There is an awful lot that has been and can be written about this film. I touched briefly on 1967’s impact on American cinema a few years back, so I’m not really going to delve into that aspect of the film, though I will point out a few things that made it a game-changer. I remember when I first saw this film, I wasn’t all that impressed to be honest. But the more I watch it the more its genius reveals itself to me. I saw it on the big screen at the Castro last spring and I am so glad that I did. A few weeks ago some kind stranger anonymously bought it for me from my Amazon wishlist, so I decided it was time for another revisit. The result is going to be this rather epic look at what I now realize is one of the most exquisitely directed films of all time. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, though it only won one: Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Katharine Ross, Best Actress Anne Bancroft, Best Actor Dustin Hoffman, Best Director Mike Nichols (won) and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Doolittle, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and winner In The Heat of the Night.
This is a film that I think has really fallen between the cracks of history, despite its Best Picture nomination. I first saw it when I was going through a Jason Robards phase (which, incidentally, is actually just called life). I think part of the problem, now anyways, is that it is not on DVD, meaning the only way to see it is if you can catch it on TCM or find it somewhere on the internet. If you can, though, I think you will fallen just as much in love with it as I did. Despite a Golden Globe nomination, Jason Robards was NOT nominated for Best Actor for his performance. Also, Fred Coe, though nominated as producer, was NOT nominated for Best Director. In fact, two of the films up for Best Picture, this and Ship of Fools, were not nominated for Best Director. Instead, the two nominations went to Hiroshi Teshigahara for Woman in the Dunes and William Wyler for The Collector (this was his last of a whopping TWELVE Best Director nominations, the most of any director. Billy Wilder is the only director to even come close, with eight nominations. He also received Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award that year as well.) A Thousand Clowns was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one: Best Score – Treatment or Adaptation (this is a category that is really confusing and I suggest you read the Wikipedia page to learn alllll about how many different score categories there have been over the years), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Martin Balsam (won) and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Darling, Doctor Zhivago, Ship of Fools and winner The Sound of Music.