Saturday, January 28, 2017


Innocence in La Dolce Vita

Partygoer: Will you be writing about the stupid and corrupt aristocracy?

Marcello, the journalist: First, I write about other things. Second, you aren't that interesting.

The above quote really sums up Fellini's three hour marathon on the decadence and emptiness of the rich and famous and those paparazzi (This film invented the term) that follow them. Opinions on this movie differ. Bosely Crother of the New York Times said it was "a brilliantly graphic estimation of a whole swath of society in sad decay and, eventually a withering commentary upon the tragedy of the over civilized." Film guru Gerald Mass was less impressed, "La Dolce Vita is a sterile thematic exercise, an overstated contrast of Sensuality vs. Spirituality."

Personally, I feel there is an awful lot there- Fellini's potpourri of characters, engaging performances, and symbolism that is almost always thought provoking...but  at almost three hours, the film is also way too long. My favorite scene is the miracle of the Madonna section, which was apparently largely improvised. The final image of innocence (above) that contrasts the main character's frivolousness  is reminiscent of Truffaut's 400 Blows.

The Age of Rocks vs. The Rock of Ages in
Inherit the Wind

A different type of movie that is one of my favorites from this year is Stanley Kramer's Inherit the Wind, which I've probably seen a dozen times. It is a fictional account of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. It's as straightforward as you can get and though some of it may be a tad overdone upon honest reflection, it is still a powerful piece overall. In fact,  the scene where Spencer Tracy (as Clarence Darrow stand-in Henry Drummond) interrogates the pompous Frederic March (as Williams Jennings Bryan stand-in Matthew Harrison Brady) is still one of my favorite scenes from any film...But the 1001 book doesn't include Inherit the Wind on the sacred list. It would certainly be on mine.

Like Inherit the Wind, there are many films from 1960 that are not on the 1001 list. Here are a few of those that I have seen before.

1. The Magnificent Seven 
First of all, this remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai certainly has many fans, but isn't in the same ball park as its predecessor no matter what my brother thinks! The Magnificent Seven does have a great cast and dramatic opening theme and certainly many fine moments, so it is worth seeing. Okay...Let's see if I can name the seven...Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughan, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Horst Buchholz and Brad Dexter...I admit that I had to look up Brad Dexter.

The Magnificent Seven...Brad Dexter is third from the right

2. The Bad Sleep Well
Kurosawa's movie from this year has elements borrowed from Hamlet and is an interesting film, but is definitely second tier Kurosawa. Of course, second tier Kurosawa is still better than most.

3. Cinderfella
Boy, I saw this Jerry Lewis vehicle forty years ago. The title tells all in that it's a gender role reversal featuring the ever mugging Mr. Lewis re-enacting the fairy tale. I had thought a young Connie Stevens was in this film, but after further review, I was clearly thinking of another Lewis film, Rock a Bye Baby. We regret the error.

4. Elmer Gantry
Burt Lancaster won an Oscar for this well respected film adaptation of Sinclair Lewis's novel. Definitely one I'd like to revisit.

5. Little Shop of Horrors
I much prefer the musical remake to this original American-International release. Though the original does boast a great scene from an extremely young Jack Nicholson as a masochistic dental patient.

Jack Nicholson gritting his teeth in  Little Shop of Horrors

6. House of Usher
The first and maybe the best of The Roger Corman adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories (Usually with Vincent Price). I was thinking my favorite of the group was The Conqueror Worm, but then looked up to find that that film was not even based on an Edgar Allan Poe work! First I get confused about Connie Stevens, now about Poe...My memory is slipping. Where's my medication!

7. The Last Voyage
I remember watching this movie about a sinking ocean liner on television while I was staying at my Aunt's house in the late 70's. I remember liking it, but am a little foggy on the details. I do remember Robert Stack was the star and there was a pretty cool scene with Stack trying to avoid a piano falling on his I look at what I just described, it might not be as cool as I remember.
8. Let's Make Love
One of Marilyn Monroe's last films and I remember it didn't make a big impression on me.

