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Vintage 1964

'Year of the Month' will never have a ring to it. I know this but I love themes. Don't hate me because I'm thematical. This month we're having a 50th anniversary party for 1964... (next month it's 1989's 25th) which is a fancy way of counting down to Monday, June 30th's Supporting Actress Smackdown wherein we'll be looking at performances from Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Chalk Garden, My Fair Lady, The Night of the Iquana and Zorba the Greek. 

So get to watching those movies so you can vote in the reader ballot!

But before we get to all that: 1964's vintage in list form (we did this once before for 1983 if you remember) since you always want lists, yes? Let's savor 1964's aged cinematic crop....

Best Movies According To...
Oscar: Becket, Dr Strangelove, Mary Poppins, My Fair Ladyand Zorba the Greek were the best picture nominees. They sucked up such a gigantic portion of the nominations (it must have been a record at the time) that it'd be virtually impossible to guess what the almost-rans were that year had we had the 5-10 rule in place.
Golden Globe: (drama) Becket*, The Chalk Garden, Dear Heart, Night of the Iguana, and Zorba the Greek (comedy/musical) Father Goose, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady*, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The World of Henry Orient
Cannes: Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Box Office: reports vary wildly on this but it's something like... 1) Mary Poppins 2) Goldfinger 3) My Fair Lady 4) The Carpetbaggers 5) Unsinkable Molly Brown with What a Way To Go!The Pink Panther, Father Goose, Good Neighbor Sam and Viva Las Vegas all posting strong numbers (I mixed the sketchy numbers from both IMDb and "Box Office Champs" a book published in 1990 before the internet *gasp*.)

Half-Century Hotties & Top Ten Actresses Born in '64 after the jump...


Born in '64 Mix Tape
Courtney Love, Patty Griffin, Lenny Kravitz, Eddie Vedder, Diana Krall, Amy Ray, Tracey Chapman, Adam Yauch, Wynonna Judd, Neneh Cherry, and Andy Bell

The #1 song of the year was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles who basically owned 1964 in its entirety. 

1964: The Omnibus Movie Directed by: Joss Whedon (The Avengers), Andrey Zvyaginstev (Leviathan), Bruce LaBruce (The Raspberry Reich), Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), Eytan Fox (Yossi & Jagger), Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), Todd Field (In the Bedroom), Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture), Peyton Reed (Bring It On), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Mark Waters (Mean Girls), Sergey Loznitsa (My Joy), Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone), Caroline Link (Nowhere in Africa), and Peter Berg (Lone SurvivorWritten by  Erin Cressida Wilson, Marti Noxon, Patrick Marber and Bret Easton Ellis Director of Photography Lance Acord Costumed by Mary Zophres Edited by Bob Murawski 

... that would be one schizophrenic movie!


Perfect Physical Specimens Designed in Labs
Famke Janssen, Rob Lowe, Monica Bellucci, Laura Elena Harring, Djimon Hounsou, Connie Nielsen, Marisa Tomei, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Ronit Elkabetz, Clive Owen, Matt Dillon, Elle MacPherson, Keanu Reeves 

Recently Caught Scene Stealing... 
Kathy Burke (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Penelope Ann Miller (The Artist), Garret Dillahunt (everything), Gloria Reuben (Lincoln), Bob Clendenin (Cougar Town)

Whatever Happened To:
Bridget Fonda, of Jackie Brown/Single White Female fame, retired a long time ago to raise a family with composer Danny Elfman; Joanne Whalley, once Mrs. Val Kilmer, was fetching in late 80s films like Scandal and Willow; Janeane Garofalo, Reality Bites, left acting for activism; Zach Galligan from Gremlins -- no seriously what happened?; Kim Richards, one half of the magic twins (my first life crush) from Return from Witch Mountain; One Black Mamba killed Copperhead in Kill Bill Vol 1, it's like Vivica Fox ceased to exist on the big screen -- or have I just not been paying attention?; Queen Margot's romantic hunk Vincent Perez  is now directing; John Leguizamo who details what became of his career in his latest one man show; and Deborah Kara Unger has been getting scarcer and scarcer onscreen but boy is she vivid when she's "on" (see Crash)

