Tag Archive: Japan


Today happens to be the 101st Birth Anniversary of my all time favourite cinematographer, Jack Cardiff. His uniquely brilliant, colourful aesthetics, in movies like. Powell&Pressburger’s Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948), Alfred Hitchcock’s Under Capricorn (1949), and King Vidor’s War and Peace (1956), are stunningly splendid, with it’s vivid spectrum of striking colours. His creations on the big screen, are pure art. A massive canvas filled with moving pictures.

Jack CardiffJack Cardiff was born on the 18th of September, 1914, to a couple of music hall performers. By the age of four, he was already a child artiste, who’d worked in music hall productions as well as a few silent movies. As a child actor he starred in My Son, My Son (1918), Billy’s Rose (1922), The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots (1923) and Tiptoes (1927). By 15 he started working as a camera assistant, clapper boy and production runner. By 21, Cardiff had graduated to camera operator and occasional cinematographer. Having already worked with Alfred Hitchcock, in The Skin Game (1931), as a clapper boy; soon he got a chance to work with Powell&Pressburger, as a second unit cameraman. Powell&Pressburger were so impressed that they hired him as a cinematographer, and the rest is history.

Ben Cross and Amy Irving in The Far Pavilions (1984)

Ben Cross and Amy Irving in The Far Pavilions (1984)

Ben Cross and Omar Sharif in a scene from The Far Pavilions

Ben Cross and Omar Sharif in a scene from The Far Pavilions

As a little kid, back in the mid-1980’s, I watched The Far Pavilions (1984), a beautiful mini-series, set in India, in the 1800’s. Back then, I had no idea who Jack Cardiff was, but was amazed by the superbly, epic scale, picturesque, television show, which has been tagged as, “Gone With The Wind (1939), of the north-west frontier of India.” I got to re-watch it in my teens, back in the early 1990’s. Thus, even though unaware at the time, this was my very first Cardiff involved show, that I witnessed. And I’ll end up watching quite a few Cardiff’s aesthetic brilliance of the big screen (on the small screen), before I learn the cinematographer responsible for the visual beauty of these great movies.

The Red Shoes (2)

Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes (1948)

Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes (1948)

Scenes from The Red Shoes

Scenes from The Red Shoes

Still as a kid, towards late 80’s, when I watched The Red Shoes, I was spellbound. The beautiful colour combination, costumes, the respectable art form of the ballet, the story, the movie as a whole, I fell in love with it almost instantaneously. And at the time I didn’t even realise it was an old movie. Especially ’cause I had no idea who the actors were. By then I knew quite a few classic stars, from Charles Chaplin, Laurence Olivier, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Julie Andrews, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Al Pacino et al; so I felt these must be very new actors, who aren’t famous yet. In fact, even now, besides The Red Shoes, am not familiar with the work of Moira Shearer (who was actually a renowned ballet dancer, and had appeared in very few films), Austrian actor, Anton Walbrook, and Marius Goring. The story follows the life of a young ballerina, who becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called, The Red Shoes, a fairy tale. The movie tells a story within a story. One through the ballet, and the other, the movie plot. I remember this scene, where the lead male character, asks the ballerina, “Why do you want to dance?”, she fearlessly quickly answers with another question, “Why do you want to live?”
I only saw The Red Shoes, once, less than 30 years ago, but I still remember, that scene so well, as if I saw it yesterday. That was the scene, that changes the lead character, played by Moira Shearer, Victoria Page’s, life, in the movie. The ballet sequences were mesmerising, telling a beautifully epic tale of it’s own, and filmed so beautifully. My personal favourite was the one with raggedy clothes, portraying an exhausted ballerina, complimenting the frighteningly beautiful visual effects of the time. Eons before the evolution of CGI.

Scenes from War and Peace (1956)

Scenes from War and Peace (1956)

Scenes from War and Peace

Scenes from War and Peace

Audrey Hepburn in a scene from War and Peace

Audrey Hepburn in a scene from War and Peace

The next, was War and Peace, which I watched around the same time, more ‘cause I was already a great fan of Audrey Hepburn by then. A brilliant epic, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s celebrated novel, War & Peace. With a stellar star cast, including Mel Ferrer, Henry Fonda, Audrey Hepburn, Jeremy Brett, May Britt and Anita Ekberg, this Hollywood adaptation, of a novel based on Napoleonic Wars, especially Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, happens to be amongst my favourite of epic scale war movies. And again, I recall, how brilliant the cinematography was. Of course the movie mainly focuses on complex relationship and personal maturation, of the three lead characters, and two aristocratic families, on the backdrop of the historical events of the Napoleonic invasion. I got to re-watch War and Peace, as an adult, just over a decade ago, whilst living in London. ’Twas  really worth it.

In the 90’s, as a teen, I watched Paul Czinner’s, As You Like It (1936). A pretty good movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s famed comedy. Jack Cardiff worked as a camera operator for this film, starring Laurence Olivier and Elisabeth Bergner. I enjoyed the movie, but I don’t recall much greatness, cinematography wise. Anyway, Cardiff wasn’t responsible for cinematography. Plus this happens to be a Black & White film, and Cardiff was famous for excelling in colourful epics.

Whilst living in Portsmouth, UK, 11 years ago, around this time, most probably to celebrate Jack Cardiff’s 90th Birthday (he was still alive then), one of the British channels, telecast, two of his movies. I already knew about both these films, and had heard about Cardiff. But it was that particular day, 11 years ago, that I got to know who Jack Cardiff was, after seeing these two films, which were shown one after another, that day. Black Narcissus and Under Capricorn. I loved the movie, and learnt a lot more about Cardiff, once I googled him out, back in 2004. And to see he was responsible for the magnificent cinematography, of my childhood films, The Red Shoes and War and Peace as well, was an added bonus. Since then, Cardiff happens to be my all time favourite cinematographer, of yesteryear.

Black Narcissus (3)

Scenes from Black Narcissus

Scenes from Black Narcissus (1947)

Scenes from Black Narcissus (1947)

Scenes from Black Narcissus (1947)

Cardiff’s work, on Black Narcissus, is undeniably the best I’ve seen till date. Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, near Darjeeling, India, and made as India was on the verge of getting their Independence from the British Raj, it’s another excellent movie, in every way possible, from the narrative, the brilliant cast, the setting, the cinematography, you name it. Starring Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmons (playing an Indian girl named ‘Kanchi’), Flora Robson, Kathleen Byron, David Farrar, Esmond Knight, Nancy Roberts and Sabu Dastagir, it’s a touching story of a group of Anglican nuns living in isolation, who have to ultimately, after being tragic victims of jealousy and lust, have to leave their peaceful life in India, under the British Empire. Jack Cardiff won his very first Oscar, for his beautiful creation of Black Narcissus, under the category, ‘Best Cinematography, Colour’. He was nominated for three more Oscars, twice for colour cinematography, and once for film direction, but never won. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary Oscar, as the ‘Master of light and colour’. Prior to that, in 1995, he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award, by the British Society of Cinematographers. And in Year 2000, Jack Cardiff was also awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire).

Scene from Under Capricorn (1949), Down Under.

Scene from Under Capricorn (1949), Down Under!

Alfred Hitchcock’s Under Capricorn, is set Down Under, in the depths of the heat and dust of the Australian outback, i.e. Sydney of 1831, a town full of ex-convicts. Starring Joseph Cotten, Ingrid Bergman and Michael Wilding, the movie tells the story of how an Irish gentleman, who visits Australia, comes across his childhood friend, now a married woman, who’s suffering from alcohol abuse, and helplessly watches her decent into madness. Amazingly George Cukor’s Gaslight (1944), a superb piece of noir, too dealt with a married woman’s (played by Bergman as well) decent into madness, and Cotton played, a sympathiser, who saves her from her murderous husband, the man responsible for driving her insane. Under Capricorn, was Hitchcock’s second film made in Technicolor, after Rope (1948).

Death on the Nile (2)

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, with the Sphinx in the background, in Death on the Nile (1978)

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, with the Sphinx in the background, in Death on the Nile (1978)

Back then I also got to watch, Death on the Nile (1978), a very good adaptation of crime writer, Agatha Christie’s novel. Which was a really good movie, though not great. But again the cinematography capturing ancient Egyptian monuments was simply brilliant.

Scenes from Delhi (1938)

Scenes from Delhi (1938)

Scenes from Delhi (1938), in Connaught Place, New Delhi, India

Scenes from Delhi (1938), in Connaught Place, New Delhi, India.

Scenes from Delhi (1938)

Scenes from Delhi (1938)

Five years ago, I saw the documentary short film, Delhi (1938), online, on the BFI (British Film Institute) page, on the Youtube website. Another colourfully breathtaking insight of Old and New Delhi, of the 1930’s, showcasing the beautiful historic architecture, the modern wide roads, and Indian attire, of the period under the British Raj, and captured to perfection by Jack Cardiff. One of the best short documentaries I’ve seen, and this 10 minutes of reel is definitely worth checking out.

Caesar and Cleopatra (1)

Scenes from Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

Scenes from Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh and Stewart Granger in a scene from Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), based on a play by George Bernard Shaw.

Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh and Stewart Granger in a scene from Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), based on a play by George Bernard Shaw.

Black & White still, with Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh, in the technicolor film, Caesar and Cleopatra

Black & White still, with Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh, in the technicolor film, Caesar and Cleopatra

Then there was Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), starring Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh and Stewart Granger. Another classic film with breathtaking cinematography, based on an acclaimed play by George Bernard Shaw. Yet, Caesar and Cleopatra, is no where near as great, as some of the other movies mentioned above (cinematography wise), but still it’s another excellent cinematic experience, altogether. I watched this online as well, on Youtube, a few years ago. Sadly that’s the last of Cardiff’s films I saw, and I don’t own a single. All these movies of his, in which he worked as a cinematographer, is no doubt worth, adding to my home library, collection of movies.

Cameraman - The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)

A documentary titled, Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010), was released, five years ago. Being a great fan of Cardiff, am really keen on checking it out. It chronicles his career of over seventy years, as a cinematographer, reviews his magnificent work, and details how he ended up mastering the process of Technicolor in Cinema of a bygone era.

