March: New York City in the 1960s
“New York City in the 1960s” is the theme for March at the Belfast Free Library’s “Friday Night Flix” film series. The month features four critically acclaimed films from a decade where New York City was a prime locale for movie making. All the movies are free and take place at 7pm in the Abbott Room.
The Apartment (1960) Climbing the corporate ladder can be a daunting task - especially if you’re Bud Baxter, a lowly clerk in a massive insurance company. How do you stand out? Bud’s solution is to lend out his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs. Everything is fine until Bud lends it out to the personnel director who is having an affair with the elevator girl – someone that Bud is also sweet on. Hmmm… Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress in leading roles. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Director (Billy Wilder) and Best Picture
Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) This romantic comedy/drama tells the story of two conflicted lovers, played by two of Hollywood’s biggest stars at the time – Steve McQueen and Natalie Wood. After a one night stand, Angie (a Macy’s sales clerk) finds herself pregnant. She’s not interested in marrying Rocky (a musician) – but rather wants help to pay for the abortion. What follows is a roller coaster love affair. This movie is a superb reflection of life in the early 60s. But the moral dilemmas posed in the story are just as relevant today.
The Producers (1967) Producer Max Bialystock, formerly the toast of Broadway, has been reduced to wooing rich old ladies (“angels”) in exchange for them financing his next play. But after meeting with his accountant, Max realizes that he can make more money with a flop than a hit by overselling shares – and then avoid payouts to investors. The two men, played by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, produce “Springtime for Hitler.” It’s supposed to close after one night, except… it’s so campy that the audience loves it! Now what? The directorial debut of Mel Brooks.
Midnight Cowboy (1969) A naïve Texas greenhorn travels to New York City in hopes of making it big as a gigolo. Unfortunately, he’s outhustled by the very people he’s trying to hustle. Out of desperation he befriends a sickly, down and out con man, named Ratso Rizzo who lives in a condemned building. These two outcasts, played by Dustin Hoffman and John Voight, form a seedy partnership that transforms into a deep, abiding friendship. This movie was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and took home the Oscar for Best Picture.