9. The Lost World 
No relation to the movie of the same name about dinosaurs based on the Michael Crichton book. Though this one was also based on a book by a famous author (Arthur Conan Doyle) and also had dinosaurs in it! It also isn't to be confused with the silent movie The Lost World, which is also based on the Doyle story! Did I get all that right?

10. The Time Machine
One of my favorite science fiction movies and would definitely be on my 1001 list. H. G. Wells (Rod Taylor) travels thorough time in his homemade time travel contraption to meet the evil* Morlocks and the complacent tribe of blondes including the lovely Weena (Yvette Mimieux). It's a rousing adventure and thought provoking.

*It is open to debate whether the Morlocks are actually the evil ones here. The hotness of Yvette Mimieux is not open for debate.
I think traveling 800, 000 years into the future
to meet Yvette Mimieux is a great use of a Time Machine

11. Midnight Lace
I guess this was kind of a thriller (If you can even call a movie with Doris Day a thriller) that I watched with my mother. I have a rule on this blog that I don't criticize movies I watched with my mother as a kid...moving on.

12. Pepe
Cantiflas was a legendary movie star in his native Mexico. He is best known in the U. S. for his role in the popular Around the World in 80 Days. His follow up American film, Pepe was not successful despite cameos from Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ann B. Davis and Jay North of Dennis the Menace! A 2014 Mexican film about the actor's life (simply titled Cantiflas) received greater critical acclaim than Pepe.

13. Two Women
Sophia Loren was one of the first in a long line of screen beauties playing a non-glamorous role on her way to an Oscar.

14. Where the Boys Are
Forerunner of beach movies of the 60's that became popular a few years later. This one had Yvette Mimieux, Connie Francis, Paula Prentiss And Frank "The Riddler" Gorshin in it for some laughs. When Where the Boys Are '84 came out, I thought there was a rule that this movie would be remade every twenty-five years of so. When Where the Boys Are '08 or '09 never materialized, I gave up on that theory.

15. The Virgin Spring

Oscar winning Ingmar Bergman film that apparently isn't held in high regard by Bergman himself, as well as the 1001 book, since it isn't on the list. I think it's one of his best there!

There's about to be trouble in The Virgin Spring

There's no debating that 1960 was a most interesting year for movies.
...Until next time then

Monday, January 23, 2017


1959 (Part III)

Like Carl Sagan's Spaceship of the Imagination in Cosmos, I'm taking myself back...back to 1959. Back to the drive-in. Where the picture isn't really that's too light outside...the sound isn't that good coming out of the virtual speakers...I couldn't really find a good spot to park in the first place...There's also some teenagers in the car next to me making out...It's a bit cold here too...I've spilled my popcorn...I should have at least brought a girl with me on my virtual journey...Oh, well. The movie is about to start.

Okay. Teenage Zombies. There's some teens in the malt shop (very 50's) They are trying to decide whether to go horseback riding or skiing. After much deliberation and banter, two of the teen couples decide to go off in a boat. Big mistake in a movie called Teen Zombies. They end up on an island and get out and see some people that look like migrants walking around aimlessly. This little shot is about the closest we get to actual zombies in the whole picture. I think I'll get some more popcorn....The kids are getting back to their boat only to discover their boat is gone! They've also seen a mysterious hulking creature (pictured below) walking around. They desperately look around the island and find a house with a female proprietor who seems to be dressed in sequins for some reason. I really like her 50's style kitchen even though it doesn't appear to be stocked with much food, even though she does offer sandwiches. This mysterious woman also tells the teens that they are mistaken in what they think they saw and she has no idea where their damn boat is! None of this matters, because the mysterious hulking figure comes around and captures the teens and puts them in a downstairs jail!

Meanwhile, a teen couple that didn't go on the trip is trying to find out what happened to their friends. They boy in this couple is especially exasperated as he tries to discover what has happened! This couple finds the island and meet the same woman who makes another unsuccessful attempt to give away some sandwiches before casually letting them go.

A couple of guys dressed in ties come to the island to talk to the lady. I think they talk about making an army of zombies and since it's the fifties, mention the hydrogen bomb.