Besides being a maestro in cinematography, Cardiff was also a film director. But from his directorial ventures, I’ve only watched, to my memory, My Geisha (1962), starring Shirley MacLaine, Yves Montand, Edward G. Robinson and Robert Cummings. That too, I watched, back in the 1980’s. My Geisha, was a hilarious comedy about an actress, Lucy Dell (MacLaine), who disguises herself as a Japanese Geisha, to bag the lead role, unaware to her husband (Montand), in her husbands new directorial venture, inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s, renowned Opera, Madame Butterfly.

Some of Jack Cardiff's directorial ventures, Sons and Lovers (1960), My Geisha (1962) and The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968).

Some of Jack Cardiff’s directorial ventures: Sons and Lovers (1960), My Geisha (1962) and The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968).

Being a fan of D.H. Lawrence, I’d really love to watch Cardiff’s adaptation of Sons and Lovers (1960), starring Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell, Wendy Hiller and Mary Ure. Sons and Lovers, was Cardiff ’s very first nomination, for the ‘Best Director’ Oscar. Ironically it won one Oscar, for ‘Best Cinematography, Black-and-White’, for which he wasn’t responsible for. From Cardiff’s other works as a cinematographer, am really keen on watching, The African Queen (1951), Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), with Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, and Crossed Swords (1977), with Oliver Reed, George C. Scott, Rex Harrison, David Hemmings and Mark Lester, to name a few.

All of Cardiff’s works I mentioned here as a cinematographer, are excellent films as a whole, except for Under Capricorn and Death in the Nile. Alfred Hitchcock’s Under Capricorn, is not necessarily Hitchcock’s best film, yet it’s still a near excellent noir flick. And John Guillermin’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famed novel, Death in the Nile, though not the best adaptation of one of her novels, is still a very good crime movie.

In memory of Jack Cardiff (1914 – 2009), who shall forever be remembered for his masterworks in colour, especially at a time, when colour movies were a rarity, back in the 1930’s & 40’s. I’d love to watch more of his cinematic wonders, be it as a cinematographer, or a film director.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s ART Sense

The Swinging Sixties
1966 Blow-UpThe 1960’s was a very unique decade, of the 20th century, when the world changed for the better. An era, thanks to which, we live in (or rather should live in) a more open minded world, with a freer lifestyle, with lesser (or rather should, with no) prejudice. An era, which brought about Equal Rights, Feminism (Women’s Lib),  The Hippies, the second (and more worldwide) phase of The Sexual Revolution (as opposed to The Sexual Revolution of the Roaring 20’s, which was limited to certain regions in the western world), Black Pride movement, Gay Pride movement, Youth Rebellions of 68’, Woodstock of 69’, Stonewall Riots of 69’, Motown Records, Rock Music, Experimentation with Psychedelic Drugs, Birth Control Pill, Popular Music, The Beatles, The British Invasion of Pop & Rock, Ravi Shankar, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Pop-Art, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Martin Luther King, Jr., Socialists, Radical political influences, 32 African countries gaining Independence, The Indian ‘Hungryalist Quartet’, China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, The Vietnam War, The American Counterculture, The Kennedy’s, The Space Age (the world put a man on the moon), Supercomputers, Sketchpads, Spacewar (first video game), Japanese Cars, Summer of Love, Flower Power, Peace, Love and anti-war sentiments.

The beginning of the 60’s decade, and the latter part of the 60’s, were so different, as if they belonged to two terrifically different era’s. This was a period that globalisation actually took place. Added to which fashion, art and music, travelled beyond borders. The Beatles were influenced by Indian music, especially the sounds of the Sitar. Short Indian Kurta’s, Hindu beads, African Batik styles, South American Poncho’s, were loved by the Hippies. Similarly western geometric styles, and bright designs, were adapted to Asian clothing. The era was famed for, mini-skirts, of swinging London, and skin tight Salwar-Kameezes, in India (inspired by the western tight skirts). A very glamorous decade, with it’s massive bouffant hairstyles, tight clothes and short skirts. And as the decade proceeded, the hairdo’s went higher, as did the hemlines.

Bollywood superstar, Sharmila Tagore, became the first Indian actress to don a Bikini on the cover of a glossy magazine, in 1966. This was an Independence Special issue.

Bollywood superstar, Sharmila Tagore (though not the first Indian to wear a Bikini), became the first Indian actress to don a Bikini on the cover of a glossy magazine. In the Year: 1966. This was an Independence Special, issue of Filmfare (August 1966).

The modern Bikini, though invented in 1946 (prior to which slightly bigger, two piece swimsuits, baring the midriff, existed), gained popularity internationally only in the 1960’s. Prior to which, general women preferred traditional, one piece, swimwear, though a lot of glamour girls were seen in tiny Bikini’s in magazines, films, et al. Yet young men, were quite comfortable, in tiny swimming trunks. Today it’s the exact opposite.

And in Cinema: 1960’s

The invent of the Merchant Ivory Productions took place, making Indian English Language films, avec a highly international standard (started by a trio of well (western) educated friends, Ismail Merchant, James Ivory & Ruth Prawer Jhabvala). They brought something new to Indian Cinema, in the 60’s & 70’s (unlike the Western Orientalist craze for Bollywood today, and the assumption that all Indian Cinema falls under the category of Bollywood, whilst Bollywood only makes Hindi Language films (out of the 122 major languages, and many more sub-dialects, spoken in India), and is mostly associated with commercial cinema, mainly with song & dance), and a special, new-found, global admiration for mystic & spiritual India. The Hippie culture had a major influence in India and Nepal.

In the west, the 60’s, revolutionised Cinema. In Europe, Art Cinema, especially The French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague), brought out a modernist (non-commercial, yet loved by modern intellectual youths) form of film, as never before; with François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard at the helm. Elsewhere, Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, Chilean film director Alexandro Jodorowsky, Polish film directors Roman Polanski & Wojciech Jerzy, Italian film directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini & Pier Paolo Pasolini, Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and Indian film directors Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen & Ritwik Ghatak (all in the Bengali language) brought about their own masterpieces of Art Cinema, with an International standard, in their respective countries.

Sandy Dennis, George Segal & Elizabeth Taylor, in a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Sandy Dennis, George Segal & Elizabeth Taylor, in a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Hollywood wasn’t far back, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), was America’s answer to the European Art House. Directed by Mike Nichols (this was his directorial debut feature), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal & Sandy Dennis, and based on a play by Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is today, considered a culturally relevant, a historically noteworthy, and an aesthetically significant, masterpiece of the American Art Film.

Movies also began to break taboos of sex, nudity and violence, with controversial directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini & Bernardo Bertolucci (in Italian Films), Roger Vadim (French Films), Roger Corman (American Films) and Raj Kapoor (Bollywood – Hindi Commercial Films), to name a few. The 60’s are also remembered in conjunction with the Spaghetti Westerns, a short lived trend, begun by Italian film director, Sergio Leon.

The Year: 1966

Tunisian-born Italian actress of Sicilian parentage, Claudia Cardinale, on the cover of (the July 1966 issue of) LIFE magazine

Tunisian-born, Italian actress, of Sicilian parentage, Claudia Cardinale, on the cover of (the July 1966 issue of) LIFE magazine

1966 saw, the Acid Test (a series of parties, in the mid-late 60’s, centred around the use of the psychedelic drug LSD, a.k.a. Acid) take place, at the historic music venue in San Francisco, California, The Fillmore. These acid trips lasted throughout the rest of the decade. The spy-plane, SR-71 Blackbird (which had it’s first flight in 1964), started operation. Cabinet Member, Robert C. Weaver, became the first African American to hold a cabinet position in the United States. Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was elected Prime Minister of India, making her the first, and only, woman Prime Minister, in India, to hold office till date. She was also the second longest serving Prime Minister of India. Luna 9, an unmanned spacecraft landed on the Moon, making it the first controlled rocket-assisted landing. Later same year, Luna 10, was also launched, by the Russians. The Lunar Orbiter 1, the first U.S. spacecraft to orbit the moon, was also launched, much later, that year. A head to head space race. The Australian Dollar was introduced. John Lennon made the controversial remark, that ‘The Beatles were more popular than Jesus’; which, though there were no problems when it was first published in the United Kingdom, got him into trouble with Christian communities in the United States, when it was republished in the States. The Crown Princess of the Netherlands married a German, which sparked protests against the Groom. Meanwhile demonstrations were held, across the United States, against the Vietnam War. The opening of the Parliament of the United Kingdom was televised for the very first time. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were finally convicted, for the murder of three children, in UK. In New York, thirteen square blocks of low rise buildings were cleared for construction of the World Trade Center (Twin Towers), and groundbreaking for the construction began.

Superstar Sophia Loren on the cover of LIFE (September 1966 issue) YEAR: NINETEEN SEXTY SEX

Superstar Sophia Loren on the cover of LIFE (September 1966 issue)
YEAR: NINETEEN SEXTY SEX

Star Trek (1966-1969), a sci-fi series, made it’s television debut, in America. The Black Panther Party was founded in USA. Japan introduced the Toyota Corolla. Chinese students were chased out of the Soviet Union. The Mothman was introduced, when a couple reported that they saw a strange moth like creature, in the States. Author Truman Capote, hosted a lavish, Black & White, masquerade ball, which was credited as being the Party of the century. Jack L. Warner sold Warner Bros. to Seven Arts Productions; And Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan, was elected, as the Governor of California.

Sadly, 1966 also saw the demise of greats, such as; famed Swiss Sculptor Alberto Giacometti, notorious American gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, iconic Silent Film-star Buster Keaton, neo-classical Italian Artist Gino Severini, American Artist & Illustrator Maxfield Parrish, British Author Evelyn Waugh, German Expressionist Film producer Erich Pommer, Hollywood method-actor Montgomery Clift, American Poet & Art Critic Frank O’Hara, French Writer & Poet André Breton, Canadian Beautician & Entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden, and Cartoonist Walt Disney (the most prominent figure of the animation industry worldwide); to name some.