Overachieving Weirdos
Crispin Glover, Beatrice Dalle, Nicolas Cage, and Rossy de Palma

Small Screen Sweethearts
Mary Louise Parker [insert the sound of sucking on an ice coffee straw here], Hank Azaria, Melissa Gilbert, Stephen Colbert (oh you know he'd love being called a sweetheart), Courteney Cox, Teri Hatcher, Mariska Hargitay, Calista Flockhart, David Eigenberg ("Steve" from Sex & The City), Harry Lennix, Molly Shannon (SUPERSTAR!!!), Blair Underwood, Wanda Sykes, Malcolm Gets...and since they've officially moved to the small screen from the silver, and Hope Davis

Sister of Michelle / Brother of Owen
Dedee Pfeiffer / Andrew Wilson

Broadway Babies
Michael Berresse, Danny Burstein, Ann Harada

10 Best Actors Born in '64?
(alpha order) Hank Azaria, Don Cheadle, Russell Crowe, Garrett Dillahunt, Matt Dillon, Christopher Eccleston, Clive Owen, Linus Roache (I fell so hard in 1995's Priest and for a few years thereafter he was everything: Wings of the Dove, Shot in the Dark... but weirdly he only found semi-lame tv roles and small film roles for long stretches), Andy Serkis and Dean Winters

[And drum roll please]

10 Most Awesome Actresses Born in '64
This list would change, or at least the order would, if you ask me again tomorrow 

10 Famke Janssen
I'm not sure what she's doing on Hemlock Grove but it was charming to see her again, however briefly, in X-Men Days of Future Past. But her turn in Turn the River (2007) suggested that were dramatic depths not yet plumbed with that astonishing high-cheekboned beauty in the way. 

09 Sandra Bullock
The popular comic actress is on top of the world again after a group of consecutive drama and comic blockbusters with two Oscar noms and a statue to show for it. What will she do for this encore to her encore from her victory lap?

08 Ronit Elkabetz
The terrific Israeli actress who was so electric in Late Marriage (2001, a must-see for all serious cinephiles) and later in acclaimted titles like The Band's Visit and Or, My Treasure has turned to directing.

07 Rosie Perez
PERSONALITY! Rosie is so entertaining as herself -- and has aged so well -- that it's shocking that Hollywood has only found intermittent use for her over the years. She muted that giant fun personality for her dark cameo in The Counsellor, as a vengeful felon last year but where is her next great comedy? Until then, she's got a memoir out.

06 Emmanuelle Devos
One of France's best actresses though her films haven't been travelling here for a while, damnit. But if you need a get-to-know you double feature do Read My Lips (2001) and Kings and Queen (2005).

05 Maggie Cheung
We must deduct points for the endless retirement when she still shows up at public events as the celebrity she is (as in the photo above). If you're going to put yourself out there, Maggie, use it for the big screen.

04 Paprika Steen
My favorite Scandinavian actress. This Dane is so bold and vivid in everything whether she's doing complex diva portraiture (Applause), intimate savage family drama (Celebration), welcome cameos (Keep the Lights On), or romantic comedy for adults (Superclasico). She recently appeared in the Pierce Brosnan film Love is All You Need but she needs a higher profile international gig to remind everyone of what a powerhouse she is. 

03 Marisa Tomei
Oscar loves to crown starlets with the golden statue before they've earned it in their pretty young thing years. Few make their surprise win this justified in retrospect. After a short stint as a mainstream leading lady, Marisa varied up her career and does everything now: leading lady, stage trouper, supporting actress par excellence and does it all very very very well. A true actor's actor. 

02 The Lovely Laura Linney
She's disappeared of late but we're hoping for a grand comeback, aren't you? You can count on her for great performances.

01 Juliette Binoche
Oscar winner. French goddess. Acclaimed thespian. Binoche first made her international mark in romantic/erotic dramas like Rendez-vous (1985), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Lovers on the Bridge (1991) and Damage (1992). Two decades later she's still just as erotically and romantically potent but she's an even better rangier actress, proving that it wasn't those those early racy films that set the template but her mesmerizing enigmatic star turn as the grieving woman of Trois Coleurs: Bleu (1992). With recent films like The Flight of the Red Balloon, Summer Hours, Certified Copy that teensy tiny dose of human tragedy in Godzilla (2014) she just keeps on wowing. 