The teens that got away bring the sheriff back to the island where we see the strange lady and the guys with ties beginning their experiments on the captured teens. Some of the teens break free and all the characters grapple before they all decide to leave the island. A gorilla came in to save the day and...wait a minute...a gorilla? Did I just dream that part? I did miss some of this section because I spilled some drink and had to get myself cleaned up.

The teens find the deputy back in their town. They are declared heroes and they are going to be given a medal from Eisenhower himself! They all climb into their coupe and drive off.

 Not quite a teenager, not quite a zombie- but about as close
as Teenage Zombie gets to the concept of the title.

Well, Teenage Zombies wasn't so hot, but maybe the second bill of this double feature Alligator People will be a little better. It actually starts off pretty well. A team of psychiatrists hypnotize dishy nurse Beverly Garland and find out she has suppressed memories of her past. These memories lead her back to her honeymoon where her husband, whose miraculous recovery from a plane crash is recounted before he disappears.

Beverly searches all over for her husband, and is led to the swamps of Louisiana by her husband's college transcripts. Geaux Tigers!

She gets a ride to the address she found by the gator hating one-armed Cajun character played by Lon Chaney, Jr. He isn't taking her for a pina colata at Trader Vic's, but is taking her to a mansion with a strange matron who claims not to know her husband. Clues emerge that point to her husband as actually living there after all. The movie is actually a pretty decent mystery so far.

Beverly then hears a piano being played in the house and goes down to check it out. She glimpses a weird and moist creature who sees her and then runs away. The lady of the house finally admits that is her son. Beverly then wanders into the swamp where she is rescued by Lon, but is unwilling to give him a little nookie as his reward. Her husband (who we now know has alligator-like flesh) rescues her from the unwanted advances, but knows he can't be with his wife again unless he can change back somehow to his old self with a more palatable epidermis.

We skip to the lab with Beverly, where the scientist who first saved her husband admits that he used gators as part of his experiments to bring back the severely injured to normal health. Even though he uses diagrams and charts to show how this is done, I really didn't get the science of it. It was a nice chart, though.

The scientist has one last hope that might change the husband back, but as we can probably figure out, the transformation doesn't go well and he goes full alligator. The lab blows up after Lon comes back for revenge. The husband drowns in quicksand. Beverly eventually forgets all this ever happened as we go back to the original scene in the psychiatrists office, where the doctors decide not to tell their pretty nurse about her sad reptilian past.

I think I had too much popcorn and chocolate covered stars. I don't really want to use the bathroom here so I think I'll just go with the flow of traffic and transition back to today...It was fun to go to the old drive-in, but I really don't think I'll be coming back.

Beverly Garland and her husband face a difficult marital issue in
Alligator People

A couple of other 1959 films fit neatly into this B-movie category and have made a lasting impression on me.

Plan 9 From Outer Space also came out in 1959. Ed Wood's story of grave robbers from outer space starring Criswell, Vampira and a dying Bela Lugosi is probably the most famous bad movie of all-time. Though it is hardly the worst film of all time! Not as long as Manos, The Hands of Fate and Monster A Go-Go are still around.

 B-movie legends Vampira and Tor Johnson in
Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space

The Wasp Woman is about a cosmetic supplier using the essence of wasp or something that makes the women using it turn into human wasps! I think that was the plot. I do know that despite the cheesy nature of this film, it scared me quite a bit when I saw it on the superstation way back when!
Cosmetics gone horribly wrong
in The Wasp Woman

Mystery Science Theater 3000 was (and is in its similar Internet Rifftrax transmogrification) a show whose plot involved a poor schmuck that was sent into outer space along with his two robot friends and forced by mad scientists to watch bad movies while the scientists monitor his mind. Most of the episodes are of cheesy movies and we get to watch the poor schmuck (Joel and later Mike) and the robots (Crow and Tom Servo) make sport of the films with their snarky comments. I've been a fan of this show for a long time, but the reason I bring it up here is that I think there is no better year of cheesy movies that MST3K has used than 1959. These are the only context I've seen these movies in. All these 1959 films I have seen on MST

Crow, Joel, Mike and Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theater

1) The Beat Generation- Not to be confused with Beatniks starring Peter Breck, but The Beat Generation does at least have Jayne Mansfield imitator Mamie Van Doren. Or was she a Marilyn Monroe imitator? Or am I getting these movies mixed up? Well, no matter.