Now let’s have a look at some of the films that were released in:-
1966: The Year dubbed as Nineteen Sexty Sex!!!

Hays Code was almost nearing it’s death (the dreaded censorship laws that could have, but thankfully didn’t, kill off, the cinematic arts; with it’s silly rules and regulations), and Hays (the man who implemented these rules) himself had already been dead for just over a decade. The world was going through a new found sexual revolution, as was the film industry, especially Hollywood. And the out-dated production code by William Hays, was getting impossible to enforce (which was finally, completely, abandoned in 1968).

Boeing, Boeing (1965), was a quite hilarious comedy, with Tony Curtis &  Jerry Lewis in the lead. Though released in 1965, it's film posters, hinted what the following year should be known as.

Boeing, Boeing (1965), was quite a hilarious comedy, with Tony Curtis & Jerry Lewis, in the lead. Though released in 1965, it’s film posters, hinted at, what the following year, should be known as.

In April 1966, at the 38th  Annual Academy Awards, the family entertainer, Sound of Music (1965), grabbed the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar, winning five out of it’s ten nominations. Fred Zinnemann’s, A Man for all Seasons (1966), a historical biographical movie, based on an excellent play by Robert Bolt, ended up bagging six Oscars, the following year, including for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actor’, at the 39th Annual Academy Awards. Thus making it the best film of 1966. Love the movie, love the play. But let’s have a look at some of the movies, that defined the 60’s, and more specifically, Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex.

Blow-Up (1966), a near excellent British Film, by Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni, is no doubt the perfect insight into the latter half of 60’s decade. Fashion, fashion photography, and sexy sizzling costumes of Swinging London, it encompasses the late 60’s to perfection. A very 60’s, Sexty Sex, film, set in the world of modern fashion, with a modern, youthful and open-minded, insight into the changing world.

Blow-Up (1966) - a movie that defined the 60's!!!!! TOP LEFT: Sarah Miles TOP RIGHT: Veruschka von Lehndorff & David Hemmings BOTTOM RIGHT: David Hemmings & Veruschka von Lehndorff  BOTTOM RIGHT: Topless/Shirtless Vanessa Redgrave & David Hemmings

Blow-Up (1966) – a movie that defined the late 60’s!!!!!
TOP LEFT: Sarah Miles
TOP RIGHT: Veruschka von Lehndorff & David Hemmings
BOTTOM LEFT: David Hemmings & Veruschka von Lehndorff
BOTTOM RIGHT: Topless/Shirtless – Vanessa Redgrave & David Hemmings

The plot deals with a fashion photographer, who one day accidentally takes shots of something, he shouldn’t have, in a park. Then a mysteriously beautiful woman walks into his life, under very suspicious circumstances. David Hemmings played the photographer, and Vanessa Redgrave, the mysterious beauty. The film also features a line of breathtakingly talented beauties, including Sarah Miles, Jane Birkin and German born fashion model, Veruschka von Lehndorff (daughter of a Prussian Count who was involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler, and thus killed for it), to name some. In addition to that, the film has some notable cameo’s by several well known personalities from 1966. Especially, worth watching out for a performance, by English Rock-Band, The Yardbirds. Hemmings’ character was inspired by the real life, Swinging London, photographer, David Bailey.

Blow-Up dared to be quite sexually provocative, especially for that era, and when it was released in the United States, it was in direct defiance with the ridiculous Hays Code. In fact, Blow-Up’s subsequent critical, and box-office, success, was a crucial cinematic-historical moment, leading to the ultimate elimination of the out-dated production code, in 1968.

Next let’s have a look at Sexty Sex’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which I mentioned earlier. One of my favourite films ever, which also happens to be among my own TOP-10 all time favourite movies (See my list Why I love …. from November/December 2012 on IMDB). Love the movie. Love the Book (Play).

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

The film is about, a miserable middle-aged couple, who regret their life together, having not achieved all they had hoped and desired for, when young. Set within one night, the older couple invite a younger couple for drinks, and play out their disappointments, with one another, at the younger couples’ expense.

Elizabeth Taylor, who was still in her early 30’s, at the time, is successfully turned into a bitter old frumpy woman in her 50’s. Yet, this violet eyed beauty, oozes with sex appeal, and easily seduces the younger married man. Taylor’s character, Martha, not only seduces the younger man, but the audience as well, openly, in front of her weak willed husband (played by real life husband, Richard Burton). Especially, watch out for her re-entry, after she changes her clothes; as the old woman, walks into the living room, in a low-cut, deep cleavage bearing outfit; she is still a far superior sexual being, than the mousy little wife of the younger man, Nick (played by George Segal), Honey (Sandy Dennis). Showcased with a shadowy outline, suggesting a sexual act in progress, seen through a bedroom window, this is another 60’s movie, which not only revolves around sexual human relationships; the older husband & wife, the younger husband & wife (a marriage based on a “hysterical pregnancy”), and the adulterous one night stand; but their vulgar tongued bitterness, is blatantly thrown at audiences, quite unapologetically. It’s an excellent movie, meant for mature audiences. Not just mature in age, but maturity of the mind, is a necessity, to watch an intellectual movie like this. Beautifully filmed in Black & White, the film is a complete psychoanalysis of the young and the old. The 60’s dared to release a movie like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which surpasses time, and can be relevant in any human relationship, in any era.

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

Then there is a really seductively intimate dance number, between Taylor and Segal, which is pure sex on the dance floor. My favourite movie from Nineteen Sexty Sex, Mike Nichols’ directorial debut, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is a must watch, for any film buff, students of Cinema Literature, and students of Literature in the print form.

Natalie Wood was seen in two sexy releases, that year. One was the near excellent comedy, Penelope (1966), in which she plays a bored rich kleptomaniac, who robs her own husband’s bank (thus, the film/character namesake – is tagged as being, “the world’s most beautiful Bank-Robber”); and the other, a more serious, sizzling with heat, and female sexuality, movie, set in the depression era, in the Deep American South; This Property Is Condemned (1966). Another excellent masterwork of adult cinema. The latter film flaunts it’s female lead’s sexuality, thus feels more at-your-face sexual, than the comedy mentioned here. Also see my post Condemnation of a woman during the Depression era of the American south and Mai May Movies 2015 from May 2015.

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Whilst the west, was coming to terms with exploring sexual topics in cinema, in the east, Indian cinema, specifically Bollywood’s commercial cinema, was starting open up topics of sex themselves. In Aakhri Khat (1966), we see a ditched beggar woman, die on the streets Bombay. Originally from Kulu district, of the state of Himachal Pradesh, she comes to Bombay, bearing child, to find the reason for her sufferings, Govind (Rajesh Khanna), a sculptor. Once the woman dies, the toddler is left on the buzy streets to fend for himself.

Directed by Chetan Anand, majority of the movie, is filmed with a hand-held camera, following a 15 month old infant, let loose in the city, taking in all the city sounds, under the cinematic direction of cinematographer, Jal Mistry. It’s an excellent movie. Am not going to go deep into the film. The implication of pre-marital sex wasn’t necessarily something new. But there is one beautiful scene, I’d like to mention. As the lost hungry child roams around the city, unaware of the death of his mother, he comes across a semi-nude statue of his mothers’, made by his father, Govind. The child at once recognises his mum, but doesn’t realise, it’s just a sculpture. The hungry crying child, is now delighted he found his mum, he feels safe, and slowly climbs it and tries to drink milk from her breast. That scene is so sad, so touching, your heart lets out. In one way there is a sense of eroticism, seeing a child trying to drink milk from a statue, but it’s also a heartrending moment in the movie. Aakhri Khat is an excellent movie, and this was superstar, Rajesh Khanna’s, very first role.

Vyjayanthimala in and as Amrapali (1966), based on the true life tragic story of a courtesan in 500 BC.

Vyjayanthimala in and as Amrapali (1966), in this historical epic, based on the true life, tragic story, of a courtesan, in 500 BC.

Bollywood actress, of southern Indian ancestry, Vyjayanthimala, appeared in two sexy roles, in 1966. One was, where she played a Princess, in Suraj (1966). An enjoyable enough movie, with beautiful songs, and an average story line. An OK venture, showcasing Vyjayanthimala’s sexy gait and bewitching beauty. But it was the historical epic, biographical movie, about a real life courtesan, Amrapali (1966), which was one of the best films she’s ever done, and encompasses her sexuality to the utmost. The concubine, mistress, of a tyrannical King, her dances, the beautiful body, is pure eroticism, and pure art. Set in 500 BC, under the rein of King Ajatashatru of Magadha empire, this is one of my favourite Bollywood films, and one of my favourite historical/Biographical epics. Amrapali was directed by Lekh Tandon.

Both these excellent Bollywood movies (Aakhri Khat & Amrapali), were selected as India’s official entry for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category at the Academy Awards, but neither were selected as Oscar nominees.

Besides these Bollywood commercial films, 1966, also so the release of the Indian Art House Film, from the state of Bengal (in Bengali); Satyajit Ray’s Nayak (1966). A feminist writer, played by Sharmila Tagore, and a Bengali film star, played by Uttam Kumar, meet by chance in a train, travelling from Calcutta to New Delhi. Reluctant at first, for the feminist writer is full of contempt towards film stars, she ultimately decides to interview him. The whole movie, is a train journey, mainly set the restaurant car, where she interviews him. But the film is also a journey of understanding one another. The actor, slowly opens up, without hiding behind a façade, whilst the feminist softens her outlook towards the world of showbiz. By the end of the journey, as they part their ways, both have improved, through this journey of self-discovery, and an understanding of a non-judgemental outlook towards fellow human beings. One of my favourite Bengali movies, by one of the greatest Indian directors ever.

Cul-de-Sac 66'

Heading back to the United Kingdom, Polish director, Roman Polanski’s, Cul-de-Sac (1966), is another interesting, sexual and psychological thriller. A very weird movie dealing with sexual frustration, alienation and of-course the input of horror. A very good movie, which has all the Polanski trade-marks, seen in most of his films. Also see my post Roman Polanski & His Films from a couple of years ago.

