Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner Screenwriters: Rod Serling, Michael Wilson By Roderick Heath Although overshadowed in appreciation amongst high cinephiles by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2018 brings the fiftieth anniversary of another hugely popular and influential science fiction film: Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes. 1968 was a pivotal year for sci-fi cinema, …

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Dragon Inn (Lóng Mén Kè Zhàn, 1967)

Director/Screenwriter: King Hu By Roderick Heath King Hu was born Hu Jinquan in Beijing in 1932. Scion of a prominent and prosperous family, Hu nonetheless was borne along with a generation displaced by war and political upheaval, and washed up in Hong Kong when still a teenager in 1949. After working for a decade in …

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The Ladies Man (1961)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Jerry Lewis By Roderick Heath Jerry Lewis’ partnership with Dean Martin had terminated in 1956 as Lewis increasingly dominated their movie collaborations. For every filmgoer who found Lewis a testing presence, there seemed to be another who adored him, and his slapstick talents were so spectacular, so percussive in their cinematic impact that Martin, …

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The Immortal Story (Histoire Immortelle; TV, 1968)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Orson Welles By Roderick Heath An adaptation of a story by Karen Blixen published under her pseudonym Isak Dinesen, The Immortal Story is also a story of two immortals, Orson Welles and Jeanne Moreau. Welles’ career as a director had long since become a victim of his own clarion work Citizen Kane (1941) and …

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Fellini ∙ Satyricon (1969)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Federico Fellini By Roderick Heath Thanks to the enormous impact of La Dolce Vita (1960) and 8½ (1963), Federico Fellini’s name had been vaulted into the tiny canon of filmmakers whose names were household words. The phrase “Felliniesque” came to spell out a brand of gaudy, sensual, yearning artistry in the same way Hitchcockian …

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Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur les Pianiste, 1960)

Director/Coscreenwriter: François Truffaut By Roderick Heath The evergreen lustre the early films of the French New Wave still retain stems in part from a tangible quality inseparable from the moment and place of their making. That sense of fleet-footed adventure encoded in their frames, captured by a bunch of ragged young men and women spilling …

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Director: John Frankenheimer By Roderick Heath Almost since the day it was released, The Manchurian Candidate has known an aura of perceptiveness bordering on the prophetic. This quality extends from its alarming anticipations of the spate of assassinations of high-profile American political figures in the 1960s, to the dogging accusations of conspiracy and corrupting influence …

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