2) The Killer Shrews-Speaking of movies done on Mystery Science Theater 3000, this is the island adventure featuring genetically enhanced Shrews that want to kill you (hence the title) and stars James Best, that redneck sheriff guy from Dukes of Hazzard. I guess he played the sheriff, I wasn't really a regular watcher of the Dukes.

3) The Brain That Wouldn't Die (Disembodied head that is kept alive, noted episode for MST fans because it is the first episode where Mike replaces Joel as the host.)

4) Teenagers from Outer Space- (One of my favorite episodes. "What about torture?")

5) Hercules Unchained (Those sword and sandals Steve Reeves movies are ripe for picking)

6) The Day the Earth Froze (Sort of a weird Finnish fantasy epic from what I remember)

7) The Giant Gila Monster (Didn't really have the staying power of Godzilla, did it?)

8) Daddy-O (Any MST episode featuring a beatnik has that going for it)

9) Santa Claus (Not as famous as the Santa Claus Conquers the Martians episode, but pretty funny in its own right)

10) Attack of the Giant Leeches (Not to be confused with The Giant Gila Monster)

11) Girls Town (with Mamie Van Doren...and that should be enough)

12) High School Big Shot (There were an awful lot of high schools and teens in trouble in 1959)

Teenagers from Outer Space by way of
Mystery Science Theater 3000

I admit that when I decided I wanted to do a movie blog, I thought about doing one on B-movies instead of the blog theme I chose because they're so fun to write about. I don't regret the theme I chose, but it might have been fun to go the other way.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


1959 (Part II)

Tonight we're going to party like it's 1959.

Fred Kaplans' book, 1959: The Year That Changed Everything, states that this was the pivotal year that began much of what we now call modern times in the Western world. Important points for the year include:

· Mailer-Ginsburg-Kerouac-Burroughs and the banned Lady Chatterly's Lover
leading to things of a more permissible nature seeing print.
· Sputnik-leading to the space race.
· Herman Kahn's lectures on nuclear war being a lead in to the arms race.
· The introuduction of the solid intergrated circuit.
· Miles Davis, modern jazz & the civil rights movement.
· Castro's Cuban revolution.
· Cold War heating up with Kruschev's visit to the United States.
· SETI searching for life in outher space.
· Modern Art and the opening of the Guggenheim museum.
· Popular music and Motown.
· The final application for the birth control pill.
· The emergence of John F. Kennedy and the new Frontier.

A different kind of American film Shadows

Kaplan's chapter, The Off-Hollywood Movie, discusses the 1959 John Cassavetes film, Shadows. Cassavetes railed against Hollywood movies, where he said that commercial considerations were subtle, but dominate. He was more interested in the neo-realist filmmakers of Italy, who shot many of their films in the streets of Rome. Cassavetes decided to shoot a neo-realist film of his own in the streets of New York City. The result was Shadows, a story of a young black woman who passes for white, though a plot synopsis doesn't really do the movie justice, as it is largely free form and at least partly improvised. You know a 1959 movie that has a line that scoffs at the beat generation is pretty hip (or thinks it's pretty hip). Shadows, as well as other later films by Cassavetes, weren't big money makers, but did influence a generation of moviemakers such as Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanavich and Robert Altman.

I'm just glad that commercial considerations in today's American cinema have now become secondary to artistic considerations. (Hey, stop laughing!)

Not giving away emotional clues in Pickpocket
 In addition to Shadows,  this era also brought us Truffaut's The 400 Blows and Godard's Breathless. The British new wave of cinema was fast approaching as well. There was also Robert Bresson's film, Pickpocket, a revered film by a filmmaker whose films at first glance may elicit the reaction of "What was that all about?" Not in that the story is complex, but that the story is told so simply and with none of the tradition movie tropes (His films are edited oddly, scored oddly and the non-professional actors give very little in the way of overt emotions.) Pickpocket has traces of film noir, suspense, crime and drama, but it really doesn't fit into any of these categories. I've seen it more than once and it isn't my favorite Bresson (That would be Balthazar), but there is something about it and will probably revisit it yet again.

