A Boomer Looks Back at Movies from 1967

Fifty years ago — 1967 — was an amazing year for movies. Mister Boomer’s father and mother relished taking the family to movies, both in theaters and drive-ins. There were three theaters and three drive-ins within a 15-minute drive near Mister Boomer’s home, so there was always a choice of movies from which his parents could choose. Movies were pretty economical for a family, too; the drive-in was around a dollar per car at that time. What increased the cost was the snacks. Mister Boomer’s father was a big movie snacker. He would not see a movie without popcorn and some chocolate, usually non pareils, Mounds bars or Almond Joys, or Raisinettes in a pinch. His mother was all about Dots, Chuckles and Good & Plenty. Mister B never liked snacking in the movies as he found the wrapper noise annoying and did not wish to inflict that on others. As soon as Mister Boomer’s brother was old enough to care for his younger siblings (around age 10), the kids walked to the nearest theater on their own to see Saturday matinees, too.

Family movie time was broken into two branches: times when the entire family would pile into the car and go to a theater, and the times when Mister Boomer’s father took the kids to the drive-in to let Mister B’s mother host her ladies’ bunco card club. The kind of movie the family saw definitely depended on whether Mister B’s mom was in attendance. While his father enjoyed drama, thrillers, crime and mysteries — not to mention any and all James Bond — his mother liked the lighter fare, but would see anything if it starred some of her favorite actors. She was especially fond of anything Peter Sellers or Walter Matthau did.

Here are a few of the 1967 movies Mister Boomer recalls seeing at the movies in his youth:

Comedy/Drama
Casino Royale, with David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress and Orson Welles, was unlike other James Bond movies in that it was an outright comedy. Maybe if it had Sean Connery as 007 it would have been funnier. Mister Boomer saw this one with his siblings when they were dropped off at a nearby theater.

The Graduate was a major movie of 1967, having been nominated for a host of Academy Awards. It won Best Director for Mike Nichols. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, and William Daniels, it was probably too adult for Mister B and his siblings when his father took them to the drive-in to see it. Mister B didn’t appreciate the film until years later when he saw it on TV.

The Producers starred Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. Mister Boomer and his mother enjoyed Mostel and Wilder movies. This one is still on Mister Boomers’ list of top films of all time.

In Like Flint was a campy spy spoof movie starring James Coburn and Lee J. Cobb. There were two Flint movies, the first appearing the year before, and Mister B laughed through both. He especially like that Coburn’s character Derek Flint could talk to dolphins. There will always be a place in Mister B’s heart for campy movies.

A Guide for the Married Man with Walter Matthau and Inger Stevens had classic Matthau written all over it, so it was one the whole family saw in a theater. Mister Boomer recalls watching it with his mother on TV many times years later. She smiled at Matthau’s antics every time.

Thrillers/Mystery/Crime
You Only Live Twice starred Sean Connery and Akiko Wakabayashi. If by some chance Mister Boomer and Brother Boomer’s father didn’t take the boys, they wouldn’t miss a James Bond movie. That is what happened with this one — they went on their own. Too bad the movie was only so-so.

Bonnie and Clyde with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway is another of those classic films from 1967. However, Mister Boomer didn’t think much of it when he saw it as a teenager at the drive-in, or even after a second viewing on TV years later.

Cool Hand Luke starred Paul Newman and George Kennedy. It was another drive-in movie classic for Mister B. He liked the characters right away — especially George Kennedy’s — and has seen it numerous times since. It’s right up there on his best of all time list.

In the Heat of the Night with Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger was another drive-in movie for Mister B, his father and siblings. It was yet another one that Mister B appreciated years later when he saw it on TV, just not at the time.

Wait Until Dark starred Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. Mister Boomer’s mother picked this one and the family went to a theater to check it out. Hepburn’s blind character made this film memorable.

War Films
The Dirty Dozen with Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes was a romp of a World War II movie. It was as fun as a war movie can be, worth seeing at the drive-in, and again years later on TV.

Tobruk starred Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Nigel Green and Guy Stockwell. Standard fare, almost a B-movie as far as a young Mister Boomer could tell. He saw it at the drive-in, of course, when his father took him and his siblings.

There were dozens of other now-classic movies released in 1967 that Mister Boomer did not see at the movies. However, he saw most of them on TV in the years that followed. Just look at this list of 1967 movies:

Camelot: Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, Franco Nero, David Hemmings
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton
El Dorado: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan
In Cold Blood: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart
Bedazzled: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron, Raquel Welch
To Sir, With Love: Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson, Christian Roberts, Suzy Kendall
Doctor Dolittle: Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley, Richard Attenborough
Barefoot In the Park: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Charles Boyer, Mildred Natwick
Thoroughly Modern Millie: Julie Andrews, James Fox, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Channing
I Am Curious Yellow: Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren
Valley of the Dolls: Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, Paul Burke, Sharon Tate
Far From the Madding Crowd: Julie Christie, Peter Finch, Alan Bates, Terence Stamp
The Taming of the Shrew: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cyril Cusack, Michael Hordern
The Born Losers: Tom Laughlin, Elizabeth James, Jeremy Slate, William Wellman Jr.
Easy Come, Easy Go: Elvis Presley, Dodie Marshall
How I Won the War: Richard Lester film with Michael Crawford and John Lennon
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: Robert Morse, Michele Lee, Rudy Vallee

… and lots of other movies, including Don Knotts releases and Godzilla movies that most boomers will recall seeing on TV if not at the movies.

