. It was shot beautifully and the locations were perfect. The story and performances were very strong and Randolph Scott was just damn cool. I’ve always enjoyed the revisionist type westerns and this was one of the first and best in many ways.

6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – d. John Ford

Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne had great chemistry and watching them team up against a really despicable Lee Marvin character (with Lee Van Cleef as a sidekick) was awesome. Andy Devine was also entertaining as the town Marshal. This is absolutely one of the best Westerns of the 60’s.

5. Dr. No – d. Terence Young

The first James Bond movie. The introduction of Sean Connery as James Bond. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder, the first Bond girl. Dr. No, the first great Bond villain. There’s just so much to love. It’s an action-packed suspenseful thrill ride and the beginning of one of the 20th century’s greatest mythologies.

4. Cape Fear – d. J. Lee ThompsonWhat a year for Gregory Peck. He plays Atticus Finch in Mockingbird and he gets to face off against Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear. Mitchum’s Max Cady is another great scary character for Mitchum. He really was one of the most frightening of actors. This film had great suspense, great atmosphere, and great performances. It really should have received more acclaim.

3. The Manchurian Candidate – d. John Frankenheimer

This is one of the great political thrillers of all time. The brainwashing, the triggers, the conspiracy; it all seems so implausible, but everything comes together in the end. Laurence Harvey gave a terrific performance as the conflicted protagonist.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird – d. Robert Mulligan

This is one of the most moving and inspiring films ever made. Gregory Peck’s performance as Atticus Finch became, for many of us, the very model of what a man should be. Mary Badham turned in one of the greatest performances ever by a child actor as Scout. In almost any other year, it would easily be the best film of the year.

1. Lawrence of Arabia – d. David Lean

This epic film, the story of T.E. Lawrence and his part in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, is among the greatest movies of all time. Peter O’Toole gave a tremendous performance as T.E. Lawrence in his star-making role. The direction by David Lean was incredible as was the cinematography and the score. It was one of the most visually impressive films ever, especially when seen on a big movie screen in the intended Super Panavision 70 format. This film absolutely deserved to win the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1962.

Other Films released in 1962

Carnival of Souls

This was a terrific little horror film that has developed quite the cult following over the years. It moves a little slowly in places, but it has a great twist at the end and some very spooky scenes along the way.

The Day of the TriffidsThis was a fun and sometimes cheesy little British Sci-fi film about strange walking plants with poisonous stings.

King Kong vs. Godzilla

A great Japanese monster movie. I love this genre.

Knife in the WaterOne of Roman Polanski’s early films. This movie received excellent reviews.

Mondo CaneThis is a really trippy movie.

Comments and opinions are encouraged and appreciated.


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