I watched the Ben-Hurish epics, the frothy Pillow Talky comedies and the art films above. But can looking at 1959 films be complete without a little of the campy? I think I'll head to the drive-in tomorrow.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

BEN-HUR (1959), PILLOW TALK (1959)

1959 (Part I)

Charlton Heston rows on the slave ship in Ben-Hur
One of the trends of Fifties cinema was towards giant biblical epics such as The Robe or The Ten Commandments. 

Ben-Hur, released the last year of the decade may have been the biggest of them all. The story of the riches to rags to slave to prince to hero story set during the time of Christ is definitely the definitive version of the story. I realize there is a silent version that many still love and a recent version that nobody seems to love.

I first saw William Wyler's Ben-Hur on the big screen many years ago. This is really the way to see it. It's certainly a grand story if you are in the mood for it. And the chariot race is one of many highlights. The crucifixion related scenes are also quite moving. The film won a record number of Oscars and was one of the biggest box office hits of all-time. It would definitely make my 1001 list. The thing about epics of this nature with me is that I really have to be in the right frame of mind to watch them.

Doris Day and Rock Hudson share a party line in Pillow Talk

I've written several stories for this blog where a character based on myself has a secret affection for the frothy comedy Pillow Talk. It had been a long time since, I've seen it, so I decided to watch it for this blog to determine if I really did like it.

The plot involves an interior decorator Jan (Doris Day) who shares a party telephone line with womanizing stud (Brad) Rock Hudson. She hates him. He's obnoxious. He hates her. She's cramping his style. They meet. He wants to get to know her better. He may even be able to quit his womanizing ways for her. She still hates the guy on the party line, so he pretends to be what I think is Rock's Texan character from Giant. They begin to date. They fall in love. Then she finds out he really is the guy on the party line and not the nice Texas boy she fell in love with. They break up. She redesigns his apartment. He convinces her that he's really an okay guy after all. They fall in love again.

It's a cute but light comedy. It cleverly uses a lot of split screen scenes to show what both characters are thinking at the same time. Okay, I like Pillow Talk. It isn't on the 1001 list, but if you want a comedy typical of the time, it's worth a look. Plus, it does have the always fun Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter.

It's interesting...when Rock (as Brad) tries to dissuade Jan from dating Tex (Also Rock) because he's a mama's boy. Being a mama's boy is fifties talk for being a homosexual, which of course Rock Hudson was.

It's also interesting...that 1959 was about the time of the beginning of European New Wave cinema. I think it's interesting in the British film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, a couple go to the movies and see Pillow Talk. The girl's only response to the film they just saw was "That was a bad film."Ouch!


Thinking further about 1959, there were some interesting films NOT in the 1001 one movie book from that year.

1) Gidget-Yes, the premiere of the cute little beachnik featuring Sandra Dee and later spawned a Sally Field TV series and…who am I kidding? I’ve never actually been able to sit through a Gidget movie, though I have used the phrase “Big Kahuna” on occasion.

Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee as Gidget

2) Journey to the Center of the Earth-Sure it was based on a Jules Verne story and sure it later became the basis for Rick Wakeman's magnum opus...but really, future archaeologists will unearth an old VHS copy of this and ask only one question: So, why was this Pat Boone ever popular, again?

3) The Mouse That Roared-Of note because of multi-Peter Sellers roles and the fact that I appeared in the stage version of this in High School. (Though my performance as Professor Kokintz is NOT even mentioned in The Mouse That Roared’s Wikipedia article!)

4) Solomon and Sheba-One of those sword and sandals epics that featured Yul Brynner with hair, no less! and the Ubervoluptuous Gina Lollabridgida.