Getting back to Hollywood, my favourite director, Alfred Hitchcock’s, Torn Curtain (1966), a movie that deals with an American physicist defecting (in pretence) onto the Iron Curtain, more specifically East Germany. Set and made, during the Cold War, and starring Julie Andrews and Paul Newman, this is not considered among the best of Hitchcockian films. Yet it’s still an excellent movie. Hitchcock was intrigued by the defection of British diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to the Soviet Union in 1951, and thus the idea behind Torn Curtain was born.

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

The film has a very mild sex scene, with Andrews and Newman, in the beginning of the film. Yet, straight out of family entertainers like Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music, seeing Julie Andrews do a sex scene, was shocking for American audiences back then. But by the early 70’s, there were so much more, graphic, sex sequences, in movies like, A Clockwork Orange (1971), Last Tango in Paris (1972) and Don’t Look Now (1973), to name a few, that even the idea of being shocked at the sex scene in Torn Curtain was laughable. Paul Newman, also appears nude in a shower scene, but seen through a glass, the nudity isn’t that clearly visible.

Ebony Magazine covers from 1966, depicting celebs with their families.

Ebony Magazine covers from 1966, depicting celebs with their families.

1966, wasn’t all about sex, there were some beautiful non-sexual family films like, Born Free (1966), Mera Saaya (1966), How to Steal a Million (1966), Anupama (1966), Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), A Man for all Seasons (mentioned above), for example. Yet the Audrey Hepburn movie, How to Steal a Million, can also be categorized as a  stylishly, sleek n’ sexy, movie of 1966. Other sexy films of 66’, include, Fantastic Voyage (1966), Teesri Manzil (1966), Frankie and Johnny (1966), 7 Women (1966), Love in Tokyo (1966), Teesri Kasam (1966), etc etc …

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

Then there are Sexty-Sex films I haven’t seen, but would love to, like, Un Homme et une Femme (1966), Masculin Féminin (1966), The Battle of Algiers (1966), Voyna i Mir Part-I & II (1966), Alfie (1966), Shiroi Kyotō (1966), Persona (1966), Is Paris Burning? (1966), The Face of Another (1966), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), The Sand Pebbles (1966), The Appaloosa (1966), The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966), The Chase (1966), Madame X (1966), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Any Wednesday (1966), Triple Cross (1966 ), Made in U.S.A (1966), Hawaii (1966), La Curée (1966), The Blue Max (1966), Sex Quartet (1966), Gambit (1966), Kenka Erejî (1966), The Trouble with Angels (1966), The Professionals (1966), Sedmikrásky (1966), Daimajin (1966), Trunk to Cairo (1966), Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Incompreso (1966), The Deadly Affair (1966), Pearls of the Deep (1966), Harper (1966), Our Man in Marrakesh (1966), Grand Prix (1966), Khartoum (1966), O Slavnosti a Hostech (1966), Andrei Rublev (1966), Nevada Smith (1966), The Fortune Cookie (1966), Arabesque (1966), The Wild Angels (1966), Tokyo Drifter (1966), Maya (1966), Uccellacci e Uccellini (1966), Seconds (1966), The War Is Over (1966), Faraon (1966), Kaleidoscope (1966), Ah Güzel Istanbul (1966), The Poppy is also a Flower (1966), Ostre Sledované Vlaky (1966), La noire de… (1966), Mamta (1966), The Pornographers (1966), Le Deuxième Souffle (1966), Krylya (1966), The Sandwich Man (1966), Chappaqua (1966), Syskonbädd 1782 (1966), Yeh Raat phir na Aaygi (1966), A Man Called Adam (1966), Es (1966), Signore & Signori (1966), Onna no Mizûmi (1966), Apa (1966), Les Créatures (1966), Zatôichi umi o Wataru (1966), Footsteps in the Snow (1966), La Vida de Pedro Infante (1966), Kiba Ôkaminosuke (1966), The Embryo Hunts in Secret (1966), Seasons of Our Love (1966), Una Vergine per il Principe (1966), After the Fox (1966), etc etc …. and so many more.

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

And then there are films that I haven’t watched, that am not that crazy about, but which are sexualised films (especially using actresses, with beautiful bodies, rather than acting talent – mostly B-movies, B-Horror/B-Sci-fi films), some of which were quite famous back in 1966, and some that sound so silly they were hardly worth mentioning, and audiences back then weren’t that crazy about checking out. The likes of, One Million Years B.C. (1966), Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Once Before I Die (1966), Blood Bath (1966), Queen of Blood (1966), The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), Kill Baby, Kill (1966), Take Me Naked (1966) and Single Room Furnished (1966), to name some.

The 1960’s: One Great Decade!!!!!
The Year 1966: One Unique Year, especially for Cinema!!!!!

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up  YEAR:1966

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up
YEAR:1966

This post is about Sex in Film & the Sixties, and more specifically in 66’ (a.k.a. Sexty Sex); (Ironic, considering the fact, that my previous post, dealt with virginity, in Year 2015).

Meant for More Mature Audiences!!!!!
(Immature Adults – Stay Clear)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

This post, is my contribution for the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, organised by fellow Bloggers of, Silver Screenings (Ruth), Movies Silently (Fritzi) & Once Upon a Screen (Aurora); and sponsored by Flicker Alley.
History Project  (JUNE 2015) LOGOThank you Ruth, Aurora and Fritzi for letting me be part of this interesting Blogathon. It’s five minutes to Midnight !!!!! Good Night!!!!! 🙂

Regards
Nuwan Sen

Kolkata Traffic Police use a Poster depicting The Beatles famed Abbey Road Picture, to get pedestrians to stop jaywalking, in India.

Kolkata Traffic Police use a Poster depicting The Beatles famed Abbey Road Picture, to get pedestrians to stop jaywalking, in India.

The fab four known as  were the most influential British band of the last century. Though they lasted just one decade (as a group), from 1962 to 1970, their iconic status, shall never diminish. Here’s a look at various Beatle loving artists’ creations, using techniques derived from various art movements, that existed pre, during & post, . (Also see my  #01 to #33 from March 2013 to February 2014). For this Blog-Post, I’ve incorporated my aesthetic knowledge with my love for this iconic 60’s Boy Band!!!!

RENAISSANCE ART
(Beginning in Italy, renaissance artistic styles date back to the 1200’s, a style that lasted till about mid-17th century)
Beatles RenaissanceFamous artists of this movement include, Paolo Uccello, Piero Della Francesca, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi (the first woman to dare to become an artist, in that era, and thus condemned for it), Giovanni Bellini, Jan Van Eyck, Joos van Cleve, and many many others.

REALISM (a.k.a. NATURALISM)
(famous in the 1850’s, lasted a very short period of time)

The Beatles by Eduard Kazaryan - Kok Tobe Mountain in Almaty, Kazakhstan

The Beatles by Eduard Kazaryan – Kok Tobe Mountain in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Though Realism was a trend that was famous, during the 1850’s, the seeds of Realism, are present way back in the late 1700’s. If you see works like Francisco Goya’s Retrato de Martín Zapater from the 1790’s & The Family of Charles IV, from Year 1800, or Eugène Delacroix’s Portrait of Dr. François-Marie Desmaisons, from 1832-33, those are very realistic and somewhat dull, portraiture works of art.

Tom Murphy's The Beatles in The Liverpool Art Cafe

Tom Murphy’s The Beatles in The Liverpool Art Cafe

Some famous artists that existed during this period, included, Gustave Courbet, Théodore Géricault, Honoré Daumier, Karl Bryullov, Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin and Rosa Bonheur, to name a few. Being a successful artist of the 19th century, Rosa Bonheur represented the New Woman (a feminist ideal that emerged in the 19th century, which in turn influenced feminism of the 20th Century).

MODERN ART (a.k.a. MODERNISM)
(Late 19th & early 20th Century)
Modern Art styles that existed within the last two centuries, happen to be my favourite, after the Renaissance period. Although, I do love the Romantics and the Realist, of the 18th Century too, yet not to the same extent as the Renaissance or the Modern. There’ve been various art movements within Modern Art, from Impressionists to Surrealist. Surrealism happens to be my favourite art movement, and Salvador Dalí, my all time favourite artist, ever since I discovered him (and his work), as a teenager in the 1990’s.

Impressionism/Post-Impressionism (two avant-garde art movement)  
(Prominent during 1870’s & 1880’s)

The Beatles (Abbey Road) watercolor by Fabrizio Cassetta

The Beatles (Abbey Road) watercolour by Fabrizio Cassetta

LeRoy Neiman The Beatles Painting

LeRoy Neiman The Beatles Painting

The Beatles watercolor by Fabrizio Cassetta

The Beatles watercolour by Fabrizio Cassetta

The Beatles by Paul Meijering

The Beatles by Paul Meijering

My favourite Impressionist artists include Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Camille Pissarro, Gustav Klimt, Édouard Manet, Amrita Sher-Gil, Cristóbal Rojas, Dragan Mihailovic, Alfred Munnings, Harold & Laura Knight, Florence Carter Wood, Isaak Brodsky, Eugène Delacroix, Albert Tucker, Arthur Boyd, Paul Cadmus, etc etc…. When it comes to Impressionist/Post-Impressionist artists, majority of my favourite artists, as a collective, exist from this particular period.

The Beatles watercolour (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles watercolour (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles watercolour (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles watercolour (Artist Unknown)

Art Nouveau (an avant-garde art movement)  
(1890’s to 1910’s)

John Lennon of The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

John Lennon of The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

Alphonse Mucha, Antoni Gaudí, Gustav Klimt, Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, to name a few, were a part of the Art Nouveau movement.

The Beatles - Art Nouveau (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles – Art Nouveau (Artist Unknown)

Expressionism (an avant-garde art movement)  
(Early 20th Century)

Curt McDowell's nude Beatles

Curt McDowell’s nude Beatles

Gustave Moreau, Egon Schiele, Lucian Freud, Antoni Gaudí and Edvard Munch, were some of the famous Expressionist artists.

