Monday, January 28, 2013

Movie Monday: The "Movies of 1968" Edition

Yesterday, I wrote about music in 1968, so today I thought it would be interesting to see what was going on in the world of movies that year.

Looking around a little, I found a listing of the top grossing films of 1968 and was interested to see that of the top ten money-makers of the year, I've seen eight of them, all but one at the time they came out. The ten films that made the most money in 1968 were:

1) 2001: A Space Odyssey
2) Funny Girl
3) The Love Bug
4) The Odd Couple
5) Bullitt
6) Romeo & Juliet (this is the Zefferilli-directed version)
7) Oliver!
8) Rosemary's Baby
9) Planet of the Apes
10)Night of the Living Dead

Of these films that were the most popular at the box office, "Oliver!" won the Academy Award for Best Film, Barbra Streisand's performance in "Funny Girl" tied with Katherine Hepburn's turn as Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter" (which was the twelfth-highest grossing film of the year) for Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role, and Ruth Gordon won as Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in "Rosemary's Baby".

I think it's interesting that such a wide variety of films did so well. Looking at that list of most popular films, there is science fiction, musical romance, children's fantasy, comedy, police procedural/crime, Shakespeare, another musical - based on Dickens, horror, more science fiction, and more horror. Compared with the ten highest grossing films last year:

1) The Avengers
2) The Dark Knight Rises
3) Skyfall
4) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
5) Ice Age: Continental Drift
6) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
7) The Amazing Spiderman
8) Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
9) The Hunger Games
10)Men in Black 3

I don't think I need to expand too much on the differences between these two lists and the differences in the variety of the audiences the films on each list are aimed at. The first list contains films aimed at a variety of audiences and demographics. The second list...well, those films might be aimed at slightly different audiences, but at no age demographic about the age of about twenty-five years old. Not that older audiences haven't enjoyed some of those films. I saw "The Avengers" and liked it a lot, and I'm looking forward to seeing "Skyfall" and "The Hobbit", and I'm considerably older than the target demographic for them.

Still, as a group of films, the 1968 list has much more variety than the 2012 list, and I think that is a sad thing. Certainly, a much wider variety of films is being made. The question is, why aren't they attracting larger audiences in the theaters? Is it because, except for big action movies, people would rather see them at home on cable or on DVD? Is it because the distributing companies only really put their money behind the expensive blockbusters such as those that make up most of the 2012 list? Is it because audiences are only willing to part with increasingly more expensive box-office prices for films in franchises that they know ahead of time they enjoy?

I've got no answers for these questions. What I do have are some trailers from films on the 1968 list. I am personally of the opinion that trailers for older films were much more likely to give a better indication of what the films they advertise really are about. Even this trailer for "2001: A Space Odyssey", which is more than a bit abstract (appropriate for what is in many respects an abstract film), makes me want to see the film again:

Here is a trailer for "Rosemary's Baby":

And one for "Planet of the Apes":

Even this action-filled trailer for "Bullitt" shows that the movie is about more than just its justly famous chase scene:

Oh, yes...and the two of the ten top-grossing films of 1968 that I did not see? That I have still not seen? Those would be "The Odd Couple" and "Night of the Living Dead". I've never had any real interest in seeing "The Odd Couple". As for "Night of the Living Dead", the trailer convinced me that I did not want to see it, ever. I mean, really, if the trailer scared me that much, I couldn't see any point in seeing the full movie.


Audrey Humaciu said...

Wow, never evn heard of Bullitt, and I haven't seen (nor have any desire to see) either of the horror films, but have seen all the rest on tv. I was born in 68. :)

As for the modern list, I have seen none. I haven't been to the movie in years.

littlemissattitude said...

Audrey...Bullitt is a good movie. Lots of action, kind of bloody and, as far as I'm concerned, the best chase scene ever put on film.

As far as seeing films in theaters goes, I haven't been in awhile, mostly due to financial constraints. However, there are far fewer films coming out now that I want to see than in the past. Right now, about the only movies I really want to see are Skyfall, The Hobbit, Argo, and Lincoln.