5) 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock-The only Lou Costello effort without Abbott. I remember watching this as a kid and fruitlessly WAITING for Bud Abbott to appear.

An Abbottless Costello in 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock

6) Compulsion-Really should be in the 1001 movie book. Based on the Meyer Levin novel (an interesting read) about the Leopold and Loeb murder case and features Orson Welles as the Clarence Darrow stand-in as well as a pre-Quantum Leap as Dean Stockwell as one of the murderers.

7) The Devil's Disciple-Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas were a great screen team. This was a fun movie from what I remember.

8) The Diary of Anne Frank-Read the book. See the film. See it on stage. Learn from it.

9) Say One for Me-Rather dreary Bing Crosby musical from what I remember. I haven't seen it in over thirty years, so it may be better than I remember.

10) The Shaggy Dog- Perennial Disney classic number one. The Shaggy Dog...It's been a while since I've seen it...I know someone turns into a Sheepdog...It may have been Tommy Kirk...not really sure.

 Fred MacMurray and man's best friend
in The Shaggy Dog

11) Sleeping Beauty-Perennial Disney classic number two. I especially like the part where the mice help her through her misery...oh, wait. That was Cinderella. Never mind.

12) Suddenly, Last Summer-Based on the Tennessee Williams play. Some seem to love it..Others not so much. One I need to revisit.

I'm not through with 1959 yet...more tomorrow.
And stop staring at me!

Saturday, January 14, 2017



The fish vs. M. Hulot in Mon Uncle

Jacques Tati's Mon Uncle and Satyajit Ray's The Music Room are very different films, but do seem to have a major theme in common: The modern world vs. the past. 

The Tati film features the affable but unadaptable Monsieur Hulot (Tati), who tries to fit into the modern world by getting a job in his rich brother's factory. No matter how hard he may try, Hulot is unable to conform to the norms of his society. Many of his comedic failed work attempts are very reminiscent of Chaplin in Modern Times, which has often been cited. Hulot's businessman brother isn't without his share of problems, too. He seems to find more satisfaction in the mechanisms of modernity (circa 1958), such as a garage door that doesn't seem to work quite right and a giant metal fish in his front yard that his wife turns on only when the right people are coming by than he does on the natural life around him.

Mon Uncle is a pretty delightful film and might be my favorite of the Tati films on the 1001 list.
Let's hear some tunes...The Music Room
Ray's The Music Room is more somber story. A socially prominent Bengali leader named Biswambhar has financial problems that he is unable or unwilling to deal with. He escapes through music within his secluded palace with his wife and his bevy of servants. His life turns upside down when his family dies at sea. Meanwhile, a neighboring business man embraces the new economy and bides his time until he becomes the more powerful man and Biswambhar is left almost destitute and only with his music and remnants of past glory to sustain him.

Elements of Colonialism are certainly present. The man who comes to terms with the new world begins to thrive and adapt and Biswambhar can't and won't change until there is practically nothing left. A beautiful and sad film that makes me look forward viewing future films by Ray.

Here are some 1958 films I have seen before that didn't quite make the 1001 list cut

1. The Fly
Though I prefer the 80's remake, this original movie was awfully frightening to a little kid, especially when you're egged on with some of the scary lines in the movie by your big brother.

"Help Me!" The Fly

2. Ballad of Narayama
The 1983 version of The Ballad of Narayama is a more cinematic upgrade of the 1958 film of the same name about a 19th century Japanese village in which the tradition of taking those approaching their 70th birthday to a remote mountain to live out their life is the centerpiece. The newer film is more fleshed out and darker in some of the way the subplots are handled than in the original. I do think watching both films back to back is good viewing strategy .
3. Big Deal on Madonna Street
Another in a line of 50's heist films, this one starring Marcello Mastroianni and a young Claudia Cardinale.
4. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
"Why can't you lose your good looks, Brick? Most drinking men lose theirs!" Classic Tennessee Williams with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. I'm a bit surprised that this didn't make the 1001 movie list. He did do more than just A Streetcar Named Desire, ya know!
5.Attack of the 50 foot woman, Colossus of New York, The Blob
Oh, those 50's horror flicks.

