Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Movies of 1963

The Top Grossing Films of 1963

10. Come Blow Your Horn

9. Bye Bye Birdie

8. Charade
7. Dr. No

6. Son of Flubber5. The Sword in the Stone4. Irma la Douce3. Tom Jones2. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World1. Cleopatra
The Top Stars of 1963

10. Jerry Lewis

In 1963, Jerry Lewis starred in Who’s Minding the Store? and played Professor Kelp and Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor. He also ran over Spencer Tracy’s hat in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
9. Paul NewmanIn 1963, Paul Newman starred in The Prize and A New Kind of Love. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for playing Hud Bannon in Hud.
8. Sandra Dee

In 1963, Sandra Dee starred in Take Her, She’s Mine and Tammy and the Doctor.
7. Elvis Presley

In 1963, Elvis Presley starred in Fun in Acapulco and It Happened at the World’s Fair.
6. Elizabeth TaylorIn 1963, Elizabeth Taylor starred in The V.I.P.s and Cleopatra.
5. Cary GrantIn 1963, Cary Grant starred in Charade with Audrey Hepburn.
4. Jack LemmonIn 1963, Jack Lemmon starred in Under the Yum Yum Tree and Irma La Douce.
3. Rock HudsonIn 1963, Rock Hudson starred in A Gathering of Eagles.
2. John WayneIn 1963, John Wayne starred in McLintock! and Donovan’s Reef.
1. Doris Day

In 1963, Doris Day starred in Move Over, Darling and The Thrill of it All, both films co-starring James Garner.

The Top Stars of Tomorrow for 1963

10. Tony BillTony Bill got his start as an actor in 1963 with featured roles in Come Blow Your Horn and Soldier in the Rain. He acted steadily for a few years and then moved into directing and producing. He won an Oscar in 1973 as one of the producers of The Sting. He’s since directed such films as My Bodyguard, Untamed Heart, and last year’s Flyboys.
9. Ursula Andress

Ursula Andress had been working in the Italian film industry since 1954, but she made her first impression on American audiences when she stepped out of the sea in that iconic white bikini in Dr. No in 1962. She was the first of many Bond girls and some still consider her the best. In 1963, she starred in Fun in Acapulco with Elvis and in 4 for Texas with Dean Martin. She continued to work steadily through the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. My favorite of her later films being a Skinemax classic, 1975’s The Sensuous Nurse, where she proved that she was still one of the world’s sexiest women at the age of 40. In 1995, Empire Magazine declared her the 53rd Sexiest Star in film history.
8. Barbara EdenBarbara Eden began appearing on television in 1956. Previous to 1963, she had made guest appearances on such shows as I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, and The Andy Griffith Show, as well as appearing in movies like Flaming Star and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. In 1963, she starred opposite Pat Boone in The Yellow Canary and did a guest spot on Dr. Kildare. Two years later, in 1965, she began to play her most famous role in I Dream of Jeannie.
7. Dorothy ProvineDorothy Provine got her start in 1958 playing the famous gun moll in The Bonnie Parker Story. She made guest appearances on several TV series and starred in a few more “B” movies in the late 50s and early 60s. In 1963, she played Milton Berle’s wife and Ethel Merman’s daughter in the classic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. She retired from acting in 1976.
6. Patrick WaynePatrick Wayne is John Wayne’s son. He started acting in his father’s films in 1950 at the age of eleven. He had roles in his father’s Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, The Conqueror, The Searchers, The Alamo and several others through the 50’s and early 60’s. In 1963, he had parts in Donovan’s Reef and McLintock. He didn’t break big away from his father until he fought Ray Harryhausen’s monsters in the title role of 1977’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. He later went on to do more TV guest appearances and host several game shows.
5. Pamela TiffinPamela Tiffin got her start in the business in 1960 and quickly earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1961’s One, Two, Three opposite James Cagney. In 1963, she appeared in Come Fly With Me and an episode of The Fugitive. She continued to act throughout the sixties, but other than an appearance in a 1986 Italian TV movie, she hasn’t been in anything since 1974.
4. Diane McBainDiane McBain’s career began in 1959 with a couple of episodes of Maverick. In 1961, she joined the cast of Surfside 6. In 1963, she joined the cast of 77 Sunset Strip. She continued to appear regularly on TV and in the occasional movie throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, making appearances up to 2001.
3. Stella StevensStella Stevens’ career began in 1959. She first got the public’s attention when she appeared as Appassionata Von Climax in 1959’s Li’l Abner. She did quite a bit of TV and movie work up to the time of her placement on this list, including appearing opposite Elvis in 1962’s Girls! Girls! Girls! She was Playboy’s centerfold in January 1960. In 1963, she starred opposite Glenn Ford in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and opposite Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. She went on to great success in the industry and is still working regularly today.
2. Peter FondaThe son of Henry Fonda and younger brother of Jane Fonda, Peter got his start with a few TV guest spots in 1962. In 1963, he starred opposite Sandra Dee in Tammy and the Doctor. He went on to appear in many of the late 60s counterculture’s greatest classics like The Wild Angels, The Trip, and especially Easy Rider. He’s been nominated for two Oscars and had roles in two of this year’s highest grossing films, Wild Hogs and Ghost Rider.
1. George ChakirisGeorge Chakiris got his start in movies in 1947’s Song of Love at the age of 12. He went on to appear in numerous musicals throughout the 50s as an uncredited dancer. In 1961, he appeared as Bernardo in West Side Story and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He appeared in three films in 1963; Kings of the Sun with Yul Brynner, Diamond Head with Charlton Heston, and La Ragazza di Bube with Claudia Cardinale. He continued acting and had a successful career until his retirement in 1996.

