I saw this for the first time about a month ago during TCM’s Summer Under The Stars and I was completely blown away by it. It’s compelling and perfectly shot, featuring some truly exquisite black-and-white cinematography. It sinks its hooks into you from the very beginning and doesn’t let up for a minute, ending with one of the most simultaneously heartbreaking and tender finales in cinematic history. It also features one of the greatest on-screen, as well as off-screen, couples, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, in some of their greatest work. It was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, winning five: Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best B&W Costume Design (won), Best B&W Cinematography (won), Best B&W Art Direction (won), Best Supporting Actress Sandy Dennis (won), Best Supporting Actor George Segal, Best Actress Elizabeth Taylor (won), Best Actor Richard Burton, Best Director Mike Nichols and Best Picture. It was up against The Sand Pebbles, Alfie, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! and winner A Man For All Seasons.
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.