I keep thinking of the genetically modified giant goddess in Attack of the 50 foot Woman as being Anita Ekberg. It was actually Allison Hayes, but I guess I could watch it again and pretend it's Anita Ekberg

Not Anita Ekberg wreaks havoc in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Colossus of New York is about a brilliant surgeon who gets his brain put in a robot body after he dies. That's about all I remember about this one other than Ross (Artemis Gordon) Martin was in it.

Start spreading the news, here comes the Colossus of New York 

A young Steve McQueen and future Andy Griffith TV wife Aneta Corsaut try to keep a straight face as they battle a blob creature that wreaks havoc by oozing under doors and through the streets. Enough people take The Blob seriously to warrant a Criterion Collection release! One of the song writers credited with the goofy opening title song is Burt Bacharach!

The Blob going to check out a midnight Bela Lugosi movie is a pretty nice touch.

6. South Pacific
Some Enchanted Evening, I'm Going to Wash that Man, There's Nothin' Like a Dame. Lots of standards in this Rodgers and  Hammerstein classic. I'm partial to the silly little ditty Happy Talk for some reason.
7.Damn Yankees
The movie version of the Broadway musical featuring Ray Walston as the Devil. I have seen this on stage with Dick Van Dyke as the devil. The team Joe Hardy plays for in the movie and I'm guessing during the original Broadway run was The Washington Senators. Since there were no Washington Senators after 1971, some stage versions feel the need to switch the thing to the Cleveland Indians. But I'm old school, so I'd certainly want to keep any production I see as the Washington Senators.
8. King Creole
I can't seem to go through any of  these yearly lists without listing an Elvis movie I've seen...
9.The Geisha Boy, Rock a Bye Baby
...or a Jerry Lewis or two.
10. No Time for Sergeants
The film (based on the play) that really got Andy Griffith noticed nationally for the fist time. (The play preceded A Face in the Crowd)

It's interesting that the hick he plays in No Time for Sergeants is similar to his character in the first few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. It was decided (wisely, in retrospect) to tone down the character of that series to make him more of the steady center of the show around the assorted eccentrics of Mayberry after that.

Don Knotts and Andy Griffith in No Time for Sergeants
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts in The Andy Griffith Show

11. The Hidden Fortress
Noted as being one of George Lucas's chief inspirations for Star Wars, this is another Kurosawa film to be seen, Star Wars or not.
12. The Magician 
Really liked this when I saw it at the Rhodes Theater in Atlanta in 1985. Still like it, but wouldn’t put it in my Bergman favorites, as there’s a bit too much of Bergman trying to shoot back at his critics. It did have a lot to say about how things aren’t always what they seem.

13. A Night to Remember
A Night to Remember, based on the book by Walter Lord's book about the sinking of The Titanic, is more of a true ensemble piece. The closest thing the film has to a main character is Mr. Lightoller, played by Kenneth More. The funny thing is that one of the criticism distributors in the United States had with this movie is that there wasn’t really a star, (James Cameron made sure with his later film that this wouldn’t be an issue for his film about the same subject) but I agree with the assessment that the ship is the star. Yes, they get some of the technical points wrong, as they didn’t know the boat split in half until years later. That didn’t bother me too much, as the stories on board were still moving.

14.  Old Man and the Sea
The film based on Ernest Hemingway's book is basically a one-man show. And since much of the film had to be done with voice over narration while the fisherman was out to sea, this film really needed an actor with stature to pull it off. Luckily, they picked Spencer Tracy, possibly the greatest American screen actor of the 20th century. He actually succeeds for the most part, though The Old Man and the Sea is slow going at times.
15. Thunder Road
I honestly remember Robert Mitchum's song "The Ballad of Thunder Road" more than I remember the movie itself because my brother had the single below whose lyrics have stuck in my mind all these years later..."Moonshine, moonshine to quench the devil's thirst. The law they swore they'd get him but the devil got him first!" Turning me on to this pretty cool single makes up a little bit for his scaring me about The Fly.

As much as we may have liked Ike in 1958, it's time to move forward