Let’s carry on by taking a spy at six film favourites from the 60s…
And now for something completely random with six favourites, six different film genres, six different films with some familiar faces.
In this post, we are going back to movies past again, this time to celebrate National Classic Movie Day. It’s to the films of the 1960s we are travelling back to. So join me as we return for 6 of my favourite films from my childhood telly watching and beyond. This as I was born as the sixties ended, so none of these films was seen at the cinema.
Other notable mentions for great films I’ve seen should go to those reviewed already including Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Half a Sixpence (1967) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). The sixties treasured movies still to be reviewed – or just re-enjoyed – include The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
Please note these are just a snapshot of my favourites from the sixties. So please don’t get upset if your best films aren’t mentioned or listed here. Your recommendations are of course welcome in the comments or as a film review request HERE.
Carry On Camping (1969)
Carry On Camping – UK Trailer, carryontrailers
My dad was a huge Carry on fan, so it would feel wrong not to include one of this film series on the list. Carry on Camping had double honours, it was the 17th of 31 Carry on films and the most seen movie at the UK cinema in 1969. It was headed by regulars including Sid James, Joan Sims and Kenneth Williams and has just about every actor or actress involved in this film series. Although Jim Dale is notably absent.
It’s full of bawdy comic moments, nudity, in-jokes to other films in the series and double entendres. This was also voted the most popular Carry On movie in 2008, however, our family favourite was Carry On Kyber (1968). It is now the stuff of comedy legend. Keep your eyes peeled as the cast includes a couple of actresses from the Hammer and Amicus movies…
Carry on Camping telling of sex-starved Sid (Sid James) and his workmate Bernie (Bernard Bresslaw) who take their prudish girlfriends away on a camping holiday. Not telling the girls that they have in fact booked a nudist campsite. Of course, things don’t work out as the men planned.
However, things brighten up for the men as the Finishing School for Young Ladies Chayste Place girls is also holidaying there. These girls are under the “supervision” of Dr Soaper (Kenneth Williams) and Miss Haggard (Hattie Jacques). Needless to say, this film upped the sexual innuendo (none intended).
Having watched Carry on Camping recently with Darlin Husband, it still hits the mark comedy-wise but admittedly it’s pretty dated humour. The film boasts one of the best-remembered scenes in this film series where some young ladies exercise in their swimwear with Barbara Windsor’s bikini top flying off. This scene created with her top attached to a fishing line revealed more than it should in the final cut.
Whistle Down the Wind (1961)
Whistle Down The Wind – Coming Soon to Talking Pictures TV, Talking Pictures TV
As a kid, this British film was one of my favourite family movies. It’s a tearjerker that I’d be keen to rewatch as sadly not seen it for ages. The film is set in Lancashire and tells of three young local farm kids who find a fugitive in their barn.
These kids think he’s Jesus due to a misunderstanding. It’s based on the book written by Mary Hayley Bell and the film starring her daughter Hayley Mills. With Diane Holgate and Alan Barnes as her siblings. These kids only share this knowledge with the other kids from the village and with adults unaware of what is happening but knowing there’s a murderer on the loose. Kathy (Mills) also keeps silent after she learns the truth…
It’s a beautifully filmed book, with a strong religious allegory to the story. This however does not distract you from the movie. The musical score is both haunting and stirring and easily recognisable. The children in the leading roles in this film are well cast and all deliver credible performances. Hayley Mills, in the leading role, won a BAFTA nomination.
Alan Bates playing the criminal was also convincing. He made his character a sympathetic one and he gives a touching performance. This film was Bates’ first movie. It was Bryan Forbes’s first film as director and was produced by Richard Attenborough. The plot was later transformed into a musical and relocated to Louisiana. But somehow I feel this wouldn’t be the same in colour, with songs and without those Lancashire accents.
The Ipcress File (1965)
The Ipcress File Official Trailer #1 – Michael Caine Movie (1965) HD, Movieclips Classic Trailers
This movie sextet had to have a Cold War film, a Michael Caine movie and a British espionage film on the list. This British film has all these attributes. As the first of the first three of those better Harry Palmer movies and this is another film series my dad enjoyed. I’ve only recently revisited the first of this film series.
But I confess to watching the third of this film series, which was set over here in Finland. This film is, of course, was Billion Dollar Brain (1967) which has more than a few recognisable locations in the Helsinki region. The Ipcress File, however, was set in London. It feels much more of a grey and gritty 60s film than the early Bond movies which were also released in the sixties.
The Ipcress File has Harry Palmer is investigating the disappearance and possible brainwashing of scientists. With a suspected mole in the establishment. There is a brainwashing scene within the movie – not going to spoil things and tell you the when, how and who – and it is kinda spookily hypnotic to watch.
I think Caine is perfect for his Harry Palmer role, and he gives a solid presence and gravitas to his character. It was a surprise to learn that the role originally was for Christopher Plummer. Plummer left this role to do The Sound of Music (1965) instead. Then the film role was offered to Richard Harris who turned it down.
Caine made this character his own by naming him Harry and associating his character with those trademark spectacles which he interestingly only wears as this character. Interestingly, many of the film crew had worked on the early James Bond films and John Barry – who wrote many of the Bond soundtracks – wrote the film score.
The Parent Trap (1961)
The Parent Trap (1961) – Disneycember, Channel Awesome
This is the first but not the last of Hayley Mills’ film series that she stars in as both of these twins. This film tells how it all began and is based on a German children’s novel. The Parent Trap storytelling of two identical teenage twins, Sharon McKendrick and Susan Evers.
The pair are twins who were separated at birth by their parents, who then divorced and brought up never seeing their double. Then by chance, the girls meet their long lost twin at a summer camp. After initial hatred, the pair fight and are punished together and in time become friends.
They learn they are twins and they decide to swap places before going their separate ways as the camp ends. They learn more about their twin characteristics and personality to fool their parents. Then they try to get their parents back together. As it’s a Disney film you don’t need me to tell you how it ends. This film spawned way too many follow up films with three at the last count (all were TV Movies).
Yet its plot is at its most charming and fun here in this sixties film with Brian Keith and Maureen O’ Hara as the girls’ parents. It’s one I do remember knowing practically off my heart as a kid. I avidly watched the film repeats which were usually scheduled for Christmas or Bank Holidays.
Now after learning about those follow-up films, I would probably avoid both them and the remake, just because I know I’d end up comparing it to this gem too much. To be honest, those follow up ones sound a bit painful despite the cast, but I could be wrong. I’d also be keen to watch this film again to see Cathleen Nesbitt as the girls’ grandmother. I adored this actress and her chemistry with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember (1957).
Summer Holiday (1963)
Cliff Richard – Summer Holiday (Movie Trailer), Kevin Allen
Most British kids of a certain age will remember when Multi Coloured Swap Shop (1976-82) took its summer break. This left a three-hour gap in Saturday morning kids’ entertainment. This void in the TV schedule, was filled by Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead? (1973-95), The Monkees (1966-68), a few random cartoons and an Elvis Presley or Cliff Richard musical film.
Summer Holiday falls into the Cliff Richard movies category and is a film that surprisingly wasn’t reviewed in my recent Pop Stars Blogathon. Cliff stars along with the Shadows and Melvyn Hayes (with shocking blond hair.)
The story tells of some London bus mechanics – played by Cliff and the guys – who convert a bus into a holiday home and set off to the South of France. On the way, they meet – and pick up girls (including Una Stubbs) – and end up taking a detour.
Later they pick up a runaway American singer, Barbara (Lauri Peters). Barbara pretends to be a boy, and everyone falls for her ruse. The singer hopes to escape her domineering mother, who believes her daughter was kidnapped and goes to the press. Cue now awkward comedy scenes.
The film cast does a lot (read a serious amount of) singing and dancing and is remembered for that London red double-decker bus. This British combo made it a firm favourite on its release. The title song is probably the most remembered and the most catchy, other songs include Seven Days to a Holiday and Bachelor Boy. The film was the second most popular film of the year and shockingly even did better than The Great Escape (1963) at the box office.
The Spy With My Face (1965)
The Spy with My Face (1965) Trailer – Color / 1:29 mins, Vulture Graffix
Kind of cheating, as I’m counting this as from the American espionage genre and Harry Palmer as a British spy film. This as I round things up with another Man from UNCLE movie. This was another film spy series my dad was keen on back then. This film was released at the cinema on a double bill with To Trap A Spy. The Spy With My Face was based on The Double Affair, this was a TV episode but with more scenes added.
Here the men from UNCLE aka Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) try and stop those bad guys at THRUSH from stealing a superweapon, named Project Earth Save which will be used if Earth is invaded by wee green men. With this plot, it’s a case of double trouble. Solo is knocked unconscious by some gas and kidnapped by THRUSH.
With THRUSH’s bad guy taking his place. The bad guy is both a lookalike and sound alike for UNCLE’s Napoleon Solo (and both played by Robert Vaughn) after some (impressive) plastic surgery. Needless to say the real Solo escapes…and there are babes and gadgets aplenty.
I loved this film as I do like those bad guy / good guy double replacements in the movies and TV. This all too familiar plot device in TV Shows as diverse as Dynasty and Knight Rider. It did help that in this film the lookalikes were played by Robert Vaughn, a then Realweegiemidget crush.
As with all these movies, this one does stretch credibility at times, with this double being a “sound-alike” too. But it’s all good fun and Vaughn definitely seemed to have fun in this double role. More about this film and TV series can be read HERE.
So if my gittering has inspired you to watch a film from back then, but not these ones. Do check out my A to Z films reviewed HERE or with a wee slide show HERE for more from this decade. So take the leap and return back to that time and place.
6 from the 60s Blogathon 2020 No 12
This post was added to In Classic Film and TV‘S 6 from the 60s Blogathon. Other posts on this blog with these casts include Robert Vaughn and David McCallum in The Man from UNCLE film The Karate Killers. Vaughn also stars in SOB and The Towering Inferno. Hayley Mills stars in Tiger Bay, Appointment with Death and Deadly Strangers. Brian Keith stars in With Six You Get Eggroll and Meteor. Michael Caine stars in 5 films from the 70s and 80s, The Swarm and his tag is HERE with many more. Melvyn Hayes starred in It Aint Half Hot Mum and Una Stubbs in EastEnders. Barbara Windsor is tributed HERE.