Mister Boomer still prefers seeing a movie in a theater as opposed to on TV– and don’t even think about him viewing one on a tablet or phone. He is one boomer who likes his movies the old-fashioned way. Now, when are we going to get a year with such stellar stories and performances like we did in 1967?

What were your favorite movies from 1967, boomers?

 

Boomer Movie History in the Making — 1966

We all live through historic moments every day, yet it can be difficult to make that realization at the time. We boomers have lived through so many historic events that it’s difficult for us to NOT see our connection to the history as it was being made. For example, there is probably not a person who was living on the planet at the time who does not remember where they were when the Big Bopper’s plane went down; John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were shot; or when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to Mister Boomer that he was not all that aware of the historical and cultural significance the motion picture industry was making during the 1960s, and especially fifty years ago, in 1966.

The industry has always been subjected to the same laws as any other person or industry, but in addition, has self-regulated in terms of moral values. The Motion Picture Code of 1930 (Hays Code) was put together and adopted by The Association of Motion Picture Producers, Inc. and The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. It detailed what would be deemed acceptable in movies from signing members. It strived to assure movies would not “lower the moral standards of those who see it,” nor would their films ridicule the law, justify revenge (in modern times) or glorify brutality, among other things. Films were already subject to the decency laws of the time.

These standards were in effect until 1966, when they were revised. Instead of explicitly banning certain types of actions, the new code suggested restraint. The pursuit of virtue and rejection of sin was still encouraged. It eliminated the outright prohibition of kissing that could be deemed “lustful,” and ultimately recommended a label of “suggested for mature audiences” be attached to certain films to let parents know a film may not be proper for their children — or for themselves, for that matter.

The first 1966 film tagged with the Mature Audiences label was Georgy Girl, only a month after the new revisions were adopted. Nowadays the film would probably be labelled a PG-13, but at the time the adult story line was considered bold and raised more than a few eyebrows. The plot tells of a young woman living with a promiscuous — and pregnant — friend. Georgy is a bit of a regular type, and doesn’t get much male attention until a friend of her father’s — a much older man than she — offers to set her up in an apartment in exchange for becoming his mistress. At the same time, the young man responsible for impregnating her roommate marries the girl and moves into their apartment. Soon he shows an interest in Georgy, too, since she is more interested in the soon-to-arrive baby than her roommate. Georgy is left with all sorts of moral reckoning. The title song of the film is probably recognizable to most boomers. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards, and Lynn Redgrave won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. The song Georgy Girl was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to Born Free. It was released as a single by The Seekers in 1967.

Another groundbreaking film of 1966 was Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up. Industry standard bearers demanded the director make cuts, but Antonioni refused. The film was released by MGM but did not have the industry seal of approval. Consequently, it was the first American film to display full-frontal female nudity.

That same year, Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was the first American film release to contain profane expletives and frank sexual content. Meanwhile, Gulf & Western purchased Paramount Studios, making it the first of many multi-national conglomerates to take over a Hollywood studio.

When Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder (1959) was purchased for distribution on television in 1966, Preminger sought an injunction against Columbia Pictures Corporation and Screen Gems, Inc. to prevent them from editing the film to inject commercial air time. The court ruled that the producer had the rights to final cut and editing for theatrical releases only, and had therefore no say in the editing of a television airing.

Mister Boomer was an early teen, but nonetheless saw some of these films. His father took the kids to the drive-in movies at least once a month, when his mother had her club meetings. He completely recalls seeing Georgy Girl, but admits that at the time had no idea what was going on.

He went on to see many memorable films of 1966, both in theaters and at the drive-in. Among them:

The Silencers, the first Dean Martin James Bond spy spoof. Mister B went on to see all three of the Matt Helm films with Brother Boomer.

Batman: the Movie, where Adam West took the zaniness of the TV show to the movies. How could a boomer who loved the TV show not see this one?

Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C., where Rachel Welch left an indelible mark on young Mister B’s life.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which was directed by the same Richard Lester who had earlier done A Hard Day’s Night. It made Mister B a lifelong fan of Zero Mostel and Jack Gifford.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with Eli Wallach immediately became among Mister B’s favorite westerns of all time, and still is.

The Sand Pebbles and Nevada Smith, both starring Steve McQueen, became instant classics in Mister B’s mind. He still recalls scenes and dialogue from those movies he saw at the local drive-in.

There were many more memorable films of 1966, including:

Born Free
Alfie
A Man for All Seasons
Fahrenheit 451
Torn Curtain
The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!
What’s Up Tiger Lily?
The Fortune Cookie
The Glass Bottom Boat
Is Paris Burning?
Our Man Flint
Modesty Blaise

… among others

Imagine what movies might be like today were it not for these pioneering films of fifty years ago. What are your favorite movies of 1966, boomers?