The Oscars of 1963

Best Supporting Actor nominees –

Nick Adams (Twilight of Honor)Bobby Darin (Captain Newman, M.D.)Hugh Griffith (Tom Jones)John Huston (The Cardinal)
And the winner was… Melvyn Douglas (Hud)
Melvyn Douglas was very good in this role, but I think I would have gone a different way. I was very impressed with five supporting performances in particular from The Great Escape; the ones from Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and Donald Pleasance. I think they were each worthy of nomination. I also would have liked to see Walter Matthau nominated for his work in Charade. If it were up to me, I think I would have given this Oscar to Richard Attenborough for his portrayal of Roger Bartlett.

Best Supporting Actress nominees –

Diane Cilento (Tom Jones)Edith Evans (Tom Jones)Joyce Redman (Tom Jones)Lilia Skala (Lilies of the Field)
And the winner was… Margaret Rutherford (The V.I.P.s)
Again, I would have gone in a different direction than the Academy. There are three performances that would qualify in this category that really stood out for me. Suzanne Pleshette in The Birds and Claire Bloom in The Haunting were both terrific in their respective horror films, but I’ve got to give the award to Ethel Merman as the mother-in-law from Hell in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The Academy has never been generous to comedic performances, but I think this one should have stood for an Oscar in 1963.

Best Actor nominees –

Albert Finney (Tom Jones)Richard Harris (This Sporting Life)Rex Harrison (Cleopatra)Paul Newman (Hud)
And the winner was… Sidney Poitier (Lilies of the Field)
I’ve never seen Lilies of the Field, so I can’t really comment on Poitier’s performance. I never saw This Sporting Life either. Rex Harrison was OK as Caesar. Albert Finney was quite good in Tom Jones. Paul Newman was excellent in Hud. I can’t say whether the Oscar should have gone to Poitier or Newman, but I will say that Marcello Mastroianni should have been nominated for 8 ½.

Best Actress nominees –

Leslie Caron (The L-Shaped Room)Shirley MacLaine (Irma la Douce)Rachel Roberts (This Sporting Life)Natalie Wood (Love with the Proper Stranger)
And the winner was… Patricia Neal (Hud)
I would have liked to see Audrey Hepburn nominated for Charade and Julie Harris nominated for The Haunting, but this is a case where I agree with the Academy. Patricia Neal deserved her Oscar.

Best Director nominees –

Federico Fellini (8 ½)Elia Kazan (America, America)Otto Preminger (The Cardinal)Martin Ritt (Hud)
And the winner was… Tony Richardson (Tom Jones)
This one should have gone to Fellini.

