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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

101 Dalmatians (1961)

The drawing is a little meager compared to the finest work of the Disney animators; also is afflicted with a bad case of the cutes. But the storyline picks up conspicuously when it moves beyond a couple of frightfully bourgeois dalmatians and introduces several different breeds of dog, as well ... (G)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Howlingly miscast travesty of the Truman Capote novella: starting at the top with Audrey Hepburn as a backwoods waif turned big-town party girl, down through George Peppard as the heterosexualized neighbor, all the way down to a squinting Mickey Rooney as the Japanese landlord — more Mr. Magoo than Mr. ... (NR)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Chronicle of a Summer (1961)

The summer is that of 1960; the place is Paris. In this environment, Jean Rouch, the ethnographer and documentarist who has devoted most of his professional life to Africa, has less to offer, less to do in the way of cultural mediation. He still has his cinéma-verité technique, however, and ... (NR)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

El Cid (1961)

Simple-minded history lesson given an impressively stately, weighty presentation. Director Anthony Mann builds the movie as solid as a Medieval castle (and builds it in Spain, where it properly belongs). Charlton Heston, as sculptural an actor as ever walked the screen, has his most stirring moments after his character is ... (NR)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Hustler (1961)

Starring Paul Newman as up-and-coming pool player Eddie Felson and Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats. Shoot pool, Fast Eddie! (NR)

None starsDuncan Shepherd

The Innocents (1961)

Jack Clayton's superbly, subtly, suggestively atmospheric rendition of the Henry James ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, with steady help from the wide-screen black-and-white photography of Freddie Francis (then at the brink of a new career as a director of grade-B Hammer horrors). Deborah Kerr's portrayal of the spinsterly ... (NR)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Jules and Jim (1961)

François Truffaut acts the dandy, trying out assorted stylish moods and images -- carefree bicycle outings in misty countryside; soaring, swooping aerial shots; antique newsreels of trench warfare; Jeanne Moreau singing a bright little ditty in a rocking chair, or leaping fully clothed into the river on a sudden whim, ... (NR)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

King of Kings (1961)

Pious Hollywood Biblical epic -- not one of Nicholas (Rebel without a Cause) Ray's more "personal" projects. Visually quite grand, and musically even more so (Miklos Rozsa, almost inevitably), but Jeffrey Hunter left a lot to be desired as brother Frank in Ray's The True Story of Jesse James, and ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Robbe-Grillet's seductive (or masturbatory) incantations, hypnotically enhanced by a Messiaen-esque organ, drift abstractedly over Resnais's rhythmic images, the mellifluous tracking shots and the jagged cutting, in this eternally beautiful, if no longer fashionable, "puzzle picture," which has to do with powerful (even surrealistic) erotic stirrings in the most frigid, petrified ... (NR)

5.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Misfits (1961)

The screenplay about contemporary cowboys and the sad-faced divorcée who keeps their company is Arthur Miller's, with all the pretentiousness, the stiltedness, and the verboseness expected of him. The direction is by John Huston, and mostly flat, or at least flat-footed, until brought to life during the climactic roundup of ... (NR)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Misfits (1961)

John Huston’s modern dress western was a troubled shoot, best remembered for ringing down the curtain on Hollywood’s reigning King and Queen, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. Knowing what we do going in can’t help but contribute to the film’s prevailing status as consummate downer. MM stars as the disillusioned ... (NR)

2.0 starsScott Marks

Mothra (1961)

A giant moth wreaks havoc on cheaply constructed miniatures. (NR)

None stars

The Night (La Notte) (1961)

The middle movie of Michelangelo Antonioni's loosely tied and gradually declining "trilogy," in which the one constant is Monica Vitti. (Why doesn't Red Desert make it a tetralogy?) There are any number of stiff and stilted moments in this portrait of a middle-class marriage disintegrating in ennui, but the director ... (NR)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Purple Noon (1961)

One of the myriad imitation-Hitchcocks from France, and one of the handful from director René Clément alone: an adaptation of the first of Patricia Highsmith's five Ripley novels. (Wim Wenders's The American Friend is an adaptation of the third.) Like Hitchcock's own Highsmith adaptation, Strangers on a Train, this one ... (PG-13)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

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