Ken White's nude Beatles

Ken White’s nude Beatles

Cubism (an avant-garde art movement)   
(Starting from the early 20th century, from 1910’s onwards)

Beatles Cubist (Artist Unknown)

Beatles Cubist (Artist Unknown)

Beatles Cubist (Artist Unknown)

Beatles Cubist (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles (Unknown Artist)

The Beatles (Unknown Artist)

David Adickes The Beatles

David Adickes’ The Beatles

The Beatles Monument (aprx 7000 pounds & 36 ft) in Houston, USA

The Beatles Monument (aprx 7000 pounds & 36 ft) in Houston, USA

The Beatles Monument (aprx 7000 pounds & 36 ft) LargeThe great Cubists include, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Metzinger, Marcel Duchamp, Juan Gris and Albert Gleizes, to name some. Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Jackson Pollack, Amedeo Modigliani, Piet Mondrian, Sidney Nolan and M.F. Hussain, happen to be some other famous artists known for artworks involving distortion & abstract.

The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

Tom Whalen's The Beatles

Tom Whalen’s The Beatles

The Four Musicians (Beatles) - This is a direct copy of The Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso

The Four Musicians (Beatles) – This is a direct copy of The Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso

Surrealism (an avant-garde art movement)   
(From the 1920’s onwards)

The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

Insects Beatles - beetles artwork (Artist Unknown)

Insects (Beatles) – beetles artwork (Artist Unknown)

Beatles Surreal (Artist Unknown)

Beatles Surreal (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles painting by Daniel Janda

The Beatles painting by Daniel Janda

The Yellow Submarine by Belius

The Yellow Submarine by Belius

Surrealism – with Dreamy, Psychological, Freudian (Sigmund Freud, not Lucian Freud) & Fantastical elements – happens to be my favourite art movement ever, especially from the modernist era. Not just in art, but also in literature & cinema. As is Magical realism. Salvador Dalí, happens to be my all time favourite artist ever. Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, René Magritte, Terry Gilliam and Giorgio de Chirico are some other influential surrealists.

The Beatles & Elvis Presley (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles & Elvis Presley (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles by A.Pedicelli

The Beatles by A.Pedicelli

Sam Van Olffen's Beatles

Sam Van Olffen’s Beatles

The Beatles by David Ballinger

The Beatles by David Ballinger

POST-MODERNISM
(The 1950’s, 60’,70’s & early 80’s)
The most popular art form during Post-modernist era, no doubt was Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Martin Sharp, Richard Avedon, George Segal, Tom Wesselmann, Wayne Thiebaud et al. Other post modernists artists include Harold Stevenson, Duane Hanson, David Salle, Claes Oldenburg, Susan Rothenberg, Robert Moskowitz, Wes Wilson, Pablo Amaringo, Yoko Ono, David Vaughan, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jörn Pfab and Brett Whiteley, to name some greats.

The Beatles sculpture by Jörn Pfab (1970) in Hamburg, Germany

The Beatles sculpture by Jörn Pfab (1970) in Hamburg, Germany

David Wynne in 1964 with his sculpture of The Beatles

David Wynne in 1964 with his sculpture of The Beatles

Terry McGunigle and Joe Forrest  created the 8x16ft  Mount Fab Four

Terry McGunigle and Joe Forrest created the 8x16ft Mount Fab Four

Spirit of The Beatles by Kris Atkinson

Spirit of The Beatles by Kris Atkinson

The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles (Artist Unknown)

The Beatles by Hector Monroy

The Beatles by Hector Monroy

Pop Art (an avant-garde art movement)  
(from the mid-1950’s to the early 80’s)

Richard Avedon's The Beatles

Richard Avedon’s The Beatles
from 1967

Los Beatles (Artist Unknown)

Los Beatles (Artist Unknown)

With it’s psychedelic hues and acid painting techniques, Pop Art happens to be my favourite Post-Modernist medium.

Beatles - Beetles on Abbey-Road (Artist Unknown)

Beatles – Beetles on Abbey-Road (Artist Unknown)

ART AFTER POST-MODERNISM (a.k.a. POST-POST-MODERNISM)
(Emerging towards the end of 1980’s decade, and into the 21st century)

The latest trends of art (from the late 80’s onwards), includes the deconstructive styles of Blobism (or Bloberism), an architectural movement, inspired by the 50’s, Sci-fi, B-movie, The Blob (1958), starring Steve McQueen, in his first leading role. Architect Frank Gehry happens to one of the most well known faces behind, the amoeba shaped building designs, known as, Bloberism.

The Beatles - Poultry chicken wire by Ivan Lovatt

The Beatles – Poultry chicken wire by Ivan Lovatt

Yet, one of the latest trends in art today, is the Re-use of Refuse, using all kinds of waste material, letting nothing go to waste, including bodily fluids.

The Beatles rubber soul by Darin Shock

The Beatles rubber soul by Darin Shock

The Beatles by Jeff Zuck

The Beatles by Jeff Zuck

Artists involved with this Post-Post-Modernism movement include Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Bill Viola, Shilpa Gupta, Mathew Barney, Chris Ofili, Wang Guangyi, Yukinori Yanagi, Andres Serrano, The Chapman Brothers, Félix González-Torres, Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, Renée Cox, David Osagie, Alexander Kosolapov, Koya Abe, Maurice Heerdink, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Elizabeth Peyton, David LaChapelle, Sebastian Horsley, Chris Dyer and Jenny Saville.

Nuwan Sen’s Art Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ The Beatles
Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense  

Finally here they are, the correct answers to the Hitchcock quiz from March 2015 (Question Time # 008: HITCHCOCK !!!!!)

A.1 1940 Film

Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Gladys Cooper & Reginald Denny in a scene from Rebecca (1940)

L to R: Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Gladys Cooper & Reginald Denny in a scene from Rebecca (1940)

(i) The still is from Rebecca (1940), based on the 1938 novel, Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.
(ii) The correct statements are:-
(e) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar nomination, for ‘Best Director’.
(h) This was Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie.
(j) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar winning film, for ‘Best Picture’.
(iii) Joan Fontaine plays the nameless character in the movie. Judith Anderson plays the icy ‘Mrs. Danvers’, to eerie perfection.
(iv) It was Sir Laurence Olivier, who received a knighthood, in 1947.
(v) Joan Fontaine was born in Japan, on 22nd October 1917. She passed away on the 15th of December, 2013, aged 96 (see my post Happy 96th Birthday: Joan Fontaine from 22nd October 2013).

A.2 Film 46’
(i) Notorious (1946), contains the longest kiss, and one of the most romantic kisses ever (of 2½ minutes), between Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman, in history of cinema.
(ii) It’s Ingrid Bergman, as ‘Alicia Huberman’, who is used as a modern day Mata Hari, by the Americans.
(iii) It is Alicia Huberman (Bergman), who is slowly poisoned daily, in small doses, through her coffee, by her husband, Alex Sebastian (played by Claude Rains), and her mother-in-law, Madame Anna Sebastian (played by Leopoldine Konstantin). The slow poisoning act, through coffee, is Madame Anna Sebastian’s brainchild.

A.3 British Original & Hollywood Remake

Left: The original (Black & White) British film from 1934. Right: The Hollywood colour remake from 1956.

Left: The original (Black & White) British film from 1934.
Right: The Hollywood colour remake from 1956.

(i) The movies pictured above are both named The Man Who Knew Too Much. The original British film is from 1934, and the Hollywood remake from 1956.
(ii) The song Que Sera Sera, appeared in the 1956 version, and was sung by Doris Day.
(iii) Yes, Que Sera Sera won the Oscar for ‘Best Song’  in 1957.
(iv) In the 1934 version, the family are on vacation, in Switzerland. No, in the Hollywood re-make the family holiday is set in Morocco.
(v) The gender of the child that gets kidnapped is :-
(a) Female in the 1934 movie
(b) Male in the 1956 film

A.4 Young Alfred Hitchcock & the Silent era

Young Hitchcock(i) The young girl standing behind Hitchcock in the picture is Alma Reville, his wife and collaborator. As the saying goes, “Behind every successful man there is a Woman (telling him he’s  wrong 🙂 )”.
(ii) The Pleasure Garden (1925), was the very first, completed, feature film, made by Alfred Hitchcock.
(iii) Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) was the only light-hearted Romantic/Screwball comedy, Hitchcock made in America.
(iv) The Short Night, should have been Alfred Hitchcock’s last film, but the project was cancelled in 1979, due to his ill health. The film never got beyond the early pre-production stage.

A.5 Colour & Hitchcoerotism

Rope Lovers:  John Dall and Farley Granger

Rope Lovers: John Dall and Farley Granger

(i) Rope (1948). Yes, it was Hitchcock’s first film in colour.
(ii) Rope is loosely based on the notorious ‘Leopold and Loeb’ case of 1924. Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Albert Loeb, two wealthy students at the University of Chicago, kidnapped and murdered a 14 year old boy, Robert (Bobby) Franks, in 1924. The duo killed young Bobby, to prove their intellectual superiority.

A.6 Hitchcock & the surrealist artist

Nuwan Sen’s ART Sense  Nuwan Sen’s NOIR Sense

Nuwan Sen’s ART Sense
Nuwan Sen’s NOIR Sense

(i) This famous surreal dream sequence is from Spellbound (1945), and surrealist artist, Salvador Dalí, was responsible for this beautiful creation. Of course the original dream sequence was about 20 minutes long, but being too lengthy, it was cut during editing, and only 2 minutes appear in the final film. I’d love to see the original footage, of 20 minutes. It could be a short film in itself.
(ii) Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman star as two psychoanalysts. It is Gregory Peck’s character, who suffers from a phobia.

A.7 Hitchcock 007
(i) Sean Connery stars, as the male lead, in Hitchcock’s Marnie (1964).
(ii) Sean Connery appeared in Marnie, after the release of the first two films from the James Bond franchise, Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963).

A.8 Hitchcockian Train Journey’s

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic. BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 Highsmith adaptation.