Best Picture nominees –

America, AmericaCleopatraHow the West Was WonLilies of the Field
And the winner was… Tom Jones
Leo’s Top Ten Films of 1963

10. Tom Jones (d. Tony Richardson)This one may have won the Oscar, but there were nine other films this year that I would rank higher. It was a very well-made and enjoyable story with a terrific performance from a very likable Albert Finney. I can see how it achieved the popularity that it did at a time when people were hot for anything British.
9. Cleopatra (d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

I’m a sucker for a big historical epic and this certainly qualifies. At the time, it was the most expensive film ever made. I particularly enjoyed the opulence of the sets and costumes and the chemistry between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
8. Irma la Douce (d. Billy Wilder)

I totally get Jack Lemmon’s character here, because it is hard not to fall in love with Shirley MacLaine as Irma la Douce. It’s a fantastic performance and she really deserved her Oscar nomination. I especially enjoyed her dance on that pool table. “Dis-donc!” She was a really sexy lady back then.
7. The Birds (d. Alfred Hitchcock)

Did you ever notice that the character Tippi Hedren plays is like a 60’s version of Paris Hilton. She’s the heiress to a hotel fortune who jetsets around Europe and has a scandalous reputation. Anyway, Hitchcock tapped into our inner fears of nature going all nutty on us and did it in his own inimitable style. It’s a great horror flick, but not as good as…
6. The Haunting (d. Robert Wise)

This was the best horror flick of 1963 and one of the best haunted house stories ever put to film. The creepy atmosphere Robert Wise put together was highly effective. That was one spooky-ass house! Claire Bloom and, especially, Julie Harris gave Oscar worthy performances. This film should have gotten much more acclaim at the time.
5. From Russia With Love (d. Terence Young)

This is one of the best of the Bond series with great action, gadgets, locations, and one of the most intense and realistic fight scenes in the history of the series. I’m referring to Bond’s fight on the train with Red Grant, not the earlier gypsy camp catfight scene. Lotte Lenya’s Rosa Klebb was one of the most interesting of Bond villains. Sean Connery was terrific as always.
4. The Great Escape (d. John Sturges)

What a fantastic ensemble cast! There were great performances across the board in this story of captured airmen in a German POW camp. The escape sequences were suspenseful and exciting. Although the ending was a bummer, the fact that the story was true made it much more inspirational. I was glad to see that it was dedicated to the fellows that didn’t make it.
3. It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (d. Stanley Kramer)

This was one of the all-time great comedies. The cast was amazing and featured almost every comic star in Hollywood at the time. I love the broad almost slapstick humor. There were so many great scenes from Sid Caesar destroying a hardware store to Jonathan Winters taking a gas station apart with his bare hands.
2. 8 ½ (d. Federico Fellini)

Fellini did a tremendous job with this surreal story of the life and dreams of a filmmaker much like himself that has a creative block while working on his new movie. I think Fellini should have won that Best Director Oscar for this one, but there was another film that I liked more.
1. Charade (d. Stanley Donen)

This wonderful romantic suspense film teaming Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn was my favorite film of 1963. It’s been called “the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock didn’t make.” I love all the twists and turns and how you spend the entire movie not really knowing who to trust. There were great performances from James Coburn and George Kennedy as a couple of bad guys, Walter Matthau in a very important role and especially Grant and Hepburn. If you haven’t seen this one, I recommend it highly.

Other Films released in 1963

Beach PartyThe first of the “Beach Party” films with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.
Blood FeastA groundbreaking gore film from Herschell Gordon Lewis. It’s a camp classic and nothing like it had been seen before.
Jason and the ArgonautsA story from Greek mythology featuring Ray Harryhausen’s amazing special effects.
The Nutty ProfessorJerry Lewis’s Jekyll-Hyde story.
The Pink PantherThis was the first of the Panther series, but it was a fairly weak entry. This was because the focus of the film was not Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau, but rather David Niven’s cat burglar character. The producers figured it out in the next entry when they made it all about Clouseau.
The RavenVincent Price, Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre all together in one film? How can you go wrong?
The TerrorInteresting Roger Corman film with Boris Karloff and a very young Jack Nicholson.

Comments and opinions are encouraged and appreciated.

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