Saturday, August 31, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1961.  My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). 

And the nominees on the entries from 1961 for every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die are...
Splendor in the Grass
Last Year at Marienbad
The Pier
Breakfast at Tiffany's
La Notte
Jules and Jim
The Ladies Man
Through a Glass Darkly
Chronicle of a Summer
The Hustler
West Side Story


And the winner for the Best Picture of 1961 is…The Hustler
The Hustler

Robert Rossen's The Hustler, based on Walter Tevis's book, is a  showcase for Paul Newman as a pool hustler trying to harness and exploit his talent for the game. The highlights of the film are Newman (as Fast Eddie) playing against the legendary Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). But there is much else to recommend this film. One is Eddie's relationship with a troubled woman played by Piper Laurie, an unconventional but believable girlfriend for Eddie. Also effective is George C. Scott as Bert the conniving gambler. It's a nice piece with the black and white photography enhancing the feel of the musty pool room. Newman revived his Fast Eddie role years later in The Color of Money in which he won the Oscar he probably should have won for The Hustler.

The Hustler

And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1961 is...Through a Glass Darkly
Through a Glass Darkly

The first leg of Ingmar Bergman's thematic trilogy (Winter Light, The Silence) about love, death, religion, despair, mental illness, belief, God, truth, sexuality and depression. (Not necessarily in that order). Truly a great beginning of a master decade for one of cinema's giants...Warning! It's not the feel good hit of the summer!

Through a Glass Darkly

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