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic.
BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 Highsmith adaptation.

(i) & (ii) The stills are from, the British film, The Lady Vanishes (1938), and the Hollywood classic, Strangers on a Train (1951).
(iii) Strangers on a Train was based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith.

A.9 Rebecca (1940). Why? See my critiques under lists No Name (20th October 2011), Joan Fontaine (1940 & the 40’s) ‘TOP FIVE’ (April 2012) and Why I love …. (November/December 2012) on IMDB.
Hitch Rebecca
A.10 Psycho (1960)

Two months too late. Sorry for the delay, for a lot has happened since I did the questionnaire, thus didn’t have time to work on it. So today, I practically took part in the quiz myself.
Thank you fellow Bloggers, for giving up your valuable time, to take part in this quiz, related to my all time favourite director.

Nuwan Sen n’ Film Noir
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Hitchcockian Sense

Correct Answers to the Quiz (my previous post) Question Time # 009: Beautiful Eyes °°

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A.1 1. RekhaThis pair of stunning eyes belong to Bollywood superstar of the late 70’s & 80,

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A.2 2. Audrey HepburnThese eyes belong to, one of the most loved, and the classiest Hollywood star, of European decent, that ever existed, whose 86th Birth Anniversary was yesterday, .

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A.3 3. Elizabeth Taylord beauty, Cleopatra incarnate, this is none other than the bewitching .

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A.4 4. Théo FriletFrench Actor, .

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A.5 5. Whoopi Goldberg comedienne of the 80’s, Whoopi Goldberg.

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A.6 6. Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci The famed, Mona Lisa, by the 15th & 16th century, renowned Italian ist,  .

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A.7 7. Staue of David by Michelangelo The 15th & 16th century, Italian Renaissance artist, ’s, The Statue of David, which happens to be one of the most renowned artworks of the .

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A.8 Matt Bomer Current, Television, superstar & gay heartthrob, .

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A.9 9. Empress MichikoEmpress Michiko of . Born of the 20th of October, 1934, She was the first commoner to marry into the Japanese Imperial Family. She is 80 years old now.

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A.10 10. A Clockwork OrangeMalcolm McDowell in character, as ‘Alex DeLarge’, from ’s masterpiece, A Clockwork Orange (1971), which was based on the 1962 controversial dystopian () by .

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Thank you fellow Bloggers for taking part.

Nuwan Sen

Who am I?? Guess who these 10 stunning pairs of eyes belong to!!

°°
Q.1
1. Eyes°°
Q.2
2. Eyes°°
Q.3
3. Eyes°°
Q.4
4. Eyes°°
Q.5
5. Eyes°°
Q.6
6. Eyes°°
Q.7
7. Eyes°°
Q.8
8. Eyes°°
Q.9
9. Eyes°°
Q.10
10. Eyes°°
CLUES: Take a look at the Tags below.

Answers: I shall post the Answers as another Blog Post soon, after some of you give this a try.
Enjoy

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s ART Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Television Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ The Royals/Royalty

Alfred Hitchcock, known as the master of suspense, was one of the greatest film directors ever. He started his career during the silent era, and completed it towards the end of the hippie era, even working, close to his demise. From Silent movies to talkies, from British films to Hollywood, from eerie love stories to crime, from classy film noir to B-movie horror, he’s done it all (Sometimes even blending all the genres into one). Nobody can dispute the fact he was a true genius, and one of the most talented and versatile (yet unique) personalities to have ever existed. And no doubt, nobody can call themselves a true film buff, if they lack Hitchcockian knowledge.

So here is my Hitchcockian Questionnaire. Play along and enjoy.

Q.1 1940 Film

Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine & Reginald Denny from this haunting classic from 1940.

Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine & Reginald Denny in a scene from this haunting classic from 1940.

(i) From which film; and based on which novel, by which author; is the above still from?

(ii) This was a ‘First’, in more than one category, for Alfred Hitchcock. Which three lines from below are correct :-

(a) This was Hitchcock’ s first Silent Movie.
(b) This was Hitchcock’s first Talkie.
(c) This was Hitchcock’s first Musical.
(d) This was Hitchcock’s first British film.
(e) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar nomination, for ‘Best Director’.
(f) This was Hitchcock’s first film as an actor.
(g) This was Hitchcock’s first Bollywood movie.
(h) This was Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie.
(i) This was Hitchcock’s first directorial venture.
(j) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar winning film, for ‘Best Picture’.

*Remember, only three, of the above ten, statements, is correct.

(iii) Which one, of the three actors, pictured in the still, plays a nameless character, in this movie? Who plays the icy ‘Mrs. Danvers’ (not pictured)?

(iv) Which actor, from the still, was given a knighthood, in 1947?

(v) Which actor, from the trio pictured, was born in Japan, and died on 15th of December, 2013, aged 96?

Q.2 Film 46’

Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman's 2½ minute kiss.

Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman’s 2½ minute kiss.

(i) Which Hitchcockian film, pictured above, contains the longest notorious kiss (2½ minutes), in history of cinema? (HINT: Clue in the question itself)

(ii) Which of the two actors, in the picture above, plays a modern day, post World War – II, Mata Hari?

(iii) Which one, of the two characters shown, is slowly poisoned, through his/her coffee, daily, in the film, and by whom?

Q.3 British Original & Hollywood Remake

Peter Lorre (in the 1934 British Original),  Doris Day & James Stewart (in the 1956 Hollywood Re-make)

Peter Lorre (in the 1934 British Original), Doris Day & James Stewart (in the 1956 Hollywood Re-make)

(i) What’s the title of the two movies (pictured here), which was originally made by Hitchcock in the United Kingdom, and released in 1934; and later re-made by Hitchcock again, in the United States, and released in 1956.

(ii) Which film version, 1934 or 1956, was the song Que Sera Sera from?

(iii) Did the Doris Day song, from the 1956 version, win the Oscar for ‘Best Song’  in 1957?

(iv) In which country, are the family on vacation, in the 1934 film? Is the family holiday, in the Hollywood re-make, set in the same country as well?

(v) What’s the gender of the child that gets kidnapped in the :-
(a) 1934 version
(b) 1956 version

Q.4 Young Alfred Hitchcock & the Silent era
Young Hitchcock(i) Who is the young girl standing behind Hitchcock, in this picture? What is her relationship to him?

(ii) What was the very first, completed, feature film, made by Alfred Hitchcock, and which year was it released?

(iii) Hitchcock made only one light-hearted Romantic/Screwball comedy in America, what was it called?

(iv) What’s the name of the film that would have been the last film release of Alfred Hitchcock, but was cancelled in 1979, due to his ill health?

Q.5 Colour & Hitchcoerotism

Farley Granger & John Dall play partners in life & crime, in this homoerotic 1948 classic.

Farley Granger & John Dall play partners in life & crime, in this homoerotic 1948 classic.

(i) From which movie, is the above picture from? One of Hitchcock’s most experimental films, set in real time, was it also his first colour film?

(ii) This 1948 movie, was Alfred Hitchcock’s first depiction of Homosexuality, though only hinted on the subject matter, which real-life notorious scandal was this movie based on?

Q.6 Hitchcock & the surrealist artist
Dalí Spellbound(i) From which film, is this surreal dream sequence from, and who was the famous artist, who created these sets?

(ii) Who are the two lead stars of this psychological thriller, set in a mental asylum, who play two psychoanalysts? Which one is suffering from a phobia?

Q.7 Hitchcock 007

Tippi Hedren & Sean Connery (in a film from 1964)

Tippi Hedren & Sean Connery (in a film from 1964)

(i) In which Hitchcockian film, did Sean Connery, act in?

(ii) Did Connery appear in this film, before or after, he started acting in the James Bond franchise?

Q.8 Hitchcockian Train Journey’s

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic. BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 Highsmith adaptation.

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic.
BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 noir Highsmith adaptation.

(i) From which two films, where the train is significant to the plot, are the two above stills from?

(ii) Which of them is a British film, and which, a Hollywood venture?

(iii) Which of them was based on a Patricia Highsmith novel?

Q.9 Which is your favourite Hitchcock film, and why?

Q.10 Which of these, from Hitchcock’s two B-movie Horror films, Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963), is your favourite?  

Nuwan Sen n’ Film Noir
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Hitchcockian Sense

Oscars 2015 The WinnersThe Arrivals

As I’ve been doing for the last few years, being a true Film buff, I woke up early, on 23rd of February, 2015, to catch the 87th Annual Academy Awards ceremony LIVE. The 87th Annual Academy Awards was held on the evening of 22nd February 2015, i.e. 23rd early morning, on this side of the Globe.

As I switched on the tele, at 5:30 a.m., the glitterati of Hollywood’s elite sashayed in, in their glamorous attire. The best dressed actresses of the evening included J-Lo, Emma Stone, Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard, Keira Knightley, Felicity Jones, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson, Rosamund Pike, et al. Among the gents, Neil Patrick Harris, stole the show, when he walked in on the Red Carpet, dressed in a stunning tux, with his husband, David Burtka, walking behind him. Well, most of the male stars were smartly dressed, from director Richard Linklater and his young protégé, Ellar Coltrane, to actors Michael Keaton, Jared Leto, Chiwetel Ejiofor, David Oyelowo, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Kevin Hart, to musicians Hans Zimmer and Adam Levine. Best moment on the Red carpet was the typical Mother/Daughter tiff, with veteran Melanie Griffith and daughter Dakota Johnson, where Johnson came on harsh on her poor mother, and Griffith seemed slightly hurt. Yet, it made them so normal. Poor Mother.

