Six months of movie-going

I just found a list of the movies I saw in the first half of 1970, the year I turned 23, my English Honours year at Sydney University. I had just left the Marist Brothers and I was awfully lonely without the fraternal community of the previous seven years, but there were movies to fill the void: the ones in the picture theatres and the ones screened cheap by the Sydney University Film Group (of whom John Flaus and Michael Thornhill were leading lights). No film courses were offered at the university in those days, but it’s hard to imagine a course that would have been this eclectic or offered such startling double bills. I wonder if such an extended binge is a common experience.

Here’s the incredibly rich list.

I saw the first four films at home in North Queensland, with my older brother (the first three) and my parents. After that I was in Sydney and briefly in Canberra.

January:
whisperers25 The Lineup (Don Siegel 1958)
27 Summer Fires (also known as Mademoiselle) (Tony Richardson 1966, starring Jeanne Moreau)
28 The Whisperers (Bryan Forbes 1967, with Dame Edith Evans)
30 The Subject Was Roses (Ulu Grosbard 1968: the poster said, ‘Patricia Neal is back,’ but I didn’t know she’d been away, or who she was)

February:
culdesac13 Hamlet (Tony Richardson 1969)
14 If … (Tony Richardson 1968)
18 Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger 1969)
20 The Searchers (John Ford 1956; John Wayne, ‘As sure as night follows day…’)
23 The Killers (Don Siegel 1964)
23 Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles 1965)
24 Cul-de-Sac (Roman Polanski 1966; Donald Pleasance bowled me over)

March;
mabuseStrike (Sergei M. Eisenstein 1925)
9 Targets (Peter Bogdanovich 1968)
12 Alice’s Restaurant (Arthur Penn 1969; Arlo Guthrie)
12 The Chase (Arthur Penn 1966)
13 Medium Cool (Haskell Wexler 1969; the 1968bDemocratic Convention – ‘Haskell, it’s real!’)
20 Dr Mabuse (Fritz Lang 1922)
21 Touch of Evil (Orson Welles 1958; Marlene Dietrich; ‘He was some kind of a man’)
28 Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni 1970; amazing street art in San Francisco, and also kaboom!)
28 Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper 1969)

April:
coeurs3 Nanook of the North (Robert J. Flaherty 1922)
3 Les coeurs verts (Edouard Luntx 1966; the scene where the juvenile delinquents break into a swimming pool and suddenly there’s a wonderful naked underwater ballet; Gus Van Sant must have seen it)
6 Summer with Monika (Ingmar Bergman 1953)
Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman 1953)
13 Mickey One (Arthur Penn 1965)
13 Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman 1961)
16 Repulsion (Roman Polanski 1965)
17 Twelfth Night (John Sichel 1969; one of the very few films in this list that I don’t remember at all)
18 Richard III (Laurence Olivier 1955)
20 Winter Light (Ingmar Bergman 1962)
20 Guns in the Afternoon (Sam Peckinpah 1962)
23 Barrier (Jerzy Skolimowski 1966)
24 White Nights (Luchino Visconti 1957)
26 Planet of the Apes (Franklin J Schaffner 1968)
26 Modesty Blaise (Joseph Losey 1966)
27 The Enforcer (Raoul Walsh 1951)
27 Vivre sa vie (Jean Luc Godard 1962)

May: 
burmeseMinistry of Fear (Fritz Lang 1944)
1 Where the Sidewalk Ends (Otto Preminger 1950)
5 The Blue Gardenia (Fritz Lang 1953)
9 The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah 1969)
12 The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa 1956; maybe my first east Asian film, and I was gobsmacked)
12 Tirez sur le pianiste (Francois Truffaut 1960)
23 Frankenstein (Don Whale 1931)
30 MASH (Robert Altman 1969)