Who are your favorites from this 50 year old vintage?


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Reader Comments (28)

I love many of these actresses and think that Famke Janssen is the most underutilized. She was fantastic on 'Nip/Tuck' and in 'Turn the River.'

1964 was a great year for actressing. Anne Bancroft in 'The Pumpkin Eater' and Kim Stanley in 'Seance on a Wet Afternoon' are two of my favorite performances of all time.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

Juliette Binoche is not only the best actress born in 1964. She is the best actress born in any other year!

I really wish you had seen her heart-breaking performance in Camille Claudel 1915. She made me forget Adjani, can you believe that (and I love Adjani in CC)?

Binoche is my favorite kid of actor, the one who chases great artists to collaborate with them. Gotta love auteur lust.


I really wish I loved more Laura Linney. She is a great actress, but she never topped or came close to You Can Count on Me, that is still one of my favorite performances ever.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

So many great ones like Juliette and Laura but my heart belongs to Marisa Tomei. I fell in love with her when I watched My Cousin Vinny on VHS and was so shocked at the time that she won an Oscar for it. She's the sexy girl that's funny and relatable.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Wouldn't it be great to witness again the battle of two great musicals for all the major Oscars? For me, 1964 is all about My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins, the first movie I saw as a kid.

Actresses? I'll go with Linney and Tomei. Linney just had kids, remember? Juliette is amazing too.

P.S. Rossy de Palma would (loudly) complain about being included in the weirdos category!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

You must know what happened to Kim Richards!

Juliette and Marisa are my favorites.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I always love when you group actors by birth year since it adds such a (seemingly) random collection of actors into one (usually pretty staggering) group. But now that you mentioned the Unsinkable Molly Brown, please PLEASE write about it. I was obsessed with it as a wee lass (you can only partially blame James Cameron: I was a vaguely ginger mildly brassy thing in my youth, so obviously, I identified with the musical version). I sang (badly) Belly Up to the Bar in my high school review show and even ended up volunteering at the Molly Brown House Museum when I was living in Denver (which is much less grand than the one in the movie!). I haven't seen the movie in years though and would love a revisit. My first guess: does NOT hold up to my adult standards!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Mike--The Pumpkin Eater. OMG.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

As I was scrolling down, I didn't really think you could find someone to top Laura Linney in the actressing department, but then of course, Juliette is for me in a whole other league. What I love about her is the maddening (in a good way) sense that even though she is giving it her all onscreen that there is still something mysterious being held back by her.

Plus I think Juliette is alternately beautiful and plain-ish (let's not get ridiculous) depending on the role and the circumstances. And the facility with French and English. The ability to even slip into pretty mainstream fair (like that movie with Dane Cook and Steve Carrell), while still maintaining arthouse hauteur.

PS Sandy and Marisa are people you'd love to know in real life, and Maggie is almost Garboesque onscreen and off.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

As far as films go I have such a soft spot for Dear Heart and What a Way to Go!. Other favorites: Becket, The Pumpkin Eater, The Chalk Garden, I'd Rather Be Rich (I know it's cotton candy but I love it), The Night of the Iguana, Woman of Straw with the odd pairing of Sean Connery and Gina Lollobrigida, Mary Poppins, Viva Las Vegas and something I just saw this year and instantly regretted putting off watching all these years-The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, it was amazing.

My number one '64 actress would be Laura Linney, hopefully she won't take too long off to enjoy new motherhood like Bridget Fonda did. Besides her the divine Mary Louise Parker, Marisa Tomei, James Purefoy, Clive Owen, Ray Stevenson, Don Cheadle, Hank Azaria, Linus Roache, Craig Bierko, Willie Garson. Faith Ford and Tom Verica are all favorites.

From the whatever happened to file: I loved Chistopher Makepeace from My Bodyguard and Meatballs but he's just vanished.

1964 was also the year Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with Burl Ives made it's TV bow.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6


1) In 1964, the Supremes (featuring future Oscar nominee Diana Ross) had three consecutive number one singles, the start of a six-single streak. All in all, they topped the US charts twelve times between August 1964 and December 1969.

2) In November 1964, Judy Garland (today's her birthday) performed at the London Palladium with her daughter Liza Minnelli. The legendary concerts are captured on a legendary album.

(Yes, I'm gay.)

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Yes, I'm gay

You tell on yourself with the constant worshiping of Mount Bale.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Baleheads are commonly gay? Well, that's news to me.

(But thanks for noticing. I've always thought my Bale obsession took a backseat on this blog to some of my other cinematic fixations.)

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Baleheads are commonly gay?

They're not. They're irrational and scary like he is. But you have sense except when it comes to him. Like a religious person who wants everyone to worship their god symbol.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

/3rtful & Paul - I think we can all agree that Bale has earned some of the rabid fanaticism from their most devoted. Not all of it but no actor has, really. But how'd we get on Bale. Back to 1964 !!!

Suzanne - i saw her in Black Snake Moan but that was the last time.

catbaskets - i would like to write about that one (haven't seen it since i was tiny. so if i find time

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

@Nathaniel: I'm all about the Ladies (of 1964) today!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Juliette Binoche and Marisa Tomei are 50? They look way younger than that.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

I'd say Laura Linney, Marisa Tomei, and May-Louise Parker are my favorites of the batch.

Linney just had a kid and ended a run headlining a cable series. I'm sure she just wants a little break. She'll be back.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Very random but Bobby Flay the chef was also born in 1964 (as well as my older sister). Now I feel old.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

Nathaniel, Kim Richards is a cast member of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! Her alcoholism and recovery has played out on the show. I admire the fact that you honestly weren't aware of this...

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

The year my mother was born...

Great actress list!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFernando Moss

HA! Can I take some pride with modesty in saying that these are my fellow Dragon year borns. Yes, 1964 is the year of the Dragon in Chinese Zodiac.

Just looked up now for other famous people sharing Dragon sign, interesting...

Stars: Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, John Lennon, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Al Pacino, Anna Faris, Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynold, Reese Whitherspoon, Patrick Swayze, Christopher Reeve, Isabella Rossillini, Mickey Rourke, Raquel Welch, Jame Caans, Salvador Dali, Adele, Rhianna, Jesse J, Dionne Warwick, Smokey Robinson, Tom Jones, Cliff Richards

Historical figures:
Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Charles Darwin,Abraham Lincoln, Francisco Franco, Vladimir Putin,, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, Jr

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

Suzanne - i've never seen an episode of that franchise or an episode of jersey shore or an episode of [Insert almost any reality show that's not a competition show and that's about obnoxious people here except The Real World which created them and which i watched for the first 6 or 7 seasons off and on and finally realized how gross it all was] and.my life is surely better for it !

There's only so much time in the day and in our lives. And every few episodes of a reality show you could have watched a movie you've never seen. This is what I want to say to everyone all the time ;)

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Never thought I'd see Binoche and Bullock in the same list of anything. they're just from different planets.
I guess Oscar is like a varnish that makes your career look more polished, but not the kind of varnish that is transparent and lets the wood streaks be seen, no. It's the kind of varnish that by adding some colour hides all the defects, the flaws and the crap, to make believe that what you see are the real wood streaks, just because they look like them. But they are not.

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Love the top three actresses, especially Linney ♥ still can not believe that she just born her first child in 50!

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

I really prefer My Fair Lady over Mary Poppins.
In 1964 my mother was 14 years old and it was the year where my grandparents got their first TV. As long as her grandmother was in the room, my mom always had to left when two people were kissing in a movie!

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

I first saw My Fair Lady when I was 8 or 9. I was totally loving it until the last 30 seconds. Oh, that ending: I HATED it. I rewatched the movie for the first time this year and, yep, I still loathe the end.

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercash

I am an atheist. But you could convince me Binoche is a god.

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

I just called to say I love you. This entry is perfect, and so You.

June 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

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