Neil Patrick Harris, Hosting the Oscars, 2015

Neil Patrick Harris, Hosting the Oscars, 2015

I enjoyed the show as well, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Though I agree, that he wasn’t the best person to host the Oscars, he wasn’t among the worst either, the way he’s been criticized about on social media. True, I agree that one of his gags was ill-timed. When; dressed in a black, pom-pom laden, elegant, evening gown; filmmaker Dana Perry; who was awarded for ‘Best Short Documentary’ for Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (2013); dedicated the Oscar to her son, who had committed suicide, Patrick Harris quipped that ‘‘It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that’’. Neil Patrick Harris, here, wasn’t being witty, but pretty foolish and unsympathetic. But besides that; and walking in ¾ naked, in tiny-whities, onto the stage, as a parody to Birdman (2014), the movie which ended up taking home the Oscar for ‘Best Picture’; I generally enjoyed the show, despite a few dry jokes, Mr. Harris came up with. I actually enjoyed the gag with the briefcase, he tasked Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, to guard throughout the night. I didn’t think he was being racist, nor did I feel he was making fun of her weight. Of course, the gag ended up pretty silly, when he finally opened up the case. I even enjoyed the joke with the seat fillers, and Steve Carell.

Among the performances of the night, the one I enjoyed most, was Lady Gaga paying tribute to Julie Andrews, Maria Von Trapp and The Sound of Music (1965), for this musical’s 50th anniversary. Known for her shock value, with her, eccentric and weird, yet authentic and aesthetic, sense of style, Lady Gaga, stunned audiences at the Oscars, in her vintage gown, looking very much a graceful sophisticated lady of elegance and class, as the world has never witnessed her before. Added to which, she sure has a healthy pair of lungs, and sang all the mesmerising songs from the classic movie to perfection. Lady Gaga is no doubt one of the most popular pop stars, since Madonna and Michael Jackson, to grace the face of earth. But her popularity, has more to do with her unique image, she’s created for her self, than her music. Touching was the scene, when Dame Julie Andrews, with her face radiating pure warmth and kindness, walked onto the stage and thanked Lady Gaga, embracing her. This powerful performance of Lady Gaga, definitely should have elevated her status, with the elitist, adding to her already great fan base.

Another great performance of the night, was the tribute to Martin Luther King jr.’s long march for voting rights, from 50 years ago, as well. The song ‘Glory’, from the film Selma (2014), was performed by John Legend and Lonnie Lynn (Common), on stage, which ended up bagging the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’, that night. The song got a standing ovation, with a teary eyed David Oyelowo, looking on. Oprah Winfrey gave Oyelowo a hug to console him. It was very a touching moment as well.

Thus, though Neil Patrick Harris, wasn’t among the better Oscar hosts, the evening (at day time here) was enjoyable enough.

Winners as Predicted

As I had hoped, Eddie Redmayne won the ‘Best Actor’ Oscar (See my post Redmayne ‘is’ Hawking, in the new bio-pic on Stephen Hawking from earlier this month), for his brilliant performance as Stephen Hawking, in The Theory of Everything (2014). Interstellar (2014), grabbing the award for ‘Best Visual Effects’, was another plus for me. The Special effects were truly spectacular, as was the movie, for a change. Movies now a days, with great computer graphics, rarely tend to be great films as well (see my post The Big Screen – Films Down Under  from November 2014). Patricia Arquette winning the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for Boyhood (2014), was as anticipated. She deserved the Oscar, for brilliantly showcasing a difficult stage of, 12 years of, ‘motherhood’, in the beginning of the 21st century, in my favourite movie from last year, so far (see my post In-flight Entertainment from November 2014). Though Ethan Hawke, too, was nominated for Boyhood, I didn’t think his role was great enough for him to win the Oscar. I hadn’t really predicted as to who might win, until Lupita Nyong’o announced the nominees, showcasing their talent on screen. As soon as I saw the scene with J. K. Simmons and Miles Teller, from Whiplash (2014), I guessed Simmons might take home the trophy, even though I hadn’t seen the movie. And so he did, end up winning the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Oscar. Once I saw the performance of the song ‘Glory’ from Selma, on the stage at the Oscars (as I’ve mentioned above), I expected it to win for ‘Best Original Song’, and it did.

Unpredicted Winners

The unexpected winners, happened to be, movies I haven’t seen yet. Like for instance, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), which grabbed four Oscars, including for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ – to Alejandro G. Iñárritu, ‘Best Original Screenplay’, and ‘Best Cinematography’- to Emmanuel Lubezki. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) bagging four Oscars as well, was a total surprise. Whiplash won three. Citizenfour (2014), won ‘Best Documentary’. Citizenfour is based on and the United States, National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal, of 2013, with regard to, former NSA contractor and American computer professional, Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the NSA to the mainstream media, back in June 2013. Snowdon currently lives in exile, under temporary asylum, in Russia. Am really keen on checking out this documentary.

The ‘Best Actress’ Oscar. Though, Felicity Jones from The Theory of Everything was nominated for ‘Best Actress’, I didn’t feel she’d win. And I wasn’t sure who’d win. Am a great fan of French actress, Marion Cotillard, yet I haven’t seen Two Days, One Night (2014), so I couldn’t judge. Thus when Julianne Moore won the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar, for Still Alice (2014), another film I haven’t seen, though unexpected, it wasn’t a surprise either. In fact, I would have been surprised, if Felicity Jones did win. She was great in the movie, but her role as Hawking’s wife wasn’t exactly Oscar worthy.

Among others:
‘Best Foreign Language Film’ to Paweł Pawlikowski’s Polish film, Ida (2013).
‘Best Animated Short Film’ to Patrick Osborne’s Feast (2014).
‘Best Live Action Short Film’ to The Phone Call (2013).
‘Best Short Documentary’ to The Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (as mentioned above).
‘Best Animated Feature Film’ to Big Hero 6 (2014)
‘Best Sound Editing’ to American Sniper (2014)
‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ to Graham Moore, for The Imitation Game (2014). Moore gave a heart whelming speech, regarding his youth.
Mr. Turner (2014), Unbroken (2014), Foxcatcher (2014), Inherent Vice (2014), and the neo-noir crime thriller, Nightcrawler (2014), not winning a single Oscar, though I haven’t watched any of them.

Boyhood (2014) The Best Film from last year, I've seen so far (NSFS)

Boyhood (2014)
The Best Film from last year, I’ve seen so far (NSFS)

Biggest Oscar Disappointment of the night

I was really disappointed when Boyhood didn’t win for ‘Best Picture’, along with a ‘Best Director’ Oscar for Richard Linklater. Although I haven’t seen Birdman, which I’d love to, Boyhood is a unique experience, rich in it’s context and an innovative study of family life today. A movie that shall age well, maturing as time goes by, and be remembered as one of the best movies, to ever come out of the 21st century. A film that film students would love to dissect and analyse. Richard Linklater has proved to be a true genius, through Boyhood.

But when Linklater lost out to, Birdman’s Alejandro G. Iñárritu, for ‘Best Director’, I had a hunch, that Boyhood might lose out to Birdman, yet again, for the Best Picture’ Oscar, for Year 2015. Sad!!

Another disappointment, was when Hans Zimmer’s hauntingly beautiful score for Interstellar was passed on, for the ‘Best Original Score’ award, to Alexandre Desplat’s background score, for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Besides these two, one other disappointment, that didn’t even make it to the Oscars, was, that Fury (2014), though an excellent war film, made with a unique sense of realism, was unfortunately, not even nominated in any of the categories. It might not have won any award anyway, but should have been nominated for it’s storyline, and various technical categories, at least, if not in the main categories (see my post The Big Screen – Films Down Under from November 2014).

Honorary & Humanitarian Awards

Hollywood legend, Maureen O’Hara; Japanese Director, Hayao Miyazaki; and French screenwriter & actor, Jean-Claude Carrière; were awarded the Honorary Awards, this year, as was the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, to singer/actor, Harry Belafonte.

With end of the month of February, Oscar Season 2015 comes to an end.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ The Oscars

Also See : The 87th Annual Academy Awards

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ The Oscars

A Page From History –  Rewind to 1965
A look back at The 37th Annual Academy Awards, held in April 1965.
Oscars 1965 aThe 87th Annual Academy Awards, is fast approaching. I doubt I’ll get to watch it though, but am definitely looking forward to finding out who wins what. From the movies I’ve seen so far, am really keen on Boyhood (2014) grabbing the Oscars for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Supporting Actress’ and ‘Best Original Screenplay’ (see my post In-flight Entertainment from November 2014). Boyhood has already won awards, including for ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director’, at the Golden Globes and BAFTA ceremonies, earlier this year. Eddie Redmayne should take home the golden naked baldy, for ‘Best Actor’, for his brilliant performance, in The Theory of Everything (2014), depicting the bold life of famed, theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, who’s been suffering from motor neuron disease, since his early 20’s (see my post Redmayne ‘is’ Hawking, in the new bio-pic on Stephen Hawking from earlier this month). Again Redmayne bagged the ‘Best Actor’ award at the Golden Globes and BAFTA ceremonies, this year. The Theory of Everything also won the BAFTA for ‘Outstanding British Film’. For ‘Best Actress’, Felicity Jones was superb, but was her performance Oscar win worthy. It’s hard for me to judge. The Theory of Everything should hopefully also take home the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ Oscar. When it comes to ‘Original Musical Score’, ‘Production Design’, ‘Sound Effects’ and ‘Visual Effects’, Interstellar (2014), should definitely bag the awards for all five technical categories, that it’s been nominated for. The haunting background score, by Hans Zimmer, no doubt deserves to win for ‘Best Original Musical Score’ (also see my post The Big Screen – Films Down Under from November 2014).

Oscar Season 2015 Special
Thus, for this post, I decided, to go back in time, 50 years ago, to see what the Oscars were like, in the ‘Year 1965’.

