1967-68: Movies

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris, reviewed by Lazygal, is a nonfiction history of the five movies that were nominated for Best Picture Oscars in 1968: Dr. Doolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner, In the Heat of the Night and Bonnie and Clyde. I haven’t read the book, but I have it on hold at the library.

I’ve seen four of the five movies; I may have seen In the Heat of the Night. I did see a few episodes of the TV show that came after the movie. If I did see the movie, I don’t remember much about it. The Academy found it much more memorable: In the Heat of the Night won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1968.

The Graduate was the top-grossing film of 1967, and Bonnie and Clyde was probably the most violent and disturbing film of the year. I didn’t see either of those two when they first came out, since I would have been too young for the content of either. I did see them later on, but by that time The Graduate was already history, somewhat passé. And Bonnie and Clyde was, well, violent and disturbing.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was OK, a Sidney Poitier vehicle about racism and interracial marriage, but Poitier’s better film of the year was To Sir With Love, which starred the popular black actor as a schoolteacher in an inner city high school in London.

Dr. Dolittle was silly, with Rex Harrison as the doctor who could speak to the animals. He certainly couldn’t sing, and I don’t know why he ever tried. It didn’t matter so much in My Fair Lady, since Professor Higgins was such a pretender anyway. It made sense that he would only pretend to sing.

The film version of Camelot also came out in 1967, and it won three Academy Awards, but it was not even nominated for any the biggies: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director. If I were choosing the best film of 1967, I’d certainly choose Camelot over any of the above nominees for Best Picture. Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave were amazing and memorable as King Arthur and Guinevere, and the “messages” of the movie about temptation, pride, sin and imperfection are spot-on. The screen-play is based on T.H. White’s version of the King Arthur story, Once and Future King, published in 1958.

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