June:
pointblank12 Crime and Punishment (Josef Von Sternberg 1935; could Peter Lorre really be who Dostoevsky had in mind?)
15 Bedazzled (Stanley Donen 1967)
20 Ramrod (André De Toth 1947; a Joel McCrae western)
21 Point Blank (John Boorman 1967; Lee Marvin!)
21 The Fearless Vampire Killers (Roman Polanski 1967; I laughed myself silly at the Aquarius Festival in Canberra)
26 The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (André Delvaux 1965)
26 Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock 1946)
27 The Power and the Glory (Marc Daniels 1961)
27 L’Etranger (Luchino Visconti 1967)
29 The Damned (Joseph Losey 1961; ‘Black leather, black leather, rock rock rock’; Oliver Reed)
29 Persona (Ingmar Bergman 1966)

July:
gospel2 Rysopsis (Jerzy Skolimowski 1964; is this the one where the old people in the bar make their glasses resonate?)
2 My Way Home (Miklós Janscó 1965)
3 Bullitt (Peter Yates 1968)
3 Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn 1967)
3 October (Sergei Eisenstein 1928; Ah, by this time I wasn’t so lonely any more; I saw it with my girlfriend and her Russian mother, who didn’t like its politics)
Alfie (Lewis Gilbert 1966)
6 The Tall T (Budd Boetticher 1957)
6 Shame (Ingmar Bergman 1968)
8 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill 1969)
10 The Thirty-Nine Steps (Alfred Hitchcock 1935)
10 Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea 1968; an independent Cuban film)
12 Juliet of the Spirits (Federico Fellini 1965; my first Fellini, I had no idea what to make of it)
13 Petulia (Richard Lester 1968)
13 Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais 1961)
20 The Gospel According to Matthew (Pier Paolo Pasolini 1964; my first Pasolini, I was blown away)
25 The Roaring Twenties (Raoul Walsh 1939; screened to a small audience, Flaus stopped the projector and rescreened Marlene Dietrich’s first appearance three times)
27 Contempt (Jean Luc Godard 1963; starring Fritz Lang and Brigitte Bardot)
– The Wild Angels (Roger Corman 1966)
– Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh 1970)

4 responses to “Six months of movie-going

  1. Great to have this list. I can barely remember what I saw last week. The Uni of Sydney Film group was my introduction to non-Hollywood cinema.

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    • Hi Martin. I wonder if anyone has written about the SUFG? It’s so much an organisation of its time – before DVDs or even videos, let alone streaming or downloading, made movies more readily available for domestic viewing, so public screenings were precious. My big brother had introduced me to non-Hollywood movies (The Seventh Seal, when I was 14, and I was deeply impressed). The SUFG taught me how to look at Hollywood movies with respect. I remember Mike Thornhill coming out of a screening of a French movie declaiming that if a Hollywood movie had had children speaking like the ones we’d just seen we’d all be scathing, but because it was in French and made by an auteur we were reverential.

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  2. What an amazing thing to uncover – your list. I was in my Dip.Ed. year at Sydney in 1970 – a radical innovative student-centred program – lots of part-time jobs and entry into life out of a recent “re-birth” from the narrow fundamentalist protestant strictures with which I had grown up. In 1966 and 1967 I had discovered the Film Society – screenings at The Footbridge Theatre – and had on a few occasions sat in on them: “La Dolce Vita” (1960 – Federico FELLINI) and “Bonjour Tristesse” (1958 – Otto PREMINGER) and “Black Peter” (1963 – Miloš FORMAN)! From 1970 itself I recall only a couple – I was too busy at my part-time jobs – but “Bedazzled” was a standout. During my many years in Japan (though I’ve never seen the movie) “The Burmese Harp” (Biruma no Tategoto) came to my attention – an anti-war sentiment of course. One of my university students – Tsuyoshi – went with his grand-parents to visit Burma. The grand-father had “served” time there during WWII …and Tsuyoshi came back with a small Burmese Harp for me. I have it still.

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    • I didn’t realise we were Sydney Uni contemporaries, Jim, even if I came to the SUFG later than you. I actually don’t remember the harp itself from the movie, but I do remember the incredible emotional punch – no doubt helped by my own impending conscientious objector hearing.

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