Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A TOUCH OF ZEN (1969?, TAIWAN), THE CONFORMIST (1969?, ITALY)

1969
A Touch of Zen
A Touch of Zen is King Hu's creative martial arts film that definitely foreshadowed such later films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. The film was released in November 1971.

Bernardo Bertolucci's tense political drama about a man that finds it easier to go with the flow than to fight against Fascism in 1930's and 40's Italy was released in 1970 in the Italy and the United States.

Did you catch that? This is a blog post about 1969 films featuring two films clearly not released during that year. But that's what the 1001 book lists them as. In every subsequent addition the publishers never feel the need to make the necessary correction. There are several other films in the 1001 book that clearly are listed in the wrong release year. The film Tetsuo was released in 1989 but listed in the book as 1998! I realize it isn't the most pressing issue in the world today, but I reserve the right to bitch about it a little!

The Conformist

The following films that I have previously seen were not listed in the 1001 book under any year. I'm pretty sure they are correctly listed here as 1969 releases.

1. Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice-A big hit at the time, I’m sure this rather odd wife swapping movie would  be really dated today, and  I fear not in a good way. And does anyone remember when Elliot Gould was a really big star?

What the world needs now is love sweet love...
Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice
2. Goodbye, Columbus-Based on Phillip Roth’s novella, this feels to me like a more Jewish version of The Graduate. It isn't as good as The Graduate, but not a bad film in its own right. It also get extra credit points for having several library scenes. And does anyone remember when Ali McGraw was a really big star?

3. Winning-The only memorable thing to me is about this Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward racing pic is the theme song, to be forever played in the years that followed during the opening credits of The Wide World of Sports.

4. The Love Bug-How I did love this movie as a kid. Rock on, Buddy Hackett!

5. The Magic Christian-Like Easy Rider, another screenwriting credit to Terry Southern. This strange, trippy move has Peter Sellers adopting Ringo Starr (or something like that) and I remember something about Laurence Harvey stripping and Raquel Welch dressed as a Viking and what was this movie about again? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, I guess. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Ringo and Raquel in The Magic Christian

6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service- James Bond finally gets married and Bond has to be played by George Lazenby? Sounds like grounds for an annulment to me.

7. Take the Money and Run-Woody Allen’s first starring role, this semi-documentary of a criminal is definitely one of his “early, funny ones.”

8. Doppelganger-There's a mirror earth in this interesting British sci-fi that also taught me what the word doppelganger meant.

9. Paint Your Wagon-Gotta love Clint Eastwood, but I really could do without hearing his rendition of “They Call the Wind Maria.” What next? Charles Bronson singing “The Farmer and The Cowman Should Be Friends?”

10. If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium-Three things I remember about this American tourists traveling by bus through Europe movie: 1) The theme song was catchy. 2) It had a slew of 60’s and 70’s character actors in it (Michael Constantine, Norman Fell etc.) 3) Suzanne Pleshette looked gorgeous.

Suzanne Pleshette in her pre-Bob Newhart Show days in
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

11. The Comic-I remember Dick Van Dyke is pretty funny and touching as a former silent screen comedian adapting to old age.

12. A Boy Named Charlie Brown-I'm trying to decide if this is better than Snoopy, Come Home or not. (Thinking...)

13. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes-Kurt Russell gets a shock or something and turns from a mediocre student to a genius. I'm guessing Joe Flynn is in this Disney flick somewhere.

14, Don’t Drink the Water-Early Woody Allen, but with Jackie Gleason in the lead.

15. Alice’s Restaurant-Arlo Guthrie’s famous twenty-plus minute song translated into a movie. Dare I say this movie might be really dated if viewed today?

Arlo and Patricia Quinn shadowed by a "VW Microbus"
in Alice's Restaraunt
16. Eye of the Cat-Some evil cats and a crazy old lady in a wheelchair is what I remember mostly about this one.

17. The Illustrated Man-Need to watch this movie based on Ray Bradbury's book of short stories all linked to a dude with lots of tattoos again.

18. Medium Cool-Fiction, but semi-documentary in style. It's about a reporter amidst the turmoil of the 1968 Democratic convention. I'm very surprised this one isn't in the book.

18. The Monitors-What the hell was this one about again? I know I saw it once upon a time. Just looked up the details to see that Larry Storch and Avery Schreiber were in it! (You may question whether the last statement deserved an explanation mark. I say any mention of Larry Storch warrants an explanation mark!)


20. Number One-Charlton Heston as a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints is just a strange concept to wrap your head around.

Charlton Heston in Number One.
 Yep, still difficult to accept this picture.

I'm pretty sure the moon landing happened in 1969.
Or did it? (Cue dramatic music)

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