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The year The Beatles declare themselves more popular than Jesus and Mary Quant’s mini skirt conquers the fashion main stream, a host of era defining films were made, that 50 years on, have reached their half a century landmark. We give you our collection from 1966 celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, that have firmly made it to collector’s status.
OUR PICK FROM 1966
Starring: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand
Director: John Frankenheimer
Cinematography: Lionel Lindon, Saul Bass
Release date: December 21 1966
Box office: $20.8 million
Plot: American Grand Prix driver Pete Aron played by James Garner is fired by his Jordan-BRM racing team after a crash at Monaco that injures his British teammate, Scott Stoddard (Brian Bedford). While Stoddard struggles to recover, Aron begins to drive for the Japanese Yamura team, and becomes romantically involved with Stoddard’s estranged wife played by Eva Marie Saint.
Trivia: The film includes real-life racing footage and cameo appearances by drivers including Formula One World Champions Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt and Jack Brabham.
In Posters: Four lobby cards.
How to Steal a Million
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Hugh Griffith
Director: William Wyler
Music by: John Williams
Release date: July 13 1966
Box office: $4.4 million (doesn’t cover it’s budget)
Plot: Heist comedy with Audrey Hepburn as protagonist Nicole Bonnet who’s father, a legendary art collector, lends his prized Cellini Venus to a prestigious Paris museum. Unfortunately, the Venus was not sculpted by Cellini but by Nicole’s grandfather. The audience learns her father is also a forger, but his specialty is paintings. Before tests can be done which would prove the Venus a fake, Nicole enlists the services of “society burglar” Simon Demott (Peter O’Toole) to steal the million dollar statue.
Trivia: William Wyler first considered making this film as a follow up to Roman Holiday (1953); as in that film, Gregory Peck would have played the male lead opposite Audrey Hepburn. At that time he had a darker mood in mind and approached Stanley Kubrick, who had recently made The Killing (1956), to contribute.
Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Cesar, Romero, Lee Meriweather
Director: Leslie H. Martinson
Writer: Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Release date: July 30 1966
Box office: $1.7 million
Plot: The arch-villains of the United Underworld – the Joker (Cesar Romero), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) and the Catwoman (Lee Meriweather)- combine forces to dispose of Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) as they launch their fantastic plot to control the entire world. From his submarine, Penguin and his cohorts hijack a yacht containing a dehydrator, which can extract all moisture from humans and reduce them to particles of dust. The evildoers turn the nine Security Council members in the United World Building into nine vials of multicolored crystals. Batman and Robin track the villains in their Batboat and use Batcharge missiles to force the submarine to surface.
Trivia: Of the three new Batvehicles that first appeared in the Batman film, only the Batcycle properly crossed over into the TV series as the budgetary limits of the TV series precluded the full use of the others. While the Batcopter and Batboat from the movie appeared briefly in episodes, they primarily did in the form of stock-footage scenes from the film intercut into the series.
Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, David Hemmings, John Castle
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Music by: Herbie Hancock
Cinematography: Carlo Di Palma
Release date: 18 December 1966 (US)
Box office: $20 million
Plot: The film portrays a day in the life of a glamorous fashion photographer, Thomas (David Hemmings), inspired by the life of famour 60s photographer David Bailey. Finding his world is bounded by fashion, pop music, marijuana, and casual sex, Thomas feels bored and despairing. Then the protagonist meets a mysterious beauty, and also notices something suspicious on one of his photographs of her taken in a park that day. The fact that he may have photographed a murder does not occur to him until he studies and then blows up his negatives, uncovering details, blowing up smaller and smaller elements, and finally putting the puzzle together.
Trivia: Among the homeless men whose photos were taken by the David Hemmings character is Julio Cortázar who wrote the original short story on which Blow-Up (1966) is based.
Starring: Michael Caine, Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin, Vivien Merchant
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay: Bill Naughton
Cinematography: Otto Heller
Release date: 24 March 1966
Box office: $19 million
Plot: Handsome cockney chauffeur Alfie Elkins (Michael Caine) enjoys the favours of women, while avoiding any commitment. Through a series of let downs, cheating, betrayal of friends as well as losing contact with children he has fathered, Alfie finally comes to realise the damage caused by his unrepenting womanizing and gradually coming to terms with the consequences of his lifestyle.
Trivia: Alfie was significant in its time not only for challenging the Production Code on censorship issues but exploring sexuality in a frank and adult manner rarely seen in Hollywood films. It also made Michael Caine an international star and confirmed the acting talent he displayed in his previous film, The Ipcress File (1965).
Un Homme et une Femme /A Man and a Woman
Starring: Anouk Aimee, Jean-Louis Trinignant, Pierre Barouh, Valerie Lagrange
Director: Claude Lelouch
Writer: Claude Lelouch
Release date: 12 July 1966
Box office: $14 million
Plot: Racing car driver Jean-Louis Duroc (Jean-Louis Trinignant) and movie script supervisor Anne Gauthier (Anouk Aimee) – both widowed – meet when they drop off their children at boarding school. Despite being attracted to each other, they are guarded, behaving as if their respective spouse were still alive. Initially, they spend time together during weekend outings with their children. As they get to know closer, so does their attraction, and as their true marital status comes to light, they each make calculated moves to advance their relationship. However, each must overcome some emotional baggage with which each is burdened, most specifically around their respective former spouse.
