MACLEAN'S REVIEWS

MOVIES IN '63

The ten best; the ten worst; and the biggest egg laid ail year

CLYDE GILMOUR January 4 1964
MACLEAN'S REVIEWS

MOVIES IN '63

The ten best; the ten worst; and the biggest egg laid ail year

CLYDE GILMOUR January 4 1964

MOVIES IN '63

The ten best; the ten worst; and the biggest egg laid ail year

CLYDE GILMOUR

CANDIDATES for the Ten Worst list were far more numerous than contenders for the Ten Best among the movies of 1963, but at the end of the year there was still room for a moderate glow of optimism about the future of popular movies. Here are my nominations for the best English-language feature-length films publicly shown in Canada in 1963:

1. TOM JONES: Sizzling with vitality and frankly sexy, this British comedy-of-love honors the gaiety and candor of life in eighteenth-century England, without losing sight of its crudities and oppressions. John Osborne has intelligently streamlined Henry Fielding’s famous novel, and producer-director Tony Richardson has put it on film with zest and swagger. Albert Finney, in the title role, is an immensely likable Lothario. Susannah York, Joan Greenwood, Diane Cilento and Joyce Redman are among the dames of low and high degree who excite his ardor and there are superb cameos by Dame Edith Evans and Hugh Griffith.

2. DAVID AND LISA: Two American newcomers, scriptwriter Eleanor Perry and her husband Frank, as director, emerged as major cinematic talents after making this stirring low-budget drama. The story deals with the impact upon each other of two emotionally crippled adolescents (Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin).

3. THIS SPOUTING LIFE is an “angry” item from Britain, totally unlike Tom Jones but almost as impressive. On one level, it focuses on the brutal realities of a football hero’s existence. But even more memorable is the strong boy’s vinegarish “romance” with a secluded, guilt-haunted widow. She is beautifully played by Rachel Roberts who gets my vote as the best actress of the year.

4. CHARADE: An American comedy-thriller

filmed in France, Charade brings together Audrey Hepburn, as a young widow — menaced by three killers — and Cary Grant as her gallant defender. The film has the laughter and excitement of Hitchcock, without the sadism.

5. HUD: Honesty in the observation of human character shines throughout this contemporary western in which Paul Newman plays a hustler without any visible pangs of conscience. 1 can’t decide whether the year’s supportingactress Oscar should go to Patricia Neal, for

her work here as a compassionate but wary housekeeper who senses Hud’s depravity, or to Margaret Rutherford for her magnificent sketch of a befuddled duchess in The VIPs.

6. THE CARDINAL: John Huston, temporarily an actor instead of a director, turns in a performance fully worthy of his father, the late Walter Huston, as a tough old prince-of-thechurch. He was the year’s best supporting actor. Tom Tryon isn’t as persuasive in the title role of a young priest who rises steadily in the Catholic hierarchy in the years between the two world wars.

7. LILIES OF THE FIELD: A touching story about a Negro handyman (Sidney Poitier) who reluctantly, but with expanding enthusiasm, allows his labors to be conscripted by some impoverished nuns on the Arizona desert.

8. THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE

RUNNER: Although weakened by confusing flashbacks, this bony British drama has enough merit to make it well worth seeing — and seeing again. It’s about a Midlands slum-boy (Tom Courtenay) who detests the Establishment but never wallows in self-pity.

9. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: A moving but occasionally sluggish Hollywood drama about racial injustice in a backward Alabama town. Gregory Peck has already won a best-actor Oscar for his portrayal of the quiet courtroom Galahad. I’d give the award for juvenile actors to Mary Badham and Phillip Alford, who play his children.

10. CLEOPATRA: I know, I know, I know — it’s too long and it cost too much and Liz Taylor as the Queen of the Nile is sometimes more ludicrous than gorgeous. But director Joseph L. Mankiewicz did deliver a “spectacu-

lar” much more urbane and adult than any of its wall - to - wall rivals except Lawrence of Arabia. As the sagacious and tough-minded Julius Caesar, Rex Harrison gives the year’s finest performance.

¡Eir’ THE THREE BEST foreign films, in my opinion, were all Italian: 8V2, The Four

Days of Naples, and Divorce Italian - Style.

THE YEAR’S WORST movie was also Italian.

It is Duel of the Titans and stars American strongmen Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott. In alphabetical order, my Ten Worst list includes, as well, the following well - varied stinkers:

Diamond Head, Drums of Africa, A Girl Named Tamiko, In the Cool of the Day, My Six Loves, Of Love and Desire, The Old Dark House, Play girls and the Vampire, Spencer’s Mountain. The disappointment of the year is It’s a Mad, Mad,

Mad, Mad W o r l d, three-and-a-half hours of tiresome proof that Stanley Kramer should stick to dramas and leave comedies to his competitors.