Movies from the 1960s

A collection of scenes, people, lines, props, and other details from the movies of the 1960s.

Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

The incident with Lili Muráti and the train wasn’t the only tense moment during the filming of Doctor Zhivago.

Much of the film was shot in Spain, with the streets of Madrid redressed to become Moscow. So when the crowds of Spanish extras march through the streets singing the communist Internationale, they had good reason: they were living under the dictator Francisco Franco.

The secret police took a dim view of all this revolutionary singing and kept a close eye on the extras, while apparently some local residents also misunderstood the singing, and toasted the revolution.

La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita (1960)

There aren’t many scenes in cinema that have reached a level as iconic as Anita Ekberg’s dip in the Trevi Fountain in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Countless tourists flock to the fountain every year, and if they don’t jump in themselves, there are probably two good reasons for this. One is that the local council now puts bleach in the water, and the other is that the scene wasn’t really filmed at the real fountain.

Instead, the Trevi Fountain scene was shot at a recreation of the fountain on a lot at Rome’s Cinecitta studios, a few miles south of the real thing.

If this made the filming more convenient, it didn’t make it any more pleasant for the two stars: the scene was shot in winter, and Marcello Mastroianni needed both a wetsuit under his tuxedo and a bottle of vodka to prepare himself for the icy waters of the fountain, while Ekberg was wearing thigh-length waders under her dress.

Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

When Zhivago returns home from not-quite meeting Lara on a tram in Lean’s epic, as he opens the door of his house, a slightly ghostly reflection appears in the glass window of the vestibule.

The reflection is often thought to be David Lean himself. A blown-up, lightened image (right) suggests that the figure may have a beard, though that could just be a result of the image processing.

It does look a little like David Lean, but it’s by no means definitely him; it could be anybody. The position also looks a little posed, raising the possibility that it’s the reflection of a portrait hanging on the wall as set dressing.

Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Towards the end of the first half of David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago, when Zhivago and his family are making their way across Russia by train, there’s a scene in which he helps a woman to board while the train is moving.

There are rumours that the woman fell under the wheels of the train and either died or had her legs cut off. The truth isn’t quite so dramatic, although it must have been a hell of a day for all concerned.

The actress was Hungarian Lili Muráti, and it seems that there was a mix-up over what was supposed to happen: she runs alongside the train, and was meant to grab Omar Sharif’s hand. However, he grabbed hers, meaning that she couldn’t control her pace and fell, rolling under the train. She tucked into a ball and managed to avoid losing any limbs, but did have to go to hospital; however she recovered, and returned to finish filming.

The shot in the finished film is cut is rather abruptly, and could well have been the take in which she fell.

The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple (1967)

Here’s an onscreen mistake that makes the misplaced apostrophe in The Last Man on Earth look like a huge, movie-wrecking blunder.

During the opening titles in The Odd Couple, somewhere between Felix Ungar’s failed suicide attempt and his trip to the strip bar, the titles show the copyright year as MCMXLVII – that’s 1947 – as opposed to the correct MCMLXVII (1967).

The transposed L and X, blown up in the image above, must be about as small a goof as is possible to find in a movie, at least until the successor to Blu-Ray starts showing up non-native species of aphid.