Trivia: This French film achieved international success and won several awards including the Palme d’Or at the1966 Cannes Film Festival, as well as Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Writing.
In Posters: 3 French, Japanese, US.
Carry on Screaming!
Starring: Harry H.Corbett, Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale
Director: Gerald Thomas
Writer: Talbot Rothwell
Release date: 16 August 1966
Box office: Unknown
Plot: Beautiful young women are being spirited away in the woods by Oddbod (Tom Clegg), creation of fiendish Dr Watt (Kenneth Williams). Henpecked Sergeant Bung (Harry H. Corbett) is on the case, but an early lead comes to nothing with the sudden drowning of lavatory attendant Dan Dann. Bung does seem to be having success with Valeria Watt (Fenella Fielding) and her very obvious charms, but completely fails to realise her sinister country house holds the key to the unimaginable horrors going on.
Trivia: At 92 minutes long, Carry on Screaming! is the longest Carry On film ever made and one of the most popular titles with fans. In the original script, Doctor Watt was the father of Valeria, however Kenneth Williams wanted to play the part closer to his own age, so the relationship was changed to that of brother and sister.
In Posters: British.
The Endless Summer
Starring: Michael Hynson, Robert August, Lord James Blears (plays himself), Bruce Brown
Director: Bruce Brown
Writer: Bruce Brown
Music by: The Sandals
Release date: June 15 1966
Box office: $20 million
Plot: Narrator Bruce Brown follows two surfers on a voyage round the world try to catch the perfect wave. Despite the balmy climate of their native California, cold ocean currents make local beaches inhospitable during the winter. This sparks them to set sail to the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Tahiti and Hawaii in a quest for new surf spots and introduce locals to the sport.
Trivia: The narrative presentation eases from the stiff and formal documentary of the 1950s and early 1960s to a more casual and fun-loving personal style filled with sly humor. The surf rock soundtrack to the film was provided by The Sandals. The “Theme to the Endless Summer” was written by Gaston Georis and John Blakeley of the Sandals. It has become one of the best known film themes in the surf movie genre. Other important surfers of the time, such as Miki Dora, Phil Edwards and Butch Van Artsdalen, also appear.
In Posters: US.
Il Buono Il Brutto Il Cattivo / The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Director: Sergio Leone
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Release date: 15 December 1966 (Italy)
Box office: $25.1 million
Plot: During the American Civil War, three men set off to find $200,000 in buried gold coins. Blondie (The Good) is a professional gunslinger out trying to earn a few dollars. Angel Eyes (The Bad) is a hit man who always commits to a task and sees it through, as long as he is paid to do so. And Tuco (The Ugly) is a wanted outlaw trying to take care of his own hide. Tuco and Blondie share a partnership together making money off Tuco’s bounty, but when Blondie unties the partnership, Tuco tries to hunt down Blondie. When Blondie and Tuco come across a horse carriage loaded with dead bodies, they soon learn from the only survivor (Bill Carson) that he and a few other men have buried a stash of gold in a cemetery. Unfortunately Carson dies and Tuco only finds out the name of the cemetery, while Blondie finds out the name on the grave. Now the two must keep each other alive in order to find the gold. Angel Eyes (who had been looking for Bill Carson) discovers that Tuco and Blondie met with Carson and knows they know the location of the gold. All he needs is for the two to lead him to it. Now The Good, The Bad and The Ugly ultimately meet in a showdown that takes place amid a major battle between Confederate and Union forces.
Trivia: The three protagonists had challenges in working together to make this classic Western. Sergio Leone hardly spoke any English and Eli Wallach spoke barely Italian, so the two communicated in French during the making of the film. Also, due to the striking height difference between Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach of over nine inches, it was sometimes an incredible challenge to include them in the same frame.
In Posters: 2 Italian.
Starring: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmund O’Brien
Director: Richard Fleischer
Writer: Harry Kleiner (screenplay), David Duncan (adaptation)
Release date: August 24 1966
Box office: $12 million
Plot: Scientist Jan Benes, who knows the secret to keeping soldiers shrunken for an indefinite period, escapes from behind the Iron Curtain with the help of CIA agent Grant. While being transferred, their motorcade is attacked. Benes strikes his head, causing a blood clot to form in his brain. Grant is ordered to accompany a group of scientists as they are miniaturized. The crew has one hour to get in Benes’s brain, remove the clot and get out. The plan is made to miniaturize a vessel and a team of doctors send them into the man’s body and that they will go to the damaged area and fix it. Problem is that there is a report that someone on the team could be working for the other side.
Trivia: Medical schools, at least as late as the 1980s, would show clips from this film to illustrate various concepts in human anatomy, physiology, and especially immunology. This film was largely not on actual scale; the time spent in the movie of the crew once they were miniaturized is in real time, taking up almost exactly one hour of the movie.
In Posters: 2 US, Czech, Japanese.