Tom: I appreciate your concern. . .but I’m perfectly able to carry on
by myself. As I said, with Gene’s help from time to time. I imagine we could have dinner once in a while, couldn’t we, Gene? Once or twice a week? Take you up to Rotary. Some of the speakers are amusing.
Gene: Sure, Dad.
Tom: Give us time to get together at last, a chance to know each other.
Alice: Gene wants to get married.
Alice: Gene wants to move to California and get married.
Gene: Alice, will you shut up?
Alice: I can’t help it. You’ve never faced up to him. Let him ruin your life.
Gene: I can handle my own life!
Alice: You can’t.
Tom: Children. Children.mI don’t want to interfere with either of your lives. I took of myself at 8, I can take care of myself at 80. I’ve never wanted to be a burden to my children.
Gene: I’m gonna hang around, Dad.
Tom: There’s no need to.
Gene: I’ll move in until you start feeling better.
Tom: I don’t want to ruin your life.
Gene: I didn’t say that.
Tom: I’ve long had the impression that my only function in this family was to supply the money…
Tom: To supply funds for your education.
Gene: Dad, will you stop it!
Tom: As far as I’m concerned, this conversation has ended.
Rachel, Rachel was Paul Newman’s directorial debut, which he also produced, from a novel published two years earlier. The film comes alone right after 1967 – the year cinema changed forever – as well as right in the midst of the sexual revolution. It’s a film that could never have been made under the production code, one that touches on so many taboos, that at the time were rarely discussed in the home, let alone on the big screen. I first saw it on Paul Newman day during TCM’s Summer Under the Stars in 2010. My mother and I watched it together and we were blown away with how moving it was. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, though it didn’t win any: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Estelle Parsons, Best Actress Joanne Woodward and Best Picture. Though Newman as producer received a nomination, he was not nominated for Best Director – this was a year where two of the Best Director nominee were not for Best Picture nominees: Stanley Kubrick for 2001: A Space Odyssey and Gillo Pontecorvo for The Battle of Algiers. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Romeo and Juliet and winner Oliver! William Wyler also did not receive a Best Director nomination for his work on Funny Girl, though he still holds the record for most nominations, with a whopping twelve. There be many SPOILERS after the cut.
I actually discussed Bonnie and Clyde a little bit in my article last year about 1967 and how it was the year that Old Hollywood became New Hollywood (I actually discuss all five Best Picture nominees from that year, as well as In Cold Blood), so I was reluctant to revisit 1967 for awhile. But I wrote that article over a year ago now, so I guess it’s time to revisit 1967 after all. I remember when I first saw this film it completely blew me away and upon every revisit I remain in awe of what an utterly amazing feat of filmmaking prowess is on display here. I saw an interview with Arthur Penn, I believe, where he talked about how he decided he wanted to shoot the picture in color because he wanted it to feel modern. They weren’t making a documentary of Depression Era America. This film was going to feel as modern as it possibly could, without being avant-garde. I think Penn accomplished just that, and made it just modern enough to feel timeless, actually. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning two: Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography (won), Best Supporting Actor Gene Hackman, Best Supporting Actor Michael J. Pollard, Best Supporting Actress Estelle Parsons (won), Best Actor Warren Beatty, Best Actress Faye Dunaway, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and winner In The Heat of the Night.
I know there is at least one book on this subject and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but thanks to TCM showing several movies from that year, I have to agree completely. What I mean by Cinema, is Hollywood and American Cinema, because a lot of how it changed was based on things French New Wave directors had already been doing for almost ten years.
One way to see this change is by looking at the five films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that year. Four of the films are harbingers of the new Hollywood. One is old guard and because of that in addition I want to talk about another film that, although nominated for four Oscars, was not up for Best Picture.
The five films up for Best Picture were Bonnie & Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and In The Heat of the Night. The film sixth film I’m going to discuss is In Cold Blood.