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It was the year Elvis married Priscilla and Martin Luther King made era-defining speeches to thousands of Americans, all set against the backdrop of the contentious Vietman War. 1967 was also a fruitful and diverse year for filmmaking – below are our favourites to turn 50 in 2017.
You Only Live Twice
Plot summary: The fifth spy film of the 007 franchise, in which the world’s best loved spy is dispatched to Japan after American and Soviet manned spacecraft disappear mysteriously in orbit. With each nation blaming the other amidst the Cold War, Bond travels secretly to a remote Japanese island to find the perpetrators and comes face to face with Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE.
Starring: Sean Connery
Screenplay by: Roald Dahl
Producer: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
Release date: 13 June, 1967
Box office: $111.6 miliion
Trivia: Roald Dahl, a close friend of Ian Fleming, was chosen to write the adaptation despite having limited prior experience writing a screenplay. Loosely based on Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel of the same name, it is the first James Bond film to discard most of Fleming’s plot, using only a few characters and locations from the book as the background for an entirely new story.
The Jungle Book
Plot summary: Timeless animated musical comedy inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan who is threatened by man and seeks to kill the boy.
Narrator: Sebastian Cabot
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Producer: Walt Disney
Release date: 18 October, 1967
Box office: $205.8 million
Trivia: David Bailey was originally cast as Mowgli, but his voice altered during production and lost the young, innocent quality the producers were looking for. Reitherman instead cast his son Bruce, who had just voiced Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.
In posters: US poster and lobby cards
Plot summary: Based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb, at the time a recent graduate himself. The film tells the story of 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, then falls in love with her daughter Elaine.
Starring: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross
Director: Mike Nichols
Music: Simon and Garfunkel
Release date: 22 December, 1967
Box office: $104.9 million
Trivia: Faye Dunaway was also considered for Elaine, but had to turn it down, in favor of Bonnie and Clyde (see below!). Alledgedly Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn all wanted the role of Mrs Robinson, and Doris Day turned down the role because the nudity required offended her.
In posters: US lobby cards
Plot summary: French political drama about young revolutionaries, based on an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s 1872 novel The Possessed. Shot on location in Paris, the film follows a group of five disaffected citizens, each representing a different ideological persuasion and personality type, conspire to overthrow the Russian imperial regime through a campaign of sustained revolutionary violence.
Starring: Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Cinematography: Raoul Coutard
Release date: 30 August, 1967
Trivia: La Chinoise is not one of Godard’s most widely seen films, and until 2008 was unavailable on DVD in North America. However a number of critics such as Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris and Renata Adler have hailed it as among his best.
In posters: Japanese
Two for the Road
Plot summary: Written by Frederic Raphael, the film delves into a married couple’s relationship while they are on a road trip to Southern France. Considered experimental for its time, the story is told in a non-linear fashion, with scenes from the latter stages of the relationship juxtaposed with those from its beginning, often leaving the viewer to interpolate what has intervened, which is sometimes revealed in later scenes.
Starring: Albert Finney, Audrey Hepburn
Director: Stanley Donen
Music: Henry Mancini
Release date: 20 September, 1967
Box office: $12 million
Trivia: The film’s theme song, “Two for the Road”, was composed by Mancini, who wrote many notable theme songs for films, including “Moon River” for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He considered “Two for the Road” his favorite of all the songs he wrote.
In posters: Japanese
Plot summary: Counterculture-era psychedelic film in which a television commercial director takes his first dose of LSD, while experiencing the heartbreak and ambivalence of divorce from his beautiful, adulterous wife. The film follows the twisted psychological adventure that ensues, all shot on location in and around Los Angeles.
Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper
Screenplay by: Jack Nicholson
Music: Mike Bloomfield, The Electric Flag
Release date: 23 August, 1967
Box office: $10 million (only cost $100,000 to make)
Trivia: Director Roger Corman did research by taking LSD himself. Actor John Nicholson was hired to write the eventual screenplay. Corman encouraged Nicholson’s experimental writing style and gives between 80 and 90 percent credit to Nicholson, Corman only slightly modified the story to stay within budget.
In posters: US, Japanese
Plot summary: Neo noir crime adapted from the 1963 novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake in which a ruthless crook, is betrayed by his partner and left for dead on Alcatraz Island. Having survived, he returns years later to take his revenge.
Starring: Lee Marvin
Director: John Boorman
Release date: 30 August, 1967
Box office: $3 million (small success at box office but went on to become a critically acclaimed cult classic)
Trivia: This was the first film ever shot at Alcatraz, the infamous prison which had been shut down since 1963, only three years before the production. Two weeks in the abandoned prison facility required the services of 125 crew members. During the shoot, Angie Dickinson and Sharon Acker modeled contemporary fashions for a Life magazine exclusive against the backdrop of the prison.
In posters: US, Polish
Bonnie and Clyde
Plot summary: Regarded as one of the first films of the ‘New Hollywood’ era, this infamous heist movie is set during the great depression and tracks the unfolding relationship of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and their descent into the crime world.
Starring: Warren Beatty, Fay Dunaway, Gene Hackman
Director: Arthur Penn
Release date: 13 August,1967
Box office: $70 million
Trivia: Bonnie and Clyde was one of the first films to feature extensive use of squibs – small explosive charges, often mounted with bags of stage blood, that are detonated inside an actor’s clothes to simulate bullet hits. Released in an era where shootings were generally depicted as bloodless and painless, the Bonnie and Clyde death scene was one of the first in mainstream American cinema to be depicted with graphic realism.
In posters: Czech