best film: The Graduate is the sole 1967 film in my all-time top 100. It’s a sizeable film stylistically with some of the editing sequences (the montage of the Hoffman/Bancroft affair set to simon and garfunkel is a standout) and zoom lens camerawork. The narrative was a major breakthrough that mirrored the changing of the guard of the French new wave just a few years prior. Although Nichols isn’t the artistic titan godard and truffaut are, the film is a significant landmark for American cinema and the advent of a new age.
most underrated: cool hand luke has always been flirting with being a top 100 film for me (on my honorable mention list when I last updated it) so to see it at #771 on the consensus TSPDT list is a disappointment. Sure, stuart rosenberg isn’t Kubrick, but I find nearly every other element of the film to be superb and find the film, in general, closer to the greater works of non-auteur cinema than just some above average film with a great performance by newman and george kennedy (who won the oscar for supporting). The music is by lalo schifrin and it’s shot by conrad hall- both are absolute masters so to me this is closer to like wizard of oz directed by victor fleming.
most overrated: I like bresson’s mouchette but I have it as #9 of 1967 and the TSPDT consensus has it as #2. The film’s austerity just keeps it below the high levels of these other great films. Bressonists’ will compliment how understated and muted the film is. I’ll take the actual brilliance on display from the films below on my top 8 of the year in favor of the implied brilliance of mouchette.
gem I want to spotlight: the producers is a top 10 of the year quality film that I just can’t find enough room for below on my top 10, legit funny, and mel brooks best film. But, if I have to spotlight one film for my “gem” its clearly godard’s weekend. Weekend, specifically the iconic tracking shot, is what Godard theorizes is the end of cinema. It’s a massively arrogant artistic statement but it works for this film and it’s an absolutely brilliant, and very important, work of art. For me, cinema continued, largely without godard, which I lament.
trends and notables: 1967 is most notable for the beginning of the American new wave which would go from roughly 1967 to 1979 (usually ending with apocalypse now in 1979, heaven’s gate in 1978, or even raging bull in 1980). It’s a high water mark for ameriican cinema and certainly a breath of fresh air. In a lot of ways it was just the US catching up to what the French and Italians (and Japanese to a lesser extent) were doing for nearly a decade. The filmmakers here- Arthur Penn, Stuart Rosenberg, and Mike Nichols wouldn’t be the auteurs to lead this movement but still- it’s impossible to deny that bonne and clyde and the graduate were important (and superb as standalone works) and would bring us the first archiveable films for Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway amongst others. This was a new era of violence, sex and adult themes (honesty to many)—far from the usual musical and epic that Hollywood was offering in abundance though the early to mid 60’s). 1967 would be the first archiveable year/film for Rohmer. After a few years of being in mostly bad movies under Roger Corman at AIP, Jack Nicholson would be in his first archiveable film here- the shooting. A young jon voight would slip into his first archiveable film in hour of the gun two years before his wonderful turn in midnight cowboy. Donald Sutherland would appear, a little more noticeably, in the dirty dozen. 1967 was peak Sidney Poitier (in the heat of the night, guess who’s coming to dinner) and Lee Marvin (the dirty dozen, point blank). I’m not sure if it’s peak Paul Newman (he was a great actor for more than 40 years), but we certainly have his anti-hero character zenith with hombre (very underrated film) and cool hand luke. You pair these with hud, harper, and the hustler (something in marketing with the H’s—I don’t know the story there) and you have a pretty amazing actor as auteur anti-hero study. While Godard was proclaiming cinema dead with the emphatic and wonderful weekend, you also had Truffaut going to Hollywood and making his first English-language film. These are two important movements for the two fathers of the new wave. Despite that questionable ending to the French new wave, 6 of the top 10 films in the top 10 are French films. Tati, Bresson, Bunuel (who isn’t even French) were not really part of the French new wave- so this is a great era for that country and specifically a great year. Lastly, I rarely single out cinematographers but 1967 is an amazing year for DP Conrad Hall. He’d be one of the best for the next 30+ years but here, in one year, you have breakthrough work in both in cold blood (his achievement here is often given more artistic credit than director Richard brooks) and cool hand luke.
best performance male: I hate this. Dustin Hoffman in the graduate and Paul Newman in cool hand luke are both transcendent performances and would both be excellent choices for this. If forced to choose, I’d give the slight nod to Hoffman I guess here though it kills me even typing that out. These are two great actors and this is probably their best work. Behind them, I’d put Warren Beatty in bonnie and clyde (a complex role from a great actor, who again, may never reach the highs he hit here in 1967). After Beatty I’d go with Sidney Poitier for his work in in the heat of the night. To me this performance is not only clearly better than his work in guess who is coming to dinner but superior to the work of co-worker Rod Steiger who actually won the oscar in 1967 amidst all these other great performances. Alain Delon is perfect as the ice cold killer in Le Samouraï to round out my top 5 slots here.
best performance female: Anne Bancfroft doesn’t have the screen time Hoffman does in the graduate (I’m not even sure she has as much as Katharine Ross) but she makes the most of those scenes and to me is the pretty easy choice here. Behind her is Ross for her work in the same film, along with Julie Christie for her work in far from the maddening crowd– a film filled with great performances. Faye Dunaway is every bit Beatty’s equal in bonnie and clyde. Deneuve continues her utter dominance of the 1960’s with another superb performance in belle de dour. Lastly, though the film isn’t as big as some of these others, Diane Cliento battles so well with Paul Newman in hombre that I had to save a spot for her here.
- The Graduate
- Cool Hand Luke
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Le Samouraï
- Belle De Jour
- In Cold Blood
- The Young Girls of Rochefort
Archives, Directors, and Grades
|Barefoot in the Park||R|
|Belle De Jour- Bunuel||MS|
|Bonnie and Clyde- Penn||MP|
|Cool Hand Luke||MP|
|El Dorado- Hawks|
|Far From the Madding Crowd- Schlesinger||HR|
|Farenheit 451- Truffaut||R|
|Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner- Kramer||R|
|Hour of the Gun- J. Sturges||R|
|In Cold Blood- R. Brooks||MS|
|In the Heat of the Night- Jewison||HR|
|La Collectionneuse – Rohmer||R|
|Le Samourai- Melville||MS|
|The Dirty Dozen- Aldrich||R|
|The Fireman’s Ball- Forman||R|
|The Graduate- Nichols||MP|
|The Jungle Book||R|
|The Producers- M. Brooks||HR|
|The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre- Corman||HR|
|The Taming of the Shrew||R|
|The Young Girls of Rochefort- Demy||HR|
|Two For the Road- Donen|
|Two of Us||R|
|Two or Three Things I Know About Her- Godard||R|
|Wait Until Dark||R|
|War and Peace||R|
|You Only Life Twice||R|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives