Best Movie Year Ever (in my lifetime)

Looks as though they’re calling it a movie summer out here in the Zeitgeist – which also means that the movie year is two-thirds over as well. Autumn, of course, will tell us how 2012 measures up in cinema history. And we’re all looking forward to The Hobbit, Lincolnand, of course, This One. But I already doubt that this year in movies will provide as bountiful crop as the one yielded Fifty Years Ago.


Consider even this partial list of 1962 releases, in no particular order: Lawrence of Arabia, The Manchurian Candidate, Ride the High Country, The Exterminating Angel, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Miracle Worker, Winter Light,  Dr. No, Lolita, La Jetee ,The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Sanjuru, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Advise and Consent, L’Eclisse, Hatari, The Intruder, Lonely are the Brave, Birdman of Alcatraz, Cape Fear, Days of Wine and Roses, Jules et Jim, The Longest Day, Knife in the Water…


Men and Women of Good Will can argue about the relative merits of these and other releases from that same year. But for even a casual movie buff, this (again, partial) list has enough eclectic pleasures to fill a month of revelatory joy. (I haven’t even mentioned Kid Galahad, which devotees of Elvis Presley movies claim to be his all-time best – unless I’m confusing it with Girls, Girls, Girls, released that same year.)