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Cinema '62: The Greatest Year at the Movies Hardcover – March 13, 2020
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About the Author
Michael McClellan is the former Senior Vice President/Head Film Buyer for Landmark Theatres and served on the board of appeals of the Classification and Ratings Administration of the MPAA. He currently co-produces a classic film series in Los Angeles.
Bill Condon won an Academy Award for his screenplay of Gods and Monsters in 1998. He received a screenwriting nomination for the Oscar-winning best picture of 2002, Chicago. His other credits as director include Kinsey, Dreamgirls, Mr. Holmes, Beauty and the Beast, and The Good Liar.
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The authors’ encyclopedic knowledge of film history (the research they must have done!) is matched by their enthusiasm for discussing film in all its manifestations—from the great works of art to the not so great (Elvis as movie star?). The excellent review that Variety gave this book sums it up best: “One feels that the authors just watched all the movies last week and they’re just dying to tell you about some life-changing piece of art you’ve just got to see.”
This is more than just a tome for film students and scholars, random cineastes, TCM groupies, or Hollywood gossip mongers. It’s a compelling and hugely entertaining story for anyone interested in the intersection of film with American history and culture. It’s a remarkable achievement—and one hell of a good read.
Now, to the book: I wanted to love it. It's a great idea for a book and maybe in someone else's hands it would have been great. It's okay - it has some interesting things in it, but they way it's presented, the organizational aspect, is so irritating and pointless. What would have worked much better is just to go from film to film rather than shove everything into some kind of category. Also, it would have helped to have headers for each film so that everything isn't such a mish-mash. Because of the format there's a lot of repetition, too. And I'm truly bored of publishers like this, amateurs all the way, trying to save the page count by making the type so small that you could go blind trying to read it. So, for me, kind of a missed opportunity. I'm always glad to read anything about that year and those films, which I dearly love, including some they don't mention, but they just shoot themselves in the foot with the format of the book.
Even veteran directors were breaking movie taboos. Otto Preminger's "Advise and Consent" and Edward Dmytryk's "Walk on the Wild Side" battled decades-old Production Code restrictions to represent homosexuality on screen. Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita" was restricted to viewers over 18 (which meant its star Sue Lyon couldn't see the film). McClennan, who served on the MPAA ratings board, is an astute historian on the changing morals in films. Other outstanding movies discussed include "The Manchurian Candidate", "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?", "Cape Fear", "The Music Man", "To Kill a Mockingbird" and one entire chapter on the obstacle-filled making of "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962's top grossing film and Best Picture Oscar winner).
CINEMA '62 is a compelling and entertaining assessment of the films released in 1962 and will help budding film buffs assemble a list of must-see movies.
Forget 1939, CINEMA '62 looks at the acclaimed and neglected films of 1962, and persuasively and entertainingly argues it was the peak year for motion pictures.