The year 1960 falls during a period of transition in American film, coming along as the studio system was on its last legs and before the MPAA replaced the Hays Code, allowing for bolder narratives from rising auteur filmmakers. It’s a great year for film and produced a number of enduring classics, made both in America and abroad:
For starters, there’s The Apartment, Billy Wilder’s ode to the lonely that would go on to be crowned Best Picture by AMPAS.
Psycho, one of Hitchcock’s very best (and that’s a very long list indeed).
The Magnificent Seven, John Sturges’ retelling of Seven Samurai and the film which made Steve McQueen a genuine star.
Inherit The Wind, a personal favourite of mine and a showcase for top notch performances by Spencer Tracy and Frederic March.
Spartacus, written by Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten. A blacklisted screenwriter, Trumbo worked on the film under a pseudonym, but the film’s star Kirk Douglas would later reveal his involvement, kick-starting the beginning of the end of the blacklist period.
The Misfits, a film released in 1961 but made in 1960 and which has the distinction of being the last appearance of two bigger than life stars: Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe
Coming from the other side of the Atlantic:
Peeping Tom, the controversial horror thriller from Michael Powell that was initially lambasted by critics but has since been championed by Martin Scorsese and Roger Ebert, amongst others.
L’avventura Michelangelo Antonioni’s incredibly influential masterpiece.
Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard’s French new wave tour de force.
Two Women, which won Sophia Loren an Oscar as Best Actress, the first time a woman had won the award for a non-english speaking role.
La Dolce Vita from the master Federico Fellini.
The Virgin Spring from that other master, Ingmar Bergman