Rock And Roll Years 1959

The last couple of times I have posted episodes of The Rock And Roll Years I have put a list of first films of the year in question and secondly albums released in the year in question. I thought for this one that I would extend the range and I was thinking of poetry books published in the year, but it proved beyond my capabilities or maybe I just thought it wouldn’t work anyway so instead I’ve just repeated the films thing.

Films of 1959
Film Director
The 39 Steps Ralph Thomas
Les Quatre Cent Coups François Truffaut
Ben-Hur William Wyler
The Devil’s Disciple Guy Hamilton
Floating Weeds Yasujiro Ozu
The Gunfight At Dodge City Joseph M Newman
Hiroshima Mon Amour Alain Resnais
I’m All Right Jack John Boulting
Look Back In Anger Tony Richardson
Nazarin Luis Buñuel
North By Northwest Alfred Hitchcock
Our Man In Havana Carol Reed
Pickpocket Robert Bresson
Rio Bravo Howard Hawks
Shadows John Cassavetes
Some Like It Hot Billy Wilder
The World Of Apu Satyajit Ray

I don’t think I saw any of these films when they came out in 1959 but I almost certainly did see some films in that year when I was 5 years old. Most of these films I have seen at some time or another some in the cinema some on tv. A few of them I have either never seen or forgotten whether I’ve seen them or not and those are the ones that I would like to see most.

Here’s some random reminisces about some of them. Hiroshima Mon Amour was the first film I saw by Alain Resnais which was on BBC2 in about 1970 the first in a series of his films that they broadcast in the World Cinema programme which I think was late on a Thursday night back then. Other films included were Last Year At Marienbad and Muriel possibly more. When they first started that programme the first director they featured with a series was Luis Buñuel and the first film they showed in that sequence was The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de San Cruz from memory I would say that the film is about a serial killer who likes to hear a certain music-box being played while his victim is dying but I may be wrong about that. Also from memory I would say that there’s something correspondent with the look of the music-box and the miniature ballerina in David Lynch‘s Eraserhead but maybe that’s just my imagination. Nazarin wasn’t part of that BBC2 series and I can’t remember when or where I first saw it but it was much later. The first Buñuel film that I saw when it first came out at the cinema was The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie and that was in Jericho, Oxford.

The only time I saw Ben-Hur at the cinema was in Paris Easter 1975. It was dubbed into French so I may have missed some of the sense of the dialogue. One of the things it’s famous for is stuntsmen dying during the chariot race apparently this is untrue.

I would have given you a link to watch the whole film for The Devil’s Disciple but all the ones I could find are those ones where you have to click on a meaningless link and I just don’t trust those. I managed to find a couple of clips from the film (one of those I don’t think I’ve ever seen before) and the impression I got was that the American producer (Harold Hecht) in order to get the film to sell better in the USA emphasised the patriotic American elements and anti British army. Shaw‘s play is not really about that. Alexander Mackendrick was originally the director of the film but he was replaced during production probably because he didn’t approve of the way it was going. A number of Shaw’s plays have been turned into films but in my opinion never really succesfully. Please let me know if I’m wrong.

If there is one of these films that I saw in 1959 then that will be The 39 Steps and the more I think about that then the more it seems likely. I was 5 then and if the rest of the family wanted to go to the cinema it would have been simpler to take me with them rather than get a baby-sitter. And at that age I was perfectly capable of sitting quietly watching films for a couple of hours. Cinema for us then took place in Alloa, Clackmannanshire. I certainly remember watching this film very early in my life. The Forth railway bridge was just down the road from us and if we went to Edinburgh for the day to visit zoo or castle or both we would get the ferry along side it and fairly early on in my life I would have gone across the bridge in a train so the sequence of the film which happens on the bridge (pretty much copied from Hitchcock‘s superior 1935 version) would have been particularly meaningful for me. Later I read all the Richard Hannay books. I once wrote a song that was called Island Of Sheep. I’ve got the words somewhere but I can’t remember how the music went actually I could probably re-construct it if I could be bothered in fact I think I may have a recording of the music somewhere.

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