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Films: Tystnaden/The Silence (1963) - Blood Feast (1963) - Contempt (1963) - La Ricotta (1963) - The Servant (1963) - The Whip and The Body (1963) - X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)
Events and trends: Clement Dodd opens the first black-owned Jamaican recording facility Studio One; assassination of Kennedy; Ted Nelson coins the term hypertext; Richard Hoggart becomes the first director of the CCCS and the results of the Milgram experiment are published.
Visual arts: Grotesk  (1963) - Hannah Höch
She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah (1963) - Beatles
La Ricotta (1963)
The Haunting (1963) - Robert Wise
The Haunting (1963) - Robert Wise [Amazon.com]
Certain to remain one of the greatest haunted-house movies ever made, Robert Wise's The Haunting (1963) is antithetical to all the gory horror films of subsequent decades, because its considerable frights remain implicitly rooted in the viewer's sensitivity to abject fear. A classic spook-fest based on Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House (which also inspired the 1999 remake directed by Jan de Bont), the film begins with a prologue that concisely establishes the dark history of Hill House, a massive New England mansion (actually filmed in England) that will play host to four daring guests determined to investigate--and hopefully debunk--the legacy of death and ghostly possession that has given the mansion its terrifying reputation. Consumed by guilt and grief over her mother's recent death and driven to adventure by her belief in the supernatural, Eleanor Vance (Julie Harris) is the most unstable--and therefore the most vulnerable--visitor to Hill House. She's invited there by anthropologist Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson), along with the bohemian lesbian Theodora (Claire Bloom), who has acute extra-sensory abilities, and glib playboy Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn, from Wise's West Side Story), who will gladly inherit Hill House if it proves to be hospitable. Of course, the shadowy mansion is anything but welcoming to its unwanted intruders. Strange noises, from muffled wails to deafening pounding, set the stage for even scarier occurrences, including a door that appears to breathe (with a slowly turning doorknob that's almost unbearably suspenseful), unexplained writing on walls, and a delicate spiral staircase that seems to have a life of its own.
The genius of The Haunting lies in the restraint of Wise and screenwriter Nelson Gidding, who elicit almost all of the film's mounting terror from the psychology of its characters--particularly Eleanor, whose grip on sanity grows increasingly tenuous. The presence of lurking spirits relies heavily on the power of suggestion (likewise the cautious handling of Theodora's attraction to Eleanor) and the film's use of sound is more terrifying than anything Wise could have shown with his camera. Like Jack Clayton's 1961 chiller, The Innocents, The Haunting knows the value of planting the seeds of terror in the mind, as opposed to letting them blossom graphically on the screen. What you don't see is infinitely more frightening than what you do, and with nary a severed head or bloody corpse in sight, The Haunting is guaranteed to chill you to the bone. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com
The Haunting is a classic horror film from 1963 directed by Robert Wise and adapted by Nelson Gidding from the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It starred Julie Harris, Richard Johnson and Claire Bloom. The film centres around the conflict between a team of paranormal investigators and the house they spend the night in. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Haunting [Aug 2005]
Flaming Creatures (1963) - Jack Smith
Flaming Creatures (1963) - Jack Smith
Filmstill | © Jack Smith
image sourced here.
Flaming Creatures (1963) - Jack Smith
His own performance style--half dashing, half mongoloid--is better preserved in the Jack Smith routine that caps off Andy Warhol's CAMP: the great man, looking dapper as a Lower East Side Clark Gable, does a ten-minute performance piece about, literally, coming out of a closet. And the late, great Ron Vawter's extraordinary "Roy Cohn/Jack Smith" preserves the molasses, the stupor, and the head-thumping epiphanies that made up a live Jack Smith performance.
CREATURES, one of the most notorious of all American "avant-garde films," seems at first to be a queer-theory seminar avant la lettre. Then Smith's processional of silent-movie-looking waifs and queenies repeats and repeats. I find George Kuchar and even Kenneth Anger more interesting on similar territory; but Smith is a man-god, and CREATURES should be seen...once. --matthew wilder, imdb.com
The Girl Hunters (1963) - Roy Rowland
The Girl Hunters (1963) - Roy Rowland [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Mickey Spillane plays his own creation, street-thug-turned-PI Mike Hammer, in this 1963 adaptation of his novel. The film opens with Hammer on the downside of a years-long bender, scooped out of the gutter by a bitter cop intent on prying information from a dying man. Inspired to clean up his act by the secrets he hears, Hammer hits the streets on a personal crusade to find the love of his life. Future Bond girl Shirley Earton costars as a glamorous society widow who goes slumming with Hammer. Spillane, who brings the grace of a trained monkey and the sex appeal of a Bronx cheer to the role, is less a stoic, tarnished street knight than a street bum at a cocktail party, but it works for the working-class pug. The low-budget production is a rare black-and-white CinemaScope picture, rough and messy but lacking the raw edge and gritty look of more accomplished crime pictures. B-movie veteran Roy Rowland directs with a lazy pace and a prosaic style that drags until he takes his camera to streets of New York City. The definitive Hammer remains Ralph Meeker in Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly, but Spillane makes a respectable runner-up. --Sean Axmaker for Amazon.com
Frank Morrison Spillane (born March 9, 1918), better known as Mickey Spillane, is an American author of crime novels.
Spillane was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in a tough neighborhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Starting his career writing for slick magazines, after some success, he would turn to pulp magazines and comic books. He was paid twelve dollars apiece for a block of copy and could do as many as fifty blocks of copy a day. During World War II, Spillane trained pilots and flew combat missions for the Air Corps.
After the war, Spillane returned to comic books. He also worked as a trampoline performer with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. He had a short stint as a federal agent during which he helped smash a narcotics ring (he still carries the scars of two bullets and a knife wound to prove it). He was converted to Jehovah's Witnesses in 1952.
For a time Spillane was one of the most popular authors in the United States, with seven titles among the ten best-selling American books of the 20th century. His first detective novel was I, the Jury in 1947. He wrote the book in a tent while he built his first house. I, the Jury introduced Spillane's tough detective Mike Hammer. The violence was more overt than it had ever been in a detective story. His books, although considered tame by current standards, had more than their contemporary competitors in terms of sexual episodes.
In 1965, he married his second wife, Sherri Malinou, a model who posed in the nude for the cover of his 1972 book The Erection Set.
Mickey Spillane is the most translated living author in the world today.
Criticism of Spillane's work
Literary critics hated Spillane's writing, citing high content of sex and violence. (Ayn Rand, who highly praised Spillane's books, was virtually the only exception to this consensus.) In answer to his critics, Spillane had a few terse comments:Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Spillane [Jul 2005]
If the public likes you, you're good.
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