My all time favourite musical, My Fair Lady (1964), took home 8 Golden statuettes.
‘Best Picture’
‘Best Director’ to George Cukor
‘Best Actor’ to Rex Harrison
‘Best Cinematography (Colour)’ to Harry Stradling
‘Best Art Direction/Set Décor (Colour)’ to Cecil Beaton, Gene Allen & George James Hopkins
‘Best Costume Design’ to Cecil Beaton
‘Best Adaptation/Treatment Musical Score’ to André Previn
‘Best Sound’ to George R. Groves (Warner Brothers Studio)
Actress Audrey Hepburn, unfortunately, wasn’t even nominated, for her dazzling performance as Eliza Doolittle, a woman who’s transformed from a mere, cockney accented, flower girl into an, eloquently speaking, Hungarian Princess, by, linguistics expert, the snobbish phonetics professor, Professor Henry Higgins (played brilliantly by Rex Harrison). One of the reasons sighted was, that Audrey Hepburn didn’t sing in the movie, and that her singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon. Which wasn’t exactly Hepburn’s fault. A pity, out of the 12 nominated categories, My Fair Lady, took home 8 Oscars, and the main actress, of this, much loved, musical, wasn’t even nominated. Must be amongst the worst Oscar snubs, in the history of the Academy Awards.

Stanley Holloway and Gladys Cooper, from My Fair Lady, were nominated for their respective supporting roles, but lost out to; British actor, of Russian (and other European) roots, plus Ethiopian Royal ancestry; Peter Ustinov and; Russian-born French actress; Lila Kedrova; for their performances in; Topkapi (1964) and Zorba the Greek (1964); respectively. Neither of which, I’ve watched yet. Alan Jay Lerner, lost out the Oscar for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’, to Edward Anhalt, for Becket (1964), an excellent historical drama, I watched twice as a child, during my British School days, in the mid-80’s. Watched at home, as well as, was shown at school, as we were studying about Thomas Becket, King Henry – II, the division/conflict between the King of England and the church in the 1160’s, et al. I hardly remember, I must have been around 10 or 11 years old, at the time. William Ziegler, lost out the Oscar for ‘Best Film Editing’, to Cotton Warburton, for Mary Poppins (1964). Another musical, I really enjoyed, when I watched it as a child, in the 80’s, but not so much (not to the same effect at least), as an adult, when I re-watched it, in the early noughties. But Mary Poppins is no doubt a remarkable children’s movie.
Oscars 1965 bJulie Andrews bagged the ‘Best Actress’ trophy for her performance of the flying nanny, in the Disney children’s classic, Mary Poppins (1964). There was a lot of debate, over Andrews taking home an Oscar, while Hepburn was not even nominated; and the ‘Doolittle’ role. I’ve spoken about it at length in my post Audrey Hepburn & The Musical from May 2014, which I did, for Audrey Hepburn’s 85th Birth Anniversary. Mary Poppins, altogether, won five Awards, including for ‘Best Original Musical Score’ and ‘Best Special Visual Effects’.

The Night of the Iguana (1964), another of my favourite films ever, bagged the award for ‘Best Costume Design (in a Black & White movie)’, which went to Dorothy Jeakins. The Americanization of Emily (1964), another really good, Julie Andrews film, was nominated for ‘Best Black & White Cinematography’ and ‘Best Art Direction’, but won neither. The excellent Kubrick satire, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), was nominated in four categories, but won none (also see my post The Essential 60’s Blogathon : Dr Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) from September 2014). The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) was nominated for one Oscar, which went to Mary Poppins. The French musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), see my post Being mesmerised by ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg from a couple of years ago, and the Japanese film, adapted from a novel be Kôbô Abe, Woman in the Dunes (1964), lost out the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Oscar, to an Italian movie starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.

None of the four Oscar awards, in the acting categories, in 1965, went to American actors. The Year 1965, also marked, the only time in Oscar history, where three films got 12 or more nominations. Becket and My Fair Lady, both had 12 nominations, and Mary Poppins, 13.
Oscars 1965 cThe 37th Annual Academy Awards, was hosted by Bob Hope in Santa Monica, California, USA. I haven’t seen this show (obviously as I didn’t exist back then), but would love to check it out, some day. Yet I have seen a few sequences; where Audrey Hepburn, delightedly, announces the ‘Best Actor’ winner; Rex Harrison thanks both ‘Fair Ladies’; Sydney Poitier announces the ‘Best Actress’ award; Julie Andrews jokingly hints, that it’s ‘Ridiculous’, she won the award; Gregory Peck presents the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar; et al, online, on Youtube.

MY FAIR LADY (1964) – Best Picture. Winner of 8 Oscars.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ the Oscars

Yesterday, Sunday morning, I watched Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), the best commercial Hindi Film of last year, on Star Plus. An excellent Bollywood movie, despite it’s few flaws, some more relevant than others.
The Flying Sikh picBhaag Milkha Bhaag is a biographical film about the famed Indian sportsman Milkha Singh, nicknamed ‘The Flying Sikh’. The movie starts off with the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics, where while leading the 250m race he slows down assuming that his pace could not be sustained, and looks behind at his fellow competitors, which causes him to lose the medal, as he comes in fourth. This scene is interjected with him turning around as a child, while on the run, and seeing his father being beheaded. Soon the Indian press is on heat, as to why he turned around, and his pictures are being burnt on the streets of India.

From here the movie tells us about Milkha Singh’s painful journey from escaping to India, from being murdered along with his family in Pakistan, during the partition of 1947, to him growing up with hoodlums, to his love affairs/flings, him joining the army and ultimately representing India at many international athletic events. The majority of the film is set throughout the 1950’s, and ends with him winning the gold medal in the ‘India-Pakistan Friendship Games’ of 1960, for which India’s, post independence, first Prime-minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, persuades Milkha Singh to set aside his memories of the Partition era, and commit to the race. When Singh wins the race, it is General Ayub Khan; Pakistan’s dictatorial President (second President) of West & East Pakistan, who became President through a coup (Pakistani coup d’état of 1958); who proudly gives Singh the title of ‘The Flying Sikh’.

The Flying Sikh Left: The Real Milkha Singh Right: Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh in the movie

The Flying Sikh
Left: The Real Milkha Singh
Right: Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh in the movie

As a film, it’s beautifully made by film director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Considering the fact that am not a great fan of his past work; like Aks (2001) and Delhi-6 (2009); with the exception of Rang De Basanti (2006), which too was just an OK movie, though with a great concept, for me; I think Omprakash Mehra has brought out one the best films ever made in Bollywood till date. With beautiful cinematography, art décor, the setting of the 40’s and 50’s, though not to perfection, he has brought out a brilliant venture, that he’ll be remembered as one among the greatest film directors ever. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, is a movie that could have easily made it’s way to the ‘Best Foreign Language Picture’ category at the Oscars this year. India has submitted many a movies to the Oscars since 1957, but only three have made the cut, been nominated for, ‘Best Foreign Language Picture’; Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Lagaan (2001); and out of the three, only Mother India and Lagaan, happen to be commercial ventures, while Salaam Bombay! is a pseudo-realistic art house venture; all made in the Hindi language.

Actor Farhan Akhtar, who too am not generally a great fan of, as an actor (he’s a good director), does a marvellous job as Milkha Singh. Akhtar doesn’t just portray Milkha Singh, he becomes Milkha Singh. Farhan Akhtar solely carries the whole film on his shoulders. His love interests in the movie have supporting roles; Sonam Kapoor as Biro, whom he falls in love with early on in the film; Australian actress Rebecca Breeds as Stella, the granddaughter of the Australian technical coach, with whom he has a one night stand and subsequent fling, during the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics; and ultimately Pakistani singer-cum-actress Meesha Shafi, as the Olympic swimmer for the Indian team, Perizaad, who finds herself being attracted to Milkha Singh, but he doesn’t reciprocate. What’s interesting is the main love interest in Milkha Singh’s life is omitted in the movie, his wife Nirmal Kaur. Milkha Singh met Nirmal Kaur, captain of the Indian women’s volleyball team, in Ceylon in 1955. The couple married in 1962. The film only goes up to 1960, thus it’s obvious his romance with his wife isn’t shown. But director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, could have shown the first time the two meet each other, hinting at the fact that this would be the future Mrs. Milkha Singh.

The Flying Sikh romances Down Under Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh and Rebecca Breeds as Stella, Singh's fling during the Melbourne Summer Olympics of 1956

The Flying Sikh romances Down Under
Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh and Rebecca Breeds as Stella, Singh’s fling during the Melbourne Summer Olympics of 1956

Divya Dutta, a superb actress I have great respect for as an artiste, does an excellent job, as Isri Kaur, Milkha Singh’s elder sister, who brings him up on her own, while being abused by her husband for paying more attention to her brother than him. Taking the Hitchcockian road, film director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, has a cameo in the movie, as a pilot, in a comical intervention scene.

The basis for the movie, on Milkha Singh’s life, happens to be from Singh’s autobiography, The Race of My Life, co-written along with his daughter Sonia Sanwalka. Am really keen on reading this book now. Singh sold the rights for the film for just one rupee, and inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits should be given to the ‘Milkha Singh Charitable Trust’, which was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople.

Milkha Singh was the only Indian male athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games, until this year, Year 2014. Singh also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. Besides representing India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, as shown in the movie, he also took part in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In the Rome Olympics, though Singh came fourth, as he eased off while running, as mentioned earlier, and shown in the movie, he broke the Indian National Record, of 45.73, and held it for almost 40 years. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.

The Swaying Sikh Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh and Meesha Shafi as Indian swimmer Perizaad, dancing down-under Set during the Melbourne Summer Olympics of 1956

The Swaying Sikh
Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh and Meesha Shafi as Indian swimmer Perizaad, dancing down-under
Set during the Melbourne Summer Olympics of 1956

The Film won seven Filmfare awards, earlier this year, including the well deserved awards for ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actor’. But it also won for ‘Best Lyrics’, the ‘R D Burman’ Award, for ‘Best Costume’ and for ‘Best Production Design’. I do not necessarily agree with these awards. Though good, there were other films, with better songs, like the beautifully versed song written by Gulzar, for the house warming party, from Ek Thi Dayan (2013). And when it comes to ‘Costumes’ and ‘Production Design’, what about Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013), which had some magnificent costumes, brilliant  art décor and superb cinematography (See my post Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela: A Pleasant Surprise from earlier this year). Even though I don’t agree with the latter lot of awards it won, I do agree it is the best film of year 2013. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag also won the National Award for ‘Best Film’.

A wonderful movie, really worth checking out.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) My Rating 10/10!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense