Category Archives: 1969 Films

Hello, Dolly!-1969

Hello, Dolly! -1969

Director Gene Kelly

Starring Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau

Scott’s Review #1,273

Reviewed July 5, 2022

Grade: B+

I was surprised by my reaction to Hello, Dolly! (1969), a musical comedy starring the brilliant Barbra Streisand in only her second film role.

The songs are tailor-made for the diva’s vocals and are the follow-up to her Oscar-winning turn in Funny Girl (1968) made just a year earlier.

The film is enjoyable and there are enough songs to hum along with but it suffers mightily by miscasting Streisand in a role much too old for her, and a ghastly lack of any decent chemistry between the leads.

Nevertheless, the memorable and outstanding dinner scene toward the conclusion of the film makes the overall effort worth the wait and rebounds it to a generous B+ rating up from a tepid B rating.

The wonderful supporting players helped save Hello, Dolly! from mediocrity since I felt much more invested in their story than I did in the lead action.

Still, based on the synopsis and talent potential I was anticipating a solid A rating but this was not to be as Hello, Dolly! brought the once-reliable musical comedies of the 1950s and 1960s to a crashing halt as 1970 was nearly upon us.

The time is 1890s New York City and Yonkers, New York as the bold and enchanting widow Dolly Levi (Streisand) is a socialite-turned-matchmaker, though she yearns for her own love life.

Her latest client is the grumpy but wealthy Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) and a young artist named Ambrose (Tommy Tune), who is in love with Horace’s niece, Ermengarde (Joyce Ames).

Dolly has secret romantic designs on Horace and is determined to land him while Ambrose and Ermengarde have little to do.

Dolly’s meddling soon involves Horace’s employees Cornelius (Michael Crawford) and Barnaby (Danny Lockin) who become smitten with a New York hatmaker named Irene (Marianne McAndrew) and her ditzy assistant Minnie (E.J. Peaker).

For starters, anyone who has seen or knows the history of the 1960s stage version of Hello, Dolly! knows that Carol Channing portrayed the role and should have been in the film.

She is so well known for the role that she won a Tony and reprised it many times during her storied career becoming way more famous than Streisand would ever be for the role.

Streisand was only twenty-six years old when she made Hello, Dolly! and is too youthful for the matronly role despite the help of makeup and costumes. This is bothersome because the main reason Streisand was cast was that her career was taking off.

The other glaring problem is there is no chemistry between Streisand and Matthau and it’s unknown why Dolly is even romantically interested in Horace besides perhaps for his money.

Needless to say, is that he is too old for her.

There is no rooting value for the couple at all and a fun fact is that the two stars hated each other during filming. This provided a chuckle or two.

All is not lost though because the supporting foursome of Cornelius, Barnaby, Irene, and Minnie steals the show. The hijinks between the characters as the boys struggle to figure out how to pay for a lavish champagne dinner for the girls is physical comedy at its finest.

The lavish dinner scene set at the Harmonia Gardens Restuarant saves the film.

Dripping with a beautiful set design, bright red velvet decor, and perfect choreography, the highlight is an adorable rendition of the title song between Streisand and Louis Armstrong.

The sequence is so great that it almost makes me forget about the missteps surrounding the rest of the film.

Director and actor, Gene Kelly, is most known for starring in An American in Paris (1950) and knows his way around a musical or two. He does wonders with all facets of the production but can’t be blamed for the casting choices.

Surprisingly, Hello, Dolly! (1969) received seven Academy Award nominations and won three. This assuredly is a result of a conservative tendency by the Academy members who worshipped the once-mighty musical genre.

Unfortunately, the genre limped into the more edgy 1970s and would remain more or less obscure for many years.

Oscar Nominations: 3 wins-Best Picture, Best Art Direction (won), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Score of a Musical Picture-Original or Adaptation (won), Best Sound (won)

Scream and Scream Again-1969

Scream and Scream Again-1969

Director Gordon Hessler

Starring Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing

Scott’s Review #899

Reviewed May 16, 2019

Grade: B+

Any film that features horror heavyweights and great actors like Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing is well worth the price of admission for the name status alone. Each is a mainstay attraction in his own right and combined, results in an orgy of riches.

Scream and Scream Again (1969) sputters by limiting the on-screen interaction between the actors but after a reflective pause, I realize the picture is to be revered for its creativity and use of intersecting plotlines into a thrashing crescendo of a surprise ending.

The audience is offered three segments of the story, each periodically revisited as stand-alone segments that culminate into overlapping components.

An athletic runner trots along the streets of London suddenly suffering from an attack only to awaken in the hospital with no legs.

Elsewhere, a deadly intelligence operative reports back to his repressed Eastern European country only to murder his commanding officer with a deadly paralyzing hold.

Finally, a London detective investigates the brutal deaths of several young women in metropolitan nightclubs.

Cushing, reduced to merely a cameo-sized role as the ill-fated officer, is barely worth mentioning and adds little to the film besides appearing in it.

Lee, like Fremont, the head of Britain’s intelligence agency, plays a straight role with not much zest.

Price, with the meatiest role as a mysterious doctor specializing in limb replacement, can give anyone the creeps with his scowling and eerie mannerisms, but the film strikes out by wasting the talents of the other legendary actors.

The film is not at all what a fan of Hammer horror would expect especially based on the horror familiar cast and the gory-sounding title.

Heaping buckets of blood or ghoulish vampires are what was on the anticipated menu but that does not mean the film fails to deliver. It may not please a fan of traditional horror films since the genres of political espionage and science-fiction come heavily into play.

However, the fantastic and peculiar nightclub serial killer storyline will satisfy fans eager for a good kill or two.

My initial reaction to Scream and Scream Again was that of over-complicated writing and too much going on simultaneously, especially for a film of the said horror genre.

After the film concludes and the surprise ending is revealed I realized that the numerous tidbits are necessary to achieve the desired result and events will make the viewer ponder when the film ends.

Not to ruin the big reveal but the filmmakers borrow a healthy dose of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) in a more macabre way, naturally.

Fans of the 1960s British television series The Avengers will be pleased with Scream and Scream Again as a similar tone exists with both.

The distinctive musical soundtrack, trendy for the 1960s period works well, and the nightclub sequences and some of the detectives feel reminiscent of the show.

The feel of the film is not limited to an episodic television story but contains a similar style.

High British 1960s fashion is also prevalent and pleasing to the eye.

A couple of supporting characters strike a fascination in small and almost entirely non-verbal performances.

A sexy red-headed hospital nurse with superhuman powers and a penchant for removing limbs, combined with a brooding and mysterious serial killer provides dubious intrigue as to who the true characters are.

What is their motivation? Do they work for someone or something sinister? Questions like these will keep the viewer occupied and thirsty for an explanation.

Bizarrely, British film and television director Gordon Hessler crafts an implausible yet fascinating story that keeps the viewer guessing.

Featuring horror superstars Price, Cushing, and Lee would seem like an assured horror masterpiece but the star’s limited time on-screen brings the overall project down a notch.

Scream and Scream Again (1969) still achieves a good measure of worthy entertainment.

Women in Love-1969

Women in Love-1969


Director Ken Russell

Starring Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed, Alan Bates

Scott’s Review #766

Reviewed June 2, 2018

Grade: A

Women in Love (1969) is a British romantic drama film that is truly one of a kind. The film is quite cerebral and requires a bit of thought which undoubtedly will lead to good conversation with film connoisseurs everywhere following a viewing.

The four central characters are complex and flawed and intersect in each other’s lives in a dramatic fashion making the film a “thinking man’s” feast.

The film is adapted from a popular D.H. Lawrence novel of the same name.

In 1920, set in the Midlands section of central England, sisters Ursula (Jennie Linden) and Gudrun (Glenda Jackson) attend the wedding of an acquaintance, Laura Crich. The Crich family is enormously rich and owns a good portion of the mining town.

During the ceremony, Gudrun and Ursula fantasize about Gerald Crich (Oliver Platt) and Rupert Birkin (Alan Bates), respectively. When the foursome cross paths again at Rupert’s pretentious girlfriend’s party, attraction and conflict arise.

The film is described as “character-driven” and does not begin to do it justice. Each of the four principal characters is richly written with intelligence and gusto. All of them are either flawed or insecure in some way, while the fact that Gerald and Rupert share a sexual attraction for each other is another nuance explored throughout the film.

Rupert is confident and outspoken about his bisexuality- extremely rare for a 1969 film. In this way, Women in Love is ahead of its time.

The major themes in Women in Love are commitment and love and how each character handles these sometimes either embracing them or running away from them.

Gudrun and Gerald are in love with each other, while Rupert and Ursula are too, but one couple is unsuccessful at reaching any sort of bliss. The characters possess a bevy of emotions making their happiness almost impossible and the characters feel doomed to failure from the onset.

This is an example of the tremendous writing on the part of Larry Kramer and bringing the characters to the big screen in a memorable way.

Jackson’s Gudrun and Bates’s Rupert are my favorite characters because they appear to have slightly more depth to them and feel like the standouts. Gudrun appears to have love/hate feelings toward Gerald and often is downright cruel to him.

As they vacation in the Swiss Alps, Gudrun purposely and inexplicably flirts with a gay artist leaving Gerald insanely jealous and resulting in tragedy.

Counter-balancing Gudrun’s anger, Rupert showers in fun and zest for life, happily bi-sexual and thinking nothing of it, enjoying his sexually charged affections for both men and women.

The supporting characters, specifically snobbish Hermione and mentally unstable Christianna Crich are examples of perfect casting. Eleanor Bron plays Hermione as mocking and teetering on unhinged. As she psychologically bullies poor Ursula when it’s clear Rupert prefers the more innocent woman, Hermione becomes frightened.

Actress Catherine Willmer takes Christianna to a new level in creepy. Already appearing psychotic, when her daughter tragically drowns the woman goes over the edge, unleashing vicious dogs on any visitors to her estate.

Both actresses give unforgettable performances.

Women in Love contains a scene that may very well be the most homo-erotic scene in film history. As Rupert and Gerald decide to partake in a Japanese-style wrestling match one evening, they strip completely naked and grapple in front of a roaring fire.

In this lengthy sequence, both front and rear nudity are provided, leaving nothing to the imagination. When Rupert suggests they swear eternal love for each other, Gerald cannot commit to the emotional union.

One wonders if this outstanding scene influenced 2007’s Eastern Promises.

1969’s Women in Love is an amazing film with terrific acting all around. Taking romantic drama to an entirely different level and setting a new standard for brilliant complexities in film, the work of art from director Ken Russell is peppered with nuances making it rich with great storytelling and character development.

The fact that one couple ends in bliss and the other in tragedy is sheer excellence.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Director-Ken Russell, Best Actress-Glenda Jackson (won), Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Cinematography

Women in Love-1969

Women in Love-1969

Director Ken Russell

Starring Glenda Jackson, Jennie Linden

Scott’s Review #553

Reviewed December 20, 2016

Grade: A

Women in Love is a shamefully, by and large, forgotten gem- except for the obscure cinema lover- made in 1969.

The film is a British art film and way ahead of its time. Despite the title, it is anything but a romantic comedy- quite dark in content. The film is adapted from a D.H. Lawrence novel of the same name.

The story is of two sisters, Gudrun and Ursula, living in a small mining town. They gather at the wedding of a friend and each becomes enamored with a member of the wedding party.

Later, at a swanky dinner party, the girls meet the men. The film tells of the sister’s relationships with each of the men (played by Alan Bates and Oliver Reed) as well as the men’s relationship with each other.

All of the relationships are very complex and filled with emotion tender and some are quite violent.

Women in Love is one of the first films to feature tons of nudity, but not so much in a gratuitous fashion.

The film’s themes are love, hatred, and the trials and tribulations of the English upper class are explored. The film is a love of mine since it is character-driven, told from each of the perspectives of the characters, and is quite an intense experience.

Glenda Jackson won the 1970 Best Actress Oscar- deservedly so.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Director-Ken Russell, Best Actress-Glenda Jackson (won), Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Cinematography

Fellini Satyricon-1969

Fellini Satyricon-1969

Director Federico Fellini

Starring Martin Potter, Hiram Keller

Scott’s Review #530


Reviewed November 30, 2016

Grade: A

Fellini Satyricon (1969) is a fascinating experience and is a great film, but only for the very broad-minded and patient viewer- it is more of an “experience” than watching a conventional start-to-finish type finish.

It is nothing of that nature.

I both loved the trip and was fascinated by the creativity and depth of it- dreamlike is a word that immediately springs to mind.

The story does not make perfect sense, nor does it need to. The fact that it is set some two thousand years ago is fantastic in itself as the sets are filled with decadent imagination.

The film is certainly not for everyone and is a fairy tale for adults.

It tells of a journey through Ancient Rome and is divided into nine chapters. A scholar (Encolpius) and his friend (Ascyltus) traverse the land in the hopes of winning the heart of a young boy (Giton).

They are both in love with him and the topics of bisexuality, public sex, slavery, and brothels are explored.

I love Fellini films because they are wild, dream-like, fantasy-like, with odd characters.

Is Fellini Satyricon strange? Absolutely. But that is to its credit- this film is highly imaginative, and wild, and will leave one pondering its beauty afterward.

Oscar Nominations: Best Director-Federico Fellini

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?-1969

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? -1969

Director Sydney Pollack

Starring Jane Fonda

Scott’s Review #474


Reviewed September 6, 2016

Grade: A-

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) is a tragic, riveting film, set in the Depression-era 1930s centering on a group of contestants entering a Dance-athon for an enormous cash prize.

Most of the film is set in and around the dance floor itself.

Contestants bring themselves to the brink of exhaustion to win the coveted money and the desperation of the characters is horrific.

Jane Fonda leads the pack as a depressed, sarcastic, aspiring actress, who desperately needs the cash prize.

The dark nature of the film is mesmerizing, though it is a difficult film to watch. I found the periodic parts of the film that seemed to drag, effective, as the contestants grew wearier as each hour dragged on.

It also felt like a precursor to the reality television craze that has swept the nation since the 1990s.

A tragedy, yes, but an effective and worthwhile film about depression and the struggle to survive. And a sad reminder of brutality as a form of entertainment.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Director-Sydney Pollack, Best Actress-Jane Fonda, Best Supporting Actor-Gig Young (won), Best Supporting Actress-Susannah York, Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Score of a Musical Picture-Original or Adaptation, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing

La Femme Infidele-1969

La Femme Infidele-1969

Director Claude Chabrol

Starring Stephane Audran, Michel Bouquet

Scott’s Review #397


Reviewed April 23, 2016

Grade: A-

Another gem by French director Claude Chabrol, La Femme Infidel (The Unfaithful Wife) is a 1969 film later remade in the United States in 2002, directed then by Adrian Lynde.

Having seen the remake a few times before watching the original, I cannot help but compare the two films, which in itself is fun for me since both films are vastly different from one another, especially as I find myself further pondering each.

One is more conventional- the other more psychological.

Successful insurance executive Charles Desvallees lives in the suburbs of Paris with his beautiful wife Helene and their young son.

Life is seemingly idyllic, as they enjoy every luxury imaginable beautiful house with a beautiful landscape and a dutiful maid.

Charles has a sexy secretary, smokes, drinks, and enjoys life at work and Helene frequently goes to Paris for shopping sprees, beauty treatments, and to attend the cinema.

What could be missing from their lives?  Helene is a bored housewife and has embarked on an affair with Victor Pegalla, a writer who lives in Paris.

When Charles grows suspicious of Helene, he hires a private investigator to track her activities and reveal the true story of how she spends her time.

Admittedly, I was highly influenced by Unfaithful, the 2002 remake starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere when I viewed La Femme Infidel.

The remake is set in New York instead of Paris and is more polished and less psychological- a Fatal Attraction-type slick thriller if you will.

The “other man” is much sexier and more passionate, and the connection is more primal than in the original. This changes the tone of the film from a sexual and lustful one to a more complex and psychological dynamic- La Femme Infidel is a more thinking man’s film.

Victor is handsome and well-groomed, but he is rather similar to Helene’s husband, so we wonder what the main appeal is- if she is seeking adventure.

Lane’s 2002 character’s choice is easy- her affair is based on the physical attractiveness of the man. 1969’s Helene is not having her affair for that reason-, the reasons, besides boredom, are unclear, making the film more complex.

When the main action (death) occurs at the midway point, the film goes in a different direction and becomes complicated. No longer is the main plot of Helene’s adultery, but rather what Charles has done and the repercussions bound to follow.

Do we see Charles as the villain and Helene as the victim? Who do we feel sorry for? Do we root for anyone? Certainly, the character of Victor is not explored in much depth. What are his motivations? Is he in love with Helene?

Helene is an interesting character. Is she meant to be sympathetic or hated? Or just complex?  One can interpret her in different ways- the woman has it all beauty, a faithful husband, and a wonderful home life- why does she risk sacrificing it all for a fling?

Does she dare to want more out of her life and have some adulterous fun? It does not seem that Helene is in love with Victor or has any desire to run away with him or leave her husband.

Charles is also a character to be analyzed closely.

Throughout the film’s first portion, he is seen as a victim- his gorgeous wife has mysterious contempt for him and plays him for a fool. She spends his money and cheats on him, while he adores her and resists his young, flirtatious secretary, who has a thing for Charles and wears short skirts seemingly for his benefit.

She is much younger than Helene. Later, his character’s actions and motivations shift from victim to arguably brutish and primal. A momentary outburst changes his motivations and the texture becomes calculating.

In the end, Charles and Helene come together and resume normalcy in their lives, but will things ever be the same? Will the trust ever reappear in their lives? Is Helene now afraid of or intimidated by her husband or rather, does she now have a newfound desire for her alpha, take-charge husband?

The 1969 version of La Femme Infidel is layered, complex, interesting, and left me thinking about the film and that is a very good sign.

The remake, while very good, is more of a blockbuster, produced kind of film, while the original goes more for thought.

The lack of sex appeal in Victor is a negative of the film as are his motivations, but the character-driven nuances of the other characters make this a thought-provoking watch.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service-1969

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service-1969

Director Peter Hunt

Starring George Lazenby, Diana Rigg 

Top 100 Films #25

Scott’s Review #156


Reviewed August 19, 2014

Grade: A

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) is often shamefully derided by fans of the James Bond franchise, which is sad since artistically and story-wise it is top of the heap and is my personal favorite from the series.

Bond, now played by George Lazenby, is on the hunt for arch-nemesis Blofeld, played by Telly Savalas. Blofeld is intent on securing amnesty for his past deeds and is threatening to ruin the world’s food supply if his demands are not met.

Often known among Bond historians as “the one with George Lazenby”, who, if not for Sean Connery returning to the series in the next film, could have lasted much longer in the role, is a breath of fresh air and wonderfully cast.

Lazenby brings his form of charisma, great looks, and charm to the role and Sean Connery is a tough act to follow, but Lazenby succeeds in spades.

Diana Rigg is one of the best Bond girls of all time as she is intelligent, sophisticated, confident, and beautiful, a great counterpart to Bond- she is more his equal, rather than simply just a conquest for him, and the two actors have real chemistry.

Telly Savalas is effective as the Blofeld, though not my all-time favorite Bond villain by any stretch- something is missing in his performance.

In typical Bond fashion, the film begins in sunny Portugal, side steps to London, and finishes in cold Switzerland. I love the icy, snowy Switzerland locales in the film and the ski chase, downhill bobsled chase, car chase on ice, and subsequent blizzard, which are brilliantly atmospheric.- a perfect film to view on a cold winter’s night!

I love the inside quips in this one especially when Lazenby says “I bet this never happened to the other fellow” and “He had lots of guts” both are laugh-out-loud clever.

The shocking and tragic ending is uncharacteristic of a Bond film and a brilliant change from many of the films as Bond is humanized.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) is more character-driven than the other films in the franchise while still providing lots of adventure, and should be revered as a more layered Bond offering.



Director Alfred Hitchcock

Starring Frederick Stafford, Karin Dor

Scott’s Review #108


Reviewed July 12, 2014

Grade: A-

Topaz is an intriguing, suspenseful 1969 latter-day Alfred Hitchcock film.

In the political thriller vein, the film typically suffers from being both overlooked and under-appreciated yet receives admiration from film buffs. It is certainly not one of his better-known films and that is quite a shame.

To be fair, as with many great films, it is complex and layered and requires close attention and even multiple viewings.

The issue with Topaz is that the film suffers from a lack of recognizable stars- a trademark of Hitchcock films in his heyday. Frederick Stafford (Andre) and Karin Dor (Juanita) are the featured romantic couple.

Despite his being married to another woman, Andre and Juanita are the couples the audience is intended to root for.

The story involves competing spies from France, the United States, and Cuba all vying for government secrets concerning the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.

Each spy does their best to obtain the secrets, some in a sinister fashion.

The French accents especially can be tough to understand, but it is a thrilling film that traverses from New York City to Cuba to France. The main protagonist is Andre and Stafford has a high level of charisma and a suave manner.

The character is quite similar to James Bond. The film itself plays out like a Bond film with the exotic locales, the beautiful women, and the political intrigue.

As with most Hitchcock films, the set pieces and art direction are beautiful and perfect. One highlight is a particular character’s death scene in Cuba. Involved in a love story throughout the film, the death is tragic yet heartfelt and very surprising.

Topaz, sadly, was unsuccessful at the box office due to no Hollywood names attached to it and little promotion, although it made several top ten critics lists in 1969.

Topaz is certainly one of the more obscure of Hitchcock films, but an excellent one to be discovered and revered.

Anne of the Thousand Days-1969

Anne of the Thousand Days-1969

Director Charles Jarrott

Starring Richard Burton, Genevieve Bujold

Scott’s Review #56


Reviewed June 22, 2014

Grade: A-

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) is one of the better historical dramas I have seen.

One could become absorbed in the history of royalty and learn much. It has a clear Shakespearean quality to it (tragedy) and is compelling in many ways.

It tells the true story of the tumultuous relationship between Henry VIII of England and his second wife Anne Boleyn, whose union produced one of the most famous queens, Elizabeth I. Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine, is discarded amid much controversy and political intrigue.

The drama is part of what makes this film so interesting, along with the historical element. It is dramatic, but not a soap opera, and the acting is superior.

The film has gorgeous costumes and cinematography too.

Unfortunately, the finale of the beheading left too much to the imagination and a more graphic scene would have put it over the top.

Near excellent though.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Picture, Best Actor-Richard Burton, Best Actress-Genevieve Bujold, Best Supporting Actor-Anthony Quayle, Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Original Score for a Motion Picture (Not a Musical), Best Sound, Best Costume Design (won), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography

Midnight Cowboy-1969

Midnight Cowboy-1969

Director John Schlesinger

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight

Scott’s Review #24


Reviewed June 17, 2014

Grade: A

Midnight Cowboy is a masterpiece from 1969 that remains the only Best Picture Oscar winner to be rated “X” and, sadly, would probably not be made today.

It tells the tale of a friendly, trusting cowboy who moves from Texas to New York City and is challenged to survive the brutal streets any way he can.

Throughout the film, he meets several interesting, unsavory characters and experiences life in the bowels of NYC as drug use and prostitution are explored.

I did not find this to be as much of a downer as many other people did, but rather, a story of survival.

The grittiness of NYC is wonderfully portrayed with many locales being used (Times Square).

Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman are exceptionally cast and have great chemistry, though the film is by no means a “buddy movie”.

It’s bleak, raw, and intense at times.

Sylvia Miles has a memorable one-scene feature. This is great filmmaking.

Oscar Nominations: 3 wins-Best Picture (won), Best Director-John Schlesinger (won), Best Actor-Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Best Supporting Actress-Sylvia Miles, Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (won), Best Film Editing